Thursday, May 29, 2014

Harry Potter MOTW {1}: Wizarding Sweets


I am so excited to have discovered this Harry Potter meme created by Leah at Uncorked Thoughts! Each week Leah lists a different series-related topic for us HP nerds to discuss. Let's do this!

This Week's Topic: Wizarding Sweets I've Always Wanted to Try

Butterbeer

Via
I think it's safe to say that every Potter fan has wanted to Apparate to the Three Broomsticks to try a mug of butterbeer. I think it would taste like liquid butterscotch. Yum!


Pumpkin Pasties

Via
I've always imagined Pumpkin Pasties to be like mini pumpkin pies. What could be better than that?


Cauldron Cakes

Via
Chocolate cake. Need I say more? 
 
So tell me, which wizarding treats have you always wanted to try?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Blog Event: Mental Health Awareness Month

MHAM

Hey all! Starting June 1, Leah at Uncorked Thoughts and Ula at Blog of Erised will be hosting Mental Health Awareness Month. By reading and discussing books centered on mental health, they hope to enlighten others and hopefully reduce the stigma attached to mental health issues. But for the event to be really successful, they need us, the book bloggers, to join in on the conversation. To sign up, all you need to do is go to this post

As someone who struggles daily with anxiety, mental health is an important topic to me and one that I feel needs to be discussed more frequently. For the moment, the main book I plan to feature in my MHAM discussions is Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl. Although it's all about the joys of being part of fandom culture, Fangirl also has some very poignant things to say about anxiety disorders. I'm so excited to be rereading it and discussing it with you all for MHAM!

Let me know in the comments if you'll be participating and what books you'll be reading!

Book Review: "Shatter Me" by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pub Date: November 2011
Source/Format: Library/Hardcover

From Goodreads:

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.
For the first time in I don't know how long, I finished a book in two days! So thank you, Tahereh Mafi, for breaking me out of my slow-reading slump! Shatter Me is a bit sluggish at the start, but once I cleared the first hundred pages it quickly became a fast-paced and addicting read...that is when it wasn't being bogged down by overly-metaphorical prose. When Mafi left the metaphors out and focused on dialogue or describing action, the story flowed much better and finally held my attention.

The world-building of Shatter Me felt a bit shaky at times--I was never quite sure if the story was meant to be set in an alternative present day or in the future. Juliette's descriptions of the world before the Reestablishment don't always match up. From her memories, life before the Reestablishment seems fairly ordinary: people drove cars, went to school, celebrated holidays. And yet:
There aren't as many trees as there were before, is what the scientists say. They say our world used to be green. Our clouds used to be white. Our sun was always the right kind of light. But I have very faint memories of that world.
On top of that, she's only "heard stories" about flying birds. All of this left me to question: was the environment already in trouble when Juliette was young, and people just went on living as usual despite it? Or is the ambiguity of Juliette's recollections of her world meant to showcase her alleged insanity? And that's not the only unsolved mystery of the book. Mafi poses so many questions that are never answered. What is the significance of Adam's bird tattoo? Why does it match the bird from Juliette's dreams? Why can Adam touch Juliette but no one else can? Why is that when Juliette and Adam make their escape she is suddenly susceptible to Warner's warnings, despite being completely wary of him before? Perhaps these are things that will be explained in the rest of the trilogy, but I wish we'd gotten a little more explanation in this volume.

Despite my misgivings about the world-building and writing style, the one thing that kept me reading was the relationship between Juliette and Adam. It was very sweet, the only point of light in an otherwise bleak dystopian world. However, by the latter third of the book, I could sense the beginning of a love triangle forming and was none too happy about it. Warner is such a despicable character--power-hungry and sadistic--that I really couldn't fathom how Juliette could even think about things such as his supposed good looks. I have a nagging feeling that Unravel Me is headed in a direction I really don't want it to go, as far as the relationship between these two is concerned.

Overall, I'm a bit conflicted about Shatter Me. On the one hand, it wasn't ever so bad that I considered shelving it as a DNF. I truly did enjoy reading about Juliette and Adam, and the last half of the book was pretty exciting. On the other hand, I found a lot elements (the prose, the world-building, Juliette's relationship with Warner) to be problematic. I'll be continuing the series with Unravel Me but depending on where Mafi takes Juliette and Warner's relationship, it will probably be a make-or-break read for me.



Tuesday, May 27, 2014

#Armchair BEA: From Words to Art


Welcome to Day 2 of Armchair BEA! Today's topic is "More Than Just Words," a chance to talk about the different forms books can take. Today I'll be discussing my love-hate relationship with a recent(ish) trend in YA: companion graphic novels. Graphic novel adaptations are cropping up all over the place lately, and they seem to be especially popular for the paranormal and fantasy genres. What I love about these companions is that, unlike other adaptation mediums such as film or TV, they usually remain very faithful to the source material, very closely following the events in the book. But, since I've usually already read the book and know what happens before picking up a graphic novel, what really determines whether or not I'll read the adaptation or not is the artwork. This is just my own personal preference but I prefer the graphic novels that lean more toward manga-style artwork over ones drawn in American-comic-book-style. Here are a few examples of graphic novels I've loved...and of ones I've not really loved.

YAY

Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer and Young Kim 

Excuse me while I take a moment to gush. I love everything about these graphic novels. They are so, so beautiful! Everything was perfect, from how closely they followed the original plot of the books, to the coloring, to the character depictions. And look at those covers! They match! They're holding hands!! It's almost too much for my poor little fangirl heart to take.


Soulless series by Gail Carriger and Rem

Another graphic novel adaptation series with absolutely gorgeous artwork. Also, the humor that makes the books so great really comes across well in the adaptation. (A note: Since this series is an adult paranormal romance series and not aimed at the YA set, the graphic novels are bit more...well, graphic. Just something to keep in mind.)

NAY

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare and Nicole Virella

I was so looking forward to the graphic novel adaptation of The Mortal Instruments...until I saw the artwork. Although the coloring of each cover is beautiful, it's the depictions of the characters that I can't stand. They have too much of that comic book superhero look to them. Not my cup of tea.

 So, what's your opinion on graphic novel adaptations? Do you have any favorites? What books would you like to see turned into graphic novels?

Top Ten Tuesday...In Your Pants

 Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Since it's TTT Freebie week and because I'm busy with writing #ArmchairBEA posts, I've decided to go with a lighter topic today. If you're unfamiliar with the Nerdfighterian tradition of "In Your Pants," allow me to enlighten you: it is the always hilarious act of adding the phrase "In Your Pants" to the ends of book titles. To see it in action, watch this Vlogbrothers video:


Today I've selected some of the funniest "In Your Pants" combinations from my bookshelves. I apologize in advance for my immaturity.

1
A World Between Us (In Your Pants) by Lydia Syson

2
The Darkest Minds (In Your Pants) by Alexandra Bracken

3
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown (In Your Pants) by Holly Black

4
A Discovery of Witches (In Your Pants) by Deborah Harkness

5
Nevermore (In Your Pants) by Kelly Creagh

6
The Weird Sisters (In Your Pants) by Eleanor Brown

7
Les Miserablés (In Your Pants) by Victor Hugo

8
The Mists of Avalon (In Your Pants) by Marion Zimmer Bradley

9
The Shadow of the Wind (In Your Pants) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

10
Skippy Dies (In Your Pants) by Paul Murray

If you have any "In Your Pants" combinations of your own, PLEASE share them with me! I'm always in the mood for a good laugh. :)

Monday, May 26, 2014

#ArmchairBEA: Introduction

Well, everyone, the end of May is finally upon us, which can only mean one thing...it's time for Book Expo America! Unfortunately, I couldn't make it to the actual event in NYC, so I've had to opt for the next best option: participating in the virtual event, Armchair BEA! All this week I will be posting along with the themed topics provided by Armchair BEA, and I hope you'll join me! Just go here to sign up.

As it's the first day of Armchair BEA, the first assignment is to introduce yourself. So whether you're new to the blog (welcome!) or a regular reader, here's your chance to get to know a little more about me! :)

Describe your blog in just one sentence.
BooksyDaisy Reviews (formally known as "Life in the Pages") is a Young Adult and sometimes-New-Adult/adult-lit book blog run by me, Alex, a twenty-something girl who loves books more than anything in the world (although cats and chocolate are a close second and third).

What genre do you read the most? I love to read because ___________________ .
As you might have noticed, I am primarily a reader of YA fiction. To me, YA is awesome because with each story there are always so many possibilities. YA fiction centers around a pivotal point in the character's life, when they are on the verge of adulthood and undergoing all sorts of changes. YA is so passionate--not in the romantic sense, although it can be; it's filled with the emotional excitement and turmoil of first loves, first journeys away from home, and first real obstacles in life. And, most importantly, YA stories are almost always pervaded with a sense of hope. Unlike so many characters in adult literature, YA characters aren't disillusioned and jaded. Even when they are up against seemingly insurmountable odds, whether it be taking down a twisted government or dealing with crushing heartache, there is always a sense of hope, a feeling that somehow things will work out for the better. That is what makes YA so fulfilling to read.

What was your favorite book read last year? What’s your favorite book so far this year?
For 2013, it's a tie between Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell and the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness, both of which are fan-tastic! I also have two picks for my favorite books of 2014 (so far): Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge and Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, both beautifully woven fantasy tales.

Spread the love by naming your favorite blogs/bloggers (doesn’t necessarily have to be book blogs/bloggers).
Book Blogs: The Perpetual Page Turner, Stay Bookish, The Paper Sea, Gyspy Reviews, Paperbackd, Pretty Little Reader, These Paper Hearts
Author Blogs: Laini Taylor, Maggie Stiefvater
Non Book Blogs: Avoiding Atrophy, xomisse, Hyperbole and a Half

Share your favorite reading related quote.





That's all folks! Thanks for reading! I can't wait to meet more amazing book bloggers this week! :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Words/Topics That Will Make Me Pick Up A Book!

 Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
This week's topic:

Top Ten Words/Topics That Will Make Me Pick Up A Book
(Okay, technically this week's topic is top ten books about friendship...but after searching and searching through my Goodreads list, I discovered that most of the books I've read are more romance-centered than friendship-centered. So I'm improvising with a past topic.)

Words & Phrases Guaranteed to Make Me Pick Up A Book
  1. Romances described as "forbidden," "unlikely," "star-crossed": Like I said, my reading preferences are heavy on the romance, and the more fraught and angsty the romance, the better!
  2. "magical"/"fantastical"/"enchanting": As a girl who grew up with Harry Potter, I also tend to lean more toward books with fantasy elements.
  3. "otherworldly"/"supernatural": I'm obsessed with paranormal romance so any book with descriptions of an "otherworldly" character are definitely going to catch my attention.
  4. "secret"/"mysterious": Who doesn't love a book with a little mystery?
  5. "bookstore"/"books"/"bookish": I love it when a book features a main character who geeks out over books. I'm talking books like Fangirl or The Fault in Our Stars, where the whole time I'm thinking, "Yeah! This author really gets what it's like to be a book nerd!"
Topics
  1. "survival": Think The Hunger Games or The Road. Even though these stories scare the bejeezus out of me, I'm still fascinated by them.
  2. "vampires": Twilight has doomed me to forever be a fan of vampire stories. If a book's got "vampire" in the summary, I'm at least going to try out the first few chapters.
  3. "angels and demons": 3 and 4 sort of go hand-in-hand--I'm a sucker for stories about good versus evil, especially if they involve otherworldly beings.
  4. "good versus evil": Pretty much every epic story ever written has this theme somewhere in its core.
What are the words/topics that peek your interest when deciding what books to read?


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Reading Rambles {3}: Are You A Reading Procrastinator?


Reading Rambles is a sporadic feature in which I ramble about all things bookish and ask you to join in on the discussion.

Today's Ramble:

After nearly two weeks of putting off reading Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor, despite the fact that I was dying to know what would happen next, I've discovered something about myself: I am a horrible reading procrastinator. It's a real problem! As much as I want to read this book, I just keep finding excuses to put it off. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I do this more often than I originally thought. I'm curious to see if this is just me, or if you all struggle with reading procrastination too. 

Not sure if you're a reading procrastinator? Here's a short list to help you figure it out.
  • Do you ever get to a point in a book when you know something horrible is going to happen and you're just not mentally or emotionally prepared to deal with it, so you have to stop, put the book down, and take a breather (which can last anywhere from a few days to a few months)?


  • Do you put off reading a series of books until you have time to read them all in one go (even though this will probably never happen)?

  • Do you tell yourself you'll read before bed but then end up going right to sleep because you're either too exhausted or know that if you start reading now you'll be up until the break of dawn with the phrase "Just one more chapter..." repeating in your head like a mantra?

  • Do you ever feel like your TBR pile is staring at you? Do you find excuses to ignore it, such as, "Oh, my room is a mess! I can't possibly start reading until I've cleaned it up a bit!" Or, "Now feels like a good time to check the 50+ unread e-mails in my inbox." Or, "I think I'll go change the layout of my blog for the hundredth time this month."


  • Do you find yourself reading reviews, watching YouTube videos, or scrolling through Pinterest and Tumblr looking for posts about the very book you're not reading, when you could be spending that time actually reading it?


  • Have you ever checked out and/or bought books despite your already overflowing TBR pile?


If you said yes to any of the above, you, my friend, may be a reading procrastinator. But don't worry, I'm sure you'll get around to reading all those books.

Eventually.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Mini Review: Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor

Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company BFYR
Pub date: November 2013
Source/Format: Bought/E-book

In Night of Cake & Puppets, Taylor brings to life a night only hinted at in the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy—the magical first date of fan-favorites Zuzana and Mik. Told in alternating perspectives, it’s the perfect love story for fans of the series and new readers alike. Petite though she may be, Zuzana is not known for timidity. Her best friend, Karou, calls her “rabid fairy,” her “voodoo eyes” are said to freeze blood, and even her older brother fears her wrath. But when it comes to the simple matter of talking to Mik, or “Violin Boy,” her courage deserts her. Now, enough is enough. Zuzana is determined to meet him, and she has a fistful of magic and a plan. It’s a wonderfully elaborate treasure hunt of a plan that will take Mik all over Prague on a cold winter’s night before finally leading him to the treasure: herself! Violin Boy’s not going to know what hit him.

As much as I loved Zuzana in Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I wasn't quite sure how I'd feel about a whole novella dedicated to her. After all, the lifeblood of DoSaB was its dealings with magic and Karou's travels around the world (both our own and Elsewhere)--so how could a story about two ordinary humans hold up? I should have known that Laini wouldn't let us down. Night of Cake and Puppets is written in the same kind of wondrous, magical prose that first drew me into DoSaB, but with loads of wry humor courtesy of Zuzana, whose feisty voice quickly became my favorite thing about the novella. Actually, both Zuzana's and Mik's voices are fantastic: hilarious and unique and slightly weird, and their personalities shine through. The weaving together of Zuzana's and Mik's narratives is absolutely adorable, showing how they are both completely enamored with each other but too shy to admit it (until now, of course). Even in this story where there is no mention of chimaera or seraphim, Laini still creates a world full of wonder and magic, though in a slightly more lighthearted fashion. It feels, as Mik says, "like something out of a fairy tale." In short, Zuzana and Mik's story is a perfect little break from the angst left over at the end of Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

Favorite Quotes
















My Rating:

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Book Covers I'd Frame As Pieces of Art


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic:

Top Ten Book Covers I'd Frame As Pieces of Art

You know how some people have their own personal movie theater rooms with a giant TV, comfy chairs, a popcorn maker, and movie posters covering the walls? Well, someday I'm going to have my own personal reading room filled with bookshelves, comfy chairs, a Keurig (because for the full cozy reading experience you need tea and coffee), and giant, framed book posters on the walls. These are some of the covers I'd frame:


1. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender: I know you're all probably sick of hearing me talk about this book, but LOOK AT THAT COVER! Just look at it! It's gorgeous!

2. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: I love that Gingerhaze did the artwork for Fangirl--it's so unique!

3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling: Having grown up with the American editions of the Harry Potter books, I absolutely love Mary GrandPré's art. All the covers are fantastic but I love OotP the most for its blue tones and the wispy letters.

4.  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë: Behold, the most beautiful cover of Jane Eyre ever created!



5. Black Spring by Alison Croggon: In keeping with the Jane Eyre theme is this spooky cover of Black Spring, a retelling of Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë.

6. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer: Oh, look. It's that other book I talk about all the time (sorry, not sorry). I'm a bit obsessive when it comes to hunting down different editions of my favorite books, and I've been drooling over the beautiful manga-esque Korean editions of Twilight for years but MAN, are they expensive! (Also, there's the tiny little detail of me not being able to read Korean, but whatever...)

7. The Diviners by Libba Bray: It's purple, it's got creepy-cool designs and awesome typography. Need I say more?

8. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: This cover art is perfection! It's the main reason I wanted to read the book in the first place (although the book would be amazing even without the beautiful cover art. Seriously, go read it if you haven't already).

So tell me, do we share any of the same favorite covers? Which ones would you have framed?

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Blog Event: Book Blogger Summer Reading Challenge


Remember those summer reading programs at the library that you used to participate in as a kid? Well, Katie of Katie's Book Blog is bringing back the fun of those days with the 2014 Book Blogger Summer Reading Challenge. It runs from May through the beginning of September and, in addition to the fun of seeing just how much you can read this summer, Katie will also be hosting various giveaways on her blog. You can find all the details and the official sign-up here.

Since my year-long reading challenge goal for 2014 is to read 100 books, and because I'm miserably behind so far, I'm challenging myself to read 30 books this summer. To keep track, I've made a Goodreads shelf and this fun little cross-off worksheet:


Since I'm a mood reader, I don't have a specific TBR list for this challenge. I'm just gonna go with the flow and read whatever strikes me as interesting. :) Let me know if you'll be participating and what your goal is!

Friday, May 2, 2014

That's A Wrap {1}: April


Oh, hi there, May! You snuck up on me! Seriously, you guys, where did April go and how did I end  up in such a terrible reading slump the whole month? I can't even look at my Goodreads challenge stats anymore because the number of "books behind" just keeps getting larger. Ugh!
Anyway, I decided to write my first monthly recap post. It's pretty short this time around but I hope to remedy that in May. I will get back on track with the reading challenge!


On the Blog
  • I gave the Life in the Pages tumblr a fresh look for spring/summer!
  • I created a new feature, Bookish Imaginings, where I share playlists and Pinterest boards I've made for my favorite books. You can link up your own posts, too, so be sure to check it out!
 
Books Read in April
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (review)
  • Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  • Persepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi

Curse you, reading slump!


Life Outside the Pages

At the beginning of April, I got some very exciting news: I was accepted to a publishing grad program taking place later this summer! I was absolutely ecstatic when I received the letter, and I am so excited for this experience and where it might lead me.

I also became a bit obsessed with Pinterest this month, especially after starting my Daughter of Smoke and Bone board for Bookish Imaginings. It's so addicting to make boards for everything--what clothes I'd like to buy, what I'd like my future house to look like, heck, even what I'd like my future wedding to be like. While looking at pictures home decor, I came across some artwork by PAPAYA!, Nicolas Gouny, and Katie Daisy, all of which I absolutely love because it's so bright, colorful, and whimsical. I just want my own place already so I can go crazy decorating it! Pinterest, look what you've done to me!


Favorite Posts from Other Blogs
  • Charlotte of Gyspy Reviews had a thought-provoking discussion about "The Abundance of Gender-Neutral Covers."
  • Alex Bracken, author of The Darkest Minds and writer for Publishing Crawl, interviewed Anna Jarzab about working in Digital Marketing at Penguin. 
  • Brittany of The Book Addict's Guide posted the results from her Book Review Survey.
  • Jenny of Supernatural Snark posted this gorgeous fan art in honor of the release of Dreams of Gods and Monsters.
  • Publishing Crawl talks about the editing process.
  • Alyssa of Books Take You Places wrote a review of Fairytales for Wilde Girls, which I totally want to read now!

Let me know what your favorite book was in April and what you plan on reading this month!