March Wrap Up 2013

These wrap up posts are inspired by Katie's Book Blog 

Blogaversary GIVEAWAY!
Review and Recipe #2: Mexican Lettuce Wrap and Article 5
Harley's Hall of Bookish Fame: Author Leigh Talbert Moore
Random Thoughts Thursday: Weird Names in YA
The Harley Bear Post (epaper)

Harry Potter Readalong

The Madman's Daughter

Pivot Point
Wait For You
Code Name Verity

Books Read But Not Reviewed:
Thirteen Reasons Why

Ender's Game
Shadow and Bone
The Host

Pg Count Challenge-goal: 10,000 pages
2,900 pages

Seriously Series & Sequel Challenges- goal: Seriously Spectacular Series Star  
Pivot Point

Shadow and Bone
The Host

Harley Bear Post #1

My new friend from Bloggiesta (@RebeccaScags) posted this list of bookish things that she wants to do someday.  I want to make my own list next week.  Check back Thursday the 4th for mine!

  1. Make a deeper, personal connection with an author
  2. Read 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die
  3. Vist as many libraries as I can in as many cities as I can
  4. Read a book in another language (besides English)
  5. Read 10 books of poetry
  6. Read 20 books of short stories
  7. Write a children’s book
  8. Fill my wall of bookshelves with books

My brother keeps telling me to do a bookish podcast, but I wasn't sure how to do this.  So now that I'm listening to these two women discuss Diversity in YA I'm seeing how podcasts can be an awesome way to talk about books.  I'll def be listening to future ones from this blog.

*Simone Elkeles books: Alex is too stereotypical
*Eleanor & Park: Immigrant experience was from a racial standpoint.
*Reference to a certain Alien that lives in WV
*A perspective from someone with parents who have a diverse background.
*Having sex with vampires is not a good idea

Random Thoughts Thursday: Weird Names in YA

I've read a few posts that made want to do a discussion post like this.  Katie talks about how weird names frustrate her.  I read another post at Book Brats that got me thinking.

It seems like authors are trying to out do each other with ridiculous character names.  Kind of like Michael Jackson's child BLANKET or Gweneth Paltrow's kid APPLE.  Like really?  
I can't even...
I agree with Katie, when authors pick crazy names it makes me hesitant to read the book.  Let me tell you a story about little Melissa.
Rockin the 90's flower jumper!

Waiting on Wednesday #21

Jill from Breaking The Spine hosts this awesome meme where bloggers feature books they are eagerly anticipating to be published.

On the night seventeen-year-old Jeremy Glass winds up in the hospital with a broken leg and a blood alcohol level well above the legal limit, his secret crush, Susannah, disappears. When he begins receiving messages from her from beyond the grave, hes not sure whether they're real or if he's losing his grip on reality. Clue by clue, he gets closer to unraveling the mystery, and soon realizes he must discover the truth or become the next victim himself.
 July 9, 2013
Books that have a mystery are my guilty pleasure.  And this one sounds pretty generic, but still awesome.  Plus that cover is pretty sweet.

Top Ten Tuesday #21

Brokeandbookish provides a topic each week and bloggers list their top ten within that category.
March 26: Top Ten  Books I Recommend The Most

I recommend this book to anyone who ever mentions The Hunger Games or wanting to try something new.  I think I've talked about this book more than any other.  I even made my mom read it and now she's recommending it to people.

Ok so technically I just finished this the other day, but it was amazing and I just want to stand on top of a mountain and scream to the world how much I loved it.  So I'll be sure to recommend this to everyone in the future.

I've been fangirling over Sarah Dessen openly for years now.  This is my favorite out of all her books and I've been pushing those on twitter who want to read her books to start with this one.

Bloggers tend to only post about new books and then some amazing books like these fall between the cracks and get forgotten about.  I like to remind people how amazing Simone Elkeles is.

Whenever someone asks what Angel books are their favorite I ALWAYS say this series.  It's awesome and I'm so sad it's over.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Number of Pgs.: 358 
Publication date: June 5, 2012
Publisher: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: YA, Fantasy
How I got the copy: library
Rating:  5 stars
From Goodreads:

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.
Plot: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Setting: 7/10
Pacing: 8/10
Style: 10/10
Cover:  I didn't like the cover.  It's very masculine and has lots of dark colors.  Although I do like the font.  That's the reason it took me so long to pick this one up. 
43+50=93 (5 Stars)

When a book has a unique layout, that always catches my interest.  I loved that this book began in third person with a tale about two orphans.  Then we get the first person narrative from Alina's POV.  And the ending is back in third person.  This layout was not the only thing unique about this book.  I feel like it should be on a shelf of it's own.  It was so refreshingly different.  There was a great mixture of romance, action, adventure, etc.  The only thing that lacked for me was the setting description was a little sparse (thank goodness for the map on the inside cover!).  I couldn't really figure out what time period or country it was supposed to be.  I think now it's Russia in a future or a past time?  I'm still not really sure.  But apparently a Kefta is like a robe. I just found this pinterest board and youtube video the author has on her site about what inspired the book. Wish I had seen it before I read.

Harry Potter Read Along April 1-Nov 25th

Week 1 Answers
Week 2 Answers
Week 3 Answers
Week 4 Answers
Week 6 Answers
Week 7 Answers

1. At the beginning of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Dumbledore makes the decision to leave Harry in the care of his aunt and uncle. We see the results of that decision when Ron and Harry have a run in with Draco on the Hogwart’s Express. Do you agree with Dumbledore’s decision or do you feel Harry should have been brought up among his own people?
I think he was better off growing up at his Uncle's.  Yes, he was bullied and unloved, but he was humble and kind.  Two things he would not have been if he grew up in a world where he was famous. He probably wouldn't have made friends with Ron and Hermione and then his whole life would be different.

2. Hagrid comes to rescue Harry from the Dursley’s in a shack on a rock. If you were Harry would you have left with Hagrid?
I was thinking about this.  The first time I read this back when I was ten, I didn't see anything wrong with leaving with Hagrid.  Hell, if he had shown up at my house and offered me a ride to Hogwarts I would have accepted.  But now at 23 I was like wait...he just leaves with a strange giant?  I guess anything is more appealing than living with the Dursleys.

3. Harry has a lot of info to digest all at once. He finds out he’s a wizard, there’s a whole magical community, his parents were in fact murdered, and the same wizard you killed his parents attempted to kill him as well. How would you have reacted to all of this?
I don't think I would have taken it as well as he did.  I probably would have cried a lot finding out that my parents were murdered.  And I probably would have been a lot more worried that this scary wizard would find me.  

4. Hogwarts students are allowed an owl, a cat, or a toad. What animal would you choose and why?
I hate cats because they hate me.  Toads are slimy.  I'd have a pretty owl.  Plus they can deliver mail!

5. For the first time in his life, Harry has money and the chance to spend it however he wants. What would you have purchased at Diagon Alley?
I'd buy a wand probably.  When you think of witch or wizard you think magic wand!

Week 2 Answers

1. When first years reach Hogwarts they are separated into school houses; Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. Which house would you be in?
I wish I'd be in Gryffindor because I love all the characters in that house.  And while I do have bravery when something bad is happening, I also have self preservation and avoid dangerous situations all together.  In reality, I'd probably be a Ravenclaw because I like to learn and read and be around people who enjoy that too. 

2. Were you surprised that bumbling, sweet Neville Longbottom was sorted into Gryffindor and not Hufflepuff?
Well, I already knew he would be, but I think the first time I read this I was confused how he got in there.  But then again I was confused why Hermione wasn't in Ravenclaw too.

3. Harry receives the invisibility cloak from a mysterious source on Christmas day. What would you do if you had an invisibility cloak?
I'd probably sneak into the other common rooms to see what they're like or explore the castle in general.  It would be nice to have one of those when you just feel like being left alone.  Cozy up with a nice book under the cloak so no one will bother you for a few hours.

4. The Sorcerer’s Stone can keep you immortal. Would you chose immortality? Why or why not?
I honestly don't know.  The 80-100 years that we all expect to live is already a long time.  Not sure I could handle immortality if my loved ones would die and I'd be left to live this crazy world alone.  But it's interesting for Harry because he is pretty much a lone still.  Yes, he's made friends, but they're bonds are still really new.  I wonder if he had been offered the stone in the beginning of the book if he'd take it versus after he met Ron and Hermione.

5. Snape is playing a prevalent role as the baddie teacher. Who was your worse teacher and why?
My Algebra 2 math teacher in High School.  I suck at math.  Like so bad that I can hardly do simple math in my head.  I was getting a C or D in this class (which it was my first C ever) and my teacher pulled me aside one day and was like "You should just give up and drop the class".  He didn't offer extra help or anything.  I basically was like "F U" (but in nicer terms) because when someone tells me I can't do something then I find every way possible to do it.  I went in for extra help and somehow raised my grade to a B, but to this day I still can't believe that old man told me to just give up.  He was dead serious too.  He fought me when I told him I didn't want to quit the class.  He was also about 70 years old and droned on during class making it that much harder to pay attention or want to learn.  Anyways, he was the worst teacher I ever had.

Week 3 Answers
1. We find out that Professor Snape is going to referee the next Quidditch match. Thoughts?
I couldn't remember what happened because this isn't in the movie so I was kind of nervous for Harry. I wish I could forget everything that I know from future books lol.

2. Harry, Hermione, Malfoy, and Neville are serving out their detentions in the Forbidden Forest. they have a run in with the centaurs. Were Rowling’s centaurs what you expected?
No, I had never read about centaurs before so I remember being confused as a kid. But then I read The Chronicals of Narnia and I was like ooohh they're a real thing. I thought JK had made them up.

3. Quirrell? Huh. Didn’t see that one coming. What are your thoughts on this?
Always gotta watch out for the quiet ones! I always wondered why he wore a turban, but it all makes sense at the end. He doesn't really have a big role in the book. You'd think he'd be in it more, but I guess she didn't want people to suspect anything.

4. I was all about hating on Snape. How do you feel now that he’s been revealed as the not bad guy?
Snape is such a complex character and JK did an awesome job creating a likeable villain. I hated him too at first and was surprised to find out he didn't curse the broomstick.

5. What are your overall thoughts of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone?
I forgot how much I loved this book. I think a lot happened in such a small book. This is probably one of the few books in third person that I love. But I think JK did a great job of using third person to let the reader explore and connect with other characters. Such a great story!

Week 4 Answers
1. It appears that the Dursleys have hit an all time low after the nightmare dinner. What do you think of Dobby and his actions?
Dobby was kind of annoying. I would have been so mad if I was Harry that he was making all that noise and then got Harry in trouble.

2. We finally get to spend a little bit more time with the Weasleys. Do you have a family like the Weasleys? If not, do you want a family like the Weasleys or are you more of an independent soul?
I love the Weasleys! I only have one older sister and brother, but wonder what it would have been like to have a bigger family growing up. I love that Mrs. Weasley is a really strong woman and Mr. Weasley is really caring.

3. Harry accidentally ends up in Knockturn Alley instead of Diagon Alley. Were there any items described in Borgin and Burkes that peeked your interest?
I loved the foreshadowing for the series in this part. Some of the things that Harry mentioned in the shop come up later. I thought the hand was an interesting thing. Only the person holding it can see light or something. That could come in handy! Pun Intended.

4. If you were Harry or Ron and could not get through the barrier would you have taken the car or waited for Mr. and Mrs. Weasley (as was ever so politely suggested later)?
I would have waited. I would have been scared the car would run out of gas. Also, what if Ron's parents came back and the car was gone. They'd think either it was stolen.

5. What do you think of Gilderoy Lockhart? What Muggle celebrity would you compare him to?
Gilderoy is annoying. I love this question. I think he'd be Scott from Keeping up with the Kardashians. Courtney's baby daddy. They have the exact personality and similar hair!

Week 6 Answers
1. Harry finds the secret of Tom Riddle’s diary and discovers that Hagrid had a secret pet (read monster). Did you believe Tom? Did you think Hagrid could have brought something that dangerous into Hogwarts?
Since I already knew the ending I wasn't surprised, but I never suspected Hagrid of being a bad guy. He's just a big teddy bear.

2. Hermione has been petrified. Did you ever lose faith in Ron and Harry’s ability to save her?
I love that JK did this to Hermione because she's the brains of the operation and it made Harry and Ron have to work at it to solve the mystery without her. It also showed that she taught them a thing or two. And yet, she still helped them get the last piece of the puzzle even though she was out of commission. I knew they'd save her because they're awesome.

3. We see that Lord Voldemort is starting to get more aggressive with his attempts to return to power in the second installment of the Harry Potter series. How surprised were you that his accomplice this time was none other than Ginny Weasley? (Granted it was an unwitting accomplice.)
I remember being so surprised the first time I read it when I was like 12. But now I so all the foreshowding! It's so clever. You'd never suspect little quiet Ginny Weasley to be attacking people...her friends.

4. Dobby is granted his freedom at long last. What did you think of Dobby when it was all said and done?
I'm surprised Harry was so gung-ho to set Dobby free after he almost killed him like ten times, but Harry is such a good person. I was glad Dobby was free because even though he was annoying as hell he didn't deserve the viciousness of Malfoy. I think in a way Harry can relate to Dobby because they are both treated terribly at home. In a way Harry is like the Dursley's house elf.

5. What are your overall thoughts of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets?
Well aside from Lockhart and Dobby being annoying I think I like this book better than the first. I just love that there was more of a mystery to this one and you have to put the pieces together along with the characters. And the character development is phenomenal already and it's only book two. Plus, now knowing how the series ends I'm enjoying seeing everything come together. JK must have planned out all the books in advance because each book really builds on each other and sets up the next book. Brilliant!

Week 7 Answers
1. Aunt Marge insists that there's something wrong with Harry's genes so there is no helping him. Do you believe in Nature or Nurture?
I think nurture has a lot to do with how people turn out. But I do think genetics plays a role in it as well. Like twins that are seperated at birth, but still have similar mannerisms and demeanors. I also would like to say I hate Aunt Marge!

2. Do you think that Arthur Weasley was right in his attempt to warn Harry about Sirius Black?
I have always been a firm believer that you shouldn't hold back important information from kids. I remember when my grandma was sick and I was about 10 I asked my older sister straight up "Is grandma dying?" and she explained what was going on when all the adults would lie to my face. I was more prepared for her death and it wasn't as hard to deal with. So when I have kids I'm going to make sure I don't hide things from them just because they are scary. Plus Harry is 13 at this point. He can handle it.

3. We get our first glimpse of the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher R.J. Lupin. What are your thoughts so far?
I like Lupin. He comes off kind of mysterious, but the fact that he knew about the chocolate shows he actually knows what he's doing. Also, I'm pretty sure he was pretending to sleep on the train.

4. In their first Defenst Against the Dark Arts class the third years must take on a boggart. If you were faced with a boggart what would it turn into?
I'd be like Ron and see a spider probably. I hate them!! I'm totally one of those girls that screams and runs away when I see one.

5. Hagrid's first class went horribly wrong. Would you prefer to study some of the more exotic creatures (like hippogriffs) or stick to something safe like flobberworms?
Hippogriffs are pretty cool. I think I'd want to ride one, but only if it promised not to go too high lol.

Sunday Post & Stacking the Shelves #30

 The Sunday Post is a meme hosted by  Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.  Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  Both are a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and talk about what is coming up for the week on our blog. 

I finally went to that bargain bookstore that just opened in the town by my old college.  It had a very small YA section, but I did find this for $4 so I was happy!

4 Star Review
    Last week was one giant fail!  I only did one post.  Just one!  It was a hard week, but I was so excited when I found out about bloggiesta.  I joined in the fun and I'm in the process of scheduling millions of posts so this never happens again.
If you haven't ever participated in this it's a way to maintain your blog while meeting other awesome bloggers. There's another twitter chat today at 5pm EST if you wanna come see what it's all about. #Bloggiesta

I'm also starting back up the Harley Bear Post
on Fridays where I will be reporting back to you articles and reviews I've found in the bookish community that week.  A new twist is that I will leave a linky open for you to add your links to posts and reviews that I and others might have missed out on!  Sounds like fun right?

{Review} Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Number of Pgs.: 339 
Publication date: February 6, 2012
Publisher: Elizabeth Wein
Genre: Historical Fiction
How I got the copy: library
Rating:  4 stars
From Goodreads:

I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.

That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine — and I will do anything, anything, to avoid SS-Hauptsturmf├╝hrer von Linden interrogating me again.

He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France — an Allied Invasion of Two.

We are a sensational team.
Plot: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Setting: 9/10
Pacing: 4/10
Style: 7/10
Cover: I like this cover better than the other one.  It portrays the harshness of the book.  I love the writing in the background too.
38+50=88(4 Stars)

I needed to write this review before I moved on to another book because I wasn't ready to let it go yet.  It's one of those books that just stays with you for awhile.  When I first started reading I didn't think I was going to finish it.  It's so slow paced for the first 100 pages and It's all about planes in WWII which frankly--I have no interest in.  But the narrator's voice kept me interested enough to keep going (that and everyone has raved that it's such a great book).  I'm so glad I kept with it because after the first surprise twist in the plot the pacing picks up.  After that there were a few more twists that slapped me in the face.  I never saw them coming...and I'm usually pretty good at guessing plots.  

The main character that narrates the first half of the book was witty, brave, strong, etc.  She's facing an inevitable death and yet she still fights back against the Nazis who have tortured her.  If you like Katniss you'll love this girl.  Maddie, her friend, was a great character as well.  I loved their relationship because it showed how a friendship could bring out the best in people.  Maddie was always the quieter/scareder one, but she becomes strong because of this friendship and her love for her friend.  I loved that Maddie was a pilot even though that wasn't common in those times.

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