23437156

Six of Crows convinced me that criminals are cool

23437156

Six of Crows

Six of Crows #1

spin-off series of the Shadow and Bone trilogy

author: leigh bardugo

pages: [hardcover] 465

memorable quote:

Many boys will bring you flowers. But someday you’ll meet a boy who will learn your favorite flower, your favorite song, your favorite sweet . . . he will have taken the time to know you as no one else does. Only that boy earns your heart.

favorite characters: nina & inej

summary:

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

review:

Leigh Bardugo proves herself again and again, always reminding me exactly why she’s one of my favorite authors.Six of Crows is her newest book, set in the beautiful (and terribly violent) backdrop of her previously explored world, which debuted in the Shadow and Bone trilogy. You certainly don’t have to read the trilogy to enjoy this book–this series is meant to stand on its own. But there are familiar places, people, and things mentioned; it’s fun to pick up where the books converge. I also feel like this book doesn’t spend as much time concentrating on the world-building and explaining exactly who can do what here. But, if you’re quick to pick up on things and don’t mind a little mystery, by all means dive right in.

Six of Crows is wild from the start. It’s harsh. It’s gritty. Not to say that I couldn’t have expected that from the terrible things that happened in Shadow and Bone but, come on. This one has a lot more terrible things happening to children. People growing up in Ketterdam typically stay in Ketterdam. There’s nowhere to go, no way to really better yourself. And, if you end up in the city without having been born there . . . Chances are you had no other choice and are at the bottom of your luck. Or you’re some rich merch who’s going to have their pocket picked the second they step off a pleasure cruise.

Enter our cast of wonderfully eccentric characters, a heist worthy of a blockbuster action film mixed with fantasy mixed with romantic comedy, and you get Six of Crows. It seemed like every time a new character was introduced I wanted to call them my favorite. They all had their flaws, yes–I mean, they’re a bunch of criminals. But they’re also teenagers! And I’m beginning to realize how my love of YA doesn’t change that 22 year old me sees a 15 year old criminal and thinks Oh my God what happened to this poor baby to make their life this way? Yes, I’m looking at you, Wylan. Whereas everyone else seemed rather rugged and sharp, I just wanted to give him a big old hug and make sure he knows that he’s loved.

Maybe it’s a little corny, but you need someone innocent to think about when you read about all of the things that have happened to these characters as well as the terrible things they’ve had to do, just to survive. It’s hard to blame them when you know they would have been dead long ago if they were kinder and gentler in life. No one survives long in Ketterdam living like that. It’s kind of funny, how quickly you can go from reading about someone’s backstory–Kaz, for instance–and pitying them, and two pages later they do something so twisted that you’re wondering how you could have ever thought they needed to be pitied.

Inej. I can’t wait to see more of her in book two. If I was forced to pick a favorite, it would be her (though I think my favorite romantic pairing doesn’t involve her, though I won’t mention it to avoid any possible spoilers). She’s a tough little cookie. And I absolutely wish that I could move the way she does. She has a twin set of knives that she’s such a badass with, and she pretty much taught herself. She can sneak up on anyone, climb up anything, eavesdrop on any situation . . . If I needed some criminal superpowers, I’d want to take hers. And then both of us could go on to live good, easy lives, because she’s earned it.

I’ll be recommending this book to everyone, really. It’s fantastic. Full of energy, wonderful writing, unexpected moments, and delightful links to the other trilogy. Don’t skip over this book!!

5/5 stars

 

Top 10 characters I’d want on my season of the Bachlorette

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

1. Levi from Fangirl. I’m not sure if this is about him or how similar I am to Cath, so I know that he would be a good boyfriend for me. I’m bookish and have anxiety like Cath; Levi is the guy who both respects everything she loves and pushes her to be her best self. The exact kind of guy I’d want around.

2. Mal from Shadow and Bone. I looooove this trilogy. I looooove Mal just as much.

3. Arin from The Winner’s Curse. I still need to read book 2 and book 3 is coming out very soon, which will give me more of Arin. :) Even though he’s kind of deceitful, it’s for a very good cause–something that I could certainly support him on.

4. Eugenides from The Thief. Again, someone who is very good at lying, but Gen is just hilarious. I would love to have him as my book boyfriend because I feel like he’d constantly make me laugh. Not only that, he knows true loyalty and responsibility, so he can get serious when it’s necessary.

5. Captain Thorne from Cress. Not my favorite of the Lunar Chronicles guys (see below) but still a hotshot in his own right. Again, I feel like he’d be hilarious. We’d have some great banter together. And he’s really adorable when he’s all flustered.

6. Wolf from Scarlet. I LOVE WOLF. SO MUCH. He’s just so strong, and protective, and adorably naive . . funny when he doesn’t mean to be . . . I’ll give him all the tomatoes in the world, to keep him happy with me.

7. Percy Jackson from The Lightning Thief. Well, I’d want grown-up Percy, obviously. Underwater kisses? Awesome adventures? Percy’s terrible (wonderful) jokes? What isn’t there to love? (apart from the chance some monster would kill us)

8. Jesse from The Mediator. Wow. Jesse was one of my first book crushes, ever. Sure, he might be dead, but he’s a hot ghost. And he speaks sweet nothings in Spanish. And he likes to save lives.

9. Akiva from Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It’s my favorite book series so of course I have to love him the most. He’s mine! He’s so attractive and charming and sweet, and he’s been through so much he deserves a good break with me :)

Career Talk Tuesdays: Chantal Gadoury

career talk

Hello readers! I’m so happy to bring you this post today by author Chantal Gadoury. She’ll talk about her path toward writing . . . and eventually becoming an author!

“What I did for the love of…. Writing”
The True Story of Chantal and her Love Affair with Writing

I remember first writing in second grade. We would write each page with a few sentences and leave space for our crayon-drawn illustrations. My first book ever was “A Trip to New Jersey” where I wrote a story about spending a weekend with my Dad’s family, playing legos and sega with my cousin Adam and how much fun it was to ride in the car with my Dad, Mom and my little sister Carrine. I remember how proud I was to have this fantastic finished product and showing it to my Mom. It was an amazing feeling to have something that I made, with my name on it: Chantal Gadoury.

In third grade, we had to create our own “Lyle Lyle, the Crocodile” stories. I think it was more for our cursive skills, but it was still a lot of fun; a way to set our creative minds to a story plotline. Mine was about Lyle being a star for a while – replacing the dog from “Rugrats.” It was really from that point forward, my writing affair was set to motion. Before my elementary days, my Mom would regularly take me to the James V. Brown Library (every Saturday) – and we’d collect as many books as our arms could carry. I was dazzled by the covers of her romance novels, imagining they were “real life” Disney characters. I think that’s really where my love for everything romance and writing came from; those precious moments my Mom spent with me.

I always had a notebook or a book with me – Always. If we went on a car ride, went to a restaurant, went to the grocery store – you name it, I usually had one or the other with me. (Even when I went away to college, I took an entire box of novels with me, just for comforts sake. There is something comforting about having the books that hold your closest and dearest friends.) When I was in fourth grade, I wrote an entire continuation of “Titanic” and when my little sister got a bit bigger, I would cut up our coloring books and make new books for her. When I was fourteen, I began to write stories from morning to the middle of the night. During those summer months alone, I wrote about 3-4 big major stories. (And to me, big major stories were like 20-30 pages.) I was so proud of myself, and really felt like I was a real writer. It was then that I even felt teachers started to take a second glance towards my writing. My 8th grade teacher asked to see some of my stories and told my Mom I was a great writer for my age. I was invited to participate in the Literary Magazine (which was brand new to Muncy at the time) and I really started to feel important; like I had found something that could be completely mine. This boost of confidence led me to write a 123 page story about the anime “Inuyasha” – in 3 parts!

I was always reading; I can remember a time I was so engrossed in reading I hadn’t even heard the teacher tell us to line up to leave, and it seemed to follow me throughout life. I’ve always been engrossed in the book that I’m reading – and I always had the dream to have someone else feel the same way about my novels. I’ve always wanted someone to pick up my book, and fall in love with my characters – to take something powerful away; to feel cherished and important. When it came time to pick colleges, I was going to go for English Education. I had been so positively influenced by my own English Teachers that I really felt strongly about trying to have the same impact myself. When I went to Susquehanna though, I had only been accepted into the English Department. After a semester of taking a few British Literary classes and American Literary, I knew it wasn’t what I had in mind. Instead of reading about the great authors, I found myself wanting to be a great author. With the help and support of my SU friends and my family, I changed my major to Creative Writing. I was really excited and started to take writing classes right away: poetry, non-fiction, short story .. etc. It was a different experience to not be one of the best writers in the class. So many of my classmates were gifted with an eloquence I had never seen or heard before. I can recall one classmate in particular who just had a way of reading her poetry; I was completely transfixed. I think I went through a very awkward stage of my writing life there at Susquehanna. I was trying to find my voice as a writer. I wanted to be like everyone else in the room – writing about realism; things that could happen, things that had happened – where as, in High School, I had spent countless days with my friends writing fanfiction and journals. We wrote about fantasy worlds and vampires; Gundams and romance. It was very different from what I had been used to for so many years. Writing about myself or realistic stories was a struggle. I felt almost like I was pulling teeth for words. I was very envious of my classmates in their own successes and how easy it seemed for them to write fantastic pieces.

I took a novel class my junior semester, in which many of my classmates were going to write about historical events, mysterious and murder or relationships issues. I decided that I wanted to write a novel about the myth story of Persephone and Hades. I had first heard of the story in 7th grade, in an English class, and I was completely in love with the dark love story. I had spent much of my reading hours over retellings of fairy-tales and I wanted to try my own hand at it. Without knowing it, I had begun t o write what would be my first novel “Seven Seeds of Summer.” Four years later, I was speaking to a publisher about making it into a book.

“Allerleirauh” was a novel I began in a Children and Young Adult class at SU. We had been assigned to write a children or young adult story, and I knew this was the story I wanted to try my hand at. At the time, the story had not developed in the way I had wished for it – and there’s an unwritten saying towards writing – there is a time and place for each story. You’ll know when it’s the right time to tell the right story – and for “Allerleirauh,” it just wasn’t the right time. I graduated college in 2011, and busied myself in jobs unrelated to my major. While my other classmates went on to get their masters, I had too much doubt in my writing to feel the need to continue with it. I got a job at a beauty store, and then a bank and eventually to a tech school answering telephone calls. It’s definitely not what I wanted for myself as a writer.

It was in January of 2015 that I decided to re-approach “Allerleirauh” again – and really tackle it as my next project. I had just published “Seven Seeds of Summer” and still felt a huge amount of doubt towards myself as a writer and my writing. I wanted to write the story I had waited my whole life to write. When it came to “Allerleirauh,” I had seen this story as a child and fell in love with it. It had haunted me in a lot of stories – whether it was a reference to gowns or identity, and I felt it was time to try to write this story the way I wanted. Surprisingly, what had taken me four years to do with my first one, I had “Allerleirauh” finished by July.

I have to say, while my Dad wasn’t a crazy book lover the way my Mom was – he was supportive. He didn’t like me wasting so much paper when I was younger, when I’d print story after story and using up very expensive ink (which now I completely understand) but he did always tell me to follow my dreams. My Dad died suddenly, shortly after I finished writing “Allerleirauh,” in August. It’s honestly been the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. I found myself in a very deep writer’s block, to the point it’s been an emotional block. My thoughts have been scattered and sometimes things are hardly coherent for me. I was grateful that “Allerleirauh” was finished in the writing aspect when all of this happened, and I only needed to focus on the editing process. I know that if it hadn’t been, “Allerleirauh” would not be out right now, and I would still be sitting on this amazing story with these incredible characters.   But with the death of my Dad, brought this desire to make him proud. I knew I wanted to do the best that I could with this new novel, so I took time to print out the entire novel, go through it page by page, and ultimately to publish it by myself.

Pursuing my writing career still seems to be something that I’m doing. I haven’t reached the end result. Do I consider myself a real writer? Not in particular. I don’t think I will until I sell more than 11 books. I know that without my Mom and her love for books, or without the teachers that I had in Elementary school – the teachers of my High School Education – I never would have had the belief in myself, that I could amount to be some sort of writer! And while I struggled at SU to find myself, to find who I was in the shadow of who I thought I was at Muncy, I had amazing friends who read and re-read my work – who always said “You are a writer! You write!” Without the entire puzzle, I wouldn’t still be pursuing my dream.

I think Writing is an on-going thing. You’re always writing, always editing, always evolving. Chapters change and end, characters come and go. I wrote because I didn’t know any other sort of thing that brought me such joy. I read books because it was a way for me to escape bullies and difficult situations – from those experiences, and a few years’ worth of education, I have two novels to show for it. In all, it was only natural to pursue an education of writing if you want to be a writer. Do you have to do it? No. But it does give you a chance to be in a writing community; to bounce ideas off of one another. You learn so much more about your own writing, through someone else’s. Without the one classmate, who always wrote and read her poetry and stories so lovely, I never would have practiced as much as I did. Writing can be so much more than just words, or a fanfiction on Tumblr, or writing in a journal with a friend. Writing is what you make of it. If you’re serious about being an author, I recommend going to school. It’s actually one of the most natural steps you’ll take in your journey – and I guarantee you won’t regret it! The community you’ll be immersed in and the friends you’ll make along the way can only help in your growing writing career!

Good luck!

Find out more about Chantal here:

Read an excerpt here:
And check out the book on Amazon:

 

~ ~ ~

Thanks Chantal for joining in!

If anyone else would like to join in on the fun, email me at caughtbetweenthepagesblog @ gmail . com, or comment below!

 

Top 10 Tuesday: Journey to the Past

 

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish!

Reading books, particularly historical fiction, gives you a glimpse at the world as it was–as it could have been in you’d been born in that time period. And, to be honest, I’m sure that most of them would be pretty terrible to live in. I mean, I love having indoor plumbing and all these social advances. But there are a few books that showcase societies I’d like to take a little visit in. Like, a day trip.

1. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld. Maybe this one is a little bit of a cheat, because it’s set in WWI but is steampunk. I’m going to make it count, because it involves real history–still, I wouldn’t really want to visit and be in the middle of a war. The quick trip would be spent with the Darwinists, of course, getting to see all of their animal inventions/contraptions.

2. Curses and Smoke by Vicky Alvear Shecter. Again, SUPER QUICK VISIT. I do not want to get caught in Pompeii at the wrong place at the wrong time. But, ancient architecture, and art, and culture . . I’d love to see it all–for a few hours.

3. Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan. Maybe I’m cheating a little for all of this list. I really want to see Ancient Greece in its glory days, just for a little while, and this book basically takes you on a tour of the whole place!

4. The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason. Also kind of steampunk-y. But the outfits are gorgeous and the setting very interesting, for a Victorian-esque place.

5. The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. This book’s setting is loosely based on Greece, but with little twists. I think it would be another one that would be fun and gorgeous to explore.

 

 

Ten Movie Adaptations that Might Have Been Better Than the Book

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week was a freebie week and because I’ve had movie adaptations on my mind lately, with The Fifth Wave releasing in theaters last weekend, I decided to count down my favorite movie adaptations of books. Some that–hold your breath–I watched before I was convinced to read the book. Some that were so good I might have decided not to read the book. (And, please, don’t bash me for that blasphemy.)

1.  Atonement

mv5bmtm0odc2mzg1nl5bml5banbnxkftztcwmtg4mdu1mq-_v1_sy317_cr00214317_al_

“A person is, among all else, a material thing, easily torn and not easily mended.”

I read and absolutely loved the book when I was assigned to read it in school. Afterward, I found out about the movie adaptation–and that it has James McAvoy in it, whom I love. It was so well-done that even though it changed some pieces of the book, I still loved it.

2. The Help

help_poster

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.”

I didn’t ever think that I’d bother to read the book, until I ended up seeing the movie. It helped me to decide to read it, which was a great decision because otherwise I would have missed out on that fabulous writing.

3. The Hunger Games

220px-hungergamesposter

“You don’t forget the face of the person who was your last hope.”

I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one who was excited when this movie came out. While it wasn’t perfect, it did live up to my expectations, and the sequel was even better.

4. The Book Thief

the-book-thief_poster

“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”

I absolutely LOVED this book so I was super excited to see the movie. There was a lot of time in between my reading and when I watched the film; I think that the longer I let a book sit with me so I forget the details that might not be included in the movie, the more likely I am to love the movie.

5. The Notebook

51p5u4wyprl-_sy344_bo1204203200_

“So it’s not gonna be easy. It’s going to be really hard; we’re gonna have to work at this everyday, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, everyday. You and me… everyday.”

Like most people, this was my first introduction to Nicolas Sparks–to romance movies in general, really. Now, I feel like Sparks’ work is overly repetitive, but I remember how I felt so strongly about this movie when I first saw it, so I had to include it.

6. How to Train Your Dragon

how_to_train_your_dragon_poster

“Twelve days north of Hopeless and a few degrees south of Freezing to Death”

It took me a long, long time to even know that this movie was based on a children’s book series. Well, loosely based, I should say, because I read the first book after watching and the two are so different. I’d hardly even call them related!

7. Rise of the Guardians

rise_of_the_guardians_poster

“To understand pretending is to conquer all barriers of time and space.”

Just like with #6, I hadn’t realized that this movie was based on a children’s series. And it was phenomenal. I absolutely love the movie and the books are fantastic as well–though very different.

8. Peter Pan

peter_pan_2003_film

“To die will be an awfully big adventure.”

Peter Pan is one of my favorite stories, plays, movies, Disney-esque things . . ever. I’ve loved so many versions of it, but this is the first movie I can remember clearly seeing in theaters. Though I’m sure I must have seen the Disney movie first, this is what stuck with me.

9.  The Silver Linings Playbook

mv5bmtm2mti5nza3mf5bml5banbnxkftztcwodexntc0oa-_v1_sx640_sy720_

“I don’t want to stay in the bad place, where no one believes in silver linings or love or happy endings.”

For this I honestly can’t remember: Did I read the book first or watch the movie? I really enjoyed both, so neither made me dislike the other, at least.

10. The Princess Bride

the-princess-bride

“When I was your age, television was called books.”

Obviously, this one tops all the rest. The whole movie is filled with lines so catchy, you can’t help but remember and quote them. The novel is written in the same voice and style so it’s a real joy to read.

What movie adaptations have you enjoyed? What have you hated?

 

 

DNF Review: Cinderella’s Dress by Shonna Slayton

18630484

Cinderella’s Dress

author : shonna slayton

pages : [paperback] 340

summary :

Being a teenager during World War II is tough. Finding out you’re the next keeper of the real Cinderella’s dress is even tougher.

Kate simply wants to create window displays at the department store where she’s working, trying to help out with the war effort. But when long-lost relatives from Poland arrive with a steamer trunk they claim holds the Cinderella’s dress, life gets complicated.

Now, with a father missing in action, her new sweetheart shipped off to boot camp, and her great aunt losing her wits, Kate has to unravel the mystery before it’s too late.

After all, the descendants of the wicked stepsisters will stop at nothing to get what they think they deserve.

review :

Just in skimming over the Goodreads page of reviews for this book, I can see that it’s one people either utterly hate or love. I’m DNFing this book at 202 pages because I realized that there’s a second book in this possible series, nothing is happening, and apparently no new information about these Cinderella dresses is going to be shown in the next 100 pages. I’m determined to spend 2016 reading as many amazing books as possible–books that I don’t feel like I’m trudging through or skimming over, just on the brief, dim hope that something interesting is in those distant pages.

Cinderella’s Dress looked awesome. I had it on my TBR list for a few years. It isn’t the typical fairy tale retelling we see today; instead, it takes objects from that familiar fairy tale, that have been passed down through the generations and . . . Well, I don’t know what the significance of these dresses would end up being, because nothing ever happens to explain what’s going on with them. Why they’re so important. Why vaguely evil people are trying to steal them away.

Most of the book has nothing to do with them. Kate, our main character, is pretty interesting because she’s struggling to get into a business that is typically only seen as a man’s job. I never thought much about window dressing before, and I honestly don’t know if it was really such a huge deal in the 1940s as it is in this book, but it’s Kate’s dream. I can appreciate that. What I can’t appreciate are the lengths she’s willing to go to in order to try to get this dream for herself. She’s willing to insult and isolate herself from her friends, which . . I’m not sure why she thought that was a great idea, and she got nothing out of it. Even worse (the moment that made me stop and finally decide to DNF) was when Kate decided to do something she knew would torment her great-aunt who suffers from dementia. Even in the midst of her great-aunt’s fit, Kate isn’t evenconcerned for her. She’s just worried about how much attention is being brought to them and thinking to herself Oh, I never expected that kind of a reaction. Yes, Kate. You did. You meant to shock her.

There were some elements in the book that had real potential–I loved reading the letters Kate wrote to the soldiers she knew. But then the war ended, I think, in the middle of the book. There was no real concept of time, for me, because the letters and chapters weren’t dated. It was only because Kate mentioned something about years passing (not that she seemed more mature for it) that I realized how much time had been skipped over.

I think that this book was so frustrating to me, ultimately, because it could have been so great. Instead, nothing really happened in the 200 pages I read, so I feel like I didn’t even read the book that was summarized for me.

1/5 stars

 

The Art of Frozen by Charles Solomon

18086739

The Art of Frozen

author  : charles solomon

pages: [hardcover] 160

summary:

In Disney’s Frozen, fearless optimist Anna sets off on an epic journey—teaming up with rugged mountain man Kristoff and his loyal reindeer Sven—to find her sister, Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. Encountering Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls, and a hilarious snowman named Olaf, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom.

Taking inspiration from Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Snow Queen” and the culture and landscape of Norway, the artists of Frozen have created a dynamic, other-worldly icy setting filled with striking background work and detailed costumes. Featuring stunning artwork from the film’s creation—including sketches, storyboards, colorscripts, and much more—The Art of Frozen is the ultimate behind-the-scenes look at the research and artistry that went into the making of this wintry action-packed adventure.

review:

I love these art books–I think this is the third I’ve read about an animated movie. For me, I get them partly to look at gorgeous concept art, partly because I like to see how they’ve developed the story. I’m not an artist by any means, but I like to think that I’m a storyteller, and in case I want to get into something like this industry, I want to see how the story is developed.

I’d heard some stories about how Elsa was originally going to be the villain in Frozen until writers decided that storyline wasn’t working out and made Anna and Elsa sisters. I thought it was fun to see some concept art of when the two were butting heads and Elsa’s magic was used for something a little more sinister–though I think she was still supposedly redeemed in the end, so I’m not sure how that would work out.

I really loved seeing the hand-drawn pencil sketches that were in this book, though admittedly most of the art was digital. Although digital creations can be gorgeous and magical, I still think that there’s nothing that beats the original pencil. I’m going to miss things being animated that way instead of in CG–though, as explained in the book, so many aspects ofFrozen would have been different. For example, Anna and Elsa’s outfits would have been made much simpler, because the detailed designs on their dresses would have taken ages for an artist to render over and over.

My favorite images were the big scenery designs, I think. The sweeping landscapes, the intricate designs, the attention to detail–I was so impressed by the effort these artists went into to make something that is a perfect balance between realism and magic.

I think that any fan of Frozen would enjoy this book because it shows the backstory and development of a movie that’ll go down as one of the most beloved in Disney history (though, to be honest, Tangled is still my favorite). Artists will like to see the stages that went beyond the original conception of the characters, up to the finalized versions we see in the movie. Writers will love seeing how storylines can change–over and over and over again, yes, but ending ultimately in something better and amazing.

5/5 stars