Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. A new topic is posted each week, and bloggers post their top ten in the category. I love lists, especially about books, so when I found out about Top Ten Tuesday, I just had to participate.

Top Ten Favorite Kick-Ass Heroines

I was so excited for this topic. I love strong, decisive female characters who know what they want and aren't afraid to kick a little butt to get there. They're so much fun to read about, and this list was just as fun to create. In fact, it was really hard to narrow this topic down, and once I got to eleven, I just couldn't bear to cut any more, so you get a bonus on the list this week. 

10. Rowan "Red" Fox
13 Secrets
By Michelle Harrison

There's no denying that Rowan is tough. She doesn't wallow in her misery after her brother is switched for a changeling - she gets up and does something about it. Of course, she still has a sensitive side, revealed in later books, and this combination makes her a really compelling character. One I wouldn't want to mess with.

9. Kate "Puck" Connelly
The Scorpio Races
By Maggie Stiefvater

Okay, so I know I find a new way to gush about The Scorpio Races every week, but Puck Connelly is pretty awesome. She does what she needs to in order to help her family, even if that means riding in the Scorpio Races. Puck doesn't care that the races are dangerous, that she's the first girl to ever ride in them, or that no one thinks she can succeed. She's so determined. It's awesome. 

8. Sadie Kane
The Kane Chronicles
By Rick Riordan

I absolutely loved Sadie. She was intelligent, witty, powerful, and always seemed to be in control of the situation. Even when she was confused, she didn't let it overwhelm her. She was decisive and found her way out of nearly impossible situations, accepting other's help while knowing it wasn't always going to be there.

7. Wisteria Allgood
Witch and Wizard
By James Patterson

Wisteria's a lot like Sadie, only more kick-ass, if that's possible. A troublemaker from way back, no one - not even The One Who Is The One - is going to stand between her and what she's trying to accomplish or believes is right. Plus, she can make things spontaneously combust. You do not want to mess with this chick.

6. Perenelle Flamel
The Sorceress
By Michael Scott

Okay, I know. Perenelle isn't exactly the heroine of The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series, but she easily climbs to main-character status during The Sorceress. Where she kicked some major butt. Escape prison? Check. Defeat an evil sphinx? Check. Take over an island filled with monsters with help from a ghost and a giant spider? Check and check. Yeah, there are a lot of other characters in the series, some who are more central to the plot, but Perry is by far the most powerful. 

5. Eona
Eon and Eona
By Alison Goodman

I loved all the characters in these books, and for once, the main character was no exception. The way she handled everything that was thrown at her and her relationships with everyone around her - Eona is strong and complex, and I loved every minute of reading about her. 

4. Alanna of Trebond
Song of the Lioness
By Tamora Pierce

I love this story of a woman trying to make her way in a man's world. Alanna knows that she's going to have to work twice as hard to keep up with the boys and prevent her secret from being discovered, and to prove herself once people find out she's really a girl, and she accepts this challenge readily. Noble, valiant, and could kill you about seven ways with just her right hand, Alanna is eventually able to become on of the king's most valued soldiers. So take that, everyone who said she wouldn't make it. 

3. Katniss Everdeen
The Hunger Games
By Suzanne Collins

Who else could take care of her family after her father's death, provide food for most of District Twelve, survive The Hunger Games - twice - and then become the Mockingjay, a symbol of revolution? None but Katniss Everdeen, The Girl on Fire. She's amazing - and the reason millions of people were so captivated by The Hunger Games trilogy. 

2. Katarina Bishop
Heist Society
By Ally Carter

Katarina was born into a life of crime - she steals artifacts and valuables, cons her way into elite prep schools, and tangles with nefarious gangsters on a daily basis, and she's only fifteen. I can't wait to read more about her escapades in the other Heist Society books.

1. Kiki Strike
Kiki Strike
By Kirsten Miller

Kiki Strike was the only real option for number one on this list. The back of the first book in the series, Inside the Shadow City, describes her as a "black-clad, Vespa-riding, cafe-au-lait-drinking girl who seems to appear and vanish like magic." Kiki is smart, she's fearless, and she's intimidating for all her four-feet-ten-inches. You don't want to mess with her and you especially don't want to mess with the people she cares about. More than all of this, though, Kiki Strike is dangerous.

As a side note, I'd like to point out that Kiki's full name is also Katarina - Princess Katarina of Pokrovia, that is. Hmm. Perhaps there's something about the name "Katarina" that exudes a certain kick-ass quality? The FMC of my NaNoWriMo 2010 novel was also named Katarina, and I think she would have fit in very well with Katarina Bishop and Katarina/Kiki Strike.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. A new topic is posted each week, and bloggers post their top ten in the category. I love lists, especially about books, so when I heard about Top Ten Tuesday, I just had to participate in it.

Top Ten Books to Get You Into The Halloween Spirit

10. Pay The Piper
By Jane Yolen

Because this book is geared towards slightly younger readers, there's not a lot that's too creepy about it, but the climax of the book is set on Halloween night, and it does get you into the spirit of Halloween without scaring you too terribly. 

9. Classic Ghost Stories
Various Authors

Nothing says Happy Halloween like a good ghost story, and this book is full of them, all fantastic.

8. 13 Curses
By Michelle Harrison

I love, love, love this series. Not only was the second book set around Halloween, it was also the darkest of the trilogy, with the most danger and sinister villains. Thinking of the woman who captured Rowan and the Unseelie Court still makes me shiver a little. 

7. The Raven Boys
By Maggie Stiefvater

This book was just so delightfully supernatural. There were ghosts, ley lines, long-dead kings, mysteries, and murder; there were fortune-tellers and birds and places that could have been real or imagined. I know I gush about Maggie Stiefvater a lot on this blog, but trust me, even if I wasn't obsessed with all of her books, I would still recommend this as a great Halloween read.

6. The Crowfield Curse
By Pat Walsh

Ah - a mysterious curse hanging over a secluded Abbey, strange visitors, a dead angel, a mysterious fey - definitely a book that would be enhanced by reading it around Halloween. It's full of places where the devil lurks and evil creatures hide, and - it was a pretty haunting tale when I first read it, and I imagine it would be even more so if it was read in October.

5. The Hound of the Baskervilles
By Arthur Conan Doyle

Check out my review for more about how perfect that atmosphere of this book was. It was just so spooky! And really, what's more Halloween - ish than Sherlock Holmes and a giant demonic hound?

4. The Crowfield Demon
By Pat Walsh

Possibly more terrifying than The Crowfield Curse. The demon that wreaks havoc on Crowfield Abbey in this book is absolutely, 100 percent, the stuff that comes out of nightmares and the most drastic of halloween decorations and costumes. I ended up reading far more chapters than I intended to every time I picked it up, because I had to know what happened and who made it out alive. 

3. Posessed
By Kate Cann

I'll just say this: While I loved this book, reading it after dark was the biggest mistake of my life. Dark, creepy, disturbing, startling - it was all of these things in abundance, without being too gory to handle. Definitely one to read in the middle of the day with all the lights on and a lot of other people in the house. 

2. Ballad
By Maggie Stiefvater

The king, the gathering of dangerous faeries, Nuala, everything James experiences in this book - it perfectly captures the mythical and magical side of Halloween. And, yes, it's Maggie Stiefvater, but that's not why it's on the list, I promise! It's because it's good. Which is because it's Maggie Stiefvater. Oh, never mind. Just go read it on Halloween night and prepare to be blown away. 

1. Consumed
By Kate Cann

The perfect Halloween story. The mythic and supernatural elements, the creepiness, the mysterious happenings, things that go bump in the night...actually, I think reading this on Halloween might just be too awesome for anyone to handle.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. A new topic is posted each week, and bloggers post their top ten in the category. I love lists, especially about books, so I just had to participate in Top Ten Tuesday.

This week's topic was Top Ten Authors in [X] Genre, and while it might seem a little predictable, there really wasn't much of a choice for me except fantasy. There are so many amazing fantasy authors I've been able to read, and after all, fantasy is what I know best. So, without further ado...

Top Ten Fantasy Authors

10. Rick Riordan

Okay, so the Heroes of Olympus series was kind of a flop, but Rick Riordan has still written some really amazing books. Percy Jackson and the Olympians was my childhood, pretty much. And I loved The Kane Chronicles. I still love his writing style and his books, and really hope he explores more mythologies and writes more books. 

9. Michael Scott

I was a little hesitant to put him on here, because I've only read his series Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. But, wow, was that series fantastic. I mean - beyond words. And what finally solidified my decision to include him on this list was the question, "If this author wrote a book that came out today, would I rush out to buy it?" And the answer is a thousand times yes. 

8. Tamora Pierce

So there are books of hers that I love more than others, but there aren't any that I really dislike. The first book of hers I read was The Immortals quartet, which I loved and followed up with Song of the Lioness and First Test, the first book in the Protector of the Small series. Then I realized she also wrote The Circle of Magic, which my best friend had been recommending to me for months. Once I read those, I was in love with her books and willing to read pretty much anything she wrote - and I haven't been disappointed yet.

7. Cornelia Funke

Okay, I lied. Percy Jackson and the Olympians wasn't all of my childhood. Although it was pretty prominent from age 11/12 onward, the years up until 5th grade were dominated by Dragon Rider, The Thief Lord, and the Inkheart trilogy. Cornelia Funke's books were some of the first fantasy novels I fell in love with, and they're still among my favorites. I really want her to write more, now. Don't underestimate the lengths I'll go to in order to find out when we're finally getting a sequel to Reckless.

6. Cassandra Clare

The characters and the plot and the setting and Clockwork Prince was too amazing for words and all the original concepts and the Shadowhunters and Magnus and they're making a movie and I need to read everything she's ever written now - well, yeah. You get the idea. 

5. Kristin Cashore

I love her. Just, 100% affection and admiration. Every book she writes continues to top those before it - Bitterblue was even more impressive than Fire, which somehow managed to outshine Graceling. Not sure how that happens, but I love it. If you want to here me gush more about her, check out my review of Bitterblue here. 

4. Jeffrey Ford

This man's short stories blow my mind. My cousin sent me The Empire of Ice Cream for a birthday present, and I loved every single short story - some more than others, but they were all fantastic. I've read more of his short stories in other anthologies, and I just can't get enough. Reading anything by him transports me to a strange and beautiful wonderland, full of unexpected beauty and danger. And isn't that really what fantasy is all about?

3. Cinda Williams Chima

I've repeatedly said that The Demon King is one of the best fantasy books I've ever read, and as the author of it, Cinda Williams Chima is automatically incredible. I also read and loved The Warrior Heir, and can't wait to read more in both of these incredible series.

2. J.R.R. Tolkien

There are very few places I would rather spend my time than immersed in a Tolkien novel, exploring Middle Earth. I've read and reread The Hobbit more than most other novels, and my copy of The Lord of the Rings is falling apart because I literally took it everywhere with me when I was reading it. The world in J.R.R. Tolkien's novels is home for me, and it always will be.

1. Maggie Stiefvater

There are a lot of things I could say in praise of Maggie Stiefvater, and there are a lot of things I've already said, but really, the only thing I think I need to mention is this: she beat J.R.R. Tolkien for spot number one on my list. That itself shows how amazing her fantasy novels are. I'm still waiting on a fantasy author that can top her.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Just a bit of poetry :)

Poetry is how I deal with life. Happy? Write a poem. Sad? Write a poem. Angry with someone? Falling for someone? Write a poem about them. (And swear that they must never, ever see it.) I have a folder full of poems that's falling apart. And I've written poems about that, too.

So it's really surprising that none of them have ended up on my blog. I mentioned once or twice that I might post some of my writing here, and I don't know that I've ever actually done that. So, after some coaxing from one of my friends, I finally decided to post some. I'm pretty sure the internet would commit suicide if I tried to post all of the poems I've written, or even just the ones I've written recently, so here's a smallish selection of them. Any criticism is more than welcome.

Autumn Girl
Autumn girl, autumn girl
A thousand shades of oak and maroon
I am buried in your warm sweaters
And drunk on your burgundy hues.

Trolls and Devils
Monsters and ghosts
Take on familiar shapes and faces
They scare us more
If they look human.

Words still spilling from my head
And I am desperate for sleep
In fevered delirium I breathe
The findings of my soul onto paper
Desperate for escape
Not to inhabit this body of mine
Tangled tendrils of leaves and vines
That just keep going on growing
When I am desperate for sleep.

Hod My Heart
It shocks me
And amazes me
How much it terrifies me
To be holding my little fragile heart
In my own hands once more.
It's world weary
And cracked
Hanging by a silver thread -
A small treasure in my palm.

And because it's a little long to post here, here's a link to my poem I Guess, which was inspired by Tired by e.e. cummings.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. A new topic is posted each week, and bloggers share their top ten in the category. I love making lists, especially about books, so when I found out about Top Ten Tuesday, I had to participate.

Top Ten Tuesday Rewind
Top Ten Characters That Remind You of Yourself or Someone You Know

10. Elsie
Notes from an Accidental Band Geek
By Erin Dionne

Elsie reminds me so much of one of my best friends, it's almost scary. When I first picked up this book from the library, I mentioned it to her casually - sort of a, "Hey, this book is about a girl who plays the French horn, like you." Then I started reading. And not only was Elsie's personality kind of similar, but the physical description - "Short for her age, with blond hair and brown eyes," - was an exact description of my friend. I've told her she has to read this book, because it's basically about her. 

9. Callie
Pay The Piper
By Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple

From here on out, the characters are all ones who remind me of myself, and even though there aren't a whole lot of similarities, I could easily relate to Callie because of one thing: her taste in music. It includes rock and alternative/folk-style music, which I absolutely love. A person's taste in music can say a lot about them, so the fact that Callie's preferences were so similar to mine means we're probably at least somewhat alike. 

8. Helmholtz
Brave New World
by Aldous Huxley

I wrote my final paper for English class last year on Helmholtz, and it came back with relatively few comments from my teacher except, "I'm not surprised you were able to identify with him." Helmholtz is a writer, a creative person who doesn't just want to write about the same things over and over. He wants his words to have meaning, and believes that miserable conditions can lead to inspiration. Basically what goes through my head on an almost daily basis. 

7. Tessa Gray
The Infernal Devices
By Cassandra Clare

Maybe it's the fact that she reads so much and goes through life referencing her favorite classic novels. Maybe it's something else. All I know is that I've always found Tessa very similar to myself, which is probably one of the reasons I loved her character - and these books - so much. 

6. Jane Penderwick
The Penderwicks series
By Jeanne Birdsall

Jane reminds me so much of myself when I was younger. She wants to be a writer, has notebooks full of stories that she's constantly adding to, sees everything in life as inspiration, and spends more time daydreaming than she probably should. Reading about Jane Penderwick is like reading about myself a few years in the past. 

5. Rose Anna
Write Naked
By Peter Gould

Mention that Rose Anna is "A homeschooled free spirit with a vintage fountain pen," and most people who know me would probably make the connection. Although Rose Anna is different from me in several aspects, a list of our similarities would be much longer: I was homeschooled up until high school, write stories all the time, and still do a lot of writing by hand.

4. Meggie Folchart
By Cornelia Funke

"Stacks of books were piled high all over the house - not just arranged in neat rows on bookshelves, the way other people kept them, oh no! The books in Mo and Meggie's house were stacked under tables, on chairs, in the corners of the rooms." 

This is almost all I really need to say about my similarity to Meggie Folchart. For the sake of being thorough, I'll mention the fact that I, too, stay up far too late reading, sometimes by candlelight, believe books can have personalities, treat them like old friends, and have been known to fall asleep with a book under my pillow. Despite any flaws in her character in the later books, I will always love Meggie because the two of us are so alike.

3. Sara Crewe
A Little Princess
By Frances Burnett

I loved this book so much, and I used to pretend I was Sara Crewe quite frequently. It was never that much of a stretch. Like Sara, I love books and learning. But the most prominent similarity is imagination; pretending and making up stories is a huge part of Sara's life and how she gets through difficult situations, and the same is definitely true of me. 

2. Ananka Fishbein
Kiki Strike
By Kirsten Miller

I'm not afraid to admit it: Ananka and I are a lot alike. Yes, I do read everything I can get my hands on and therefore know things about the most obscure topics. (Antibiotic resistance in bacteria or coat-color genetics in cats? Ask me and give my useless knowledge a purpose.) I'm up for adventure just slightly less than Ananka is - I'm just careful enough to keep me out of trouble (mostly.) And while I have no plans to become a Marine biologist, I do find giant squid really interesting. 

1. Joan/Newt
The Wild Girls
by Pat Murphy

Joan = Me. Joan's life = My life. Even her writing style, based on excerpts of her stories that were in the book, is a little like mine. This was the only option for number one. Joan is my book-character-alter-ego, pretty much, and the relatable characters are a big part of what made this book one of my favorites of all time. 


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The New NaNoWriMo Site!

Yes, that's right, the highlight of every October is here: the NaNoWriMo website has been relaunched! If you've never heard of NaNoWriMo (which stands for National Novel Writing Month) or even if you have, make sure to go check out the awesome new site. Here's just a few of the awesome things it has to offer this year:

1. A pretty new color scheme.
2. Forums with lots of new topics and categories.
3. This year's pep talks from some awesome authors.
4. Really awesome web badges.
5. Squeal-worthy new merchandise.

And much, much more. So what are you waiting for? Go check it out!


The Reading Room (29)

The Reading Room is a weekly update on books I'm reading and planning to read, posted on Tuesdays, and was inspired by the feature On Myshelf at the blog All By Myshelf.

Despite all the business of this weekend, I managed to read over 2/3 of The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater on Sunday, and finished it Monday night after reading it any chance I had at school. It was fantastic. There will definitely be a review coming soon.

So, since I'd finished Forever and The Raven Boys, a trip to the library for more reading material was clearly in order. I browsed around for awhile, but the first book that really caught my eye was The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, by Jacqueline Kelly - probably because of the lovely yellow cover and the fact that the name Calpurnia brings up fond memories of To Kill A Mockingbird. Either way, I was interested, so after a brief glance at the inside jacket flap, I got it.

The second book was Coyote Road, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. I've been wanting to read it since last year, and when I went to the library today, I was in the mood for some fantasy and some short stories, so I finally got it. I can't wait to start reading it - it looks great, and is another book to add to my Short Stories Challenge reading list.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Recommend A... (1)

Recommend A... is a weekly feature hosted by Chick Loves Lit, where bloggers recommend a book based on the prompt each week.

This Week: Recommend A Book With an Animal on the Cover

The Tiger's Wife
By Tea Obreht

loved this book. There was so much mythology and folklore, and I loved how the different stories were connected. The descriptions were beautiful, and I loved the characters. Overall, it was just a great story.