Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Some Blog Announcements

For the past few weeks, I've been really struggling with blogging which is probably really clear from the lack of posts and the messages and apologies. And I've been trying to sort out my feelings on blogging and where I want to go.

I've concluded that I don't want to leave blogging. I love it too much and there are just so many things I haven't done yet that I want to do. So I'm going to continue. But because the state in which my blog is in right now is pretty bare-bones, I need some time to get things back into shape.

For the next four or five days, I'm going to take a break from actively blogging and really work on scheduling for December and planning and drafting up posts (unfortunately, this means no Weekly Recap this week either). After a lot of thought, I think it's best for me to go back to planning what I want to do because winging it seems to be making blogging even harder.

But I have some really great posts planned for you in December and I can't wait for those to go up! I really hope that this new blogging system I'm implementing now will help me manage The Runaway Reader better.

See you in December! And for those celebrating Thanksgiving and/or Hanukkah this weekend, I wish you happy festivities!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Published July 3, 2012 by Anchor (first published 2011)
Paperback, 516 pages
Bought from Indigo

So summing up The Night Circus is a rather tall challenge but I'm going to try to offer you as accurate and all-encompassing synopsis as possible. Basically, The Night Circus is about a challenge that ultimately leads to a life-or-death situation between two people named Celia and Marco. They have been bound together as children for the sole reason of this challenge which takes the form of the circus. As they interact through their challenge, Celia and Marco start to fall in love which produces a new, unseen obstacle in both of their paths to winning and might eventually be the circus' doom.

I had super high expectations going into The Night Circus after all the high praises this book has received. And from experience, I know that setting a high standard for the book is only going to result in disappointment so I was at once, excited for the book because of the great reception but also hesitant about it because of my excitement. So it was a bit conflicting for me to read the book, always jumping back and forth between thinking that I'm loving it and thinking that it's going to drop flat on my bum. But when I finally completed it, all I could feel was absolute joy and admiration and an indescribable feeling of wanderlust and wishfulness.

It's hard to put into words why The Night Circus moved me so much and I almost don't want to try. I almost want to throw this review away and just shout incoherent sentences at you. Because The Night Circus is so grand, in meaning and in prose, that it's hard to mirror the eloquency Morgenstern writes with when explaining this book so please be lenient!

When I look back at my experience with The Night Circus, the one thing that sticks out the most for me is the setting. I read for many reasons but one of them is definitely to be able to explore places I wouldn't be able to otherwise. And Morgenstern really succeeded in bringing me to a whole new level of enlightenment when she introduced me to the circus. Everything was so vivid and it was as if I was really there. I could picture the swelling black and white tents perfectly and I could imagine the expressions of awe in the audience as they watched Celia perform her illusions. The setting was just so perfectly crafted and I never wanted to leave.

But guys, everything else was so good too! The characters, the story (even though there wasn't a solid plot to the novel), the writing, the EVERYTHING. This book just spoke so much to me and is definitely time well spent. I don't usually read 500 page novels any more but man, The Night Circus was so worth it! 

The only thing I have to say is that the little breaks Morgenstern took in the book, the ones that went You walk around the circus, You spend time in this tent, etc., didn't really do anything for the story. I suppose Morgenstern wanted to make the experience feel even more intimate (though I think her writing did that already) but reading it just felt disjointed and unnecessary. The story would have been fine without it!

I really liked The Night Circus. Morgenstern sure took me on a fun adventure through the circus and everyone a part of it. If I had a choice, I wouldn't have ever left! The writing was absolutely spectacular, very reminiscent of J.K. Rowling's in a way. They both write very descriptively and enchantingly which definitely does wonders for both of their magical stories! The only thing I didn't like about this book was when Morgenstern would switch from third person to the whole you-you thing, for lack of a better term. It just felt disjointed and decreased the fluidity of the book. I really enjoyed everything else though and thought the ending was really good and fitting for the novel! This is one book that I think would really translate well on the big screen (given that it's done well, of course)!

people who like strong prose and setting. If you're a fan of magic, this will be great for you! Also great if you want to experience something almost otherwordly through a book!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Weekly Recap: November 17-23, 2013

I've noticed that many bloggers do a recap at the end of each week and since I actually love reading those posts, I thought I'd start doing it as well!

So I'm back with a Weekly Recap! Yay! 

To be honest, I wasn't sure if I wanted to return to doing one this week but there were so many things I wanted to say that I felt if I didn't make a Weekly Recap to say it, I would explode.

The first thing I want to say is that I'm sorry for not being around. I know I kind of touched upon this in my post a couple days ago about how I don't really have time for blogging any more. Because I didn't have a solid idea of what I would achieve by writing the post - other than getting my feelings out - I can bet it was probably pretty confusing so now I'm going to try to clear things up. 

I loved blogging. That's for sure. And I think I still do love to blog, otherwise I would have been gone ages ago. But I can feel, deep in me, that I'm starting to like it less. It's exhausting and sometimes, incredibly aggravating. There are just so many things I need to do and look after and honestly, I don't want more things to add to my gigantic To Do list. I feel like if I had more spare time, I would blog because the pressure for me to churn out something is less. But on the other hand, I also have to ask myself whether this is just life taking its course. Maybe this is a sign that this blog will eventually have to end. I know right now that I'm not ready to end this journey but that's really all I'm sure of at this point. I can't tell you with conviction that I'll still be blogging next year or even in December! 

But since I like to live in the present, I know that I'm going to try to do my best in maintaining this blog right now. I'm pretty busy with school and so it's hard for me to put out a lot of posts but you can expect at least two to three a week. I'm also going to try to comment some more on blogs because there are SO many people I have to get back to and spend more time replying to the comments I get here! I know the replies have been pretty bare-bones so I'm going to try not to dash off responses and really take the time to form solid, thoughtful comments in exchange for all the great ones you leave!

So that's basically it in blogging news and now, for real-life news! The biggest thing that happened this week was my deciding to join the Girl Guides. I've always been a fan of their chocolate mint cookies so I'm pretty excited to have the opportunity to become a Guide! I'm a little scared because it's going to be unlike anything I've ever done before and because it's probably going to suck even more time out of blogging. But I am still really excited! 

This week also marked the finishing of all my Halloween chocolate and the passing of 2 500 000 on Temple Run 2. Clearly, it was a productive week.

1. The Doctor Who Google Doodle Game. It's such a cool idea and so much fun even though I can't get past level 5. Anyone have tips? 
2. Burt's Bees Lip Balm. I've owned this chapstick for a while now but am only starting to appreciate its usefulness now that winter is coming. It has a nice minty taste and sensation while moisturising my lips quite well. 
3. Julep Zelda nail polish. I'm obsessed with nail polish and wanted to try something different so I picked up Zelda. It's this nice pinkish beige metallic that goes on pretty sheer but builds up to be a gorgeous color perfect for the holidays!
4. Let Her Go by Passenger. There were SO many great songs I listened to this week that it was hard to pick just one to showcase but guys, I just cannot get this song out of my head! When I first listened to it, I hated it but now I can't stop smiling like a buffoon whenever it comes on! 

I reviewed Bunheads this week which I really liked! Check out my review here
After seeing The Book Thief movie this week, I just HAD to share my experience with you guys.
I brought back Bookish Radar this week and listed four great books I want to read.

It's the semi-finals of the Book Shimmy awards so go vote to see your books in the finals! 
Epic Reads put my feelings about the stages of waiting for a new book perfectly into gifs.
Doctor Who is really hard to explain as anyone who has tried to do so will know but Rinn does a wonderful job! Makes me want to watch it now!

It's important questions time! Anything exciting happen to you this week? Did you discover any cool beauty products? Or any cool songs? Tell me!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Bookish Radar (2)

As a book blogger, my bookish radar is always on. I'm constantly hearing about titles of books and while some of them don't particularly interest me, others so do. These are the books that I currently have my eyes on. I WILL READ THEM IF IT'S THE LAST THING I DO. Inspired by On the Smugglers' Radar @ The Book Smugglers and Waiting on Wednesday @ Breaking the Spine

The Blackcoat Rebellion #1
Expected release date: November 26, 2013

For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country.

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter.

There's only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed …and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that's not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she's only beginning to understand.

There has been so much talk surrounding this book and EVERYONE seems to love this which is total brownie-points worthy! I'm SO ready for another dystopia and Pawn sounds really unique and creative. I'm really interested to see how the political aspect of this book plays out. FIVE MORE DAYS BEFORE IT'S OUT, GUYS!
Released July 11, 2013

One part Libba Bray's GOING BOVINE, two parts String Theory, and three parts love story equals a whimsical novel that will change the way you think about the world.

Sophie Sophia is obsessed with music from the late eighties. She also has an eccentric physicist father who sometimes vanishes for days and sees things other people don’t see. But when he disappears for good and Sophie’s mom moves them from Brooklyn, New York, to Havencrest, Illinois, for a fresh start, things take a turn for the weird. Sophie starts seeing things, like marching band pandas, just like her dad.

Guided by Walt, her shaman panda, and her new (human) friend named Finny, Sophie is determined to find her father and figure out her visions, once and for all. So she travels back to where it began—New York City and NYU’s physics department. As she discovers more about her dad’s research on M-theory and her father himself, Sophie opens her eyes to the world’s infinite possibilities—and her heart to love.

I've waited for SO LONG for this book to be released and when it did come out, I totally forgot about it. And right now, it's 28% off which makes me really want to get the grabby hands out! But anyway, I think this book would be a really cute read what with the shaman pandas and list-making and the prospect of LOVE.

Expected release date: April 22, 2014

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

Jenny Han holds a soft spot in my heart because she was the very first Young Adult author I was introduced to after reading Shug which I really, really loved. And this book just sounds so DAMN good. I feel like I'm going to be crying the entire time while reading this because I just know that this book is going to resonate so much with me. Also, that cover is freaking gorgeous and why isn't it on my tumblr already? Gah, April 22 is SO far away.

Released February 12, 2013

It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer.

She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street. Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.

With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.

I read Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys a couple months back and absolutely loved her writing! She's such a great storyteller and ever since realizing that, I've been interested in reading Out of the Easy. I haven't gotten to it yet but I really want to! I'm a complete lover of historical fictions and New Orleans is a place I haven't really explored in history but one that I want to!

And that's it for this week! What books are on your radar this week? Have you read/want to read any of the books on this list? Share your thoughts!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Crying Over The Book Thief (A Kind-Of Film Review)

If you love The Book Thief and want to cry with someone about it, here's your chance.

I read The Book Thief in sixth grade and I still remember the knowing looks I received while I was reading it, telling me that I'd love it and I'd cry my eyes out. If you've read this book, you know that obviously they were right.

To this day, The Book Thief remains one of my favourite books. And of course you can tell by the way it looks. The cover is creased, the pages are dog-eared and there are some places where the glue of the binding is even visible. ALL SIGNS OF A BOOK DEARLY LOVED.

So it's not a surprise that I went to go see the movie this weekend. And totally not a surprise that I LOVED IT TOO.

The first thing I noticed about the movie was the cinematography. It was absolutely gorgeous and fit the language of the book very well. Markus Zusak writes very descriptively in The Book Thief and I felt the cinematography conveyed the beauty and the expressiveness of Zusak's language perfectly.

I also loved the unique bits the writers included. There were some things in this movie that weren't in the book but I wished were. For example, that last scene with Rudy and Liesel, the writers decided to have him say I love you but he never gets to finish it before he dies. And that absolutely BROKE ME. It was so sad and I swear, if that had been in the book, I would have cried like a baby too.

Also, the entire cast was amazing. Like if you need an example of well-casted characters, just take a look at this film. The filmmakers nailed every character, even Rudy's little brothers! Everyone on screen was exactly how I imagined them in my head while reading, especially Liesel who was pretty great. I can't think of anyone better to play her! And by the way, if you haven't seen Sophie Nelisse in Monsieur Lazhar, I think you need to do that right now. It's another spectacular movie!

The only thing I have to say is that the film lacked the depth of the book and it really felt rushed at times. Which is understandable because The Book Thief is such a daunting book to turn to film and I don't even get why this happened because who in their right mind would want to take on such a challenge but I'm not complaining because this movie made me love the book even more.

Seeing the characters I've loved for so long on screen and totally perfect made me realize how much The Book Thief means to me. I literally do not think I have crossed paths with a more perfect book ever in my life and I'm so happy I read this book. And I really cannot express my love in words. There are just no words that equate to my feeling towards this book. All I can really say is that it's amazing and if you haven't read it, you should RIGHT NOW because this is not a book to be missed.

And now my dear friends, let us hold hands and weep over our beloved characters. To Hans who is the quintessential father: loving, caring, funny and simply amazing in all ways. To Rosa who has a steel mouth but a warm heart, who inspires me to stay strong and persevere through tough times. To Max who taught me the importance of words. To Rudy who is the greatest friend in the entire world, who makes me tear up at the very thought of him, and who I love so very very very much. And to Liesel who is such a strong character and one that inspires me to inquisitive, caring and kind in my life.

Finally, much thanks to Markus Zusak for writing this wonderful story and for making me feel all kinds of FEELS over the span of 550 pages. You are such a great writer and I admire you so much.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Bunheads by Sophie Flack

Published October 9, 2012 by Poppy (first published 2011)
Paperback, 320 pages
Borrowed from library

Hannah is a dancer at the prestigious Manhattan Ballet Company. She dances night and day, never taking a minute to stop. But when she meets musician Jacob, Hannah realizes there's more to the world than just ballet. She's curious to explore it, but can she really leave dance? 

I took ballet lessons for three years when I was younger and while I've since stopped, the allure of dancing ballet has never quite left me. So I was really excited to pick up this book and experience what it's like behind the scenes for a ballerina. 

One thing I noticed right off the bat was that Bunheads was a really quiet book. Like if books were able to speak, Bunheads would be one that doesn't talk a lot. It's a very subtly beautiful book but it's hard to get into. I had a lot of trouble with it at the beginning and ALMOST put it down (I'm so happy I didn't). 

You see, Bunheads is not a book with lots of action. It's not a book with witty banter and exciting characters which makes it hard to love. Instead, it's simple and straightforward which is exactly what helped this story become so great. Flack is telling a very personal and important story and the best way she can do that is to write frankly and vividly. And I do think she accomplished that.

Flack managed to plop the reader right in the story, as if we were an invisible spectator watching the series of events unfold. It was thrilling to be front row in witnessing a ballerina's life. I had no idea it was so tiring and dramatic and I absolutely loved the inner conflict Hannah had with herself about whether or not to stay with dance. Some really great character development in this novel! 

I'm sorry I don't have much to say about this book but I really did like it! It took a while for me to get into it but once I did, I had such a fun time. It was real eye-opening to see the nice and not-so-nice realities of being a ballet dancer and everything felt so realistic. It was almost as if I was living it along with Hannah. Hannah was a great character who developed greatly throughout this novel! She had a really solid narration and was extremely likeable and relatable. Bunheads is not a fast-paced book but I loved it for its subtle beauty.

ballerinas or balletomanes (putting my ballet terminology to use!) or just people who want to know more about ballet. Also recommended for someone who's looking for a sweet coming of age story. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

What Happens When You Only Have 24 Hours In A Day

When I started blogging, I had no idea how time-consuming it would become. Back then, blogging was merely a hobby - something I would do to pass time. Back then, I still had TIME TO SPEND. But now, I'm in high school and while it's not busy busy, it definitely uses up a lot of the spare time I had in grade seven and always leaves me feeling exhausted. Between high school and blogging, I literally have NO time to do anything else except for a few minutes before bed when I sneak in some reading time.

And realizing that was a bit shocking for me. Time is only going to be harder to manage as I grow older so I need to be able to manage it well now and that means I need to rethink my priorities.

Obviously, school is going to be number 1. It's important for me that I do well and honestly, no matter how much I complain about the work I get, I love learning and I'm grateful I have the opportunity to do so.

As for what takes the second spot on my list, well, I'm not so sure any more. If you asked me a few months ago, I would have said blogging without delay. But now, I really don't know if it's as important to me as it was then. I mean, I still love blogging and I love reading posts and writing discussions and thinking up of ideas but when I actually go to DO them, I just don't want to. While I want to be able to leave comments on other blogs, I don't want to go through the action of doing it. While I want to have posts every day for my blog, I don't want to go through the action of doing it.

So I guess this post is also a bit of an apology for not being around as much. I'm still trying to sort out my thoughts and where I want to go with The Runaway Reader. I know FOR SURE that I don't want it to end but on the other hand, I'm not ready to handle a full-time blog.

Blogging just takes up too much time for me and now, I'm questioning if it's worth it to spend all this time when really, blogging gives me nothing in return. I mean, I'm happy that there are people who read my blog now and like it - that's obviously a huge deal for me but in the long run, this entire thing is so insignificant. And there are so many other things I want to do like learn how to bike and play the guitar and finish a novel that I HAVE to sit down and really wonder: is it worth it and if it is, how am I going to manage it all? There are just too many things I want to do and not enough time to do it all.

Ideally, I would have twenty eight hours in a day so I can have time to do everything I want but then, I have to be honest and ask, even if I have twenty eight hours, will I still want to blog? Is it a matter of time or a matter of will?

Hmm. Good question, Annie!

Right now, I really have no clue and that kind of makes this post pointless. What was my point for this again? Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say is that I have a lot of things I need and want to do and if blogging has to go, then blogging has to go. I'm not ready to cut it off from my life yet so I'm going to have to learn how to schedule my time wisely but it's scary how much this has been on my mind.

Is the end near?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

One Night That Changes Everything by Lauren Barnholdt

Published June 14, 2011 by Simon Pulse (first published 2010)
Paperback, 272 pages
Borrowed from library

Ever since she was twelve, Eliza has been writing all the things she's too afraid to do in her purple notebook. Things like singing karaoke in front of strangers. But between the pages are secrets about herself and her friends that can NEVER get out. So when Eliza finds out her purple notebook has somehow found its way into her ex-boyfriend, Cooper and company's hands, she needs to figure out a way to get it back. Unfortunately, the only way she can get it back is if she completes four things - specially hand-picked to be the most humiliating - off of her notebook, otherwise, all her secrets will be posted online.

I was really looking forward to One Night That Changes Everything because it's gotten some really great responses from Goodreaders so naturally, I've felt huge disappointment since reading the book and finding that it's not as I imagined.

I can give Barnholdt the credit of having an interesting and original idea. As a reader, any book about making someone do humiliating things is exciting for me, as sadistic as that sounds. I love watching the character complete crazy tasks I would NEVER EVER think of doing EVER and bouncing back from their experience, with their head held high. This book had that. This book had the crazy tasks (and the funny narrative to make feel less bad about laughing at Eliza) and the bouncing back but besides that, there wasn't much to this story.

The characters were all so un-likeable and so one-dimensional. Eliza was annoying. Cooper was annoying. Clarice was annoying. Marissa was annoying. The 318s were annoying. EVERYONE was annoying and EVERYONE had no personality. They were all one homogeneous streak of annoying teenager after the next. You know, I almost feel a bit embarrassed that people might read this and think this is how teenagers talk and act. Everything that came out of everyone's mouths were just so juvenile and made me want to play adult and give them a strict lecture about what it means to be mature and sensible.

Nothing that any of the characters did made any sense. I didn't feel that their actions were justified. It just seemed to happen randomly. I still don't know how on earth Cooper and the 318s were able to get Eliza's notebook. I still DON'T know a lot of things. Granted, this is a rather short book but personally, I would pick a 600 page novel with well-developed characters and plot over a short one lacking in both. 

I really could go on and talk about everything else that I wanted but didn't get but honestly, no more time needs to be spent on explaining why I didn't like this book.

One Night That Changes Everything was one book I've been looking forward to for a long time but ultimately, left me disappointed. While I did entertain the idea of this book and while the narrative was very funny (I legitimately LOL-ed at some points), the rest of the book was lacklustre and left me wanting MORE. I wanted MORE from the characters and MORE from the story. I really feel like this book had the potential to become a really solid and enjoyable read so it was a bit disheartening to see it so bland. There was really no point to this story at all and just one quick word before I sign off, I BEG TO DIFFER with that title. Tell me, what exactly has the night changed?

people who want fast and entertaining reads. If you like Kody Keplinger or Susanne Colasanti's work, you might enjoy this one. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Weekly Recap: November 3-9, 2013

I've noticed that many bloggers do a recap at the end of each week and since I actually love reading those posts, I thought I'd start doing it as well!

I find I complain quite a bit here about how exhausting my life is and while I've already made a vow to shut up about it, I have to say that this week went pretty well for me! It was relaxing and I really needed days when it was okay for me to just go home and kick up my feet without having to have my mind spin ten thousand kilometres an hour.

The highlight of this week was my art class. We started doing some Life Drawing again which was really fun, albeit a tad awkward. Our teacher gave us a heads up before the class that a male model was going to come in and my heart kind of stopped. How awkward is it to have a guy stand in front of you while you draw? And the answer to that is very awkward. He was only half naked which was great because I was sitting at the front and imagine if he was fully unclothed - I think I would have screamed. But the thing is, after a while, I really got into my mojo and started to draw without thinking about the model. And I was really proud of my final product! I kind of screwed up the feet and the hands - both of which I was never really good at drawing - but the proportions and other lines were all right so I'm happy! I might even be looking forward to continue drawing next class... (please don't take that as meaning I'm a pervert.)

1. Photoshop. I get to try it out for my Media Arts class and I'm really excited! The layout is a bit like Pixlr's but much more sophisticated and complex which scares me but excites me all at once. 
2. Pho. It's something both me and my parents love and I had it for lunch today. It was SO yummy! 
3. Sunny days. This week was still gloomy, still rainy, still sucky.
4. Just So You Know by Jesse McCartney. I've been really into pop lately to boost up my mood and energy and this week, I brought back my old obsession and now I know why I stopped listening to him. I HAVE LITERALLY DONE NOTHING ELSE THIS WEEK BUT LISTEN TO THIS GUY SING. IT'S NOT HEALTHY.

Looking for some fun short stories with a good message? Read Seven Deadlies: A Cautionary Tale
Finally, the Harry Potter Survey Pt. 2 is up! Check it to see what spells books have casted on ME.
I confessed I needed help using GIFs and you guys offered some great tips! Thank you all again! 

Sandra talks about what it means to be well read.
Jasmine starts a fun new feature to get to know bloggers better called Asking the Blogosphere!
Chiara asks whether or not you share your blog outside of the computer.
Gillian has made me laugh and nod in agreement once again with her list of YA books to throw at the face of a YA Doubter.
Going to a book signing? Literary Etc. has some great tips!
Not bookish news but Alexa talks about the Ed Sheeran concert she attended and I'm a bit jelly.
I Swim For Oceans is summing up some of the cover trends of 2013!
Cyborgs are taking over Another Novel Read! 
Alice-Jane shares the bookish things that annoy her

It's important questions time! Did you encounter any awkward situation this week, only to find out it wasn't so awkward? Do you share my love for Jesse McCartney? Anything interesting you've found this week? I'm all ears!

Friday, November 8, 2013

I Need Help With GIFs!

Sometimes, there are certain trends with book bloggers that I can't help but take note of. I'm never EVER on the bandwagon when it comes to the blogosphere so I do tend to be very observant when it comes to what EVERYONE else is doing. It's usually to do with a book that everyone is reading and talking about, or a meme/event everyone's participating in. These usually disappear after a few weeks so I can easily go back to not remembering how super untrendy I am.

But then...there's GIFs. Those moving pictures that every darn blogger seems to use except for me. Every time I see them on a blog, I cry little internet tears because I cannot, for the life of me, understand how to use GIFs!

I mean, I get what they're used for and I agree that they help TONS in getting a blogger's point across but I just can't imagine how bloggers are able to obtain the exact GIF to exactly explain their feelings every single time. Do you guys have a secret reserve of cool and expressive GIFs I don't know about? Or do you just do a quick Tumblr/Google search? Because for me, that never works. I never get a GIF I feel sums up feelings well.

Take this instance, for example. The one and ONLY time I've ever used a GIF in one of my posts. I was trying to go for a happy dance, like a jumpy and screamy dance with perhaps a giant YESSS to accompany. And this was the best I could do:

That is SO not what I feel when I see someone with a rating system but it was the best thing I could find. Isn't that sad? Because everywhere I look, everyone has these great GIFs that are basically made for the blogger's post. Then, there's me. GIF newbie but still, surely I can do better than the Emperor's New Groove?

To be honest, I'm not sure. I've kind of stayed away from using GIFs since then and any time I attempt to, one search on Tumblr is enough to tell me that I still suck at finding GIFs. Now this is where this post comes in. I need YOUR wisdom to help me get my thing together. Seriously. Even though I may sound like I'm joking, I'm NOT. I really do want to learn the secrets of GIF-using and I know there's no one better to turn than you guys.

So tell me, if you use GIFs, how do you find GIFs to use in your posts? Do you Tumblr or Google search every time you need one or do you have a file of fun GIFs that you've accumulated over the days? How do you use GIFs? Do you include them in reviews or only in discussions? How do you know when to use GIFs? And do you like the idea of GIFs on a blog? So many questions but I NEED HELP!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Harry Potter Survey Pt. 2

I know all of you must have been DYING for part two of my Harry Potter Survey so I decided to be nice and post it earlier than I meant to initially! If you missed Pt. 1 of the Harry Potter Survey, you can find it here. Thanks to everyone who commented, I loved chatting with you about books!

And again, if you're interested, you can visit the genius behind the survey, Jasmine at Flip That Page to get more information!

puts victim in unconscious state
(a book with a chapter you couldn't get over)
Books usually don't stick in my mind very well but I have a feeling I will never forget that last chapter of Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson. It was so moving and emotional and intimate and seriously, one of the best things I've read EVER. 

causes befuddlement or forgetfulness
(a book that generally confused you)
My head was swirling when I read Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas. There were so many possibilities to 'whodunnit' and evil Abigail entertained ALL of them. I was guessing who was responsible until the very end and I was seriously so confused at one point that I just decided that everyone did it. Which was, of course, not the case but you'll have to read to find out!

inflicts unbearable pain
(a book that was a pain to read)
Criminal by Terra Elan McVoy. My feelings toward the main character Nikki were very conflicted. I didn't want to support her actions but I also could not ignore how much she had developed throughout the story. Ultimately, it was painful to see her go through the tough times and while it was wholly her fault, I couldn't help but root for her!

heals relatively minor injuries
(a feel good book you enjoyed)
On a lighter note, Episkey definitely goes to Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. It was such a cute and great read! I loved this book!

temporarily disarms an opponent
(a book with a swoon-worthy character)
Noah from The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. Hey, I know he's a jerk but there's something about him that is so undeniably attractive. He's like, gross and aggravating but charming and nice at the same time. Do you get that?

impedes target’s progress
(a book that kept you up all night reading)
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. I read this until two a.m. one night. I could NOT put this book down.

immediate silencing
(a book that left you speechless after reading it)
I was left speechless by Uses for Boys by Erica Lorraine Scheidt and for the worst reason. I just did not get this book at all and I was rather shocked by what I had just read. For SO many reasons.

allows you to delve into someone’s mind
(a book with well-developed characters)
This one is hard. Jasmine, why do you ask such hard questions? There are so many books with great characters but ultimately, I'm going to have to go with The Book Thief by Markus Zusak again for this one. It was TOO GREAT.

a spell that turns you upside down
(a book that changed your mind about a character from the prequel)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling. I'm still not a big fan of Snape and he was still a jerk to Harry but I definitely learned to appreciate him after reading this book. And when he died, I admit I cried like a baby. 

used to hide memories
(a book with a story you can't remember)
All the Pretty Little Liars books by Sara Shepard. There are too many mini stories for me to keep track!

Peskipiksi Pesternomi
useless spell
(a boring book that had no effect on you)
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. I was looking forward to this book but unfortunately, it came out dull for me.

breaks through solid objects
(a book that convinced you to reconsider a certain genre)
I'm not into Sci-Fi at all but All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill might make me reconsider. I enjoy seeing time travel play out in this book and while I agree that more research could have helped tighten the science aspect of it, there hasn't been another book that has made me so intrigued in sci-fi!

tickling spell
(a book that made you laugh)
I had a really fun time reading Is Everyone Hanging Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling. Mindy's just such a relatable and likeable person - not to mention, completely hilarious.

offensive spell that violently wounds the target
(a book that may have scarred you for life)
Thanks to The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey, I will never be able to get out the image of someone licking a knife covered in blood. Ick.

makes you dance uncontrollably
(a series finale that made you feel giddy)
I'm going to have to go with Jasmine on this one: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling. Talk about epic! And that epilogue? Everything I could ever want.

Bombarda Maxima
causes an explosion that breaks through obstacles
(a book that made you explode with feels)
The last book I read that made me want to curl up into a ball from all the FEELS was Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. I still get feels whenever that book is brought up. LOLA AND CRICKET. AHHH.

Finite Incantatem
nullifies other spells
(a book you thought you'd dislike, but ended up loving)
I ended up loving Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey. I was so opposed to reading this book but when I finished, I was like 'why didn't I read this book earlier?' because I really liked it!

Now it's your turn! Are you a Potterhead? Have you done this survey? And is there any spell you would cast on a book? Any spell that's been cast on you?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Seven Deadlies: A Cautionary Tale by Gigi Levangie Grazer

Published October 17, 2013 by Blue Rider Press
Hardcover, 256 pages
Received from publisher through NetGalley -- thanks!

Perry Gonzalez is an aspiring writer and her sights have been set on Bennington. Even though she's only fourteen, Perry's already starting to think about her application to Bennington, like tutoring the snotty rich kids in her neighbourhood to earn the money to get there. From her experiences, Perry weaves together her Bennington application with seven short stories of seven children she's tutored, each representing one of the seven deadly sins.

My first impression of this book was that it was really weird. And I wasn't sure if I liked that at first but as the book progressed, I think I did come to enjoy it. 

Firstly, Seven Deadlies has a very original idea. Sometimes, I'll be reading a book and it'd just occur to me how pure genius the author is for coming up with such a great idea. And the genius of Gigi Levangie Grazer definitely clocked me over the head while I was reading. I've always been really interested in the seven deadly sins and for someone to go ahead and write morality stories about them, so to speak, in a fun away is so smart! 

However, I felt this book was, at times, a bit too juvenile for me. I don't think I would really classify it as Young Adult. It feels very Middle Grade to me at times. There were definitely some moments while reading this book when I just felt I was too old for this, for reading about the 'Judas Brothers'. 

As the book progressed though, I managed to get over that initial hiccup and really appreciate and enjoy the wackiness of the stories. Seven Deadlies is very much a book you should not take too seriously. If you're the type of reader who doesn't like unrealistic storylines or humor, then this probably isn't the book for you. But if you are the type of reader who likes that, I think you'd have a fun time with this book! When I learned to stop being so uptight about everything, I had a blast reading this book and letting out my inner child. 

To be honest, there's not much else to say about this book! It wasn't amazing but I definitely don't regret my decision to read this book either. It was a light, fun read and if you're looking for something to help break up all the serious books you've been reading, I'd reccommend this one! Each story was unique and hilarious and provided a very clear representation of each sin. The ending threw me in a bit of a loop and I'm still a bit confused why it was necessary but other than that, this book was pretty good!

children 9 and over who enjoy bizarre stories and who might need a lesson in behaviour. If you're a fan of short stories and don't mind the ridiculousness of some of these stories, this is a good pick for you too!