Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree This Year

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s prompt is Top Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree This Year. I have an extensive list of books I want, so it was hard to narrow it down to just ten, but these are the ones I’m most interested in.

  1. Dreams of Gods and Monsters – Laini Taylor
  2. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – illustrated by Anna Bond
  3. The Princess Bride – William Goldman
  4. Art of Neil Gaiman: The Story of a Writer – Hayley Campbell
  5. Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell
  6. Throne of Glass – Sarah J. Maas (or any SJM book, to be honest)
  7. The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater
  8. Everything, Everything – Nicola Yoon
  9. Calvin – Martine Leavitt
  10. The Imaginary – A.F. Harrold, illustrated by Emily Gravett

Have you read any of these books? What’s on your wishlist?

More Like NaNo-NoGo

I’ve failed. Failed to complete NaNoWriMo, even though you’d think I’d have it under control, it being my third year and all (you can read my success stories here and here).

Alas, it was not meant to be.

I was determined to finish a manuscript, and I got stuck and couldn’t get unstuck. Partly because I know next-to-nothing about British law enforcement and sports, and guess what my WIP is about? BRITISH LAW ENFORCEMENT AND SPORTS. So I was constantly pausing to research, and therefore only hit 29,000 words. My other problem is that I like talking about the characters, but I sometimes ignore the plot. My bad.

Plus I wrote 13654320 other things for this blog and Mind the Gap, and spent the rest of my time job-hunting, grumbling about job-hunting, decorating for Christmas, sleeping, and, I don’t know, probably eating.

food sleep

Instead of dwelling on my failure, I’m using this as a learning experience and I know that I will have to better manage my time next year. And, as a positive, I’ll be home for half of December, so I can work on my manuscript then (hopefully)!

I do think, however, that I wrote 50,000 words this month anyway (just not in my WIP!). The following is a list of posts I published in November:

ON THIS BLOG:

Library of Souls review
5 Seconds of Summer mini-review
TTT: Book to Movie Adaptations
Book Blitz: Sugar Skulls
Anne & Henry review
Blog Tour: Every Word
#TheShelfieHop
The Real Neat Blog Award
Andrew McMahon concert review
The Universe Versus Alex Woods review
A Thousand Nights review

ON MIND THE GAP:

PVRIS
WCW: Lynn Gunn
Every series review
Why We Love Neil Gaiman
Orphan Black season one review
Tea-riffic Recommendations
Why We Love Andrew McMahon
#NowPlaying
NaNoWriMo (ironically, I didn’t follow my own advice!)
Soulless review
Why We Love Harry Potter
Community season five review
Peanuts
Holiday Music
Don Broco

ON IDOBI.COM:

Friday Night Lites review

And here’s a list of upcoming posts (written but not yet published) that I’ve been working on, since I’m going to London next week and won’t be home to write them! You can click the links now, but they won’t be live until the date listed in parentheses.

ON THIS BLOG:

TTT: Top Ten Books of 2015 (Dec 15)

ON MIND THE GAP:

Victor Frankenstein review (Dec 2)
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Dec 4)
All I Want For Christmas (Dec 5)
My Favourite Christmas/Holiday Episodes (Dec 8)
London (Dec 10)
Holiday Movies (Dec 12)
All Time Low (Dec 14)
WCW: Emma Stone (Dec 16)
Daughter of Smoke and Bone/Days of Blood and Starlight review (Dec 18)
Celebrating the Holidays (Dec 19)
How I Met Your Mother season nine (Dec 22)
Best of 2015 (Dec 26)

You could also maybe sign up for the Mind the Gap newsletter (on our homepage), so that you can keep up with these posts every week (but only if you want to!).

ON IDOBI.COM:

My Christmas Letter to All Time Low/You Me At Six
Un(Covered): Christmas Time is Here
Un(Covered): Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

For anyone who participated in NaNoWriMo, how did it go? And for the rest of you: how was your November?

Top Ten Tuesday: UK in YA 101

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s prompt is Top Ten Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If You Taught X 101. Up until about half an hour ago, I was fully prepared to write “YA URBAN FANTASY 101”, but then I thought about how much I love the UK and books that take place in the UK and, well, here we are.

A couple of these are technically middle grade, but they work as transitional pieces.

Required reading (in no particular order):

1) Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll (London; Oxford to be precise); read my review here!
2) Harry Potter series – J.K. Rowling (London and some magical place in Scotland)
3) Gemma Doyle trilogy – Libba Bray (Victorian London); read my review of book 1 here!
4) Stardust – Neil Gaiman (“rural England”; though technically “adult”, I’ve seen it on YA lists)
5) Lockwood & Co series – Jonathan Stroud (alternate England full of ghosts!!!!) (also highly recommend his other series, The Bartimaeus Sequence); read my review of book 2 here!
6) Mad Miss Mimic – Sarah Henstra (Victorian London); read my review here!
7) Sorcery and Cecelia – Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer (Victorian London)
8) Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs (Wales); read my review for books 1 and 2!
9) The Secret of Platform 13 – Eva Ibbotson (London)
10) Sally Lockhart series – Philip Pullman (Victorian London)

Recommended reading:

Every Word – Ellie Marney (takes places mostly in London, but you have to read the FANTASTIC first book, Every Breath, before tackling this one)
Artemis Fowl series – Eoin Colfer (I know Ireland isn’t actually part of the UK, but it’s close)

I really enjoy Victorian England, if you haven’t noticed. I can’t think of any YA or MG books that take place in Scotland (though technically Hogwarts is in Scotland). Does anyone have any suggestions/recommendations? What other UK-based books have I missed?

ARC Review: Alice Takes Back Wonderland – David D. Hammons

Alice Takes Back Wonderland – David D. Hammons

22590207After ten years of being told she can’t tell the difference between real life and a fairy tale, Alice finally stops believing in Wonderland. So when the White Rabbit shows up at her house, Alice thinks she’s going crazy.
Only when the White Rabbit kicks her down the rabbit hole does Alice realize that the magical land she visited as a child is real.

But all is not well in Wonderland.

The Ace of Spades has taken over Wonderland and is systematically dismantling all that makes it wonderful. Plain is replacing wondrous, logical is replacing magical, and reason is destroying madness. Alice decides she must help the Mad Hatter and all those fighting to keep Wonderland wonderful.

But how can she face such danger when she is just a girl?

Alice must journey across the stars to unite an army. She discovers that fairy tales are real in the magical world beyond the rabbit hole. But they are not the fairy tales she knows.
Fairy tales have dangers and adventures of their own, and Alice must overcome the trials of these old stories if she wants to unite the lands against Ace.
With the help of Peter Pan, Pinocchio, Snow White and heroes old and new, Alice may have the strength to take back Wonderland.

Release Date: September 28th, 2015

Thank you to Curiosity Quills for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review!

I love all things Alice-inspired, so obviously I jumped at the chance to read this ARC. It was so good!! Especially because there was a lapse between when I requested it and when I actually read it so I had time to forget that other fairy tale creatures showed up and made the whole thing AMAZING.

What I liked:

-the cover, obviously, is gorgeous.

-the other fairy tale characters and the differences between their real stories and the “echoes” we have in our world. Loved Peter Pan (I shipped them hard), loved the twist on Pinocchio, loved the whole thing with the princesses…I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but it was really well done and integrated seamlessly with the plot.

The seven dwarves were especially awesome. Two words: pinstripe suits.

-Alice herself. She ended up being funny and smart and tough and pretty much exactly how you’d want a grown up Alice to be. She reminded me a lot of Tim Burton’s Alice (actually, the whole concept reminded me of that movie, so it’s a good thing I really enjoy Tim Burton’s take), which led to me rewatching the movie this weekend (never a bad thing).

I especially liked how, when she was changing outfits because her dress was ruined, she turned up her nose at the other dresses that were offered to her, choosing instead pants and a shirt because she didn’t “need it to be pretty”. Plus her pants had pockets for her shotgun shells, so it was more convenient than a frilly dress.

-at first I, along with other characters, was perplexed as to why exactly Alice wanted to take back Wonderland. It was like she had a goal, but she herself couldn’t reason why this goal was so important to her. That should have been annoying, but it actually made sense in a confusing way. I think this quotation from the book sums it up:

Magic, it seemed, showed no sign of scientific reason. It was frustrating, yet made me feel joyful to know that something existed in this universe that was completely devoid of rational explanation”.

-this quote

If acting outside a set list of thing to do is what you call mad, then we’re all mad here.

Sidenote: I already love the original “we’re all mad here” line (enough to get it permanently inked on my skin), so of course I liked this more detailed version.

What I didn’t like:

-attacking the pirates’ ship in Neverland seemed to take a long time, plus I don’t know what a Gatling gun is, so I had a hard time imagining it.

-there were some emotional moments that felt like they were glossed over so that it didn’t slow the action down which was understandable, but they were the moments where I actually wanted Alice to stop and process what was happening. Chalk it up to her being mad, I suppose.

Overall, I think he did a fantastic job capturing Alice’s whimsical voice, even making me laugh a few times, and as a fan of mixed up fairy tales, I loved seeing other characters outside of their stories.

I wish I had read this a couple of weeks earlier so that I could have added it to my top ten list of fairy tale retellings.

Rating:

4 interrobangs

4.5 interrobangs

WIP: Alistair in Wonderland

Yesterday’s Top Ten Tuesday was one of my favourites so far. I absolutely love fairytale retellings (and fairytales in general, I suppose), so I had way too much fun going through other people’s lists and adding books to my TBR.

While I was brainstorming titles for my list, I remembered my own attempt at re-writing a favourite story. I wrote it for a contest and made plans to expand it into a full-length novel (or at least novella), but to be honest, I haven’t touched it in over a year.

So here it is. If you take the time to read this – thank you! And please let me know what you think! I hope it’s not too terrible.

Featuring the cover I made for it in my production class which isn’t the best because Photoshop/InDesign are not my friends and my instructor didn’t love the colour scheme (I told him that the black and white covers worked for Twilight and he couldn’t really argue).

alistair

Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Authors I REALLY Want To Meet

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s prompt is Ten Authors I REALLY Want to Meet. That list is pretty much identical to my Top Ten ALL TIME Favourite Authors, and that seems like a cop-out to post a link to a previous list (even though I totally just did), so I’ve added five other authors who I’d love to meet if I could go back in time i.e. if they were still alive.

1) Jane Austen
2) Oscar Wilde
3) Bram Stoker
4) Lewis Carroll (aka Charles Dodgson)
5) Dr. Seuss (aka Theodore Geisel)

Though really, I don’t know what I would say to any of these authors (on either list) if I met them because I would be too busy fan-girling to speak.

mr darcy

Sidenote: one time, I met Libba Bray and we swapped glasses. It was epic.

Who would be on your list?

Tattoo Thursday

I’ve decided that today is “Tattoo Thursday”. Why? Because yesterday I got my fourth tattoo! But also because it’s my birthday and I’ll do what I want!

I’m actually 25, but this is close enough.

August 2012

tattoo

My first tattoo – Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas. I often talk about how much I love Jack, so it made perfect sense to get his face permanently inked on me.

April 2014

Last year on my birthday, I finally convinced my sister Ro to get matching tattoos with me (I’m Reckless, she’s Brave). There are two layers to these tattoos:

1) The “VI” symbolizes one of our favourite bands, You Me At Six, and “Reckless” is my favourite YMAS song.

2) “The Reckless and the Brave” is a song by another fave band, All Time Low, and it was the perfect way to combine our love for two bands.

August 2014

IMAG0278

I wrote an entire post about the album behind this tattoo when I got it last summer, but it’s a Panic! at the Disco reference (“Nine in the Afternoon”), plus I’ve always liked pocket watches.

April 2015

quarter sleeveI’m referring to this as my “quarter sleeve” (not quite a half sleeve, but still more than just a single tattoo). I got this yesterday and it’s gorgeous (though it was gruesomely bloody before I took the bandage off). It’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderlandthemed (“we’re all mad here” is one of my favourite quotes) plus it went really well with my pocket watch and I also love drinking tea, so it has multiple meanings!

And there you have it! Those are my four tattoos, but trust me when I say I have a thousand other ideas (which include, but are not limited to: the Deathly Hallows symbol, Calvin & Hobbes, Adventure Time, the VFD/eye symbol from A Series of Unfortunate Events, song lyrics, and a Neil Gaiman quote).

How about you, readers? Do you have any tattoos? Do you want any? Let me know in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favourite Quotes from Books

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Technically this week’s prompt was Top Ten Inspiring Quotes From Books, but since I’m more likely to find inspiration in song lyrics, I just chose quotes I like. Several of them actually are “inspirational” or have something to do with books/writing.

1) From Instructions – Neil Gaiman

“Trust dreams. Trust your heart, and trust your story.”

2) From Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” (Dumbledore)

3) From Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”

4) From Ella Enchanted – Gail Carson Levine

“I had been able to break the curse myself. I’d had to have reason enough, love enough to do it, to find the will and the strength.”

5) From Audrey, Wait! – Robin Benway

“If you really want to know something about me, you should know this: I like my music loud. I mean loud […]You have to turn it up so that your chest shakes and the drums get in between your ribs like a heartbeat and the bass goes up your spine and fizzles your brain and all you can do is dance or spin in a circle or just scream along because you know that however this music makes you feel, it’s exactly right.”

6) From The Picture of Dorian Grey – Oscar Wilde

“The artist is the creator of beautiful things.”

7) From Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid – Lemony Snicket

“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.”

8) From Through the Looking Glass – Lewis Carroll

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast…” (the White Queen)

9) From Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – J.K. Rowling

“Wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure.”

10) From The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman

“I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.”

And a bonus gif:

always

What are some of your favourite quotes, inspirational or otherwise?

Fiction Friday Round-Up – April 10th, 2015

Over the past week-and-a-bit, I’ve read a classic, two ARCs, and a second book in a series! Click the links for full reviews!

  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass – Lewis Carroll: “This is a book that speaks to the nonsensical part of me, the part that prefers to fantasize my way into a story rather than, you know, do actual work.”
  • Spelled (ARC) – Betsy Schow: “I love fractured/retellings of fairy tales so I was pretty stoked when my request for this was approved.”
  • The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag – Alan Bradley: “Flavia continues to be precocious and clever, and I sort of want to be her. Or I’d at least like to understand chemistry the way she does.”
  • The Rise and Fall of the Gallivanters (ARC) – M.J. Beaufrand: “I liked the fact that they were in a punk band. These are my people (well, these are the people I wish were my people), and I’ve always loved stories where one or more characters are in a band.”

BONUS:

Last week was Good Friday and I only posted one review (but it was SUCH a good book!):

  • The Wondrous and the Wicked – Page Morgan: “I don’t want to spoil anything about this book, but I’m just going to put this out there: it was one of the best endings to a trilogy I’ve read in a long time…”

Until next week, happy reading!