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Book Review| Uprooted by Naomi Novi

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Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

I received this book from my OTSP Secret Sister, though I’ve been meaning to read it for a while now. It’s always caught my eye when I walked into a bookstore, but I can be choosy when it comes to my fantasy books. I always heard great things about it, though, and now I know why. It took me a few days to really get into, but once school ended, I was really able to give myself to the book completely.


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The Woods: Novik uses The Woods in the common archetypal way: they’re the source of evil, a place where people go in but don’t come back out. Within literature, forests are places of the unknown. Nobody knows the origins of Novik’s Woods, or why the woods are magical. Woods are usually a place of transformation, which is a recurring theme between many different characters.
The “unknown” part of this can also be attributed to The Dragon, since the townsfolk know little to nothing about it.

Agnieszka: Taken by The Dragon, we soon find out she’s actually a witch, but she finds the spells The Dragon tries to teach her just don’t fit well with her. She’s your typical “main character” of our time; she isn’t beautiful or pretty, she’s constantly dirty; she doesn’t find herself “special”; she defies The Dragon often and can be pretty temperamental. However, being our main character, she easily fits into The Hero archetype, specifically that of The Initiate.

The Dragon: A powerful magician whose job is to protect many towns and provinces, his dislike for Agnieszka is immediate. He is constantly demeaning her; he scowls at her dirty clothes, yells at her when she can’t figure out a spell (and yells when she does), and he finds comfort in the orderly way magic is – until Agnieszka shows him otherwise. The best archetype I could find for him was the Evil Figure with the Ultimately Good Heart. We are introduced to The Dragon as a thief of young women, but the more we read, the more we learn about him.

Kasia: The ignored “chosen” girl, Kasia is constantly spoken about in high regards. Agnieszka finds her to be almost perfect; Kasia is braver, prettier, more talented, smarter – the list goes on. SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER However, she’s captured by The Wood and is possessed by the evil within it. Before being taken by The Wood, she would fit more into the Platonic Ideal archetype. In fact, for most of the story she would. The only time she would fit into another archetype, The Creature of Nightmare, is when she’s possessed. The character who embodies the Creature of Nightmare throughout the book would be Queen Hannah/ The Wood-Queen.


final-thoughts

Uprooted was an enchanting novel filled with fascinating, complex characters, each one completely different from the next. The writing alone was spellbinding; each sentence pulled me deeper and deeper into the world Novik created. While there were a few city names I found difficult to pronounce, Novik kept the general world knowledge as a need-to-know basis. No map was needed, nor was a glossary. I did end up reading over the words used for spells rather than trying to sound them out; I know I would just butcher them, so I didn’t even bother.

If you’re a fan of fantasy, books that aren’t parts of trilogies, books with a hint of romance, complex characters and storylines that keep you questioning until the very end, I would highly recommend Uprooted.

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Book Review| Me Before You – JoJo Moyes


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Published: Dec. 31, 2012
Genres: Fiction, Chick Lit
369 pages
Goodreads Rating:  4.30
My Rating: 5.0

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.
What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.
Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.
What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.

I really only picked this up because the movie was coming out and I’d enjoyed other JoJo Moyes books in the past. Once I saw the trailer for the movie, I was a little put off. I still have yet to see the movie, but Emilia Clarke’s acting in the minute-long trailer just seemed very over the top.

I needed a good romantic book to help get me through the beginning of my husband being away due to his military career. I was completely unprepared for how much I would love this book.

WARNING: SOME SPOILERS MAY BE AHEAD

what i liked

Louisa’s Family Dynamic

Louisa’s family is very typical of a lot of families. There is a lot of love, and some repressed anger. There are secrets and intense moments of truth. Louisa’s parents, as much as they want to support her, need her to support them. It says a lot that somebody living in the United States can relate to the Clark family’s financial problems; we all know how one bad economy can affect the world.

This family was very authentic in everything they did. From the parents choosing a favorite child (even if they won’t admit it), to Louisa and Treena’s constant back-and-forth, this was one of the few literary families that didn’t feel too happy, too sad, or too melodramatic.

The Traynor Family (or,more specifically, Mrs. Traynor)
If there is anybody misunderstood in this book, I think it’s Mrs. Traynor. She loves her son the way most mothers love their sons; completely, if not a little too much. There is a constant feel of tension between the two, as if she has babied him all his life and he resents her for it. I picture the two of them at his college graduation, and she’s licking her thumb to wipe a smudge of dirt off of him or to tame a cowlick.

She is used to being the matriach, the person in charge of the family.With Will taking that power from her, I think she felt very lost. For the first time in a long time, she has no control over what is going on with her family. I think that’s why she was harsh and cold towards Louisa.

Will & Louisa

I mean, obviously. Their relationship was absolutely amazing. Starting off with an awkward meeting and continuing on until Louisa decides she is done dealing with Will’s nonsense. I think I really connected with this relationship because it wasn’t an immediate attraction. It took most of the book for the two of them to realize their feelings for each other. The wole wedding scene was so frustrating for me because all I wanted was for them to kiss and reveal their feelings. Unfortunately they were both too afraid and unsure of the other that nothing happened.

did like

The Ending

This isn’t entirely true. I liked the way the book ends. I think it’s great because it isn’t a typical happy ending. The thing I didn’t like was how quick it ended. I wish that there had been more time between the island scene and the Switzerland scene. It felt like so much was left unsaid between them and, as somebody who loves to talk and talk and talk about their feelings, it killed me.

Louisa’s Reaction on the Island

My god, girl. First, how the hell are you going to leave a man who can’t walk ON A BEACH with a lot of SAND?! IN FRONT OF PEOPLE. I get being hurt and upset and whatever, but poor, poor Will. Or, as my Spanish I class taught me, p-p-p-pobre Cenicienta. I have never felt such sadness for a character before. He depends on Louisa for so much, and he knows how much this will hurt her, but he can’t lie to her or lead her on. He knows his mind and he knows his heart. All I can picture is this poor man confined to a wheelchair, watching the woman he loves walk away from him as he tries to talk to her about this. He’s calling out for her and she’s just ignoring him. It’s not as if he can run to her, scoop her into his arms and tell her how wrong he was.

I completely understand the hurt and pain Louisa is feeling here, but my empathy lies more with Will at this point.

The Beginning

It’s not that I didn’t like the beginning so much as it just didn’t suck me in. Until Will became a larger part of the story, I felt like I was slowly trudging along. I’m not exactly sure why I could not get into it at first. Maybe it was just the whole angry, despondent feel of the book after Louisa lost her job and can’t find a new one. I am very glad I pushed through the beginning because this book literally brought tears to my eyes. final thoughts

Concerning the Controversy

I am not in any way shape or form trying to say how people should feel. When the movie first came out, a lot of people were angry and called it something along the lines of, “suicide porn.” People were angry because they felt the book and the movie showed that handicapped people were better off just killing themselves. I don’t think that was what JoJo Moyes was trying to convey at all.

As somebody who has dealt with depression and anxiety for years, I have come to realize that you can’t save everyone. Sometimes people are beyond help, some people don’t want help, and sometimes people don’t realize help is out there. To me, Will did not want the kind of help Louisa and his family wanted to give him. I am a huge proponent of assisted suicide. If a person is in their right state of mind, is in pain or is terminally ill, who are we to deny them the dignity of death before they lose themselves?

All in all, I loved this book. I might give it a 4.5 rather than the full 5, but it’s still a book I would recommend.

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Book Review| Queen of Shadows – Sarah J. Maas

79329_originalQueen of Shadows – Sarah J. Maas
Published: September 1, 2015 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Magic
Pages: 648
Goodreads Rating: 4.69
My Rating: 4.5

The queen has returned.
Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past.
She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.
She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.
The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series contrinues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

What can I even say? I sped through this series in about four days. I finished this book in a day. I stayed up until three in the morning finishing this because I simply could not put it down. This post will be filled with spoilers. Continue reading at your own risk.

I don’t like to review books immediately after finishing them. I like letting them sit so I have time to let the hype wear down. It lets me review honestly. Let’s start with what I liked.

Note: I will refer to Celaena as Aelin through the post.

what i liked
New/Revised Characters
We see a lot of familiar faces in this book. Two in particular stood out to me: Lysandra and Kaltain. Both were rivals of Aelin when she was younger, and they become heroes in their own right. Lysandra, who was so close to paying off her debts to the brothel that took her in, saved a young girl from experiencing that same fate. She does so much more by the end of the book, but that is the one thing that came across as completely selfless. When we learn about her past, her future actions are a sort of vengeance against those that took away magic. Helping a child escape the fate of courtesan is the bravest thing she ever did.

Kaltain, on the other hand, is barely more than a human shell throughout the book. It isn’t until the end that she is finally able to inflict her own vengeance. I can’t remember who exactly she burns alive, but I wish she had been able to tear that whole place down. I can’t even imagine the horrible things she’s had to endure. It feels as if she deserved to inflict more pain than she did.

New Ships
I was fully on the Chaolena ship. I have since jumped ship and fully support Aelin/Rowan. I don’t even know what their celebrity name would be, I’m so new to the ship. I know a lot of people who read GoT who were completely against Aelin/Rowan and now they ship it. QoS completely erases any idea that Chaolena will be a thing again. I’m okay with this. They both grew as people, and were no longer compatible. It happens all the time with people.

I liked the ships introduced to us. Caol and Nesryn, Dorian and Manon, Lysandra and an endless amount of possibilities. Right now, I wouldn’t mind seeing Lysandra with Aedion, but who knows. I am most excited for this Dorian/Manon ship because MANON. IMMORTAL WITCH + LOVE + MORTAL = FEELS. SO MANY FEELS.

Though this doesn’t go with “ships,” I did love the character development of so many people. Manon, as well as her 13, grow so much in this book. They go from mindlessly listening to orders to questioning these orders. So many character growths. So good.

did like
The Ending
Before you throw anything at me, let me clarify: There were only a few things I didn’t like. Mostly, it just felt too clean to me. Everything worked out for once. I fully expected somebody to die, and was a little disappointed that they didn’t. Of all the times for somebody to die, this would have been the best time for it. Do I want characters to die? Of course not. Do I expect them to when the book centers on a war? Yes. The whole ending just felt like all the loose ends were tied up nicely, save for the one or two needed to continue the series. Now that the king has been taken care of, I don’t even know who Aelin will fight against now. Is it her kingdom against this Wyrd-kingdom? Maybe.

Have you read Queen of Shadows yet? Do you plan on it? What did you think about it if you did? Let me know in the comments below!

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Book Review| I Take You – Eliza Kennedy

22237470I Take You Eliza Kennedy
Published: May 5th 2015 by Crown
Genres: Women’s Fiction, Chick Lit, Humor
Pages: 320
Goodreads Rating: 3.00
My Rating: 4.00

Meet Lily Wilder: New Yorker, lawyer extraordinaire, blushing bride. And totally incapable of being faithful to one man.
Lily’s fiancé Will is a brilliant, handsome archaeologist. Lily is sassy, impulsive, fond of a good drink (or five) and has no business getting married. Lily likes Will, but does she love him? Will loves Lily, but does he know her? As the wedding approaches, Lily’s nights—and mornings, and afternoons—of booze, laughter and questionable decisions become a growing reminder that the happiest day of her life might turn out to be her worst mistake yet.

I received this book from Blogging from Books in exchange for an honest review.

I don’t even know how I picked this book out. It isn’t extremely popular on the Twittersphere or Tumblr, so I don’t think it was on my TBR shelf. It wasn’t even a book I would typically read, even though I do like contemporary fiction. The last “non-typical” book I read, that I thought was contemporary fiction, was Stephanie Evanovich’s Big Girl Panties, which I hated. The beginning of BGP had such promise, but the ending was awful. To say I was hesitant about this would be an understatement. I should not have been worried, because I loved it.

Spoilers will be in this review. Read more at your own risk. Spoilers will be following this sentence. You have been warned.

In the beginning of the book, I was not a big fan of Lily’s. She is completely unfaithful to her fiance, Will, and can be extremely unapologetic about it. I am all for sexually active women, but once you add another person’s feelings into the mix, that’s when I start to have an issue. Will is described as perfect multiple times. He has three PhDs, he is smitten with Lily, and he’s all the good keywords: sweet, dorky, kind, et cetera. When our main character is cheating on him and leading him towards inevitable pain, I’m not excited about her. She’s hilarious and intelligent and a complete feminist, but that does not make her a good person. The good news is she knows she’s an asshole and wants to change. I loved Lily by the end of this. Her thoughts on everything, from marriage to her own life, is that of somebody is deep denial. She ignores her past because she doesn’t think it can affect the future, but that is exactly what happens. Lily can be fierce and emotional, strong and weak, lovable and detestable all at once, and it is so great to read about a character that I’m not even sure I like half the time.

Her best friend, Winifred “Freddy”, is one of few women supporting characters who isn’t written as catty or overly supportive. Is she extremely supportive? Yes, but she doesn’t kiss Lily’s ass the way others might. When Lily wants to drink all day, Freddy is there to keep up. When Lily decides she’s had enough to drink and thinks, “Hey, let’s do some lines of coke in the hotel bathroom!”, who’s there with some cocaine? Good ol’ Freddy! She is the epitome of a best friend, who will be there whenever you need her, who won’t steer you wrong but will let you find your own way.

 Lily’s four mother-figures (one biological, two step-mothers and one grandmother) provide an interesting look at parenting.  All three wives are divorced from Lily’s father, so they have all felt the pain that comes with a failed relationship. They all love differently, and they are all convinced that Lily has no right to marry anyone. I don’t know why Kennedy decided to add two extra motherly figures, unless to show just how screwed up marriage can really be.

I didn’t really fall into the story until halfway through it. There were some characters I just didn’t trust, and I wanted to know what big secret made Lily leave Florida. Finding out about the dynamite, Teddy and Lee made me softer towards Lily, but not too much. While I still felt like she shouldn’t be sleeping around if she was trying to marry somebody, I didn’t trust Will at this point. He seemed too good to be true, one of Lily’s bridesmaids was disappearing all the time and, at this point, Lily had slept with Will’s boss. There was no way Will wasn’t going to find out about her infidelities; it was just a matter of when.

The feminism in I Take You was absolutely fucking great. First, Lily is a lawyer. Not a paralegal or a receptionist; no, her job is lawyer. Second, she likes having sex. She has no apologies for this, nor should she need one (though, to be fair, I feel like an apology should have been made had Will not been doing the exact same fucking thing but whatever). Freddy and Lily hate the word “slut”, calling it “the S-word,” and even dislike the use of the word “cunt.”The two talk often of double standards, which is a huge theme in this book.

When Lily finds out that Will has been cheating on her the same way she’s been cheating on him, she loses it. She calls him a whore and has a miniature rage-fest, where she is filled with jealousy. At one point, a few hours after the revelation, Will makes a comment like, “Why was it okay when I wasn’t enough for you, but not when you weren’t enough for me?” Similar sentences like this are thrown at Lily, who tries so hard to make excuses for her own behavior. She can’t, of course, and comes to face that.

I Take You always has great little speeches about sex, how humans feel about sex, how we’re conditioned to think about sex and if monogamy is even really meant for us. It actually had me thinking about whether monogamy really was the best thing for people. Personally, I think it’s subjective. Some people can’t deal with the thought of being with one person for the rest of their lives, and some can’t bear to be parted with their significant others. I don’t think we are biologically conditioned one way or the other. I also don’t agree with Lily’s mothers when they said that infidelity is inevitable in marriages. Maybe I’m a romantic, and maybe I’m naive. I like to hope that, as a faithful spouse, my spouse will return the favor and be faithful back. If not, we’ll have to break his dick off. Sorry, but don’t say I didn’t warn ya!

I definitely give this book four wormies and suggest it to any self-proclaimed feminist or feminist-supporters. Read on, ladies!

four star

Have you read I Take You? Do you plan on reading it? Let me know in the comments!

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Book Review| The Luckiest Girl Alive – Jessica Knoll

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The Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
Published: May 12, 2015 by Simon & Schuster
Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 352
Goodreads Rating: 3.54
My Rating: 4.0

Her perfect life is a perfect lie. As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancé, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve. But Ani has a secret. There’s something else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything. With a singular voice and twists you won’t see coming, Luckiest Girl Alive explores the unbearable pressure that so many women feel to “have it all” and introduces a heroine whose sharp edges and cutthroat ambition have been protecting a scandalous truth, and a heart that’s bigger than it first appears. The question remains: will breaking her silence destroy all that she has worked for—or, will it at long last, set Ani free?

I try to go to the gym with my husband whenever he goes. I hate going by myself and it gets me out of the house. Before you walk in, there is a bulletin board I usually glance at. Since we go to the military gym on base, there’s usually a good amount of “base” activities. I happened to see the words “Book Club” and snapped a quick picture to send to a friend of mine to see if she’d like to check it out. It was at the library and scheduled to take place on Tuesday (it was Saturday). I didn’t start reading until Sunday night and finished Monday morning. I did sleep, so I wasn’t awake the whole time. That doesn’t mean I couldn’t have done it. No part of me wanted to put this book down. Had I not had an extremely busy day, I wouldn’t have gone to bed at 1 AM; I would have stayed up to finish.

Review

I thought this was going to be a YA fluffy novel about a dead girl or a zombie or something. Yes, I broke the cardinal rule: I judged the book by its cover. I should have known from the first few sentences that this would not be anything close to a YA book, but I didn’t realize just how dark it was going to be. This is one of those books I can’t review without giving away spoilers, and I don’t plan on spoiling it. It was just too good. So this review will be pretty dang short.

Though LGA is compared to Gone Girl, they are so very different. Amy from Gone Girl is a wonderful villain who is manipulative and, in short, insane. She’s great to read about, and I enjoyed the book. Ani (pronounced AH-nee), on the other hand, isn’t nearly as villainous as Amy. She is manipulative and, yes, at times insane, but Ani doesn’t go to the extremes Amy does. Plus, the story lines are completely different. Once again, I won’t give anything away, but LGA is not about a spurned lover or a s/o who cheats or anything like that, even though Ani does have a fiance. Her story goes so much deeper than any of that.

At the beginning of the story, I didn’t like Ani. She comes from a different world than me, where brand names (and last names!) actually matter. She can be indifferent, which is unsettling for a reader. We want to connect with our main character, and it was hard for me to connect to her at first. By the middle of the book, I wanted nothing more than to hold her and brush her hair and feed her pizza. Ani, and all the characters in this book, are written as realistic people instead of fictional heroes. We want our Knights in Shining Armour, our Damsels in Distress, all the typical archetypes we have been conditioned to see. None of these characters are blatantly present in this book. Some characters can be made to fit in these roles at times, but not throughout the whole story. (I’m no English major here either, so don’t kill me).

I finished this book in less than 24 hours. I really enjoyed this book, and I think if you liked Gone Girl, you should pick this up.

four star

Have you read this book? If not, do you want to? Let me know in the comments below!

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Top 10 Tuesdays| Fictional Bookworms

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday, brought to you by the lovely people at The Broke & the Bookish, is all about fictional bookworms! I’ll admit: sometimes adding a bookworm into the story feels like a cop out. As a reader, of course I want to identify with the characters; it seems like the easiest character trait to give them is to be as much of a bookworm as I am. The bookworms in my list are all characters I actually enjoy, who love books as much as I do.

10. Hermione Granger from Harry Potter
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Harry Potter came out when I was five, but I didn’t read it until I was in the third or fourth grade. How could I not love the only female lead until Luna’s appearance? Hermione was everything I wanted to be: brave, smart, sassy, and she didn’t let the boys boss her around. Hermione is and will always be one of the best role models for young girls to read about.

9. Lisa Simpson from The Simpsons
books and beers
Show me a person who doesn’t like this little feminist/bookworm/activist and I will show you a liar. I don’t think I really paid attention to The Simpsons until I was in my tween years, and I quickly fell in love with Lisa. She often felt ostracized by her intelligence and, while I am not saying I’m a genius, most people from my hometown probably don’t know the sun is a star.  Bless their hearts. (I’m actually surprised I haven’t used this line on one of the multiple alcoholics running around that town). Lisa is one of few female characters who is boisterous in her beliefs and extremely unapologetic. We need more Lisa Simpsons in the world.

8. Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones
tyrion books
Everyone’s favorite half-man couldn’t be more right. Tyrion, who often makes jokes about his sad existence, is a loved character because he will not sugar-coat things. He is blunt and crude, but extremely intelligent and witty. I know a lot of bookworms like this in real life. Martin’s books are successful because he writes his characters as if they are real people and he’s just copying their dialogue.

7. Daria Morgendorffer, from Daria
Daria

I didn’t watch Daria a lot. It was just barely before my time, and now I only have hulu and Netflix so I can’t catch any reruns on TV (unless it’s available through one of those services, in which case I need to get on it). I do know that had I been a teenager in the ’90s (and not born in ’92), I would have been a Daria kind of girl. To be fair, I still was. I was a royal bitch  an angsty thing from ages 11-17. I had a hard time figuring out who I was as a kid. One part of me wanted to be like my mom, who has always been very feminine, and the other part wanted to be like my dad, who took me to more than 10 rock/metal concerts before my 16th birthday. So, as you can imagine, I didn’t fit in with most kids and became a hater of the world. Yay teen angst!

6. Matilda Wormwood from Matilda
matilda
I loved this movie as a kid. Trunchbull scared the daylights out of me, and I’m pretty sure I was terrified to go into the first grade because of this movie. I distinctly remember being in pre-school and some older kids were helping us do arts and crafts. They were probably in middle school or maybe even high school, but for some reason I thought they were first graders. I was so scared! How was I ever going to be able to go to the first grade when I was nowhere near as tall as these people?! I’m sure I got over it quickly, because I don’t remember anything more happening about that. I wish I had read Matilda as a young child, because I feel like I wouldn’t have felt as alone, just like her. If we ever decide to have children, Matilda will be one of many books I’ll read to them.

5. Belle from Beauty & the Beast
belle

Ugh I wish this .gif was bigger because which one of us would not be fucking thrilled with that library?! Belle is my second favorite Disney Princess for so many reasons, but one of the biggest is because she is one of the few animated characters who loves books as much as I do. The art in this movie is astoundingly beautiful, and only adds to my love for it.

4. Lizzie Bennett from Pride & Prejudice
elizabeth bennett
My mother has an ardent (get it??) love for anything written by Jane Austen. I could not tell you how many times she has watched Emma, and it was her who introduced me to Pride and Prejudice. Let me just say this: Keira Knightley is the queen of period movies. She is wonderful in P&P as well as Anna Karenina and The Duchess (all of which are based on books!). Elizabeth is a character who screws up a lot, but will not allow herself to be pushed around by anyone. She enjoys long walks and good books (sounds like the beginning of an eHarmony account).

3. Kelsea Raleigh Glynn from The Queen of the Tearling
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He found her staring at her books with utter devotion, like a lover. 

There is so much more to Kelsea than being a bookworm, which is why she’s made it so far up in my list. Yes, she loves books. She adores them and understands their importance in our daily lives, but Johansen makes sure Kelsea’s life doesn’t revolve around these books. Many quotes in Tearling adequately describe Kelsea’s immense love of reading and literature, but they do not take away from the actual story. That alone is an extreme talent.

2. Wishbone from Wishbone
wishbone
This dog. This dog right here. I loved this show. I loved this dog. I had a stuffed animal version of him and when you squeezed his tail, he’d say, “Don’t go there!” Surprisingly, I don’t remember ever reading any of the books based on the television show. I just remember this dog dressing up as literary characters, living in a library and having great wonderful adventures. Thanks, Wishbone.

1. Poussey & Taystee from Orange is the New Black
tastee

I am a huge fan of OitNB and I absolutely love the relationship between these two. Fun fact: I once had an interview for a job as a librarian at a jail. I did not go to said interview because it was a men’s prison and I am a paranoid person. Anyway, back to these two. The whole show has snippets of almost every cellmate reading, but it really focuses more on Taystee and Poussey since they are surrounded by books everyday. I loved their funeral for the burned books, and how hard they had fought for them. Taystee ate a bug. She ate a bed bug for those books! I don’t know any other fictional character who would go to such great lengths for their beloved books.

I know I’m probably one of ten people who don’t have Rory Gilmore on here, but I never watched the show. Ever. The only reason I know her name is because she’s pretty much worshipped in the bookish community. If I had put her here, it would have felt like cheating.

There’s my top ten! Who are some of yours? Let me know in the comments!

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Book Review| The Queen of the Tearling – Erika Johansen


81JQ-u+67GLThe Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Published July 8th 2014 by Harper
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Fiction
Pages: 434
Goodreads Rating: 3.94
My Rating: 4.5

Young Kelsea Raleigh was raised in hiding after the death of her mother, Queen Elyssa, far from the intrigues of the royal Keep and in the care of two devoted servants who pledged their lives to protect her. Growing up in a cottage deep in the woods, Kelsea knows little of her kingdom’s haunted past . . . or that its fate will soon rest in her hands.

I’d seen this book floating around tumblr for a long time. I would see it in the grocery store and think, “Damn, that does look really good,” but I wouldn’t pick it up. (I have a hard time buying hardcovers because they can just be ridiculously expensive). I was at an indie bookstore in New Hope, PA when I saw Queen in paperback. I snatched it up and walked right over to the register because I was not buying anything else. Of course, it found its way off my radar while I was reading graphic novels and some books from my TBR shelf (I’ll post a picture in a new post). A few days ago, I found it in one of my old beach bags and decided to start reading it. I was absolutely hooked from the first page.

Review
Being Johansen’s debut novel, I was astounded by her writing skills. Looking back at the story, not a lot of action happens, but I was never bored reading this. A lot of the story focuses on one main event, but enough was added where I never thought, “Okay, I’m on page 156 and nothing is happening what the hell.” Even with moments like meeting the people at court, I found myself chuckling out loud or making faces at some of these fictional people. Which leads me to my next point: her characters.

Johansen is magnificent in creating a world of diverse, complex characters. Kelsea is an overweight teenager with a bad temper, but she excelled at being a queen. Her adoptive parents had a large hand at that, and they too are such different characters. Barty, her adoptive father, and Carlin, her adoptive mother, were the epitome of “opposites attract.” Barty is the nurturing, warm hearted figure while Carlin never hugged or coddled Kelsea. There is also no sugar-coating anyone in the book. Kelsea’s biological mother, the late Queen Elyssa, was vain and, at times, a little dim. At the end of the first novel, we are left wondering who Kelsea’s father is, so I can’t speak about him. Everyone in this story, from Mace to the Fetch, are all written like real people, not some romantic savior who can do no wrong.

Then there is the history of this land, the Tear. I’m still not 100 percent certain I completely understand, but it touches on their founder, William Tear, crossing the sea and leaving behind a dying land. I’m pretty sure that land is the United States. This story takes place in the future, when something has taken away so much of what we are today and gives these people what we were back in the medieval period. There are references to Rowling and Tolkien as great authors of the past, and the drug heroin even makes it in here as a lost recipe, but one that is trying to make a come back. I have seen this take on the world in at least one other book, but it left out too much, where I was confused at what the hell was going on. Queen, on the other hand, gives you just enough to realize, “OH DAMN,” and that’s it.

My last point is the lack of romanctic interest. I loved it. It’s not like there is no romance at all, because we do see that SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOULER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT
Kelsea has feelings for the Fetch. There is also a moment when Pen is trying to wake her and he has no shirt on, and Kelsea wants to reach out to touch him. I ship Kelsea/Pen so damn much. Do I like the Fetch? Of course, he’s a wonderful character. I do not trust him. I don’t think he’s a realistic choice for her. If she wants to have a little fling with him, I am all for that. If she wants him to become her husband later on, I have a hard time believing that will happen.

I have already downloaded Invasion on to my Nook, and am trying so hard to finish Cary Elwe’s As You Wish before starting it. I give this book four and a half wormies, but I refuse to cut this little guy in half, so be satisfied with looking at only four of them.

four star

PS. Yes, I know Emma Watson is supposed to be cast as Kelsea in the movie adaptation, but I don’t know how I feel about that. Kelsea is supposed to have a darker coloring than her super fair mom and she’s fat. Emma is none of these things, and I think they are very important to Kelsea’s character. I guess we’ll see.

Have you read Johansen’s book yet? What did you think? If not, do you plan on reading it after my review? Let me know in the comments!

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