Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Top Favorite Books of 2017

Top Favorite Books of 2017

Wow! Is it that time of year again? 2017 was so busy for us and truly flew by with moving and tons of work and events. Between house shopping, unpacking, and creative writing, I managed to discover some really enjoyable reads! Here are my favorites from my reading challenge this year:

By Your Side by Kasie West - Well, if I had to be locked in anywhere it would be a library! This early 2017 read was a sweet, page-turner YA with a surprising amount of serious life issues. If you enjoy YA romance and love The Breakfast Club, you'll adore this breezy read.

The Devil In Spring by Lisa Kleypas - Oh, Pandora, such an unusual name for a unusual, eccentric, wallflower heroine. She was a woot. I liked her as a supporting character in Marrying Winterbone and was excited to read a novel focused on her. Her personality carries the book and makes it worth the read.

Star Wars: Dark Disciple by Christie Golden - An awesome, even romantic Star Wars adventure. At first I was a little concerned, because I'm not completely up to date on the extended universe. But it's such a fun and quick read for anyone who enjoys science fiction!

Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi - Ok, what rock was I under when I missed the original release of this series?? I thought I was done with dystopian. But this one is poetic, a bit paranormal, and intense. I'm so glad I'm caught up and ready for book #4, Restore Me.

Bright Star: Love Letters and Poems of John Keats to Fanny Brawne - Intense, historical feels. A romance for the ages that ended, tragically, too soon. Keats poems are a must. They'll melt your heart and break it, but the journey is beautiful.

The Bird and the Sword (The Bird and the Sword Chronicles #1) by Amy Harmon - A new fantasy favorite for years to come! In a world where magic is outlawed, a girl is cursed not to speak for her own protection. When she's taken prisoner by the king, who may just need some magic to help defeat his paranormal enemies, the plot thickens. Being introverted and socially anxious, I really identified with the heroine and her speaking struggles.

Queen Emeraldas 1 by Leiji Matsumoto - Strong, mysterious space pirate heroine, anyone? Yes, please! I wanna cosplay as Queen Emeraldas. She is the very definition of cool. Kudos to Matsumoto for awesome art and a memorable female character.

Shattered Warrior by Sharon Shinn, Molly Ostertag - This was a happy surprise! After the human race is enslaved by warrior aliens, the heroine, who knew privilege but now toils in a factory, finds herself joining the revolution to free her home world. Secrets. Romance. Fight to save family. I didn't want to put it down.

Leia, Princess of Alderaan (Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi) by Claudia Gray - Leia has been my hero since elementary school. It was exciting to see Claudia's take on her early years, right before she joined the rebellion. I loved learning more about her home planet, parents, and traditions. Also brings up memories of Carrie Fisher, RIP.

The Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke #1) by Tessa Dare - Tessa really knocked the marriage of convenience trope one out of the park for me with this book. By the end I really felt the hero and heroine completed each other. Plus, added bonus, meddling servants, secret identities. Laugh out loud moments.

A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet #1) by Madeleine L'Engle - A classic that I finally picked up this year! Why didn't I read it sooner? Enduring and clearly still influences all the great Childrens and YA lit released today. Check it out before the new movie!

Everyone's a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too by Jomny Sun - So eccentric and whimsical. Perfect. Just perfect for me. Makes a great gift. A little humor for everyone in it. Sure to be a classic and repinned on Pinterest.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Top Ten Characters I'm Thankful For

Top Ten Characters I'm Thankful For

It's not always easy being an eccentric geek lady in the rural South. Books and awesome characters have often been my inspiration, role models, and friends. Here are a few characters that I'm thankful for (but reaaally quick cause I gotta clean house for Thanksgiving).

  1. Jo March - A writer with a short temper. Life imitates art or art imitates life? Also, you don't have to marry the boy next door, even if everyone wants you to do so.
  2. Anne of Green Gables - Keep the imagination going and roll with the mistakes.
  3. Princess Leia - She took charge of her own rescue. How cool is that?
  4. The Unicorn (The Last Unicorn) - There are others like you out there, you're just stuck in the forest.
  5. Princess Mia Thermopolis - Some have greatness thrust upon them, it's ok to need practice.
  6. Hermione - Representing smart girls everywhere who are not afraid to speak up and show it.
  7. Fiver - I would affectionately describe him as the panic attack rabbit. But somehow, he's always made me feel better. Like sometimes you worry and warn others for good reason.
  8. Mrs. Frisby - Mom power! A role model for balancing family and adventure.
  9. Marianne Dashwood - It's cool to be romantic, emotional, and sentimental. Just don't lose sense and sensibility over it.
  10. Atticus Finch - Above all, do what's right.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Top Ten Characters That Creep Us Out (Halloween freebie!)

Top Ten Characters That Creep Us Out 


Bellatrix Lestrange - Mainly cause she's unpredictable. You never know what this crazy woman is going to do!

Mysterious Stranger - Ok, I confess I've never read the short story, however, I once saw a claymation version of Mark Twain's work and it was seriously, very creepy.

President Snow - I love roses, President Snow, not so much.

Supreme Commander Paris Anderson - Ditto, what kind of guy treats his son(s) that way?!

Slappy the Dummy (Goosebumps) - Argh, the Goosebump dummy books were the worse creepy-wise.


Pennywise - He wouldn't see the remake with me. This character started a life-long hate of clowns.

The Pigs from Animal Farm - Control freaks!

The Red Death from the Masque of the Red Death - Classic creepy.

Yawgmoth from Magic the Gathering book - A mad scientist turned monster in a world of magic.

Gollum from Lord of the Rings - 'Cause he probably smells like fish and B.O., ew.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Ten Books That Give Us That Fallish Feeling

Ten Books That Give Us That Fall-ish Feeling


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - My personal favorite in the series about everyone's favorite boy wizard. Expecto Patronum! Stag/deer also very fall-ish critter in the south.

The Watcher In The Woods - Ah, fall leaves, let's go view some in the woods, *plays song:* "I always feel like somebody's is watching me." No, seriously, nowadays the book has a very retro 70s feel, reminding me of simpler times and the fall season of my childhood.

Dracula - The vampire book that really started it all, other fun reads, my fav Halloween costume & decor. Oh, and arguably the best classic monster movie.

Hatchet - Book memories of reading this one fall for a middle school Lit class. The great and wild outdoors and the wilderness expert who lectured us on real life survival.

Sign of the Beaver - Ditto, for this middle school read. I'll always remember the main character describing his clothing as thin as a book page (and it was cold). There's a connection about the outdoors and fall in my mind.

New Moon - This one's mostly book memories of reading this in the fall. Also, the Northwest coast setting seems like it would be crisp and cool and perfect for a fall coat (so different from here!).

A New Coat for Anna - Winter's coming! Wait, wrong catch phrase. Anyways, this is an adorable picture book from my childhood, about acquiring a new coat.


October Country by Ray Bradbury - The title says it all, plus ghost stories!

Howl's Moving Castle - Another magical wizard read. Spells/curses and mentions of bacon.

Tenchi! Muyo! manga series - School memories and the use of bright fall colors.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Top Ten Book Boyfriends

Top Ten Book Boyfriends

Even though I'm an old, happily married woman, I occasionally get book crushes, fictional dudes who remind me a little of my hubby and have me cheering for their best interests and happily-ever-after.

Mr. Darcy from Pride & Prejudice - Ok, that's pretty much a given. Best fictional introvert guy ever.

Atticus from To Kill A Mockingbird - There's something so sweet about a good dad. True hero who sticks up for what's right.

Schmendrick and Prince Lir from The Last Unicorn - I dig the blundering magician and the Prince equally. Both are caring and sweet and patient with their ladies. 

Howl from Howl's Moving Castle - What's not to love about a posh magician that puts a lot of thought into his hair? Makes you feel young?

Aragorn/Strider from The Lord of the Rings - Sooo cool. Brave, righteous warrior. I secretly want to name a baby boy Strider.

Warner from Shatter Me - Argh, I rooted for something good to happen to him so desperately. He needed love!

Kylo Ren/Ben Solo from SW comics/books (novelization and brief mentions) - Ah, help me, I was in love with Luke Skywalker and Han Solo as a tween, now I've moved on to the dark nephew/son.

Westley the Princess Bride - Who doesn't want a man that says, "As You Wish?" Mask? Pirate? Yes!

Ren from Skip Beat - There's just something about dark haired Ren's, be it from Star Wars, or shojo manga. This one's a serious actor!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Review: Lucky In Love by Kasie West

Lucky In Love by Kasie West

Info: Published July 25th 2017, 337 pages, (ISBN13: 9781338058017)

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Vonze's Review: Another adorable YA read from Kasie West!

Ever daydream you've won the lottery? Yes? No?? Experience the ups and downs of striking it "lucky" with Maddie, a girl who splits her time studying and working at a zoo. After taking a chance on her birthday, she wins bigs. Suddenly her problems seem to vanish. No more worrying about college, her brother's degree, her family's money issues, parents fighting, etc. Until she realizes she's only replaced her old problems with new ones. Mainly who to trust? Can she depend on her old friends, family, her "sudden" new friends, distant relatives, or her co-worker "Zoo Seth" who she's been crushing on for a while?

For me, it was heavy on the be-careful-what-you-wish-for and seek-wise-counsel, and light on the romance. However, it has a perfectly sweet ending with Zoo Seth that is gush worthy.

Fav Quote: “Sometimes regardless of what we want, reality takes over.”

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Ten Books That Feature Orphan Characters

Ten Books That Feature Orphan Characters

Years ago, I noticed a strange pattern. A whole lot of literature's greatest characters are orphans or only have one parent living. Is it a device to invoke instant sympathy? Does it make the character's struggle harder? Or is it an easy way to get parents and rules out the way of the plot? Today, I'm going to focus on listing lit's famous orphans.

Harry Potter - For our generation, he's number one. Although sad, the fact that his parents' deaths are apart of the overarching plot adds to the story. He's not just an orphan for the sake of pulling on our heartstrings.

Jane Eyre - This one does pull on my heartstrings. Instead of a wicked stepmother, poor Jane has a wicked aunt and cousins. She grows up fast and tries to support herself.

Oliver Twist - Oh, heartstrings, "Please, sir, I want some more!" Poor little kid. Pip - Another Dickens example. David Copperfield - I feel like Dickens is the king of orphan writing. I'm told he has others that I haven't read.

Tom Sawyer - I guess, maybe, being an orphan explains his bad behavior? To quote Aladdin, the town could sing, "I'd blame parents except he hasn't got 'em." Huck Finn - Wow, a ditto by the same author! (Expect I believe I remember his dad is kinda alive, then kinda not.)

Dorothy (Wizard of Oz) - I dunno, for me, her aunt and uncle might has well been her parents. Her being an orphan didn't really effect the plot very much. Just kinda makes you feel poor Dorothy.

Mary (The Secret Garden) - Ditto. She couldn't just visited her rich family in England for the year? Or to be educated? Maybe the author thought the plot needed her parents out of the way so she could be noisy and have secrets.

Heidi - This one is slightly more believable, I guess. Not many parents would send their child to their super grumpy hermit dad's house in the middle of nowhere for a visit. The plot is more about changing others for the better.

Frodo (Lord of the Rings)- Again, did he really have to be an orphan? He was Bilbo's heir, but that was more about Bilbo not having children. I guess maybe it suggests the reason why there was little to hold Frodo back in the Shire and stop him from going on a journey.

Pollyanna - The sugar sweet happy orphan. At least Disney improved her in the movie and made her a bit of an adventurous tomboy. I guess the author thought, hey, if an orphan can be happy and play the glad game, people with fewer problems can, too.

Anne of Green Gables - The better happy orphan, IMO. To deal with life, Anne develops an overactive imagination. For me, creative escapism seemed more realistic way to deal.


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