Friday, March 21, 2014

Geek Chic This Week - March 22, 2014

Hello everyone, and welcome to a wonderful edition of Geek Chic This Week, the part of the show where I come out and talk about all the lovely bookish things I've been up to in the past week, from my book haul to what I actually read to reviews written and posts posted. 

Basically I just blather on for a while and you all pretend to listen.

Obviously I haven't been around much lately, and I won't go into a big long insistence that, don't worry, I'm coming back. I'm just going to do it this time, without the monologue. It'll save us all time. Suffice it to say I'm happy to be back, if a bit disconcerted at the attempt to get back in the swing of things, like forcing oneself into conversations on Twitter and getting people to, ya know, acknowledge my existence in general.

I sure hope you guys haven't forgotten about me (and Tor) in my absence!

The big new thing I'm trying out at this point is...drumroll...a video Geek Chic This Week. I know a lot of bloggers do video book hauls, and I thought it might be fun to give it a go! For me, at least, the result was positive. I had an absolute blast both filming and editing the video, so I hope you like watching it, as well.

Also, I know that some people like reading a lot of book haul posts and don't like bogging down their time with video versions, so I'll also list and link with pictures below!

Without further ado...

Things discussed in the video:

My Book Haul This Week For Approximately the Last Million Years

Christmas Books I Still Haven't Read:

-Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

My siblings got me this for Christmas! I love the movie and I've been dying to read the book.

-Doctor Who and Philosophy

I love Doctor Who. I love philosophy. 'Nuff said.

Loans From Friends:

-The Bloody Jack series by L.A. Meyer (shown: In the Belly of the Bloodhound)

Thanks Pauli!

-The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

Thanks Colleen!

-The Royal Ranger by John Flanagan

Thanks Scott!

From the Library:

-Such Wicked Intent by Kenneth Oppel

Also mentioned:

-The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
-The Dream Thieves by Maggie Steifvater
-Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
-Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Reviews and Posts This Week

-REVIEW: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
-Teaser Tuesday: The Royal Ranger by John Flanagan
-Waiting on Wednesday: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: 3/19/14

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted over at Breaking the Spine, spotlighting books that have not yet been released but are being greatly anticipated! What are we waiting on this week? Let's find out!!

Mag is waiting on...

releasing AUGUST 14th, 2014

From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever. 
Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and √Čtienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.
I'm so excited to find out what happens to dear sweet Isla and Josh, not to mention Anna, Etienne, Lola, and Cricket! Though at the same time I'm very sad for this to be the end of our part in their stories. Hopefully the happily-ever-after comes through!

What are you waiting on this week? Leave us your WoW links!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: 3/18/14

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at Should Be Reading. Anyone can play, and the rules are simple:
• Grab your current read 
• Open to a random page 
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page 
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) 
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Mag's Teasers:

My teasers this week are from the Royal Ranger, the twelfth book in John Flanagan's Ranger's Apprentice series. It claims to be the last, which  makes me sad, but then again, the last two books in the series said the same, so we'll see what actually happens!

     "What does she do in the forest?" Halt asked her.
     "She tracks animals. And she hunts."
     "Is she any good?"
     Cassandra shrugged uncertainly. Horace answered before he could stop to think.
     "Apparently yes. She never comes back empty-handed. But she gives the game to the castle guards."
             -pg 39

     "He fell on his knife. He's dead." the steward said. He looked up at the Ranger, but saw neither guilt nor regret in his dark eyes.
     "What a shame," said Will Treaty. Then, gathering his cloak around him, he turned and strode from the tent.
             -pg 9

I'm really liking this book so far, despite not being too far in and it being a while since I read the old ones! Also, knowing what I know about the premise of the book, I know it's going to be heartbreaking. Still, I must press on, because I need more of Will's story.

What are you reading this week? Leave us your TT links, or just some quotes!


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Okay, may I start by saying: this book. This BOOK, man. I’m not quite sure what else I can say.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Released September 10th, 2013
Source of my copy: Gift
From the author of the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park.
A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan. 
Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . . 
But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. 
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere. 
Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to. 
Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.
For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? 
Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? 
Writing her own stories? 
And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?
I loved this book. I loved the concept. I loved the touch of college life (That’s next year for me. Who’s scared? Ha. Ha.), the pieces of Simon Snow, the world of fanfiction. Having delved a bit into fic myself, it was really fun to see it brought out in a novel—akin to Jennifer L Armentrout’s book-blogging MC Katy in the Lux series.

Moving beyond that, I absolutely loved the characters. They were lovely, and yet they were flawed. Extremely so. Cath is smart and loyal and supportive, but she can also be cowardly and a bit selfish. Wren, at first glance, seems reckless and hurtful and self-centered—and she is, but she also cares about her sister a lot and is just looking for her own identity, if in the wrong places. You have Reagan, standoffish but always there to lend a helping hand to a struggling freshman or friend; Nick, who’s sweet and fun but focused on his own needs; and Levi, who is kind and friendly, but who isn’t perfect and certainly isn’t above making mistakes. That’s without even getting into the cans of worms that are Cather and Wren’s parents. (I will say, however, that I approve of their choices in twin names.)

As mentioned above, one of the most interesting parts of this book was the Simon Snow snippets and fanfiction. Before I read Fangirl, I saw a lot of people complaining about these drifts from the main story, and many reviewers admitting they skimmed or even skipped these. Though they could be a bit annoying or confusing at times, however, they ended up being one of my favorite parts. I found myself irritated when a Simon Snow chapter or a Carry On, Simon update interrupted Cath’s story, but as soon as she tried to reclaim my attention I was dying to know what happened to Simon and Baz. The way Simon Snow’s world (both canon and fanon) intertwined with and complemented Cather’s story added a new layer to the story that I absolutely adored.

Overall, I just found the story gorgeous. Rainbow Rowell’s writing is interesting and lovely, the story was fresh and interesting, the characters were relatable and real, and the book was, in my eyes, quite near perfection. Since finishing Fangirl I read Rowell’s novel Attachments and loved it as well, so I can’t wait to check out more from her!

Altogether, Fangirl absolutely gets <*><*><*><*><*>


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Review: Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

Well, I’ve finally entered my Austen phase (maybe 5 or 6 years late) thanks in no small part to the delightful Pride and Prejudice modernization webseries—the Lizzie Bennet Diaries. (Really, if you haven’t, you should check it out. It’s amazing.) My love for LBD inspired me to pick back up P&P, which I had previously tried and failed to get into. This time, though, I did. Soon after, craving more of Lizzy and Darcy and the hate-you-love-you trope they do so well, I turned to book modernizations.
Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg
Released January 4, 2011
Source of my copy: Library
From the much-buzzed-about author of THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB (already blurbed by Stephenie Meyer, Lauren Myracle, and Jen Calonita), a prom-season delight of Jane Austen proportions. 
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single girl of high standing at Longbourn Academy must be in want of a prom date. 
After winter break, the girls at the very prestigious Longbourn Academy become obsessed with the prom. Lizzie Bennet, who attends Longbourn on a scholarship, isn't interested in designer dresses and expensive shoes, but her best friend, Jane, might be - especially now that Charles Bingley is back from a semester in London. 
Lizzie is happy about her friend's burgeoning romance but less than impressed by Charles's friend, Will Darcy, who's snobby and pretentious. Darcy doesn't seem to like Lizzie either, but she assumes it's because her family doesn't have money. Clearly, Will Darcy is a pompous jerk - so why does Lizzie find herself drawn to him anyway?
The P&P retellings I read first were nice, but I haven’t  found one I like so much as Prom and Prejudice. It’s a cute, class story that captured the original characters and plot nicely while still keeping them fresh, and keeping me up way too late reading.

A big problem I’ve found with P&P modern adaptions (print and otherwise) is flopped attempt at Pride and Prejudice style speech and/or direct quotes coming out stilted or out of character for modern teens. Elizabeth Eulberg nearly fell into this a few times, but overall I didn’t find the dialogue especially cringe-worthy, even when it directly reflected the original text.

But on to the most important part: the characters. In a modernization of a classic novel, the characters are vital. We need to be able to see the characters we know and already love shine through in a new environment, yet they need to stand on their own. Eulberg captured a nice balance. The same goes for the plot, which needed to and did reflect Pride and Prejudice while making sense within a modern context. I loved guessing and seeing how each character and plot point would come through.

To finish, Darcy and Lizzie. Obviously, they ought to be perhaps the most wonderful part of the story, and I think they were. Sometimes I could be, as I always am, a bit frustrated by the stubborn and blind dislike between them (or maybe just on Lizzie’s side)—but hey, no one ever claimed they were perfect. Either way, I could understand where they were coming from; Lizzie had been required to get by without much extra cash, not to mention was tormented by the “upper class” and was reasonably mistrustful of money as a fix-it-all solution or as a no-strings-attached gift. On the other hand, Darcy had been taken advantage of and burned for his trust and helpfulness to those who had less than him, and reacted accordingly.

In the end, though, it’ll work out…won’t it?

Overall, Prom and Prejudice was a lovely story that’s great if you’re looking for a light, mostly happy read that will keep you reading and caring, whether you’re a P&P fan or not.



Thursday, August 1, 2013

Review: School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins

If you're a fan of Rachel Hawkins's Hex Hall series no doubt you, like me, waited with bated breath for the release of its sure-to-be-superfantasticllyawesome spinoff, School Spirits! And if you haven't been able to read it yet, trust me, you MUST get your hands on this book. It's every bit as full of action, laughs, and both lovable and infuriating boys as its predecessor (which, if you haven't read, you definitely ought to). 

School Spirits by Rachel Hawkins
Released May 14, 2013
Source of my copy: Gift
Fifteen-year-old Izzy Brannick was trained to fight monsters. For centuries, her family has hunted magical creatures. But when Izzy’s older sister vanishes without a trace while on a job, Izzy's mom decides they need to take a break. 
Izzy and her mom move to a new town, but they soon discover it’s not as normal as it appears. A series of hauntings has been plaguing the local high school, and Izzy is determined to prove her worth and investigate. But assuming the guise of an average teenager is easier said than done. For a tough girl who's always been on her own, it’s strange to suddenly make friends and maybe even have a crush. 
Can Izzy trust her new friends to help find the secret behind the hauntings before more people get hurt?  
Rachel Hawkins' delightful spin-off brings the same wit and charm as the New York Times best-selling Hex Hall series. Get ready for more magic, mystery and romance!
Okay, so, as a huge, huge fan of the Hex Hall books, I had high expectations for School Spirits. And guess what? They were totally met. I loved Izzy when she was introduced previously, and I love her even more after reading her story. You think Sophie is sarcastic and kick-butt? Clearly it runs in the family.

Izzy Brannick has never had a normal life. She's never been to public school, or, well, had friends. She's spent all her time monster-hunting with her two best friends--her mom, and her sister, Finley. But suddenly, between the blink of an eye and the turn of a page, Finley's gone and Izzy's registered at Mary Evans High, in search of a semblance of normality and a mysterious ghost--all while making sure the school's unfortunately named ghost-hunting club (PMS-- the Paranormal Management Society) doesn't get in over their heads.

Infiltrating PMS turns out to be a lot easier than Izzy expected. Befriended by founding (and only) members Dex, Romy, and Anderson, Izzy's quickly on the fast track not only to info on the ghost, but--could it be?--friendship. If ever there was a book with characters to adore, this is the one. Every single one of them came to life and made me desperately want to be friends with them--or, in some cases, punch them out. If I were to put emphasis on any one character (besides Izzy) it would be Dex.

Oh, Dex! Dex, of the old-fashioned talk and asthma; Dex of the peacoat and complete and utter adorableness. I love you so. Dex is very, very different from Archer, but absolutely fantastic just the same! Where Archer is all snark and shielded emotions, Dex is sweet and genuine. But both, of course, are incredibly good looking ;) *Cough* Ummm, anyway, back to the book.

Izzy's caught up in a lot of drama in School Spirits.  Not only does she have a ghost to deal with--which is becoming much trickier than a silly little haunting problem ought to be--she's also struggling to prove to her mother that she is good at being a Brannick, cope with Finley's absence, and have social life--while remembering that said social life is fleeting and her friends will inevitably be left behind. If that isn't complicated enough, toss in a maybe-crush on a maybe-normal boy, and increasingly odd interactions with Torin, the ever-infuriating but sort of charming warlock trapped in the family mirror. Oh yes, Torin's back and better more confusing than ever, with more allusions to secrets about Izzy...and maybe something more.

Honestly, poor Izzy's life is almost as dramatic as her new favorite TV show, high school drama Ivy Springs.

While the book is packed full of adventure and mystery, the ending has just enough closure to satisfy but leave the door wide open for another book in the series. Unfortunately, that's not happening at the moment. But hey, never say never! And in this case I definitely won't--I need more of Izzy, Dex, and everyone else!

School Spirits undeniably earned itself <*><*><*><*><*>


Monday, July 29, 2013

Review: Auracle by Gina Rosati

I was scouring my local Library’s bookshelves, looking for something to read. It’s been awhile since I really search the Library. It’s amazing what little gems you can find, gems that go unnoticed. A gem such as Auracle…
Auracle by Gina Rosati
Released August 7, 2012
Source of my copy: Library 
16 year old Anna Rogan has a secret she's only shared with her best friend, Rei; she can astrally project out of her body, allowing her spirit to explore the world and the far reaches of the universe.
When there's a fatal accident and her classmate Taylor takes over Anna's body, what was an exhilarating distraction from her repressive home life threatens to become a permanent state. Faced with a future trapped in another dimension, Anna turns to Rei for help. Now the two of them must find a way to get Anna back into her body and stop Taylor from accusing an innocent friend of murder. Together Anna and Rei form a plan but it doesn't take into account the deeper feelings that are beginning to grow between them.
 Can we just talk about the cover for a bit? Oh my gosh, it’s so ethereal, mysterious, and absolutely gorgeous. It’s stunning. I’m sad to say it was what originally drew me to Auracle. I am afraid to admit that I am a sucker for pretty book covers!

Auracle is so unique, from its title to its cover to its story. The story and the characters held me captive from the beginning to the end. It’s been awhile since a book has truly done that for me.

Anna, our protagonist, is a 16 year old girl. She can astrally project out of her body, allowing her spirit to go anywhere in the universe. Sounds cool, right? For abilities, I say it’s pretty awesome one. Until one of her classmates, after a terrible incident, hijacks Anna’s body. Nobody knows how to get her out, not Anna, Taylor (the hijacker), or Anna’s best friend, Rei.

Anna is adorable. I love her. She is funny and down to earth. She always thinks about other first. She struggles with her home life yet still comes out shinning? Anna is some everyone can relate to and admire. Anna would be someone I would hopefully be friends with. 

Rei…  Where do I start? Rei is smart, loyal, extremely protective of Anna, strong, and hot! But he is also down to earth like Anna. If you remember from my Teaser Tuesday, he's funny too! He truly is a swoon worthy guy! I kind of hate Gina Rosati for creating him and making my already high expectation of the male species even higher.

While I was sad to see Auracle end, I was happy the way it ended. It wraps it up nice and neat, no loose ends. Auracle is one of the books where you want a sequel to see more of the characters not because the actually storyline needs it. In fact, I wouldn’t want a sequel because Auracle is so wonderful on its own.

Auracle was an awesome find! I could not put it down! Gina Rosati did an excellent job, especially considering this was her debut novel.

Auracle most certiantly gets