Top Ten Tuesday: Most Owned Authors

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This week, The Broke and the Bookish is talking about the authors we own the most books from. I’m going strictly by physical books, because I’m too lazy to go through my kindle books, but I don’t think it would change things too much. Since really all it takes is for an author to write a trilogy plus one other book to be included on this list, there is a distinct lack of YA because I either don’t own the full trilogy, or I own too many trilogies to include them all. These are all the authors that I own more than a trilogies worth of books.

  1. Neil Gaiman – 18 – I’m counting the Sandman graphic novels
  2. JK Rowling – 8 – Harry Potter + The Beetle and the Bard
  3. Margaret Atwood – 7
  4. Megan McCafferty – 5
  5. Kurt Vonnegut – 5
  6. Libba Bray – 5
  7. John Steinbeck – 5: When I moved to Salinas/Monterey I went a little Steinbeck crazy trying to immerse myself in the town. It was the first place I’d ever lived that wasn’t the place I grew up, so I went a bit overboard. Plus, I love Steinbeck. I read The Grapes of Wrath in high school and briefly thought about becoming a long haul trucker.
  8. George RR Martin – 5
  9. Tom Robbins – 5
  10. Laurie Notaro – 4
  11. Catherynne M Valente – 4

 

ARC Review: The House of the Four Winds

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Title/Author: The House of the Four Winds by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory
Publication Date/Publisher: August 5, 2014/Tor Books
Series: Yes, The Dozen Daughters #1
Source and Format: I received this book for free from the publisher via Netgalley. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.
Rating: 3 stars
From Goodreads:

The rulers of tiny, impoverished Swansgaard have twelve daughters and one son. While the prince’s future is assured, his twelve sisters must find their own fortunes.

Disguising herself as Clarence, a sailor, Princess Clarice intends to work her way to the New World. When the crew rebels, Clarice/Clarence, an expert with rapier and dagger, sides with the handsome navigator, Dominick, and kills the cruel captain.

Dominick leads the now-outlawed crew in search of treasure in the secret pirate haven known as The House of Four Winds. They encounter the sorceress Shamal, who claims Dominick for her own—but Clarice has fallen hard for Dominick and won’t give him up without a fight.

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I was drawn into The House of the Four Winds right at the beginning – the prologue is called The Parliament of Cats! I thought this book was written just for me, but it turns out the prologue is the most interesting part of the book.

 

The best adventures come when one is not looking for them, so I have it in mind to see something of the world.

 

The House of the Four Winds is not terribly long for such a fantasy novel, but it’s sooooo sloooooowwwww. It took me FOR-EV-ER to get through. It’s not that it’s uninteresting, it’s just not the adventurous story I thought I was getting. I hope the rest of the series focuses on the rest of the sisters – hence the series being called The Dozen Daughters? – instead of Clarice and Dominick again.

 

For all the swordsman talk, there is very little actual swordsing going on. There’s not much call for it on a ship, I guess? Except to kill the captain. I wish less time was spent with Captain Sprunt and his evil doings in the beginning. The set up for the mutiny could have been much shorter. All the boat loading, child beating, and doctor conversations took up so many pages and was pretty dull. SO. MUCH. BOAT. TALK.

 

I both loved and found it to be incredibly unbelievable that Clarice would pass as Clarence for so long. Like…no one noticed at all or was even a little suspicious?
SPOILERS BELOW STOP READING HERE IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW THE RESOLUTION OF A MAJOR PLOT POINT

 

 

 

 

 

 
Continue reading

ARC Review: Magnolia

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Title/Author: Magnolia by Kristi Cook
Publication Date/Publisher: August 5, 2014/Simon Pulse
Series: No
Source and Format: I received this book for free from the publisher via Edelweiss. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.
Rating: 4 stars
From Goodreads:
In Magnolia Branch, Mississippi, the Cafferty and Marsden families are southern royalty. Neighbors since the Civil War, the families have shared vacations, holidays, backyard barbecues, and the overwhelming desire to unite their two clans by marriage. So when a baby boy and girl were born to the families at the same time, the perfect opportunity seemed to have finally arrived.

Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden have no intention of giving in to their parents’ wishes. They’re only seventeen, for goodness’ sake, not to mention that one little problem: They hate each other! Jemma can’t stand Ryder’s nauseating golden-boy persona, and Ryder would like nothing better than to pretend stubborn Jemma doesn’t exist.

But when a violent storm ravages Magnolia Branch, it unearths Jemma’s and Ryder’s true feelings for each other as the two discover that the line between love and hate may be thin enough to risk crossing over.

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Magnolia is a high 3 stars, and since I’m trying not to do half stars anymore and let my goodreads rating be my blog rating (unless in DIRE CIRCUMSTANCES), I give it 4 stars.


Magnolia is a little cheesy and predictable, but it’s so different from my life and has so much CUTE (and a lot of YOU ARE SO DUMB, too). The smallest city I’ve lived in still had a population of over 200,000. That was small to me. I grew up in, and now live in, cities with over 1 million people. I can’t even imagine living in Magnolia Branch with it’s population of 2,900. The other thing is the tornado – we don’t really get them on the California coast. Let me tell you about how an earthquake drill prepares you for LITERALLY nothing. Even when we do get them, they’re not that bad – except we all know the Big One is coming. You spend many hours in elementary school cowering under a flimsy desk and then head outside to stand in the middle of the playground – away from telephone poles – for another 30 minutes while a rescue team searches for students planted inside pretending to be trapped. It’s interchangeable with a normal fire drill, except those continue through high school, where it’s easier to ditch than to go sit on the bleachers with the rest of the school for 45 minutes. Apparently, once you’re 12, you’ve learned all there is to know about earthquake safety (standing in a door jamb is also an acceptable place of safety!).


/end derailment


I feel like Jemma is about the biggest dumdum in the world. The whole time we’re told she’s so smart and perfect and pretty and popular and just one of the guys and artsy, but she has almost no personality. She has a lot of skills/talents, including but not limited to: shooting, film making, re-constructing vintage clothes, first aid, cheerleading (wins awards at camp but hurts herself at practice a lot? maybe this isn’t a skill/talent) being voted onto homecoming (?) court, and not seeing what’s right in front of her. She makes bad decisions with Patrick (who is removed from the equation very neatly, but kind of too over the top for my taste), and then makes good bad decisions with Ryder.


Ryder is also smart, perfect, athletic, just one of the guys, super hot, and fills out a pair of boxer briefs if you know what I’m saying (and you KNOW what I’m saying). He seems like a regular ol’ doofy quarterback – stringing girls along, peer mentoring…I don’t know. Everything I know about high school football I learned from Friday Night Lights.


I loved the “families want them to be together but they hate each other” part, but the reason they hate each other is so dumb. I feel like 99% of the relationship problems in YA would be fixed if people would just talk to each other instead of being super dramatic – not that I ever just talked to any of my boyfriends without first being super dramatic.


The extreme southern-ness was just a little too much for me. I think it gets taken to another level in Magnolia, but that could be because of the especially small town. The politeness goes waaaay overboard, which I guess makes sense because everyone is so involved in everyone else’s business, but I know for sure I would never make it in the South.

Waiting on Wednesday: The Missing

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“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Wow (ha), I haven’t done a Waiting on Wednesday in FOREVER. I used to need the extra day for reviews since I was reading so much, but since I’ve found the balance and started not caring so much about posting every single day, I’ve been able to make some room on the ol’ schedule for a WoW post for a book I am crazy excited for. I probably still won’t be doing these every week, just whenever there’s something worth mentioning due to high levels of anticipation.

Book Title/Author: The Missing by Sarah Beth Durst
Publication Date/Publisher: November 25, 2014/Harlequin MIRA

From Goodreads:

Not everyone who is lost wants to be found. Nobody knows that better than Lauren. Having ended up in the town of Lost, where the residents must discover what they’re missing before they’re able to leave, Lauren found her happiness. But Peter—her love—has vanished into a void.

In her quest to find him, Lauren ends up in the town of Despair. There she discovers a barren landscape of crumbling skyscrapers, darkened streets and empty playgrounds. It’s a place without hope—and its desolation is spreading outside its walls.

While Lauren fights to save Lost and rescue the residents of Despair, she searches for her missing lover. For her missing faith. And for her hope that the people who are lost may still be found…

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I blew through The Lost like two weeks  ago and I’ve been completely DYING for The Missing ever since. AND I JUST LEARNED THERE WILL BE A THIRD BOOK CALLED THE FOUND OUT IN 2015!

This is a series I did not expect to love like this. My previous experience with Sarah Beth Durst was Conjured – one of the first books I DNFed. This is why authors will almost always get a second chance with me – especially in a different(ish) genre.

Okay, excuse me, I finally just read the synopsis and PETER DISAPPEARS INTO THE VOID?! I love Peter, and I’m pretty bummed about the use of the word “lover” in that description because blech, but it’s too late for that because I’m already excited.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Want to Reread

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This week, The Broke and the Bookish is talking about characters and desert islands, but I’m talking about books I want to re-read. I used to ONLY re-read the books I already owned, or check out certain books from the library over and over again. In the last few years, probably upon discovering Goodreads yearly challenge, I evolved into a different kind of reader. I will still re-read for a series refresher, but that’s about it. There are so many books I’ve read and loved and I feel like I can’t fit the time for a re-read into my reading schedule (which I’m basically doing away with, but more on that at a later time).

So, without further ado, here are the first 10 books I plan on re-reading that aren’t for a series refresher (otherwise please add The Diviners and The Raven Cycle books).

  1. Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta – someone said JONAH GRIGGS on twitter last week and that was enough of a reason
  2. Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley – one of the first books I read after becoming a book blogger, and still one of my favorites
  3. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – since I secretly started playing a MMORPG again AND I loved this book I feel like it’s time for a reread
  4. After I Do/Forever Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid – I JUST read these, and I’m already dying to read them again
  5. The Sandman by Neil Gaiman – I need a reread for tattoo inspiration anyway, but this series of graphic novels is my favorite
  6. Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness – (muffled sobs)
  7. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson – (muffled sobs continue)
  8. God-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo – Still with the sobbing, but I just really love to be emotionally ruined by books
  9. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater – What if I read all these books one right after the other and just sobbed for two weeks straight?
  10. Nowhere but Home by Liza Palmer – This book instantly became a part of me and I’ve been dying to reread it ever since I read it last year.

Coffee Talk: Authors With Multiple Names

coffeetalk1(Disclaimer: I wrote this several weeks ago, so while my thoughts still apply, my main point may seem a little behind the times.)

 

If you haven’t already heard, Katie Finn is Morgan Matson and she is the reason for today’s Coffee Talk.

I, for one, am not crazy about all these authors using different names. If I like your books, I want to be able to find more of your books. This is quite a departure from Second Chance Summer, Since You’ve Been Gone, and Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, so I can’t help but think authors are trying to keep their fans from their work, especially if some of it might be deemed inferior.

When I don’t like it: It makes a little bit of sense to me when the author goes the NA route, like Diana Peterfreund or Veronica Rossi (for example) have done. I appreciate that they made big announcements saying they were publishing books under other names so the information was accessible. Not like with Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things To Mend where it was like a big guessing game until you went to Katie Finn’s goodreads page or website and it was obviously a picture of Morgan Matson. She has written several books under that name that I’ve never heard of, and now I have no inclination to read them because of my feelings towards Broken Hearts.

Another, and perhaps most recognizable, example is Jennifer Armentrout, or J. Lynn, Jennifer L. Armentrout, or whatever other combination of names she writes under. She puts her full name WITH the alias, so I’m extremely perplexed as to WHAT IS EVEN THE POINT of that. I’ve read one of her books and I didn’t much care for it so I would not be interested in reading her other books under her other names – even the much fawned over Lux series.

The Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant Conundrum: Because I’m only familiar with the Mira Grant titles, I have no desire to read Seanan McGuire’s work under that name because there’s got to be a reason to keep the work separate right? Even if it’s well known that they’re the same person, I feel like it’s taking too big a chance. If they all the work was similar in scope and style and terrificness (I LOOOOVED Newsflesh series and tore through last years Parasite), they would all be under the same name.

I mean, if Neil Gaiman started producing works under an alias, I would still read the crap out of them. As it is, he writes adult books, graphic novels, middle grade, AND children’s books all under one name. It’s name that carries more weight in the publishing world than others mentioned, but it’s easy to find – if not easy to sort through such a collection.

I’m interested in what other people think about this. What do you like or dislike about authors using multiple names? Would an alias stop you from reading your favorite author?

 

Review: The Sea of Tranquility

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Title/Author: The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

Publication Date/Publisher: November 13, 2012/Atria Books
Series: No
Source and Format: Own for kindle

Rating: 5 stars

From Goodreads:

I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.

Former piano prodigy Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone learning about her past and to make the boy who took everything from her—her identity, her spirit, her will to live—pay.

Josh Bennett’s story is no secret: every person he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. Now all he wants is be left alone and people allow it because when your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.

Everyone except Nastya, the mysterious new girl at school who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But the more he gets to know her, the more of an enigma she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he will ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding—or if he even wants to.

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I bought The Sea of Tranquility when it was a kindle daily deal on May 19, 2013. I’m really upset with myself right now for waiting so long to read it. I’m kicking myself for not feeling “into it” this whole long weekend, especially since I just sat down and read 61% more or less without stopping, but it took me 2.5 days to read the first 39%.
The Sea of Tranquility was rough for me to start. Nastya and Josh and both very unlikeable to me. I would never say they don’t deserve their anger, but overall, their abrasiveness put me off.

The relationships in The Sea of Tranquility are top notch: I came around to Nastya and Josh, Nastya and Drew AND Josh and Drew and all of them together, the Leightons, Nastya wanting to friends with Tierney but not knowing how.

The absence of any real parents (besides the Leightons once a week) and the practically living together and Josh’s situation with Leigh make this feel almost more like New Adult that Young Adult. I feel like this could have taken place with a bunch of 19 and 20 year olds and been basically the same story.

The Sea of Tranquility pulled some emotional punches. Millay has some moments of absolutely beautiful writing, and then it’s ruined by Nastya calling someone a cocksucker or something.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Movies

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This week, The Broke and the Bookish is talking about some of our OTHER favorites. I had planned on doing TV shows, but I watch all the same shows as everyone else and it wouldn’t be as entertaining as divulging my awful taste in movies.

So all through high school I had one of those little televisions that had the built in VCR. I also lived right across the street from the best Target in the world, and since DVDs were clearly taking over, VHS tapes were super low-priced. They were $5 or less, but the selection wasn’t exactly current.

  1. The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is my all-time, numero uno, favoritest movie ever. Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds star in this musical as the owner of a whorehouse and the sheriff, respectively. They’re sneaking around together and singing and just being amazing. I love Dolly Parton SO MUCH and this movie has it all.
  2. Stick It is a movie I love but I feel like it should be a secret. It’s technicalllllly a sports movie which means it’s okay, but it’s mostly all the gymnastics that gets me.
  3. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang – RDJ and Val Kilmer having a sass off.
  4. Slap Shot/Goon: Obviously I love Slap Shot THE MOST, but Goon is such a good hockey movie too and Liev Schrieber (and Jay Baruchel, if I’m being honest).
  5. Empire Records IF YOU DON’T LOVE THIS DON’T TALK TO ME
  6. Almost Famous (see above)
  7. 200 Cigarettes is everything. Literally everyone is in it and it’s fab
  8. Mallrats is the movie that made me fall in love with Jason Lee and I can’t even explain why I still love it. I can’t really watch it ever because I have the whole thing memorized, but it’s something I can always put on to go to sleep.
  9. Clueless is a movie I appreciate and love more every time I watch it.
  10. Reality Bites/Pump Up the Volume/Heathers: I definitely understand the Christian Slater in the 80’s thing. WINONA FOREVER

Audio Review: World War Z

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Title/Author: World War Z by Max Brooks
Publication Date/Publisher: September 12, 2006/Random House Audio
Series: No
Source and Format: Purchased, Audio CD
Rating: 4 stars
From Goodreads:
The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. “World War Z” is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.

Ranging from the now infamous village of New Dachang in the United Federation of China, where the epidemiological trail began with the twelve-year-old Patient Zero, to the unnamed northern forests where untold numbers sought a terrible and temporary refuge in the cold, to the United States of Southern Africa, where the Redeker Plan provided hope for humanity at an unspeakable price, to the west-of-the-Rockies redoubt where the North American tide finally started to turn, this invaluable chronicle reflects the full scope and duration of the Zombie War.

Most of all, the book captures with haunting immediacy the human dimension of this epochal event. Facing the often raw and vivid nature of these personal accounts requires a degree of courage on the part of the reader, but the effort is invaluable because, as Mr. Brooks says in his introduction, “By excluding the human factor, aren’t we risking the kind of personal detachment from history that may, heaven forbid, lead us one day to repeat it? And in the end, isn’t the human factor the only true difference between us and the enemy we now refer to as ‘the living dead’?”

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They…made a movie out of this?
Okay. I did some internet researching. The only thing the movie has in common with the book is the name. I feel a little bit better about it now.
I should have waited a little longer to start World War Z after finishing the Newsflesh Trilogy. Some of the zombie lore got brought over and jumbled up and it wasn’t really a HUGE deal since a zombie is a zombie but…was it ever explained how the outbreak started? As I noted in my Lord of the Rings audio review, I space out while driving and miss some things – so was it African rabies mutated to undead cannibalism or something else?


I liked the full cast reading – Mark Hamill, Alan Alda, Rob Reiner, and Henry Rollins all appear. I was excited about Henry Rollins until I remembered that I hate him now. Anyway, I’m sure there are some other exciting names on there, but these are the ones that stood out to me.



Some of the stories are more interesting than others, sure, but I really enjoyed the way the whole story was presented and the overall presentation was very well done.

ARC Review: Boomerang

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Title/Author: Boomerang by Noelle August

Publication Date/Publisher: July 15, 2014/William Morrow Paperbacks
Series: Yes, Boomerang #1
Source and Format: Received advanced copy from publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 4 stars

From Goodreads:

Welcome to Boomerang.com, the dating site for the millennial gen with its no-fuss, no-commitments matchups, and where work is steamier than any random hook-up

Mia Galliano is an aspiring filmmaker. Ethan Vance has just played his last game as a collegiate soccer star. They’re sharp, hungry for success, and they share a secret.

Last night, Ethan and Mia met at a bar, and, well . . . one thing led to another, which led to them waking up the next morning—together. Things turned awkward in a hurry when they found themselves sharing a post hookup taxi . . . to the same place: Boomerang headquarters.

What began as a powerful connection between them is treated to a cold shower courtesy of two major complications. First, Boomerang has a strict policy against co-worker dating. And second, they’re now competitors for only one job at the end of summer.

As their internships come to an end, will they manage to keep their eyes on the future and their hands off each other, or will the pull of attraction put them right back where they started?

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Mia wakes up in an unfamiliar apartment and M.I.A. (haha!) underwear. She doesn’t remember the name of her new friend, or what exactly they got up to last night. Ethan isn’t faring much better, but at least he remembers Mia’s name.


Boomerang opens on an incredibly awkward morning after that just keeps going. Ethan and Mia both have somewhere to be for a new job early in the morning, and share a cab…to the same address. They’re about to be co-interns at Boomerang, a new online dating site just for getting that rebound out of the way. Which is what they both just did last night.


Boomerang is SO CUTE. It’s NA where the focus is on the storyline and not just sexual encounters – though there are at least two! (And now we know what Perry and Aria are getting up to…I mean, what?)


It’s mostly a fun, light romance but I shed some tears. I love the rich cast – Mia and Ethan’s families and friends are fully fleshed out characters and more than anything, I loved Mia’s friends/roommates. I love their closeness and was completely envious of their bond.


Boomerang is going to be a great read for the beach or poolside – blame your flushed cheeks on getting too much sun.

(I’m kind of sad that boomerang.com is not an actual tie-in site.)