Thursday, April 14, 2016

L is for Library


Why yes...I am still plugging away at getting caught up with my A to Z posts... Slowly, but surely.

Tonight, I took a little bit out of my potential blog writing time to get some prep work ready for this weekend. What happens this weekend, you ask? Dewey's 24-hour-readathon. So...I did what I do whenever I can...I put the tent up. In fact, that's where I am as I type. I'm all ready for my isolated reading fun to begin.

But before we get to that, I need to get working on some blog posts. Let's go ahead and move forward with letter L...


Today's book is not only a fantastic one, but it was also the winner of my 2015 Book of the Year Bracket Challenge. The name of this fabulous book? The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins.


Synopsis in a Sentence: 

Carolyn is one of twelve chosen by Father to learn a catalog in his library, but Father has gone missing and Carolyn must discover the secrets behind a vaguely remembered past.

First Read:

I received The Library at Mount Char as an ARC. I requested it based on a the cover alone, which is historically a horrible idea. But...holy freaking amazing. This book knocked it out of the park. Creative and creepy and it held my attention from the word go. What was inside blew me away. Haunting, brilliant, and amazing. I was weirded out, but thoroughly and pleasantly surprised.

Why it Makes the List:
!

Creepy premise, awesome book. I loved the slow and deliberate development of the plot and the characters. I didn't want to put this book down and I didn't want it to end. Seriously. Freaking amazing. Subtle pieces of detail weave into an amazingly creative and impressive read. It was just a complete wow. I was not expecting this book to be so freaking good and yet now I am totally jonesing for a sequel.


Are you an A to Z Blogger? Leave me a comment so I can repay the visit.
Not an A to Z Blogger, but love the idea? Go here to see what other fun can be found in the challenge.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

K is for Kitchen


And...then I disappeared.

Have you ever just gotten completely overwhelmed by everything and needed to walk away for a bit? Yep...that was me last week. So...I hopped in the car and went for a nice roadtrip for three days. Just riding in a car and enjoying the scenery...no internet, no phone. It was a nice recharge and I desperately needed it.

Unfortunately, it put me seriously behind on the A to Z. So...the next few days are catch up time. Bear with me. I'll be posting 2-3 posts per day for the next few. By next Monday I will (hopefully) be completely back on track.

Also...there will be a grouping of posts on Saturday as I take part in Dewey's 24 hour read-a-thon. Come hell or high water, I will be participating. Oh...and in case you were wondering, I will be assembling the tent tomorrow evening. Read-a-thon season has returned. Yay!


Letter K was last Wednesday, but we'll just pretend that it's today mmkay? So my pick for letter K is The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom.



Synopsis in a Sentence: 

White servant girl grows up as an adopted member of the family of slaves on a Revolutionary era plantation, finding herself stuck not quite belonging to either of the two "worlds" in her life.

First Read:

I read this one way back in 2013. I honestly don't remember how it came to land itself on my TBR, but my guess would be that others were talking highly of it. I was in the midst of a pretty heavy historical fiction patch at that time, so it may also have just been one of those books that came up as recommended by Goodreads based on what I was devouring at the time.

Why it Makes the List:


The Kitchen House was one of those books that I could not put down. It is a darker story with some uncomfortable topics and scenes, but it is just written so stinking well. Grissom creates some amazing characters. They are multi-dimensional, deep, and real. This book is just really well done. And no worries, there is still some happiness mixed up in there. In fact, be prepared to run the full gambit of emotions when reading this one. I highly recommend it. If you like historical fiction, it's a must. If you just want a good book...well...it's kind of a must there too.


Are you an A to Z Blogger? Leave me a comment so I can repay the visit.
Not an A to Z Blogger, but love the idea? Go here to see what other fun can be found in the challenge.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

J is for Jane


Ever had one of those weeks/months/years where it feels like you just don't have enough time? This week is killing me. So...at some point I will get back on the horse with timelier posts. Until then...I'm just keeping up. 


Today's pick for the letter J post is one of my all-time favorite books. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.


Synopsis in a Sentence: 

Jane grows up under terrible conditions, but it doesn't sap her smart and sassy spirit...even when she has to deal with the troublesome Mr. Rochester.


First Read:

I first read this one a long time ago. I think it was somewhere around my freshman year in high school. We're not going to put a number on that date, but suffice it to say that it's been a while. I will admit, my first read was a little slow and steady, but I liked the premise. I picked up the book a little over a year later, not remembering that I had read it before. Yes...I'm admitting it. But about a quarter of the way through there was a light bulb that the plot seemed familiar. That second read was what got me hooked. I've read it more than ten times over since then.


Why it Makes the List:


Don't let the fact that it's a classic scare you. Yes...it will likely be a little slower read if you're not used to reading the older classics, but be patient with it. Bronte was a very talented writer and Jane is an amazing character. She's inspirational and entertaining. She isn't a boring or stuffy woman...not in the least. The plot is a good mixture of an Austen-like romance and a gothic novel. There is mystery and suspense wrapped up in a love story. Like I said...it's one of my absolute favorites. It's one that I will continue to read over and over and tout to anyone who will listen. Jane Eyre will forever be one of my literary loves.


Are you an A to Z Blogger? Leave me a comment so I can repay the visit.
Not an A to Z Blogger, but love the idea? Go here to see what other fun can be found in the challenge.

Monday, April 11, 2016

I is for Infernal


It was close. I almost forgot the need to write this post. I started it last night and then got distracted and forgot to go back to it. But...luckily, I'm getting my crap together before it's too late.


We are now 1/3 of the way through with the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Crazy. This always makes the month go so fast. 

Today, we're at letter I. My pick is another series, by the same author as my pick for letter C. Today's book choice is The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare.

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (The Infernal Devices #1)

Synopsis in a Sentence: 

Tessa has the magical ability to take on personas of others, a gift that the Magister wants to possess in a battle between the Shadowhunters and an army of automatons.

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare (The Infernal Devices #2)

First Read:

I chose this book on something of a whim. That was a small mistake. Why? Well...typically I don't like to read a book in a series unless all of the books have already been published. Ya...fail. The third book in the series wasn't due for another year when I picked up the first book. That was really not so cool since by about page twelve of the first book I was totally enthralled.


The Infernal Devices series is a fantasy/sci-fi fiction novel set in the late 1800s. It falls into the young adult steampunk subset. It's not typically a genre that I would pick, but everyone kept talking about it being so amazing, so I had to just give it a shot. I was not disappointed.

Why it Makes the List:


This series is definitely written for the preteen and teenage set. However, I think it's one of those series that can span quite a few ages. I originally likened this book to something of a cross between Lemony Snicket and Harry Potter. It's got the good versus evil idea present in both books but also combines the childish and playful evil in Lemony Snicket with the more mature style of danger in Harry Potter. It's not too graphic for the younger set (perhaps 10 and older)  and not too simple or too "high school" for the adults. Clare manages to balance it quite well. I haven't steered you wrong yet...come on. This one is well worth it. Read it. (And...side note...I liked this series better than her Mortal Instruments series.)


Are you an A to Z Blogger? Leave me a comment so I can repay the visit.
Not an A to Z Blogger, but love the idea? Go here to see what other fun can be found in the challenge.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

H is for Harry


Bring on the weekend! I am ready for a bit of relaxation (and maybe some sleeping in). Unfortunately, what could have been a perfectly lovely weekend in some fantastically wonderful sunshine will be marred by the necessity of completing some homework. Three more weeks of the semester. Slowly but surely...


Today's letter is H. If you aren't in some way familiar with this one, well...you might have been living under a rock for the last...oh...19 years. Holy crap. I can't believe it's almost been 20 years. If you still have no idea what I'm talking about...today's book is actually yet another series. For letter H, I'm going with...

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
(Published as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in the UK)
Synopsis in a Sentence: 

Orphaned Harry Potter finds out at age 11 that he is actually a wizard and he must save the wizarding world from his archenemy, He Who Must Not Be Named (Voldemort).

Initial Thoughts: 

This is the point in the A to Z where I admit my shame. Yes...initially I was a doubter. I thought that Harry Potter was a passing fad and I wasn't going to give in. Idiot. I finally caved around 2001. I have never been sorry about it...I'm only sorry that I didn't read it sooner. 

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
First Read:

As I stated earlier, I first started reading the series back around 2001. I quickly became obsessed. I wasn't one to stand out and camp in line to get each book the day it was released, but I got ahold of a copy as soon after that as possible and typically read the whole thing within a day or two. Each one of them was wonderful, though I loved some more than others. My personal favorite... Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban...the third in the series.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
About the Series:

These books span the ages and nearly any kind of reader. They are designed to be easily read by those as young as eight or so, but they can easily be enjoyed by anyone above that age or read to anyone younger. They are written incredibly well and have the ability to attract readers despite their preferred genre. J.K. Rowling is just a born storyteller. There is a lot of imagination put into her works and she creates a magical world that just comes to feel real.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
About the Movies:

Once again, if you're not familiar...you've likely been living in complete isolation for nearly two decades. The movies started coming out about five years after the release of the first book. They follow the story line closer than most movie adaptations, though true Potter fans will easily tell you that there have been some alterations between book and screen. I will admit though, they did a pretty fantastic job. The movies are great and the actors/actresses really play their characters well. They truly become the characters over the course of the eight movies (the last book was split into two movies due to the ridiculous length). If you're not going to read the books, at least watch the movies. You need to have this story in your life.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
Why it Makes the List:

Uh...duh. Have I not made myself clear? This series is just plain magnificent. It needs to be in everyone's life in some way. Seriously. Oh...and if you hadn't figured it out yet, this is an absolute reread for me. This is one I will be reading my entire life through and one I will gladly share with future generations.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Always...

My Harry Potter story wouldn't be complete without mentioning Alan Rickman. He played Severus Snape in the movie series, but I have loved him for much longer than that. He was a fantastic actor and a wonderful man. Unfortunately, he passed away earlier this year. For me, Alan Rickman was one of the actors that made Harry Potter so magical. Those of you familiar with the series will understand...I will love him always.


Are you an A to Z Blogger? Leave me a comment so I can repay the visit.
Not an A to Z Blogger, but love the idea? Go here to see what other fun can be found in the challenge.

Miss a prior 2016 A to Z post? Find your missing link down below...

A is for Alice
B is for Boyfriend
C is for City

Friday, April 8, 2016

G is for Girl


This week is totally flying by. I'm seriously ready for the weekend and maybe a little bit of sleep. I feel like I've been running on a treadmill nonstop. I'm mildly exhausted.


Today's choice is yet another series. This one is a deviation from my norm, but it's wicked awesome. It's the Millennium Series written by Stieg Larsson (and David Lagercrantz), a series where all of the book titles begin with "The Girl...".

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Synopsis in a Sentence: 

Psychological thriller series wherein financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist pairs up with unconventional genius Lisbeth Salander in a whirlwind of investigations that take some interesting (and gripping) turns.

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
 First Read:

I read the first three books in the series back in 2011, when The Girl Who Played with Fire won my Book of the Year Bracket. I was a little hesitant to read it at first since I had a lot of people telling me that they had heard bad things about it (oh...the danger of the telephone game). Immediately though, the story moved quickly and had an amazing plot that just reeled me right in. I will admit, there are some seriously graphic scenes that could turn some readers off, but for me these did not in any way sway me away from the book or detract from what is some incredibly wonderful writing. I read the entire original series (books 1-3) in a month's time right in the midst of a crazy Christmas season when I made all of my Christmas presents as homemade gifts. That should tell you exactly how much I loved these books. I made sure to squeeze in time to read them.


There were originally three stories in this series: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. These three books were written by Swedish author Stieg Larsson, a man with an incredible talent as a writer. Unfortunately, Mr. Larsson passed away in 2004, leaving behind the first three books of the series (which were published posthumously), as well as future plans for additional books in the series.

In 2015, the fourth book in the series was released based on Larsson's notes, but written by a different author, David Lagercrantz. I haven't yet read this novel, but I would like to. I'm mildly nervous about reading it since there are some seriously big shoes to fill, but one of these days I'm still going to bite the bullet.

Side note: There are a few movie versions of the series (including an American version of the first novel). I have yet to watch any of them, but they're on my list.

The Girl in the Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz
Why it Makes the List:

This entire series (well...the first three books -- I can't speak to the fourth) was amazing. Stieg Larsson was an amazing writer, a magician with words. His writing is incredibly detailed to the point of feeling like a true crime novel and his characters are great. Lisbeth is one seriously kickass character. These books are seriously solid in their status as mysteries. I was kept guessing from start to finish. Each book in the series was better than the last and I just didn't want to put them down.


Are you an A to Z Blogger? Leave me a comment so I can repay the visit.
Not an A to Z Blogger, but love the idea? Go here to see what other fun can be found in the challenge.

Miss a prior 2016 A to Z post? Find your missing link down below...

A is for Alice
B is for Boyfriend
C is for City

Thursday, April 7, 2016

F is for Fault


This is the most solid blogging I've done since January. Holy cripes. I'm totally going to admit right now that I'm mildly proud of myself for that. I'll try not to hurt my arm while I pat myself on the back.


Once again...today is a singular read. Bummer. But...I figure that I'll be so kind as to also share other books by the author so that you can access them (and feel cover lust) as well. Because...well...his books are just good. And he's a good person.

Today's book?



Synopsis in a Sentence: 

Hazel and Augustus are both teenagers with cancer who connect over a mutual love for books in this story that will give you all the feels.


An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

 First Read:

A Fault in Our Stars by John Green one was a suggestion from my good friend Erin. I read it way back in 2012, the year it also won the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Young Adult Fiction. I loved this book. I couldn't put it down and read it all in one sitting while I more or less bawled my eyes out. Seriously. This book make me swing the full gamut of emotions. Thankfully, I was able to laugh in some places, but plan on keeping a Kleenex box handy.

Something(s) Special:

First, something special about the book. It was turned into a movie a few years back, so even those of you who are not a big fan of reading can take part in a beautiful story. No...for those of you wondering...I haven't yet seen the movie. But I will. One of these days. Probably after a reread to just have the purely wonderful literary version in my head one more time.

Second, John Green is more than just an author. He is a YouTuber and a really smart guy all around. I've been following the YouTube channel he runs with his brother, Hank for quite a while now. If you haven't been over and watched some videos from Vlogbrothers, you should. They also run the YouTube channels Mental Floss and CrashCourse where you can learn all sorts of neat stuff.

Paper Towns by John Green
Why it Makes the List:

This is where I gush. READ THIS BOOK. Seriously. I love it so very much. The story is really simple and sweet without being overly dramatic, juvenile, or just plain trying too hard. The characters have an immense amount of realism. John Green just writes a darned good book. The Fault in Our Stars is easily a book that I will reread several times over. It's a good story with a balance between presenting the realism of cancer without making everything morose and depressing. It's beautiful and wonderful and one of those books you just want to hug.

Are you an A to Z Blogger? Leave me a comment so I can repay the visit.
Not an A to Z Blogger, but love the idea? Go here to see what other fun can be found in the challenge.

Miss a prior 2016 A to Z post? Find your missing link down below...

A is for Alice
B is for Boyfriend
C is for City

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