Manga Classics: Pride and Prejudice vs. The Scarlet Letter

I’ve been on a graphic novel kick lately and my most recent discovery is this line of Manga Classics which I discovered through NetGalley. You might remember from my recent post that I’ve been having mixed results with classics turned graphic novel. I liked some but found others lacking. It’s hard to really convey the full emotion and essence of a story in graphic novels without them being mammoth beasts. But manga seems like a different beast altogether and I was curious to give them a try.

If you are new to Manga, the most important thing you need to know is that the books are read basically entirely backwards from how you are familiar. The first page is going to be what you consider the last page and even the way you read each page is different. This image from Manga Classics does a great job explaining this:

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So for my first Manga experience I decided to read my all time favorite book, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen:

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image credit: https://www.facebook.com/mangaclassics/

 

Being my favorite book could be setting an unfairly high bar for this edition but to be honest I’m kind of obsessed with reinterpretations of Pride and Prejudice. All the movies and tv series, modern adaptations like Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld and especially the youtube series, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. So really, all this book had to do was not be terrible.

To say I was not disappointed would be an understatement. I loved the artwork – the story drifts between lush, beautiful portraits and quirky even more cartoonish asides with fun sketches thrown in. It feels like a true lover of Jane Austen developed this – it’s playful but attentive to every detail. The book does an excellent job of fleshing out all the emotions of the story through varied artistic styles to fit the mood and the illustrator is a pro at making extremely expressive facial features.

It also doesn’t feel overly abridged. I think it did a good job of paying homage to the original and may even be a leaping off point to get people to pick up the original book afterwards or other books by Austen. Any road to Austen is a good road!

My Rating: 5/5


Next I decided to be really bold and attempt reading the Manga Classics edition of The Scarlet Letter, one of my least favorite books of all time basically. Like anyone who has spoken to me about books for more than 5 seconds probably knows how I feel about good ole Hawthorne.

So in reading this version, I wanted to find out if I’d be able to appreciate the story more in a graphic and abridged version or if I’d even finish it at all. Could the manga format make Nathaniel Hawthorne bearable?

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image credit: https://www.facebook.com/mangaclassics/

 

Bearable, yes. I even finished it. The artwork continues to be stunning and very emotive and because of the nature of the book there are no never ending passages describing nothing in particular making me want to throw the book over a cliff.

Was this book a super fun read? Definitely not. It’s a pretty depressing story tbh and also kinda creepy. I think this is probably what Hawthorne was going for and having actually finished the story finally I understand why it’s required reading at a lot of schools. There are important ideas being considered in this story – but Hawthorne is so stupid boring that I never even got to them in high school. Or maybe my teacher was boring? Who knows. Either way, a graphic version of this story went a long way with me. I could SEE the story being told and understand what was going on.

My Rating: 3/5 stars but those 3 stars are earned entirely by the Manga Classics peeps. Without them it would continue to be a 0/5.


I think Manga Classics could be an awesome addition to a high school reading curriculum. The kids that are just not breaking through with the original might really benefit from a more visual format and these editions are excellent. Even the kids who are already inhaling Austen like it ain’t no thang would probably enjoy experiencing it in another format as well. It’s a great opportunity to compare and contrast and possibly more timely than BBC adaptations, awesome as they are.

Do you read manga? Do you have a favorite?

What’s your favorite classic novel?

Least favorite?

The Book Titles Tag.

Birdie Bookworm tagged me in this Book Titles tag. This one is a little different from most book tags – the idea is to answer questions about yourself using only book titles. Fun right?

Here is a link the original creators – I guess it was originally a Youtube tag:
https://youtu.be/I5_S1KGTd-w & https://youtu.be/Lb97dfiBLf4

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1. Title that’s the story of your life

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My (Not So) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella felt ideal for this one as I tend to exist in a constant state of self deprecation. I know that on the whole I live a pretty good life but nobody’s life is perfect, definitely not mine.


2. Title that describes your perfect weekend

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I’m pretty sure my perfect weekend involves traveling to some slightly exotic locale near the water and of course coffee. The Cafe by the Sea by Jenny Colgan – an author who seems very tapped into my particular breed of wanderlust.


3. Title of an adventure you’d like to go on

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Ha, are you sensing a theme here? The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell sounds pretty incredible. If my husband ever wanted to go live in a European country for a year, I’d definitely be down for that.


4. Title you want to name your child

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First, let me be clear – I do not intend to have any more children, at all. That phase of my life has passed. But in the name of playing along, Anna seems like a name that would make my short list. I’m all about traditional names as evidenced by the names of my actual children. Birdie used a Stephanie Perkins book for this question also, so, twinsies.


5. Title of your ideal job

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I’m not sure what my ideal job is these days but I’m guessing I’m unqualified for it. Travel writer, small town librarian, professional coffee drinker? Executive Netflix watcher?


6. Title of a place you’d like to visit

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See, I told you. Jenny Colgan gets me. The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris = I want to go to there.


7. Title of your love life

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This seems like kind of a dark choice in books to describe my love life. Let me be clear, I’m referring to the title only and not the plot of Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill (which sounds fantastic if not remotely romantic).


8. Questions you ask yourself

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LOL What Happened by Hillz seemed fitting because aren’t we all wondering but honorable mention should go to:

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How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk because the struggle is real.


9. Title of a kingdom you want to rule OR name

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The Kingdom of Neverwhere – doesn’t that sound like a book you’d want to read? I grew up near a city named Ware which was obviously the pun of many jokes so this feels apropos.


10. Title you’d name your band.

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Renegades by Marissa Meyer is so clearly the perfect band name. Also I can’t wait for this book to come out.


11. What is your current mood?

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I stayed up too late last night and have yet to feel truly awake today. My Fair Lazy by Jen Lancaster pretty much sums up my motivation level today.


12. What is your favorite color?

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Yeah I’ll be honest, I chose this one because there’s a color in the title. I’ve heard good things about Red Rising by Pierce Brown – have you read it? Or red it? lol


13. How do you feel about 2017 so far?

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I think a lot of us feel like 2017 has been spent dealing with the fallout from 2016.


14. Where do you want to travel?

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I’m running out of books that adequately describe my wanderlust guys. I had to dip out of my Amazon wish list for this one and also basically rip off Birdie’s answer but it is true. I want to see everything. Everything. (PS I just watched the movie Sunday night and it was soooo good)


15. What are your summer plans?

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Yeah summer pretty much has ended here. My kids have already been back in school for a week and we are counting down those last days of August.


16. What are your 2017 goals?

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Yeah my goals for the rest of the year consist almost entirely of volunteering at my kids’ school in various capacities. Just add in exercise and eat some green things.

TAG

I tag the people who read this entire post.

The Best Books My Eight Year Old Read This Summer | Video Review

My kids basically read the entire public library this summer and they have a lot of feels about it that I thought you might enjoy. I made these video reviews starring my eight year old because her recaps are so cute they basically begged to be recorded. And then edited a tad to cut out some of the umms and uhhhs and staring blankly at the camera bits. And given a snazzy postorized effect because anything starring my daughter should probably more colorful than seems necessary.

BB fell in love with the world of graphic novels this summer so it is not very surprising that her two favorites are both from that section.

6389496Pigling is a graphic novel Cinderella story by Dan Jolley and Anne Timmons but it definitely stands on its own as a unique tale.

Pear Blossom, a young Korean girl, leads a happy life … until her mother dies and her father remarries. Her new wicked stepmother and stepsister make Pear Blossom the victim of their cruelty. But … one day, the girl meets a handsome magistrate. Will Pear Blossom’s luck change for the better? Or is she destined to suffer at her stepfamily’s hands forever?

This was just one of the incredible graphic novelized renditions of a classic tale that we found and devoured this summer. You can read my thoughts on a few more here.

Here are all of my daughter’s thoughts about Pigling:


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My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic by  Katie Cook and Andy Price stars those ponies that you are probably already a little familiar with. Just in case you are not well versed in all things My Little Pony though…

Welcome to Ponyville, home of Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Fluttershy, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, and all your other favorite Ponies! Something’s not right in the town though, as some of the inhabitants are acting very, very strange! It’s up to the Mane Six to find the source of the weirdness before it’s too late!

And if your darling enjoys this one, don’t worry as there are many more books that follow it.

Here’s what my eight year old has to say about this one:


What books are your kids reading right now?

What book should my daughter read next?

The Best Book I Read This Summer | And 2 More Books Worth Mentioning

What’s the best thing you’ve read this summer? Jo asked this question on her blog recently and although I answered her in the comments section, I decided it was a question that deserved its own post here. I know you are always looking for a good book recommendation – it’s what makes us kindred spirits, after all.

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This summer I finally read Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas after it was recommended to me by basically everyone. Maas is kind of a big name in young adult literature but she has basically a thousand books and I was having a hard time remembering which one I was supposed to read but I finally got my ‘ish together and got a copy of TOG and found a moment in between book club picks to see what the fuss was all about.

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

This book completely sucked me in and I totally get why so many people love it. I loved all of the characters, especially Calaena, and was so invested in the story. The best part is that it’s part of a well established series so there are plenty more books to OMG my way through.

There are a small handful of books that I find myself borderline pushing on people when we talk books – perhaps I’ve all but thrown Cinder by Marissa Meyer or anything by Rainbow Rowell your way? This is your newest assigned reading in the People Who Can Be Book Friends With Jen Club.

Okay so we’ve established that I’m obsessed with this book but I read a few other winners this summer that I think are worth mentioning if you need one more book to curl up with this summer (or fall, I’m not picky).


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If you are looking for a book that will combine a futuristic society, virtual reality and absolutely every cult classic from the 1980’s and throw in a good old love story to boot – Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is there for you.

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place. Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be … And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the easter egg / ultimate lottery ticket hidden by OASIS creator James Halliday before his death – that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.

This one is being turned into a movie that I’m not sure if I’m excited for or dreading but if you want to experience the book first now is your chance.


28372019If you want a sweet story that’s as old as time ; you know the one – bookworm loses job and decides to move to the middle of nowhere in Scotland to sell books out of a van – then The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan is exactly what you need right now.

Nina Redmond is a literary matchmaker… Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more… Determined to make a new life for herself, [she] buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile…. From helping her [new] grumpy landlord deliver a lamb, to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home… a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending.

It has absolutely nothing to do with You’ve Got Mail (sorry) but don’t let that minor disappointment stop you from picking it up because it’s an otherwise fantastic story. It’s the perfect cure for a case of summertime wanderlust and it’s basically a book lover’s dream.

What’s the best book you’ve read this summer?

3 Graphic Novel Classics: Anne of Green Gables, Jane Eyre and A Wrinkle in Time

There is a new fad these days that is combining the world of graphic novel with the world of classic literature. Some seem to be more successful than others. My kids have been all about graphic novels this summer and I joined them in the genre with two graphic novel classics. I’m sharing my thoughts on those as well as one that my son read below.


I recently saw this cute edition of Anne of Green Gables: a graphic novel by Mariah Marsden and Brienna Thurmier on NetGalley and couldn’t resist requesting a copy. I am a sucker for Anne Shirley so I was pretty sure it was right up my alley.

I’m of mixed minds on this one so I’ll give you a pro and con list:

PROS

  • The landscape illustrations are gorgeous and feel very Anne inspired.
  • The book goes further than a lot of other adaptations do, all through Anne’s year at teaching school which I’ve noticed other adaptations don’t always cover.
  • It gets a lot of things right. The emotion is there and the overall essence of Anne.

That said…

CONS

  • I didn’t care for the illustrations of the people in the story at all, especially the noses which seemed weird to me.
  • The pacing of the book felt very fast. I understand that a graphic novel cannot convey as much inner dialogue as a regular book but I felt like Anne’s life flew by in a blur and a lot of the heart of the story and some of the smaller plots were left behind.
  • I’m not convinced that a reader new to Anne Shirley would fall in love in quite the same way as experiencing Anne of Green Gables in its original format. But if reading this graphic novel or another adaption can lure them into the original then I suppose that would be worth it!

Overall: Some Anne is better than No Anne (3/5)


I found this copy of Jane Eyre in the graphic novel section the library and decided to give it a try. I’ve tried reading the novel a few times but stalled through the rather dreary beginning.

I cannot attest to how well this compares to the original. I would not be shocked to hear others give similar feedback to my impressions of Anne of Green Gables above. But I actually finished this, which is more than I can say for the original.

I liked the artwork a lot – the characters are well drawn and feel authentic to their personalities. The scenes are rather lush and dreamy or gloomy when gloomy is called for (which is often tbh). I still found the story rather dreary but the graphic novel version allowed me to plow through a bit faster and get to the good stuff. I think you could consider this a decent Cliff’s Notes version of the real thing.

Overall: Beautiful artwork, decent Cliff’s Notes (4/5)


I didn’t actually read this one but I’m anxious to. My son devoured this graphic novel version of A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle and then would not stop talking about it. He’s now working on book two of the series in actual book form. SO, here’s what we know through subtle observation:

  • The artwork is pretty darn cool. This I know from peering over his shoulder.
  • It’s also longer than a lot of the other graphic novel classics I’ve seen so it might do a better job telling the full story. Just a guess.
  • It sucked in the attention of my 11 year old and he didn’t want to do anything but read it once he picked it up.
  • Even better – it successfully lured him into reading the next book despite it being a boring old paperback. I call that a successful mission.

Overall: A rousing success in this momma’s opinion but I still haven’t read it myself so I can’t grade the book only my momma bear satisfaction which is a definite 5/5! 


Have you read any of these? What did you think?

What graphic novel should I try next?

What classic would you like to see turned into a graphic novel?

Norse Mythology Book Tag

 

Birdie Bookworm tagged me for this Norse Mythology book tag that looked too fun to pass up. If you love books and/or Norse mythology def. keeping reading. And make sure you check out Birdie’s blog for more bookish fun. She’s one of my fave book tag suppliers and terrific in general.


The Rules:

  • Link back to the original post on Kyera’s Library so she can see all your answers! (Be sure to do this via pingback, I don’t get notified if you just tag my URL)
  • Thank the person(s) who tagged you… show the community some love!
  • Obviously, come up with your wonderful answers!
  • Don’t forget to tag others to keep the tag going!

ODIN – Favorite Standalone

Odin is the All-Father, the leader of the Norse Gods. He is the god of wisdom, poetry, battle, death, wine, and war, among other things.

10515068This one was kinda hard because most of my favorite books are actually part of a series or at least have a sequel of some kind. I decided to go with Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen because it was a stand alone story to the author even if countless people have added their own take on the material.

So many love stories take their cues from Pride and Prejudice – it’s been rewritten intentionally and unintentionally for an incredibly long time and even though it was written so long ago and shows up on school required reading lists, etc. It’s actually 100% deserving of the hype.


THOR – A Book that Hits You in the Feels

Thor is the god of thunder, weather, warriors, strength, and storms, so his might packs a punch. He is married to the beautiful Lady Sif.

15749186To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han is basically all feels all the time. If you need a feel good chicken soup for the soul style love story that is fresh and relevant – Jenny Han is the girl for you. She’ll take you on an emotional roller coaster that you won’t really want to disembark from at all.

This is a YA love story but it’s also about family and growing up and the main character cooks so much good food that you will be starving basically the entire time you are reading.

Good news: It’s the first in a series and the newest book just came out this year.


LOKI – Biggest Book Plot Twist or Character Betrayal

Loki is the god of mischief, thieves and thrives on chaos.

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This might seem like an odd selection for this category if you haven’t read the book yet but I’m guessing that anyone who has read it is nodding their head with me right now going, “Seriously. Did not see that coming.”

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon is a sweet YA love story starring a girl who is literally allergic to everything and basically living that bubble girl life until a new book moves in next door and shit goes down.

It’s supremely well written and a seriously fast read because you will be unwilling to put it down once you start.


FRIGG – OTP (One True Pairing)

Frigg is Odin’s wife, the goddess of love, marriage, fertility, and fate.

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Anne and Gilbert for the win. Honestly Elizabeth and Darcy would work well here, too, but I already talked about Pride and Prejudice so I figured it would only be fair to talk about one of my other fave couples of all book-time. Of course they are basically babies in Anne of Green Gables (or, you know, tweenagers) but over the course of L.M. Montgomery’s series they seriously come to define #relationshipgoals

I didn’t read Anne of Green Gables until I was a grown assed woman so I’m here to tell you it’s never too late if you haven’t read it yet. I get just as much out of this story as a mom to a precocious daydreaming girlie as I did when I was a tweenie myself.


HEIMDALL – Favorite Second Book in a Series

Heimdall is the god of loyalty, faithfulness and he is who protects the bi-frost, the bridge that connects all nine worlds.

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Pretties is book two in a series by Scott Westerfeld. You want to read Uglies first. This series came out twelve years ago and seems to be more of a cult favorite than a global phenomenon but if you like The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Lunar Chronicles, etc. then this series will definitely be up your alley.

In a world where ugliness is literally cured on your sixteenth birthday with an operation that will make you – you guessed it, pretty – things are of course not all that they seem.

This series absolutely sucked me in from the get go and book two holds up just as well as the first. It’s iconic dystopian and heartbreaking at times but soooo good.


SIF – Most Beautiful Book Cover

Lady Sif is known for her beautiful golden tresses, although she is also the goddess of the harvest and is married to Thor.

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I read a lot of pretty books but The Selection series by Kiera Cass have some of my favorite covers. This is another great series for fans of YA Dystopian. It’s kind of a blend of The Hunger Games and The Bachelor and it is seriously so addictive.

Follow America Singer who is rather reluctantly taking part in a competition to win the crown prince’s hand in marriage for the sake of her family. Love triangles, political intrigue, fancy ballgowns and gossip for days. This is a book to lose yourself in on a long summer day.


FREY – Book/Series that Makes You Happy

Frey is the Lord of weather, god of light, summer, master of agriculture, fertility, and brother of Freya.

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My daughter discovered The Babysitter’s Club by Ann M. Martin last year in the form of these new graphic novels and I have to admit they are adorable. It pains me a little that she’s mostly only interested in the graphic novel versions that are out right now but I get over that when we get to talk about which Babysitter we love the most and which one we relate to the most, etc. My darling girl has declared Dawn as her favorite. I always loved Claudia but I’m a total Mary Anne.

I cannot wait until she starts diving into the rest of the series which should keep her pretty busy what with there being over 100 of them.


FREYA – Favorite Book Setting

Freya is the goddess of love and beauty, fertility, war, wealth and growth, and sister of Frey.

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I mean, really, who amongst us doesn’t want to go to Hogwarts? The Harry Potter universe has been one of my favorite places to escape to for a very long time now. I love this illustrated edition of the first book – it is absolutely stunning. And a bit cheaper than going to the Harry Potter world at Universal or flying to London.

For the record, I’ve long considered myself a Ravenclaw though occasionally I have Hufflepuff tendencies. How about you?


TYR – Favorite Book with a Big Upheaval/Epic Fight Scene

Tyr is the god of war.

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I just read Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas recently so the big throw down at the end is still pretty vivid in my mind. I am extremely anxious to return to the series but I’m in Book Club Mode right now so it will have to wait along with all of the other books that I am extremely anxious to read (I won’t lie, it’s a long list).

This is the first book in a series about an 18 year old assassin who is released from a prison sentence early by the crown prince but only if she agrees to enter a competition to become the king’s champion and royal assassin.


ULLER – Character Death that Affected You the Most

Uller is the god of death, winter, archery and hunting.

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I know I already mentioned Harry Potter but seriously were any of us okay after this book? I won’t even say the words on the off chance that you haven’t read the series (who even are you?) though I’m guessing the rest of the Internet wouldn’t be as kind.

I recommend this series with every fiber of my being but I won’t lie and say that it won’t break your heart a few times.


NJORD – Favorite Book that’s an Epic Journey on Water/Ocean Setting

Njord is the god of the wind and the sea.

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Okay I know this one is a serious stretch but I don’t read a lot of books that fit this category. Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple definitely involves an epic journey and a cruise ship is involved.

It’s also an Epistolary novel which means it’s written in the form of letters, emails, etc. rather than in a traditional narrative form. Sometimes this format is terrible but occasionally it is awesome. I think this one falls more in the line of awesome.

It’s about a SAHM who basically loses all of her cool about living that suburban soccer mom life and disappears. Her family has to go through her online correspondences to figure out what happened and where she went. Funnier than it should be and relatable if absurd.


VALKYRIE – Favorite Strong Female Character

The Valkyries, much like the Amazons, are strong female warriors.

book one of the Lunar Chronicles

There is literally no other appropriate answer to this question. Like it would be a crime against humanity not to say Cinder and all the other leading characters of The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. If you are looking for kick ass female characters to root for, this series is here for you.

I am starting to feel less silly telling people that they need to read this book about a cyborg Cinderella who goes on to team up with other fairy tale characters that are totally futuristic dystopian retellings of stories you thought you knew really well. But everyone I have recommended this amazing series to has loved it so I recommend it in full earnestness now: YOU HAVE TO READ THESE BOOKS. THEY ARE EVERYTHING.


AESIR/VANIR – Favorite Book “Crew”

The Aesir and the Vanir are the two groups of Norse gods, believed to be the old and new gods.

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In addition to some of the other great series I’ve already mentioned that feature an incredible cast of characters (Harry Potter, The Lunar Chronicles), My Lady Jane was written by a great book crew –  Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows. And it features a pretty stellar group of characters. Everytime I thought I knew who I was rooting for, the authors would add in more people whom I absolutely wanted nothing but good things for.

If Cinder seemed like an odd book to recommend to people, brace yourself. Because now I have to tell you that you absolutely must read this historical retelling of the story of Lady Jane Grey who is married off to a stranger, briefly the Queen of England, and also falls in love with a horse. Okay only some of those things actually happen. Or do they?


SEIPYRTS – Favorite Sidekick (Non-Human Character)

Seipyrts is Odin’s trusty eight legged steed, yes you heard that correctly – eight legs.  I promise that he is the god’s horse companion and not a giant spider that he rides around on… although that would probably strike more fear in the hearts of his enemies than a pretty horse does.

29772863So I convinced you to read The Lunar Chronicles and you were there for it but then the series ended and now you are feeling a little angsty and aren’t sure what to do with yourself. Good news! Meyers wrote a graphic novel continuation called Wires and Nerve that picks up where the final book left off and it stars our favorite android sidekick, Iko.

This is a super quick read that lovers of the original series will probably really enjoy but if you haven’t read the O.S. then you might be confused and not get much out of it. So start at the beginning like a good little doobie. I promise it’s worth it.

Wires and Nerve is going to help you scratch that itch that just wants to live in the world of The Lunar Chronicles forever. You’ll get to see what everyone is up to and also SEE them for basically the first time. And there is a second one coming out in 2018 so maybe this never has to end?


TAG YOU’RE IT

I’m a filthy little rule breaker and don’t feel like tagging people today but if you read this whole post then you are definitely tagged. If you skimmed through it to see if you were tagged then you are tagged but please go read the post, too. Then leave a comment with your favorite YA novel that I didn’t mention yet.

PRINTABLE | A Quick & Easy Summer Reading Challenge

Our summer vacation is coming to a close – two more weeks until my kiddos go back to school. I was looking over the summer reading bingo sheets today and thinking about what’s working and what isn’t working.

I love a lot of things about this set up – my kids didn’t seem to get much use out of the coupons that you can win at our library’s summer reading program and keeping track of reading minutes or titles all summer sounded a lot like homework. Thus my bingo sheets were born.

Fast forward two years though and I feel like the bingo sheets are met with enthusiasm for the first week or so and then mostly forgotten. Every so often I’d go over the sheet, asking them questions like “Did you read any books about animals?” or “Did you start reading a new series this summer?” and even though the answer might have been yes, they were often unsure having forgotten exact titles.

My kids have been reading a ton this summer – quantity has not been an issue. If anything, our system just seems to be unnecessarily complicated. And we’ve been busy enough to not have time for unnecessarily complicated systems. So I decided to make a pared down reading challenge that highlights our favorite aspects of the current system.

Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy does an annual reading challenge that I love and this year’s challenge included a handy bookmark to keep tucked in your current read. I loved this idea and decided to incorporate it into a new reading challenge for next year.

I know a lot of you still have several weeks of summer left and thought I’d share this here in case you want to motivate your kids to squeeze in some extra reading time before school starts.

BEHOLD: The Summer Reading Challenge For People With No Time For Summer Reading Challenges

2018 summer reading

Print it as a bookmark or open up your favorite photo editing site and make your own – I use picmonkey.com to make all my graphics and highly recommend it. It’s all online and has tons of graphics and fonts and flexibility. / Plug

The ‘How I Choose My Books’ Tag

Another day, another tag stolen mercilessly from Birdie Bookworm. This one is all about what draws you to the books you buy. I decided to make all my selections from books on my kindle because it’s probably where most of my impulse book purchases happen. Let’s take a look at the results, shall we?

1. Find a book on your shelves or e-reader with a blue cover. What made you want to pick up this book?

20416427The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas jumped out at me recently because I just bought the kindle edition after much urging from one of my fave IRL book friends who turned me onto the series. This is a prequel apparently and will tell you about Celaena and Sam’s relationship before she was sent to prison.


 

2. Think of a book you didn’t expect to enjoy, but did. Why did you read it in the first place?

5126Ao2n1PLMap to the Stars by Jen Malone didn’t have me at hello you could say. Initially I found the main character kind of annoyingly dense and stubborn and the premise seemed a little contrived. It wasn’t until a few chapters in, when the love story starts to pick up and witty banter ensues that I really got on board and then suddenly I was loving it, contrived story and all.


 

3. Stand in front of your bookshelf with your eyes closed and pick up a book at random. How did you discover this book?

51DLU1l6MFLWho Thought This Was a Good Idea by  Alyssa Mastromonaco is about Alyssa’s time working as Obama’s former deputy chief of staff. I think I discovered it in one of those kindle books on sale roundups either goodreads.com or Modern Mrs. Darcy.


 

4. Pick a book that someone personally recommended to you. What did you think of it?

16034235I know I basically just mentioned this series but Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas came highly recommended to me by two different friends and I’m so glad they were persistent because I loved it. If you are into YA fantasy, this one will definitely do the trick. It’s fairly popular in the blogging circles and deservingly so. If you read The Lunar Chronicles after fifteen people insisted you do so (or maybe it was just me fifteen times), this is your next assignment.


 

5. Pick a book that you discovered through YouTube / book blogs. Did it live up to the hype?

30653853The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Allbertalli has been a social media darling for awhile now. Everyone I knew online was reading it. Sometimes this makes me leery of a book but the premise sounded like my kind of adorable – geeky shy girl thinks she won’t find love but of course does find love. This was such a sweet story but also felt very real – it was like reading your old diary from high school except that when I was in high school none of the pop culture references in this book existed. Shhhh…. no tears now.


 

6. Find a book on your shelves or e-reader with a one-word title. What drew you to this book?

28226592Wanderlost by Jen Malone – I read this one before reading Map to the Stars and honestly it took me a minute to fall for this one, too. Malone’s characters are kind of clueless initially but this makes for more character development. In this one Aubree is coerced into running a European tour for senior citizens for her big sister and if the pages of descriptions of European travel don’t do it for you, the love story definitely will. I puffy hearts adored Sam.


 

7. What book did you discover through a film / TV adaptation?

17975954Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams was turned into a pretty amazing series on BBC last year. I haven’t actually read the book yet but couldn’t resist picking it up in case my husband or I need a good read. Douglas Adams is one of the funniest writers of all time – but it’s the best kind of funny. Smart British Sci Fi Nerd Funny.


 

8. Think of your all-time favorite book/s. When did you read these and why did you pick them up in the first place?

Okay I’m going rouge for this one and not worrying about whether it’s on my kindle. Favorite books include: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen which I read in 2008 about a year before my daughter was born. I was late to the party and probably feeling guilty about being an English major who hadn’t read Jane Austen yet. I’m glad I rectified this because this story especially completes me and I consider it my favorite love story; Harry Potter series by JK Rowling which I started reading sometime in high school or college and finished reading when I was a married mother to a toddler. My husband and I pretty much met and fell in love over Harry Potter and we’re both such big fans of the series that we each ordered our own hard cover copy of the last book because we refused to share. I could go on but I’ll refrain because then we’ll be here literally all day. If you want to know about more books I love, just go here.


TAG, YOU’RE IT!

Now for the serious business of tagging. Because I’m a tag renegade, I’m tagging all the other tag renegades. The ones who always wait impatiently to be tagged and are perhaps obsessed with talking about books. You, sir or madam, have been tagged. Report to me in the comments section when you’ve finished your list!

 

Would You Rather? | a book tag

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While I have a few short minutes, here is a short and sweet tag that I stole from Birdie Bookworm (she’s basically my tag pimp these days). A bookish would you rather that you can tackle in twenty minutes – what could be better to fill in that awkward chunk of time between kids’ activities and empty tummies?

Would you rather…

1. Have unlimited money for Ebooks, or a $5000 B&N gift card?

I’d have to go with the unlimited ebooks – I could make that go a LOT further in the long run and as an added bonus the books I would horde with that deal wouldn’t take up any room in my home. I could use my own cold hard cash for the books that I really want to own a physical copy of. My bookshelves would breathe a sigh of relief, honestly.

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2. Meet any deceased Poet, or J.K. Rowling?

I’d rather meet J.K. Rowling. I like plenty of poets but I probably like her more and we could talk about writing, parenting and of course Harry Potter. With any luck she’ll adopt me as her protege or at least invite me to go get Butter Beer with her sometimes.

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3. Write the world’s most famous book, or visit the world of your favorite book for one day?

I’m not in it for the fame. The big advantage to the first choice would simply be that I wrote a book that I’m hopefully proud of. Visiting the world of a favorite book would be extremely tempting but I’d have such a hard time choosing. Hogwarts? The Lunar Chronicles? Civil War era Atlanta? Pemberly? I’m just going to need the ability to travel through books period, okay?

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4. Choose___or___? (Insert characters from your favorite fictional love triangle.)

Joey w/ Pacey vs. Dawson

Buffy w/ Angel vs. Spike

Celaena w/ Dorian vs. Chaol

Hermione w/ Harry vs. Ron

Bella w/ Edward vs. Jacob

Elena w/ Damon vs. Stefan

Katniss w/ Peeta vs. Gale

Lady Brienne w/ Jamie Lanister vs. Tormund

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5. Experience Hogwarts in a very realistic and accurate virtual reality, or travel around the world for a year, at no cost.

If I can travel around the world for free, I will make time for both Kings Cross, London area AND the Harry Potter world at Universal in addition to all of the other places on my bucket list which is VAST. I will be basically trampling Europe and Asia like it’s my job in addition to seeing more of the US, Canada, South America, etc. and well you know what I’ll just try to get all the continents in for good measure.


Tags:

 

If you read this whole post and maintained interest through all 5 questions – consider yourself tagged. If you play along or already have, leave me a comment so I can check out your answers!

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Slip Covers: Do you LOVE or HATE them?

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I kind of hate slip covers. Like, I understand the practical aspect of protecting the books to ensure long book lives. And I know that most books only have the fancy picture covers on the slipcover. BUT.

Once I am reading the book, I do not care what the cover looks like – I’m immersed in the inside of the book and don’t want to think about the outside at all. And most slip covers do the slip and slide game while I am reading, forcing me to think about them until I rip them off in frustration. Then they live on my bedroom floor until I’ve finished the book and remember to reunite them afterwards.

So last week I decide to experiment with freeing all of my hardcovers from their slip covered embrace. I spent like fifteen minutes taking off all the slip covers and then reorganizing my books by color of course because when you are being OCD, you go all the way with it. I’m still tentative about actually getting rid of them so the covers are all tucked into an empty corner where I’ll pretend they aren’t feeling abandoned and lonely.

Things of note:

  • Some of my books actually look better without the slip cover. I loooooove when you discover a beautiful book with interesting details on the actual book underneath. Ree Drummond’s book is genuinely beautiful with or without the slip cover.
  • Some of the other books are kind of boring without their covers. Amy Schumer’s book is absolutely lacking in all pizzazz without that awesome cover art and it does make me a little sad.
  • Aesthetically I am loving the lack of slip covers. The books like more bookish and the colors all meld together so nicely without all the varying patterns vying for attention.
  • In a weird way, I have an easier time finding a book to read – I’m looking at the actual titles and not getting as distracted.
  • But so many of the books are black or grey! The chunk I photographed are the only hardcovers I have that aren’t a very dark or neutral hue. It’s my bright spot after a long row of muted hues. Sometimes the colors feel indicative of the book but some seem like the publisher just didn’t want to pay for a colored spine that was destined to be covered.

Are you PRO or CON when it comes to slip covers?