Literary Musings · To Read or Not to Read?

10 Books From My Past

  1. The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowry: I remember that this was one of my favorite Little Golden Books back in the day though looking over the description of the plot is making me laugh a bit because I don’t remember anything of the plot. I remembered that the puppy got into trouble a lot but not that stealing desserts was the whole gist. I’m guessing I just liked the cute puppies and maybe being an only child I liked the idea of the puppy having so many siblings?
  2. Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister: I remember Rainbow Fish being this beautiful book that I enjoyed reading and then I reread it to a group of kids for storytime and I found it so problematic. Yes, the message about sharing is a good one but it goes too far with the Rainbow Fish being made to feel bad because he’s special and then sharing so much of himself that he doesn’t really have anything special left.
  3. The Baby-Sitters Club by Ann M. Martin: Even though I didn’t start babysitting until I was seventeen I started reading the series about pre-teen and teen babysitters way before that. I just enjoyed the group friend dynamics and how each girl had different personalities and interests and yet were still the best of friends. I read a whole bunch of them and still remember crazy details about this series.
  4. Sweet Valley High by Francine Pascal: I read a lot of Sweet Valley High back in the day but honestly all I remember is that the series starred twins Elizabeth and Jessica and that I always identified more with Elizabeth.
  5. Goosebumps by R.L. Stine: I had a brief flirtation with the “scary” stories that were the Goosebumps series, probably because the TV show was on one of the few channels that my family’s television actually got. But I remember finding the Goosebumps series more gross than scary. Except for Slappy. Ventriloquist dummies are always terrifying.
  6. Fear Street by R.L. Stine: So it wasn’t very long until I aged up to the Fear Street books which I ended up enjoying a lot more. I loved the historical ones and the modern ones and especially liked the cheerleader series. I thought they were creepy in just the right way. And Stine has started up the series again, a couple of times actually. The last iteration was a no go for me. (Were these books always so cheesy and predictable?) And I have yet to start the most recent reboot though I have it checked out from the library.
  7. Animorphs by K.A. Applegate: I vaguely remember reading some of these books and there may have been a short lived television series? Honestly, the thing I remember the most is the holographic book covers.
  8. American Girl series: Though I never had an American Girl doll (mom did get me a Bitty Baby…I think because she was a little cheaper and had less cool accessories) I still read some of the books. I liked Samantha’s stories but always thought I was more of a Molly.
  9. Dear America books: I read so many Dear America books and then I reread them again and again. Not sure why. I just liked learning about different time periods and liked the diary formats.
  10. The Belgariad by David Eddings: I’m pretty sure I was still in elementary school when, thanks to my cousin, I stumbled upon this book series about a boy with a secret, magical past. I devoured the whole series even though I distinctly remember giggling my way through any kissy kissy scenes. And actual I wonder if this was a precursor to my love of Harry Potter? There’s actually quite a few similarities now that I think on it. I definitely plan on rereading someday.
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Literary Musings

10 of My Favorite Fictional Characters

Here’s a list of ten of my favorite characters from books, graphic novels, etc.

  1. Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Back in the day I probably would have said my favorite Harry Potter character was Hermione Granger because she was the most like me (messy brown hair and with her nose always in a book.) But as I’ve gotten older I really appreciate how much of a free spirited individual Luna was. She was caring and compassionate and unequivocally herself and I wish I could be more like her sometimes.
  2. Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Though I’ve started to appreciate Luna even more, Hermione still has a place in my heart as a favorite character because of the similarities I see. She was book smart but also had heart and honestly, Harry Potter would never have it to the end of the series without her.
  3. Daenerys Targaryan from A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. While reading the series back before the TV show started I would find myself reading through some of the passages quicker so I could get to Dany’s chapters. I just thought the growth of her character was very interesting but, during the later books and in the television series, her character slowly started to become boring to me because she got kind of complacent. Come on girl, you’ve got dragons and an army. Why are you just sitting on your bum conquering smallish cities?!
  4. Sansa Stark from A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. I always thought Sansa was an interesting character because she definitely grew and learned throughout what we’ve seen of the book and TV series. I like the whole change between trustworthy, innocent idealistic Sansa and the one who learns how to play the game and manipulate with the rest of them.
  5. Arya Stark from A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. I thought Arya’s story ARC was especially interesting because, unlike most of the female characters who have to deal with marriage and relationships and typical female roles throughout the series, Arya starts out wanting to kick ass. She doesn’t have to really learn how to be herself, she just gets more training and better at it.
  6. Natasha Romanoff from Avengers fame. I like characters with interesting history and, depending on the storyline, she has a lot of it. I like how she has so many evolutions and a dark confusing past and yet she works so hard to be herself and be a good person.
  7. Buffy Summers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer the TV show and the graphic novels. I like how she’s a bad ass and even though she’s the “special” she is not always right or in the right. She’s multi-faceted and fun and quippy and I just loved the show and most of the graphic novels.
  8. Fred and George Weasley from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. The twins have to come as a pair because that’s how it should always be. (Damn you, Deathly Hallows!) I just enjoyed them as characters, how they’d pop up in unexpected places and be completely ridiculous but then they’d save the day. I just wish we’d gotten to see and know more about them throughout the series.
  9. Kady Grant from The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. Cute character in one of the cutest relationships I’ve read. I really liked reading about her life and seeing her figure things out. She’s also very quippy and I love that.
  10. Hanna Donnelly from The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I just love it when characters are presented as one way and then turn out completely different. Hanna was first shown as being a prissy, entitled rich girl but then she kicks some real ass throughout the course of the series. I also liked her snark.
Literary Musings

5 Fictional Names We Almost Chose For Our Dog

When my fiance and I got a dog last year I wanted to let him have a say in naming the dog but I also made the stipulation that our dog would have a literary inspired name. We ended up renaming our dog, who had come from the shelter with the name Tate, and giving him the name Mycroft after Mycroft Holmes. It’s been both a blessing and a curse.

First and foremost, Mycroft Holmes was Sherlock’s smarter, older brother. Our dog is not really the smartest. The number of times he’s boinked his head on the walls for no apparent reason is ridiculous. And he’s also pretty hard to train though he is still a bit of a puppy so maybe he’ll eventually mature. Also, people get really confused by the name. The number of times I’ve heard “did you say Minecraft?” or “can you repeat/spell that?” is also crazy. But, then there’s also the moment when someone actually gets the reference and then we can have a mutual “yay Sherlock Holmes” conversation.

But Mycroft wasn’t the only name we’d initially considered. Here are some others.

  1. Sherlock after Sherlock Holmes though I think this would have worked best for a slightly chubby, basset hound type dog. Not sure why I think that since Sherlock has never been a chubby character but still.
  2. Watson after John Watson from Sherlock Holmes (Are you sensing a theme here?)
  3. Luna after Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter series which I think would have been a great name for a dainty or sleek little girl dog.
  4. Loki from Norse mythology. Personally I think this would have been the best option since our dog is all crafty and whiny and manipulative and that fits for the Marvel Universe version of Loki.
  5. Ares because the Greek God of war is intimidating and who doesn’t want their dogs name to sound terrifying?
Literary Musings · To Read or Not to Read?

10 Favorite Books of 2018

The best books I’ve read this year but which may not have been published this year.

  1. Slasher Girls & Monster Boys: A Young Adult horror anthology featuring stories from a collection of YA authors, most of whom I were already familiar with. Overall a great, spine-tingling read.
  2. The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas: A fun mystery featuring accidents and murder that I raced through back in August because the characters were so well-written and I just needed to know all of the answers.
  3. Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas: The fifth book in the very YA tropey Throne of Glass series that I really enjoyed. Though it was a bit over the top at some points (holy sex scenes Maas!) I really loved how the author interwove all of the moving parts of the series and the characters.
  4. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo: The first book in the Grisha Verse trilogy, Leigh introduced us to an interesting villain and a fun world with different types of magic.
  5. Obsidio by Amie Kaufman: The last book in The Illuminae Files trilogy, a fun series with the most unique format I’d ever witnessed, really brought everyone together in just the best way possible. And I read/looked over the book as I listened to the audiobook which actually made it even better because the audiobooks for this series are just the best.
  6. One by Sarah Crossan: A very emotional, quick read of a book told in verse about conjoined twins who have to face an impossible choice.
  7. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Illustrated Edition: I’ve always liked that Rowling had these little fun books that are set in the world of Harry Potter and the illustrated edition is just beautiful.
  8. The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas: A collection of short story prequels set in the world of her Throne of Glass series. It was a great introduction to the character, ended up helping quite a bit with things mentioned in her later books, and really showed how the main character changed.
  9. Saga, Vol. 3 by Brian K. Vaughan: Over the past two years I’ve been slowly making my way through the Saga graphic novel series and volume three was my favorite.
  10. Macbeth by William Shakespeare: After so many years I finally got around to reading Macbeth and I loved it. I like how even Shakespeare’s tragedies have just random ridiculous scenes even though they are also full of angst.
Literary Musings

10 Favorite Bookish Quotes

Ten of my favorite quotes either from books, about books, or both.

  1. “One must always be careful of books,” said Tessa, “and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.” –  From Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
  2. “Only the very weak-minded refuse to be influenced by literature and poetry.” – From Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
  3. “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” – Stephen King
  4. “I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a book.” – J.K. Rowling
  5. “Books are a uniquely portable magic.” – Stephen King
  6. “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies”, said Jojen. “The man who never reads lives only one.” – From A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin
  7. “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” – Albert Einstein
  8. “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” – C.S. Lewis
  9. “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book!–When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” – From Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  10. “… a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.” – From A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
Literary Musings

10 Library Books I Have Checked Out Right Now

As I posted on the first of the month, I’ve been busy coming up with lists that I can turn into blogs and while many of them are very traditional topics I’ve also been trying to come up with a couple odd or silly things. That lead to a topic that I immediately decided to use for my first listing blog post of the month. That topic is 10 Library Books I Have Checked Out Right Now. And what’s funny is that I currently have exactly ten books checked out so this list works perfectly.

So here’s the list:

  1. Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier: A mystery novel involving murder, imprisonment, and so many secrets.
  2. Ink, Iron, and Glass by Gwendolyn Clare: Scriptologists can create new worlds if they just have the write tools. Elsa is one such scriptologist who must use her skills to find her mother.
  3. Life Without Harry by Sara Dobie Bauer: Author Samantha starts to wonder what’s going on when the world of Harry Potter seems to come to life around her.
  4. Final Girls by Riley Sager: Horror movie style massacres left only one survivor each, known to the media as the “Final Girls.” But then, years after the initial killings, the Final Girls start dying too.
  5. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin: Mara Dyer is the only one of her friends to walk away from a terrible accident but she doesn’t remember any of it.
  6. The Good, the Bad, and the Witchy by Heather Blake: The third installment in the Wishcraft Mystery series, Wishcrafter Darcy has to solve yet another mystery.
  7. The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter: Gothic style retellings of familiar fairy tales and legends.
  8. Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women and Witchcraft by a variety of Young Adult Authors: A collection of fifteen short stories all about witches.
  9. Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Vol. 1 by Michael Bendis: There’s a new Spider-Man in town in this Marvel graphic novel.
  10. Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero: In 1997 there was a group of teen detectives solving cases in Blyton Hills solving their final case. Now it’s 1990 and we get to see what’s happened to the group. (Definite Scooby Doo parallels.)
Literary Musings

Ten For Ten

October is my favorite month out of the year. Not only is it the month which contains my birthday but it’s also the month that contains one of my favorite holidays (Halloween is always fun if you have a chance or a reason to dress up in a costume if you like that kind of thing.) October is also usually the best example of my favorite season: autumn because there’s usually cooler weather but it hardly ever gets cold enough to snow.

(Some personal information about myself though. It’s kind of weird that I still like my birthday because I’ve never really had an amazing one. I never had parties and the few times I tried to plan something in college it just fizzled out and I ended up depressed. But still, I try. And, unfortunately, this October isn’t starting out the best yet because both myself and my dog are dealing with some skin rashes. Because of course we are.)

So, in honor of my favorite month, I’ve decided that most of my blog posts are going to be lists of ten. Ten favorite books. Ten favorite fictional characters. All those kinds of things. Some directly book related and some book adjacent but all lists that I hope you’ll find interesting.

Keep your eye out for those lists and if there’s something you want to see me list about just let me know via comment!