Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Heroines

Top Ten Tuesday is, as always, hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

In love with this topic! Let’s see if I can keep it to ten. These are numbered, but aren’t really in a particular order.

1. Elisa from Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Smart, selfless, and brave only when she has to be. Elisa is an amazing example of a timid girl who steps up to the plate when she feels she needs to and saves an entire nation.

2. Vin from Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

My favorite moment in Vin’s story is a major spoiler, so I can’t talk about it, but let’s just say she is a total badass–unstoppable in all ways, extreme in her determination and dedication.

3. Rose Hathaway from Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Rose is frustrating and uncompromising and completely herself. She never lets anyone tell her she can’t do something and she achieves impossible things because of it.

4. Nita Callahan from The Young Wizards series by Diane Duane

Nita is a hero. Not only does she save the universe on a regular basis, she also holds her family together after the loss of a parent and still has time to constantly save the rear-ends of all the boys in her life. She’s dedicated to her cause and unflinching in the face of danger.

5. Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Naturally, she’s on this list. She gives all of herself for her family and the people of her country and she’s a no brainer.

6. Lirael from The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix

Lirael goes from quiet outcast to strong and decisive leader over the course of this series and her world would have been completely changed without her.

7. Aly from Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce

Aly is serving as something of a stand in for all of Tamora Pierce’s characters, because they’re all great, but Aly was my first and remains my favorite. She’s a sneaky and smart rather than in-your face physically powerful warrior-type. She’s passionate and fiercely loyal. I read these books years and years ago and I still love her to death.

8. Amy from Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Amy has to learn to rely on herself faster than anyone in any book ever. Her strength and determination hold together her entire community and she never flinches away from what she has to do.

9. D.J. Schwenk from Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

I hate to leave everything to the ladies of fantasy novels, when there is such strength to be had in contemporary fiction as well. DJ doesn’t let anything stop her from pursuing her dreams and she carries that tenacity into every challenge thrown her way, supporting her entirely family and community.

10. Julie/Maddie from Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Ok, so this is technically a #10 and #11, but I couldn’t pick just one girl from this book. These girls don’t let anything get in their way and they display such strength and bravery under fire. They’re both amazing.

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Top Three Books I Read Because of BookTube

I write about books on the internet, but I got my start in part because I enjoyed watching people talk about books on the internet. BookTube is a big part of what inspired me to start seeking an audience for my reviews broader than the handful of Facebook friends with Goodreads accounts. It also, of course, has highly influenced what books I’ve picked up in the last year. There are many, but here are three now-favorites that I never would have started without the influence of one BookTuber or another:

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (Review!)

I was not unaware of the Percy Jackson series before I heard it mentioned on BookTube. I knew it was popular with tweens and had seen the commercials for the movies, but I had never thought to pick it up myself. I was an adult reading YA books, but middle grade fantasy (and a Harry Potter knock-off to boot!) was just too juvenile for me. It wasn’t until I started watching people my age or a touch older (like Katytastic and PolandBananasBooks) on YouTube rave about the series that I realized I might actually not be above enjoying it. 

Although I wound up a little underwhelmed by the first couple of books in this series (I didn’t completely understand the hype right off the bat), I loved the last few books. I adore Heroes of Olympus; I can’t wait any longer for book five (85 whole days to go!). It’s definitely a series I’m glad I was convinced not to miss. 

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

I would have never ever heard of this if not for BookTube. I don’t specifically remember everyone who raved about it. (JessetheReader for sure. PadfootandProngs07 as well, I think) but it seemed like whenever a BookTuber picked this up, they had nothing but amazing things to say about it.

So back in February, when I was looking for ways to entertain myself on my newly acquired long commute, I purchased the audiobook. The audiobook performance wasn’t terrible or wonderful, but the book itself was fabulous. I loved the storytelling, the complicated, fascinating characters, the way it made me think about perception and heroism. It was an excellent read overall, and I am so happy to have had the help discovering it.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (Review!)

This book, you guys. I love it so much. Sad and sweet and funny all wrapped up into one. I know I had never heard of Rainbow Rowell before watching BookTube, but I can’t recall what video exactly made me want to read this. It’s so sad to think that I might have never discovered this now-favorite listed book of mine.

Honorable Mentions (Because three is a small number, and I just keep thinking up more):

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King (Review!)

I hope anyone doing BookTube-A-Thon is off to a great start! I am about to start for real (unless I decide to watch more Sherlock. Which I probably will. Because it’s awesome.)

Book Buying

So I wrote this whole review on The Archived by Victoria Schwab last night and came back just now to finish it and…it’s totally gone. I mean, it’s there, but I didn’t save it, so it’s just this one half sentence instead of the 800 words or whatever I had started yesterday. I can’t quite bear the rewriting of it just yet, but I was just watching a video of The Readables  doing this tag and I thought I could handle a few quick questions:

1. How many unread books do you own?

50. That sounds insane, but what’s actually insane is I actually recently made a whole excel spreadsheet cataloging every book I own, so that was a really easy question to answer.It’s a big number to be sure though, and it’s gone up rather than down over the course of this year, but I’m really excited about a good number of them.
2. How many books do you own that you have read?

My spreadsheet tells me 371, but at least 15 or so of those are ebook novellas, so right around 355. Mostly physical copies, but some of those audio and ebooks as well.

3. Do you buy more books than you read?

At my current book purchasing rate, yes. I’m on this kind of insane kick of buying things I originally read from the library, but love enough to own and filling out series that I started out borrowing and then purchased the most recent installments when I couldn’t get my hands on them fast enough. So not everything I buy is unread. But, at the moment, yes. Though I’m really trying to change that trend.

4. Why do you think you haven’t read your unread books?

A good number of them I really want to read and will read this year sometime. I just have a sheer volume problem at the moment. There are too many for me to have read because I’ve bought or received so many so recently. There are 20 or so that have been hanging around for a very long while. I usually bought these on a whim, or at a discounted price or so long ago that I’ve lost interest in reading it. I should get rid of these, but I always look at them and think “Maybe someday…”

5. Are you going to go on a book buying ban?

I more or less just came off of one. Until February I was working only half time for minimum wage and using that money for student loan payments. Before that I was unemployed for a few months and I couldn’t afford to buy all the books I wanted to. I used the library like crazy and restrained my book buying to one had-to-have it sequel every couple of months. Now that I’m working and financially a lot more stable, I’m relishing being able to buy what I want, and though I’ve gone a little nuts, I don’t want to stop having fun with it. I am trying to plan my purchases though (it’s a tab on the spreadsheet), and keep pace with them, rather than outright banning myself. I like it, because I still get that new book feel, but it helps restrain the guilt to know I thought about and researched what I really wanted. Better chance I’ll read it that way as well.

Bookish (and Not so Bookish) Thoughts

Bookish and not so bookish thoughts is a weekly meme hosted by Christine @ Bookishly Boisterious. I’ve spent longer in the part time to full time employment transition zone than I thought I would. Still living pretty far from where I work, not really taking the time after I finish a book to review it. I miss this though, the writing, the thought-recording, though I stare at a computer enough day to day. This weekly post was something I always enjoyed writing, so I thought it would be a good way to sneak a peek back into blogger-land!

  • Bookish thoughts first then! I’ve had a pretty good run with stuff lately. Especially the anti-superhero stuff. Vicious by Victoria Schwab was so wonderful. Following a pair of college roommates who become bitter enemies after an experiment takes a dark turn and each become an “extra-ordinary” it’s a smart, unique, and very entertaining twist on the superhero origin story. By total coincidence, I was reading Steelheart, another superpower loaded book, with more of a dystopian sci-fi bent, by Brandon Sanderson around the same time. In Steelheart, the people with special powers are the villains; twisted by their power to be cruel and tyrannical, brutally controlling and destroying entire cities. Vicious and Steelheart are entirely different books with entirely different settings and atmospheres, but they both play off the idea that superpowers don’t breed just stoic and noble men in tights. They portray a more realistic side to the fantasy trope: that of the super-human with a dangerously inflated sense of his own importance, his unshakeable convictions breeding tyranny, not justice.
  • See? I should be writing more posts more often. I totally wasn’t planning any of that. I just meant to say both of those books were great, since I had just started both when I last posted.  To that end I have to add that The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater was wonderful as well. She really knows how to build a rich world around a small town. It might be my favorite of her books, for all that I love The Raven Boys.
  • I’ve mentioned several times that I’ve recently started listening to audiobooks while I drive to and from work, over an hour each way. I read The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, Vicious, and The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein this way so far and I’m currently listening to Entwined by Heather Dixon. Ready Player One is waiting in the wings. I enjoy them more than I ever thought I would. I’ve always been a visual person. If you tell me your name, I’ll forget it immediately, but if you’re wearing a name tag or you’re a high fantasy character with some weird and wildly unpronounceable name I’ll remember it forever. I thought I wouldn’t be able to follow a book read aloud to me, but I still got the skills I learned as a toddler. The Ocean at the End of the Lane was probably the best one to read that way so far, but The Art of Racing in the Rain narrator sounded so perfectly like a dog whenever he said “Yes!” I smiled to myself every time. I like the new and different experience. Sometimes I’m annoyed by the way a narrator does something, but those little extra good moments are pretty cool.
  •  Change of gear for a not so bookish thought: Why are one bedroom apartments so expensive? I really don’t want to have to deal with roommates anymore (I had pretty bad experiences for a couple of years in college, nothing super serious, but it’s never fun when you don’t feel comfortable in your own home), but having one would make so much sense when I see it would reduce my rent by almost half.
  • Related thought: getting errands and things done when working full time is all but impossible. More experienced adults need to give me some guidance on this.
  • These always end on such an anticlimactic note, but that’s all I’ve got for now!  Have a happy Friday and a great weekend! I’ll see you all when I see you, which is a not so subtle way of saying I should stop promising to post more often.

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts-February 14

  • I mentioned last week that I had a second interview for a job I really, really wanted. I got the job that very afternoon and I started it yesterday. It is very overwhelming and I have a long commute until I can move closer. I will definitely try to keep blogging the next few weeks and on into the future, but we’ll have to see how everything goes. I made the leap to book blogger in no small part because I needed something rewarding to keep myself from getting too down every time a job opportunity didn’t work out or prospects were thin. I really love doing it though, and I don’t see myself ever wanting to quit reading, so I hope to want to continue blogging as well. But, at the very least, you all will definitely be seeing less of me the next few weeks.
  • Book-wise I finished The Heroes of Olympus series this week. I definitely regretted staying up late to finish The House of Hades on Tuesday night since schedule wise I couldn’t sleep much on Wednesday night before I started the new job, but I also kind of think it was worth it. I want to do a post on the series thus far, but in case I don’t get to it, I will just say that I think handling seven POV characters could have been a disaster, but it wasn’t. I still love Percy and Annabeth best of course, but the focus on some different gods has been fun too. Also, House of Hades was extremely funny and extremely scary all at once. It was pretty cool that it did both. I loved them all and I can’t wait seven months for the last book. I just can’t.
  • I also finally got to Ignite Me, the final book in the Shatter Me trilogy by Tahereh Mafi. I had wanted to re-read the entire series first, but I didn’t. I read the first few pages of Shatter Me before I got all anxious about starting Ignite Me, since it had been out for a few days at that point. (What a character transformation, by the way. Holy cow.) . I did read Fracture Me, the second novella that takes place between the second book, Unravel Me, and Ignite Me, before I started, which gave me something of a reminder of what had happened at the end of book 2. Plus the third one did a pretty good job of recapping things for us, so I wasn’t confused at all. I do still kind of want to reread the whole thing, because the prose in Ignite Me was so beautiful. The plot was pretty good. It didn’t examine post-war aftermath, which is always a pet peeve of mine, but it was always more about Juliette than anything else anyway and her story ended in a fitting way.
  • Speaking of pet peeves, though, Ignite Me was one of two books I’ve read recently that have blurbs that bug me. Heaven is Paved with Oreos, by Catherine Gilbert Murdock, prominently displayed a blurb on the cover that was by Gilbert-Murdock’s sister, Elizabeth Gilbert (of Eat, Pray, Love fame). I don’t get the marketing strategy on this one, because, though Elizabeth Gilbert is relatively popular, the intended audience of Catherine’s books aren’t in the same age range as Elizabeth’s readers. The books are written for entirely different people (though both main characters are obsessed with the food in Rome). Ignite Me has a blurb by Ransom Riggs, whose audience at least intersects well with Ms. Mafi’s, but they are married to each other. I doubt he would refuse to blurb her book, or to say anything bad about it, because loved ones always help each other out. (Not I’m really questioning whether or not he likes the book/respects her work, but it is somewhat humorous to me).
  • I’m curious to hear opinions on audio books. I’ve never actually listened to one all the way through, but I’m doing the long commute thing for the next few weeks and my coworker yesterday mentioned he listens to them too sometimes when he’s doing the more monotonous aspects of our job. Do you like them? Do you prefer them to reading? What books do you recommend in the format?
  • I think that’s all for now! I will definitely still find time to check out the blogs of/reply to people who post comments as I always do, but otherwise I will visit you all when I can. Have a great weekend!

Bookish (and Not So Bookish) Thoughts

Bookish (and not so bookish) thoughts is hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. I haven’t done one of these before, but it’s perfect for my mood today. I want to write, but I’m not done with any new books to review and I’m too scatterbrained to start on another, even more thoughtful post that I have in mind.

1. Not that reviews aren’t thoughtful, I’ve just gotten so formulaic about them. Might be time to shake things up a bit with my next one.

2. Technically, I’m currently reading two books: And The Mountains Echoed by Kahled Hosseini and Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes, though I actually haven’t picked up Falling Kingdoms  in almost a week. Almost done with ATME though, and I’ve really enjoyed it. I got my copy from my mom, who loves Hosseini’s other two books, but couldn’t finish this one, so I was skeptical. It’s good though. It almost reads like a book of short stories, but all the stories are interconnected, as they relate back to one family, specifically one pair of separated siblings.

3. Not that I’ve abandoned Falling Kingdoms entirely, I just got really into the Percy Jackson and The Olympians series and dropped everything to finish it last week. Falling Kingdoms seems really cool so far (I’m like 50 pages in). It’s like a YA Song of Ice and Fire. Multiple perspectives from both sides of a war, the suggestion of incest, the well thought out politics, the small moments inciting big changes. I look forward to getting back to it.

4. After those two are read, I plan on rereading Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me series through book 2.5, in anticipation of the third and final book coming out in just about two weeks. I read the first two books about a year ago, and I read them so quickly, I’ve basically forgotten everything but the major premise. Still excited for the last book though, I know I’ll be crazy waiting for it if I reread too soon. Trying to time it so that I get it read before it comes out, but not too soon, is kind of irrationally stressing me out.

5. I also picked up the second book in The Wheel of Time series at the library a couple weeks back, but I’ll probably wind up renewing that and reading it later in February. I like that series, but I’ll probably read some of this other stuff first. Soon, though. I never wrote a review of The Eye of the World; it just seemed silly to review a book that’s been out longer than I’ve been alive, but I do want to write about it. I’m thinking a post about the epic fantasy hero’s journey trope. Not that I’m a qualified literary expert, but it might be fun to try.

6. It’s almost the end of January and I still don’t have a freaking job in my degree field. So, so frustrating. I didn’t major in one of those notoriously hard-to-get-jobs in fields either. I’m an engineer. I have another interview mid-February and some other things on the line, if I can get a phone call returned for once.

7. Bitterness over, promise. What else is new? I’m planning a road trip with some friends in March. We’re a bunch of geeks over the Vampire Diaries and are planning a trip to Georgia for the set tour. I’m excited. The first day will be boring (through Kansas to St. Louis) but then I get to visit the South, where I’ve never really been (minus a brief trip to Houston, which is different, I’m sure).

8. So my part time job, while I look for a full-time engineering one, is at a jewelry counter at a department store. Valentine’s Day is coming up, so I’ve got a few more serious shoppers than wishful browsers coming by these days and I am so amazed at how quickly most men seem to pick things out. Really. I walk up, expecting to explain the product, offer an opinion and they’re just like: Are these real diamonds? How much? Ok cool. Let’s get it. And they’re out of there in like less than five minutes.

9.  Justin Beiber got arrested yesterday. Just letting you know, I don’t think anyone’s been talking about it much, so you might not have heard already.

10. Is there a number requirement/maximum to this? I don’t think so, but ten is always a good number. Also, I’m not editing this, so I hope all that made sense.

Bout of Books Wrap-Up

This was my first time ever participating in this read-a-thon, and I had so much fun interacting with everyone and participating in the challenges. Definitely looking forward to Bout of Books 10 in May! Here’s my final update.

Day 7 Update and Wrap-Up

On day 7, as I predicted, between the AFC divisional playoff game and the Golden Globes I watched like 8 hours of TV and only read 58 pages of The Eye of the World. My big goal for last week was to finish that book, which I still have not done didn’t finish until Wednesday morning, but I did start and finish The Titan’s Curse and City of Dark Magic. All told for the read-a-thon I read 1,152 pages. Probably not much more, if any, than I would do on a normal week, but not bad either.

What major successes did come out of the event was all on this blog. Everyone was surprisingly active, reading each others updates, leaving comments, things like that. I wasn’t all that proactive in seeking out new bloggers, but a lot of bloggers came to visit me here, which was so much fun. I had more comments and views this week than ever before, so thanks for that, Bout of Books bloggers! It was nice to meet you all.

I am so behind on posting reviews, so be on the lookout for them all this weekend and next week. (Assuming my current Starbucks camp-out is productive! I’ve got like four to do and I haven’t been on Tumblr yet today.)

Bout of Books Day 6 Update

I can’t believe the week is almost over already! It went super fast. I don’t know if the read-a-thon is actually helping me read much more than I usually do, but it definitely has been fun to document. There’s just one day left, but all of tomorrow afternoon shall be dedicated to watching playoff football (Go Broncos!) so we shall see how much I can get done before the clock runs out on the read-a-thon!

Today went well, though. Yesterday I had just started and was dubious about Magnus Flyte’s City of Dark Magicbut I enjoyed it much more today. It still won’t be making a favorites list of mine or anything, but it was fun and different enough to enjoy, even if some of the scenes were confusing or eye-roll inducing. I took a reading break in the evening after finishing that book, to do some cleaning and organizing (I rarely ever feel like doing so, so I take advantage when the urge appears once every blue moon.) and then read just a chapter of The Eye of the World to get back into that story after a few days (and two books!) away from it. Good, productive day, both in reading and in other things!

Page Count

Read 275 pages of (and finished!) City of Dark Magic

Read 10 pages of The Eye of the World

Total Day 6: 285 pages

     Total Pages Read: 1094

     Books Completed: 2

Bout of Books Update! (Days 4 & 5)

Find out more about the Bout of Books read-a-thons here! Also feel free to check out my read-a-thon goals and first update posts to get caught up with my progress.

Page Counts

Day 4: Read 238 pages of (and finished!) The Titan’s Curse

Day 5: Read 175 pages of City of Dark Magic

Total pages read @ end of Day 5: 809

How Things are Going…

I’ve taken a breather from Eye of the World. I still plan on reading the rest of it, but on Wednesday night I was feeling like reading something a little more action-packed. Luckily, I had The Titan’s Curse, book 3 of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, on hand. Finishing that was the only reading I did on Day 4. I quite enjoyed it, as I have the rest of the series and I hope to get book 4 in my hands pretty soon!

On Day 5 and I woke up, looked at  a calendar and realized I should probably get started on City of Dark Magicsince it’s due back at the library early next week. I’ve read about a third of it and it’s just ok so far. The writing isn’t that great, but it has a sort of interesting concept. The plot is just now getting rolling for real though, and it should be pretty entertaining to see where it goes.

I hope to finish City of Dark Magic and make another good dent in The Eye of the World by the end of the read-a-thon on Sunday night, but we’ll see what the weekend has in store. What do you all have planned for your reading this weekend?

Bout of Books Read-A-Thon Update and Day 3 Challenge

If you missed my first post about the read-a-thon, learn more about Bout of Books here!

Update

I have not been doing all that well, but I do really love the book I’m reading. I’m on page 325, or about halfway through The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan, which doesn’t sound like much after almost 3 days, but this is a seriously large paperback. I didn’t have much time for reading yesterday between a job interview and working, so it didn’t even warrant an update. And today, instead of reading all day like I planned, I went to see American Hustle (Which was pretty awesome, so no regrets.) and am currently typing this between computer restarts, trying to fix the wireless connectivity (which is definitely not awesome). Tomorrow I’m going on a day trip with some friends, so we’ll see what happens, but think between evenings and Friday I can finish this book and then read at least one more (shorter one!) before the read-a-thon ends on Sunday. So, overall, a pretty rough start, but I have high hopes for the rest of the week. 

Day 3 Challenge-Introduce Someone to Your Favorite Genre

This challenge explained 

My favorite genre is high fantasy. Specifically, kick butt female lead YA high fantasy. The best introduction to the genre, in my humble opinion, are the books that were my introduction: any book about Tortall by Tamora Pierce. Alanna: The First Adventure and its sequels in The Song of the Lioness quartet are first, and you should probably start there, but my favorites of hers are the later duo Trickster’s Choice and Trickster’s Queen

If you’ve read Tammy Pierce and you’re looking to relive the experience, try Rae Carson’s The Girl of Fire and ThornsI’ve mentioned this one before, but it definitely could use repeating.