"We read to know that we are not alone." - C.S. Lewis
So yeah....I forgot to do yesterday's challenge....oops. But instead of doing a double dose I'm just setting it back a day because the answer to this challenge is also why I forgot to do it yesterday.
A book that makes you laugh.
Well it is actually an author. Rick Riordan. I read his books and nearly die laughing every time. They are hilarious! I love them, even though they are well below my age level now I still go back and read them because they are just that good!
I am currently reading Mark of Athena and we working my way through some more of that yesterday and found myself giggling uncontrollably at some parts. It is fantastically funny!
Today's challenge, "A book that makes you sad," was a difficult one for me. There are many books that have sad parts and 'made me sad' but aren't necessarily sad books and I couldn't see myself putting them into that category. For a while I considered going with a cliche answer such as "A Fault In Our Stars" because it made many people sad and cry; however, it did not affect me in such a way so I finally decided against it. Then, out of the blue, two books I had read came straight to my head. Both books were incredibly sad and left a lingering sensation of sadness that still weighs down on my heart when I think of it today, though I read both those books while I was in elementary school (and both are incredibly beautiful books that I would reread today if I had the guts). The first of these is:
Frozen Summer by Mary Jane Auch
This book is the second in a trilogy about a pioneer family's journey to a new home. It takes place in the year 1816 when after the Mount Tambora volcano eruption the Northern Hemisphere experienced a 'little ice age.' That year 'the year without a summer' resulted in great food shortages and hardships for many people across the northern hemisphere. This creates immediate hardships for the family that are only increased by the mother's post-partum depression and the father's increased worry and therefore disconnect from the family. And nothing ends well in this little book.
The second book is called Marie, Dancing by Carolyn Meyer
This book was excellent but so sad. Basically everything Marie loved and hoped in was destroyed and I cried. A lot. I can't really even talk about this much without wanting to cry more.
So those are the two saddest books that came to mind for me, though I am sure there are others I have read that could fall in the same category....I read a lot of sad books when I was younger...
A Book That Makes You Happy
This trilogy is among my favorite books. They are witty and delightful and I love each and every character, but especially the four fairies from Midsummer Night's Dream (Cobweb, Peaseblossom, Moth, and Mustardseed). A fun (and funny) tale filled with magic and theatre and many, many, many Shakespeare references....what's not to love? Every time I see this book or think about it it makes me smile....hence why I chose it....
When I first started reading Entwined, I have to admit I thought it would be a rather mediocre fairy tale retelling. It was pushed even further into the realm of possible disappointment because The Twelve Dancing Princesses is among my favorite fairy tales and I had already read the fabulous Princess of the Midnight Ball. Throw in the difficulty of creating unique well developed characters for each of the princesses (something I have given up on) and ensuring that the reader is able to keep them all straight…Entwined had a difficult path ahead.
To my delight it succeeded in capturing my attention and offering an enjoyable and sometimes a surprisingly morbid tale. It took a while to get to that point, but even during that time it was nice and refreshing. While Entwined certainly had a number of eye-role educing scenes and lines, it was able to overcome its imperfections with a number of witty and hilarious lines and adorable and terrifying scenes.
The Keeper made the story.
If not for him I would have most certainly not liked this book half as much as I did. He was played (created?) to perfection (as far as evil villains go). Well, maybe not quite perfection, there were some parts that he seemed too weak. But whatever, I liked his character anyway. And his magic world. And his freakish ball. And his evil-ness….what can I say. I like good villains.
Another thing that surprised me about this story was how the characters grew and developed and ultimately grew on me. Early in the story every single princess(including Azalea) annoyed me. Every one. So I was pleasantly shocked when I found myself beginning to like them, a lot. And I was even more surprised when I grew to like the King! Though it is marketed as a romance I found that the family relationships were more important to the story and played a larger role than the romantic ones, something I appreciated and was glad for.
Speaking of romantic romances. To me they were sweet not “breathtaking” as the Aprilynne Pike states on her back cover blurb thing. There is nothing wrong with sweet romances, I like them. But I don’t like going into a book and expecting an incredible romance and not get it. Don’t get me wrong, I was glad that the romance was more a backburner plot and was sweet, but I like to know what I am going to get and not be almost tricked into thinking it will be something it is not.
That said, I did love the romances they were adorable and fun, even though at certain points somewhat annoying. (I mean really Azalea, you are kinda exhibiting feelings about a guy and then suddenly. I’m in love with him. So silly.) But as long as you ignore certain parts the romance over all is good.
One other thing I think I should point out that I did not like was how easily people forgot things! I mean, really! It bordered on sheer stupidity sometimes. It wasn’t a huge detraction for me, but it got a bit annoying at some points. Though I guess all fairy tales are like that to an extent and so it crosses over into fairy tale retellings. I think the same phenomena goes for over convenience. That happened in Entwined as well, but I mainly just over looked it because of the fact that it was a fairy tale retelling. I’ve almost grown to expect it.
So yes, Entwined failed to make each of the princesses unique and interesting, well developed characters. I’ve grown to expect that. But I was about to keep track of who each of the princesses were because (thankfully) the King had them named in alphabetical order(A being the oldest and L being the youngest) so that helped a lot. And while I didn’t enjoy it as much as Princess of the Midnight Ball, I still liked it a lot, enough to finish it in a day (though to be honest that was mainly because I had the whole day and wasn’t feeling well…but still it shows I like something). And I believe it offered a unique perspective on one of my favorite fairy tales.
Soundtrack: Dance of the Knights from Romeo and Juliet (Prokofiev) -
Premise - 4/5
Characters - 4/5
Writing Style - 3/5
Story - 3/5
Realistic(the plot made sense) - 3/5
Enjoyment - 4/5
Average Rating - 3.5
Cover - I love it. The dress is gorgeous and the background romantic and fairy tale-esque. And the title font is great too!
Invictus by W.E. Henley
So yesterday was crazy busy. Therefore I had no time at all to even think about the internet....much less complete a challenge. Fortunately days 3 and 4 are very closely related challenges and almost work better together. So I decided to do both in one day, rather than set the challenge back. So without farther ado, I present you with the first ever double dose of challenge awesomeness!
Day 3's challenge was what is your favorite book series and Day 4's was what was your favorite book within that series. As I have said before I don't tend to choose favorites. I have many favorites because books are so unique I might love one series for a completely different reason for another but love them equally. And how can one decide which is more loved when they don't compare easily? Now that I am sure you understand my viewpoint (though I will certainly reiterate it many, many times through this challenge) I have decided on one of the many book series that I love to represent all the book series I love, whether alike or different. This series is....
The Queen's Thief Series
The reason I chose this series was because it is awesome (duh!). It holds all the things I love about books. Interesting, well thought out plot, dynamic characters, engaging writing, incredible setting with a life like history...just brilliant.
Then....my favorite book within this series (my thoughts on choosing favorites aside...) would have to be....
Essentially this book frustrated me the most and as my mantra goes. "Those that frustrate me the most I love the most" (not really but it sounds cool)....basically here is how it goes. This book was amazing; it frustrated me in that I wanted to know the end I wanted to read it all the time. Therefore the fact that I did not know what I wanted to know and didn't have time to read it all the time it was incredibly frustrating. However, this is not to say that I don't like The Thief just as much or The Queen of Attolia just as much...because they had the same affect....but The King of Attolia was just brilliant. Also, in case you noticed that I left out A Conspiracy of Kings in my listing of favorites it is because that is most assuredly my least favorite (though still good!)
So there you have it! The double dose of awesomeness!
Tolkien and Lewis
A Book You've Read More Than Three Times:
Since I had two books listed for yesterday's challenge I decided I'd do the same for today. Now, most of my multiple reading books are childhood favorites. Back then I could not get new books very often and so would go back to my favorites on a regular basis. I have read some books more times than I can count. While I still love rereading books I don't get to do it as much now because of how busy I am and how many books I have to read. But I look back fondly on the books I have read many, many times.
So, without farther ado, the first book that I have read more than three times is...
Ella Enchanted was my absolute favorite book as a child, while I have read all of Gail Carson Levine's books many many times this one has been reread and loved the most. I have read it over 10 times and each time I loved it more and more.
And the bonus book is....
This book. Just this book. I am a huge fan of creepy, psychological type horror and this book gets it so right. I went back and reread it for the fourth time a year or two ago and found I enjoyed it just as much older as I did when I was younger.
So day two is done! Next up...."Your favorite series"
Best Book You Read Last Year:
Oh boy...this one is a doozy. I read a lot of excellent books last year. But for sake of non-repetition I am going to leave out books in series or books that could easily come up in another list (like The Queen's Thief, Froi of the Exiles, or Scorpio Races and such). That has narrowed the list down to two books. So I have decided for my own sanity to divide this category into two sections...
Best Literature and Best YA (I could subdivide more but remember I am trying to narrow this down to the lowest possible number).
So the winner of Best Literature read last year is.... *drum roll*
My Antonia by Willa Cather
This book completely surprised me. Completely. I expected to enjoy it, but as one enjoys much classic literature in that I would appreciate it for its fantastic prose, universal story, themes and such but that it wouldn't be the sort of book that I couldn't put down....boy was I wrong. While all the attributes I pointed out were found in this book it was not a book meant only to be appreciated and enjoyed on the surface. It was the sort of book to be consumed and loved and it has therefore won a place of honor in my heart and mind because while I enjoy much classic literature only a few favorites have managed to completely stun me and leave me longing to read more. This was one of them.
And the winner of Best YA read last year is....
Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Now, I love Maggie Stiefvater's work...pretty much all of it (some I like a lot more than others but I have at least enjoyed everything I have read by her) and Raven Boys was no exception. It had everything I love about a story: excellent characters, a compelling plot, interesting setting and back story, fun dialogue, and great description. Basically I knew going in I would love this book and it did not disappoint and only exceeded my expectations.
So there we go. Day 1 is complete....
So I thought this looked fun....we'll see how it goes. I might alter a few and I don't really do 'favorites' so I will just choose one of many favorites :)