Tuesday, October 14, 2014

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

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

 This Week's Topic:

Places Books Have Made Me Want To Visit


"There was a deceptive tangling of alleys that gave you, gargoyles tiptoeing away, stones like puzzle pieces rearranging themselves into new configurations while you weren’t looking. Prague entranced you, lured you in, like the mythic fey who trick travellers deep into forest until they’re lost beyond hope."

Forks, Washington/Hoh Rain Forest

"Everything was green: the trees, their trunks covered with moss, their branches hanging with a canopy of it, the ground covered with ferns. Even the air filtered down greenly through the leaves. It was too green--an alien planet."


"It looked like an old painting, but real--everything achingly idyllic in the morning light--and I thought about how wonderfully strange it would be to live in a place where almost everything was built by the dead."


"It was monumental: an entire town, really--lanes and plazas, neighborhoods, a caravansary, granary, and palace--all of it echoing empty. Its creators had dreamed on a legendary scale, and to stand in its flagstone court, mud walls and peaked roofs jutting overhead, was to feel shrunk to the size of a songbird."

 Prince Edward Island

"Below them was a pond, looking almost like a river so long and winding was it. A bridge spanned it midway and from there to its lower end, where an amber-hued belt of sand-hills shut it in from the dark blue gulf beyond, the water was a glory of many shifting hues--the most spiritual shadings of crocus and rose and ethereal green, with other elusive tintings for which no name has ever been found."

What are some places you've read about that you'd like to visit?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Favorite Character-Driven Novels

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

This Week's Topic:

Ten Favorite Character-Driven Novels

Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang - Even though the characters in this book are pretty horrible, you still feel for them.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - Cath Avery is one of my favorite fictional characters. I related to her so much and her story was an emotional roller coaster.

The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson - Maggie, Pauline, and Liam were a great cast of characters. I loved this book so much! I don't know what it is about YA boys named Liam, but I've been falling for quite a few lately.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart - Oh, Gat. Oh, my heart! I want to say more but I'll start spewing spoilers.

A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass - One of the most fascinating YA characters I've never come across, with a pet cat that totally broke my heart.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - This is such a gorgeous book and while it's not heavy on plot, Morgenstern's characters are lovely to read about. Even the circus itself seems to be a character in the story.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater - With a name like The Scorpio Races, you'd expect this book to be very plot-focused, but really it's more about the two main characters, Puck and Sean, and the people of the eerie, secluded island they live on.

Do we share any favorites? What are some character-driven novels you love?

Friday, October 3, 2014

Book Review: The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson

The Vanishing Season by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pub. Date: July 2014
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source/Format: Library/Hardcover

Girls started vanishing in the fall, and now winter's come to lay a white sheet over the horror. Door County, it seems, is swallowing the young, right into its very dirt. From beneath the house on Water Street, I've watched the danger swell.

The residents know me as the noises in the house at night, the creaking on the stairs. I'm the reflection behind them in the glass, the feeling of fear in the cellar. I'm tied—it seems—to this house, this street, this town.

I'm tied to Maggie and Pauline, though I don't know why. I think it's because death is coming for one of them, or both.

All I know is that the present and the past are piling up, and I am here to dig.I am looking for the things that are buried.

From bestselling author Jodi Lynn Anderson comes a friendship story bound in snow and starlight, a haunting mystery of love, betrayal, redemption, and the moments that we leave behind.

The Review
Maggie Larsen moves to the peninsula town of Gill Creek after her mom loses her job in Chicago. The family has inherited an old Victorian house on Lake Michigan and live practically out in the middle of nowhere, with only two neighbors to speak of. There, Maggie meets and befriends Pauline, a wild, carefree girl, and Liam, the quiet boy who has loved Pauline all his life. As Maggie settles into her new life in Gill Creek, girls in the community start turning up dead--found drowned in Lake Michigan. Rumors fly as to who the killer could be; is it Gerald, the odd old man who sells gramophones at the local antique store, or could it be Liam's father, whose status as an outsider and eccentric atheist make him a prime target for suspicion?

Right off the bat, I was drawn in by the mystery in The Vanishing Season, especially once I learned that part of the story is told through the point of view of a ghost, who seems somehow tied to Maggie's new home. We don't know who she is or why she is so attached to Maggie and her friends; could she be the ghost of the young woman who lived in Maggie's house over a century before, or is she one of the murdered girls, trying to warn Maggie, Pauline, and Liam? While this is certainly a compelling part of the story, the real heart of The Vanishing Season is Maggie and her friendship with Pauline and Liam. Maggie is cautious and thoughtful, the exact opposite of Pauline, who lives in the moment and doesn't want to grow up. And then there's Liam, whom Maggie thinks she might be falling for, even though his world revolves around Pauline. I became so attached to these three while reading and there were parts (you'll know them when you get to them) when I just sat staring at the page, whispering "no" because I knew what was coming and my heart was breaking for them.

What really makes this book stand out is Jodi Lynn Anderson's gorgeous writing style. It especially comes through when reading the ghost's point of view. One of my favorite images from the book is the description of moths gathering around the ghost, as if she's a light they're drawn to. In a lot of ways, the ghost girl in this book reminded me of the narrator, Death, in Markus Zusak's The Book Thief; they both had this mesmerizing way of describing their worlds and the people they watched over.

Favorite Quotes
"Still, below, in the early dawn, something runs rampant through Gill Creek. It tips over garbage cans, taps against windows, breathes onto people's necks. The residents think it's animals, or the wind. But I think it's fear itself."
Okay, how great is this quote? I love the air of foreboding it gives; when I read "taps against windows, breaths onto people's necks," I actually felt a little shiver of fear myself! 

Maggie, Liam, and Pauline musing over who the killer could be:
"I think it's Liam."
Liam stared into the fire. "I did it with s'more sticks."
This line absolutely cracked me up while reading. I love, love, love it when authors add witty banter to stories.

"I think you go on. I don't think you disappear. I think my dad watches over me, like my guardian angel. Only sometimes I feel like if I leave here, or if I change too much, he won't recognize me anymore."
One of the sadder quotes from the book, but I loved it because it really gave us insight into Pauline and why she's so wild and childlike, and unsure about the future, whereas Maggie is cautious and has everything planned out.  

Final Thoughts
Buy | Borrow | Skip
 The Vanishing Season is a beautifully written, heart-wrenching story about friendship and growing up--definitely a book I'll be adding to my collection.