Monthly Archives: February 2013

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone follows the story of Karou, a lonely, very unique, blue-haired girl who attends an art college in Prague. Unlike many heroines in high fantasy, she does not have magical powers herself, but must rely on her adoptive “family” of monsters (Brimstone, Issa, and others), for the power of wishing that she has. It is Brimstone, part beast, part man, the Wishmonger, who deals in wishes. Traders bring him teeth from every species on earth, and Brimstone gives them “wishes” accordingly. Karou longs to know how his magic works, what he does with the teeth, the exact location of his shop (which has portals in every corner of the human world), and why he will reveal nothing about her past. But he keeps these secrets from her, forcing her to be his errand girl in the human world. As a result, Karou feels more alone than ever and struggles to find her identity. At the same time, a devastatingly beautiful and dangerously heartbroken seraph is fighting to end the lives of Karou’s family.

Read this book. Seriously. Over the past few months I have really been enjoying realistic contemporary fiction more than fantasy or science fiction, but this book made me fall in love with the genre all over again. Even though it has a somewhat lengthy page count, I read through this novel ridiculously fast, it was just impossible to put down. Despite the kooky “out-there”-ness of this story, it is so focused in the protagonist of Karou that I had no problem suspending my disbelief as a reader. Karou’s loneliness and her quest for identity are truly what grounds this story, which in all other ways soars high above reality.

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February 23, 2013 · 11:18 pm

Legend by Marie Lu

Legend by Marie Lu

Day is the street name of a criminal the futuristic and dystopic government of the Republic desperately wants to catch. Ever since he was ten and “failed” his Trial, Day has been on the run, scouring the streets and garbage bins of Los Angeles to find and do whatever he can to protect his family from afar. However, this goes awry when his little brother Eden is diagnosed with a new strain of the plague. On the other end of the spectrum, spoiled and pampered prodigy June is labeled a troublemaker at her college. She wants to go on missions with her brother and fight for the Republic, even if her brother thinks she is still too young.
Although they are enemies and couldn’t be more different, June and Day will become unlikely allies and discover they have more in common than they ever could have thought.

Legend is fast-paced with an interesting premise (I particularly like that the author drew inspiration for the story from the central conflict in Les Miserables) and a truly dystopian world. However, I felt that something was lost by having the characters switch back and forth in their points of view. I felt that there was so much potential in the story–potential that wasn’t fully explored. I know that this is only to be the first in a series, but this is the primary thing which often bothers me about YA science fiction and fantasy series: I often feel that the story is incomplete. Yes, I realize that there needs to be loose ends for the story to continue. However, to me it is not a strong novel if the story is not complete.
But for a compelling futuristic world and a good balance between fast-paced action and slower, emotional scenes, I will have to say that I would recommend this book to someone who enjoys the dystopian genre (specifically if you enjoyed The Hunger Games series or Across the Universe by Beth Revis).

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February 19, 2013 · 11:52 pm

INCONCEIVABLE!

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Ten things I have found absolutely inconceivable since moving to Austin, Texas. (Not in any particular order).

1. How good a Torchy’s Tacos taco is.

2. Bicyclists in the left lanes of major roads throughout the city: what do you think this is???? A world where we (automobile drivers) actually share the road with cyclists????

3. In order to buy quarters from HEB it costs a minimum of $10 and 20 cents. I’m just a poor graduate student trying not to smell like I’ve fallen into the Bog of Eternal Stench (from the movie Labyrinth), you know?

4. The amount of churches in just a two mile radius in Hyde Park.

5. Kerbey Lane’s seasonal pancake flavors. Word.

6. The Austin Teen Book Festival. You mean….there’s an event in Texas that actually exists where I get to see a plethora of my favorite authors speak and they sign my books? It’s just truly….well the title says it all.

7. The amount of homeless persons congregated in front of the Co-Op on a Monday morning playing on banjos and guitars singing songs about the many wonderful merits of a special lady in their lives, “Mary Jane.”

8. ZILKER PARK!

9. For all the amazing, multicultural restaurants and gourmet dining experiences to be found here in Austin, all anyone can ever seem to talk about are the (let’s face it: semi-disgusting) breakfast tacos–not to be confused with the aforementioned amazing Torchy’s.

10. How much it costs to live here. Seriously, we aren’t in California. This is TEXAS people. It should never cost this much to live in a state that reaches temperatures of 100 on a daily basis in the summer months.

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Texas Gothic~Rosemary Clement-Moore

Texas Gothic

Amy (Amaryllis) Goodnight has always accepted that the world is not always what it seems. She comes from a very “eccentric” family of potion-brewers, crystal-gazers, psychics, and more. Amy has always defended and protected her family by being the “buffer” between her good-magic-practicing family members and the “real” world. However, while ranch sitting for her Aunt Hyacinth in the scorching Texas summer, Amy will have to confront her own fears and doubts about the supernatural and uncover the secrets of a murder most foul in the San Saba Mine hundreds of years ago.

From La Llorona to Sonic cherry limeades, this novel does an excellent job at encapsulating the Texas experience while delivering a fun, spooky, things-go-bump-in-the-night atmosphere that readers who are fans of paranormal adventure and romance will enjoy.

Texas Gothic was a fantastically fun read. I definitely recommend it for late-night summer reading (and if you are able to make some microwave s’mores to go with it–so much the better!). And it goes without saying that I am BEYOND excited that Rosemary Clement-Moore will be attending TLA this year!!!!!!

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February 15, 2013 · 11:02 pm

My Top 5 Movies for St. Valentine’s Day!

My Top 5 Movies for St. Valentine's Day!

These are some of my favorite conventional/unconventional couples of all time! I wholly recommend them for Valentine’s Day viewing, whether you’re a singleton like me or not!

1. 10 Things I Hate About You
” I hate the way you talk to me, and the way you cut your hair. I hate the way you drive my car. I hate it when you stare. I hate your big dumb combat boots, and the way you read my mind. I hate you so much it makes me sick; it even makes me rhyme. I hate it, I hate the way you’re always right. I hate it when you lie. I hate it when you make me laugh, even worse when you make me cry. I hate it when you’re not around, and the fact that you didn’t call. But mostly I hate the way I don’t hate you. Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all.”

2. Lars and the Real Girl
You can’t miss out on a great film like Lars and the Real Girl. Yes, it’s about a slightly delusional adult male and his anatomically correct yet chaste plastic girlfriend, but this quirky romantic comedy has a whole lot of heart and wonderful acting! (And Ryan Gosling!)

3. Bride and Prejudice
This is the Indian Bollywood version of Jane Austen’s classic 19th century novel Pride and Prejudice. ‘Nuff said.

4. Romeo+Juliet
I tried to choose a quote to share from this movie…..but just couldn’t. It’s too marvelous. It’s too classic. Yes I am one of those saps who loves Romeo and Juliet. Yes I am a Baz Lurhmann fan. And yes, I think Clare Danes and Leo do an excellent job. If you don’t agree with me on any of these points, I think you might need to get your head checked.

5. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
Read the book, see the movie. It is a wonderful unconventional first date story that makes me want to see New York City and never chew gum again all at the same time!

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February 14, 2013 · 8:43 pm

Rosemary Clement-Moore: Discovering Magic in the South

Rosemary Clement-Moore: Discovering Magic in the South

Although I am a native Southerner from Texas, I am often reluctant to read any books (fiction or non-fiction), that have to do with the South. From the Civil War to the days of the Cowboys, I usually avoid topics that have to do with Southern history and its inhabitants. However, I have discovered one YA author who has changed my interest in reading about the South–Rosemary Clement-Moore. I have so far read two of her novels, The Splendor Falls as well as Highway to Hell (third book in the Maggie Quinn vs. Evil) that have to do with the South and am halfway through Texas Gothic (and enjoying it very much!). I loved them. I just couldn’t get enough of them. Not only is the setting so richly described (from the geographical details of Alabama to the intense heat of South Texas), but the stories were so well researched and so steeped in history and local legend and lore. From the Chupacabra (a legend I personally grew up with) to the cruel-eyed ghosts of Civil War generals past, there is not one aspect of Clement-Moore’s stories that I didn’t enjoy and that also didn’t teach me something about Southern history. For fun, well-written, and thoroughly researched YA reads about the South as well as some hauntingly spooky fun, I doubly recommend Rosemary Clement-Moore!

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February 12, 2013 · 6:38 pm

First Post

This is my very first post in “professional” blogging. I used to have a LiveJournal account when I was in high school, but that was very different content than what will be found here of course (mostly I posted Harry Potter related banners and memes, and in general a lot of angst-ridden essays on how I thought Harry should never have ended up with Ginny Weasley, but I digress). Now it’s a whole different ball-game. In only one year I will be looking for employment, and therefore I’m seeking to improve any and all skills that will help me in my future career search. So, hear ye, hear ye, future employers, I shall henceforth be blogging on the off chance that it saves me from living in a cardboard box and standing in line for government cheese (government cheese is the worst: all at once it is stringy AND powdery, how does it even achieve such a consistency?). Besides, my comforter doesn’t really match “dull cardboard brown.”

In any case, I hope you, the reader of this humble blog (yes, I am addressing a la Jane Eyre in the vain hopes that I might actually have a reader as Jane Eyre certainly does) will bear with me in my ramblings. I am sure they will be prone to be library-related, as my world as a Library Science student is saturated with such things. Also, there might also be similar angst-ridden posts about books that I am reading. Angst-ridden because most of them are YA novels (I am taking Materials for Young Adults this semester and I also generally tend to read YA Lit for fun all the time), and also because, who am I kidding? I never have gotten over that whole Harry/Ginny debacle. This is a major contributing factor to my continued angst into adulthood. If this first rambling post, upsets, annoys, or bothers you in any way, feel free to send me an angry face emoticon via e-mail or comments (see future employers: I CAN take constructive criticism! I have thick skin! Now off to sob into my SmartOnes 140 calorie guilt-free bowl of ice cream….)

Now, just in case my “About Me” page and profile doesn’t do me justice, here is a little shameless tooting of my own horn:

I am current graduate student at the UT School of Information. I graduated this past May (2012) with a B.A. in English Literature and a minor in Creative Writing. I am hoping to one day be an academic librarian and novelist (I write YA and adult fiction, horrible poetry, and a lot of fantasy). Other goals include to improve my blogging skills, outdoor skills, kitchen skills, and spelling skilllllzzzzzz. I am huge believer in small miracles, the written word, the physical print format, adjectives, the Loch Ness monster, libraries, macaroni and cheese, God, the use of technology for good rather than evil, and thank you cards, not necessarily in that order. My favorite movies of all time are Monty Python and The Holy Grail, School of Rock, Beauty and the Beast, Juno, and many more. Currently I’m watching How I Met Your Mother, but I also am a big fan of many other shows including but not limited to: Doctor Who, Gilmore Girls, Secret Diary of a Call Girl, Girls, House Hunters and House Hunters International, Swamp People, My Life As Liz, Awkward, the Guild, and DOWNTON ABBEY IS A WAY OF LIFE, NOT JUST A TV SHOW!!!!!!!!!!! I breathe 19th Century British Literature, and exhale authors such as the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, William Blake, and many others on a daily basis. It is an occupational hazard to be around me and suddenly find yourself discussing favorite books or stories or characters. I just can’t get enough of stories. I’m hooked. Certifiably addicted.
Don’t mistake me for some crotchety old, bookish, Librarian-lady though. I am vivacious and free-spirited and love to dance!

So, I only have one last question before I close….will it be government cheese for me? Or the organic, highly cultured Monterrey of employment?

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