Friday, July 31, 2015

Paper to Popcorn #2: Of Metal and Wishes vs. The Phantom of the Opera


Welcome to Paper to Popcorn! Paper to Popcorn is not be your typical book vs. movie comparison. The focus is on retellings, although there will be some features of movie vs. the source material. Each chosen book/movie combo will battle it out in a showdown to prove which one is the best on its own merits. Posts will feature reviews of both the film and book, rating scales, a brief outline of differences between the two, and characters, and ultimately a victor will be chosen.

This week I'm featuring two Phantom of the Opera adaptations - Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine, and Phantom of the Opera, the 2004 film.





The Book

Title: Of Metal and Wishes (Of Metal and Wishes #1)
Author: Sarah Fine
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Pages: 320
Add to Goodreads
Review for book 2

There are whispers of a ghost in the slaughterhouse where sixteen-year-old Wen assists her father in his medical clinic—a ghost who grants wishes to those who need them most. When one of the Noor, men hired as cheap factory labor, humiliates Wen, she makes an impulsive wish of her own, and the Ghost grants it. Brutally.

Guilt-ridden, Wen befriends the Noor, including their outspoken leader, a young man named Melik. At the same time, she is lured by the mystery of the Ghost and learns he has been watching her... for a very long time.

As deadly accidents fuel tensions within the factory, Wen must confront her growing feelings for Melik, who is enraged at the sadistic factory bosses and the prejudice faced by his people at the hand of Wen’s, and her need to appease the Ghost, who is determined to protect her against any threat—real or imagined. She must decide whom she can trust, because as her heart is torn, the factory is exploding around her... and she might go down with it.

It was pure luck that brought Of Metal and Wishes across my path. I saw the second book in the series in a Waiting on Wednesday post recently, saw "Phantom of the Opera retelling," quickly found out it was a series, and searched my local library! I was so excited when I got my hands on this that I started it immediately and I was not at all disappointed.

I have never been a fan of the steampunk genre (is it a genre?) and didn't actually realize this book fit that bill until it was too late to back out. There are metal spiders, metal appendages, metal rooms, metal war machines... there's metal in the title! But it really did work in this book. The setting is so realistically portrayed that it all fit together and I could see it like I was there. The mood was dreary and I felt like everything was shrouded in dust (or metal shavings) and it was amazing.

The characters were one area I wasn't totally sure about at first. The society this book is set in is one in which women are extremely suppressed, have no rights, and are viewed as property. While this was really, REALLY hard for me to stomach, I did come to terms that this was just the way the world was and did not reflect the heroine, Wen (Christine), who is remarkably strong against such terrible odds. Although she is deeply respectful of her father, she also finds ways to be strong in her own way.

And of course a Phantom of the Opera retelling would not be complete without a love triangle! In fact, I think Phantom of the Opera was THE original love triangle (okay, maybe not, but I'm saying that) and that is why it works here. I will admit I felt incredibly confusing emotions over this. I have always been a Phantom fan but this book had me feeling things for Melik (Raoul) that I had to come to terms with. This book has made me a Raoul, er... Melik fan. I think this is because this is the first time I've ever seen the Raoul character written as multi-dimensional. The Ghost (Phantom) of this story is so easy to sympathize with, but I also understand the fear and uncertainty that Wen was feeling throughout the book. This whole situation is just a very uncomfortable one.

My one, very minor complaint is that the writing seemed a little strange. It almost seemed like it was written in a different language and then translated to English. Then again, maybe this was done purposely to add to the overall feel of the story.

This is a fantastic retelling that totally blew me away! It made me want to watch the movie so bad (incidentally, I did) and I was picturing scenes in the film as I read along with this new retelling of the story. It wraps up nicely at the end very similarly to how the movie (and original book) left off so it could really be read as a standalone in my opinion, although I'm very excited about book two! I highly recommend this to retelling and Phantom fans!


Characters Terrible Just okay Pretty good Really good Amazing!
Setting Terrible Just okay Pretty good Really good Amazing!
Writing Terrible Just okay Pretty good Really good Amazing!
Storyline Terrible Just okay Pretty good Really good Amazing!
Cover Terrible Just okay Pretty good Really good Amazing!
Overall Rating 1/5 2/5 3/5 4/5 5/5



The Movie

Title: The Phantom of the Opera
Director: Joel Schumacher
Actors: Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum, Patrick Wilson
Release Date: December 22, 2004
Runtime: 143 minutes
View on IMDB

Based on the hit musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, the tale tells the story of a disfigured musical genius that haunts the catacombs beneath the Paris Opera, waging a reign of terror over its occupants. When he falls fatally in love with the lovely Christine, the Phantom devotes himself to creating a new star for the Opera--exerting a strange sense of control over the young soprano as he nurtures her extraordinary talents.

I first saw The Phantom of the Opera in early 2015 when it came to theaters. Back in the day Gerard Butler was at the very top of my man crush list with only Johnny Depp as a rival. I always thought the Phantom should have won out in the end and I'm a little hesitant to say my opinion hasn't changed much. It seems that a lot of people grow to love Raoul as they get older, but I'm team Phantom until the end!

Let me start by saying this movie is visually stunning! I'm no expert when it comes to cinematography, but from my amateur point of view, this is one of the most beautifully filmed movies I've ever seen. Every time I see it, every single set and film angle takes my breath away. Likewise, the music is brilliant and I suppose we have Andrew Lloyd Webber to thank for that. The songs are amazing and give me chills every time. What woman could resist "Music of the Night" really?

One area I've always had a problem with is the casting. Watching this again ten years after I was obsessed with it I think I've gotten some fresh perspective on it. I don't like Patrick Wilson in general. There are many reasons for this, but... I just am not a Patrick Wilson fan. That being said, I think he plays the role of Raoul very well and he sings the part amazingly. Emmy Rossum, though... I think she LOOKS the part of Christine, but... No. Her singing is pretty good (for most of the movie, anyway), but her face drives me crazy! She just sits there with her mouth hanging open for 75% of the movie. And I'll never understand why these two are the only ones with American accents... All of the minor characters are spectacular! Especially Carlotta, who I just love to hate!

Then there's Erik/The Phantom. I feel like I need to bow down to the casting directors and thank them profusely. These people knew what they were doing with this character! The Phantom is undeniably gorgeous, dark, and seductive. He made me feel for him in so many ways, not the least of which was wanting him to win in the end! And I don't care what anyone says, Christine is totally into him when they're singing "Past the Point of No Return." I know a lot of people hate on Gerard Butler's vocals, but I feel like he is the strongest singer and the only one whose emotions I could FEEL! Chills. Every single time.

My one final complaint is the big reveal of the Phantom. Even as a teenager I thought it was ridiculous that he was so perfect with the mask on and then as soon as he takes it off his hair is a different color, completely ruined, and the whole half of his face is messed up. Um... what? To be honest, re-watching it just now on my 60" screen I could totally see the elastic on the wig that Christine pulls off with the mask. Well, that illusion has just been ruined. Oh well.

Other than Emmy Rossum and , this movie is almost perfect! This is one of the few films I can watch over and over! Even though the ending rips my heart out every single time.


Cast Terrible Just okay Pretty good Really good Amazing!
Cinematography Terrible Just okay Pretty good Really good Amazing!
Screenplay Terrible Just okay Pretty good Really good Amazing!
Performances Terrible Just okay Pretty good Really good Amazing!
Music Terrible Just okay Pretty good Really good Amazing!
Overall Rating 1/5 2/5 3/5 4/5 5/5



Noteable Differences

  • In Phantom of the Opera Christine is an orphan and she originally thinks the Phantom (Erik) is her father's ghost, but in Of Metal and Wishes Wen's father is a doctor.   
  • Erik teaches Christine to sing, which is how their relationship begins, but in Of Metal and Wishes, the Ghost does not teach Wen anything. Instead, he's just kind of a creepy stalker. 
  • Raoul is a very boring, one-dimensional White Knight character in Phantom of the Opera, but Melik is written to be the obvious love interest in Of Metal and Wishes.
  • In The Phantom of the Opera Christine pulls off Erik's mask without his permission, but in Of Metal and Wishes, she has his permission. 
  • Erik and Raoul fight in The Phantom of the Opera with Raoul almost winning, but no fight occurs in Of Metal and Wishes. 
  • Christine helps to set up Erik in The Phantom of the Opera, but there is not a betrayal in Of Metal and Wishes. 
  • There's no huge final choice in Of Metal and Wishes and no threat to make Wen choose. 


The Bottom Line


Not too surprisingly, this one is a tie! Both of these are beautiful (though very different) adaptations of an amazing piece of source material! One made me want Christine (Wen) to end up with Raoul (Melik), while the other always, ALWAYS keeps me on team tall, dark, and handsome (Erik)! Both are completely amazing and both should be experienced by everyone! But... if you're not going to read the book, PLEASE at least spend two hours of your life seeing the movie!

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Audiobook Review: The Mirk and Midnight Hour by Jane Nickerson


Title: The Mirk and Midnight Hour
Author: Jane Nickerson
Narrator: Dorothy Dillingham Blue
Publication Date: March 11, 2014
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers 
Add to Goodreads

A Southern girl. A wounded soldier. A chilling force deep in the forest. All collide at night’s darkest hour.

Seventeen-year-old Violet Dancey has been left at home in Mississippi with a laudanum-addicted stepmother and love-crazed stepsister while her father fights in the war—a war that has already claimed her twin brother.

When she comes across a severely injured Union soldier lying in an abandoned lodge deep in the woods, things begin to change. Thomas is the enemy—one of the men who might have killed her own brother—and yet she's drawn to him. But Violet isn't Thomas's only visitor; someone has been tending to his wounds—keeping him alive—and it becomes chillingly clear that this care hasn't been out of compassion.

Against the dangers of war and ominous powers of voodoo, Violet must fight to protect her home and the people she loves.

From the author of Strands of Bronze and Gold comes a haunting love story and suspenseful thriller based on the ancient fairy tale of “Tam Lin.”

I don't remember exactly when I first took notice of The Mirk and Midnight Hour. But you know how you see a car you really like and then you see it everywhere? That's what happened with this book. I wasn't sold on the description because I'm not big on historical fiction... It's also a retelling, which is one of my favorite things ever, but I'd never heard of the fairy tale it's based on. But once I saw the cover I kept seeing it EVERYWHERE! Finally, I just gave in and decided to give it a listen.

This is the story of Violet Dancey and her Union soldier, Thomas... and it's a slow one. In fact, the soldier doesn't even come into the picture until halfway through the (really long) book! Despite that, these two characters were very enjoyable, as was the romance.

Violet has grown up in the South and has lost her brother to the war already when her father also goes off to fight. She is left with her new stepmother and stepsister, Sunny, along with her cousins unexpected houseguests. Violet is a strong protagonist who stands up for what she believes in and, even more importantly, is not afraid to change her opinions with new information. Thomas is an injured soldier when Violet first meets him and is completely at her mercy. Over a long enough period of time that it doesn't seem unbelievable, they get to know each other and eventually fall in love.

Then there are other characters... Sunny is a dimwitted moron who lets people walk all over her while simultaneously being a bully. She is such a doormat that she commits a huge offense against her loved ones that really made me want to slap her in her dumb, blonde face. Dorian is the smooth-talking cousin who you kind of know is no good from the very moment he's introduced. His character is convincingly despicable and he works well within the story as a big bad. The relationship between Sunny and Dorian is infuriating, but it's realistic enough.

I felt like the world building in this novel was sufficient, but it definitely could have been better. There was a lot of potential for amazing descriptions with all the different settings within the book. While I was able to picture some of them based on the description provided, there were other things (like the main house) that I never got a clear image of.

The story itself was interesting, but it didn't WOW me at all. Like I've already said, it was very slow. Most audiobooks are very quick to listen to, but this one seemed to drag. Honestly, though, I'd say it read about the same as some other historical romance novels I've tried. The voodoo, which I'm guessing somehow tied into the fairy tale this retelling, seemed very strange and never quite explained all the way. I'd actually say that this might have been an even better story without that added element. It honestly just seemed a little strange within what was basically a civil war historical forbidden romance story.

I do think that this was still a pretty enjoyable read. Despite being very slow to start, I did like the story. I just think that it could have been better as an original historical romance. This obviously isn't my genre and I was probably just the wrong person to read this in the first place. I'd definitely recommend it to fans of historical romance and (probably) fans of the fairy tale of Tam Lin.



°o°  Notes on the Audiobook  °o°
Dorothy Dillingham Blue was a very enjoyable narrator! She did a great job with the southern accents, although it was obvious at times that she was not from Mississippi herself. It's hard to get that accent right without sounding ridiculous, so two thumbs up! I'd definitely listen to another book with her as the reader!

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #60: Monster by C.J. Skuse


Happy Wednesday, fellow book lovers! This week's "can't wait to read" is:


Monster
by C.J. Skuse
Publication Date: September 24, 2015
At sixteen Nash thought that the fight to become Head Girl of prestigious boarding school Bathory would be the biggest battle she’d face. Until her brother’s disappearance leads to Nash being trapped at the school over Christmas with Bathory’s assorted misfits. As a blizzard rages outside, strange things are afoot in the school’s hallways, and legends of the mysterious Beast of Bathory – a big cat rumoured to room the moors outside the school – run wild. Yet when the girls’ Matron goes missing it’s clear that something altogether darker is to blame – and that they’ll have to stick together if they hope to survive.

‘It’s so good, I’d recommend it to people I don’t like’ – Kevin Brooks on Pretty Bad Things

This one seemed to have come totally out of nowhere but MAN it sounds good!! And did you see that cover?!


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine.
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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Giveaway: Trollhunters by Guillermo del Toro & Daniel Kraus


All samples & prizing are provided by Disney-Hyperion!

This is a book I have been super excited about since I featured it in a Waiting on Wednesday post back in January (before the cover was even confirmed)! I am so thrilled to be featuring this book and it's creative team today along with hosting an AMAZING giveaway with all kinds of awesome bookish swag! The illustrations are stunning and, considering the authors who have created this unique story, I have no doubt that the book is going to be incredible!

From the minds of horror geniuses Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus comes a new illustrated novel about the fears that move in unseen places.


Title: Trollhunters
Authors: Guillermo del Toro & Daniel Kraus
Illustrator: Sean Murray
Publication Date: July 7, 2015
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Pages: 320
Add to Goodreads

"You are food. Those muscles you flex to walk, lift, and talk? They're patties of meat topped with chewy tendon. That skin you've paid so much attention to in mirrors? It's delicious to the right tongues, a casserole of succulent tissue. And those bones that give you the strength to make your way in the world? They rattle between teeth as the marrow is sucked down slobbering throats. These facts are unpleasant but useful. There are things out there, you see, that don't cower in holes to be captured by us and cooked over our fires. These things have their own ways of trapping their kills, their own fires, their own appetites."

Jim Sturges is your typical teen in suburban San Bernardino—one with an embarrassingly overprotective dad, a best friend named "Tubby" who shares his hatred of all things torturous (like gym class), and a crush on a girl who doesn't know he exists. But everything changes for Jim when a 45-year old mystery resurfaces, threatening the lives of everyone in his seemingly sleepy town. Soon Jim has to team up with a band of unlikely (and some un-human) heroes to battle the monsters he never knew existed.

From the minds of horror geniuses Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus comes a new illustrated novel about the fears that move in unseen places.

- Praise for Trollhunters -

"Guillermo del Toro’s name on the cover of a children’s book -  be sure the adventure is not for the timid hearted! He knows the young want stories that do not lie about the shadows under beds and bridges - and in human hearts. Trollhunters teaches us about both kinds. About true friendship, grim and slimy heroes, the strength of outsiders- and the courage it takes to face everyday life."
- Cornelia Funke, Bestselling author of the Inkheart trilogy

"Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus have deftly forged a thrilling, nightmare-inducing monstrous world filled with terrifying trolls, lost boys and mysterious artifacts. The gruesome text, paired with ghoulish illustrations, makes for a fantastic adventure in an underground kingdom that's just a dangerous as the trials and tribulations of middle school. I'm never looking under my bed again."
- Tony DiTerlizzi, Bestselling author and co-creator of The Spiderwick Chronicles


Purchase Links:


- The Creative Team -


About the Authors

Guillermo del Toro is best known for his critically acclaimed feature films, such as Pan's Labyrinth, Helllboy, The Hobbit, and Pacific Rim, as well as his best-selling Strain Trilogy.
Daniel Kraus is the award-winning author of Scowler and Rotters, and is the director of six feature films. He lives with his wife in Chicago.

From Pan's Labyrinth to Hellboy to his best-selling novel The Strain, del Toro has captured the imagination through his works. His co-author Daniel Kraus is another award-winning author and filmmaker with a penchant for horror stories. Kraus' debut novel, The Monster Variations, was selected for New York Public Library's "100 Best Stuff for Teens." Fangoria called Rotters, his Bram Stoker-finalist and Odyssey Award-winning second novel, "a new horror classic." Kraus' 2013 title, Scowler, also won an Odyssey Award for best audiobook produced for children and/or young adults.



About the Illustrator

Sean Murray is an illustrator, concept artist, author and teacher known for his work on video games such as Dungeons & Dragons Online and The Lord of the Rings Online, as well as the creator of The World of Gateway, which includes his fantasy guidebook Gateway: The Book of Wizards and the upcoming card game Gateway Uprising. 

Here's a sneak peak of the illustrations you'll find in the book (click for full size):


Learn more at Un-RequiredReading.com

- Giveaway -




Prize package includes:   
Branded Trollhunters zip-up hoodie and pins; Candy bones and a copy of Trollhunters.


Terms & Conditions:
Giveaway ends August 8th at 11:59 PM EST. Open to Legal Residents of the US only (under 18 must have parent's permission). Winner will be selected by rafflecopter.com and be notified by email. Winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. Cornerfolds is not responsible for prizes. Prizing is provided by Disney-Hyperion. Void where prohibited by law.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Top Ten Tuesday #54: Books about bookworms


Today's Topic: 
Ten Characters Who 
Are Fellow Book Nerds


This week I went with a mix of books from middle grade to adult... because holy crap this was a hard topic. I've been sitting here trying to figure out why this was such a difficult topic to pick books for and honestly I'm not quite sure. Maybe it's because my favorite genres are dystopia and horror so not a lot of reading is being done within the books? In any case, I tried to go with characters who were very blatant about their love of bookish things and in that, at least, I think I was successful!


        

Tory, Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Belle, The Beast Within by Serena Valentino
Tessa, Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Hermione, Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
Cordelia, House of Secrets by Chris Columbus


        

Bastian, The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
Minnow, The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes
Jack, The Shining by Stephen King
Alice, Still Alice by Lisa Genova
Celaena, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.
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Monday, July 27, 2015

Book Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas


Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publication Date: August 7, 2012
Publisher: Bloomsbury

Pages: 404
Add to Goodreads

"Nothing is a coincidence. Everything has a purpose. You were meant to come to this castle, just as you were meant to be an assassin."

When magic has gone from the world, and a vicious king rules from his throne of glass, an assassin comes to the castle. She does not come to kill, but to win her freedom. If she can defeat twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition to find the greatest assassin in the land, she will become the King's Champion and be released from prison.
Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her.

And a princess from a foreign land will become the one thing Celaena never thought she'd have again: a friend.

But something evil dwells in the castle—and it's there to kill. When her competitors start dying, horribly, one by one, Celaena's fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival—and a desperate quest to root out the source of the evil before it destroys her world.

When I finished reading A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas earlier this year, I was told by about ten million people that I NEEDED to read Throne of Glass. Of course, I've seen this series on tons of Top Ten lists and I've seen the beautiful cover at Barnes and Noble. I just didn't think I'd like it because I didn't know that I liked high fantasy. But lately I've discovered that I do like it after all! And I finally bought my own copy of this beautiful book.

It took much longer than I thought it would to get through Throne of Glass. To be honest, I read the first half and then put it back on the shelf, read a few more books, and then went back to it. The first half just really seemed to drag... Don't hate me! I realize that this is the set up for a series and that a lot of background had to be established, so I can definitely forgive the slight lag, especially since the second half was totally kick-ass!

Celaena is an amazing heroine who I totally fell in love with from page one. I love that she's a hard assassin who was able to survive death camps and compete with the biggest, baddest men the court could provide, but she's also a woman. She likes clothes and jewelry and dancing, while still being bigger and badder than all the other dudes. She gets an A+ in my book!

One thing I was really worried about with this book was the love triangle that I knew was coming. I have to say though, this was one place where it really worked. I could believe Celaena's relationships with both Chaol and Dorian because each was so very different. I thought both relationships were sincere and adorable! The one thing that did really bug me though... the angst. More and more I feel like I might be growing out of this tortured lover plot device. I did like their relationships! I just can't stand the whole "I love you but we can't be together for reasons x, y, and z" thing (reasons that are usually dumb).

The world that Sarah J. Maas created in Throne of Glass was pretty great too! I especially enjoyed getting to "explore" the secret tunnels and the glass castle! That being said, I do think that world building is something that Maas really did refine between the release of Throne of Glass and ACOTAR. The world of ACOTAR was amazing and I could picture it like I was there! I didn't get that kind of clarity with this book, although it was still good.

Finally, I recall seeing that Throne of Glass was a retelling of Cinderella, or at least it began that way. I didn't get Cinderella from this at all. If anything, the fact that she went to a ball was about the only parallel I was able to find. Maybe someone who knows more about this series can tell me if this is further developed later or if the retelling aspect was totally scrapped. Either way, the story is still really spectacular! I loved the magical elements in the story and cannot WAIT to see what all of this was building up to, because I feel like it's going to be something awesome.

All in all, I am glad that people would not leave me alone about this book! The beginning of it almost did me in, but in the end it was all worth it. I do feel like this book was a huge buildup to something even better, so I'm really excited to see what book two is all about!

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Weekly Recap: 7/19 - 7/25




My Super Exciting Life 

This has been the week of back-to-high-school obsession. In high school I had a couple major obsessions: The Lord of the Rings and (starting in 2004) The Phantom of the Opera. I have been totally re-hooked by The Phantom of the Opera. This began when I read Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine at the beginning of the week and fell totally in love.

Of course, I took the obvious next step of pulling out my Phantom of the Opera (2004) DVD and watching it immediately. Followed by ordering the blu-ray. Followed by renting the sequel, Love Never Dies, from Amazon Prime and watching that. Followed (obviously) by buying Love Never Dies on blu-ray. Then I re-watched them more than once. Suffice it to say, I have a problem. Which I will share with you.

Whether you're a fan of the sequel or not (or even know about it) you NEED to see this video!


You're welcome.

That has honestly been the only source of excitement in my life this week. I suspect next week may possibly look similar... Although, there is an exciting giveaway coming up next Tuesday sponsored by Disney-Hyperion, so make sure to check that out!!



New Books

Purchased:

      
    


From the author/publisher:



From the library:
(does anyone else check out more books than they'll actually read?)

      



In Case You Missed It

Monday book review of After the End
The topic was diverse books for Top Ten Tuesday
I featured Of Dreams and Rust for Waiting on Wednesday
Thursday book review of The Crossing
Friday I discussed the book buying conundrum
Saturday I posted a free book alert for Bound by Duty
I also brought back Spine-tingling Saturdays this week!



This Week I Read

    



Upcoming Reviews

  



I'm linking up to Stacking the Shelves and Sunday Post

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Spine-tingling Saturday: The darker side of Disney


This week's story: 


Author: _Illuminati_
Posted on: March 26, 2015


I first read this story back when it was originally posted on Reddit and have re-read it a couple times since then. As you probably know, I am a huge Disney nerd (HUGE)! At the same time, I love the "dark side" of Disney. The book by that title really sucked, but (for some reason) people love writing scary stories about all things Disney.

This story by Reddit user _Illuminati_ takes one of my favorite rides, Living with the Land, and makes it incredibly creepy! The writing isn't perfect, but the author does a great job of creating a deliciously spooky environment out of a beloved family ride. You don't have to have any prior knowledge of Disney World to be completely freaked out by this one!


Excerpt
I slowly started to walk up to the faux house; climbing the steps up to the porch I noticed a small emblem on the left window. It's a small square and compass symbol, interesting that a Masonic symbol is hidden here. I figured whoever build the ride was a Freemason and brushed it off. I looked in the windows of the house and it was nothing but curtains with black plywood behind them. I thought that there was nothing to see here, but still something inside me decided that wasn't good enough. The front door glided open to a bright room with a black and white checkerboard floor. There was a marble alter like table on the opposite end of the room with some kind of Weird throne like chair built into the front of it and a gold cup on the table top. The only other thing that was noticeable was a heavy wooden door on the other end of the room that was locked; there were no windows or anything else.
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Free Book Alert! Bound by Duty by Stormy Smith


Every now and again we get wind of an author doing something awesome, and we just found out that Stormy Smith is celebrating Bound by Duty’s first birthday by making it FREE, which has never happened before!

Bound by Duty only recently became available on all platforms, and that means that you should be able to snatch this awesome deal up wherever you like to read.

The sale only runs July 22 – 29, so don’t miss out on your chance to dig into this great (clean) new adult fantasy!



Nook Amazon | Kobo | iTunes




Title: Bound by Duty
Author: Stormy Smith
Publication Date: July 24, 2014
Publisher: Perfect Storm Publishing
Add to Goodreads

Amelia grew up in a world of half-truths. She knows she's an Elder but has no idea what that means. Her father reminds her daily that she must maintain control but he refuses to explain why. Even worse, she's betrothed to the prince of the Immortals and she doesn't even know his name.

Finally breaking free to live a few normal years at a community college, the last thing Amelia expects is to find her best friend in a cheeky Southern girl and to fall for a self-assured human who sees her for who she is and not what she'll be.

As she learns more about herself, Amelia realizes the line between love and duty is a thin one. As her power continues to increase exponentially and her questions are slowly answered, Amelia must make the ultimate choice. The question is, will her head or her heart win the battle?


About the Author
Stormy Smith calls Iowa's capital home now, but was raised in a tiny town in the Southeast corner of the state. She grew to love books honestly, having a mom that read voraciously and instilled that same love in her. She knew quickly stories of fantasy were her favorite, and even as an adult gravitates toward paranormal stories in any form.

Writing a book had never been an aspiration, but suddenly the story was there and couldn't be stopped. When she isn't working on, or thinking about, her books, Stormy's favorite places include bar patios, live music shows, her yoga mat or anywhere she can relax with her husband or girlfriends.
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Friday, July 24, 2015

The book buying conundrum


Hi, my name is Tracy and I'm a book addict.

Assuming most book bloggers have similar addictions, we all need to discuss something. The problem of lack of space.

In the last year I've gone from having about one and a half full bookshelves (the other half being full of movies) to having three completely full bookshelves and another that's half full. My husband is terrified of what will happen when we move to Florida next year and I have to willfully keep myself away from bookstores (it doesn't work).

It's a problem! There I am, walking through my local used bookstore, when I come across the second half of a complete series of books that I've never read. That's right - the second half, books 5-10. And I've never read the first five. But how can I pass up such a good deal! It will cost me ONE DOLLAR to buy all of these and they're in pristine condition! So I walk around the store for another 20 minutes talking myself out of it and finally convince myself to put them down. Because, let's be real, I probably won't ever read the first five books and the second five will just sit on a shelf looking pretty.

Which brings me to my real question(s): How do you decide which books to buy and how do you decide which books to keep?

Over the last year I've obviously gone on kind of a book buying binge. Lately I've been trying to cool my heels a bit though and think through purchases solely based on lack of space! Yes, I WANT to buy every book that looks amazing, but if it's available at the library, why would I buy it? So now I'm stuck at how to decide which books to buy. Should I only buy books with a lot of hype around them? Should I only buy books that are under a dollar? Or how about only buying books that I've already read and loved? But that seems silly, doesn't it?

Then there's the other side of the coin, which is deciding what books to keep and which to get rid of through giveaways or donations or selling. Should I get rid of the books I doubt I'll ever read? Or do I keep them just in case one day I regret having donated them? Do I keep all of the books I've read and loved, or only keep the ones I'll probably read again?

As you can probably tell, I'm at a total loss on this. I can hardly wait for the day that I have a huge library with enough shelves to hold ever book I ever decide to buy! But for the moment, I'm curious to see how others approach this issue!

Do you buy selectively, keep selectively, or are there piles of books on your shelves, floors, and tables?

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