TTT: Summer Yellow Reads

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They call me mellow yellow! *hums*

Except not really, because when I think of summer, I’m more along the lines of Olaf and summer. I’ll probably melt occasionally, but I cannot wait. It may also have something to do with the fact that I’ll also be on vacation then, which is definitely much needed…

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes, summer reading. And I don’t mean that in the “this is your assignment for the summer” kind of “summer reading,” and honestly, I’ve mostly given up on TBR lists because I never follow them anyway. So this time around, I decided I’d do a TTT based on the color yellow! Yellow book covers are shiny and bright and quite happy! For the most part. Erm. Yeah.

Top Ten Summery Yellow Books

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany – This is definitely an easy and pretty light read. I’m typically a slow reader, but I got through this in a couple of hours during a mad, impromptu read-a-thon with my friend.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer – My sister was a big Artemis Fowl fan, so we have the series sitting neatly at home. I practically grew up on Eoin Colfer, J.K. Rowling, and Tamora Pierce, so you can bet that if they had yellow book covers, I was putting them up here!

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell – Chyeahboi. Summer break may be over for Simon Snow and Basilton Grimm-Pitch, but not for us! I’d totally take my two boyz with me to the beach if I wanted some beach-reading material to squee over.

Wish Memorial Illustrated Collection by CLAMP – I will admit that the Wish covers had some of the most aesthetically pretty illustrations I’ve seen of CLAMP’s stuff, and that’s saying something, because normally CLAMP knocks their artwork out of the ballpark. I loved this short series, though admittedly it’s not my favorite of CLAMP’s. That is normally reserved to Magic Knight Rayearth and Cardcaptor Sakura.

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder – Cannot stop recommending this enough! I love this book, and Yelena, and Valek, and this cover is pretty much my favorite of the covers that have come out. Not sure why, but I did like the simplistic juxtaposition of the red and yellow colors. That could be just me, though.

Enchantment by Orson Scott Card – Orson Scott Card is largely known for his science fiction stories, especially in the Ender’s Game series–well, and also known for his outspoken, often-controversial political views–so it’s often a surprise to people when I say of the books he has written, Enchantment still remains my favorite. But I’m just biased, considering it is based on a fairy tale, and it is a fantasy entrenched within Slavic history and folklore.

The rest of these books are books I’ve yet to read but really, really want to.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – Another dual cover book! And it’s by Laini Taylor, who is a goddess of the written word. This is supposed to be a duology, so THANK GOODNESS FOR THAT.

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor – Yeah. Laini makes it on this list twice, lol! I’ve started Days of Blood and Starlight so Dreams of Gods and Monsters will probably be something I’ll read either in June or July. Yep. Need my Karou-Akiva fix that’s for sure.

Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo – This cover is just gorgeous, and I really want to read this! Who knows when I’ll get to it, though… *twitch*

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang – Same for this book! I adore Gene Luen Yang’s spinoff stories in the Avatar: The Last Airbender world, and I would love to read something based off his own perspective and not that of Team Avatar (though I could do with more of the latter as well).

What are some fabulous yellow-covered books you’ve read?

Literature and London Part 1: A Darker Shade of London Magic

I’ve been meaning to write this post since I’d gotten back from vacation in April, and somehow time got away with me. Or, shall I say, I ran away from time due to other time-sensitive (hah!)…stuff. In any case, I wanted to do a more geeky, in-depth post about my very short time in London (and its surrounding areas). And, of course, because I’m a book-nerd, I was going to do so with a bookish twist, much like what I did with my Prague post!

“There’s Dull London, Kell London, Creepy London, and Dead London.” – A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Unlike Prague, it’s got a bit more of an assortment of literary fandoms, only because many books I’ve read encompass various parts of the United Kingdom, and not just that of the city itself. Since I knew the Shades of Magic and Harry Potter references would run a bit long, I decided to split my London and Literature series of blog posts into three parts.

And, of course, Schwab won out as the first post. Because why the hell not?!

Windsor’s distance from London was terribly inconvenient considering the fact that, when traveling between worlds, Kell could only move between a place in one and the same exact place in another. Which was a problem because there was no Windsor Castle a day’s journey from Red London. In fact, Kell had just come through the stone wall of a courtyard belonging to a wealthy gentleman in a town called Disan. Disan was, on the whole, a very pleasant place.

Windsor was not.

Impressive, to be sure. But not pleasant. – A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

I knew there was quite a bit of description of certain places in Grey London in A Darker Shade of Magic, but rereading it definitely reopened my eyes to just how much of Grey London had been largely described. I find it a bit appropriate that when I visited Windsor, it was kind of a grayish day, much like when Kell walked into the castle to see George III. I wouldn’t go so far as to say Windsor wasn’t a pleasant place, the town itself had a sort of charm, even in lieu of us crazy tourists and our need to look at the inside of The Queen’s favorite residence.

He continued on until the park gave way to the streets of London, and then the looming form of Westminster. Kell had a fondness for the abbey, and he nodded to it, as if to an old friend. Despite the city’s soot and dirt, its clutter and its poor, it had something Red London lacked: a resistance to change. An appreciation for the enduring, and the effort it took to make something so…here, Westminster Abbey always stood, waiting to greet him. – A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

I felt sort of like Kell, though unlike him, I traveled through the Underground to get to Westminster. When I walked up the stairs and out of the underground, Westminster pretty much greeted me in its staunch regalness and unchanging glory. It was a lovely sight to walk into, and I can’t help grow a fondness for such a structure amidst the hustle and bustle of the city streets.

Even at night, the river shone red.

As Kell stepped from the bank of one London onto the bank of another, the black slick of the Thames was replaced by the warm, steady glow of the Isle. It glittered like a jewel, lit from within, a ribbon of constant light unraveling through Red London. A source.

A vein of power. An artery. – A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

I pretty much walked parallel to the Thames for an entire day, and I often glanced at it and wondered how the city would have looked if the water was really red. Alas, no magic in this artery. The view, however, is particularly pretty, and I’d like to think that in another time and another London, a tavern boat called the Sea King moored its ports. (Up until it burns down, of course…bad Lila!)

Also, on a similar note, Red London’s version of the Thames is the Isle, a glittering red river running across Red London with power. At the heart of it stands a palace, the House of Maresh, and honestly, if it had a Grey London equivalent, I’d imagine it to be exactly like Tower Bridge, which is certainly a magnificent structure that straddles the river. Wouldn’t it be cool if that was how the palace looked like? It probably doesn’t, but my imagination ran away with me, so…

Lila was soaked to the bone.

Halfway across the bridge, the sky had finally opened up–not a drizzle, as London often seemed to favor, but a downpour. Within moments, they had been soaked through. It certainly didn’t make dragging the half-conscious Kell any easier. – A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

And somewhere in the distance–probably at London Bridge (which isn’t Millennium Bridge OR Tower Bridge, but the plain one in between)–in another time and another London, is a crossdressing girl thief dragging a half-conscious ginger-headed Antari across the river and into the Stone’s Throw.

On a related note, skim-reading ADSOM was a good and terribly bad idea. Good because holy hell, HOW did I totally forget about a fake-Kell striptease happening in the middle of the book?! And bad because OMG lots of other things happened and then I ended up spending hours just reading scenes upon scenes of my favorite characters and and…hours later this post still wasn’t written. Yeah.

Pity there wasn’t a Stone’s Throw in sight, but I will say that I dined in a pub near the bridge, which comes a bit close!

Coming up in the next London and Literature post: Hogwarts and Harry Potter.

TTT: Book Moms

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With Mother’s Day having just passed, I thought this was a cool topic to delve into. Not to mention the fact that I’d just finished talking about Briar Wilkes, a mother in a particular steampunk book (which also fits into my scheme of book moms…) I’ve reread recently.

Book moms are far and few, and often they’re likely dead of something or other. Gosh, why are most of my fave heroines lacking in a mother figure anyway? But that’s a completely different topic altogether (which, now that I think about it, I wonder if I can do a “Top Ten Heroes that Received the Batman Special”…damn, that’s depressing). In any case, I wanted to celebrate the cool book moms in books I’ve read that had book moms.

Top Ten Book Moms

Snow White – Fables: Vol. 19, Snow White by Bill Willingham – This is practically the latest volumes I’ve read of Fables, but hell, I’ve always admired Snow White. I thought she’d been sidelined for many volumes, but she shined once more in this volume. She’s a mother of seven wolf cubs and while her husband Bigby tends to be the muscle and grand protector of the family, there’s no denying how overly formidable she can get when her children are on the line.

She’s somethin’ FIERCE.

Emira Maresh – A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab – Um, OF COURSE Emira. She wasn’t as active as I’d hoped she’d be, but again, she’s a mother who has a ton of love for her two sons (and one of them’s adopted!). She’s also a waterbender. And I like waterbenders. Almost as much as I like firebenders. Um. And metalbenders. Wait. I’m in the wrong fandom…but whatever!

Molly Weasley – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling – What Harry Potter fan is going to forget this iconic lady and her “NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!” line? Frankly, it was one of the best goddamn things in the seventh book. After having a child die and seeing a few of her sons maimed eternally by dark magic, she was having NONE OF IT when it comes to her daughter. Ginny’s got one fiery-haired mum, that’s for sure.

I still get the shivers when I see this scene.

Briar Wilkes – Boneshaker by Cherie Priest – I mean, obviously I was putting Briar on this list. At some point in the book she mentions at how bad a mother she is. Then, quite literally the next day, she’s boarding a smuggler’s airship, aidropping onto a ravaged Seattle, and braving the perils of zombie gas, rotters, and mad scientists in order to get her boy. Yeah, she’s totally a badass book mom.

Catelyn Stark – A Storm of Swords by G.R.R. Martin – Oh yeah. She also gets thrown in here for being a staunch supporting mother of all her children. I was between Catelyn and Cersei, but honestly, Cersei annoyed by in the fourth book and my heart goes out to Lady Stoneheart and her taste for vengeance. Also…DEAAAAATH.

The “I cannot even” is strong in Catelyn Stark.

Mara of the Acoma – Mistress of the Empire by Raymond Feist and Janny Wurts – I will admit I haven’t read this book. I absolutely loved Daughter of the Empire, and I’d read Servant of the Empire but I couldn’t bring myself to reading the third book after I was a little bit disappointed with the second. Mara, however, is still one of my favorite characters, and she becomes a mother by the third book, which upped the stakes even more in this finale of the trilogy.

Mrs. Bennet – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – Mrs. Bennet isn’t really the ideal mother, but hear me out. Listen. She’s still the most comedic character in all of the Austen novels put together, because she practically tells it how it is. She wants her daughters married off, and she’s not afraid to tell you what she thinks of men who scorn her daughters for their lack of wealth and standing. The woman has a screw loose in her head and she definitely has to relabel her priorities, but come on, she totally meant well.

Eleni Cooper – Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce – She’s practically a secondary character, but a strong one in the Tortallan world. Now, honestly, I would have said Thayet hands down, but Eleni has a quiet strength to her, and she gets major kudos for having reared a felon without dying of a heart attack soon after. That said, George kind of came off fine in the end, and Eleni can rest easy that her son has a comfortable life.

Mrs. Frisby – The Secret of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien – I really liked this book as a kid, and I absolutely loved the animated movie that came out in the ’90s that was based on this story. Mrs. Frisby was the type of mother who went the extra mile in order to save her family from destruction. And boy oh boy, does she go places.

Queen Ashen – Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore – You don’t get much of her essence in Graceling, even though much of the story happens to have taken place when Leck is still alive. That said, much of Ashen’s past comes back during Bitterblue’s story. Ashen was a queen who, like almost everyone in the Monsean court, fell victim under Leck’s Grace. This brought about all sorts of horror upon Ashen; however, she still manages to pull through when it came to the thought that her daughter would get hurt. Ashen is solely responsible for Bitterblue’s initial survival, and it is thanks to her that her daughter is queen of a once-doomed kingdom.

How about you? Which book mothers made your list?

TTT: Time Periods

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I was sitting here contemplating on whether I should write a formal blog review of the last book I read, but then it hit me that I’m mostly on a time crunch, and I was better off looking at a Top Ten Tuesday topic.

Now, it took a while to figure out what I wanted to write about, and eventually I thought: hey, well, I know WHAT time periods I’d rather not read about for the foreseeable future, but what about the time periods I’d love to read more about?

And thus the birth of this wibbly wobbly timey wimey take on this week’s topic.

Top Eight Time Periods I’d Love To Read About

The Jazz Age – Make no mistake, I love the era for its glitz and glamour, and the fact that it comes right after the Industrial Age makes this an even more interesting time period, what with the technology and the Prohibition and the booze and the jazz. Especially the booze and the jazz. And how.
Some notable books: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Diviners by Libba Bray, Phryne Fisher mysteries by Kerry Greenwood

The ’50s – Baby Boomin’ 1950! This is mostly because I’ve watched too much Mad Men and at some point I wanted to read more stories taking place here. Also, I mean…this was more or less along the years of the Golden Age of Hollywood (well, 1940s, but we’ll count the ’50s along with it). More fiction there, plsthx!
Some notable books: Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote, England Expects by Sara Sheridan, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Feudal Japan – Honestly, I’d love many fantastical spins that take place in this country, provided they’re done right. Which makes me picky, because I tend to avoid fictional books of Japan unless they’re manga. All the same, I’d love to read more books set during feudal Japan, with all the samurai and the shogunate and all the lovely pre-samurai killing, technological advancements.
Some notable books: The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu, InuYasha manga series by Rumiko Takahashi, Shogun by James Clavell

The Salem Witch Trials – There was a time where I’d been obsessed with this time period. I don’t know why, considering the witch hunts were scary and psychotic, but I always found my fascination ran on the morbid side of things when it comes to witches and Salem. I have found this time period kind of lacking in good fiction books, but that could just be me not looking hard enough.
Some notable books: The Crucible by Arthur Miller, The Witch of Blackbeard Pond by Elizabeth George Speare, Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

Ancient Ireland – Honestly, I should probably just say “Ancient Celtic” time periods, but that limited the amount of books I’ve already read to maybe one or two. Anyway, I love Ancient Celtic myths just as much as I love other stories, and the Celts were always rich with tales of magic and ritual. Also, faeries. Loads of faeries.
Some notable books: Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier, Hounded by Kevin HearneDaggerspell by Katherine Kerr

British Regency – Honestly, why wouldn’t I want to traipse down the English countryside and visit Pemberley Manor? I’m actually reading The Jane Austen Handbook at the moment, and I just couldn’t resist adding the British Regency time period onto this list. OF COURSE it was being added onto this list.
Some notable books: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermere, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Victorian London – Well, honestly, Victorian ANYTHING suits just fine. I wouldn’t necessarily limit myself to reading just Victorian England tales. Victoriana refers to a time period within England, but I’m personally referring to the time period for around the world. Most of the books I’ve read are steampunky in nature (which is FABULOUS).
Some notable books: The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross, Soulless by Gail Carriger, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Historical Russia – For a time I’d been obsessed by the Romanov dynasty, and on some days, I still am! I’d love to read more fiction taking place in the past Russia. I might even slug through authors like Tolstoy. That said, I love the fiction that pulls from Slavic mythology the best, which explains why I’ve always got a soft spot for Russian fantasy.
Some notable books: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys, The Grisha series by Leigh Bardugo

I’ll cap it at 8 because my brain is now turning to mush.

What about you? What time period do you normally like reading about?

Mini-Reviews: A Brief History of Time, A Life in Parts

Alright, I’ve got a number of reviews and mini-reviews on the backlog, as well as some updates about what I did all of spring break (which will probably come in the way of me nerding out to some of my favorite literary places). But since I’m going to need more than an hour or two off an evening to compile my shmat together, mini-reviews it is!

These were some audiobooks I’d listened to prior to me traveling abroad, but pretty good to listen to, considering.

Have you read these? What did you think?