Friday, October 31, 2014

Why I love Rick Riordan

If it wasn't obviously from my blog Stop Telling People What To Read, I'm a pretty big fan of Rick Riordan. However, sometimes I do feel weird being a 24-year old reading these books that were intended for 12-year olds. Then I ask myself, "Why do I care about that?" Does it matter that I enjoy these epic adventure novels that Riordan writes even though I am not the intended demographic? No it doesn't, because as soon as I read his novels I am reminded why I love his work. So here are just a few reasons why I love Rick Riordan and why I think you should too!

He is the King of Twitter Sass

Before I can even begin to talk about his writing, if you are not following Riordan on Twitter please do so now. The dude is too funny and you can really see that the humor he puts into his writing is genuine. He also recently talked smack on how awful the movie version of Percy Jackson is. I love that he reminds people that sometimes the author has no control over what producers do in book-to-movie adaptations.

His writing is genuinely Funny

I love the sort of exasperated, sarcastic humor he uses with both Percy Jackson and Sadie Kane. I just finished the Red Pyramid and Sadie might be my favorite character he has ever written. Her sass level gives me life, and I really felt like I have connected the most with her character over any other character that Riordan has brought to life.

The thing I love the most about the humor he uses is the chapter titles. I mean come on they are so funny!


One thing I really love about Riordan's work is the diversity of characters. I read Percy Jackson first, so I can't really recall a lot of it, but I don't think the cast of characters were as diverse as they could have been, but when I read the Heroes of Olympus I saw a shift in Riordan's writing. Not only is that series written in multiple perspective, but from a cast of very different characters.

I'm late to the game with the Kane Chronicles, but before reading it I had no idea that Carter and Sadie Kane were mixed race. I think it is really important for there to be more representation for people of color in Juvenile and Young Adult Fiction, and I think Riordan does a good job at it.

Are you a fan of Rick Riordan? Let me know why you like his books in the comments below.

Happy Reads Everyone!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I would totally want to be for halloween

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is two different options, so I went with the top ten characters I would want to be for Halloween. Mostly because I don't think I've read too many books to get me into the Halloween Spirit. So in no particular order here are my choices!

  1. Katniss Everdeen-The Hunger Games. I actually was Katniss a few years ago. I bought the mockingjay prop pin to make it obvious and I actually made it into a necklace that I wear regularly. 
  2. Cassel Sharpe-The Curse Workers Series. Alright I love Cassel, so either I'd dress up as a dude or genderbend his character. Either way, he would be a nice choice.
  3. Arya Stark-A Song of Ice and Fire. Hell yeah I would be Arya. She kicks butt!
  4. Artemis-Greek Mythology. Mythology counts as books right? Last year I was Artemis the goddess of the hunt. Probably one of the easier costumes I have made too.
  5. Mia Thermoplis-The Princess Diaries. HOW HAVE I NEVER BEEN PRINCESS MIA BEFORE? 
  6. Annabeth Chase-Percy Jackson Series. Who runs the world? Smart girls, and Annabeth is one of the best. This would be a simple one, I would just need a blonde wig!
  7. Ava Lavender- The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender.  Ava is a girl who is born with wings, so this would be a complex costume. The other problem is that everyone would just think I was a fairy. 
  8. Deryn Sharp-Leviathan Series. I think Deryn is the reason why I was contemplating dressing up as Amelia Earhart. I need to read some more steampunk novels.
  9. Lisbeth Salander-Millenium Series. I don't know if I could pull her look off, but Lisbeth is an awesome idea.
  10. Scout Finch-To Kill a Mockingbird. Not just Scout Finch, but Scout Finch dressed up like a ham. Book worms would get it, but it might be annoying when people keep asking me why I like ham so much. 
What book characters do you want to dress up like? Let me know in the comments below!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Stop telling people what to read!

Fair warning, this blog is going to be a rant!

I really don't understand why people keep getting up on their high horse to tell people what they should or should not read. First it was with that recent Slate article telling adults that they should be ashamed for reading YA fiction. I had a lot of thoughts about that one, but none that I felt were appropriate to post, so I held my tongue. But then I heard about "The Percy Jackson Problem" and I can't hold my tongue.

My first reaction to both of these articles is, "Why the hell do you care what other people read?" No seriously, how does it affect your life if an adult wants to read YA fiction, or if a child wants to read books that reimagine the ancient myths? Why do you have to butt yourself in and try to make people feel shame for reading what they love? That is why these articles piss me off so much. 

Who cares if a kid isn't reading the classics? Maybe they just really like epic adventure series like the ones that Rick Riordan writes. I hate this idea of shaming people about reading what they love, whether that be reading YA, romance novels, comics etc. I don't like the idea of you telling someone that they shouldn't read a certain genre because you think it's beneath you. I feel like when you are shaming a person for something they love especially when it comes to books, then you will drive that person away from the love of reading. With kids, this is especially true.

The basic argument in this new essay is saying that Riordan's work could potentially lead kids away from reading classics, and towards books like The Percy Jackson series. Um..why do you care? And why is that exactly a problem? If it's enticing kids to continue to read books that they love, I don't think that's a problem at all. With all the technology driving kids away from the written word, why would you want to tell them the books they love are the wrong books to read? 

All these debates in the literature community have started to really annoy me, and I think we need to stop telling everyone what they can and can not read. No two people will read the same book, so I think it's really unfair to say a certain group of people should not read a certain genre or series. 

Where do you stand on the "Percy Jackson Problem" and the debate that adults shouldn't read YA fiction? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Reads Everyone!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Help! I'm drowning in my TBR list!

So yesterday I tweeted about how I think I spend more time on Good Reads reading and adding books to my TBR shelf than actually reading said books. I think I have a problem. Is there any sort of Good Reads rehab? Because I might need it. 

I was starting to feel good about my TBR list because this year I've been trying to do a lot of the reading challenges that the Young Adult Book Club group I'm in hosts. I like doing them because I can plan accordingly and shave off my list by fitting books on my list into the categories. I was doing so well, I had even shaved my list down to 80 books. Partly from reading them, and partly from having one of my friends say, "Hey I read X book, don't read it, it's terrible." Seriously you have no idea how good it is to have a friend who knows your reading tastes to be able to tell you that. Seriously find one like that, because it's awesome. 

So what happened to make my list go from 80 back to 108? I like to blame Good Reads for continuing to entice me with their recommendations. That is partly the reason. I also want to blame Epic Reads for continuing to make these awesome infographics. I totally looked at the 25 YA Books for Game of Thrones Fans again and just added all of them. 

Epic Reads also just put out a new infographic of a timeline for historical fiction in YA. If you printed it out it would be 8 ft long. I've really only read 3 of the books on the list, so I had to say to myself, "Deanna, don't you dare, you have 108 books yet to read. You will die before you read all of these books." 
Click through the link above for a bigger version

It's not really Epic Reads fault that they are so awesome. I just have a problem.
It's my fault really, I just can't help myself when it comes to books. I just want to read them all! Does anyone else have this problem? How do you cope with your massively long TBR list? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Reads Everyone!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Book Review: Hollow City

The thing I love about Ransom Riggs' series is that he began it by collecting a series of strange photographs and ended up finding his story there. What an awesome idea! I love that because you see the photographs throughout the novel, so it gives it a mass media appeal.

It feels like it has been a million years since I read the first novel Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, so reading Hollow City a few years later was a bit tough. However, once I started getting into it everything started coming back to me. I think the sequel is on par with the first novel, and I really liked it.

There were only a few things I didn't like about the novel. One being Enoch, that boy was such an annoying pessimist the entire novel that I wanted Bronwyn to just squeeze him to death. The other part I didn't like about the novel was actually something that never actually happens. I can't really explain what this was without giving away a really big plot twist. So no spoilers on this one! Basically you think the novel is going to end a certain way and then it doesn't. Which I was really glad about because if it had ended the way I thought it was going to, I didn't know how there was going to be a third installment.

All in all, I really enjoy Riggs writing style, and I love the use of the two mediums to tell a story. I think it's interactive and gets the reader interested. I'm giving this one a 8.5 out of 10. Go read it now!

Have you read Hollow City? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Reads Everyone!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten New Series I Want To Start

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and Bookish. This week's topic is the Top Ten New Series you want to start. I'm going to be cheating a little because a few of these I've started but have yet to finish. Can I still do that? Also, because some of these have definitely not been published within the last year or two.

So in no particular order, here they are!

1. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld. I recently read the first book in this series and I loved it. I'm excited to start Behemoth but I am holding off for now because I've dropped mad hints to the boyfriend to get the rest of the series for me for Christmas.

2. Kane Chronicles By Rick Riordan. I have only read the first chapter in the Red Pyramid, so I have very nearly started this series. I love Riordan's Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series. The thing I really love about him is that he includes diversity in his characters, so I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Carter and Sadie Kane are biracial.

3. Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. This series has been on my list FOREVER. Hopefully I'll get to it soon.

4. His Fair Assassin Series by Robin LeFevers.  I read the first book in this series for my book club awhile back, and I really enjoyed it. I just haven't gotten around to reading the second book, and I believe the third book has not yet been released.

5.  Seraphina by Rachel Hartman.  Mathematical dragons? I don't know what that means but it sounds awesome!

6. Delirium by Lauren Oliver. I really like Oliver's Panic and Before I fall, so I'm a little nervous to start her dystopia series. I'm afraid I won't like it and that Oliver will be ruined for me.

7. The Diviners by Libba Bray. 1920s and supernatural themes? Wait a second, was this written by Henry Winchester? Either way I'm in. I've never read any of Bray's books so maybe this series will be my first.

8. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey. I feel like there haven't been too many books lately about alien invasions, so this book peaked my interest. I just bought it from amazon with my boyfriend's birthday gift so I could get free shipping, so hopefully I read it soon!

9. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. This series was recommended to me by Good Reads since I read Leviathan. Female pilots and World War II, count me in.

10. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson. I've heard some very mixed reviews for this series, but I think the concept looks interesting so I want to at least try the first one to see how I feel about it first. Sometimes you have to form your own opinion with books.

I'm pretty sure I could write a list three times as long as this, because my TBR list just keeps getting longer and longer. Can everyone just stop publishing books for like a year so I can catch up?

What are some new series you want to start? Let me know in the comments below!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Book Review: Blood Red Road

When a book is optioned to become a film before being published that's when you know there is a problem with the written word. Sometimes a book is just awful, and maybe it's just in the wrong medium. That's exactly how I felt about Blood Red Road by Moira Young. I read a review that said the major problem at the book's core is that it is a book that is trying too hard to be a movie and I completed agree.

Blood Red Road was touted as a dystopia, but I'm still not even sure if it actually was a dystopia or if it was just set on another world. To me I thought the world building here fell flat, but it was not the main reason that I just could not get into the book. My biggest problems were with the writing style and the inability to connect with the characters.

The book is written in the perspective of our heroine Saba. Saba is isolated and uneducated, and it's pretty clear that she does not know how to read or write early on by how the book is written exactly how she talks. The entire narration is in her perspective and is written with grammatical and spelling mistakes. Some people were annoyed with it at first but soon got used it, I was not one of those people. For me the style seemed gimmicky and it didn't feel real, like it was trying way too hard to show you how uneducated this society was. I loved the concept, but for me I don't think this type of writing style works well on paper, but I think it will transfer really well onto film. So much that I tried to pretend this was a film script rather than a novel to get through it.

So maybe I didn't like the writing style, but sometimes when you like the characters in a book you stick by it because you feel that sort of connection. Nope, not in this one. I really did not care about Saba at all, and the love interest Jack also fell flat for me. The Free Hawks were interesting to the plot, but the individual girls could have been more fleshed out. Literally the only character I liked was Emmi and that was mostly because I felt bad for her because Saba blames everything on her.

So why did I suffer through this book? The plot drug on early in the book that I almost gave up on it, but I had read reviews and knew more interesting things would occur so I wanted to stick it out. The action-packed plot really kept my attention, but this is not a book I would recommend to anyone. I'm giving this a 3 out of 10, I just was not impressed.

What are your thoughts on this novel? Leave me a comment below.

Happy Reads Everyone!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit

So I've noticed a couple other book bloggers have been doing these Top Ten Tuesday blogs hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, so I decided to join in on the fun. I'm not sure if I'm going to do them every week, but I think it's a great way to generate topics to write about.

This week's topic is the top ten places books have made me want to visit. Luckily for me, not all of them have to be real! So here are the top ten places I'd want to visit and the books that have inspired those desires.

1. Hogwarts, Harry Potter Series. I mean who wouldn't want to become a witch or wizard at Hogwarts? Also per the books, Hogwarts is in Scotland, and I do have the urge to visit that country as well. So count me in.

2. Westeros, A Song of Ice and Fire Series. Some people might not want to go to Westeros for fear of dying, because George R. R. Martin loves to kill off the best characters, but I'm confident that I would be a scrappy survivor like Arya Stark. I hope.
3.Narnia, Chronicles of Narnia. Dude, I have a wardrobe in my bedroom but I still haven't found Narnia yet. The winter parts might suck, but I'm up for an adventure.
4. Swish Alps, Leviathan. At the end of Scott Westerfeld's steampunk novel they end up in the isolated Swish Alps. I might die, but at least it would be a cool place to visit. (hahah I'm so punny).
5. Sweden, Millennium Series. The thing I loved about Stieg Larsson's trilogy was that the translation was written so well that you actually got a real life look at Sweden and the culture of that county.
6. Canada, Hockey: A People's History. As a huge hockey fan I've always wanted to go to Canada, but reading about how much the sport defines the country really makes me want to go. Like right now.
7. Wonderland, Alice in Wonderland. Hell yeah I want to eat some mushrooms and grow small and talk to the hookah-smoking caterpillar. Okay, this makes me sound like Hunter S. Thompson, but Wonderland seems like a fun place to visit. Until you meet the Queen of Hearts, but I think I could take her.
8. Lily Dale, The Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney. Lily Dale is a real town in New York that is known for being a hub for mediums, psychics and the supernatural. There's an episode of Supernatural that features it and a ton of spooky/paranormal books that use it as the setting. Suzanne Harper's book was the first time I heard of the town, and it seems like an interesting place to visit.
9. Bixby, The Midnighters Series. Okay, I don't think I really want to visit the actual town of Bixby, but rather I want to see the midnight hour that is featured Scott Westerfeld's book.
10. England, Shades of London Series. Of course I want to visit all of Europe, but England has always been one of my top options. Maureen Johnson's Shades of London Series is just one of the few books I've read that has reminded me of that urge.

Which places have books made you want to visit? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy Reads Everyone!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Why Didn't I read Leviathan Sooner?

I'm a big fan of Scott Westerfeld's work. I adored both the Uglies and Midnighters series, so his Leviathan series was always in the back of my mind. I just was taking my sweet time to actually pick it up. It was awesome! I have no idea why it took me so long to finally read it. I borrowed this book from the library, but I kind of want a copy for myself, because in addition to this awesome map, there are illustrations throughout the novel. It's so freaking cool!

Why didn't I read this book sooner? I really don't have any answer for that, maybe because my TBR pile is so massively big that it just got stuck at the bottom on the list.

The book follows the alternate perspectives of Deryn Sharp, a young woman who disguises herself as a boy to work on the British airship The Leviathan, and Aleksander Ferdinand the "heir" to the Austria-Hungry Empire who is running for his life from the people who killed his parents. (If you know your World History this should not be a spoiler for you). I immediately connected to Deryn, probably because she is a crass foul-mouthed tomboy and is everything I want to be. She's freaking awesome, and you'll see why when you read the novel.

As for Alek, I wasn't too keen on him at first. I thought he was a spoiled brat, no wonder due to his upbringing, but as his journey continues you see that he really is a noble person with a big heart. His warm heart and desire to help others is what ultimately gets him in some trouble. By the end of the novel I had warmed up to him, and I'm excited to see where his journey takes him next.

This book is cool for a lot of other reasons, that I just need to list them off:

  • Alternate World War 1 timeline!
  • The Central Powers are called "The Clankers." They build huge military steam-powered machines that walk across the earth, some look like spiders
  • The Allied Powers are called the "Darwinists." They took Darwin's studies and ran with them. They can take the lifeform (DNA) of any creature to modify and fabricate new "beasties."
  • The Leviathan is a Darwinist fabrication
I don't want to give everything away, because this book is freaking awesome! I'm so mad at myself for not reading it sooner. If you want an action-packed adventure story with a side of bizzaro science, this book is for you! I'm giving it a 8 out of 10.

Did you read this book? What are your thoughts? Leave me a comment below.

Happy Reads Everyone!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Man, do I love the library!

I haven't been blogging at all! I wish I could say it's because I've been busy writing...I mean I was but then I kind of lost my touch, so I needed a break. I've spent the last few weeks binge watching netflix and reading a lot of mediocre books. I kid you not. In fact, I'm actually close to just giving up on a book I'm reading right now and I NEVER do that. So I've been reading a lot lately, and since I need to save more money I've been spending a lot of time at my local library.

I love the Doylestown Library and the entire Bucks County Free Library system. I am a huge fan. One of my earliest memories is of my mother taking my brother and I to the Grundy Library. I remember reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar there, and maybe that's where my love of books and reading started. I'm not really sure, but I can't really remember a time when I didn't know how to read. Reading is great and I think libraries really help to instill that in people. I like to think that it definitely helped me.

During one of my summer breaks in college I couldn't find summer work so I ended up volunteering at the library. I kind of want to do it again, but it's hard with my work schedule and me being back and forth from here and Harrisburg. To make up for that I started donating a small amount to the library per month. The library is probably my favorite place to be. Often I find myself walking through the shelves and thinking, "Why do I work in advertising? I should have been a librarian."

I think my heart belongs to the library, more so than bookstores. Don't get me wrong I love to support local book stores--I mean I keep on throwing money at The Doylestown Bookshop--but I'm also a post-grad in debt so I need to save what little money I have. I'm 24 and still live with my parents, so yeah I do not have the money I want to spend on all the books I keep on buying! So the library is definitely my best friend. There is a quote I keep on seeing on tumblr from Anne Herbert that I think personifies what I mean, "Libraries will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no libraries."

So why do I love my library? Should be pretty obvious at this point:

  • Music/DVD/Video Games, they seem to have everything at the library now!
  • Self-checkout, I used to never use this until recently. Sometimes I still go up to the desk because one time I was waiting for a book on hold and they had it back at the desk, not with the hold pickups, so I was able to get it right when I checked out
  • Holds, they make it really convenient by allowing you to put anything on hold
  • Michener & Mercer museums are right next door, and town shops are within walking distance

Michener Museum Next door

I am sure there are more reasons that I haven't thought of, but if you love reading go support your library today!

What was your most recent library check out? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Reads, Everyone!