Friday, November 30, 2018

When books share the same name


Yesterday I was introduced to the latest Book Twitter controversy. Tomi Adeyemi, the author of Children and Blood and Bone, accused Nora Roberts of copying her book title and trying to profit off of her (Tomi's) success. (Nora Roberts' response, if you're interested.) Some people called into question which book had been titled first and pointed out that titles can't be copyrighted.

Other people posted images showing tons of books with similar titles that had been published in previous years. I learned that Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer was published alongside another book titled Eclipse on the exact same day. This got me thinking about how many other books share titles and how much it really matters. Today I wanted to share a few examples of books with similar or identical titles.


ECLIPSE


Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer | Eclipse by Richard North Patterson |
Eclipse by Erin Hunter | Eclipse by Cate Tiernan


BLOOD AND BONE


Blood & Bone by C.C. Wood | Blood and Bone by Tara Brown |
Blood and Bone by Ian C. Esslemont | Blood and Bone by William Lashner


HEARTLESS


Heartless by Marissa Meyer | Heartless by Gail Carriger |
Heartless by Sara Shepard | Heartless by Winter Renshaw


SCARLET


Scarlet by Marissa Meyer | Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen |
Scarlet by Stephen R. Lawheard | Scarlet by Brian Michael Bendis


ALL FALL DOWN


All Fall Down by Ally Carter | We All Fall Down by Eric Walters |
All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner | They All Fall Down by Roxanne St. Claire



Personally, I've only encountered this a couple times in the wild and I do tend to have a bias towards the one I read or heard about first, but I'm curious to hear other opinions.

What other books have you seen with the same titles?
Do you think titles should be "copied" by other authors?
Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Do you age up YA characters?


It's no secret that a LOT of adults read young adult fiction. I actually didn't start reading YA until I was 25. In fact, I didn't even know it was a thing when I was a teenager! I've always known, of course, that the characters in YA books are teenagers, usually around age 16. Somehow in my brain though, they're never actually that young.

Recently I was very fortunate to be reading an early copy of Wicked Saints and the realization of just how young the characters were really hit me.


There's a male character in the book who has been directly compared to The Darkling from The Grisha Trilogy about a million times all over the internet. Since The Darkling is my favorite character of all time, I was SO excited to meet this guy! But... then he was 17. For some reason this really stood out to me in contrast to The Darkling, who's much older. I think it was only because of that direct comparison that the fact that I age characters in my head finally hit me.

Often when I'm reading, the characters, male and female, hover around mid- to late-20s in my mind. If I really stop and think about a character being a teenager, it does get a little weird for me, especially considering that I was an extremely sheltered teenager who most certainly wasn't finding the love of my life or having mountain shaking sex. (Yikes.)


I feel like the actual ages of the characters are much easier to roll with in contemporary fiction. Usually in contemporary YA the teen characters are relatable, usually (close to) as awkward as I was as a teenager, and they're mostly doing normal teenage things. Growing up, dating boys, fighting with their parents. But I mostly read fantasy and it's in these books that I have the hardest time getting ages to compute. Surely this is not a 16 year old girl battling monsters with an ax and leading armies. How even?

Am I the only one who does this? I'm very curious to know if other adults reading YA also age up the characters in their minds. Let me know in the comments if you picture YA heroes and heroines as older than they are or if you have no problems letting them be teenagers!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday #215: Platonic relationships


Today's Topic: 
Top Ten Platonic Relationships

Woohoo! Another difficult topic. I'll throw it out there: I read for the romantic relationships. Sometimes there are some great platonic relationships that sneak into a great romance too, but I noticed when going through my books for today's post that they aren't actually very common. I did manage to put together ten though!



Radu & Nazira // Bright We Burn by Kiersten White
Cinder & Iko // Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Felicity & Percy // The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
Serina & Nomi // Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart
Harry & Hermione // Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling



Merry & Pippin // The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Jane & Charlotte // My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows
Alina & Genya // Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Snow & Rose // Snow & Rose by Emily Winfield Martin
Liesl, K├Ąthe, & Josef // Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones



Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Book Review Plus a Recipe: Little White Lies & Snickerdoodles

Title: Little White Lies (Debutantes #1) 
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publication Date: November 6, 2018
Publisher: Freeform
Pages: 400
Add to Goodreads


"I'm not saying this is Sawyer's fault," the prim and proper one said delicately. "But."

Eighteen-year-old auto mechanic Sawyer Taft did not expect her estranged grandmother to show up at her apartment door and offer her a six-figure contract to participate in debutante season. And she definitely never imagined she would accept. But when she realizes that immersing herself in her grandmother's "society" might mean discovering the answer to the biggest mystery of her life-her father's identity-she signs on the dotted line and braces herself for a year of makeovers, big dresses, bigger egos, and a whole lot of bless your heart. The one thing she doesn't expect to find is friendship, but as she's drawn into a group of debutantes with scandalous, dangerous secrets of their own, Sawyer quickly discovers that her family isn't the only mainstay of high society with skeletons in their closet. There are people in her grandmother's glittering world who are not what they appear, and no one wants Sawyer poking her nose into the past. As she navigates the twisted relationships between her new friends and their powerful parents, Sawyer's search for the truth about her own origins is just the beginning.

Set in the world of debutante balls, grand estates and rolling green hills, Little White Lies combines a charming setting, a classic fish-out-of-water story, and the sort of layered mystery only author Jennifer Lynn Barnes can pull off. 

Little White Lies showed up on my doorstep a few weeks ago and, although I don't read much contemporary fiction, I was instantly intrigued. The blurb caught my attention with its promise of secrets in southern high society. As someone who grew up in small town North Carolina, I was absolutely dying to dig into this book.

Sawyer Taft has always lived in a small town with her mother. They don't have much, but they have each other and that's good enough for them both. When her grandmother shows up out of the blue and offers her a crazy amount of money in exchange for completing a debutante season, she can't say no and finds herself immersed in a world of wealth and scandal. It also gives her the perfect opportunity to figure out who her father is, since her mom has always kept the secret closely guarded. I really liked Sawyer, although I did find her to be a bit "not like other girls," which can get annoying.

The best part about Little White Lies is obviously the mystery and there is a lot of it. The story is told in a combination of present day and flashbacks and the ending brings the two together. There are multiple mysteries in this story, one being who Sawyer's father is and another being how they got into the predicament we see them in at the beginning. But that isn't all - there are even more scandalous high society mysteries uncovered and each one of them was fantastic! I think the author did a great job of setting everything up and weaving it all together.

Like I said, I grew up in small town North Carolina and I could definitely see some of the people and events from my childhood in this book. Although I was far from high society, I went to a private school on a scholarship for several years and I definitely knew girls like the ones in this book! Oh, how I would have loved for some of their scandals to come out like these did! The setting was great, if a bit over the top. Think Gossip Girl in the south.

This is my first book by Jennifer Barnes, but I doubt it will be my last. This book definitely kept my interest and the drama was out of control! There were moments where I felt like I wished things would hurry along just a bit, but that's probably just a case of it's not you, it's me. Like I said, contemporary really isn't my genre. If you enjoy contemporary mysteries without a ton of romance, Little White Lies is one you won't want to miss!




CAKE MIX SNICKERDOODLES


As you may find out (depending on how these posts go), I love experimenting and making things from scratch. But every now and then it's nice to have something super quick, easy, and delicious up your sleeve. I recently tried these snickerdoodles and they are my new go-to recipe for when I need something sweet in the house but don't feel like spending hours slaving away in the kitchen.

This recipe yields about 34 snickerdoodle cookies at 80 calories each.


INGREDIENTS
  • 1 box French Vanilla cake mix
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (imitation works fine)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F 
  2. Mix together French Vanilla cake mix, butter, egg, vanilla, and 1 teaspoon of the ground cinnamon with a spoon until it forms into a dough.
  3. Shape dough into balls (about 1 inch).
  4. Mix together remaining 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.
  5. Roll dough in cinnamon sugar mixture and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. 
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  7. Move to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  8. Eat them all immediately.

Please let me know what you think of this new review plus a recipe feature and PLEASE do come back and comment if you have the chance to try these delicious cookies!

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Weekly Recap: 11/18 - 11/24


HAPPENINGS OFF THE BLOG

Hi everyone! This week has been less than great. Things started off fine and Thanksgiving was fine, but yesterday my puppy woke up with a fever and we ended up taking him to the emergency vet where they found out that his temperature was over 105 degrees. They did several tests and x-rays and couldn't find what was wrong, so he ended up staying for 24 hours in their ICU. Thankfully his fever is finally down and he'll hopefully be home late this afternoon. I actually did finish a couple books this week (finally)! Other than that, not much to report.


NEW BOOKS THIS WEEK

Nothing new this week!


THIS WEEK I READ

 


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

The topic was a Thanksgiving colors cover collage for Top Ten Tuesday
Wednesday audiobook review of Nyxia
On Thursday I did the Briggs Book Tag
Friday book review of Grace and Fury
I watched a little of this and that for Saturday Screen Time


UPCOMING REVIEWS

 


We're linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Saturday, November 24, 2018

Saturday Screen Time #26: A little of this, a little of that


Happy Saturday, everyone! It has been awhile since I've done one of these and I've watched quite a few things since last time! I'm leaving out some rewatches (including the amazing Hotel Transylvania) so I can focus on movies that are new to me. 


THIS WEEK IN SCREEN TIME


Apostle - I heard about this movie on Last Podcast and when I found out Dan Stevens was the lead, I knew I had to watch it! I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but Apostle turned out to be a very strange movie. It didn't really seem to know exactly what it was. It wasn't really a horror movie or a historical drama. Dan Stevens definitely saved this for me. It was interesting, if confused, but I'd honestly watch Dan Stevens watch grass grow. (3/5 stars)

Bad Ben - I decided to watch Bad Ben after seeing it on several "best of found footage" lists. I went into it knowing that it was either really good, or so bad that it was good. It was the latter. This is a movie about a guy who moves into a new house where weird things start to happen. The movie was made by one man with (I think) a cell phone and it is hilarious! It tries really hard to be scary, but the guy's reactions are ridiculous and they're everything. The way he talked to the ghosts had me rolling. (2/5 stars)

Paradise Lost 1-3 - Oh look, another one I found because of Last Podcast! I didn't hear about this documentary there specifically, but I did hear about the West Memphis Three on a recent episode and became fascinated by them. I watched all three parts of this documentary and I highly recommend it if you enjoyed Making a Murderer. (4.5/5 stars)




Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Crimes of Grindelwald - I was SO HYPED for this movie! I know a lot of people were concerned about Johnny Depp playing Grindelwald and so was I, but I'm pleased to report that I think he did a great job of playing the character (and not just playing himself). I also loved Ezra Miller as Credence (he's another one I'd watch while he watched paint dry) and enjoyed the way the story progressed, although this one was definitely mostly filler. I think Crimes of Grindelwald will definitely be better in context when the series is complete. (4/5 stars)

Hereditary - I need therapy. (4.5/5 stars)



Have you seen any of these? What did you think?
What 2018 movie are you most hyped for?
Let me know in the comments!



Friday, November 23, 2018

Book Review: Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart

Title: Grace and Fury (Grace and Fury #1)
Author: Tracy Banghart
Publication Date: July 31, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 320
Add to Goodreads


In a world where women have no rights, sisters Serina and Nomi Tessaro face two very different fates: one in the palace, the other in prison.

Serina has been groomed her whole life to become a Grace - someone to stand by the heir to the throne as a shining, subjugated example of the perfect woman. But when her headstrong and rebellious younger sister, Nomi, catches the heir's eye, it's Serina who takes the fall for the dangerous secret that Nomi has been hiding.

Now trapped in a life she never wanted, Nomi has only one way to save Serina: surrender to her role as a Grace until she can use her position to release her sister. This is easier said than done. A traitor walks the halls of the palace, and deception lurks in every corner. But Serina is running out of time, imprisoned on an island where she must fight to the death to survive and one wrong move could cost her everything.

Grace and Fury caught my attention when I heard people describe it as both fantasy and dystopia, two of my favorite genres. This book is set in a world where women don't have rights and live solely to fill the preexisting roles laid out for them. And this book is an amazing feminist fantasy.

Nomi and Serina are sisters. Serina has prepared her whole life to be a Grace, but at the last moment the heir to the throne chooses Nomi instead. From there the two sisters are set on completely different paths and Serina finds herself fighting for her life.

These two characters were complete opposites, but both were incredibly strong. I loved that neither fit the stereotypes you would expect upon first being introduced to them. They both took the hands they were dealt and did everything they could to make their worlds better. There are, of course, love interests, but I loved the characters individually and sibling relationship even more than the romance. I am also happy to say that romance didn't play a major role. Still, it was nice to see a book classified as feminist do a good job of balancing the romance and the female relationships without sacrificing either.

The world building in Grace and Fury was also really well done. Much of the story takes place between the palace where Nomi lives and the island where Serina has been imprisoned, but even with the limited setting, I felt like I had a good feeling for the world. The hopelessness the women feel is tangible and it's heartbreaking to see how resigned they have become to it.

As much as I enjoyed this book, I'll admit that it did start off a bit slowly for me. It was also a bit forgettable. Although I really liked it while I was reading it, I did have to look back at my notes to remember character names and key points for this review and that's never a great sign. Still, I'll be picking up book two to see what happens because that ending left me wanting!


Thursday, November 22, 2018

Briggs Book Tag


Hi everyone! I first spotted this tag over at It Starts At Midnight and I figured I'd jump on the train. The tag originated with Jaded Reader and I'm so excited to do it! If you don't know what your Myers-Briggs personality type is, you can take the test here to find out. I'm an INTJ, which honestly explains so much about my childhood and life in general. Maybe I should check out some of those top careers...




INTROVERT: (I) 
You can be outgoing, but need to recharge with some calming solitude, where is your favorite place to read & unwind? Why is this little oasis where you choose to go?

My favorite place to read is my bedroom, whether in my bed or in my reading chair. I CAN read in other places, but my bedroom is where I feel like I can really chill out and shut out the world. It's the main place I feel like I can focus.


INTUITION: ( N )
Some books are meant to be understood and others are meant to be explored. What book or character stands for an idea that is deeply meaningful to you?

 

It's funny that these books aren't on my favorites list, but they both feature characters that deeply resonate with me. I love Tris and Jonas for not accepting what they're told and digging deeper and asking the hard questions. Really, I love most dystopian characters for this reason.


THINKING: ( T )
Non-Fiction for some can seem tedious, but where would we be without the truths of our world? What book, text, or reading material have you found yourself referring to when in need of real world answers?


Hmm, this is a hard one. I don't read much non-fiction and I usually end up referring to Google searches when I want more information about something. I suppose I'll just share a five star non-fiction read from this year that I picked up when I wanted to know more about Columbine, which happened when I was in middle school.


JUDGING: ( J )
All play and no work leads to chaotic disorder…and anarchy.  How do you structure and balance your reading, blog, and personal life to better use your time?

I wish I had a better organization system, but mostly I just do things when I have time. I read every night before bed and I attempt to make time for blog hopping at least every other morning. I usually sit down and write posts in the evening before I read.


 INTJ: The Masterminds
You’re not in it for the small talk, so let’s cut right to the chase, what book captures the idea of what it is to be human?  


Haha, what? Am I allowed to say Harry Potter, or is that a cop out? I feel like this book explores humanity in so many ways and the characters are so human in that they're not black or white, but shades of gray. I dunno, I'm not deep enough for this.



Are you more introverted or extroverted?
What's your Myers-Briggs Type?
Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Audiobook Review: Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

Title: Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad #1) 
Author: Scott Reintgen
Publication Date: September 12, 2017
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 384
Add to Goodreads


Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.

Forever.

Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden—a planet that Babel has kept hidden—where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.

But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.

Science fiction isn't a genre I usually gravitate toward, with the exception of dystopia. So many friends raved about Nyxia (and the cover was so pretty) that I finally decided to grab it on audiobook from my library. I went in blind so I had no idea what to expect and Nyxia definitely kept me interested!

Emmett is the protagonist of this story and he has been chosen by the Babel Corporation to go to another planet, along with a group of other recruits with similar backgrounds, to mine Nyxia. He and his family will be well paid, but he soon learns that his spot is not guaranteed. Instead, he has to fight the others onboard the ship to earn his place. Emmett was a great main character. I sympathized with him and his situation. I wanted him to win because I wanted his family taken care of!

One of my favorite things about Nyxia was the friendships. Yes, there's a bit of a romantic subplot, but the friendships really take the spotlight in this book. The other kids, while all from similarly troubled backgrounds, were equally sympathetic. Some were much easier to like than others, of course, and some were downright villainous. But overall the chast of characters was diverse and well developed and I really enjoyed them!

I will say, Nyxia was a bit Hunger Games-esque. (I've also seen it compared to Ender's Game more than once.) Kids placed in an environment where they're forced to fight to the death (not always intentionally) to earn a chance at a better life. There are twists and turns and mysteries and the plot is all very interesting. Still, as I get older I'm having a harder time suspending my disbelief about corporations/governments/adults pitting teenagers against each other in such brutal ways.

The world of Nyxia is certainly interesting, but it's confined to a spaceship in this book. I anticipate getting to know more of the world in book two. I thought the Nyxia itself was a really unique concept, though I wish there had been a bit more explanation about how it worked. I definitely think this world is off to a great start and has a ton of potential to be amazing!

Overall, I enjoyed Nyxia and I'm interested to see where the story goes in book two. I enjoyed Emmett and I'm a sucker for books with surprising twists! I just hope that Nyxia Unleashed presents more answers to the questions set up in this one.


Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday #214: Thanksgiving colors cover collage


Today's Topic: 
Thanksgiving Colors Cover Collage

So. I hate freebie topics. I need to be pointed in a direction or I end up flailing with no idea what I'm doing. This is how I settled upon doing a Thanksgiving cover collage using colors I associate with autumn and Thanksgiving. This week I have a mix of books that I've read and want to read. I know it's a bit of a weird take, but here it is!




Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Weekly Recap: 11/11 - 11/17


HAPPENINGS OFF THE BLOG

Hi everyone! This week has been (you guessed it) hectic! I'm actually sitting here trying to remember what I did. XD The one thing I can say for sure is that we spent most of the day on Thursday at Magic Kingdom and it was so much fun! We went to two of the gingerbread displays in the Contemporary and Grand Floridian resorts. If you'd like to know more about the gingerbread, you can check out my gingerbread review post from a couple years ago! Yesterday I went to the eye doctor and had a contact fitting so that I can actually see fish later this year when I go snorkeling on a cruise. (Glasses don't really work with masks.) Hurray for seeing!


NEW BOOKS THIS WEEK

The only new thing I got this week was an I Spy book because I'm a nerd and my husband had NEVER done one!


THIS WEEK I READ



IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

The topic was my bookish merch wishlist for Top Ten Tuesday
Thursday graphic novel reviews of Saga & Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
On Friday I went back down the TBR hole


UPCOMING REVIEWS

 


We're linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Friday, November 16, 2018

Down the TBR Hole #7


Hi everyone! I'm back for another edition of Down the TBR Hole, in which I try to get rid of books faster than I find new ones to read. Spoiler: I'm failing so far.

The Down the TBR Hole meme was started by Lost In a Story and it is the most perfect tool for cleaning off shelves that I've come across. Here's how it works:
  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

THE BOOKS


SLATED BY TERI TERRY

I had completely forgotten this book until now! Slated has my attention mainly because it's a dystopian book and we're in a dystopian dry spell at the moment. (I guess we're getting our fill in real life.) I think I'm definitely going to have to read this! VERDICT: KEEP



STITCHING SNOW BY R.C. LEWIS

I added Stitching Snow when I was just getting into retellings. Although Snow White is far from my favorite, this sounds interesting enough. But it's also a sci-fi retelling and I feel like those are a bit overdone (or maybe I'm just tired of them). I think I'm going to have to let this one go for now. VERDICT: PASS



THEY ALL FALL DOWN BY ROXANNE ST. CLAIRE

This book is compared to Pretty Little Liars and Final Destination. I have this book sitting on my physical bookshelf right now. Why haven't I read this yet? VERDICT: KEEP



DOROTHY MUST DIE BY DANIELLE PAIGE

I added this one because it was a retelling and several of my blogging buddies enjoyed it. I've never read it because I don't care for The Wizard of Oz at all and it seems that there's not much romance in it. I always need amazing romance in my retellings! VERDICT: PASS



AMITY BY MICOL OSTOW

I LOVE the Amityville Horror movies! I didn't care for the book much, though. I added this way back when before it was published. Sadly the reviews aren't very good. I've read several reviews by people who've said it wasn't very scary and that does tend to be my experience with YA horror. I think I'll have to skip this one too. VERDICT: PASS



Not a bad week, if I do say so myself! Three more books are off my TBR and hopefully more will follow because it seems like I'm adding them as quickly as I delete them! XD

What have you added or deleted from your TBR lately?
What genre do we definitely need more of?
Let me know in the comments!