Delilah Dusticle and Delilah Dusticle’s Transylvanian Adventure
by A. J. York

imageGenre: Fantasy, Fairy-Tale
Publisher: Self-Published
Format: eBook
Source: Received from the Author in exchange for an honest review.
Rating:  (2/5 Stars)
Synopsis: Delilah Dusticle has special powers, she can completely eradicate dust. With her quiver pouch of special dusters Delilah can run up walls and reaches places others just can’t. As a maid in the Fenchurch-Whittington house Delilah’s unusual skills soon lead to her being promoted to Chief Dust Eradicator and Remover. Until one day a broken heart leads to her powers taking an expected turn.

Both of these books were rather short (around 20 pages each) and their construction and plot reminded me very much of fairy tales.

Their plot and characters were both unique, and the setting was very interesting. (It seems very steam-punk, but it also seems to take place after WWII.) However, they didn’t keep me entirely engaged. They were so short that I didn’t really get attached to the characters, and the story itself moved slowly.

That said, as a children’s story they were intriguing and amusing.

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and The Bookish, and is a book blogging meme where every week there is a different ‘top ten’ list of books to make. This week’s list is another non-book one and is instead top ten favorite TV Shows!

I didn’t quite make ten here, but I only wanted to include my very favorite shows. And, as usual, I am listing these in no particular order. Plus, all of the shows included in this list are can be streamed on Netflix or are available online totally legally. 

image#1 - Eureka Now, I already said that this list is in no particular order, but this show is in the #1 spot for a reason. And that reason is that this is a show that more people should watch. It’s essentially a comedy/drama where almost all the main characters are brilliant scientist and it’s, well, brilliant. 

#2 - Warehouse 13 This show had it’s fifth and final season this year, and I am very, very sad about that. But it does have five amazing seasons of great adventures and great characters and surprising overlying plots. So you should really go watch and appreciate what there is of this show. (Even though it got very rudely cancelled)

#3 - Supernatural To be entirely honest, there are times where I wonder why I like this show and chose to watch it. But when it has a good episode they are usually very fast paced and exciting, so there’s that. I also thought I’d mention that this is a show that has kind of gotten less horror-movie-ish and scary as it has gone on. There’s a lot more plot in season 6 than there is in season 1. But it’s also a show with a lot of episodes- and it’s still being made. Just so you know what you might be getting yourself into.
image#4 - Doctor Who I have a feeling that this is a show that is going to be on a lot a of people’s lists, so I recommend hearing about it from someone better. 

#5 - Generator Rex I will admit that while this is a finished (*ahem* cancelled) series, I have yet to actually finish watching it. I started it a while ago, but, things happen. Anyways, this is a show that I never thought I’d love as much as I do. It’s a sci-fi with great (very endearing) characters, well choreographed (awesome) fight scenes, a very engaging plot-line and very interesting world-building. Plus, it’s comic relief is very well done.

image#6 - Puella Magi Madoka Magica This is by far my favorite of all anime I’ve watched. It starts off rather slowly, but everything ends up coming together in the main plot and it is amazing. It’s also technically a magical girl type anime, but it’s very dark. I recommend not watching it with younger children, no matter how happy Netflix’s cover art for it looks.

#7 - RWBY RWBY is slightly different from the rest of these in that it is a webseries, and each episode is around 5 to 15 minutes long. The whole of season Volume 1 is just a bit over an hour. Plus, Volume 2 comes out in 9 days and the entirety of the show can be watched on it’s company’s website here. It’s sort of a comedy set in a fantasy universe, but there are plot threads that promise to be pretty amazing. It also has awesome music.

#8 - Sword Art Online The fact that I love the books Insignia and Epic kind of shows that I love full immersion type video games in fiction. I probably would never use one in real life because of all the mishap they’ve caused in stories, but, sacrifices must be made. And this anime is a great kind of story like the ones I’ve mentioned. (The second half of the first season has some kind of strange parts though…)

I don’t want to say this month was hectic exactly, because really I’ve had a fair amount of time to myself, but I have been fairly busy. I finished school, but after that I went right into training for Synchronized Swimming Nationals in Seattle, which I will be traveling to as this posts.

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This Month I Read:

  1. How To Catch A Bogle (Bogle #1) by Catherine Jinks [Review]
  2. Rebel Belle (Rebel Belle #1) by Rachel Hawkins
  3. The Miranda Contract by Ben Langdon (Did Not Finish) I was halfway through, and far too confused and disinterested to read the rest.
  4. Entangled (Entangled #1) by Amy Rose Capetta

Music

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My favorite/most-lisened-to songs this month were Kill Your Heroes by AWOLNation, Na Na Na by My Chemical Romance and Recover by Chvrches. All three have been a major part of my writing playlist the last few weeks.

TV Shows

Early this month I started the 2010 Cartoon Network show Generator Rex (It’s on Netflix!) and discovered I absolutely loved it, so I’ve been working through that show very slowly. I also started and almost finished the Disney show Lab Rats during my first week off of school, and have been re-watching the anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica which might not have been wisest decision but I love it and it was added to Netflix. I can’t believe that the first time I watched it was almost three years ago!

Events

Shadow and Bone + Monument 14

Fierce Reads

"Growing up isn’t something you do and then are done with." - Ava Dellaira

I went to two book-related events during the month of June. The first one was a Fierce Reads book tour stop at the Red Ballon Bookstore on June 22nd. There I saw Leigh Bardugo, (The Grisha Trilogy) Jennifer Mathieu, (The Truth About Alice) Ava Dellaira, (Love Letters to the Dead) and Emmy Laybourne. (Monument 14)

My big secret going into this is that while these are all books I really want to read, I have yet to read any of them. But now after hearing the authors speak I am even more excited to read all of them!

I also happened wear one of my synchronized swimming meet shirts to the event, and I guess it was especially noticeable because when I went up to get my book signed they all commented on it. Jennifer even told a great story about how her speed swimming team used to practice in the same pool as a synchro team, and Ava Dellaira wrote a real sweet note in my copy of her book. It always makes me super happy when people genuinely are interested about synchro and think it’s cool.

Fierce Reads 2014

The second event I went to was also at the Red Ballon Bookstore (My trusty independent local place that hosts all sorts of awesome authors) and it was a book signing with Joelle Charbonneau, author of The Testing trilogy, to talk about the newly-released final book in the series. It was really interesting to hear her talk about her “accidental” writing carrer and about her processes and world building while writing the trilogy. As I write this, I’m currently reading the third book in the series, and I look forward to sharing my thoughts on it in a future post!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and The Bookish, and is a book blogging meme where every week there is a different ‘top ten’ list of books to make. This week’s list is book cover trends (or elements of book covers) that you like and/or dislike. I decided to do both, so my first five will be trends I dislike and the second five will be trends I do like.

None of these judgments have anything to do with the content of the books. For the moment I am just talking about their packaging. (I haven’t actually read all the books included in this list)

Dislike:

  1. Overly Dramatic Expressions on Models. I feel that in general models are not necessary in covers, but sometimes they do work. But if the model looks overly dramatic it can kind of turn me off of the book. Main Offenders: The Goddess Test.
  2. A Very High Hue/Saturation Level. You know those books where it looks like they made the saturation as high as possible or used one of the more… colorful Instagram filters on the picture? Yeah, I hate those. Please no. Main Offenders: CroakCity of Bones.
  3. Bad Typography. I don’t bash fonts often, so I mean this in the most loving way, but sometimes certain fonts just don’t work. They’re to skinny or too flowery or I don’t even know why they look off but they just don’t work, and sometimes can make the book cover look very cheap.
  4. Images Overlaid on Other Images. Occasionally this can look okay, (I think Entangled pulled this off for the most part) but most of the time, it’s just no. Please no. Main Offenders: Vampire Academy.
  5. Shirtless Models. This just kinda screams stereotypical Romance to me. Not that there’s anything wrong with romance novels, it’s just… Kinda unnecessary. Main Offenders: City of Bones.

Like:

  1. Illustrations. Ever since I started reading more YA than Middle Grade, I have read so many less books with illustrations on the cover. I really think illustrations are beautiful and can give you the best idea of what the book is even before you read the back. At least they are still common in Middle Grade fiction. Good Job: The School of Good and EvilThe Lost PlanetCinder.
  2. Typography. I love typography when it’s done right. Most of the packaging I think looks best is just nice looking font work, and books are no different. Good Job: Promise of ShadowsThe End or Something Like ThatShadow and Bone.
  3. Models/Illustrated People When Their Features Are Shadowed or Not Shown. Like I have already mentioned, models can work on book covers even though it’s not my favorite thing, and one of those times where they work is when their features and not shown. I also like when the main features of illustrated characters are not shown, such as if they have their back turned or something like that. Good Job: The Split SecondFalse MemoryThe Secret WarThe Battle of the Labyrinth.
  4. Symbolic Covers. I love when covers feature some sort of symbol on the cover, especially when it seems abstract at first but comes to mean something about the book in an understated way. Good Job: The LoopThe Hunger GamesInsignia.
  5. Scenery. I love photography or landscapes and such, so of course I also like scenery on book covers. Good Job: Every DayThe Maze Runner.

How to Catch a Bogle (Bogle #1)
by Catherine Jinks

imageGenre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Publisher: HMH Books
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Rating:  (3/5 Stars)
Synopsis: Birdie McAdam, a ten-year-old orphan, is tougher than she looks. She’s proud of her job as apprentice to Alfred the Bogler, a man who catches monsters for a living. Birdie lures the bogles out of their lairs with her sweet songs, and Alfred kills them before they kill her. On the mean streets of Victorian England, hunting bogles is actually less dangerous work than mudlarking for scraps along the vile river Thames. Or so it seems—until the orphans of London start to disappear …

I bought this book because I have liked Catherine Jink’s previous works. While this didn’t measure up to the Genius Trilogy, it was still pretty interesting and enjoyable.

First off, the main character of this book (Birdie) was a lot younger than I would normally read. She was ten-years-old and while I liked her, (she was very spunky) her age was written very accurately so I didn’t always agree with her thought processes and decisions.

This book was also set in Victorian London. I’m not a historian, so I can’t attest to its accuracy, but it all seemed very strange and old. It really sucked you into a very different world. I also really liked the lore for the bogles and other child-eating monsters. Very interesting.

Just One Day (Just One Day #1)
by Gayle Forman

imageGenre: Young Adult Romance
Publisher: Speak
Format: Kindle eBook
Source: Library
Rating:  (4/5 Stars)
Synopsis: Allyson Healey’s life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life.

For some reason, I didn’t expect to like this book nearly as much as I did. Maybe it was because I was a little bit disappointed after I read If I Stay or because I just don’t usually love contemporary romance stories, but either way this book swept me away.

I loved the author’s descriptions of traveling, and the philosophy of traveling that was reached at the end. I also loved how the book talked about Shakespeare, and how it really showed how his plays are better when they are seen instead of read.

This book’s perspective of the world was really great and the book was definitely worth the read.

Quotes:

"This time, it clicks. It’s like my ear attunes to the weird language and I’m sucked fully into the story, the same way I am when I watch a movie, so that I feel it… Sometimes, I’ll watch a movie all over again just to recapture that feeling of being inside something real. Which, I know, doesn’t make any sense."

"But I will go out on a limb and say this: Shakespeare did not write his plays so that you could sit in a library carrel and read them in silence."

Hero
by Mike Lupica

imageGenre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Publisher: Puffin
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Rating:  (2/5 Stars)
Synopsis: Zach Harriman knew that his dad was something of a hero, a man trusted by the president to solve international crises at a moment’s notice. Suddenly people are telling him he has powers - people who know much more about his father than Zach ever did. But there are the Bads, who appear out of nowhere and attack him and his best friend. One thing is clear: he can do things ordinary people cannot. Like fend off grown men as though he possesses the strength of a hundred. Like sense when evil is about to strike. And evil is about to strike in a very big way. Zach Harriman is his father’s son. And he, too, is a hero.

The start of this story was very slow, which was really disappointing to me. The first chapter and the idea of the book itself had a lot of potential, but the book itself fell flat. From the summary, you can basically know that main character has or is going to have superpowers. So when it takes until the middle of the book for those superpowers to come into play, well… 

This is one of those books that I probably would’ve enjoyed a lot more three years ago, when I was a bit closer to it’s age range. It was a fine book, but there are many much more exciting books about superheroes.

Those That Wake (Those That Wake #1)
by Jesse Karp

imageGenre: Young Adult Sci-Fi
Publisher: HMH Books
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Rating:  (2/5 Stars)
Synopsis: New York City’s spirit has been crushed. People walk the streets with their heads down, withdrawing from one another and into the cold comfort of technology. Teenagers Mal and Laura have grown up in this reality. They’ve never met. Seemingly, they never will.

But on the same day Mal learns his brother has disappeared, Laura discovers her parents have forgotten her. Both begin a search for their families that leads them to the same truth: someone or something has wiped the teens from the memories of every person they have ever known. Thrown together, Mal and Laura must find common ground as they attempt to reclaim their pasts.

This book was my bane for months. The beginning was just so slow that I would set it right back down again after a chapter. I must have read the first few chapters twenty times. Eventually I pushed my way through, and while it does get better later, I wouldn’t say it’s really worth it.

The beginning part (150 pages or so) is very nonsensical. It hops around to different people but nothing really happens. The ending is interesting and thoughtful and has a little bit of action, but that itself is still slow and hard to get through.

It’s a lot like what I consider to be “old” sci-fi (The Foundation Trilogy for example) without the classical or cultural significance. But it’s not a bad book, just a slow one, so if you like the look of it go ahead. You could like it.