Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Throne of Glass Book Tag

Hannah of So Obsessed With and I recently fell in love with Brittany's The Lunar Chronicles Book Tag, and we thought it would be fun if we created tag for our favorite series - Throne of Glass. We haven't seen this around the blogosphere yet, and we thought it would be a fun way to celebrate the recent release of Queen of Shadows. We had a lot of fun coming up with the categories and filling it out, and we hope you do too. To participate, all you need to do is link to both our blogs, answer the questions and tag a few friends to join in. Can't wait to see your answers!

Lysandra | A book with a cover change you loved | This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
Don't get me wrong, the original cover is striking! But I deeply love the redesigned cover for the paperback. It's very minimalist and artsy, and it definitely catches the eye. The colors from the original are still utilized, but the typography and the additional presence of the turntables makes it look even more appealing.

Abraxos | A book that's better on the inside than it looks on the outside | Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Back when I initially discovered it, this novel did not have the most appealing cover. I didn't like the foreground, with the guy and the girl on the bench. I especially did not like it when I realized the girl did not look like how I imagined Anna would! I'm so pleased that the story contained within its pages was really good, and I'm glad I picked it up in spite of the cover.

Erilea | A series with great world-building | The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta
I read this series for Hannah's read-along two years ago! It's got incredible writing, particularly when it comes to the characters and the world they live in. It's so rich in story, and I particularly loved Marchetta's handling of the world. It's such a large one, and there's enough culture and political intrigue to suit any reader.

Rifthold | A book that combines genres | Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
This story is a blend of science fiction and fantasy, and a unique one too! The story is about Ana, who is the new soul in a world of a million reincarnated souls. It involves dragons and magic, and scientific manipulations, and while that sounds like a potentially confusing thing, I promise that it isn't hard to follow at all.

Damaris | A book based on/inspired by a myth/legend | Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman
I had no clue that this was based on actual lore until I had finished it! Erin's author note at the back explained her inspiration for this story, and that included a reference to some pretty wild stories that have been passed down through history. She really did a great job bringing various elements together into one cohesive whole.

Kaltain Rompier | A book with an unexpected twist | Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers
There are plenty of novels that I've read that take a turn I never expected. But this one was the first to come to mind! The big reveal certainly left quite the impression; I was stunned silly because I really had no clue that it was even coming. LaFevers does a great job with the build-up and reveal, and I definitely feel like it was an unexpected (but very welcome) twist.

Assassin’s Keep | A book with an unreliable narrator | Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
This book possesses one of the most unique perspectives in YA fiction that I've ever encountered. Juliette communicates via stream of consciousness both self-censored and repetitive. It's very disconcerting, especially if you're used to more straightforward prose, but it's also interesting. I love that it presented a challenge to the reader, a choice whether or not to rely on her narration of her story.

Asterin Blackbeak | A book that’s got SQUAD GOALS | Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
(The obvious answer would have been Queen of Shadows, because goodness knows I want in on that squad. But I didn't want to pick a Throne of Glass book for this tag, so....) I know, I know. Technically, the gang - Kaz, Inej, Matthias, Nina, Wylan and Jesper - are villainous individuals, with special skill sets to suit their life of crime and survival. But they're strong people. It's undeniable that, in spite of their questionable intentions and choices, they are fighters and survivors. Plus, the fact that they become loyal to one another over the course of the heist? Unbeatable. I wouldn't mind being a part of their gang, if it meant I would be just as capable as any one of them.

Terrasen | A book that feels like home | Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
I recently reread this, as part of Return to Green Gables, and it's really a lovely tale to revisit. There's a sense of familiarity as you encounter the characters and events that make up Anne Shirley's arrival and subsequent acclimation into the Avonlea community, and it's hard not to want to hug the book as you read. Anne is a beloved literary friend to me, and hanging out with her will always feel like I'm coming home.

Aelin Ashryver Galathynius | A book with the power to destroy you | Just One Day by Gayle Forman
The first time I read this story, I felt like I had been opened up to the world, raw and aching and emotional. It felt like Gayle had been inside MY head during my college years, with all the insecurity and turmoil I had experienced written into Allyson's tale. In a way, reading it felt like a cleansing - I felt like I could finally learn from my history and move on from the past. So, it's really no surprise that I felt decimated by the power and purpose of Gayle's words.

Manon Blackbeak | A book that intimidated you | Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
Adult classics are always intimidating. I put off reading them most of the time, because the length and prose tend to make me nervous. This is one such novel that I avoided reading for most of my life, until I finally put my foot down and picked it up in 2010. And you know what? It turns out that it's actually a really good read.

Rowan Whitethorn | A book that makes you swoon | Ransom by Julie Garwood
Whenever I'm on the hunt for a swoony read, I tend to return to one of the beloved historical romances I read in my early teen years. Ransom is the second of those novels, and still one of my all-time favorites. The story is really great, the characters are excellent and the romance is the stuff of all my fanciful dreams. I always recommend this one for people looking to read historical romances!

Chaol Westfall | A book that challenged you to see things differently | Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
It's always interesting when I get to read a story about a main character who suffers from mental illness, but there's something especially powerful about this one. Sam suffers from purely-obsessional OCD, which is something I'd never encountered. I believe that the portrayal is so well-done, in a way where you both sympathize and learn as you read. It's certainly a read that opened my eyes to a new perspective, and I will always love it for that.

Fleetfoot | A book that you received as a gift | Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein
For this category, I chose the most recent physical book I received as a gift! I got this one in the mail from my #OTSPSecretSister, and I can't wait to read it. I was impressed by Wein's storytelling ability and prose in Code Name Verity; I have no doubt that this novel is going to be equally amazing.

Eye of Elena | A book you found right when you needed it | Golden by Jessi Kirby
I was granted the opportunity to read this novel early in 2013; it slayed me. Even though I was at a completely different stage in my life, I could totally relate to the main character's longing and quest for clarity and identity. It really struck a chord with me, since I was feeling adrift in my own life at the time, and it inspired me to start really pursuing the things I loved and wanted to do.

I'm tagging 
+ anyone else who wants to do the tag!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Books in Real Life, Episode 8: Open Road Summer

I'm super excited about this month's Books in Real Life post! Rachel & I are collaborators on this feature, where we challenge ourselves to do the things we read about in books in real life. This time around, we are featuring a novel that we both absolutely love - Open Road Summer. This debut novel from Emery Lord is about a girl named Reagan, who spends an entire summer going on tour with her best friend Dee (who happens to be a country superstar). There's friendship, there's growing up and there's just the right amount of romance, and I absolutely adore this book! (If you haven't read it yet, I 100% suggest you do. It's brilliant.)

For Open Road Summer, we wanted to watch a country music concert together, to pay homage to Dee's many performances over the course of her tour. What's really brilliant about this particular episode is that we accomplished so many things at once - saw a concert together, watched a country music star and paid homage to Jana Kramer, who is a favorite of ours from One Tree Hill. (We even did a Tunes & Tales for her debut album!) It's definitely one for the books, and I had a lot of fun!

Jana Kramer's songs are incredibly catchy + clever, which is a winning combination in my book. She manages to be so charming and sassy while she performs, and I really enjoyed watching her work that stage all night! It's definitely one of the best performances I've ever been to, and I certainly wouldn't mind going to see her in concert again, if I were given the chance to do so.

1. What was your favorite part or a memorable moment? I loved it when she paid tribute to One Tree Hill, even doing a special shoutout to a member of the crew behind the show who was there! It made me feel that much more connected to her.

2. Anything you wish you'd known beforehand? I wish I knew all the tracks off of her new album! That would have been really awesome. I also kind of wish I had a selfie stick with me, so I could have used it when she walked around a fair bait so everyone could grab a selfie.

3. Would I do this again? I already said so earlier, but yes, absolutely. If she decided to tour for her new album and did another NY show, I would be so game to go and see her again!

You guys also get a bonus this time around, as Rachel & I put together a playlist of our favorite Jana Kramer tunes for you! Give it a listen, and I daresay you will fall in love ;)

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Sunday Mix (16)

October has been mostly dreary, rainy and cold so far, which I'm not overly fond of unless I can stay at home snuggled under warm blankets with a hot drink nearby. But otherwise, I've been having fun binge watching Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (which is brilliant and fun, and you will hear more about it in a future Screen & Scenes), seeing Jason Robert Brown perform (which was unreal) and spending time with people I love. I haven't been reading as much as I'd like to be, but hopefully, it starts picking up as the month continues. How has your month been going?


from publishers (Thank you, Disney-Hyperion, Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, Bloomsbury, Harper Collins!)
physical: A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston / The Two of Us by Andy Jones / Simon Thorn and the Wolf's Den by Aimee Carter / Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion / The New Hunger by Isaac Marion / Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum / Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray / First & Then by Emma Mills / Romancing the Dark in the City of Light by Ann Jacobus / Passenger by Alex Bracken
e-galley: The Impostor Queen by Sarah Fine

from friends (Thank you Judith, Louisse + OTSP Secret Sister!)
physical: Throne of Glass (Dutch edition) by Sarah J. Maas / Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

physical: After You by Jojo Moyes / Rules for Stealing Stars by Corey Ann Haydu / Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo / Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (illustrated ed.) by J.K. Rowling + Jim Kay / The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan / Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce / Wolf-speaker by Tamora Pierce / Emperor Mage by Tamora Pierce / The Realms of the Gods by Tamora Pierce
extras: DVDs of Thumbelina, Anastasia + The Swan Princess

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Return to Green Gables: Non-fiction Reads

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers", as Anne Shirley once said. And this October, more than any other, my heart is gladder than glad to be bringing you Return to Green Gables! Rachel of Hello Chelly, Hannah of So Obsessed With & I have been scheming about this event for ages, and it's such a thrill to finally be able to share it with all of you. Be sure to make the rounds on all three of our blogs for the rest of the week in order to see all our posts, each and every single one inspired by or tribute to the classic Anne of Green Gables.

I'm quite bereft that we've come to the end of this wonderful week-long celebration for Anne of Green Gables! It has been the loveliest of experiences, in no small part due to the excellent partnership between myself and two of my "kindred spirits", as Anne would call them. I really hope that you all have enjoyed revisiting Green Gables with us. If you've missed any posts, they'll be listed down below for easy reference.

For this last post, we are each going to be sharing book recommendations! Rachel will talk about fiction, Hannah will feature other Montgomery reads and I, well, I will be focusing on the wealth of non-fiction offerings. Hannah actually has such a great collection of them that most of these are her recommendations; I definitely see a few that I'm going to need to check out for myself too.

On L.M. Montgomery

1. Lucy Maud Montgomery Album (Kevin McCabe + Alexandra Heilbron) - I love that this one is a collection of a variety of memorabilia - photographs, letters and clippings in particular. It sounds like it would paint a pretty darn good picture of who L.M. Montgomery was and what she was like, and I'm always curious to learn more about the writers behind my favorite reads.

2. Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Gift of Wings (Mary Henley Rubio) - Because I love the Anne of Green Gables series, I can't help being fascinated by the brilliant mind who brought it to life with her words. Hannah has read this one, and highly recommends it for those interested in learning more about the woman behind this series. It really does sound like a fascinating portrayal of various facets and times in Montgomery's life! I always find it interesting to see if an author's own experiences affect the stories they put out into the world.

3. The Complete Journals of L.M. Montgomery: The PEI Years, 1899-1900 (ed. Mary Henley Rubio + Elizabeth Hillman Waterston) - In the brief bio included on the L.M. Institute site, readers will learn that the author kept journals starting from the tender age of nine. As fans of her writing style and how she chooses to express herself, I think I would find it fairly interesting to read about her own life and experiences as narrated by the author's self. It would certainly feel that much more authentic to know that these thoughts are mostly hers, with just a slight bit of polish from others.

On Anne of Green Gables

1. Anne's World: A New Century of Anne of Green Gables (ed. Irene Gammel + Benjamin Lefebvre) - Being published over a century ago has not stopped Anne of Green Gables from remaining relevant and much beloved by millions of readers. This compilation of essays seeks to explore the connection and relevance of Montgomery's most famous series, relating it to the modern world in various aspects. I can think of nothing more fascinating, particular since I feel like there are so many ways Anne is still a significant literary work.

2. Anne Around the World: L.M. Montgomery and Her Classic (ed. Jane Ledwell + Jean Mitchell) - As a bit of an international citizen myself (born in the USA, raised in the Philippines), I always think it's fascinating when a piece of literature becomes a global phenomenon. Our cultures and histories influence our reception to stories as a reader. This compilation endeavors to explore Anne's relevance on a worldwide scale, and I'm curious to see how it differs from place to place.

3. Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery (Elizabeth Waterston) - The most interesting thing about this book, personally, is how it chronicles the parallels between Montgomery's life and the stories she wrote. I think it would be so cool to see the connection between them, which I've already mentioned as being something I like finding out about my favorites.

On Related Literature

1. From Little Houses to Little Women: Revisiting a Literary Childhood (Nancy McCabe) - Title alone, I already knew I wanted to read this one. (In fact, this entire section wins in titles, really.) McCabe takes the time to go on a literary journey as she revisits the childhood reads that shaped her life, and she includes Anne of Green Gables as one of them. It would be quite fun to come along for her journey, and I'm certain it would inspire me to think about mine.

2. The Heroine's Bookshelf: Life Lessons, from Jane Austen to Laura Ingalls Wilder (Erin Blakemore) - Again, it's the fantastic title that has me itching to read this one! But I also love the framework of Blakemore's approach - she's pairing up heroines with their standout quality. I think it would be absolutely compelling to revisit heroines in classic literature, and check out the characteristics that make them memorable, inspiring and relevant.

3. How to Be a Heroine (Samantha Ellis) - Memoir-slash-reflections and a winning title - how's that for a book you're bound to be curious about? I think it's quite cool that Ellis is writing a novel that shares about her own life experiences, and stacks them up comparatively with some of her favorite literary heroines. It's definitely a non-fiction read I'm really hoping to check out!

I hope you've discovered a title or two that interests you, particularly if you're a fan of the series and author the way that the three of us are! I definitely added a few books to my list to check out. And with that, we are officially at the end of Return to Green Gables. It's been a fun experience, colored with merriment and nostalgia. I'm so glad I teamed up with my beloved friends to make this happen. Hope you found our Return to Green Gables enchanting, and that you had as much fun as we did with all of the posts we've shared this week!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Return to Green Gables: Visiting Prince Edward Island

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers", as Anne Shirley once said. And this October, more than any other, my heart is gladder than glad to be bringing you Return to Green Gables! Rachel of Hello Chelly, Hannah of So Obsessed With & I have been scheming about this event for ages, and it's such a thrill to finally be able to share it with all of you. Be sure to make the rounds on all three of our blogs for the rest of the week in order to see all our posts, each and every single one inspired by or tribute to the classic Anne of Green Gables.

Earlier this year, the girls and I entertained the notion of going to visit Prince Edward Island together. As devoted fans of the series, there was an undeniably strong pull to visit the place where it's set, and I'm certain that one day, someday all of us will have set foot on that seemingly magical island in these novels. While our visit remains a mere dream, I thought it'd be fun to share five things to consider when planning a trip to Prince Edward Island!

Green Gables Heritage Place | At this particular spot, you can pay homage to the brilliant, beloved Anne by visiting the rooms of Green Gables. Within its four walls, visitors are treated to the combination of imagery from the novels and real life experiences from L.M. Montgomery's life. It would be a fabulous place to visit, and I can already sense myself fangirling over all the Anne-related things I'll see here!

Avonlea Village This small village professes to be authentic to what it might have been like in Anne's day. There are eclectic shops, interesting entertainments, historical sites and, also, great places to grab some refreshment in the form of food and drink. I believe I'd feel transported should I ever get the chance to come here in person.

Lucy Maud Montgomery Birthplace Without L.M. Montgomery, we would not have an "Anne" to love. This site marks the house where she was born, and it is filled with personal memorabilia from the writer's life. 

Lucy Maud Montgomery's Cavendish Home This is the home where Montgomery lived with her grandparents. She actually wrote Anne of Green Gables here, among many other works. While the buildings no longer exist, the fields and lanes and gardens are still there.

Anne of Green Gables Store | No Green Gables fan will be able to resist the lure of all things "Anne", and that's precisely what this store has to offer! They have all sorts of souvenirs and memorabilia on offer, from books to dolls to much, much more. This would certainly make the perfect pit stop on the last day of a visit, in order to stock up on things to bring home.

And come back tomorrow for some non-fiction reading recommendations.


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