Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Secondary Characters

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
This week's topic makes me nervous. Why? Because I adore secondary characters and while this is a list of the "most memorable" secondary characters, I have a bad memory sometimes. Hopefully, I'll remember them all. In no particular order:

1. Iko from Cinder. The lovable android sidekick to Cinder made me smile whenever she was on the page. I'm really hoping we'll continue to see more of her throughout the series.
Quote: "Prince Kai! Check my fan, I think I'm overheating."

2. Thorne from Scarlet. Cinder's second accomplice in the second book was so wonderful that at one point, I would have been okay with no more Kai. Thankfully, though, Thorne is going to be the love interest to the next main character in Cress!
Quote: A relieved grin filled up Thorne’s face. “We’re having another moment, aren’t we?”

3. Beast from Grave Mercy. Oh, Beast. I love you. I need to read Dark Triumph asap because I hear he's the love interest in that one. I'm absolutely okay that these secondary characters get more of a spotlight in sequels. 
Quote: Just before he pulls away, he whispers in my ear. "Duval said to give you that should I get a chance. It is from him.” 

4. Isaac from The Fault in Our Stars. He's Augustus Waters's one-eyed best friend, becoming one of Hazel's closest friends as well. While all the characters provide humor in some ways, Isaac is a main source of it.
Quote: "Thank you for explaining that my eye cancer isn't going to make me deaf. I feel so fortunate that an intellectual giant like yourself would deign to operate on me!"

5. Kenji from Shatter Me series. KENJI! Love me some Kenji. I wasn't sure about him in the first book, but I completely appreciated him in the sequel. He's witty, sarcastic, and most importantly, tells it how it is and gives Juliette frequent reality checks. He was the biggest motivator for me to keep reading Unravel Me while everyone else was being annoying ahem, Juliette.
Quote: “Yeah, bro.” Kenji puts his utensils down. “You are moody. It’s always ‘Shut up, Kenji.’ ‘Go to sleep, Kenji.’ ‘No one wants to see you naked, Kenji.’ When I know for a fact that there are thousands of people who would love to see me naked—” 

6. Finnick from Catching Fire and Mockingjay. I admit it, I wasn't too sure of him at first because like Katniss, I wasn't going to trust anybody. But we soon see how great he is in the arena and he continues to be a highlight in both books.
Quote: "Why? Do you find this" -- he strikes a ridiculously provocative pose -- "distracting?"

7. Sturmhond from Siege and Storm. Does he count? I think he counts considering that he's not Alina or Mal even though he's a key character in the sequel. Sturmhond was irresistible and maybe it's a good thing I'm not Alina because I would have fallen for him in the first five minutes of meeting him. I love Bardugo's writing and series, but she made everything a whole lot better when she added him in the story.
Quote: "I have so many good qualities," Sturmhond said. "It can be hard to choose.”

8. Basically everyone from Perfect Scoundrels. They're the same characters from the previous Heist Society books, but for whatever reason, they stuck out even more in the last book for me. Gabrielle, the Bagshaws, Simon, and Marcus all provided something great to the book, even if most of them are really minor characters. Of course, Hale will always be my favorite secondary character in this series with Gabrielle close behind.
Quote: "What I mean, dear cousin, is that maybe you want Hale to get out of his family's business because that is the only way to keep him in yours."

9. Genya from Shadow and Bone. It's been a while since I read the first book in the series so honestly, I can't really remember why she stuck out to me. But she did. I remember liking her, wishing she had her own book, and wanting to read more about her. She's important in the second book as well and...well, I can't say divulge further.
Quote: "Do you like the way you look?" Genya asked with what seemed to be genuine curiosity.

10. Roar from Under the Never Sky series. People might love Perry and he is great, don't get me wrong, but I personally loved Roar way more. He's just...perfect. Sensitive, loyal, passionate, determined, witty, kind...I was thrilled when we got to see more of him in the second book.
Quote: Roar's smile widened. "I know. You missed me." 

Honorable mentions: Prim from The Hunger Games series *sob*, Johanna from Catching Fire and Mockingjay, Boris from The Princess Diaries series, Orma from Seraphina, Mr. Bennett from Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Solomon from The Gallagher Girls series, Ro from For Darkness Shows the Stars, Caitlyn from Parallel. 

I realized so many of my favorites are not only guys, but they're the characters that add humor to the whole story without trying too hard. Alright, most of the guy secondary characters and ones that I like to swoon at too. Take notice, authors!

What are some of your favorite secondary characters? 

Friday, August 23, 2013

International Cover Battles: U.S. vs Everyone

Let the cover battles commence!
A cover is a key component in getting me interested into a book. If it doesn't look like my taste, I might set it back on the shelf. Great covers make me want to stare at them all day and make me dream about it being on my shelf. Or even better, taking it out in public and proudly reading it because I know my book looks amazing. But while I love looking at covers, I love looking at international covers even more. What might be the same in one country can be way different in another, we all know that. So I wanted to look at how different covers are between countries, compare them, and share it with all of you! 

The Hunger Games
U.S. vs China

I love my simplistic Hunger Games cover, I do. But I really love the Chinese version. The woods and the weird cloud thing going on with the lighting is making me happy. Then there's the blurred figures of a boy and a girl, which I adore, except for the fact that I personally would love if it was just Katniss. That might just be me though.


U.S. vs Spain

Thoughts on U.S.: I love the title font (although I don't remember Cinder having any musical flare) and the undivided attention on her foot. The red really pops and I love seeing the mechanical bit inside her leg. Although, didn't her cyborg leg show?
Thoughts on Spain: I NEED THIS IN MY HANDS NOW. This is so pretty, my hands are twitching. Spain readers, you are so lucky.

United We Spy (GG#6)
U.S. vs UK

There is no competition here. None whatsoever. The U.S. one is so cute, but gosh, so heartbreaking as well. She's in her graduation gown and has a diploma and it all makes me weepy. The UK version? Devoid of emotion. And the tagline is on the lame side.

(old) U.S. vs Germany

I really didn't want the newer, purply U.S. version on here. It hurts my eyes. But the old version, I like. I didn't at first, but I really like the...rustic?...feel of it. Vintage-y maybe. I can't pinpoint it, but I like it and I love the dragon. The German cover, on the other hand...makes me laugh. I keep thinking she's naked. I just don't like any of it. 

The Girl of Fire and Thorns
U.S. vs UK

Aaaaaand UK has made a return against America! The U.S. version is nice and all, but I'm not digging her face in the stone...which isn't the stone supposed to be in her belly button? Awkward. I love the Egyptian feel of the UK version and look! CAMELS! She also looks like she's about to kick some butt in her ninja costume.

The Book Thief
U.S. vs Germany

Considering where this is placed, it's no surprise that I love Germany's cover better. I think the U.S. has some version with this cover (on the right) on it, but I was too confused. Anyways, the U.S. is meh, while Germany makes me feel emotion. I'm going to go cry now.

Alanna: The First Adventure
U.S. vs Indonesia

The old U.S. cover is awful in my opinion so thankfully they redid it and I personally really like this new cover (which is on the left). She's strong and pretty, not like the exorcism version from the old cover. Indonesia is making me disinterested.

Grave Mercy
U.S. vs Italy

No debate here. The tagline, the background, the CROSSBOW...everything is awesome on the left cover. U.S. killed it with this one. Ha, killed it. As for Italy, it's just weird. Slightly creepy, but mostly weird. 

Shatter Me
U.S. vs France

I might be the only one, but I have never been a fan of this particular U.S. Shatter Me cover. The glass bursting behind her and the tagline is cool, but there's something about the model that makes me go "blah." While I don't totally get the French cover, I adore it. So pretty. 

This Lullaby
Spain vs U.S. 
(thanks to Blogger messing me up by not letting U.S. be on the left)

Color me confused when it comes to Spain and This Lullaby. Converse shoes? A weird rainbow? A girl with boots? I don't get it. U.S. is overwhelming me with purple, but at least they're incorporating a guitar. And it coordinates with her other new covers.

Through these at least (I'm not talking about the broad spectrum of books), I find it interesting that I like U.S. covers more. I always look down on some U.S. products in favor of the international kind, but I really appreciate the artists over here. They clearly know what they're doing. 

What do you think about international covers? As for the ones I listed, did you like America's or another country's cover better? 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Top Ten Things That Make Blogging/Reading Easier/Better

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
In no particular order, the top ten things that make my reading and blogging lives simpler or just better:


No doubt, this will be a popular item on people's lists, so I just wanted to get it out of the way. I'm not as into this as a lot of bloggers are, but I'm trying to be. What I do love is how convenient it is. When I search a book on Goodreads, I can see not only all the information about it (i.e. synopsis, publication date, publisher, etc.), but I can also see what people rate it and I have a whole source of reviews RIGHT THERE. I can see what people have to say negatively and positively about a book, which really weighs in on when/if I'll read it as well as when/if I'll buy/request/put it on my birthday list. I also love that they give you all the editions it has for the book so you can see international covers as well. While I'm not as good with keeping up my TBR list on here as I should, I like the fact that I can keep a running list on there for future reference. Really, Goodreads is versatile.


Ever since I could remember, libraries have been such a happy place for me. It's gotten better when I see a book I want to read because I've seen such great things on it (or I need a sequel, I found an author I really love, etc.) and I don't have to buy a book I'm unsure about! The library provides a free reading experience, which is great for stingy, unsure, indecisive book lovers like myself. Of course, this can be listed under things that help the non-blogger side of me. 
If you haven't library hopped in your town, do so. 

I feel like I'm cheating on this one. This makes doing giveaways less stressful because it's super easy to do. On the other hand, I don't do a lot of giveaways. But I have done before and it did make it easier and better so it counts. 

Nice authors

Nice authors are so great, I can't even begin. But let's just say that nice authors, which are more abundant than the blogosphere lets on, make me love reading more and writing reviews more. I will still be honest in my review, but a nice author can get me to read their book that I would have otherwise not picked up. They make it easier to write a review because while I would never let an author know that I hate their book, I also know that if they happen to see it, this nice author won't go berserk on me. Nice authors also make me happy. I like being happy.

Other bloggers
I would be disappointed if you didn't expect another hugging gif.
Bloggers are amazing. They're not only incredibly nice, but they're also wonderfully helpful, which I guess you could say they both overlap. Still. It would get lonely without other blogger friends, or just blogger acquaintances. When I have a question or need help with something, I love knowing that there are nice, experienced people who will help. 

These things are time-suckers, but I love looking for them. But gifs can really convey or dramatize a certain emotion/feeling/thought that I have way better than I can with words. They're also really fun and are great breaks in between paragraphs. 

Isn't it ironic that I don't have a gif for this one? 

Physical attributes of a book
I'm always on the prowl for new books to read or to add to my TBR list. However, it doesn't matter if I'm swamped with books or trying to find a book, the physical appearances of a book helps me decide what to spend my time on. If I'm at the library, the title should catch my eye. If I'm at home or the library or anywhere, a cover should interest me. If I have to decide between two books, a cover or a synopsis will definitely sway me as well as the title. I NEED that front flap/back cover and I am always grateful for them. Basically, they all have a piece in helping me decide what to read. 

Me to a really eye-catching book at the library. 
Before you start stoning me because I'm not supporting my local bookstore, hear me out. It feeds my book lover side by giving cheap book options. More importantly, it also gives synopsis details and reviews (although I like Goodreads better) and a "people who bought this book also bought..." section. I don't like publishers saying "for fans of" on book covers or for hype, but I do love this part of Amazon. I'm always a fan of suggestions. 


I already made a whole Audiobook Appreciation post so you can read my feelings on it there. Basically, I can do more "reading," I can listen to them at work, and narrators are fantastic. 

Oh, lovely Twitter. I really need to comb through all the tweets more, but it's such a great place for bloggers. You get to connect, stalk talk to authors, and it's a great promotion place. Mostly, it's a fantastic way to talk to people without having to go through Facebook. Win. 

Honorable mentions: Edelweiss/Netgalley - they make it easier to get ARCs even if in ebook form. However, I'm iffy on this one considering I can't connect with an ebook as much as a physical copy and I tend to get stressed if I go crazy on these sites.

What are things that make your job as a reader or book blogger easier? Are any of mine the same as yours?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Six Reasons Why I'm Glad I'm Not in Fiction

Many times, I read a book and think, "Why can't I be her/in this world/have this guy/etc?!" Usually there's something about a book that I'm reading which makes me really wish I lived in fiction. Who likes reality anyways? Exams, work, staying fit, overcoming Mondays, you name it, we have to trudge through the mundane responsibilities of life. However, there's a plus side. So here are some reasons I am personally glad that I do not like in a book or am a fictional character.

Horrible worlds

Let's be real here. Fictional worlds might seem amazing, especially the future with all their cool technology, but most futuristic, dystopian, or alternate worlds that I've read aren't fun at all. They basically make me want to stuff these books in the government's faces and make sure this doesn't happen EVER. Kill 23 of your peers? Have a virtual world that's crumbling? Get your memory wiped clean thanks to suicide rates? Be an "ugly" outcast until you have major plastic surgery done? No thank you. I will enjoy my car that doesn't fly, McDonalds that doesn't deliver, and robot-less life happily, just please, don't make me go in those worlds. 

 Messed up families 

Granted, there are many messed up and beyond dysfunctional families right now. However, I, personally, do not have one. It seems as if every YA book has a nonexistent family to get them out of the way or a horrible one to add conflict. Life already has enough problems, I would rather not add another by including family.

Decision making 

Basically every book involves making a decision, but since I just read this one, it was the only one on my mind. Now, it's not just simple decision making, mind you. While I have a problem with normal decisions (i.e. what movie to watch, what to eat at a new restaurant...it's all pretty bad), I can't imagine how hard it would be if it was an actual crucial could be consequential to my world, my life, and could bring DOOM on us decision. 

There's also the love triangle decision where a girl has to pick a guy...oh wait, that won't matter. First, that would have to be an actual thing (since I've never heard of a real-life love triangle, have you?). Secondly, you need to have ONE guy interested in you first to have that "problem." 

Dead characters

This is another real-life problem, people die all the time, yada yada. I know, but it's always so traumatic in YA. Or maybe it's because no one super close to me have died. I mean, in If I Stay, her whole family dies. WHOLE FAMILY in one sha-bang (which is not a spoiler, it's what the whole book is about). In There You'll Find Me, her brother dies overseas as a reporter, which might be semi-normal, but still. It's a sibling. I don't know, I know there are lots of deaths in the world, I've just been fortunate with not having to deal with super close ones. 

Me 95% of the time.
I would actually label this as a trope that I see in YA where characters go out with friends every single day or night. They seem to be never home (even though some claim they normally do, but when we start reading about them, their lives suddenly get interesting), and if they are, which is rare, they are supposed losers for having no life. I know that it would be boring to read about a girl sitting at home, I do. But I barely go out. When I do, it's with angst (see decision making above since I can never decide if I should go) and a wishful desire to just stay home. I like my nights at home. After responsibilities in the day, it's me time (or family time) in the evening. 

You're critiqued/judged or you get the horrible MC brain syndrome where you act annoying/be stupid/lose the ability to think clearly
The first annoying MC book I  thought of.
This does not mean it represents this whole point.
For the first point, I would hate to be dissected and judged almost immediately with my life being read by tons of people. I know, they're fiction, but still. For the second one, I find more and more heroines who are just plain stupid. They're either aggravating or don't think clearly. Sure, the author has to had conflict somewhere, but sometimes it's too overdone with how much the character is not thinking or being oblivious to. 

Like I said, there are many perks to being in fiction (i.e. GUYS, being an "average" girl who suddenly gets perks such as GUYS, unrealistic things happen like royalty or the cute mysterious GUY taking notice of you, miracles, road trips...with, yes, GUYS...you get my point). But I, for one, am glad that I live in reality.

I do this 100% of the time, but my family is not as nice as the friend in this picture
because they still do not think I'm sane.
Also, I know I talked like this in a lot of points so this goes out to all of you! (obviously)
Are you glad you're not in fiction? 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wishlist Wednesday #19

Hosted by Pen to Paper

Wishlist Wednesday is a meme hosted by Pen to Paper that allows bloggers to highlight a book they are making grabby hands towards. 

Author: Lauren Morrill

Publication date: January 7, 2014

Publisher: Delacorte

Meet Sloane Emily Jacobs: a seriously stressed-out figure-skater from Washington, D.C., who choked during junior nationals and isn’t sure she’s ready for a comeback. What she does know is that she’d give anything to escape the mass of misery that is her life.

Now meet Sloane Devon Jacobs, a spunky ice hockey player from Philly who’s been suspended from her team for too many aggressive hip checks. Her punishment? Hockey camp, now, when she’s playing the worst she’s ever played. If she messes up? Her life will be over.

When the two Sloanes meet by chance in Montreal and decide to trade places for the summer, each girl thinks she’s the lucky one: no strangers to judge or laugh at Sloane Emily, no scouts expecting Sloane Devon to be a hero. But it didn’t occur to Sloane E. that while avoiding sequins and axels she might meet a hockey hottie—and Sloane D. never expected to run into a familiar (and very good-looking) face from home. It’s not long before the Sloanes discover that convincing people you’re someone else might be more difficult than being yourself.

Why I want: 

For some reason, I'm always pulled into plots that involve ice skating/hockey/anything with ice and sports. So this involves two ice sports and that makes me even more interested. There's also the fact that two girls switch lives and that makes me perk up even more. Of course, this is different than the regular switcheroo story because 1. They're not twins or identical strangers and 2. I'm afraid it might get a little too confusing since they both have the same names, unless they refer themselves by their middle names. 

I had to add this after reading Christina's post here,
when she mentions this DCOM.
Also, I love the cover. 

What are you wishing for this Wednesday?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Song of the Lioness audiobook series by Tamora Pierce

After years of prodding from my best friend and a long time of seeing bloggers (ahem, Gillian) squeal about Tamora Pierce, I decided to give the author and her series a try. Since I'm now allowed to listen to audiobooks at work, because all the other ladies get to listen to their old lady radio and I don't even answer phones, I'm just sitting in a corner scanning papers ALL day. Not that I dislike my job or anything. I took the risk of listening to something I hadn't read before. The result?

Why, oh why, did I not read listen to this series sooner? I will not even claim that this will be a review. It is more like me trying to convey my emotions in certain parts. GIFs will probably be the best route so be prepared for an overload of them. 

There MAY be spoilers ahead. Proceed with caution. Please do not get mad at me.

Alanna of Trebond switches places with her twin brother Thom so that she can go be a knight and he can be a sorcerer. If you want to know more about that plot, go to Goodreads because I don't want to waste time recapping the whole series. So let's just say right now that she was awesome and I was surprised all over again when I was reminded on how young she was. She kicked butt, ya'll. When she had a run in with a bully, she worked even harder. Actually, she did that in every book with every challenge or challenger she faced. 

The secondary characters were amazing. All the boys she became friends with, including the lovable Gary, made me want to join their bromance instantly. The unrealistic side to this is that she was accepted a bit too readily since she was younger than they were. The disappointing side was that we didn't see much of them in the later books. However, we did get to see quite a bit of Miles, who was absolutely huggable. One of my favorite quotes, because it's so wise and what I always think when I have to make a decision to something, was provided by him.

"No can always be changed to yes, but it's very hard to change yes to no."

However, there was some romance to keep me happy. In the span of four books, she falls in love with three guys. With all the relationships, Alanna had a hard time admitting her feelings, but the first one was probably the hardest with her because of her femininity. 

  • Prince Jonathan. She became his squire even after he found out she was a girl. After a bit, there was some ooh-la-la-ing going on between them. They quarreled and had their differences, but they were quite cute together. Okay, he was cute. 
  • The thief named George. Alanna technically met him first and he was the first one to find out about her true gender, after his mother did. Unfortunately for him, Alanna wanted to keep things semi-platonic between them for most of the time. Oh, he flirted though and they had their heartwarming scenes. 
I am a Georgian.
  • Liam, the Shang Dragon. Bleh. GET AWAY FROM ALANNA AND FROM ME. Sure, he seemed like the perfect guy at first. They both had the same desires, same goals, same mindset, same toughness. Whatever. He just seemed so old to me. I was thrilled when he was scared of her magic wuss
There was only one true villain and that would be Duke Roger, related to Prince Jonathan and the royal  CLUELESS family. Everyone except Alanna were blind to Duke Roger's schemes and at first, that seemed very unrealistic. Don't fear though! We obtain a reason in the end.

Action, mystery, quests, magic....I loved it all and was wrapped up in the story without fail. The first book was absolutely amazing for me. I loved the plot, the characters, the narration, everything. I remember liking the second book because of the added romance and other plot points. However, I don't remember much about the last two, but do think that some of the parts were dragged out too long. I just wanted my familiar characters back. 

I so wanted to like Thom, considering that he's Alanna's twin...but I couldn't. We weren't supposed to anyways, except for maybe a little bit at the end. He was arrogant, pompous, selfish, and standoffish. Everyone who met him were unanimously hating him because of his...attitude? Air around him? Aroma? Behavior? Whatever you want to call it, he had no friends. And deservedly so.

Although he was intelligent and wise with magic, he was stupid too, at least in the last book. Because in the last book, he wonders how a certain person feels towards "the woman who killed him." Say what now? Let's see. If someone killed me, I would have a range of negative emotions. Anger, resentment, and thoughts of revenge come instantly to mind. What, do you think that this person will just forget and be all, "Well, I deserved it. I don't blame her. La, la, la, la, la..." Idiot. 

Thom also said that Alanna was basically the only person he loved, but he sure didn't act like he loved her in the end. But that goes back to the above point on how stupid he was. 

What I loved about having Alanna as a main character was that she was always growing. I didn't realize starting the series that it was technically middle grade. She grew up from being about a pre-teen to around my age. She naturally changed mind on things and matured. You can never say that she didn't work hard because she always tried to be her best. Whether it was to defeat a bully or get a diamond or to do something else that demanded her magic or strength, she trained hard. 

How everyone felt about her from day one.
She certainly had her difficulties growing up though. Since she spent a large portion of her life as a boy, the transition of becoming a woman was tough too. Her time of the month? More awkward than others. Alanna gradually piqued more interest at dresses and while I wanted her to stay tough, I wanted her to be feminine as well. She deserved to feel beautiful. Unfortunately, because of her mixed emotions about how to conduct herself, and because there was one stick in the mud who made her feel like crap about wearing a dress for him, I might add she was confused as to who she was. She always dreamed about being a roaming knight, but she longed for home. She refused the thought of marriage, but started to crave love.

I would bet on it that Alanna said this at one point.
Because I feel like I have a million things to say and no words to say them, here is a gif collection of my feelings throughout the books at different points or throughout the whole thing because this brought on the feels.

Narrator review: 
I also have to mention the narrator since it was an audiobook series. The pick for the narrator could not have been better! Wow, wow, wow. Trini Alvarado, who played Meg March in Little Women, narrated all four books and was fantastic. You could clearly tell apart all the voices and her variation of all the men wasn't silly either coming from her. Sometimes she even sounded like Megan Fallows, who played Anne in Anne of Green Gables, which I really liked. I looked her up and she narrates another Tamora Pierce series so I will be listening to that asap. I think a narrator has the power to make or break an audiobook and she definitely didn't let Tamora Pierce or me down. 

And to sum up how I felt afterwards when I received major book hangover...

Thank you for being patient with me as I babble and squeal. Such a relief to get it all off my mind.

Have you read this series? Have you listened to anything narrated by Trini Alvarado? What Tamora Pierce series should I read/listen to next?