Monday, June 26, 2017

Happy Birthday, Harry: Thoughts and Feelings and Glasses Raised


“…there will be books written about Harry—every child in our world will know his name!”
--Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Ch. 1

Let the record show that in the book, Hagrid spelled everthing correctly



(Fun story: I own thirteen copies of this book, and all the covers in this post are from the editions I own. Yes, I have a problem, and by problem I mean not a problem at all)

Happy birthday, Harry, my eternal bae (as the kids say, aka the people who, unlike me, weren't alive when the Muggle world was first blessed by the arrival of one Harry James Potter). I reread this whole book today in your honor. It's about my eleventy billionth reread, but it's been years since I treated myself to a full Potter readthrough.



All my life, the Wizarding World has been my refuge. I used to sink into the whimsy and bustle and peril of Hogwarts regularly as a kid and as a teen for comfort, for entertainment, for nostalgia, to hunt for clues (because, of course, I am an ancient member of the original generation, and I remember what it was like to WAIT between BOOKS for ANSWERS because <i>we didn't knowww</i> and there was no Tumblr to spoil us). Every excursion into a Harry Potter book is a treat, and every time I submerge I discover more bits and bobs about the world. Every time I hang out with them, the characters carve themselves in my soul a little more deeply. Trite as it is (and this is already a disgusting amount of sentiment, someone cough up some slugs to kill the mood), reading a Harry Potter book is just pure magic.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Anne with an E Review: More like Anne with an Egads



Like a lot of bookish little nerdgirls with vivid imaginations and access to a library, I grew up totally in love with my fictional kindred spirit, Anne Shirley. I read all of the books throughout elementary school and middle school, wherein I learned several very important things, like 1) life is better with lots of scope for the imagination 2) tomorrow's another day with no mistakes in it yet 3) puff sleeves are of grave importance 3) Gilbert Blythe is the perfect book boyfriend.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

When the Movie is (GASP) Better Than the Book


This smorgasbord of unpopular opinions is inpired by Christina's excellent post from yesteryear, even though it commits the high blasphemy of thinking Ella Enchanted the movie is better than the book (for the record, I flipping love that movie, but ohmygodno). I know it's basically high bookish blasphemy to EVER think the movie is better than the book. I mean, they cut that one subplot and that ruined the tension and took away from their relationship! They totally cut that one scene that makes the WHOLE SERIES! They gave Movie!Ginny the personality of a paper sandwich! They made Harry and Voldemort grapplehug while they fell off a tower WHAT WERE THEY THINKING I MEAN REALLY--


Whoops. Tangent. We're here to talk about the movies that are BETTER than the books, not the movies that are sort of great on their own but will never ever capture the true DEPTH AND BRILLIANCE of the Wizarding World and Ginevra Weasley, boss heroine, and what Albus Dumbledore was actually--

No. Okay. FOCUS.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Review: The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli


When was the last time I got a review out by release date? Like....2014? I'M SO PROUD OF MYSELF. Clearly, turning 26 has made me grow up at once immediately completely because this is how #biology works.

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble The Book Depository | IndieBound
Series: No
Release date: TODAY, April 11th, 2017
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (Harper)
Length: 352 pages
Source: e-ARC via Edelweiss/print ARC from ALAMW
Rating: *BIG GOOBER DOOFUS SMILE*


Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly's totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie's new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. If Molly can win him over, she'll get her first kiss and she'll get her twin back.

There's only one problem: Molly's coworker, Reid. He's a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there's absolutely no way Molly could fall for him.

Right?


This book made me grin so hard my cheeks hurt. Seriously, I was grinning so hard and for such an extended amount of time that it basically became exercise. I now have buff cheeks.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Recent Reads Roundup, Achievements, Quirks, and Imaginary Cupcakes



HOLY SHIT GUYS, IT'S APRIL, WHUT AND WHUT AND WHUT.

(I turn 26 on Saturday. Hahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahagodwhyyy)

2017 has been an...interesting year *purposefully avoids saying why* *YOU KNOW WHY* Let's stick to the reading/blogging front. For me, it's been the best reading year I'd had in...well, i don't know how long, because this is the first year I've really been proactive about tracking my reads (*thunks Past Gillian on the forehead*). But while this is the best reading year I've had in time untold, it's probably the worst blogging year I've had since I started blogging (*thunks Current Gillian on the forehead*). So I'm reading all the books YAY but not finding the time or energy to review them BOO. Let's all throw things at Current Gillian. Preferably very soft things. Like teddy bears, or cupcakes, or accolades.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Would You Read a Book for the First Time Again?



I've heard this question a lot over the years. If you could somehow magically re-experience reading your favorite book for the first time, would you? Would you read a book for the first time again if you could?


When people ask that theoretical question, most people answer YES. I've seen it all around, on blog posts, on tumblr, on BookTube: "I wish there was a device/magic spell that made you forget a book so you could read it for the first time all over again!"

And I get why people want there. There is nothing like the very first time you read a life-changing, gloriously entertaining, soul-igniting book. It's the best feeling ever. It's the readerly high we all crave.

My answer, though, is always a resounding "NO."

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Review: Heartstone by Elle Katherine White, aka PRIDE AND PREJUDICE with DRAGONS


Heartstone by Elle Katherine White
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository | IndieBound
Series: No
Release date: January 17th, 2017
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Length: 352 pages
Source: Purchased
Rating: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE WITH DRAGONS


A debut historical fantasy that recasts Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice in an imaginative world of wyverns, dragons, and the warriors who fight alongside them against the monsters that threaten the kingdom: gryphons, direwolves, lamias, banshees, and lindworms

They say a Rider in possession of a good blade must be in want of a monster to slay—and Merybourne Manor has plenty of monsters.

Passionate, headstrong Aliza Bentaine knows this all too well; she’s already lost one sister to the invading gryphons. So when Lord Merybourne hires a band of Riders to hunt down the horde, Aliza is relieved her home will soon be safe again.

Her relief is short-lived. With the arrival of the haughty and handsome dragonrider, Alastair Daired, Aliza expects a battle; what she doesn’t expect is a romantic clash of wills, pitting words and wit against the pride of an ancient house. Nor does she anticipate the mystery that follows them from Merybourne Manor, its roots running deep as the foundations of the kingdom itself, where something old and dreadful slumbers . . . something far more sinister than gryphons.

It’s a war Aliza is ill-prepared to wage, on a battlefield she’s never known before: one spanning kingdoms, class lines, and the curious nature of her own heart.

Elle Katharine White infuses elements of Austen’s beloved novel with her own brand of magic, crafting a modern epic fantasy that conjures a familiar yet wondrously unique new world.


PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. WITH. DRAGONS.

Let's just...let's just marinate in that. Let it seep into our pores and we shall bask in its awesomeness and know that even if the book doesn't end up being that good, it can't be bad, because it is PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. WITH. DRAGONS.

Monday, March 20, 2017

DNF-A-Palooza




I'm feeling lazy, so let's keep it SHORT and NOT SO SWEET (kind of like me, ba dum TSHHH)

All the books were ARCs provided by the publisher and I'M SORRY, PUBLISHERS, I WILL TRY TO BE...TALLER AND SWEETER

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Review: Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller


Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble The Book Depository | IndieBound
Series: Yes, #1 in the series
Release date: February 28th, 2017
Publisher: Fiewel & Friends (Macmillan)
Length: 372 pages
Source: Purchased
Rating: crack fantasy


There will be plenty of time for me to beat him soundly once I’ve gotten what I came for.

Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.



This review is going to be a total chopped up mess of contradictions, because on the one hand, this was intensely entertaining with PIRATES and PLOTS and STABBING, but on the other, I really didn't like the writing or worldbuilding, but on the other OTHER hand, the ship and their chemistry/banter were off the charts. And now I have three hands, so you see the problem here. THANKS A LOT, DOTPK.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Review: The Valiant by Lesley Livingston


The Valiant by Lesley Livingston
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble The Book Depository IndieBound
Series: Yes, #1 in the series
Release date: February 14th, 2017
Publisher: Razorbill (Penguin)
Length: 372 pages
Source: ARC from ALAMW
Rating: *victorious Cantii war cry*



Princess. Captive. Gladiator.

Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king, the sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha, and the sworn enemy of Julius Caesar.

When Fallon was a child, Caesar’s armies invaded her homeland, and her beloved sister was killed in battle.

Now, on the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is eager to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her place in the fearsome Cantii war band. She never gets the chance.

Fallon is captured and sold to an elite training school for female gladiators—owned by none other than Julius Caesar. In a cruel twist of fate, the man who destroyed Fallon’s family might be her only hope of survival.

Now Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries and deadly fights—in and out of the arena. And perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her forbidden yet irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier.



Well, that was totally bad ass.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Review: The Princess Saves Herself in this One


The Princess Saves Herself in this One by Amanda Lovelace
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository | IndieBound
Series: No
Release date: February 14th, 2017
Publisher: Andrew McMeel Publishing
Length: 208 pages
Source: Netgalley
Rating: Save me from this one



From Amanda Lovelace, a poetry collection in four parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen, and you. The first three sections piece together the life of the author while the final section serves as a note to the reader. This moving book explores love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment, and inspiration.


Okay. Yeah. That was....well, not my favorite ever thing. I feel like I just read my middle school AIM away messages or 200 pages of emo Myspace updates. I need to go listen to some Dashboard Confessional STAT. (YES, I AM OLD, OLDY OLD OLD)

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Review: We Are Okay by Nina LaCour


We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository IndieBound
Series: No
Release date: February 14th, 2017
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers (Penguin)
Length: 240 pages
Source: ARC from ALAMW
Rating: Gillian is NOT okay



"You go through life thinking there’s so much you need. . . . Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother."

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.


This book is brilliant, and Nina LaCour is a master. And she owes me a stiff drink.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

In Which I Apologize to the Goodreads Challenge and Acknowledge I Have Been a Nincompoop




Oh, past Gillian. HOW FOOLISH YOU WERE.

Let's journey back to the halcyon days of 2015 and this post full of past-Gillian nincompoopness. The post in which I said things like this:

Every time I log on Goodreads, there's this bright purple banner begging me--no, urging me--to set a Goodreads challenge. Goodreads wants me to set a goal of how many books I'll read this year, but je refuse, Goodreads. Je hardcore REFUSE. No matter what number I set, high or low, I'll end up wayyyy too married to it. I'm competitive even with myself. I'll feel like crap if I fail, and I don't want to feel like crap about reading books! I love books! This is why I like to take as much reading pressure off myself as I can...which is hard, considering I've already got a bunch of it.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber


Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository | IndieBound
Series: Yes, #1 in the Caraval series
Release date: January 31st, 2017
Publisher: Flatiron
Length: 407 pages
Source: ARC from BEA16
Rating: Hmmmmm



Welcome to Caraval, where nothing is quite what it seems.

Scarlett has never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar for the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show.

Caraval is Magic. Mystery. Adventure. And for Scarlett and her beloved sister Tella it represents freedom and an escape from their ruthless, abusive father.

When the sisters' long-awaited invitations to Caraval finally arrive, it seems their dreams have come true. But no sooner have they arrived than Tella vanishes, kidnapped by the show's mastermind organiser, Legend.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But nonetheless she quickly becomes enmeshed in a dangerous game of love, magic and heartbreak. And real or not, she must find Tella before the game is over, and her sister disappears forever.

A mesmerising, magical and stunningly imaginative debut novel for anyone who loved The Night Circus and Daughter of Smoke and Bone.


I struggled sooooo hard with what to rate this. There's one thing about Caraval I can unequivocably rate five stars, and that is the imagery. I'm an EXTREMELY visual reader, so it makes sense that by far my absolute favorite part of Caraval were the visuals. I could see this place completely. I wanted to live in in and roll around in it and eat it. It was sumptuous and the descriptions were wildly evocative. I'm glad this has a good chance of becoming a movie, because I could already see it in my mind, and it was stunning. The writing--after the bizarrely clunky opening chapters--is STUPENDOUS. The metaphors and rich details and sumptuous setting really accented the whimsy and seductive madness of the magic.

I want to live inside Caraval. It's vivid and rich, I want to read a million stories set in it...

...starring different people.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Review: By Your Side by Kasie West


By Your Side by Kasie West
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository | IndieBound
Series: No
Release date: January 31st, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Length: 352 pages
Source: eARC via Edelweiss
Rating: I am betrayed and disapoint


In this irresistible story, Kasie West explores the timeless question of what to do when you fall for the person you least expect. Witty and romantic, this paperback original from a fan favorite is perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson.

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?



You guys, I am so betrayed.

This book could have been my everything. A fluffy romance novel about a ship TRAPPED IN A LIBRARY?? By Kasie West, goddess of squee, author of my favores The Distance Between Usand PS I Like You?? STARRING AN ANXIOUS HEROINE??? Be still my heart! Hold back the tears! My body is ready!

My body was lied to.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Double Bloody Review: Frostblood by Elly Blake and RoseBlood by A.G. Howard



There's a theme to today's double review! Both have blood in the title, both have magical doodads and whatsits, and both release today! Alas, I only liked one of them. But the one I did I loved a whole lot, so it's not a total wash!

Monday, January 2, 2017

New Year's Bookish Resolutions



I have never been a New Year's resolve-y sort of person (possibly because I'm far too lazy to have much resolve in the first place). I don't have the discipline for diets or exercise, and my favorite hobbies are eating baked goods and sitting down with a book until my spine curves into a c-shape and my muscles dissolve into pudding. I never do hard numbers for reading goals (see why here). I go with the flow, man. Peace and love and baked goods.

But this year, for the first time in my whole life, I FEEL RESOLVE-Y.