Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Books On My Fall TBR List



Books On My Fall TBR List

Ah, Fall, that crisp feel in the air. Drinking hot coffee with your Snuggie on and a good read. Catching a few pages between down-time at a football game. Great time of year!

(Released this Fall)


The Cautious Maiden by Dawn Crandall - If you lurk on my blog very often, you know that I love historical romance. This author comes highly recommend to me in the inspiration genre! I hear she's very suspenseful.

A Royal Christmas Wedding (Royal Wedding Series) by Rachel Hauck - I heart this series so much. So glad Hauck is continuing the series with the little sister from the first book, Once Upon A Prince.

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher - After seeing her in person at Dragon*Con, Oshie and I refer to Carrie Fisher as "Aunt Carrie." I feel like I've been waiting all year for this book. A must for any Star Wars fan.

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen - Let's hear it for the boss! I've enjoyed his music for years. Nowadays, I also dance and exercise to his songs. My favorites are "Born to Run" and "Cover Me."


(From my Neverending TBR pile)

An Ember In the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir - I really, really need to read this book! Sabaa Tahir was at the Decatur Book Festival. Unfortunately, Oshie and I couldn't make the early afternoon panel. However, I saw the amazingly long autograph line! Clearly, people love her work.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo - Although I'm not big on criminal heist stories, this one comes so highly recommended. I have to check it out and see.

The Huntress Of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson - They say September is a good time to re-set resolutions. I need to read all the great books I got for Christmas last year! Love the Katinss/female Robin Hood cover.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner - Although I'm aware that there's two movies of this now, I need to catch up on the YA dystopian genre. I recently found a copy at a used bookstore.

Updraft by Fran Wilde - Another Christmas gift that needs reading before I ask for "more" wishlist books. Also, another author we discovered at last year's Decatur Book Festival.

Manga Classics: Sense & Sensibility - Personally, I can't believe I haven't read this yet! Just been busy. Hope to remedy this situation soon.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

My Best Audio Listens


My Best Audio Listens

So many books, so little time! Thank goodness for audiobooks, nifty life-hack to cross a few off the ole TBR pile while traveling and cleaning house.


The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay - After reading first two books I HAD to share with Oshie. Since he had limited time in medical school, I downloaded them from Audible, and we had a great time listening to them on the road. So much so, we cooked up excuses to drive somewhere.

Outlander - It's a juggernaut of a book. To be honest, although it came highly recommended, I was intimidated to attempt to read it. Very glad I downloaded the audiobook! Davina Porter's voice is perfect for the series.

Harry Potter: Prisoner Of Azkaban - I'm already biased for this book, cause I love time-travel. Prior to the release of the "Goblet of Fire" movie, I listened to books 1-4 to refresh my memory.

The Secret Garden - In elementary school, this was my first audiobook! I was already in love with the 1993 movie. Listening to the story cemented my fascination with the Victorian era.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - I listened to this one on a college bus trip. Good way to pass the boring miles. LibriVox now has a smartphone app, no more downloading the whole book on your phone, tablet, or computer.

Rebecca - Thank you, Audible, for having great deals on classic lit! I enjoyed this underrated, gripping classic. Sometimes a good sale is a great way to discover an unfamiliar gem.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

My Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Books Of The Fantasy Genre


Alright, time to geek out! Sign as found on Etsy via Pinterest. Too cool, I need my own!


The Last Unicorn - I guess this was the movie that started it all for me. Later, in high school, I finally tracked down the book and found even more to love. Today, it's also an awesome and beautifully done graphic novel.

The Neverending Story - Ditto for this movie. LOVED it as a kid. Luckily, I found a copy of it at school book fair and completely devoured the story.

The Once and Future King - As if I couldn't love King Arthur more, we read this in high school. Be still my heart. Knights. Quests. Too romantic.

Harry Potter - Wow, what can I say? I knew after reading the first chapter, it was going to be a great adventure. One I should have read years earlier.

The Fellowship of the Rings - Again, I should have listened to Oshie and read this sooner! Tolkien was a word-smith genius and very witty. I want to name our son after Aragorn's character...not sure if Oshie will let me though...

The Book of Three - Yeah, really sensing a see-the-movie-read-the-book theme from myself. I wanted to watch the Disney cartoon for YEARS. Thankfully, they finally, finally let it out of the vault and I enjoyed it so much I read half the series.

Howl's Moving Castle - Is a wonderful all-engrossing fantasy with a unique character perspective. It was one of my best reads of all time. I had to share it with Oshie as soon as I was done. It's too good not to share!

A Wizard of Earthsea - Read this in 2012, and it was a breath of fresh air. Sparrowhawk is one of the most intriguing fantasy characters I've met in a long time.

The Two Princess of Bamarre - I can't believe it's been over a dozen years since I read this...but I remember it being heavy on the girl power. Levine can do no wrong in my opinion.

Wildwood Dancing - I feel like I just mentioned this in my last TTT..oh well, it's too cool not to mention again. Also heavy on the girl power, air of mystery, suspense, romance. A great read!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Decatur Book Festival 2016


Decatur Book Festival 2016

Our attendance at the DBF2016 came down to the wire again! Unfortunately, with residency, Oshie usually has to work holidays. But, luckily, we managed to make it Sunday afternoon.



Our main draw was the Urban Fantasy Panel with Victoria Schwab (This Savage Song) and Zoraida Cordova (Labyrinth Lost).



Oshie and I know Victoria Schwab best for The Shades of Magic series (Darker Shade of MagicA Gathering of Shadows). We both enjoy Kell's character. I've also read Vicious, a very intense adult scifi/fantasy, which came highly recommended.

Sadly, I wasn't familiar with Zoraida Cordova, cause I am so behind on everything lately. However, currently adding her work to my TBR pile. She writes both YA and New Adult (omg, I can't believe her dad reads her work!).

It was a fun panel with tons of good questions (me, I never know what to say). The authors shared stories from their high school and college days, tips for aspiring writes (chocolate, noise apps, workshops), and even mentioned the Internet's fav book site, Goodreads (home sweet home).

Interestingly, Victoria Schwab, who also uses the pen name, V.E. Schwab, shared that female scifi fans often tell her they're glad they didn't know she was a female author; cause they don't read female scifi authors. This really horrified me. Um, what year is it? There's enough sexism without ladies judging other ladies. Wow.


Anyways, afterwards we walked around and checked out all the cool merch. A DBF t-shirt is a must! It's a cool conversation starter, good way to promote the festival, and pairs nicely with leggings. You can even experience the joys of printing your own shirt, making it very hands on.


Aww, I wanted all these! Didn't have room in the car :(


My fav booth was an antique bookseller. Oshie and I are big "old" book nerds. I typically collect classics and old children's books, while Oshie loves dog-eared copies of LOTR and Dune. Here I found a copy of Star Wars to feed my fangirl frenzy.


All shopped out, we ended up at the Food & Cooking stage. I've been meaning to check this stage out for a while, and finally made good on the idea this year. We listened to Rien Fertel read from his book, The One True Barbecue, which chronicles the uniquely southern art of whole hog--America's original barbecue. As former, rural, Southern kids, we appreciated his experiences with the brewhaha between different types of BBQ.


My "take homes" were slim this year. I really had to rein myself in to save money and prepare for our next move. Couldn't resist Medieval Romances and Japanese Tales and Legends though.

Here's to looking forward to DBF2017! Hopefully we'll have more free time in the future.

If you ever have the chance to go, I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Books I wish would be tv shows (2016)


Books I wish would be TV shows (2016)

I've done this same topic in the past, but it's beyond time for an update ;)


The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci - Summary: "When transfer student Jane is forced to move from the confines of Metro City to Suburbia, she thinks her life is over. But there is the lunch room at the reject table she finds her tribe: three other girls named Jane. Main Jane encourages them to form a secret art gang and paint the town P.L.A.I.N. - People Loving Art In Neighborhoods. But can art attacks really save the hell that is high school?"

My thoughts: Anyone for a Daria-esque/My-So-Called-Life group of Janes using art Banksy style? I love the concept of this series. Arty girl power!


Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier - Summary: "High in the Transylvanian woods, at the castle Piscul Draculi, live five daughters and their doting father. It's an idyllic life for Jena, the second eldest, who spends her time exploring the mysterious forest with her constant companion, a most unusual frog. But best by far is the castle's hidden portal, known only to the sisters. Every Full Moon, they alone can pass through it into the enchanted world of the Other Kingdom. There they dance through the night with the fey creatures of this magical realm.

But their peace is shattered when Father falls ill and must go to the southern parts to recover, for that is when cousin Cezar arrives. Though he's there to help the girls survive the brutal winter, Jena suspects he has darker motives in store. Meanwhile, Jena's sister has fallen in love with a dangerous creature of the Other Kingdom--an impossible union it's up to Jena to stop."

My thoughts: With the popularity of fantasy shows involving fairy tales and star-crossed loves, I feel this book would be a great fit. YA romantic, mysterious, and great imagery.


The Chronicles of Prydain (The Black Cauldron) - Summary: "Taran wanted to be a hero, and looking after a pig wasn't exactly heroic, even though Hen Wen was an oracular pig. But the day that Hen Wen vanished, Taran was led into an enchanting and perilous world. With his band of followers, he confronted the Horned King and his terrible Cauldron-Born. These were the forces of evil, and only Hen Wen knew the secret of keeping the kingdom of Prydain safe from them. But who would find her first?"

My thoughts: This series is an unrated children's classic. If you enjoy LOTR, Zelda, or the like, it's a very cool. And, in my memory, also pretty funny.


Pusheen the Cat Summary: "Who is Pusheen? This collection of oh-so-cute kitty comics—featuring the chubby, tubby tabby who has taken the Internet by storm. Pusheen is a pleasantly plump cat who has warmed hearts and tickled funny bones of millions worldwide with her signature GIF animated bops, bounces, and tail wiggles."

My thoughts: Move over Garfield, this cat is adorable! I'd love to see an animated Pusheen series! Guaranteed to brighten your day.



The Princess DiariesSummary: "She's just a New York City girl living with her artist mom…NEWS FLASH: Dad is prince of Genovia. (So that's why a limo meets her at the airport!) DOWNER: Dad can't have any more kids. (So there's no heir to the throne.) SHOCK OF THE CENTURY: Like it or not, Mia Thermopolis is prime princess material. THE WORST PART: Mia must take princess lessons from her dreaded grandmère, the dowager princess of Genovia, who thinks Mia has a thing or two to learn before she steps up to the throne. Well, her father can lecture her until he's royal–blue in the face about her princessly duty—no way is she moving to Genovia and leaving Manhattan behind. But what's a girl to do when her name is PRINCESS AMELIA MIGNONETTE GRIMALDI THERMOPOLIS RENALDO?"

My thoughts: Yes, it already has movies, but the series itself is so different! It'd be a sweet on-going tv show covering all of Mia's hijink drama. Like Gossip Girl, but younger and clean.





Star Wars & Darth VaderSummary: "Luke Skywalker and the ragtag rebel band opposing the Galactic Empire are fresh off their biggest victory yet - the destruction of the massive Death Star. But the Empire's not toppled yet! Join Luke, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, C-3PO, R2-D2 and the rest of the Rebel Alliance as they fi ght for freedom against the evil of Darth Vader and his master, the Emperor! But when a Rebel assault goes very wrong, Han and Leia will have to think fast to make their escape...while Luke finds himself face-to-face with Darth Vader! In the explosive aftermath, a humbled Luke returns to Tatooine to learn more about his mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi. Meanwhile, Leia and Han undertake a vital - and dangerous -secret mission...but can they succeed without Luke?"

My thoughts: For me, the new canon comics are almost as thrilling as watching Episodes 4-7. Although the art is already awesome, I'd love to see it move!


Outrageous Women series -
 Summary: "Some were feisty and fiery. Others were cool and dangerous. All were incredibly courageous. Outrageous Women of The Middle Ages took on the challenge of their world--and didn't worry about ruffling a few feathers. "

My thoughts: I love history, but there's not enough HERstory on tv. Outrageous Women is an informative series of books. I only wish someone fun (I dunno Tina Fey, Amy Schumer) would cover the wild and crazy ladies of the past.


The Prisoner of ZendaSummary: "Anthony Hope's swashbuckling romance transports his English gentleman hero, Rudolf Rassendyll, from a comfortable life in London to fast-moving adventures in Ruritania, a mythical land steeped in political intrigue. Rassendyll bears a striking resemblance to Rudolf Elphberg who is about to be crowned King of Ruritania. When the rival to the throne, Black Michael of Strelsau, attempts to seize power by imprisoning Elphberg in the Castle of Zenda, Rassendyll is obliged to impersonate the King to uphold the rightful sovereignty and ensure political stability. Rassendyll endures a trial of strength in his encounters with the notorious Rupert of Hentzau, and a test of a different sort as he grows to love the Princess Flavia."

My thoughts: This is so old school, but I enjoyed reading it. Too bad there's not a good, current, BBC level modern adaption of it.



You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) - Summary: "From online entertainment mogul, actress, and “queen of the geeks” Felicia Day, a funny, quirky, and inspiring memoir about her unusual upbringing, her rise to Internet-stardom, and embracing her individuality to find success in Hollywood. The Internet isn’t all cat videos. There’s also Felicia Day—violinist, filmmaker, Internet entrepreneur, compulsive gamer, hoagie specialist, and former lonely homeschooled girl who overcame her isolated childhood to become the ruler of a new world... or at least semi-influential in the world of Internet Geeks and Goodreads book clubs. After growing up in the south where she was "home-schooled for hippie reasons", Felicia moved to Hollywood to pursue her dream of becoming an actress and was immediately typecast as a crazy cat-lady secretary. But Felicia’s misadventures in Hollywood led her to produce her own web series, own her own production company, and become an Internet star."

My thoughts: I identify with Felicia so much. Throughout the whole book I was thinking, me, too, Felicia! I wish she had her own daytime talk show. She's like my geek lady Oprah.


Prequel/Young Order of the Phoenix seriesMy thoughts: Since we're fresh off The Cursed Child, I'm craving more of the Potter universe. Magical Beasts looks fun, but deep down, I wish there was a young Order of the Phoenix series covering the dramatic history between Lily, Snape, and James in great detail. I wouldn't miss an episode!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Books That Make Me Nolgastic For Back To School



Books That Make Me Nolgastic For Back To School


Harry Potter - Really captures the whole school experience. Especially, going back to school, the thrill of getting all the new supplies and catching up with friends you haven't seen in months.

The Princess Diaries - Although I didn't write in a physical journal at school, I did rush to the computer as often as I could to update my former livejournal account, Mia style. I could be seen reading and re-reading this series between class.

Twilight - Regardless if you liked the romance or not, for me, the book took me back to all the lunchroom and parking lot drama that was high school.

Fangirl - Ah, those first college days, when my biggest concerns were how to pass my classes and finish NaNoWriMo in November amidst Thanksgiving break.

Thesaurus - Seeing a thesaurus always makes me think of back-to-school shopping. Nowadays I just google a word searching for synonyms.

How To Draw Manga - Granted, I'm still not good at drawing manga style, but I read a lot of these books to improve my technique. I was always secretly drawing characters in class.

Collected Shakespeare - From middle school onward, my class read a play every year. His work feels synonymous with English class.

Collected Emily Dickinson Poetry - I'll never forgot the first time my friends and I read "I heard a fly buzz when I died" our minds were blown by the slight absurdity. I learned to love it though. Still takes me back.

Goosebumps series - Anytime I see a Goosebumps title, be it in a bookstore or, haha, an antique store, I remember how popular they were during my elementary school days.

Choose Your Own Adventure series - Ditto with this series! Before smartphones and Gameboy DS was allowed at school, this was the only way I was having an adventure in class.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Review: Jane Austen Coloring Book (Manga Classics)

Jane Austen Coloring Book (Manga Classics)

by Jane Austen (Author), Erik Ko (Editor)


Paperback: 98 pages
Publisher: Udon Entertainment; Clr Csm edition (April 5, 2016)
ISBN-13: 978-1927925782

Summary: (From Amazon) "Manga Classics proudly presents our first coloring book collection of artwork from our critically acclaimed manga adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Sense and Sensibility. Relive some of the best moments from your favorite Austen stories with our Manga Classics Jane Austen Coloring Book.
Inside this wonderful coloring book you’ll discover over 40 beautifully illustrated pages featuring: Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet, and others from Pride and Prejudice. For fans of Emma, there is our heroine Emma Woodhouse as well as Jane Fairfax, Mr. Frank Churchill, and George Knightley. We also include the Dashwood sisters Elinor and Marianne along with Edward Ferrars and John Willoughby- all from Sense and Sensibility."

Vonze: 4 out of 5

My Thoughts: I really wanted to get this up for a Jane-in-June or Jane-In-July!...but needless to say, with NaNoWriMo and travel, it didn't happen. =(

Anyhow, I love this coloring book! Granted, I'm super biased for it, being both a fangirl for Jane Austen and manga. Add my love of art, and the fact I do find coloring to be relaxing, and yeah, it's perfect for me. The manga style makes me feel nolgastic for Sailor Moon and the Little Women anime from the 80s.

 (My work in progress...) My favorite pages, if you couldn't guess, are the ones with Elizabeth and Darcy.

Although I am enjoying it, my one complaint is the book greatly lacks pivotal and/or romantic scenes from the novels.

You get a lot of pretty pages with characters, several with Elinor and Marianne, but not a lot of pages from the actual story. It's almost like the coloring book itself is spoiler free. You could color the whole thing, without ever having read Austen and you still wouldn't know the plot.

Which, granted, would work out well if you haven't read one of the novels. But, as a fan, I'd assume you'd want to color the most dramatic moments.

So, that's the reason I'd give it 4 out of 5 stars. Otherwise, it's very lovely and detailed. Lots of flowers and small areas that require careful detailing. It would make a good gift for the Austen fan who has everything.

Aside from the pages, I also love the bookmarks in the back! I'm planning to make copies of the bookmark pages, color them, and turn them into laminated bookmarks. I always need more bookmarks in my life.


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