Books · Fantasy · Young Adult

First Impression Friday: Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller

It’s time for another First Impression Friday post! For those who are unfamiliar, FIF is a weekly meme created by J.W. Martin. The goal is to talk about a book you recently started reading. Share you impressions, predict what you think will happen, say whether you think you’ll enjoy it, etc.

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Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship.

More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King.

I’ve been hearing good things about this book, and the sequel, for quite a while now. I typically love all things pirates and badass female protagonists, so this one seems like a good fit for me. I really haven’t gotten too far into the story yet, but Alosa has the potential to be an interesting protagonist. That being said, however, I do see some potential turn offs already. The interaction between Alosa and Riden hints at a complicated romance situation on the horizon. This is not entirely surprising, given what the blurb on the back cover reveals, but still, it feels like it might be going in an overly cheesy direction. As someone who tries not to overdo it on dairy products, I’ll skip the cheese, please.

I don’t think I’ve read quite enough of the story to make any plot predictions yet, but I’m hoping for a lot of sword fighting, swashbuckling, and pirate booty.

ARRRRRRRE you guys ready for the weekend? I sure am! 🙂

Books · Life · travel

A Decisionable Dilemma

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Last week I talked about Portland, OR and the fact that I’ve been dying to go there for quite some time now. I had actually been planning to save up money and, on top of another trip to New York next summer, pay a visit to Portland in the Fall of 2019. Yesterday, on a whim, I looked at plane tickets to Portland for this Fall and was surprised to see that ticket prices are ridiculously cheap right now. So cheap that it almost feels stupid to pass this opportunity up…

I had originally been planning to spend a night or two in Charleston for YALLFest in November. The festival sounds like something right up my alley, plus the trip itself would be cheaper since I can drive there. But, despite the fact that Charleston is supposed to be a lovely place, it sounds a little boring. It’s a beachy city on the water. There’s some historical stuff and (supposedly) good food, but other than that it doesn’t sound like there’s much to do. Portland, on the other hand, is supposed to be a major hipster city on steroids. (Plus, Powell’s Books is there!)

I don’t think it would be super impulsive of me to book a trip to Portland, especially considering how cheap the airfare is right now. I’d also have a few months to save up some spending money. At the back of my mind, however, there is that little voice that’s making me doubt this decision. Yes, I have medical bills that I am still paying off and there’s the ongoing kidney saga, but still…you only live once. What if I try to schedule a trip next year and it’s way more expensive?

Ahhhh. Decisions, decisions.

What would you do in this scenario? Is it YALLFest or a trip to Portland? 

Books · Fiction

Top 5 Tues: Books I Want to Re-Read

The topic for today’s Top 5 Tuesday has arrived at the perfect time. I was actually planning on writing a post this week about books that I want to re-read soon. Then, voila, T5T arrived and made life easier for me.

(For those who are unaware, Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Shanah, the  Bionic Bookworm. Go check out her site to see the full list of topics coming up if you’d like to participate.)

Top 5 Books I Want to Re-Read: 

Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman – Now that I’ve re-read Neverwhere I feel like I need to go back and read this one again, also, since I originally read both of them around the same time.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova – This book was one of my favorites back in college. It’s an excellent blend of historical fiction and horror. It’s also one of the few vampire books that I’ve ever really enjoyed, aside from Dracula.

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black – This is a different faerie story, set in the same world as The Cruel Prince. It’s been years since I read it though and I don’t really remember much about it.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien – I love these books and usually re-read them every few years. It feels like that time again.

Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes – This is my favorite Alice in Wonderland retelling. That’s reason enough.

 

Do you like to re-read books? Which ones are you planning to read again? 

Adult · Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy

Book Review: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

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My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Under the streets of London there’s a place most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armour and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks.

Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more than enough about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his workday existence and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and utterly bizarre. And a strange destiny awaits him down here, beneath his native city: Neverwhere.

Last week I was telling Boyfriend about Neverwhere because he’s never read it before. When telling him about it I realized that I was a little fuzzy on the details, probably because it’s been so long since I read it. I’m really glad I decided to re-read this one, because it was even better than I remembered.

The world beneath London is just as you’d expect an underground city to be: dark, dirty, and crawling with unsavory beings, both human and non-human. But, London Below is more than just that, it’s a city full of life, trade, and the unique sorts of people that don’t quite fit in up in “normal” London. I absolutely love the world that Gaiman has created. In some ways, it’s my ideal type of fantasy setting, not because it’s an entirely new world or one laden with magic, but because it’s more like an alternate version of our world. One of the reasons I’m such a big fan of Neil’s is because of the way he takes the modern world and stretches it just enough that it becomes fantastical, but is never too over the top. Realistic people, situations, and feelings remain present in his stories, making them easy to read and relate to.

There are some fantastic characters in this story. Richard Mayhew, the protagonist, is just an average guy who was just at the wrong place, wrong time. His life is turned upside down as he gets dragged to the streets below London, while his entire life above suddenly gets erased. Among his companions are the Lady Door (a girl trying to understand her parents’ death and avenge her family), the marquis de Carabas (who is as over the top as his name suggests), Anasthaesia (a rat-speaking girl), and Hunter (the best bodyguard in the underground). They cross paths with the likes of angels, friars, and earls, all while trying to steer clear of the two hit-men who have their eyes on Door.

This was actually one of the first fantasy books I had ever given a chance. (Can you believe that there was a time when I didn’t read fantasy!?) After re-reading this I realize why I got sucked in and captured by the genre.

Supposedly, Neil has a sequel to Neverwhere in the works. I don’t know much about it, but I sure hope we don’t have to wait too long for it to come out.

 

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Books · Life · Writing

LOOK AT MY TINY TARDIS

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How YOU doin’? My mood today is an appropriate one for a Monday. I’m tired, cranky, and really just want to be curled up on the couch with a book or an episode of Doctor Who. 😩

Speaking of the Doctor, look at the tiny TARDIS pin I got from Etsy! 😍

The reason I’m so cranky today is because I’ve come down with a case of writer’s block. All weekend I tried to work on my book, but my brain just wasn’t having it. After months of having really good momentum, I’m reaching a point where I’m not sure what’s supposed to happen next in my story. I’m sure that plenty of you, whether you write stories or just stick to blog writing, know how frustrating this can be. *slams head on keyboard* I know it will eventually pass, but it’s still driving me crazy at the moment and I don’t know what to do with myself in the mean time.

Books · Life · travel

Bookish Wanderlusting: Portland, OR

Fridays are typically reserved for First Impression Friday posts, however, I don’t feel like I can participate this week. For FIF we’re supposed to discuss our initial reactions to a book we recently started reading. Given that I’m doing a re-read of Neverwhere, I feel like I’d be cheating if I took part.

Since I’m breaking away from my usual repertoire, this seems like a good time to break out a new blog feature that I’ve been thinking about for a while.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about my desire to travel and see more places. (You can see that post here.) There are so many places in the world I’d love to visit someday, especially bookish places. Places with unique bookstores, literary history, and book-related events galore. Reading and writing at home is great, but sometimes you need to just get out and find inspiration elsewhere.

One of the top places on my list is Portland, Oregon. Home of Powell’s City of Books, the world’s largest independent bookstore. From what I hear, Powell’s has multiple floors of new, used, and rare books. *wipes drool off chin*

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Outside of Powell’s, there are lots of other (smaller) independent bookstores to check out, such as In Other Words, the all-feminist bookstore, and Broadway Books (just to name a few). There are also bookstores dedicated solely to children’s literature and several comic book stores to help you get your geek on.

For a fun family activity, you can check out the Beverly Cleary sculpture garden or do a walking tour of Beverly’s neighborhood.

For the Whovians (like me!) there’s a fish and chips restaurant with a TARDIS bar in the back! (I hope the bathrooms are bigger on the inside.)

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And of course, we can’t forget the annual literary festival, Wordstock.

In addition to all the bookishness, Portland is said to be a major mecca for hipsters. Now, I don’t call myself a hipster, but I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t drawn to a lot of hipster-type places. (Does that make me part hipster then? *sigh* Maybe it does.) Portland is home to vintage shops, bars and breweries, art, music, restaurants, and, of course, coffee. Apparently, they even have a tour specially dedicated to the local coffee scene. There are tons of fun things to do!

I don’t have the money to go right now, but I’m currently saving up so I can go there. I’m hoping to go next Fall when Wordstock is happening.

Where are some bookish places you’d like to visit?

Blogging · Books

The Awesome Blogger Award

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Now that I’m back from Key West I’m finally getting caught up on blog posts and tags/awards. A few weeks ago (Wow, I’m really behind) the always entertaining  J.W. Martin of Storeys of Stories tagged me for an Awesome Blogger Award. In his post he says that he’s not qualified for such an award, but I highly disagree. His posts are always funny and relatable, plus we have similar tastes in books. So, clearly, that makes him more than qualified.

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Awesome Blogger Award Rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Include the reason behind the award.
  • Include the banner in your post.
  • Tag it under #awesomebloggeraward in the Reader.
  • Answer the questions your nominator gave you.
  • Nominate at least 5 awesome bloggers and let your nominees know that they’ve been nominated.

Behind the Awesome Blogger Award

The award was created by Maggie at Dreaming of Guatemala who stated – “This is an award for the absolutely wonderful writers all across the blogging world. They have beautiful blogs, are kind and lovely, and always find a way to add happiness and laughter to the lives of their readers. That is what truly defines an awesome blogger.”

The Questions

If you could choose any job to have in the world (fictional or real) what would it be and why? – Librarian at Hogwarts! Because a.) I love books, b.) I love magic, and c.) Because those magical books ain’t going to shelve themselves! Actually, they probably can…Do they even need librarians at Hogwarts? I feel incredibly obsolete all of a sudden. 😦

Who is your favorite booktuber/blogger? – I have so many favorites that it’s hard to choose! In no particular order, these are a few of my favorite book bloggers:

The Tattooed Book Geek

The Web Weavers 

Another Book in the Wall

Storeys of Stories

Captain’s Quarters

Kristin Kraves Books

Ally Writes Things

Why did you decide to start blogging? – Believe it or not, a talking koala bear (who was really a wizard in disguise) knocked on my door one day and told me that if I didn’t start blogging the entire planet would be blown to smithereens. I’m doing this to save all of you.

We all have literary passports, where is yours stamped the most? – Probably Hogwarts, as the Harry Potter series is probably the one I’ve read the most over the years.

What’s your Harry Potter name? Use this generator to find out! – I got Katie Trelawney. I suppose this makes me related to Professor Trelawney. I actually find this amusing, because if I actually lived in the magical world I don’t think I would believe in prophecies and tea leaves and all that woo-y stuff.

What are some of your guilty pleasures? Whether they are book related or not. – Dessert (especially if it involves chocolate and peanut butter), animals of the cute and fluffy variety, reading about magic and/or magical beings, binge watching Gilmore Girls and Friends on Netflix, and buying more books even though there are a dozens on my shelf I haven’t read yet.

What is something that you love about your blog? – Interacting with other book bloggers. It’s such a great, supportive community! I also enjoy having the excuse to talk about books 24/7.

What is your favorite post that you have personally done? – Probably my BookCon post. (Are you tired of hearing me mention BookCon yet?) I had such an amazing weekend and was SO excited to share that post with you guys. I feel like it’s the “happiest” post I’ve ever done. A close second is my post called What is “Self-Care?”. It lead to some deep reflection on my part and got the ball rolling on one of the books I’ve been working on.

My Nominees:

The awesome folks that I mentioned above. Plus, anyone else who wants to take part. You don’t need to be nominated because you’re all awesome!