Why We Came To The City by Kristopher Jansma

I’d read Kristopher Jansma before, but Why We Came to the City was amazing. I adore this book.

Screen Shot 2016-01-23 at 10.15.49 AMI instantly fell in love with the first few introductory pages. It’s truth, it’s youth, & I love it. I started highlighting my favorite bits until I realized I was basically highlighting entire pages. Then that first chapter! It sets up these five characters that you just want to be best friends with. The camaraderie of being young! The witty banter! I’m hooked. I’m a sucker for any story that centers around a group of borderline abnormally close friends.

Irene is the first of the group we meet. Estranged from her family, she works in an art gallery & studied her way through the arts by sitting in on lectures. Her best friend, Sara, is unhappy in her fluff editing job, but has the unique talent of being an social butterfly who never forgets a face or a name. Sara has been dating George for years, & although George has a bit of an alcohol problem, he works at a highly intelligent job observing galactic activity. Jacob is my favorite character, almost like the child of the other three. A poet by night, with an odd job in the day. & finally William, who knows of the group, but only starts to befriend them where we pick up at the beginning. They’ve graduated, but are in that happy zone before “real life” starts really clicking in. Kind of where I’m at right now. Continue reading

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We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

If the cover leads you to believe this is a cute & contemporary book, don’t be fooled. It’s a suspenseful, poetic, tense little ball of fire unwinding in your face.

It’s a young adult book where the main character gets amnesia, but it’s not an amnesia story.

It takes place on a beach filled with privately owned beach houses, but it’s not a beach read.

It’s loosely inspired by other classics & recent releases such as King Lear, Tom Sawyer, Wurthering Heights, & The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. But it’s original.

The book is filled with mini fairy-tales in between chapters. I heard somewhere that the best way to describe this book is by using your favorite fairy-tale from it.

“One day, when the young ladies were of age to be married, a terrible, three-headed dragon laid siege to the kingdom, burning villages with fiery breath. It spoiled crops and burned churches. It killed babies, old people, and everyone in between.
…He sent his eldest daughter to beg the dragon for mercy, but the dragon listened to not a word of her pleas. It swallowed her whole.  Then the king sent his second daughter to beg the dragon for mercy, but the dragon did the same. Swallowed her before she could get a word out.  The king then sent his youngest daughter to beg the dragon for mercy, and she was so lovely and clever that he was sure she would succeed where the others had perished. No indeed. The dragon simply ate her.
The king was left aching with regret. He was now alone in the world.
Now, let me ask you this. Who killed the girls?
The dragon? Or their father?”

Some last points to convince you to read this book. The inside cover page has a cute little map drawn in it. I’m a sucker for maps. It also has a tiny family tree. The book is ridiculously short, but manages to span several years. It’s a quick & engaging read. I cried. Plus the author is super cool, & has a tattoo form “The Lady of Shalott” on her arm.

If you haven’t read the book, stop reading now. Continue reading

Top Five Worst Literary Couples

I just posted my top best couples, so now we obviously need a worst list. I don’t mean the messed up ones like, Jamie & Cersi Lannister. I also don’t mean the boring ones that just never had chemistry. These are more controversial choices. Couples that a lot of people love & for good reason, but I just don’t like. I’m sure some of these are beloved by others, so I’m anticipating some backlash. Continue reading

The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon

Paige Mahoney was last seen fleeing her captures & returning to the Seven Dials in the futuristic London setting of The Bone Season. The first of a seven series installment included several flashbacks of her days working for Jaxon Hall, or the White Binder. A mob like syndicate in the gangster system of clairvoyants. In the second installment, we pick up directly where the last left off. Continue reading

Top Five Best Literary Couples

Fictional romances are tricky because they have a duty to represent an epic, specific kind of love. They must display the larger than life feelings of being love, but be realistic enough that they’re still felt by the reader, still human. They must be tried & tested & whether or not the characters survive, their love must be the satisfaction that carries out our hope. I spent some time thinking about who my favorite fictionalized couples were. A lot of them were from movies, Moulin Rouge‘s Christian & Satine, or from history, Bonnie & Clyde, or even cartoon’s, Lady & the Tramp. But the literary ones could not be narrowed down, so I chose five. There are potentially spoilers in here, I guess? So read at your own discretion. Continue reading

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

I wanted to like it. I really did. I loved The Uglies series by Westerfeld when I was younger. I’ve heard many great things about Afterworlds. 

It is awful. I absolutely hated it. I almost just put it down as a DNF.

The book is separated into two parts. There’s Darcy’s chapters, which take place in the real present day world, primarily in New York where she lives as a teenage, almost published, writer. Then there’s Lizzie’s chapters which consist of the fictional story Darcy wrote, about a girl who can see ghosts & navigate the flipside after her brush with death. Continue reading

Reading Challenges

With the new year comes new expectations! New standards for the months ahead! That means reading challenges. I personally love them. All of them. I’ve changed the style of the way I set these challenges for myself over the years. I think it’s a great discussion topic because there’s often some sort of shift when they aren’t completed. Or sometimes they are completed, but the pressure of it sucked all the fun out of it & became stressful instead. But mostly I wanted to get ideas for the different ways we can enhance our reading abilities or experiences in the upcoming year & get some feedback from you guys. So here are some types of challenges I’ve tried. Continue reading

2015 Year in Review

2015 is over! I edited down the full Year in Review Post because the other just seems too long. I also tried not to use the same book twice for most of the questions.

Overall, the year has been crazy so I’m really proud of what I’ve read compared to the hectic changes that have been happening in my life. I feel like certain books just come to you at the right time you were meant to read them & I definitely felt that way with a lot of the books I’ve read this year. Continue reading