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Fantasy Tropes Book Tag

Although I mostly read classics now (largely due to all of my course work) the genre that first got me hooked on reading was definitely fantasy. You can imagine how excited I was to see that I was recently tagged to do the Fantasy Tropes Book Tag. Thanks so much to Kelly @ Just Another Book in the Wall for tagging me!!

The Lost Princess: A book/series you lost interest in halfway through

I remember reading I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore several years ago when it was pretty popular, but after reading up to the third book in the series I lost interest in it. I think there are around seven books in total now, but I don’t plan on returning to finish the series at anytime soon.

The Knight in Shining Armor: A hyped book/series you were swept up by

The more I read the Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater, the more I became invested in the characters, plot, and series as a whole. This fantastical world steeped in reality is just too engrossing to let go.

The Wise Old Wizard: An author who amazes you with his/her writing

Is anyone surprised that my answer to this question is William Faulkner?

The Maiden in Distress: An undervalued character you wished had a bigger story line

So many characters in Harry Potter! I would definitely be up for a spin-off series about all of the side characters we don’t learn enough about (especially the Marauders!).

The Magical Sword: A magical item/ability you wish authors used less

Probably mind control, specifically the ability to move things telepathically (kind of like Eleven from Stranger Things). I think it’s overused at this point and not very creative.

The Mindless Villain: A phrase you cannot help but roll your eyes at

“She wasn’t like the other girls. She was different.” Someone please gauge my eyes out so I don’t have to read this anymore (figuratively speaking, of course. I like my eyes).

The Untamed Dragon: A magical creature you wish you had as a pet

I wouldn’t want a house elf as a pet (I definitely stand with Hermione and S.P.E.W.) but I would love to befriend one!

The Chosen One: A book/series you will always root for

Perhaps my favorite series ever: Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. I’ll never get tired of returning to these books time and time again!

Thanks again to Kelly for tagging me!

What are your answers to these prompts? What do you think of mine? Do you have a favorite fantasy book or series? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Fictional Women Leaders

Happy Tuesday!! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is one that I think is incredibly important: leadership in fiction. While being a fun source of entertainment, literature is also immensely valuable in providing role models for readers. In particular, I think it is incredibly important for literature to provide readers with women and girls that they can look up to in a society that is still dominated by masculine leadership. Today I’ll be sharing ten notable women leaders in fiction: 

Who are your favorite fictional women leaders? What do you think of the characters and books I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Autumn Vibes

Happy Tuesday!! It’s autumn (AKA the best season of the year) and the lovely bloggers behind The Broke and the Bookish are celebrating with a fall-themed Top Ten Tuesday topic. Today I’ll be sharing ten books that give off autumn vibes. Some of these are obvious (they have to do with starting a new school year, changing seasons, etc.) but some remind of autumn for rather random reasons (it was autumn when I first read them, the cover is vaguely autumnal, etc.).

What do you think of the books on my list? What books give you autumn vibes? Is autumn your favorite season? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Non-human Characters

Happy Tuesday!! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic highlights characters that share specific qualities. This could be literally anything under the sun: gender, race, location, beliefs, names, magical powers, etc. In no particular order, here are ten great books with non-human characters: 

What are your favorite books with non-human characters? What do you think of the books that I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Bookish

5 Books to Read If You Like TWIN PEAKS

Recently I finished watching Twin Peaks, the American drama TV series that ran from 1990-91. Created by Mark Frost and David Lynch, Twin Peaks follows the mysterious events transpire in this small town after the murder of Laura Palmer, a local high school student. The best way I can describe this show is that it’s charmingly bizarre (meaning that it’s incredibly weird but in a good way). I loved this show (except for the horrible ending, which I just won’t talk about because AGH) and since I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it I thought I would turn my enthusiasm into a bookish post.

If you’re a fan of Twin Peaks, then you’ve come to the right place for some book recommendations! Here are five books I think you’ll enjoy if you like Twin Peaks (and vice versa):

Far Far Away by Tom McNeal

If it’s the unexpectedly bizarre parts of Twin Peaks that you enjoyed most, then Far Far Away is the book for you. What’s more weird than a protagonist named Jeremy Johnson Johnson who can hear more voices than the average person, a talking ghost of Jacob Grimm, and a suspicious baker? It’s safe to say that I’ve never read anything quite like this entertaining, slightly twisted fairy tale retelling.

The Shining by Stephen King

I don’t think it’ll be a surprise to anyone that I’ve decided to include a Stephen King book in this list of recommendations. Not only are his books suspenseful and creepy like Twin Peaks, but they also tend to have a supernatural twist to them. It’s difficult to explain the kind of “otherworldly” elements in both Twin Peaks and The Shining (Is Jack Torrance being possessed by the hotel or is he just going insane?) which makes them a perfect pair.

The Woods by Harlan Coben

This murder mystery shares many parallels with Twin Peaks: the murders of teenagers, a woodsy setting, a protagonist called Cope (similar to Agent Cooper?), and a tangled web of characters that all have secrets of their own to look after. I read this while on a camping trip a few summers ago after my mom read it and absolutely loved it (on second thought, maybe a camping trip wasn’t the best place to read a murder mystery called The Woods…)

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Although this young adult fantasy book might seem out-of-place on this list at a first glance, in actuality it is more similar to Twin Peaks than it seems on the surface. Like Twin Peaks, The Raven Boys takes place in a small town where most people know each other, involves people with “otherworldly” powers, and focuses on the stories of both high schoolers and adults. (Also, Ronan sort of reminds me of the moody James who always rides a motorcycle on Twin Peaks, although I definitely like Ronan more.)

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

When I think about how I often describe Twin Peaks as being “charmingly bizarre,” the first book that comes to mind is Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Everything in this short novel is incredibly unexpected and told in a way that will keep you entranced until the very last page has been turned, similar to the captivating suspense of Twin Peaks.

I hope these recommendations are helpful! Are you a fan of Twin Peaks? What are your thoughts on the books I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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I Dare You | Book Tag

Happy Friday!! I hope you’ve all had a great week and are looking forward to an even better weekend. Today I’m here with an exciting tag I’ve never come across before: the I Dare You Book Tag. Thanks so much to Emily @ Mixed Margins for tagging me!

Which book has been on your shelf the longest?

In general, probably Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. I first read it in second grade and I’ve kept the same beloved, tattered copy ever since– I can’t bear to part with it!

What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?

  • Current: Sartoris by William Faulkner
  • Last: The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather
  • Next: VERY UNDECIDED (help?!?!?!)

What book did everyone like but you hated?

I’m going to use my go-to answer for this one: The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han. I feel like I talk about this a lot, but it was just SO disappointing because everyone else seems to really love it.

What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read but you probably won’t?

Unfortunately, I’ve been telling myself that I’ll read J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion for YEARS but I just haven’t gotten around to it. I tried to start it once when I was younger but immediately set it aside because it was incredibly confusing at the time. I would really love to check it off my TBR list someday, but today is not that day. (See what I did there?!)

What books are you saving for retirement?

To be realistic, probably something huge like War and Peace. 

Last page: Read it first or wait until the end?

Story time: I’m someone who likes to know how many pages are in a book before I start reading it so I can keep track of my progress. Consequently, I always look at the very last page just to see the number. However, when I was reading Looking for Alaska by John Green years ago I accidentally read a HUGE SPOILER when I flipped to the back of the book. (Thanks reading circle questions.) Ever since then I’m always overly cautious when I flip to the back of a book.

In short: DEFINITELY wait until the end.

Acknowledgments: waste of paper and ink, or interesting aside?

I used to always skim the acknowledgments, but now I skip right over them unless I’m particularly interested in what a specific author has to say for some reason. I think they’re important and valuable for the author to include, but from a reader’s perspective I don’t usually give them much thought.

Which book character would you switch places with?

My immediate response is HERMIONE (obviously), but a more creative response would be Blue from The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. Can you imagine how amazing it would be to go on all of those adventures?!

Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life? (Place, time, person)

SO MANY. Some books I associate with specific songs I listened to a lot when reading them. For instance, The Fellowship of the Ring reminds me of the song “Even Flow” by Pearl Jam because I read most of it in the back of my dad’s truck the summer before sixth grade and apparently he played that song quite often.

Name an interesting book that you acquired in an interesting way.

I’m not sure if this necessarily counts as super interesting, but the first book that comes to mind is my copy of A Little History of Literature by John Sutherland that I bought at the Met gift shop last year when I went to New York City with my friends. The weird part is that we didn’t actually end up looking at art at the Met that day; rather, we had some time to kill before our bus picked us up so we decided to peruse the gift shop.

Have you ever given a book away for a special reason to a special person?

I’ve given a lot of people books for gifts over the years, but besides that I don’t think I’ve given books away for any other special reasons.

Which book has been with you most places?

Ooooh, what an interesting question! I take a lot of books camping with me every year when my family goes tenting for a week in the summer, but the books I bring change each year. I would probably say any of the Lord of the Rings books simply because I’ve read them so many times that they’ve probably been toted around to countless different places.

Any required reading in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later?

Absolutely!! To name a few: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.

Used or brand new?

Ideally: new. Realistically: used, because they’re usually a lot cheaper.

Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?

Nope! I’m hoping to read The Da Vinci Code at some point, though.

Have you ever seen a movie you liked more than the book?

YES. I really loved the movie version of The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. The book was great as well, but something about the movie has always stuck with me. (Also, it has a fantastic soundtrack!)

Have you ever read a book that made you hungry (cook books included)?

The first book that comes to mind is Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (especially the Italy section!).

Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?

I always take my friends’ advice about books– luckily they have excellent taste in books!!

Is there a book out of your comfort zone (e.g., outside your usual reading genre) that you ended up loving?

Last semester I took a history class about Modern Spanish America that focused primarily on Argentina and Mexico from 1800 to the present. We read several monographs for that class that I expected to have to trudge through, but I ended up actually really enjoying the majority of them. The two that were the most interesting to me were Becoming Campesinos by Christopher Boyer and Lexicon of Terror by Marguerite Feitlowitz. They weren’t necessarily uplifting or enjoyable reads, but they were incredibly eye-opening, thought-provoking, and valuable ones.

What are your answers to these questions? What are you currently reading? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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Beauty and the Beast Book Tag

Ah, the movie that everyone has been talking about for what feels like ages. I have to admit that I was a bit hesitant to watch the new live-action version of Beauty and the Beast; however, I’m happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised. Of course, there were some parts that I definitely could have done without (how about that little time travel scene through the random magical book?!) but as a whole I thought it was pretty well done. Gaston and Lefou stole the show with their humor and chemistry, and I haven’t been able to stop the Beast’s song “Evermore” from playing over and over again in my mind. But don’t worry: the original animated version will always hold a special place in my heart. ❤

Today I’m here to share the Beauty and the Beast Book Tag! Thanks so much to Silanur @ Aloof Books for tagging me!! Without further ado, let’s get on with the questions. (In case you’re wondering, these awesome Beauty and the Beast graphics are from the original creator of the tag, Du Livre.)

A villain you can’t help but love.

I’m not sure if he is technically considered a villain or more of an anti-hero, but regardless I’m going to say Victor from Vicious by V.E. Schwab. I love Schwab shows us the softer, moral side of him, causing us to even question his villain status in the first place. He and Eli also concoct one of the most interesting evil schemes I’ve ever read about. As someone who regularly carries epi-pens around with them for allergy reasons, the thought of them being used to revive people from near death and give them superhuman powers is super fascinating to me.

Your OTP. 

As per usual, I’m going to answer this question by saying Taylor and Jonah from Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. In the realm of fictional romantic relationships, theirs is one that strikes me as nearing the realm of realistic (obviously not entirely, but sort of close). Their relationship takes time to develop and there are plenty of ups and downs, just like in real life. Each time I reread this book (which, at this point, has been more times than I can reliably keep track of) I can’t help but eagerly root for them again and again even though I know how the story will end.

A character that’s destined for bigger things. 

Though there are a plethora of characters that fit this description, I’ve ultimately decided to go with Blue Sargent from The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater. Not only is Blue intelligent, determined, and hard-working, but she is also incredibly kindhearted and deserves to achieve her dreams in life. Whether those goals include attending college, exploring the world, starting a family, or all three, I hope she gets there. Fingers crossed that fictional life treats her well!

A book that makes you hungry. 

It might seem strange at first, but I’m going to say The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. Even though the majority of this book discusses the many issues plaguing our modern-day food production industry, it nevertheless makes me want to chow down on some local veggies or freshly picked fruit. One thing’s for certain: it definitely doesn’t make me eager to swing into a McDonald’s drive-thru window any time soon!

Opposites attract. 

The first couple that popped into my mind when I read this prompt was Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler from Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, which I think is pretty fitting. Though they are both headstrong and have dynamic, bold personalities, they nevertheless come from very different positions in society. Hardly seem to agree on anything.

What books would you have chosen for this tag? What do you think of the books that I’ve mentioned? Most importantly, what did YOU think of the new Beauty and the Beast movie? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Writers I Would Love to Meet

Happy Tuesday!! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is one that I could talk about forever. After all, who doesn’t want to meet all of their favorite authors? As per usual, I’ve done the difficult job of narrowing it down to just ten writers. In no particular order, they are:

What writers would you love to meet? What authors have you met? What do you think of the authors on my list? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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School Book Tag

Today I’m here with the School Book Tag! (It might be Friday, but you can bet that I’ll be doing homework all weekend.) I’ve always been one of those students who loves school, despite the fact that I often complain about homework and actually didn’t like my high school very much. I loved school because I love learning, even though the system of doing so isn’t always effectively designed or executed.

Anyways, you can imagine how excited I was when I realized this book tag exists. Thanks so much to Jamie @ Book Pandamonium for tagging me!!

1. Math- Which book left your head spinning in circles?

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. Not only is this book complicated and a bit confusing, but the plot itself is cyclical in the way it loops back and around through history and the main character’s past. There are so many alternative story lines that it can be rather difficult to keep a tight hold on the actual truth– if an actual truth even exists in this novel. Nevertheless, I highly recommend it!

2. English- Which book do you think has beautiful written expression?

Because I’m a sucker for beautiful writing, there are countless books that I could highlight here. Recently I read George Watsky’s How to Ruin Everything and was taken aback by the writing style. Sometimes lyrical, sometimes punchy, this collection of essays carries the undeniable mark of an articulate spoken word artist and rapper.

3. Physics- Who is your favorite scientifically minded character?

Definitely mathematician Ian Malcolm from Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. He’s smart, he’s funny, and his refreshing common sense is the only ray of light amidst many of the impulsive, money-hungry characters. (Besides, he’s played by Jeff Goldblum in the film– he gets instant bonus points for that!).

4. Chemistry- Who is your favorite literary couple?

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Taylor and Jonah from Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta are my favorite literary couple ever. I feel like I mention this book in nearly every book tag I post, but I’m not apologizing! (It’s a sign that you should probably read it ASAP!)

5. Biology- Who is your favorite book character?

My favorite book character… ever?!?! I don’t know if I can pick a definitive single favorite character, but the first one that comes to mind is Jane from Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. Her independence, solitude, and determination are qualities that really resonate with me (I’m also quite jealous of her sense of humor and ability to come up with snappy comebacks on the spot).

6. French- What is your favorite foreign book?

Over the summer I read the English translation of One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez and unexpectedly fell in love with the ethereal writing, the sprawling narrative arc, and the endlessly cyclical nature of the plot.

7. Art- Have you ever judged a book by its cover, even if you weren’t meant to?!

Absolutely. For instance, I love the cover design of The Girls by Emma Cline, but the story itself really disappointed me. I think it had a lot of potential to be suspenseful, exciting, and eye-opening, but it simply fell flat and failed to dig below the surface of anything substantial.

8. History- What was the last historical book you read?

When Everything Changed by Gail Collins. This was actually a graduation gift from my high school AP United States History teacher and I finally got around to reading it over winter break. I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for an engaging, comprehensive, and well-written account of the history of modern American women from a refreshing perspective.

9. Geography- Which literary destination would you really like to visit? 

Stepping away from the rather obvious answers (Hogwarts! The Shire!), I’m going to say Cabeswater from The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. This enchanting and mysterious setting has never failed to set my imagination into overdrive.

10. Drama- What’s a book that you think has a lot of over-dramatic hype?

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Though I did enjoy this book, I don’t quite feel as though it warranted the explosion of praise that surrounded it at the peak of its popularity. It’s suspenseful and has some surprising twists, but I don’t think it’s anything extraordinary. #sorrynotsorry

Thanks again to Jamie for tagging me!

What do you think of the books that I’ve mentioned? What are your answers to these questions? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Tags

The Captain America Book Tag

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A while ago I saw the Captain America Book Tag on Bookmark Lit and even though I wasn’t specifically tagged I knew I would have to do it eventually. Captain America is by far my favorite Marvel Avenger and the fact that this tag blends this amazing hero with books makes me want to give Morgan @ Gone with the Words, the creator of this book tag, a standing ovation.

Without further ado, let’s start the tag!

Great ExpectationsSteve Rogers/Captain America: a book with a big character transformation

Pip from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens is just one of the many characters in this classic novel that undergoes a massive amount of character development over the course of the story. They don’t call it a bildungsroman for nothing!

18405Peggy Carter: a book with a strong female protagonist

If it’s a strong, independent, determined, headstrong female protagonist you want, then look no further than Scarlett O’Hara from Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Though she can be stubborn, rash, and melodramatic, there’s no doubting her incredible strength in the face of poverty, death, and heartbreak.

The Raven King by Maggie StiefvaterBucky Barnes: a book with your ultimate BROTP

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater is oozing with BROTPs galore. You can always count on Maggie Stiefvater to write adorable, relatable, and enviable friendships in general. (Honestly, just one of countless reasons to read this fantastic series!)

looking for alaskaHowling Commandos: a book with squad goals

Miles’ eclectic group of friends has always been one of the many reasons why I love Looking for Alaska by John Green. They have so much fun with their wacky adventures and it’s clear that they really care for and support one another, as all good friends should.

pride and prejudice cover 2Red Skull: a book with a cliché plot

I’m not going to lie: at this point, so many people have copied her that the plot of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice seems pretty cliché nowadays. Of course, we can’t really blame her for this– it has been centuries since it was written, after all!

23732096-2Natasha Romanoff: a book with a snarky side character

Nancy from The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Ryan North & Erica Henderson is the ultimate snark side character. She’s smart, has a hilarious dry sense of humor, and is always ready with a quick quip or two to liven things up.

When We CollidedSam Wilson: a book with a friendship meet cute.

When We Collided by Emery Lord is filled with adorable moments, but one of the cutest is when John and Vivi first meet at the pottery shop. Their cuteness is even multiplied by the inclusion of Jonah’s little sister in the scene. It doesn’t get more adorable than that!

more than this coverWinter Soldier: a book with a great twist (plot twist or retelling)

How could I not highlight the amazing plot twist of More Than This by Patrick Ness? I still remember the shock I felt when I first read it, even though it was a few years ago now. I never saw it coming!

gone coverI’m Just A Kid from Brooklyn: a book with a memorable setting/character backstory

Nearly all of the characters in the Gone series by Michael Grant have interesting, surprising, and complex backstories. Considering how many characters are introduced throughout these six books, that’s quite a feat!

matched coverDo You Two…. Fondue?: a book with a love triangle

SO. MANY. LOVE. TRIANGLES. There are a million books to choose from, but I’ll go with Matched by Ally Condie. I’m just going to be honest with you all: this love triangle was really annoying and simply bothersome. Like with most love triangles, there’s just so much drama involved!

life after life coverYou’ve Been Asleep, Cap: a book you love with a dual timeline/time travel

I’m not really sure what to call the twisting and turning timeline of Life After Life by Kate Atkinson…. Time travel? Multiple perspectives? Rewriting history? Whatever you’d like to call it, I’ve never read a novel that plays with time quite like this one does.

jellicoe road coverTil The End Of The Line: a book with the OTP to end all OTPs

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Taylor and Jonah from Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta are my favorite OTP, if I had to choose just one. If you haven’t read this book already, what are you waiting for?! ❤

IlluminaeI Had A Date: a book with a cliffhanger

I remember finishing Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff and immediately wanting to read a sequel. The ending was way more intense and fast-paced than expected, especially considering the experimental format of the book itself. If you want a book that will leave you hanging, I definitely recommend this one!

fangirl coverI Understood That Reference: a book with a pop culture reference

The first book that popped into my mind when I read this prompt was predictably Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Though the pop culture reference in this book is fictional, Simon Snow resembles a popular magical series about wizards closely enough that I feel like it mirrors an actual reference.

What are your answers to these prompts? What do you think about the books I’ve mentioned? Who is your favorite superhero? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY