TOP TEN TUESDAY | Top Ten Authors I Own The Most Books From

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you by the amazing Jamie over at The Broke and the Bookish! This week, here are the top ten authors I own the most books from!

(Credit: The Simpsons & Comic Book Resources)

  1. J.K. Rowling – I think it goes without saying that the Harry Potter series, and all of the short stories/books (including The Tales of Beetle the Bard, etc) make up a huge part of my collection. Me and every other person, apparently. 
  2. C.S. Lewis – The entire Chronicles of Narnia series is about 7 books, and as I’m a huge fan of the classic series, I have a beautiful little box set that I love.
  3. Haruki Murakami – I have basically every single book he’s ever written, whether it’s on my shelf or on my tablet. I find his work beautiful, lyrical, and just plain strange.
  4. Neil Gaiman – same as above, really. My next major purchase will be the Sandman series – and then he’ll probably be the author I own the most books for.
  5. John Green - Since I started working at Penguin, I’ve read the rest of John Green’s backlist. I’m still working on some, but I do have a big pile of those books!
  6. Thomas Hardy – I am a bit of a Victorian literature buff, and Thomas Hardy is my favorite of that era. I’ll be collecting the rest of his works, too.
  7. Roald Dahl – Growing up, I loved Dahl. Now that I’m at Penguin, I’ve started buying the full collection (at a discount) so I can complete my collection!
  8. George R.R. Martin – The Game of Thrones books take up a huge amount of space on my shelf (so many pages!) so it’s difficult to leave him off.
  9. W. Somerset Maugham – I collect first editions of his work, so I’ve got a nice little stash.
  10. Robin McKinley – Her fairy-tale inspired books make me happy, so of course I own most of them…
Authors that almost made it:
Madeline L’Engle, Philip Pullman, Marie Lu, and Laurie Halse Anderson.

Which authors are on your list?

FASHION MEETS FICTION | "Eleanor & Park" by Rainbow Rowell

Friday, July 18, 2014

FASHION MEETS FICTION: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Punk rock t shirt / R13 plaid jacket / Junya Watanabe faded jeans / Converse footwear / Y's by Yohji Yamamoto black lace up booties / Selected Shonedante 1335 Skinny Fit Jeans, $95 / NEIL BARRETT Lightning Hood Zipper hoodie with print, $620 / Eleanor & Park (Ira Children's Book Awards. Young Adult)...

Eleanor has a unique, thrift-shop style all her own. Patched boyfriend jeans, combat boots, and a baggy plaid jacket go well with her wild red hair - and of course she can't forget her Walkman! Meanwhile, her love interest Park has something else besides a mixtape for you: a The Smiths band tee, hoodie, black jeans and Converse. Whichever you choose, Rainbow Rowell has the perfect playlist for you to listen to while you read my review...

FACE IN A BOOK | Book Reviews: "Torn Away" by Jennifer Brown & "The Girls at the Kingfisher Club" by Genevieve Valentine

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Face in a Book is my weekly mini-review feature. When it comes to good books, I'm on a roll! From a girl whose family is ripped apart after tragedy, to fairy tale sisters who desperately try to stick together, the focus this week is on family bonds.

Torn Away by Jennifer Brown (Little Brown Books for Young Readers; on sale May 6, 2014)

Jersey Cameron has always loved a good storm. Watching the clouds roll in and the wind pick up. Smelling the electricity in the air. Dancing barefoot in the rain. She lives in the Midwest, after all, where the weather is sure to keep you guessing. Jersey knows what to do when the tornado sirens sound. But she never could have prepared for this.

When her town is devastated by a tornado, Jersey loses everything. As she struggles to overcome her grief, she's sent to live with relatives she hardly knows-family who might as well be strangers. In an unfamiliar place, can Jersey discover that even on the darkest of days, there are some things no tornado can destroy?

In this powerful and poignant novel, acclaimed author Jennifer Brown delivers a story of love, loss, hope, and survival.

Jersey is an ordinary teen, who sometimes takes her life for granted. When a tornado tears her world apart, she learns regret, resilience, and finds an unexpected family of her own. In the aftermath, she is sent to relatives who she has never met. She struggles with new stepsisters, a father she never knew, and a stepmother who's just a bit wicked.

Jersey is one of the most phenomenal characters you can find in YA literature - you feel her intense grief, her guilt, her loneliness - and Brown's treatment exemplifies the genre. I found myself in Jersey's head, and entirely empathized with the poor girl. Her life is entirely destroyed by natural disaster, and yet she still manages to hold strong. She takes control of her life, and it's hard not to respect her.

Typically I'm not a fan of contemporary YA, but I took a chance on this read. Within pages, it gripped me and tore me apart. It made me sob, and it put me together again at the end. I'll be looking out for Brown's other work, but in the meantime I can wholeheartedly recommend Torn Away.

The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine (Atria; on sale June 3, 2014)

From award-winning author Genevieve Valentine, a "gorgeous and bewitching" (Scott Westerfeld) reimagining of the fairytale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses as flappers during the Roaring Twenties in Manhattan.

Jo, the firstborn, "The General" to her eleven sisters, is the only thing the Hamilton girls have in place of a mother. She is the one who taught them how to dance, the one who gives the signal each night, as they slip out of the confines of their father's townhouse to await the cabs that will take them to the speakeasy. Together they elude their distant and controlling father, until the day he decides to marry them all off. 

The girls, meanwhile, continue to dance, from Salon Renaud to the Swan and, finally, the Kingfisher, the club they come to call home. They dance until one night when they are caught in a raid, separated, and Jo is thrust face-to-face with someone from her past: a bootlegger named Tom whom she hasn't seen in almost ten years. Suddenly Jo must weigh in the balance not only the demands of her father and eleven sisters, but those she must make of herself. 

Twelve young girls are growing up in a repressive, frankly abusive household in Prohibition era New York City – they barely see their father, and after the death of their mother, they are not allowed to leave their home. The Girls at the Kingfisher Club is clearly a retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses fairy tale, but can be read without the knowledge of that story.

Jo, like bold Jo from Little Women, is the leader of this sisterhood. So firm that she’s called The General, she decides to sneak them all out every night so that her sisters won’t be tempted to run away and leave her.  Told in Jo’s point-of-view, we see her struggle with taking care of her family, while both yearning and fearing freedom. The beautiful girls go from speakeasy to speakeasy, gathering a reputation for their dancing and sudden disappearances.

But of course, all good things must come to an end – and her father, hearing of a group of girls who go dancing every night, begins to suspect his daughters. He begins actively scheming to marry them off – and that’s when everything changes. I loved the characterization of the girls’ father: he was perfectly cold, controlling, and cruel.

I enjoyed the read, but wish that some of the other sisters’ personalities had been more developed. Due to that, I felt a bit distanced from their story and didn't feel invested in their characters by the end. Still, I would recommend this to fans of Robin McKinley, or of fairy tale retellings in general. Historical fiction fans will also love the sparkling glimpse into speakeasies and 1920s New York.

WAITING ON WEDNESDAY | "Red Queen" by Victoria Aveyard

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by the fabulous Jill over at Breaking the Spine.  This week, I'm waiting for the release of...

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (Orion; on sale March 26, 2015)
Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood—those with red and those with silver. Mare and her family are lowly Reds, destined to serve the Silver elite whose supernatural abilities make them nearly gods. Mare steals what she can to help her family survive, but when her best friend is conscripted into the army, she gambles everything to win his freedom. A twist of fate leads her to the royal palace itself where, in front of the king and all his nobles, she discovers a superhuman ability she didn’t know she had. Except . . . her blood is Red.

To hide this impossibility, the king forces her into the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks her new position to aid the Scarlet Guard—the leaders of a budding Red rebellion. Her actions put into motion a deadly and violent dance, pitting prince against prince and Mare against her own heart.

This is a spring 2015 title, but it's already getting tons of buzz. The cover totally stole my attention - that gorgeous crown, the sensuous, yet thrilling drip of blood - it just screams power, danger, and beauty. I love that this has supernatural elements, without outwardly being a tedious vampire tale (I'm just so tired of the trope at this point). I'm really looking forward to this one.

What are you waiting on this week?

TOP TEN TUESDAY | Top 10 Favorite Dramatic Movies & TV Shows

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you by the amazing Jamie over at The Broke and the Bookish! This week, I talk about my top ten favorite TV shows - but with a focus on DRAMAAAAA.

Top Ten Favorite Dramatic TV Shows

1. Mad Men
Not only is this my favorite television show, you’d be hard-pressed to find something more dramatic. The best part is that it’s a quiet, suspenseful kind of drama…that occasionally explodes and leaves you standing there singed. Also, Jon Hamm is hot as hell. 

2. Pretty Little Liars
Everybody has a show that’s just a plain old guilty pleasure. I have two – and Pretty Little Liars is one of them. This show is full of drama and suspense. Most of the time I have no idea what’s going on – but whatever it is, it sure is juicy. Plus, everyone dresses so beautifully.

3. Game of Thrones
I can’t be the only one putting Game of Thrones on my list (even if I think it’s gone downhill this past season…) – it’s dramatic, that’s for sure - and full of cliffhangers and Jon Snow’s perpetual glower.

4. House of Cards
As a former politico (I still keep up, but I’m nowhere near where I used to be in terms of commitment to current events), this show just hits my sweet spot. Kevin Spacey plays a sinister politician aiming for revenge – and it’s based on a book! What’s not to like?

5. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Oh, this show. Detective Benson is one of the fiercest females on TV, and the cases are just mind-bogglingly interesting (and tragic). It’s been over fifteen seasons, and I still haven’t missed an episode. 

6. Chicago Fire
Two words for you: HOT FIREFIGHTERS. Oh, and the storyline is pretty good, too. It’s produced by the same guy from Law & Order, and it’s become another show that’s sure to give me all the feels.

7. Suits
This show has grown on me – and not just because Jessica Pearson has the most stunning (and anti-dress code) office wardrobe of all time. The drama is gripping, and even if you don’t have an interest in law, the fast-talking actors will keep you glued to your screen.

8. American Horror Story
This show probably fits more under horror, but I’m including it simply because the supernatural elements don’t exclude more dramatic and finely written elements. One of the only horror shows to surprise me, AHS hits the mark.

9. Hart of Dixie
THIS SHOW. GUYS. This is my second guilty pleasure after Pretty Little Liars – while the drama is heavy, there’s some pretty significant comedic elements too, and it never fails to make me smile. Light and goofy, with some gorgeous eye candy (Zade forever).

10. The X-Files
I was struggling between this one and The West Wing, but frankly I love this one more. Kitschy with a punch of the supernatural, there’s a reason this show ran so long and still maintains its cult following. It’s just plain amazing.

Did any of these make your list? Are you just DYING to talk about it?