Friday, May 30, 2014

Books with Tea & Cake

This list is originally from Feed Me Books Now. Ruby decided to make a list of books great with tea and cake and I decided why not suggest a few books to the tea party?

1) Long books – e.g. The Goldfinch
If a book goes beyond the 600 page mark, you're going to need something to keep you going… right ?...
Oooo long books area rarity now it seems… Let’s see Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix is too much action for cake and tea or you end up drooling, but Dreams of Gods & Monsters is perfect for that stuff, though I have just started City of Heavenly Fire which seems to be tea worthy.

2) Childhood favourites – e.g. Harry Potter
There's nothing like settling down with your well-read, dog-eared copy of your favourite childhood book, is there? Although perhaps the added comfort of a cup of tea could make things marginally better… ;)
Percy Jackson & the Olympians (the entire 5 books) - dry humor, Greek gods, well worn, & perfect with tea and cake. You want to see a well-read book see my copy of The Lightning Thief.

3) Austen – e.g. Emma
There's no better way to read one of Austen's trademark social commentaries than with a cup of tea and ridiculously rich slice of cake.
The only Austen book I’ve read is Pride & Prejudice, but tis perfect with British snacks to settle down and reread the romance soap operaish book.

4) Fairytales – e.g. Grimms' Fairytales
Tea and cake is not just a suggestion for when reading fairytales… it's mandatory.
Grimms’ Fairytale for sure too, the medieval tales and dark forests just have you drinking gallons tea and eating a bit too much cake than healthy.

5) Detective novels – e.g. Agatha Christie
When the whodunnit conundrum gets too complicated, sometimes it's best to take a tea break before the mystery continues… :)
The most famous detective of them all- Sherlock Holmes’ Hound of the Baskerville by Lord Connan Arthur Doyle is great with British necessities. The fog and mystery is perfect to ponder over a little snack.

6) Gothic novels – e.g. Wuthering Heights
Picture the scene: roaring fire, steaming cup of tea at your side, slice of cake at the ready, an eerie tale awaiting. What's not to love, eh?
Gothic novel… I had to look this one up-Gothic novel, European Romantic, pseudomedieval fiction having a prevailing atmosphere of mystery and terror (Encyclopedia Britannica) my thought immediately went to older British novels, but then I remember that I have yet to read them so what better book then Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Hollow City with the eeriness and gloominess it has, accentuated by the vintage pictures it uses (plus formatting that makes it look 1920s).

7) Graphic novels – e.g. Scott Pilgrim
As long as you don't get crumbs across the gorgeous drawings, I can't see anything better than flicking through a graphic novel and helping yourself to cake as you go.
I don’t read a lot of graphic novels, but recently my favorite book with art is The Shadowhunter’s Codex. The drawings were phenomenal and I remember drinking a lot of tea during this time as it was especially inspiring with written in comments by the characters from The Mortal Instruments.

8) Coming-of-age tales – e.g. The Catcher in the Rye
Coming-of-age tales are often full of angst (let's be honest), so what better to cheer you up from all the doom and gloom than a cuppa?
Coming of age… I scratch my head trying to find a book that I’ve read like that… hmm aren’t almost are YA books about coming of age…uhhh… how about The Girl with Borrowed Wings had a bunch of emotions just waiting for bucket load of comfort food cake and warm cozy tea
9) Inherently British books – e.g. James Bond
To be patriotic?
Well I’m not British, but a citizen of the Commonwealth, but to be inherently British (can you use two buts in a sentence?)- it must be world famous, older & British. I’ve read recent British novels, but older ones I have to catch up on, but The Scarlet Pimpernel comes to mind with tradition of having to prove British superiority over the French and a tragic romance.

10) ALL BOOKS. Because what's better than tea, cake and words?!
Agreed. Think of the tune All You Need Is Love and now substitute Love with tea, cake, & words

Monday, May 26, 2014

Review Rags & Bones

Rags & Bones: New Twists on Timeless Tales edited by Melissa Marr & Tim Pratt Goodreads | Amazon

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers October 22, 2013

368 Pages

Stand Alone Anthology

Source: Library, serendipity

Bookologists Analysis: An anthology of short stories (all sci-fi and fantasy) by familiar YA authors that are a range of quality.  A look into the heads and thought processes of authors and how they write about stories they love is what draws you into the book. It was an enjoyable read that is easy put down at random times.

The best writers of our generation retell classic tales.

From Sir Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene to E. M. Forster's "The Machine Stops," literature is filled with sexy, deadly, and downright twisted tales. In this collection, award-winning and bestselling authors reimagine their favorite classic stories, the ones that have inspired, awed, and enraged them, the ones that have become ingrained in modern culture, and the ones that have been too long overlooked. They take these stories and boil them down to their bones, and reassemble them for a new generation of readers. 

Written from a twenty-first century perspective and set within the realms of science fiction, dystopian fiction, fantasy, and realistic fiction, these short stories are as moving and thought provoking as their originators. They pay homage to groundbreaking literary achievements of the past while celebrating each author's unique perception and innovative style. 

Today's most acclaimed authors use their own unique styles to rebuild the twelve timeless stories:

Sir Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene - Saladin Ahmed

W. W. Jacobs's "The Monkey's Paw" - Kelley Armstrong

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's "Carmilla" - Holly Black

"Sleeping Beauty" - Neil Gaiman

The Brothers Grimm's "Rumpelstiltskin" - Kami Garcia

Kate Chopin's The Awakening - Melissa Marr

Rudyard Kipling's "The Man Who Would Be King" - Garth Nix

Henry James's "The Jolly Corner" - Tim Pratt

E. M. Forster's "The Machine Stops" - Carrie Ryan

Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto - Margaret Stohl

William Seabrook's "The Caged White Werewolf of the Saraban" - Gene Wolfe

Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Birth-Mark" - Rick Yancey

And six illustrations by Charles Vess

Rags & Bones is an anthology by many authors so I am reviewing the short stories in the book. Overall I enjoyed being exposed to some new authors and authors that I didn’t like in their original work.

“The Machine that May Progress Eternally” by Carrie Ryan inspire by The Machine Stops by E.M. Forster
I felt the writing in this story was awkward and almost redundant to the point where it was almost pointless to read the story. I felt lost within a dark cave with small spots of brilliance. The idea for the plot I though was sick and uncalled for; such an idea that anybody would sink that low is terrifying. Rating: «1/2

“Losing Her Divinity” by Garth Nix inspired by The Man Who Would Be King by Rudyard Kipling
Losing divinity? We wonder what that really means and what is between god and man. This story helps explore that gray area with a whimsical narration that seems to have a double personality of an idea that is utterly creative. The narrator seems to be having an oral schizophrenic conversation with you rather than a written story. Rating: «««««

“The Sleeper and the Spindle” by Neil Gaiman inspired by “Sleeping Beauty in the Woods”
The original Grimm Fairy Tales were anywhere from being dark and creepy to children’s stories. Neil Gaiman tore Sleeping Beauty to the bare minimum and made it darker with a beautiful new world. I liked the idea of switching the characters places; it shows to never become a passive reader, but an ever guessing one.  Rating: ««««

“Cold Corner” by Tim Pratt inspired by The Jolly Corner by Henry James
The characters to me in the Cold Corner were the most touching. Terry/TJ is a bi chef from the South who lives in California and was 4th place in a recent cooking show. I enjoyed the writing as it was a raw and unedited showing the brutal reality of life. Rating: ««««

“Millicara” by Holly Black inspired by Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanos
When I was reading this I found that creepily this book was almost an exact transcript of a conversation in my brain.  This short story- a vampire one- had a suspenseful touch, the story just kept on building till an ending that had flair of elegance. Rating: «««1/2

“When First We Were Gods” by Rick Yancey inspired by The Birth Mark by Nathaniel Hawthorne
In this story we are confronted by a world where there are immortals and mortals. The immortals are artificial and rich, while the mortals are third class citizens. The question of whether or not love can last immortality is the plot. You wonder if humanity can deal with all he technology that is pouring in. Rating: ««««

“Sirocco” by Margret Stohl inspired by The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole
The setting in a boring Italian town working on a movie production set making a bad movie has a funny dry humor that you can’t help, but laugh at. The descriptive writing was well written – not too lengthy or too brief. Only at the end do you find out what the story is truly getting at. Rating: ««««

“Awakened” by Melisa Marr inspired by The Awakening by Kate Chopin
This story features the selchies, an underrepresented mythological creature in YA fantasy. That is not the only factor that doesn’t conform to YA, but it is about putting self over romance rather than romance over self. The perplexing narrative left much to imagine getting mind thinking. Rating: ««««

“New Chicago” by Kelley Armstrong inspired by The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jack
This is not a story for reading for entertainment, but more as a fable. It is for the lessons in the story and what you can learn. The plot is based on the classic saying of being careful with what you wish for. The lesson I got most from New Chicago was to never push fate. Rating: ««««

“The Soul Collector” by Kami Garcia inspired by “The Grimm’s’ Fairytale Rumpelstilskin”
The beginning was making you very apprehensive through pushing your feelings. Why are you reading a story about addicts and orphans? If you’re not from that underground culture your head is spinning from what is happening, the question of human nature. Trading yourself for innocence is confusing. Rating: «««1/2

“Without Faith, Without Law, Without Joy” by Saladin Ahmed inspired by The Faerie Queene by Edmund Spencer
Unlike the other stories, this one was much more related to The Faerie Queene than the others which were literally bare bones of their inspiration. The shadows around us aren’t always apparent with what we see and who we think we are. We are supposed to be scared of any higher force as Joyless (a character) is. Rating: «««««

“Uncaged” by Gene Wolfe inspired by The Caged White Werewolf of Saraban by William E. Seabrook

It wasn’t especially special, but it was a bit sour. You are trying to find the hype in the last story where a man falls in love with some were creature.  Eventually you figure out that story doesn’t have a lot depth and trudge through it. Rating: «

Friday, May 23, 2014

Room By Book Dear Killer

Room by Book is a feature done by yours truly where I put together collages of rooms/furniture that fit the book. All pictures' credits are below the picture.

Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell
Card Catalog Notes from Papyrus
Ashby Sleigh Bed- Rustic Pine Finish from Pottery Barn
Mercury Glass Bottle Vases from West Elm
J. Queen New York™ Chantilly Comforter Set from Bed Bath & Beyond

I wanted to show Kit's room and how it was described in the book. Most of the furniture is pretty plain has you can see in the bed and in its comforter, though the comforter has a slight frills that a mother would insist on. The vase reflects on how Kit remarks about how her mother has many collections to try and calm her impulsive behavior. One of her mother's collections was a collection of vases. The one extremely creative piece is the Card Catalog Notes from Papyrus. This is the box that Kit would keep her letters in. This was one of the more challenging Room By Books to do as it was balancing creativity and plainness so not to look fishy, but still look teenage.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Review The Ring & the Crown

The Ring & the Crown by Melissa De La Cruz Goodreads|Amazon

Published by Disney-Hyperion April 1, 2014

487 Pages

Part of a series (don’t know the name) (Book One)

Source: New Teen Shelf at Library (serendipity)

Bookologists Analysis: I felt the tension in this book build it. I didn’t know what to expect at the end except a big bang and fantastic ending, but was let down a bit. I hope that maybe it is because it is a series, so maybe it will get better.
Magic is power, and power is magic...

Once they were inseparable, just two little girls playing games in a formidable castle. Now Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the mightiest empire in the world, and Aelwyn Myrddyn, a bastard mage, face vastly different futures.

Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second. With the help of her Merlin, Eleanor has maintained a stranglehold on the world's only source of magic. While the enchanters faithfully serve the crown, the sun will never set on the Franco-British Empire.

As the annual London Season begins, the great and noble families across the globe flaunt their wealth and magic at parties, teas, and, of course, the lavish Bal du Drap d'Or, the Ball of the Gold Cloth.

But the talk of the season is Ronan Astor, a social-climbing American with only her dazzling beauty to recommend her. Ronan is determined to make a good match to save her family's position. But when she falls for a handsome rogue on the voyage over, her lofty plans are imperiled by her desires.

Meanwhile, Isabelle of Orleans, daughter of the displaced French royal family, finds herself cast aside by Leopold, heir to the Prussian crown, in favor of a political marriage to Marie-Victoria. Isabelle arrives in the city bent on reclaiming what is hers. But Marie doesn't even want Leopold-she has lost her heart to a boy the future queen would never be allowed to marry.

When Marie comes to Aelwyn, desperate to escape a life without love, the girls form a perilous plan that endangers not only the entire kingdom but the fate of the monarchy.

The Ring & the Crown is written by Melissa De La Cruz who also wrote Blue Bloods series. Blue Bloods was about being daring and breaking the boundaries, this book not quite so much. The book had some of the best worldbuilding I’ve seen with the alternate history plus magic in a royalty pseudo Victorian season with multiple narrators. This book had the best ma (see this post by Laini Taylor), that I have seen in a long time. The tension built up perfectly right to an ending that felt rushed and unplanned.  Just before the ending everything felt apart into pieces you had to collect.

The characters were very clichĂ©d. You could see the same reflections of Blue Blood characters. However, you still felt invested in who they are and which their emotions were very real and they became your friends. The novel with its unoutlined ending didn’t do these characters justice as you watched De La Cruz just play with them in an unfair way. This was one of the first books with multiple narrators that I felt was very simple to follow. Each character from Wolf, the bad boy, to Princess Marie Victoria, the sickly weak child who can’t do anything, had a special voice that was entirely distinctive to them.  I loved the ways the characters were portrayed till the end when the plot fell apart.

The design and layout of this book was beautiful. I felt that the type font reflected it the oldness just right with all of the elegance and royal air needed. You can also see the awesome cover above with a girl with a flower headdress. The parts also this awesome marbled effect with hidden pieces of the puzzle like a sword and crown.  I liked that at least the people who were designing the book paid attention to it like it was their little precious baby.

The Ring & the Crown was a book I was looking forward to with all my heart, I wanted to see what Melissa had in store after the Blue Blood novels, but all I got was a big slap in the face. I appreciated the building of characters and an original world, but what carries the book is always the plot. I think we can all take a lesson from this remembering that no matter how good a book’s beginning is we can still feel let down by the end and ultimately regard the book with disappointment about what could’ve been. Rating: ««

Friday, May 16, 2014

Review Dear Killer

Dear Killer by Katherine Ewell Goodreads |Amazon

Published by Katherine Tegen Book April 1, 2014

368 Pages

Stand Alone

Source: New Teen Shelf Library- serendipity

Bookologists Analysis: This book is debatable to the point of extreme. Is it okay to read a book that questions the very idea of morals, the foundation of right and wrong in society? ( has great surveys/studies about morals and how you compare to liberals/conservatives and male/female) The idea of killing people as not a necessity or enjoyment, but as a habit and way of life is something to think about and ponder.

Full of "can't look away" moments, Dear Killer is a psychological thriller perfect for fans of gritty realistic fiction such as Dan Wells's I Am Not a Serial Killer and Jay Asher's 13 Reasons Why, as well as television's Dexter.

Rule One: Nothing is right, nothing is wrong. Kit looks like your average seventeen-year-old high school student, but she has a secret: she's London's notorious "Perfect Killer." She chooses who to murder based on letters left in a secret mailbox, and she's good—no, perfect—at what she does.

Her moral nihilism—the fact that she doesn't believe in right and wrong—makes being a serial killer a whole lot easier . . . until she breaks her own rules by befriending someone she's supposed to murder as well as the detective in charge of the Perfect Killer case.

As New York Times bestselling author of the Gone series Michael Grant says, Dear Killer is "shocking, mesmerizing, and very smart."

This book takes an awfully long time to digest as a novel. The line it blurs really digs into your soul. The way you think is perplexed like  trying to understand a spider web. Moral defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary is of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior: ETHICAL; expressing or teaching a conception of right behavior; conforming to a standard of right behavior”. I do believe that the idea that morals change from culture to culture. In Muslim cultures women are supposed to clothe themselves fully yet in the Western culture skinny dipping is almost perfectly accepted (I’ve personally never done it). The way we know right and wrong is opinioned, and Kit tries to understand the difference between opinion and right.

This is not an action thriller. The books itself is passive aggressive going in between the killing and the emotional ups and downs. You don’t know what Kit is going to do with her life. She goes back and forth between cold hearted serial killer and wavering teenage girl who is trying to find her way through the world. Kit finds murder an almost holy calling so that people don’t become too comfortable in their little worlds. This way people are always on their toes and band together to become closer and value their loved ones. It is true sometimes that we need a reminder to think about people we take for granted and assume are always going to be there. This book as it plays with your emotions finds a way to unravel your thinking process to put it back together. It leaves you wondering whether or whether you yourself actually believe the right thing. The ending is quiet, but not unexpected as you do know that books are about change not just chronicling boring predictable events.

The surroundings that Kit finds her are much too plain for such an extraordinary girl. London was most definitely the best place to set the book. It’s a large enough city that murders aren’t to suspicious, but are still investigated. The dreariness of London with the overcast sky (oh boy outside my bedroom it looks overcast too) and history add an air of finesse that can’t be accomplished anywhere else.

This book was a quiet stalker. It’s going to haunt me for a while; I’m going to have to build my world up from the ground up trying to comprehend what just happened. You don’t read this book for the sake of finding of a good entertaining story, but for the reason of finding a book that makes you question certain things. Thinking beyond the book, but also how it applies to your own life.  Rating: «««««

Monday, May 12, 2014

Book Covers And Consequences

We all know that we are drawn to books for different reasons: synopsis, character, recommendation, book covers, etc. We as, humans have this unearthly draw to illustrations and art.That is why book covers have so much put into them and are marketed so extensively.  Let's talk about what happens when book covers decide to be embarrassing or creepy (in no particular order):

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Problem: There is a half naked guy on the cover with strange tattoos and light pouring out of him. Besides the fact that there also happens to be the New York skyline just resting at the bottom.
What It Does: You are too embarrassed to read the book in front of other people who will comment on the "mature" cover of the book.

Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor
Problem: The cover has a picture of person with very elaborate eye shadow and a black and white picture of a girl on the front. (Out of all the American covers of the Daughter of Smoke & Bone Trilogy this cover was my favorite)
What It Does: People comment that you read creepy books which can lead to them thinking you're a creepy stalker (even if you are).

Misss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Problem: There is a levitating girl who looks quite unhappy on a barren and stark background. The cover often marks this book down as horror, but the opposite is more often true.
What It Does: People think you are reading a twentieth century horror book and comment on how their mother won't let them read it because it is too scary for them and how they agree with their mother.

All of the "What It Does" have happened to me or one of my close friends. I love all of the books above and personally think (besides City of Bones) that the covers are beautifully done. If you feel that you can't read the book because of the cover I recommend you get a Book Sox and cover up the cover. You can claim that you are trying to protect the book from harm. What books give you problems because of the cover?

Friday, May 9, 2014

Infographic: Movie vs Book Vampire Academy

I promised a infographic for you guys. This is it a hash of an infographic and movie review I promised. The graphics look terrible, sorry this is my first infographic and it took me about and an hour and a half to two hours *wipes brow*. Hope you like it!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Review The Morning Star

The Morning Star by Robin Bridges Goodreads | Amazon

Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers August 2013

288 Pages

Last (Third) Book in Katerina Trilogy- The Gathering Storm #1, The Unfailing Light #2

Source: Library, read the beginning of trilogy

Bookologist Analysis: Trilogies are a series of three books. They are very common because of the idea of a set beginning, middle, and end. A trilogy could be thought of as a large book.  The Morning Star was the last book in the trilogy. It was the ending of a world of intrigue of Russian fantasy. The spinning tale came to an end with a soft quiet thud.

St. Petersburg, Russia, 1890

Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, wants to be known as a doctor, not a necromancer. But Tsar Alexander III forbids women to attend medical school; his interest in Katerina extends only to her ability to raise the dead. Twice now, Katerina has helped him by using her power to thwart the forces of darkness—vampires bent on resurrecting the lich tsar Konstantin Pavlovich so that he can take what he sees as his rightful place on the throne. Katerina thought she had bound Konstantin to the Greylands, the realm of the dead, but he has found a way out. Now he is searching for the Morning Star, a sword that will allow him to command a legion of supernatural warriors.

Katerina must find the sword before Konstantin does—and she must travel to Egypt to do so. Along the way, she puts up with unwanted attention from her former fiancĂ©, the nefarious Prince Danilo, and struggles with her feelings for her true love, George Alexandrovich. But with the looming threat from Konstantin, Katerina's focus remains on the sword. Russia's fate will be determined by whoever wields the Morning Star—and delivers the final blow.

The trilogy can be summed up in one word: improvement. The book itself progressed from beginning to end becoming more in depth. Throughout the trilogy I felt the writing become more improved, as in the beginning it was more self-publishing style. Now, it feels like a properly edited book and plot. The complexity of Katerina is now not just her power, but also her entire circle from the tsar to her maid. The circle of people surrounding Katerina also considerably grew from just her parents and her brother and now is Dark and Light Court fae as well. 

There is the constant problem of Konstantin that was dragged out a little with the whole lich tsar. I felt after the first book the worldbuilding went a little downhill. This book was more of a sum up without its individual plot; it was that the book felt a little wonky and was just the final conclusion rather than a book in its own right.  The characters were the definition of grandeur and opulence, but they went down in pathetic ways. They made a big footstep, but left on the quiet wings of a sparrow. 

The traveling component was quite perplexing. Traveling in the Imperial Russian time period is nothing is that I have ever read. You learn the anonymity of travel in those days without the entire hassle of official documents ad Interpol. Overall the plot wasn’t what made this book memorable it was the interweaving of all of the characters, fantasy, and historical fiction.

The Katerina Trilogy when first picked up was something that I expected bit more from. I though our heroine Katerina would be a bit more decisive and cut throat, but we ended with more of a timid moral questioning girl. The final ending lacked grandeur and was a bit anticlimactic however. The books did improve as the trilogy continued, but ultimately I wouldn’t recommend for someone to start the trilogy, but once you start you must finish it. My Rating:«««

Saturday, May 3, 2014

April in Review



Review Posts in April (links to review 4):
Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor «««««
The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges «««« ¼
Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson «««

Room by Book Posts in April (links to post 3):
Tsarina by J. Nelle Patrick
Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson 
Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor

Other Posts (link to post):
Sorry (procrastination) 
YEAHH Review System
Fairytale Survey

Books I Read But Did Not Review (link to Goodreads):
What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets by Peter Menzel & Faith D'Aluisio «««««
The Unfailing Light by Robin Bridges (#2 in Katerina Trilogy) ««««1/2
The Morning Star by Robin Bridges (#3 in Katerina Trilogy) will schedule review soon

Books I Reread (link to Goodreads):
Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo (#1 in Grisha Trilogy)

What Happened This Month:
- I made a big change in the background and layout of my reviews
-The blog got a makeover- it's now mountains, rain, and gray (I do like it a lot more)
-I did some programming (thank you to blogs who put up their html for others to play with) and have scroll down bar
-I updated my About & Policy (page)

I will in May:
-finally get Vampire Academy review posted
-try my hand at an infographic (I might or might not post)
-try to post at least 10 posts a month
-do a blog roll

Books going to be read in May: