Top Ten Tuesday #2

Top Ten Tuesday is  weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish. Each week they give a topic, and then other blogs make their top ten list for that topic. 

This week's topic is Top Ten Characters We'd Want to Switch Places with for 24 Hours

This week's list is compiled by both Megan AND Rachel.

1. Bird from Sundancer by Shelley Peterson (and other books)
To sum it all up- Bird can talk to animals. I think that says all that needs to be said.

2. Hermione OR Ginny from Harry Potter by J.K.Rowling (Happy birthday Mrs. Rowling!)
Many reasons for this one, I guess. First, there's the magic factor, of course. Then there's also the Hogwarts thing and being part of the resistance and Dumbledore's Army and also getting such happy endings. And they are both smart and pretty and clever and good friends!

3. Molly Moon from the Molly Moon series by Georgia Byng
She's a talented hypnotist, can time travel, AND can read minds! Who wouldn't want to have this all-powerful life for a day or two? And I almost forgot! She is British! That just makes it all the better (Megan often she wishes she was British...)

4. Daine from the Immortals Series by Tamora Pierce
Has Rachel mentioned how much she loves Tamora Pierces' books, and how Tamora Pierce is one of her idols? Well, it's true. Anyways... Daine has the powers to talk to and heal animals, as well as turn into them (there's that animal-thing again...) she's independant, deadly with a bow and arrow and completely kick-ass. It's a close tie between her and Alanna from the Song of the Lioness quartet by the same author, but I think Daine wins out just because of the animal-thing.

5. Sapphire from Ingo by Helen Dunmore (also British!)
Sapphy can breathe under water, and that's just wicked cool. Even though she has to face some fearsome villains, being able to swim with the fishes at the sea floor for a day would be awesome! I've always wanted to see what's at the very bottom of the deepest parts of the ocean.

6. Sylvi from Pegasus by Robin McKinley
Sylvi is a princess in a kingdom where all people of upper status are bound to a pegasus of upper status. So she spends her days with a pegasus prince who she can talk to. (Starting to think that Rachel has a thing for talking to animals...) (Review coming soon, FYI!)

7. Susan or Lucy from the Narnia series by C.S.Lewis
They get to go to Narnia. And be Queens.

8. Nancy Drew from the Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene  
Her life is so exciting! It seems there would never be a dull moment in the super-sleuth life of Nancy Drew. Taking her place for a day would be an adventure and a half!

9. Buckbeak from Harry Potter by J.K.Rowling
Half horse, half eagle. He can fly. He lives with Hagrid. And then he lives with Sirius Black. Could life really be any better?

10. Tris from Divergent by Veronica Roth
She's fearless. Well, Dauntless actually. Life would be one huge adrenaline rush the way she lives her life. She's totally badass! She's tough, and has mega survival instincts, plus an admirable personality and drive. Plus, she has a hot boyfriend! Icing on the cake that is... :)


Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

This book was like a strange mixture of Divergent, The Princess Diaries, and The Bachelor. But somehow, despite it's strangeness, it worked for me. Overall the story was pretty well written and intriguing. It wasn't too slow paced, but not really action-packed either. It's got heartbreak, mystery, suspense, humour and drama. If you like any of those, you'll probably like this book. 

1. If you were in this book, what might you wear? 
Hmmmm.... Well, Rachel, that would very much depend on who I was in this book. If I was a poor girl in caste 6, then I would probably wear something plain and simple like this: 

But if I was in caste 1, or was one of the Selected, then my wardrobe would consist of threads more like this: 

2. Who was your least favourite character, and why?
My least favourite character would have to be Aspen. I know, I know, I'm supposed to like him and be wishing for America and him to find each other again and get their stolen romance back... but I don't! I just don't really understand why America is in love with him. Like, sure he is handsome, but where did their relationship come from? At the beginning of the book you are kind of thrown into the middle of it, and there is really no explanation. I just found him as a character a bit flat and boring. 

3. They are in the process of making this book into a TV show. Do you think that a TV show would work for this story? Do you think that it is the best format for it? 
I actually do think a TV show would be a good format. To me it feels like one of those stories that has a bunch of smaller plots interwoven within the one, enveloping main plot. For that reason, I think a TV show could work. Each episode could contain it's own individual conflict, while still continuing the main story arc. 

4. What is one word you could use to describe this book? 
Sugary. This book contains a lot of yummy sounding desserts, and many beautiful dresses and articles of clothing. If you are allergic to any of these girly, sugary-sweet things, then stay away from this book. 

One other thing I wanted to add in here, was that I wasn't especially happy with the characterization of America. As a main character, I feel that she should have a strong will, and know what she wants. And maybe she does, but I didn't really get a clear perception of her desires from this book. One chapter, she wants to leave the castle and go back to Aspen, and then the next she hates Aspen and wants to be with Prince Maxom. Her mood swings were a bit dizzying at times, but hopefully the sequel will clear things up a bit! 

The Good: Description, imagery, plot. 
The Bad: Characterization could've been better
The Verdict: 3.5/5

keep readin' it write!


My Weekend Adventure

So two weeks ago I went on a weekend roadtrip with my family to Oregon. I had lots of fun, but between that and Megan's California trip we had hardly anything posted then. Whoops!

Among all of the crazy road- trip stuff I did (including getting stuck in a flash thunder storm, seeing a car with a mustache and eating a mini pie) I visited about five bookstores. In four days. And I completely splurged. My new book stack includes 8 books, 7 different authors and is about 9.5” tall.

First shop we stopped in was a used book store with over 1/2 million books. It was huge, and it was completely organized! Pretty awesome. I got three books:

1. A great and terrible beauty by Libba Bray (been waiting to read this for a while, and it's never in at the library)

2. Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater (The author. Need I say more?)

3. Faerie Wars by Herbie Brennan (I think I've heard of this before, plus it looks good.)

Now, while they were 'used' I can't imagine how. They look brand new! They were all between $4 and $5.

The next day we stopped in another new and used book store, the biggest book store I have ever been in. It was massive. It's in Portland, Oregon, and if you're ever passing through this is a must-stop. Here's the site. Over 4 million books in one store. It was busy, and full of books, and full of any book you could possibly want. I loved it.

I got three books:

4. Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz (Been meaning to find this book for ages)

5. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (It was either buy it or wait for it to come at the library for months, and it was only 6 bucks brand new on sale!)

6. Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine (It's not a novel... more on that later)

Then we went for lunch, and came back because we didn't get enough time the first time. Too many books to look at before we got too hungry for lunch! I had a yummy crepe then. Mmmmm, I could go for another of those right about now.

7. The second time in the same store I got Starlighter by Bryan Davis. Never heard of it, but it looked pretty good and I'm a sucker for dragons.

We went into a couple other used stores over the next few days, where I didn't find anything at prices I deemed acceptable for used books. (Sorry, but I'm not paying eight dollars for a book that's dog eared. What can I say? I'm cheap.)

Then in the last store I got one last book:

Lament by Maggie Stiefvater (The sequel to Ballad)

I'm very happy with my haul. I only spent about $40 and got 8 good books in perfect condition! Success, I think.

And now for more about that one book, Writing Magic. It's a book full of writing exercises and tips for writing fantasy. Now, I follow Gail Carson Levine's blog ( and she has super advice on writing! This book I got has 30 chapters- each ending with a new writing prompt or exercise. I'm going to give a go at going through the whole book and doing EVERY exercise. They seem really cool, from what I've read, from short stories to dialogue to just describing things. I think that some may turn out to be very crazy. Crazy enough to share.... winkwinknudgenudge.



Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is  weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish. Each week they give a topic, and then other blogs make their top ten list for that topic.

This week's topic is Top Ten Most Vivid World/ Settings

Megan and I came up with our list today sometime between baking cookies and watching the music video to 'Take a Walk' by Passion Pit (it's really weird. But kind of funny.)

In no particular order, this is what we decided on.

1.  Narnia

This world is vivid enough that I haven't met a single person that wouldn't take a chance through the wardrobe. From the talking animals to the castles, this series had one of the first worlds that really left an impression on me. I would've given anything to be Lucy or Susan in these books.

2. Alice in Wonderland

As far fetched as this book was, it did have a vivid setting. Maybe not vivid in all the right ways (between you and me, I'm pretty sure there was something wrong with Lewis Caroll) but I could most definately picture almost every seen in my head very well.

3. Harry Potter

In our opinion, this is one of the most complete and fully-functional fictional worlds there is. Everything is thought out, everything is seamless, everything has an answer, yet J.K. Rowling managed to create this without flooding her readers with description and background info in every book. That's also why we think that there has been so much fanfiction written for Harry Potter- the world is so 'massive' (not exactly in a spacial sense, more a creativity sense) that the possibilities are endless, yet still Harry Potter.

4. Victorian Era Settings

Quite possibly among our favourite time periods, the Victorian Era has room galore for book plots. I love the fashion and the social events- balls, tea parties, court scenes- and also the added royalty to lots of Victorian Era books is a really interesting place once you add in the possible drama.

5. Tortall

One of my favourite authors is Tamora Pierce. I have almost an entire shelf on my bookcase just for Tamora Pierce books. A large amount, about 2/3, of her books take place in the realm of Tortall. This world is a bit like the Harry Potter world in the way that it is complete and 'endless'. There are rules to the magic that make it practical, as practical as magic can be. This is another world that also has massive amounts of fanfiction.

6. Dystopian Settings

Lately, there's been many books in the buzz that are in Dystopian settings. Hunger Games, Divergent, Delirium, The Chemical Garden Trilogy, The Selection, Matched, The Maze Runner Trilogy, you get the drift. I think that part of the reason why these are so easy to imagine and make vivid is that it's fairly easy to imagine yourself in the protagonists place- as compared to something abstract like being a mermaid or a dragon-slayer, living in a dystopian world is imaginable. It's easy in an odd sort of way to image what it would be like with censorship- take away Facebook and Twitter and Youtube, how would you feel? I think that while most people haven't experienced something like this before, we've all had something we can't have, and blow that up times a million and you could be in a dystopian world.

7. Middle Earth

If you've ever read any Tolkein books, you'll know that his books all had lots of description and imagery, making for very vivid settings. (Plus if you've watched the Lord of the Rings movies you can't help but picture that while you read)

8. Incarceron

I read this book several months ago, and the world completely enthralled me. Incarceron itself, a sort of prison- thing, is pretty much one massive robot. It was something so different then anything I've read before, the scenes just jumped into my head. While I'd love to see this book on the big screen, I just don't know if they'd be properly able to pull it off.

9. The Enchanted Forest series

The Enchanted Forest series by Patricia C. Wrede (a co-author of Sorcery and Cecilia) is a crazy and hilarious world. It's complete fantasy- just fed about 50 pounds of sugar and put in a bouncy castle. They are incredibly fun to read and are really enjoyable. Everything about the world is fun and easy to picture, but it would certainly be an interesting place to live, if at times a bit frustrating. (Some places don't stay where you thought you last saw them.)

10. Eyes Like Stars 

Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev and the rest of the books in this series have another setting that I've never really encountered before. While I did find the books a teensy bit slow, both the characterization and descriptions are something to be envied. Some day, I hope to be able to write such imagery as Lisa Mantchev can. Basically, the whole world is the stage of Bertie. While I never could put a finger on the time period or the place, that was part of the magic of these books. It's its own world, a fancy mixture of time periods, settings and myth.

There ya have it, our first Top Ten Tuesday list.



Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

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, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. 
      And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune--and remarkable power--to whoever can unlock them. 
      For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday's riddles are based in the pop culture he loved--that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday's icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes's oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig. And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle. 

      Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt--among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life--and love--in the real world he's always been so desperate to escape. 
A world at stake. 
A quest for the ultimate prize. 
Are you ready?

I actually listened to the audiobook version of this book, read by Wil Wheaton. This was my first time listening to an entire book in audio form, and I have to say, I loved it. My family and I listened to it on our road trip to California this summer, and every time we got out of the car, all I wanted to do was get right back in to listen more! I was completely engaged in the world. Wil Wheaton really brought life to the story, and made it entertaining to listen to. 

First of all, I have to say, the level of description this book has is completely out of this world. The images the words create in your mind are fully formed, and incredibly detailed. Ernest Cline really knows how to make magic with adjectives! The first chapter or so is basically description of the situation the world has gotten itself into. Ernest Cline propels us into a slightly dystopian future our society could easily come to, where people would much rather immerse themselves in a virtual reality video game, than face the reality of the dying world. It is an intriguing idea, and relatable too! What do we do when are upset with how things are going in our lives? We watch a movie, or read a book, or do something else to distract us. Something to escape from reality. When you think about it, it is generally the same idea. 

The majority of people in this book spend most, if not all of there free time in the OASIS. A virtual reality video game created by James Halliday, where you can do whatever you want, be whoever you want, and basically create a whole new life for yourself. When James Halliday died, and left his vast fortune for the person who could find his elaborately hidden Easter Egg, the world went from spending their free time in the OASIS, to living in the OASIS. Imagine spending your life in a virtual avatar body, with a virtual identity, and virtual accomplishments. You can meet other virtual people, who could be anybody in reality. It's like all those things adults tell you about internet safety. Don't talk to strangers online. Don't agree to meet them in real life. They could actually be a creepy old man... Except times one hundred. The only people you associate are those you don't really know. I thought it was fascinating. Scary, but fascinating.

Another thing I absolutely loved about this book, was the abundance of pop-culture references. Sure, I didn't get all of them, since I am a bit young to remember them all, but the ones I understood were awesome. Within the first five chapters, Mr Cline had already referenced Harry Potter and Doctor Who. (Two of my absolute favourites...) After that, I was hooked. The references also made the book more relatable. It helped you connect to the story. Even though the book takes place in the future, there is a constant presence of the culture of the past. Since James Halliday centred his Easter Egg hunt around the culture of the 1980's, everyone was into that stuff all over again. Monty Python, Blade Runner, Back to the Future, Family Ties, Star Trek, Star Wars, Galaga and Pac-Man are just a few of the many pop-culture phenomenons from the 80's that are mentioned in this book. 

Overall this is a really fun read, that gives you a glimpse into the future, while travelling back into the past simultaneously. The characterization is great, the plot is engaging, and the references are stellar. I would recommend this book to just about anybody. 

The Good: References, characterization, funny.
The Bad: You haven't read it yet! GO READ IT!!! Your life will be made better! 
The Verdict: 5/5 for sure! I'm tempted to go buy the paperback version! 

keep readin' it write


Preview: Matched by Ally Condie

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate... until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

This booked looked interesting to me, (well no duh, right or else why would I have picked it up? Haha...) but not because of the cover. To be honest, I'm not that crazy about the cover. To me, it just makes the book look cheap...and it's kinda blah and boring.

What got me interested was the concept. What if all the hard parts of our lives were done for us? All the work was done, and the hard decisions were made for us, but we still got to experience the fantasy ending result? I've been kind of stuck in a sci-fi/dystopian rut lately when it comes to books, (The Hunger Games, Divergent, Across the Universe, Delirium, The Selection...the list goes on... Not that I'm complaining!) and so the idea of people getting "matched" up with their most compatible partner and life path was intriguing. Even if I hadn't read all those other books before, I think I would have still picked this book up, because, let's be honest. Who doesn't wish they could find the perfect partner? (Prince Charming or whatever you wanna call it) The perfect partner that compliments your personality perfectly. And the perfect job... well wouldn't that be nice? 

But......where's the fun in that? Although it would be great to be quickly and easily snapped into place where you fit most perfectly in society, what use is that? I would ask questions like, why am I here? How did I get here? If someone else decides what your life is going to be for you, then what is the point of living? Life is supposed to be what you make of it, right? Your own choices define who you are, and if you are never in the position where you need to make any choices, then who are you? 

Well, I think I'll stop rambling now! Hopefully I got some ideas stirring there though ;)

I'm interested to see which direction this book will take. I'm guessing that the protagonist Cassia Reyes is going to rebel somehow against this seemingly ideal world, but I guess I will have to read some more to find that out! 

keep readin' it write! 


Review: Dark of the Moon by Tracy Barrett

Ariadne is destined to become a goddess of the moon. She leads a lonely life, filled with hours of rigorous training by stern priestesses. Her former friends no longer dare to look at her, much less speak to her. All that she has left are her mother and her beloved, misshapen brother Asterion, who must be held captive below the palace for his own safety.

So when a ship arrives one spring day, bearing a tribute of slaves from Athens, Ariadne sneaks out to meet it. These newcomers don’t know the ways of Krete; perhaps they won’t be afraid of a girl who will someday be a powerful goddess. And indeed she meets Theseus, the son of the king of Athens. Ariadne finds herself drawn to the newcomer, and soon they form a friendship—one that could perhaps become something more.

Yet Theseus is doomed to die as an offering to the Minotaur, that monster beneath the palace—unless he can kill the beast first. And that "monster" is Ariadne’s brother . . .

First off, I’d just like to point out that before I read this book, I had little to no familiarity to the Greek myth it’s based off of. I’ve only encountered minotaurs briefly ‘in passing’ while reading other books (The Immortals by Tamora Pierce, anyone?) Which is part of the reason why I was intrigued, especially with a synopsis like that and the cover.

However, it kind of fizzled. It seemed as if the author spent too much time trying to create her world and set the rules for all the different people and explain the whole government, as well as trying to tell the story from two different perspectives. It was just too much happening all at once. One character maybe would’ve worked, or a less complex world and two perspectives. Just not all at once.

The synopsis, also, is a fairly big factor in what turned me off by the end- it was misleading. It hints at a romance, which the book wasn’t. It also says that bit about Theseus at the end, which I still for the life of me cannot figure out why Tracy Barrett said that- it wasn’t a pivotal point in the story and it was only a small part of the plot- if you turned your brain sideways and squinted at it through a kaleidoscope. 

1. What time period does this books setting remind you of? Well, I’m not completely sure where in the world Crete and Knossos was, but I got the impression it was similar to Ancient Greece and in a similiar location. That’s one thing about the book that I did like- the setting.

2. Who was your least favourite character? Unfortunately, Ariadne. It’s never a good thing when you can’t stand a main character. I’m not completely sure why I didn’t like her, I just didn’t. She seemed kind of... flat, and boring. A bit whiny, and she didn’t really seem to put a lot of effort into making things better for herself. I did like how she stood up for her brother, though. That was a redeeming quality.

3. Would you read the sequel if there is one? No, probably not.

One of the things that bugged me is the way the author switched perspectives. I’ve said before that POV shifts can be really good, or can completely mess up a book. I think it served to mess up this book. The shifts in perspective didn’t really have a different ‘voice’, and it seemed to me that for the most part, they just re-told lots of the same scenes again and again, as well as having weird time jumps, going back and forth in time and it was annoying to keep track of when a chapter was taking place.

HOWEVER, I flipped through some other reviews of this book from other people on the internet, and it seemed like lots of other people DID enjoy this book- mostly people that were familiar with the myth before reading it. I’m going to try and find the original version of this myth  now, because I’m curious as to what it was supposed to be all about.

The Good: Setting, time period
The Bad: POV shifts, time switching, too much set up
The Verdict: 2/5

I would recommend this to: People that like mythology and are familiar with the myth of the Minotaur.


Series Review: The Shiver Trilogy/ The Wolves of Mercy Falls by Maggie Stiefvater

Well, here's something new! It's not just a review of one book, but of a whole series!

I just finished the Shiver Trilogy/Wolves of Mercy Falls Series by Maggie Stiefvater about a week and a bit ago. It consisted of three books:

The first review I did on here was for the first book, Shiver, and I loved that book. I have similar feelings about the whole series. The whole series follows the people and wolves of Mercy Falls- wolves that turn out to be more then just wolves. The conflict is simple, yet not. I loved how all the characters were well-developed, especially the main characters. There was always something more beneath the surface that what was first showed.

Another thing that I adored about these books is the way they switched POV's. If done well, I really like it, but I think switching views can easily be the sinking point for books, too. In the first book, it's just two view points- Grace and Sam. In the last two books, it's four- Grace, Same, Isabel and Cole. At first, I wasn't so sure about it. It didn't take long for me to change my mind, though. Maggie Stiefvater does an excellant job in making each voice unique- if you weren't told who was the narrator at the moment, you would be able to tell. All of the characters had their own individual problems, not just the central plot. They all had their own personal issues to deal with- family problems, emotional struggles, dealing with tramautic pasts, to name some.

Of all the characters, I think I liked Cole the most, but all of the characters were pretty darn cool. I don't think there was a time that I disliked any of them- other then the characters you are supposed to hate, of course. And even then, I could sympathize with the 'bad' guys.

I think overall, the first and the third were my favourites. I don't think I can decide between the two which I like more, I liked both in different ways. But don't think that I didn't like Linger, either! That was good, too. It didn't drag the series down at all. The end of Forever couldn't have been better, in my opinion. It finished the series well, good closure, but space to think and leave it open at the same time.

Maggie Stiefvater is one of my favourite authors now, I think. I love her style of writing, it's witty and clever and funny, but still graceful and flow-y and meaningful.

To finish it off;
The Good: The characters, the plot, the POVs
The Bad: Umm... what?
The Verdict: 5/5

I would recommend this too: Anyone who loves werewolves, the supernatural, romance books, witty books, clever books, small-town settings, multiple point of views, fantasy, reality-with-a-twist, books about teenagers, books that have people that are hiding something, wolves, or reading.

Here's some other sites that you might want to look at that have to do with this series:

Maggie Stiefvaters' own blog:

And then there's this cool little website I found a little while ago, The Merry Sisters of Fate. It's a website co-owned by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton and Brenna Yovanoff. They are finished with the site now, but for three years they posted a new short story once a week, alternating between the three of them and then finishing with another guest author. I haven't read all of the stories, only about as far back as last August, but they are amazing.


read it write © 2012 | Designed by Canvas Art, in collaboration with Business Listings , Radio stations and Corporate Office Headquarters