3 Days, 3 Quotes Challenge: Day 3

Here’s my last quote! After the quote I’ll nominate 3 bloggers to take part in this challenge. If you’re just tuning in, I was nominated to complete this challenge by my friend Claire @ Art and Soul (thank you!!). Let me remind you of the rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you.
2. Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 for each day).
3. Nominate 3 new bloggers each day.

quote 3

I was not actually the biggest fan of Lolita when I read it in 11th grade, but is this line not absolutely beautiful?? Maybe it’s time for a re-read.

The bloggers that I’m going to nominate are:
1. Kerrie @ Comfy Reading
2. Aentee @ Read at Midnight
3. Audrey @ Forwards and Bookwords

If you have already done this or are not interested in participating then please don’t feel obligated!! I really enjoyed participating in this challenge and I encourage anyone reading to send beautiful quotes my way whenever you find them. 🙂

WWW Wednesday #4

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Participating bloggers answer 3 simple questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What are you going to read next?

Currently Reading

  • Knight’s Shadow by Sebastien de Castell. I received this from NetGalley. I read the first book in the series, Traitor’s Blade, last year and enjoyed it. This one is much the same but the formula works and it is proving to be a good and amusing read. It is sort of like a more modern The Three Musketeers with a lot more swearing. Knights-Shadow-Sebastien-De-Castell
  • The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor. I’m trying to read at least 2 to 3 stories every day, but don’t always have time.
  • I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes. I honestly haven’t made any progress with this in a few weeks but hoping that over the weekend I’ll just finish. It really is not a terrible book but at the same time when I put it down I wasn’t all that motivated to keep going.

Recently Finished

Planning to Read Next

  • The Martian by Andy Weir
  • marriage-of-opposites-9781451693591_hrThe Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman (another NetGalley pick)

Feel free to share your WWW in the comments! 🙂

3 Days, 3 Quotes Challenge: Day 2

Welcome back to the second day of my 3 Days, 3 Quotes Challenge! You can find Day 1 of the challenge here. I was nominated to do this challenge by Claire @ Art and Soul. Thank you again, Claire!!!

Here are the rules:
1. Thank the person who nominated you.
2. Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 for each day).
3. Nominate 3 new bloggers each day [I am only going to nominate 3 bloggers in all and will do so tomorrow].

quote day 2

I think this is such an important quote that we can all strive to work on. I know I struggle with this sometimes!

Tomorrow will be the last quote and nominations. 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday #5: Ten Characters Who Are Fellow Book Nerds

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week participating bloggers create a list corresponding to a particular theme. I LOVE this week’s theme which asks us to list ten characters who are also book nerds! I feel like most of the fictional book nerds on my list are pretty obvious but oh well 🙂

1. Hermione Granger, Harry Potter series (J.K. Rowling): This might be the first one that most people think of these days when picturing a fictional book nerd, but think of all the times that Hermione’s voracious reading and thirst for knowledge and learning saved the trio, and in effect the wizarding world, from a lot of trouble. harry-potter-read

2. Matilda, Matilda (Roald Dahl): I identified soooo much with Matilda growing up. Except that my parents weren’t jerks like hers. :p tumblr_m2up98SXJw1qhd14co4_r1_250

3. Cath Avery, Fangirl (Rainbow Rowell): I wish that this book was out when I was in college, it would have made my transition to being away from home and living with a roommate easier. Again I don’t have the family problems that Cath experienced in this book but I still completely understand the way that she used her obsession to escape.

Source: Pinterest

Source: Pinterest

4. Tyrion Lannister, A Song of Ice and Fire series (George R.R. Martin): Tyrion is my fave character in the entire series (and the accompanying TV show) and I’ll always find an excuse to use him on a TTT list if I can 😉 tyrion-lannister-reading

5. Liesel Meminger, The Book Thief (Markus Zusak): Liesel’s love of reading drives the whole story.

Source: Pinterest

Source: Pinterest

6. Hazel Grace Lancaster, The Fault in Our Stars (John Green): Hazel is more of a book nerd about one particular book, but her love of this book and the way she shares it with Augustus drives much of the plot. 635537765015860263-IMPERIALAFFLICTION

7. Charlie, The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky): Charlie is another character who uses books to escape and reads extra, advanced books outside of his English class that his teacher recommends.

Source: Tumblr

Source: Tumblr

8. Jo March, Little Women (Louisa May Alcott): Not just one of the best examples of a devoted reader, but a writer as well.

Source: Tumblr

Source: Tumblr

9. Juliet Ashton, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Mary Ann Shaffer): I actually didn’t really enjoy this book, but I did appreciate Juliet’s passion for books and especially bookstores.

Found on Pinterest; creator sourced in image

Found on Pinterest; creator sourced in image

10. Diana Bishop, All Souls trilogy (Deborah Harkness): It was so easy to be carried away by the descriptions of the Bodleian Library and the magic of the old books within its shelves.

This is the library where Diana researches. So dreamy.

This is the library where Diana researches. So dreamy.

3 Days, 3 Quotes Challenge: Day 1

I was tagged by Claire @ Art and Soul to complete the 3 Days, 3 Quotes challenge! Thank you, Claire!! 🙂

Here are the rules:
1. Thank the person who nominated you.
2. Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 for each day).
3. Nominate 3 new bloggers each day.

Here is my first quote. I haven’t actually read this book but I adore this quote so much.

quote day 1

I am going to follow Claire’s lead and only nominate 3 bloggers on the last day of the challenge, which will be on Wednesday. Stay tuned!!

Book Review: “The Girl With All the Gifts” by M.R. Carey

“The horror of the unknown is more frightening than any horror you can understand.”

Hardcover edition; Orbit, 2014. 416 pages.

Hardcover edition; Orbit, 2014.
416 pages.

One thing you should know about me that I don’t think I’ve mentioned on the blog yet is that I’m fairly squeamish. For the most part, I’d rather watch any other type of movie besides a horror movie. I cannot stand the sight of someone vomiting whether on film or in person. I can’t even watch certain scenes of shows like Grey’s Anatomy if they’re particularly bloody. So why was I desperate to read this book, which was confirmed to be extremely terrifying and gory? Well… I can’t tell you without giving anything away, but I knew from reading a couple of reviews (some of them a bit spoilery) that I was going to love this. There are specific niches within the horror genre that I will always go for, but I don’t want to say what type without revealing more, and for this book it’s best to approach it with a blank slate. But you should check out the description from Goodreads, which is what initially drew me in:

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her “our little genius.”
Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.
Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

By looking at a horrific situation through the lens of a brilliant, gifted (you will see very early on exactly how gifted) child, M.R. Carey makes it possible for readers to feel such a huge range of emotions despite being totally grossed out by many of the scenes herein. I CRIED at the end of this book. In addition to the obvious gore that comes with a horror novel, there are truths in The Girl With All the Gifts about love, friendship, and family. None of the violence is gratuitous; the science behind what unfolds is incredibly believable; the characters are so well-developed for this type of book that the focus is perfectly balanced between them and the plot. Carey is an amazing writer and gives away exactly enough information at the right time to maintain the intrigue and build up to each next horrifying scene. I’m deliberately being vague about everything that goes on because it will be SO much better if you go in blind. This was undoubtedly one of the best books I’ve read in “my” sub-genre of horror that I enjoy and I gave it an enthusiastic 5 stars.

Book Review: “The Golem and the Jinni” by Helene Wecker

“On a cloudless night, inky dark, with only a rind of a moon above, the Golem and the Jinni went walking together along the Prince Street rooftops.”

Wecker-Golem-and-Jinni-book-cover

Hardcover edition; HarperCollins, 2013. 496 pages.

This was a truly beautiful, very unique book. I am so glad that I finally picked this up from the library and basically tore through it in just a few days despite having work and other current reads. I feel that the only way I can truly honor how fascinated and entertained I was by Wecker’s story is through the use of some GIFs from Supernatural throughout this review, so bear with me 😀

While the title might make this obvious, I will give a brief summary of our main characters: Chava is a golem. Traditionally these creatures are made from clay, are infinitely strong, and are bound to serve a master.

The Golem in Supernatural

The Golem in Supernatural. Golem smash!

In Chava’s case, her creator designed her to look very human as she was a “special request” from a man who aimed to have her as his wife. Her master, and would-be husband, dies on the voyage to America right after he wakes her. She is then left to her own devices in 1899 New York City, grappling with the massive conflict between unleashing her true nature and desiring to fit in and behave as a human.

Ahmad is a jinni. His true form is that of fire, but he has been trapped in a (very handsome) human form. A tinsmith in Little Syria accidentally releases him from his long-standing imprisonment in a copper flask, and he, too, has to try to adapt to this new, rather detested life, which is like an entirely new type of prison for him.

Now, I think that if Ahmad looked like this, he might have had considerably more trouble blending in...

Now, I think that if Ahmad looked like this, he might have had considerably more trouble blending in…

Chava and Ahmad end up meeting and realize that they have far more in common than they might have believed. They originally really do not get along due to their (understandably) very different viewpoints on human nature, love, religion, and almost everything else, but in this New York where it is possible that the next person you meet on the street might not be a person at all, but rather a supernatural creature, their friendship is crucial.

Castiel is an angel... he gets it.

Castiel is an angel… he gets it.

I really don’t want to give anything else away about the plot, but you have to realize that with these two characters at the center of the story, when we are exposed to their origins, special abilities, inherent weaknesses, and the conflicts that they have with one another and the people around them, the end result is bound to be pretty awesome. I loved this book. It is apparent that Wecker is a gifted writer and it’s hard to believe that this was her debut novel. The way that she was able to blend multiple cultures and mythologies to create this story was very successful to me. I am Jewish and had heard and read about the legend of the golem before but I like Chava’s story best of all of the golem tales I’ve heard. It was also refreshing to read about a jinni who didn’t just grant wishes! The other aspect of this book that really highlighted the author’s craft was the perfect imagery of New York at the turn of the 20th century. The descriptions are all expert – it was so easy for me to picture everything: the opulence of families like the Winstons contrasted with the ethnically divided neighborhoods and their crowded tenements, the noises and smells in the streets, a Central Park where sheep still grazed, and the glittering, gas-lit dance hall…

My one small critique, which leads me to rate this at 4.5 stars, is that I felt that at times the plot did drag somewhat and was slow going. The focus here is really on the characters rather than the story and sometimes it was just a bit too plodding for me. Though I suppose if the story moved faster it would have meant fewer pages of Wecker’s lovely writing. All in all, this was an excellent read that I think would appeal to fans of both historical fiction and urban fantasy. I plan to read Wecker’s further works as they emerge.

How I felt during the last few pages (and at the end of any great book really): walkin' on sunshine

How I felt during the last few pages (and at the end of any great book really): walkin’ on sunshine

Real Neat Blog Award!

I was nominated for the Real Neat Blog Award by Tiffani @ The Book Venom. She was one of the first to find me when I started blogging and I’m very happy about that! Thank you, Tiffani!! 🙂

realneatAward Rules:

  • Thank and link the blogger who nominated you
  • Answer the 7 questions the nomination has provided
  • Nominate 7 other bloggers
  • Create 7 questions for your nominees

My answers to Tiffani’s questions:

  1. If you could choose your own name, what would it be? I’m actually pretty happy with my name. A lot of people ask me if it is short for Abigail but it’s not. I like that it’s a bit different in that way. I also like my new last name a lot although I’m still getting used to having to spell it for people. My maiden name was very, very easy.
  2. What quality do you value most in your friends? Loyalty. My friends know that I will ALWAYS have their back, take their side in any type of disagreement, and just generally do whatever I can to encourage and support them always, and I expect the same in return!

    Rory and Lorelai know what I am talking about, as always

    Rory and Lorelai know what I am talking about, as always

  3. What is your most unusual nighttime or morning ritual? I generally can’t go to sleep without watching at least one or two episodes of Friends… but I don’t think that is SO unusual. In the morning when I leave for work I have to put a traffic cone in the spot where I park my car so that it isn’t taken by people who rent the boat slips behind our house or eat in the restaurant nearby. So that’s a pretty odd morning ritual. Yeah… we really need to move.
  4. How far would you go to save your books if one day books are ordered to be destroyed? This question gives me heart palpitations :p I would probably do whatever I needed to do to preserve them. I’m not going to say that I’d die for my books… but I do have hundreds of them and they are precious to me… hopefully I won’t ever need to develop a real plan of action on this one.
  5. Share the most important thing you have learned in life so far! I have a few. Most of them are clichés but I believe that they’re clichés for a reason: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all (this one is from my mom, who told me this all the time when I was younger and occasionally still needs to remind me); something great will happen to you when you least expect it; trust your intuition about people and their characters (and trust your friends’ opinions, too, even if you don’t want to believe them); don’t expect love and/or respect from anyone until you first love and respect yourself; a bad situation can always be made better with tea, a nap, a good book, and a dog.
  6. Would you clone yourself if you could? I don’t think so. I think that one of me is enough in this world :p I also wouldn’t want my husband and friends to ditch real me for clone me. Although I guess I could send my clone to work and stay home and read… hmmmmmm
  7. How do you think books will look in 100 years? I think that (unfortunately) paper books will continue to decline and ebooks will continue to rise. However I am also picturing situations in which books are still paper, but have tech elements to them, like moving illustrations (something like in Harry Potter) or a pop up computer like in Iron Man with word definitions and other things. That would be pretty sweet.

Now we are up to nominations. I think that I am going to bend the rules a little bit right now. Instead of just choosing 7 of the bloggers that I follow, I want everyone who is reading this to answer the questions, either in your own blog post or in the comments below, if you are so inclined. I think that all of you have great blogs!

Here are my questions for you all:

  1. What is one of your favorite quotes? It can be from a book, movie, TV show…
  2. What is your favorite thing to shop for *besides books*?
  3. You have a day to do whatever you want, no matter the location or cost. What do you do?
  4. Who would you choose to write your biography?
  5. Where is your ideal reading spot?
  6. What makes your home special to you?
  7. What is your favorite word in any language?

WWW Wednesday #3

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Participating bloggers answer 3 simple questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What are you going to read next?

Currently Reading

  • The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker – I started this book yesterday and I’m about 1/5 done. I like it so far.
  • The Complete Stories by Flannery O’Connor – Haven’t made much progress lately, but I love the stories.
  • I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes – Still not blown away by this book. I am going to push myself to finally finish it soon.

Recently Finished

Planning to Read Next

  • 17235026The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey – I could not resist buying this one and I hope it is as creepy and great as the reviews promise.
  • The Martian by Andy Weir – Anthony asked me to get this book for him, then read it in two days and loved it, and now keeps bugging me to read it too :p the-martian-cover
  • My NetGalley books. Seriously I am going to start tonight. I am not letting myself take any more library books out until those get read!!

Do you have any thoughts about my list? Or any recommendations? 🙂

Book Review: “The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman

“You’re alive, Bod, that means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything. If you can change the world, the world will change.”

Hardcover edition; HarperCollins, 2008. 320 pages.

Hardcover edition; HarperCollins, 2008.
320 pages.

I think that by now even new visitors to my blog can quickly see that I am a big Neil Gaiman fan and I mention him a lot. In between the rest of my book choices, I am trying to finish reading everything that he has written. I got this book from the library last month as my next step towards achieving complete Neil Gaiman mastery.

The Graveyard Book is marketed as a children’s book, though I really do think that readers of all ages would enjoy this story. Gaiman drew inspiration from The Jungle Book, but instead of being raised by wild animals, the main character in The Graveyard Book, Nobody “Bod” Owens, is raised by ghosts and is forbidden from leaving his graveyard “home” for his own safety. Each chapter represents a glimpse into Bod’s unique childhood and coming-of-age. Bod has special challenges in the graveyard, being alive while all of his friends and family are deceased, and has even more challenges as he decides to take on some more human experiences like attending a regular school. I really enjoyed the original story and approach. In my opinion, this is the literary equivalent of The Haunted Mansion ride at Walt Disney World – you want to hang out with the ghosts (except the bride room, that’s the only actually creepy part of that ride, but I digress).

I am giving The Graveyard Book 4.5 stars. Bod was an endearing, intelligent main character and I loved watching him grow up. The supporting characters also rounded out the story, especially Bod’s adoptive parents, Mr. & Mrs. Owens, who did everything they could to raise a human child in the best way possible given the parental values in play at the time they died. My reading experience itself was also enhanced by the illustrations, which were sparsely scattered throughout the book, but really lent a lot to the story every time they appeared. What keeps The Graveyard Book from being a perfect read for me was that I felt that the resolution and ending were a bit rushed, and that certain things could have been explained better, because I still had some unanswered questions at the end of the book. When I read children’s or even YA books these days I really like finding books that I want my future kids to read someday. This is definitely one of them.