Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Top Ten Characters Who I Would Totally Want To Be For Halloween

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by the Brooke and the Bookish. This week's list of the top ten characters I'd like to be for Halloween. 

10. Katniss Everdeen from "Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins
Katniss is a total badass, and I'd love to be her for Halloween. Additionally, it's a super easy costume to do, and great if you're lazy/have to come up with a costume at the last minute. The only things I'd need that I don't already have in my closet are a bow and arrows and the mockingjay pin.

9 The Cheshire Cat from "Alice in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll
The Cheshire Cat is by far my favourite "Alice in Wonderland" character, and it's a bit more original than Alice as a costume.
8. Irene Adler from"Sherlock Holmes" by Arthur Conan Doyle 
Irene Adler is a total badass. Only woman to ever outwit Holmes, everyone (and one of something like three people to ever outwit him period). Holmes also thought she was far superior to a member of the royal family. She totally deserves a spot on this list.
Sadly, she doesn't exactly have a distinct look, so it's not that much fun to dress up as her. Which is why she's so low on this list.
7. A Shadowhunter from the various "Shadowhunter" series by Cassandra Clare
This is another one for lazy/procrastinating people. It's even easier than Katniss, but it's really cool. Everything needed are: black clothes, a couple of weapons, a cheap black eyeliner and a steady hand. Ta-da, instant Shadowhunter.
6. The White Witch from "The Chronicles of Narnia" by C.S. Lewis
The White Witch is the first (but not the last) villain on this list. Why would I want to be her for Halloween? Because she looks super-cool. That's it. I have no deeper reason that that.
5. War from "Good Omens" by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
If you've read the book, you get why I'd want to be her for Halloween. If you haven't read the book, you should stop reading my blog and go read the book. Go on, I'm waiting.
War is a horseperson of the apocalypse, and, being the red rider, she wears all red. And carries a word. I'm all for costumes that involve swords.
4. Arwen from "The Lord of the Rings"by J.R.R. Tolkien
I have actually dressed up as Arwen once before, but I'd love to do it again, because the dress was so beautiful (I was nine the first time around, so I'd sadly wouldn't fit in that dress again).
3. Mina Harker from "Dracula" by Bram Stoker
Dracula characters are definitely a Halloween classic, and I always have had a soft spot for Mina. I'd love to dress up as her when she's halfway between human and vampire, when she has the cross burned into her forehead.
2. Luna Lovegood from "Harry Potter" by J.K. Rolwing
As soon as I started doing this list I knew I wanted to include at least one "Harry Potter" character. I eventually choose to list Luna. She has some really strange but fun clothes, and I'd have fun impersonating her, and skipping my way through the night.
1. Queen Mab from various incarnations
Mab is a dark queen of the fae, and I'd love to go as her on Halloween. She's also known as "the queen of air and darkness" and if that description isn't enough to get you hyped over he character, then I don't know what should be.

What about you? What characters would you like to be this Halloween? Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cake Book Tag

Thanks to the lovely Cambrie for tagging me to do the Book Cake Tag! You can find her post here!

Flour: A book that was a little bit slow to start off but really picked up as it went along.
"The Golem and the Jinni" by Helene Wecker (you can find my review of it here, if you're interested). The very beginning of the book is actually quite engrossing, but after the first couple of chapters, the plot disappears, to be seen again only after a couple hundreds of pages. The rest of the book isn't exactly fast, but after the two main character meet there is something interesting to move the story forward and to make the reader want to keep reading. 

Margarine: A book that had a rich, great plot.
I'm actually very picky about plot-driven novels: I expect am highly engrossing plot, with little to no slow moments, coupled with at least some character development.
One novel which I have read recently that does this successfully is "The House of Hades" by Rick Riordan (you can find my review here).

Eggs: A book you thought was going to be bad but actually turned out quite enjoyable.
"Cinder" by Marissa Meyer. The premise is frankly ridiculous. I love fairy tale retellings, but... Cinderella as a cyborg mechanic in a futuristic, semi-dystopic world? Evil moon-people? All this coupled with a terrifying plague?
These things just don't match. So when I first heard about the book, I laughed, shook my head and thought "yeah, right".
But I kept getting this recommended. And so I thought that I could give it a chance, thinking that with such a stupid premise it was at least going to be entertainingly bad.
And I liked it. It wasn't perfect or anything, and it definitely was kind of silly, but it was part of the book's charm.

Sugar: A sugary, sweet book.
"The Summer I Became A Nerd" by Leah Rae Miller definitely fits this here. It's pure, glorious fluff. All problems are resolved easily and with no consequences whatsoever, the main character is humorous and likeable and the romance is sweet.

Icing - A book that covered every single element that you enjoy about a book (funny moments, action moments, sad moments, etc.)
I'm going to go with "Runemarks" by Joanne Harris. It's not a perfect book, but it did have everything I wanted to read. There was action, and magic, and Norse mythology, and great characters, and a fantastic unlikely friendship (seriously, Loki and Maddy are my Brotp). Not to mention, my favourite depiction of Loki in modern literature. If you are interested in an in-depth analysis as to why this Loki is great, you can check out my review of "The Gospel of Loki", which is a prequel to "Runemarks" and focuses solely on him.  

Sprinkles: A book series that you can kind of turn back to for a little pick me up when you're feeling down.
"Harry Potter" by J.K. Rowling. Every year, like clockwork, I get a huge wave of nostalgia and end up rereading all seven Harry Potter books (and watching all the films). 
It's a wonderful series, and it definitely is a comfort read for me.

The Cherry on Top - Your favourite book this year so far.
This one was though. Not because I had too many books to chose from, but because I actually had few books I thought qualified for this spot.
I have read many good books in 2014, even great books, but few that deserve to be added to my favourite list.
In the end I think I'll go with "City of Heavenly Fire" by Cassandra Clare, because it's the conclusion to a series I loved, and, although it wasn't as good as the first books in the series, it still was worth five stars.
If you're curious about what I thought about it in a greater detail, you can find my review here

I'm tagging the following people:
Amanda @ Book Badger
Tressa @ Wishful Endings
Irene @ Ice Cold Passion
Val @ The Innocent Smiley
Allison @ Hardcovers and Heroines 
And anyone who might want to participate!

Source of the photo: http://bookriotcom.c.presscdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/8514686765829546_uYphFM3q_c.jpg

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Review: "The Gospel of Loki" by Joanne M. Harris

Before I can adequately explain why and how this book is awesome, we need to take a step back and look at the subject matter. As in, Loki, the Norse god of trickery and treachery.
Loki is currently going through a moment of huge popularity, due to the "Thor" movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And with good reason. Tom Hiddleston does a wonderful job with the role. However, there is one problem with his character, on a writing level: he is very clearly not to be trusted, and when the other characters keep trusting him and falling for his schemes, they look like total idiots. 
And, if you think about, that's the hardest part of writing Loki right: he's supposed to be a skilled manipulator, to win all his battles by treachery, but he has a reputation as someone untrustworthy, so his opponents ought to be expecting a trick, unless they're a bunch of incompetent goons. 
How do you reconcile Loki manipulating everyone around him with his adversaries being intelligent? Is it even possible?
Harris does it and does it very well. The other characters don't trust Loki at all. In fact, they're more than ready to accuse him of any trouble ( and more often than not they're right). He still manages to trick them, not because he simply tells a lie and they believe him, but because he thinks outside the box, so that while they are expecting him to try something, they never are looking out for the right thing. 
Loki, the Light-Bringer, the misunderstood, the elusive, the handsome and modest hero of this particular tissue of lies. Take it with a pinch of salt, but it's at least as true as the official version, and, dare I say it, more entertaining. 
Loki does also manage to be a skilled liar. He accomplishes this by being mostly truthful, by twisting the facts so that the he is painted in the most flattering light possible. He admits his faults, but his quick to shift most of the blame onto someone else.
He is a good manipulator, and this is evidenced not only by his ability to manipulate the other characters, but by his ability to manipulate the reader.  
Despite the fact that most of his actions are questionable as best and awful as worst. All those of you who know Norse mythology know what he's responsible for (I won't spoil it for those of you who don't, but suffice to say this: it's really, really bad).
All the same, he succeeds in making himself sympathetic. I truly pitied him for the things he was put through. He is depicted as someone who used to have a kind of innocence to him, for all his chaotic nature, until the people who were supposed to be his friends stripped it from him. 
Till then, I bided my time, and smiled as sweetly as my scarred lips would allow, until the day I would take my revenge and bring the gods down, one by one.
At the same time, it's Loki who's telling the story, he's casting himself in the role of the victim, and the reader never finds out how much of it is true. 
The other characters are not as well fleshed-out as Loki is, but they still manage to be complex and layered, especially Odin. I also liked this novel's interpretation of Sigyn, Loki's faithful wife, which was quite unlike anything I've ever seen before.
One thing I didn't like in how one of the myths in particular was handled. I won't spoil it, but Odin does something really awful to Loki. I was really looking forward to that story, because I expected it to have huge consequences on Loki's character development. And the build-up to it was actually handled really well. And then it happened and then it was never mentioned again.    
The dialogues sometimes contain instances of modern speech, which I don't like, since it's set in a medieval-like world. However, the prose is gorgeous most of the time, especially in the first few chapters, which contain some great paragraphs.  
"Sticks and the stones may break my bones", as they say in the Middle Worlds, but with the right words you can build a world and make yourself king of it. King, or even god - which brings us back to the Old Man; that master storyteller; keeper of runes; lord of poetry; scribe of First and Last Times. Creationists would have us believe that every word of his story is true. But "poetic licence" was always the Old Man's middle name. Of course, he has a lot of names. So do I. And because this isn't history. but mystery - my story - let's start with me for a change. 
The novel retells Norse mythology, which I am quite familiar with, so there aren't any unexpected twists, at least not for me. The way they are retold, however, is really entertaining, so it's definitely recommended even if you're a Norse mythology expert.
If you're not familiar with the original myths, then it's recommended for you too, this can definitely be a way to get into them.
In short, I think you, all of you, should read it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday 15/10/2014

“Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted at 
Breaking the Spine that spotlights eagerly anticipated upcoming releases. This week's pick is "Every Day" by Claudia Gray and it's scheduled to be released November 4th 2014.
Every Day meets Cloud Atlas in this heart-racing, space- and time-bending, epic new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray.
Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by the Brooke and the Bookish. This week's list of the top ten places books have made me want to visit, fictional or not. I only picked fictional places because I apparently like things I can never have. 

10. The Desert from "Vessel" by Sarah Beth Durst: I was a bit disappointed by the book, but the world-building was beautiful. It made me want to see the Sky Serpents and the Sand Wolves and the Silk Worms (even though all these creatures are not particularly friendly at best and out for your blood at worst).

9. The Forest from "The School for Good and Evil" by Soman Chainani: the dark fairy-tale world the main characters spend the whole book terrified of is not a place where I'd like to live, but I'd totally want to visit it, with its vast array of strange creatures.

8 London Below from "Neverwhere" by Neil Gaiman: it's a dark and dangerous place and going there means giving up everything you've ever known, which is why it ranks so low on this list - I'm not sure whether I'd be exactly happy to find myself there. It's however, an incredibly fascinating world.

7. Phantasia from "The Neverending Strory" by Michael Ende: a place where all stories come true? Sign me up! There's that downside of forgetting who you are and being blocked there forever, though, so, again, it's pretty low on the list.

6. The University from "The Kingkiller Chronicles" by Patrick Rothfuss: lo and behold! The first magic school in this list (and definitely not the last). And you don't only learn magic, it's also the place where pretty much all the knowledge in that world is kept and taught. You can learn anything there. 

5. Narnia from "The Chronicles of Narnia" by C.S. Lewis: if as a child you didn't want to go to Narnia, you're lying. Aside from being a metaphor of paradise, it's every child's dream: a place where you can escape to to have adventures, vanquish foes and make wonderful friends, and be back in time for dinner. 

4. Discworld from the "Discworld" novels by Terry Pratchett: I can't pick just one location to visit in Discworld, since it's so multi-faced and bizarre. I want to go to Ank-Morpork, and I want to go the Ramtops and meet the witches, and... you get the idea. Discorworld is awesome.

3. Camp Half-Blood from "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" by Rick Riordan: I have never been much for summer camps, but even I can't resist the charm of Camp Half-Blood. You learn to fight monsters, and your teacher is the centaur that helped shape the greatest Greek heroes. You also  get to participate in  a really awesome (and pretty violent, but still) game of capture the flag.

2. Middle Earth from "The Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien: I was originally going to go with the Shire, but then I realized there wasn't a place in Middle Earth that I didn't want to visit (except Mordor). The Shire would be the first place I'd go to, though.

1. The Wizarding World from "Harry Potter" by J.K. Rowling: the whole Wizarding World (because I really really couldn't pick just one place), but especially Hogwarts. Don't lie, you're all still waiting for your letters.

What about you? What fictional places would you like to visit? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Book Beginning and the Friday 56 10/10/2014

Book Beginning is a meme hosted on Rose City Reader. To partecipate, you have to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. 

Friday 56 is a meme hosted on Freda's Voice. To participate, you have to post one or a few sentences from either page 56 or 56% of a book of your choosing. 

Today, I am using "Good Omens" by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman for these two memes.
The beginning:
It was a nice day. 
All the days had been nice. There had been rather more than seven of them so far, and rain hadn't been invented yet. 
The first sentences are okay, but the rest of the first chapters is brilliant, and it took a lot of restraint to keep myself from quoting the whole thing.  
56% on my kindle:
He had heard about talking to plants in the early seventies on Radio Four, and thought it an excellent idea. Although talking is perhaps the wrong word for what Crowley did.
What he did was put the fear of God into them. More precisely, the fear of Crowley.  
What do you think of these quotes? What are your Book Beginnings and Friday 56 this week?

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Stacking the Shelves 04/10/2014

Stacking The Shelves is a meme hosted on Tynga's Reviews all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

This week I have added to my shelves:
"Runelight"by Joanne Harris (e-book, currently reading)

Yeah, it's a small haul this week, since I'm trying to go through the books I already own  before getting new ones (the key word being trying, I'm kinda bad at this, hence the fact that I still bought another book). 
What about you? What do you think of this book? Have you read them? Do you want to read it?  What have you added to your shelves this week? 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Book Beginning and the Friday 56 3/10/2014

Book Beginning is a meme hosted on Rose City Reader. To partecipate, you have to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. 

Friday 56 is a meme hosted on Freda's Voice. To participate, you have to post one or a few sentences from either page 56 or 56% of a book of your choosing. 

Today, I am using "Runemarks" by Joanne Harris for these two memes.
The beginning:
Seven o'clock on a Monday morning, five hundred years after the End of the World, and goblins had been at the cellar again.
I really like the beginning, actually. It's definitely intriguing and immediately gives some really important information in an effective way.

Page 56:
"The language of Chaos?" said Maddy. "But I don't know it. I've never heard of it-"
"Yes you do,", said One-Eye. "It's in your blood."

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday 01/10/2014

“Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted at 
Breaking the Spine that spotlights eagerly anticipated upcoming releases. This week's pick is "The Orphan Queen" by Jodi Meadows and it's scheduled to be released March 10th 2015.

Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others.

What are you "waiting on" this week? Let me know in the comments!