Friday, April 27, 2018

Dating Profile Friday - Luna Lovegood

Hey reader friends!  Welcome to a new feature on my blog - Dating Profile Friday!  This is where, every Friday, I pick a character from a book or series, and write a fake online dating profile for them.  If you have a book blog, and feel like joining in, I would love to see what you come up with.  Link your Character Dating Profiles back to this post!  (If this becomes a thing that a lot of bloggers are doing, I will create a special link back within each Fridays posts!  Let me know what you think.)

Today, meet the first person up in Dating Profile Friday:  Luna Lovegood!

Name: Luna Lovegood
Age: 17
Work: I write and publish books and magazines that help witches and wizards identify magical plants and creatures. 

Favorite Books/Magazines: The Quibbler
Likes: Wrackspurts, Garden Gnomes, The Quibbler, Listening to The Weird Sisters,  Fighting evil with my friends from the DA

About Me: I am a recent graduate of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  I spent time fighting in Dumbledore's army, and I enjoy teaching people about wrackspurts, dirigible plums, and my favorite magazine - The Quibbler.  My favorite classes at Hogwarts were Care of Magical Creatures, Divination, and Herbology.  

I enjoy painting yard signs for my lawn (like the one featured at my fathers house that let's people know just how sensitive dirigible plums really are!)

I also enjoy continuing the publication of The Quibbler, which was founded by my father.  He still works as assistant editor, but he enjoys spending as much time as he can dancing in the front yard and enjoying the company of the garden gnomes that frequent his property. 

If you'd like to chat, you can send me an email at

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Place Between Breaths - An Na

Title: The Place Between Breaths
Author: An Na
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 3 Stars

Sixteen-year-old Grace is in a race against time—and in a race for her life—even if she doesn’t realize it yet…

She is smart, responsible, and contending with more than what most teens ever have to. Her mother struggled with schizophrenia for years until, one day, she simply disappeared—fleeing in fear that she was going to hurt herself or those she cared about. Ever since, Grace’s father has worked as a recruiter at one of the leading labs dedicated to studying the disease, trying to lure the world’s top scientists to the faculty to find a cure, hoping against hope it can happen in time to help his wife if she is ever found. But this makes him distant. Consumed.

Grace, in turn, does her part, interning at the lab in the gene sequencing department in hopes that one day they might make a breakthrough…and one day they do. Grace stumbles upon a string of code that could be the key. But something inside of Grace has started to unravel. Could her discovery just be a cruel side effect of the schizophrenia finally taking hold? Can she even tell the difference between what is real and what isn’t?

Originally, I was going to rate this book 2 stars, but upped it to 3 because I think the disjointed feel to the writing works well for this book. 

The Place Between Breaths is about 16 year old Grace King, who fears that she, like her mother, may have schizophrenia.  The book alternates between different seasons and between the present and flashbacks to the past.  Throughout the book, we get a look at different times in Grace's life that lead her to believe she may have the same mental illness that caused her mother to walk out on Grace and her dad.  I don't want to give too much away about the book, because I have a feeling many people have this on their TBR piles, so let's just jump right into thoughts.

Like I said, the novel skips around between the past and present, and different seasons (actual seasons: Spring, Winter, etc).  This skipping around can give the book a sort of disjointed feeling, but considering the novel deals with schizophrenia, I think the disjointed feeling works.  It can help give a little insight into what may go on in the mind of someone with schizophrenia.

I appreciated that this novel tackles a pretty intense mental illness - there are not a lot of novels (that I know of) with schizophrenia as the core topic of the book.  But this mental illness affects a lot of people, and so having books or novels with representation of those people is important. 

I like that the book gets us into the fragmented world Grace is experiencing: wondering if she is like her mother, having delusions and worrying about what is causing them, having trouble with distinguishing between reality and her delusions.  The author really does well at tackling those issues.

The one thing I didn't like was the implication that because Grace's mom had schizophrenia, that means Grace will have it too.  Yes, mental illness can be genetic, but that doesn't mean it *will* be genetic.  One person having X mental illness in a family does not automatically mean their offspring or other close relatives will have X mental illness. 

One more thing before ending: The book is recommended for all teen readers, but personally I would say that it is best read by readers 16 and older who are a bit more mature and able to understand the subject matter a little better.  (That's just my 2 cents though - really y'all can make up your own minds.  Have fun reading!)

If you've read The Place Between Breaths - drop a comment below and let me know what you thought!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Frequently Used Words In Fantasy Titles

Hey Y'all! Welcome to another round of Top Ten Tuesday - a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  Every week, Jana picks a new topic: This weeks topic is Frequently used Words in (blank) Titles.  Here are some of my favorite books that fall into the category of: Frequently Used Words In Fantasy Titles!

So, have you noticed that a lot of Fantasy books use "And The" or "Of The" to describe something?  Here are some great books that use "And The" or "Of The" in their titles!

I love the whole Harry Potter Series (as if you couldn't tell since I have mentioned the books in a couple of TTT posts!)  But, it's no secret that the titles are all HP "And The" blank! 

The Artemis Fowl books are some more cute kids books that I enjoy, but also use "And The" Descriptors throughout the titles. 

I LOVE The Chronicles of Narnia - But as with many fantasy books, C.S. Lewis also used the lovely "Of The" in his title The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  

 Who doesn't love JRR Tolkiens classic Lord "Of The" Rings?!  You know what I find equally awesome about the title?!  Tolkien also uses "of the" in two of the titles in the LOTR trilogy! 

Monday, April 23, 2018

My Favorite {Harry Potter} Characters

Hey reader friends!  As y'all know, I've been reading my way through the Harry Potter series again. So, I thought it would be fun to do a Top Ten list of my favorite Harry Potter Characters!  Here we go!

Neville Longbottom: Okay, yeah, Neville starts out a little...quirky, but by the end of the series, he's turned out to be quite strong and confident in who he is!


Dobby: Fun, fierce, and willing to do anything for his wizard friends, Dobby is quite the fantastic house elf. 


Remus Lupin: He taught the kids more about defense against the dark arts than any other teacher at Hogwarts, and he was nice to them.  He stood up for what was right, even when he was having a bad month because of the whole wolf thing.  There were a few times I disagreed with him on how he handled things, but 98% of the time, he was pretty awesome.


Molly Weasley: Who wouldn't love to have Molly as a mother?!  She's a good cook, she loves her kids even when they are raising hell (ton-tongue toffee anyone?!) and she stands up to Bella when Bella is about to kill Ginny!

 Nymphadora Tonks: Tonks is a great fighter, a fierce woman, and a really funny woman.  She uses her ability to change her appearance to help and entertain others, and she knows how to help people when they really need it. 

Bill Weasley: When you are reading the books, and the first time we meet Bill, he's got the long hair and the tattoos, and you just know he's sexy.  Plus, he's just bad ass and travels the world, and he, like a lot of the good wizards in this series, stands up for what's right and knows how to look awesome doing it.

Luna Lovegood: Luna is a little off beat and quirky, and that's what makes her so awesome!  She does what she wants no matter what anyone else thinks. She's also an incredibly talented witch.


Hermione Granger: This lady is the ultimate bad-ass witch and woman.  She is so smart, and she is so fierce and talented that I can't think of a single smart person who'd want to mess with her.  She always stands up for what's right (SPEW, anyone?!)  and she loves her friends and family so much.


Professor McGonagall: She's fierce, loyal, and cares about her students.  She's also funny and insightful as hell.  What's not to love about her?!


Fred And George Weasley: Yes, I know, they are two separate people!  BUT, they are tied for the number one spot as my favorite Harry Potter characters.  They are smarter than people give them credit for, funny, caring (even when they are trying to make money off people, they still stand up for people - like when Dolores Umbridge was raising hell at Hogwarts, and they looked out for the younger students.)  They have fun and make money doing it and they care about their family and friends so much.  Is it any wonder that so many people love them?!

Now, reader friends, tell me: Who are YOUR favorite Harry Potter characters?!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Some of my {favorite} book memes

Hey y'all - like, just to have a little laugh - here are some of my favorite book memes.  What are some of your favorite book memes?!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda - Becky Albertalli

Title: Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: Becky Albertalli
Format: Paperback
Rating: 5 Stars

This post may contain some minor spoilers.  If, for some unknown reason, you have yet to read Simon, and you loathe spoilers in any form, save this review for later.
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

 I read another one of Becky Albertalli's books last year (The Upside of Unrequited) and while I enjoyed it, I LOVED Simon.  I found Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda to be an absolutely wonderful, charming coming of age book that deals with a tough topic (coming out) in such a good way (even in spite of Martin forcing Simon to come out, so to speak).

So, here's the lowdown: Simon is gay, but hasn't come out of the closet yet.  And he lives in Georgia.  Freakin GEORGIA.  He and his friends, Leah, Nick, and Abby are all pretty tight (though Leah does have some pretty heavy jealousy issues towards Abby.)  Through a series of events, Simon is sort of forced into coming out.  

So, let's break down what I loved about this story:
The Characters: I Love Simon.  I love how kind he is and how well rounded he is - and I love that he's a theatre nerd.  From one theatre nerd to another - I get you and your friends, Simon!  I love that the characters all have their own distinct personalities. The author does a great job of making sure each character has their own characteristics and traits that help them stand out from the other characters.  

The actual story/plot: This story is so well thought out and well developed from beginning to end.  There were plenty of moments of tension throughout the book that made me want to keep reading just to find out how it would all end.  I also loved the development of the relationship between Blue and Simon.  I loved that there was the guessing game between the two of them where they tried to figure out who the other was.  I love that their were moments of light heartedness thrown throughout the book as well.  The book deals with a tough topic, but life isn't serious all the time, and this book shows that.  

Simon's Parents: Yes, Simon's parents deserve their own heading.  Now, yes, Simon's dad made a few very inappropriate jokes throughout the book, and he was called out on that.  He apologized and promised that he would not make those jokes any more.  Also, when Simon actually came out, he parents were so cool, and chill, and they let Simon know that they would love and accept him no matter what.   Every kid should be so lucky to have parent's like Simon's.  (Because yes, even in 2018, there are still parents who do shitty things like kicking their kids out of the house for coming out.) I also really appreciate that this is another book where the parents are, you know, in the picture. There are so many YA books these days where the parents are just MIA through the whole book.  Like, you're a minor - where the heck are your parents?!!?!

The Drama Stuff: Now, I know this sounds weird, because usually all the drama in books drives me crazy.  So what I mean by this is that the author does have *some* drama in the book, but she shows us that, when given the chance, teenagers are actually very capable of talking about issues and resolving them in their own way.  Teenagers are smarter than you think they are folks. These friends did a great job of talking about things that were bothering them, even when they did get mad and needed a break.  Eventually they were able to work out their problems without being a bunch of whiny little bitches.

A Gay Main Character!:  I know I shouldn't be this excited about it, because there are other books that have gay MC's, but this book is just so amazing.  Having Simon in the front and center, being gay and coming out is just awesome. I think it is so so important for gay teens to have books like this, so they know that it's okay to be gay, and so they know that there will always be people around them who love them just the way they are!

Really, there wasn't anything I didn't like about this book (other than the whole Martin thing - go read it and find out what I mean!)  

I think my love for this book could very well be summed up with the following memes: 

Monday, April 9, 2018

Original Fake - Kristen Cronn-Mills and E. Eero Jonson

Title: Original Fake
Author: Kristen Cronn-Mills and E. Eero Jonson
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 4 Stars

In this Banksy-inspired illustrated novel, an escalating sibling rivalry train wrecks and vengeance is a street-art act of war
Introvert Frankie Neumann hates his life, and understandably so. He’s got a weird, tutu-wearing sister, Lou, and even weirder parents, Bridget and Brett—Frank Sinatra and Dr. Frank-N-Furter impersonators, respectively. And, he’s just the guy who makes pizza at Pizza Vendetta. Though he has secret artistic aspirations of his own, his over-the-top family makes him want to stay in the background. But Frankie's life is about to change—becoming way more interesting, even a little dangerous, but definitely cool.

After his shift at the pizzeria one night, Frankie meets David and Rory, cousins and errand runners for the mysterious Uncle Epic, a legendary anonymous street artist and Frankie’s absolute idol. Little could Frankie dream that his new adventures with Uncle Epic would lead to the perfect opportunity to strike back at his insufferable sister for a lifetime of torture. But things go haywire quicker than you can say “street art kicks righteous ass,” and the lines are suddenly blurred between art and Frankie’s real life.

Frankie, a young teen living in some unnamed suburb of Minneapolis with his parents and younger sister Lou (short for Tallulah.)  Frankie is supposedly a reserved, introverted guy who, because of that, hasn't really had any friends throughout his life.  Then he meets Rory and David and they start having all these adventures, including one where they set up a bunch of sheep and TVs in Loring Park for an art project for Rory and David's Uncle Epic.

Things I really Loved about This Book:

* Frankie.  His character is just awesome.  I love his pizza artistry at Pizza Vendetta, I love the fact that he is so creative and has such a great time making his art (in the form of punked out mannequins.)  I love that he is so nice to David - when he find out that David has a crush on him, he doesn't freak out, he just explains to David that he's straight, but that he wants to be friends with David.

* The street art aspect.  I love that these kids are already at a point in their lives where they are aware about social and political issues, and are standing up for it in a way that they can - and standing up for Uncle Epics art as well.  It is, in a word:

* I like that the parents are actually around in this book - even if Frankie does think they care about Lou more than him.  A lot of YA books that I've read have absent parents - and it drives me crazy.

*I like that the characters seem to have a good grasp on who they are.  They are all well-defined and they all seem to be confident in who they are.

What I didn't like:
* So, Lou and her theatre friends do flash robs, and when her parents find out - she barely gets in trouble.  She robs a bunch of stores and she doesn't even get charged for it.  I mean seriously.  I don't care if she's only 15 - she helped rob a bunch of stores AND SHE'S NOT EVEN GETTING CHARGED WITH IT!

Other than the no punishment for Lou part, I liked this book. The story was very well-developed, and I liked the art panels were thrown in throughout the book.  I also loved that this book take place in my home state - Minnesota. 

Go ahead and read this book - you'll love it!