Top Ten Tuesday #8

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Click here to read more and join!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Click here to read more and join!

This week’s TTT is… Top 10 series I’d like to start but haven’t yet. Similar to these book series, I have exams I should be studying for at this very moment — especially since I will take two of them tomorrow. As anyone may guess, I haven’t started a cram session yet. I sigh! And, internally, I scream. Luck, I hope, is on my side for the next few days, but in the meantime I will also be daydreaming about cuddling up in my special reading spot with these babies:

Underdog1. Wolfe Brothers by Markus Zusak

Zusak’s The Book Thief made me feel all sorts of horrible, sad emotions, but I love him for it. Mist glossed my eyes and I tried to hold in the tears, but the tears poured out regardless, and — after all this time — I continue to feel the tug and pull of his characters’ fates. To feel truly moved and touched by a book in that way doesn’t happen all too often for me, and now I am left waiting, waiting, waiting. I need more Zusak in my life. Recently, I read I am the Messenger, which anchored my adoration for Markus Zusak’s writing more deeply. Until he and his people decide his next book is ready for print, the only Zusak books left to explore are those belonging to his Wolfe Brothers series. As far as I know, Underdog is his first published novel — something that I’m both eager but cautious to approach. How does this series compare to his two most recent books? I hope to find out.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone2. Daughter of Smoke & Bone series by Laini Taylor

I will admit that, upon skimming the summary, this is not a kind of book I would typically pick up. However, as I’ve kept track of reviews, the buzz that surrounds this series isn’t easy to ignore. Daughter of Smoke & Bone sat on my to-read list for nearly a year, and I never so much as looked for it at the bookstore or requested it from the library. For shame. A few weeks ago I did (finally!) purchase it, and I’m excited to read it soon. I sincerely hope that Time wants to be pals with me so that I can read the the first book before summer.

The Knife of Never Letting Go3. Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness

I have ALL of the books! The Chaos Walking trilogy sits in a special spot on one of my shelves, positioned just so — sticking a tad ways out. For quite some time, I itched to own this series, but I’ve wailed about wanting to read them for longer. A Monster Calls remains as the only encounter I’ve had with Patrick Ness, and even then: Ness worked off an idea from Siobhan Dowd. It will be interesting to see any differences in writing technique, I am sure, but mostly: a) I heard The Knife of Never Letting Go is good, b) YA dystopian, and as I know very well… c) Good + Dystopia = My Thing.

The Maze Runner4. The Maze Runner series by James Dashner

And here I have yet another YA dystopian series that I also hear is good. Naturally I own the set, unless we count the prequel. I first picked up The Maze Runner from the library, and I read an estimated one-fourth of the book before classes practically tore it away. Since then I’ve made one or two more attempts, though I feel dread at re-reading and re-reading and re-reading the same pages — it always seems that I’m setting it down for one reason or another. Once I make it past those already-read pages, I’m certain the hook will reel me in once more.

The Golden Compass5. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

A very clear memory of sixteen year-old me perusing the mall’s main bookstore and refusing to leave without The Golden Compass still remains. Sometimes, when I’m honest with myself, I quietly admit that the real reason I unleashed my death grip that day all centers on the book cover. It’s pretty eye-candy, really. Sadly, attractive book covers are not enough to make me read the actual book. Sigh. A number of people have recommended I try His Dark Materials, and I like to think that someday I’ll follow up on that recommendation.

6. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

I’ve seen all but the last released film (and I’m busy feeling upset the remaining Narnia books won’t be adapted?!), but I have only read The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I was twelve, and enjoy brooding over the fact that my literature teacher was not impressed by my pop-up and paper-made wardrobe. I thought it gave my book project creative pizazz; my teacher begged to differ. Fine, whatever — I had fun making the mini-wardrobe, but I had even greater fun reading the book. For whatever reason, I never carried on to finish the series. It’s a sad fact that I do not wish to remain a fact. Some day I’ll return to the first book and begin a Narnia adventure through all seven books.

The Chronicles of Narnia

Barnes & Noble leatherbound edition of C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia series

Johannes Cabal The Necromancer7. Johannes Cabal series by Jonathan L. Howard

Johannes Cabal: the soulless necromancer who wants his soul back! If only Satan was easier to bargain with. No, wait — ! His soul is back where it belongs, but now he’s on the run from the government. …And then? His necromancy powers are purchased by “The Fear Institute”?

In all honesty, I’m smitten with the cover. I’m smitten with the covers of all three books, and I’ve come close to buying these pretties on more than one occasion. As of yet, I’ve backed away from all buying opportunities, and the rest of the time I am busy forgetting that this series exists. At some point I’d like to set down all three books in their beautiful glory on my shelf. There’s no feeling like the feeling of ownership, but I’m just as eager to read this fantastical trilogy. First thing is first: it might help if I would actually remember to pick them up for reading.

A Tale Dark and Grimm8. A Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

As a fan of Brothers Grimm fairy tales, I kept an eye on the first book, A Tale Dark & Grimm, for months before I knew a sequel would come. I don’t know if there are any more books planned for future publication, but I’m mostly always down for fun re-tellings of favorite classic fairy tales. In A Tale Dark & Grimm, readers journey alongside Hansel and Gretel through 8 tales, followed by the companion novel: In a Glass Grimmly, in which Jack and Jill step in to lead roles. The books seem well-received, fun, and enjoyable, and I look forward to discovering the Grimm-based and inspired world.

The Monstrumologist9. The Monstrumologist series by Rick Yancey

Another book to dose readers up on a healthy serving of spooks, or so I hear. Only recently did I realize The Monstrumologist is just one of several books, although I am not entirely sure if this series is a good match for me. There is allure in entering a mysterious world full of strange creatures and horror that will make you gasp, however, and I’m interested. Monstrumologist be ware; I’m coming for you.

 

Hold Me Closer Necromancer10. Necromancer series by Lish McBride

I don’t always have time for reading the books I want to read, and I reach a breaking point when several days becomes several weeks of hardly consuming few pages at a slow pace. That’s when I seek quick, fun books that are light but complex enough to still hold interest. From what I hear, Hold Me Closer, Necromancer is good entertainment that leaves readers wanting a sequel. Well, a sequel was released last year, and the third (and fourth?) book is expected. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll get around to the first two books in time to join the rest of the fans for book three.

 

Which book series do you have your eyes on?

In My Mailbox #3

In My Mailbox is a book meme hosted by The Story Siren. Click here to read more and participate!

In My Mailbox is a book meme hosted by The Story Siren. Click here to read more and participate!

I think this will stay put as my last IMM post for a short while, now. No doubt I can walk back into the store or click around online, but I just shook off the effects of a disordered bookshelf again. It’s a frustrating thing, not knowing where to place which book without creating messy stacks that mingle with disorganized school and general paperwork. Last weekend I managed to clean the entire place, and it feels rejuvenating to live in organized space.

My bookshelves and mind alike have once again found sanity. (Or rather: While the above is true, this is mostly what I say to make myself feel less compulsive, because finances dwindle quickly when splurges occur…? Oops.)

So what happiness did I buy this time?

Monsters of Men & Daughtr of Smoke & Bone

Finally, Monster of Men came in! I originally planned to buy this whenever the moment comes where I begin the series, but I enjoy complete sets nonetheless. The first time I tried to read this series also happens to be my last attempt, but I don’t intend to keep it that way. Detractors included school and a dead brain, and if memory serves correctly, I accomplished a skim-reading of two entire pages. In any case, the Ness-hype and compliment-pool were enough to persuade me into buying all three Chaos Walking books. (I want to consume them all like I do with Dashner’s Maze Runner series. Right now.)

I can’t begin to try and remember the number of times Laini Taylor’s book has been recommended to me, but every time I see it reviewed or added to another’s TBR list — aha! I remember that Daughter of Smoke & Bone is sitting on my list and it wants to be read. I’ve tossed a coin between this and Maureen Johnson’s The Name of the Star for months, and now we all know which I decided to grab. All it took to convince me was spotting Rachel Hartman’s four-star rating on GoodReads. In the end, that is what helped me choose. It ended the never-ending coin toss. Why? Because I have carefully placed Rachel Hartman on a pedestal that can only level with gods, and I trust her ratings.

And, really, I think I made the right choice. Of course, I can’t know until I read Taylor’s book, but I must say: I made a quick stop to the library on Friday just to pick up The Name of the Star, and I feel relief that didn’t buy it. Just maybe, I might reach for the sequel, but Johnson’s writing didn’t live up to my hopeful expectations. That said, I sincerely hope to enjoy Daughter of Smoke & Bone.

(I thought bookstores might already be out of the hardback cover, as I haven’t seen it for several weeks. Of course, I see the hardback edition once again the day after I bought the paperback. It’s all right; I like this cover as well, but I have a thing for pretty hardbacks.)

Yes, I bought my own copy of Sepetys’ book (which I still thrust at people as a must-read), but what is that sticking out of the pages?

A very sweet and thoughtful letter arrived this week from Savindi (The Streetlight Reader), and she included The Unfailing Light (Katerina #2)   sticker! I’m certain her letter arrived before I started The Gathering Storm, but I had no idea a sticker was in there. (The backing camouflaged extremely well to the white envelope. That, and my eyesight is very poor.) So: A thank you to Savindi! She is the nicest blogger you can meet and a great person to know. The fact that she also has lots of great recommendations does nothing but add to her awesome quality.

Although I took a short break to plow through Maureen’s book in roughly a day, I’m returning to where I left in The Gathering Storm, as well as a few other books I said I’d read…

In the mean time: I take this opportunity to recommend (yet again) Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. This book had me hooked and sniffling well into early-morning hours. Hours which birds begin to chirp and sun rays invade my bedroom through window blinds. Hours which normal people are just waking up and not going to sleep. This book is an addicting tear-jerker, and I hope you all give it a chance.

Bis später!

Library Loot #8

  • Library LootLibrary Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post — feel free to steal the button — and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

I feel like every time I get an open slot of free time — time I’d like to snatch up and use for this blog — something happens. Something always happens, and I’m found sidetracked and busy or sitting down somewhere with a terrible headache and dumbfounded brain.

My clinical last weekend was canceled! Because I have Fridays off, I had a three-day weekend of nothing do except study for one test, but things happened. (I did, however, accomplish a massive spring cleaning, and it feels good. Very good. No one tells me I can’t spring clean in winter.) I had hoped to write my review for Markus Zusak’s I am the Messenger, but that obviously did not occur. (It also doesn’t help that no words come whenever I try to review it. My brain becomes stupid and blank.) This weekend I have a five days off, and let me tell you: I will be upset at myself if there’s no review by the time February 20th rolls around. I challenge myself to review I am the Messenger and Teeth by then, all right. Until then, here are my latest library borrowings:

Library Loot 1

In past Edward Gorey encounters, I generally find that I’m not as taken by his work as other people. I do enjoy his rhymes, I enjoy his illustrations perhaps more, and I like the oddball presentations and twisted mind of his. So what is it about Gorey that doesn’t work for me? I can’t say, because I can’t pin it down. Although I continue to dig around in his work without anything more than a three-star result, I still enjoy checking his books out every now and again.

As for Marciuliano’s book: I have intended to check this out for months, and why wouldn’t I? To keep honest, I did have doubts — especially after reading several incredibly dull or disappointing cat-related poetry books — but I Could Pee on This is everything it should be and more. It proved funny and truthful to the cat stereotype, which I must say as a cat-lover myself, is a stereotype that does describe a lot of our loveable domestics.

Suetdhe8defdisjas
I just typed a poem
Chsothekstevdswdj
I just typed a joke in your email
Nosyd76mhdlwdag

Next along the list are a couple of young adult novels I snatched:

Library Loot 2

I felt almost as excited for Stasse’s The Forsaken release before the publication date as I felt for Hartman’s Seraphina. The latter,  let me say, is the one to get worked up for. Once negative reviews started to flood and pile and drag the average rating down, my excitement dulled. Don’t let the fancy cover and interesting summary dupe you like it did me, because the unfortunate hope I had for The Forsaken to still kick ass was just that: unfortunate. It’s unfortunate because if I had not had any hope in the first place, I never would have wasted time reading this disaster. Most likely I will not review this — I think my GoodReads updates, in summary, do that for me. Enough said. On to better books!

I am also a bit glum to report that I will return Forman’s Just One Day without so much as flipping the pages. Curiosity squirms all about me ever since I came across Forman’s name a couple of months ago. Another day, Gayle Forman. Another day. Right now I’m much too interested in books I own, and I will never get through them so long as I have a library stack that towers in my bedroom. (Not that I would dare call this tiny tripping hazard a tower. It’s when the books hit 15+ that I grow concerned.)

Lastly, here, I have a few graphic novels:

  • Library Loot 3We3 by Grant Morrison and illustrated by Frank Quitely

(Pause this post. Time out. Take a couple minutes — a few, if you must — to appreciate Frank’s name. Frank Quitely. I have to wonder if that is self-constructed or parent-made. Google check: Good morning, Vincent Deighan. Thank you.

Resume.)

Sorry, I can’t hear you over the loud injured cries that sound a lot like whale noises. Those whale noises are my whale noises, because my heart still hurts. We3 played with my feelings, and I think I nearly cried (and no, it was not 4 AM. It was the respectable hour of 10/11 PM-ish). I will never trust a cover with animal cyborgs again, but here: take it and read it, because I highly recommend itNothing can beat the feeling of having a book scoop your heart up only to stab, crush, and light it on fire.

I will recover eventually. When the memory of reading We3 becomes a distant speck of vague recollection, I will be okay. Until another book comes along with a pickax and hammer, that is.

Happy Friday, everyone! Grab a book and cry yourself inside out.

In My Mailbox #2

In My Mailbox is a book meme hosted by The Story Siren. Click here to read more and participate!

In My Mailbox is a book meme hosted by The Story Siren. Click here to read more and participate!

I showed off my last book splurge six days ago, and yes: I have acquired more since then. Whoops. If you want to skip my side-rant, scroll right down to the photo below.

The purchases I made are nowhere near the book count from my last IMM post, but… I can’t stop myself. These last few weeks have tired and stressed me out to the point where I’ve felt like calling it quits on this nursing assistant training. I love this class, I do, but it drains, and I  sometimes find it nerve-wracking (especially for us beginners) and an occasional downer to my day.

(I mean: “I slept for two hours. I want to go home, not sit through an additional four hours of class,” or “I slept for two hours. I want to sleep, not get up at 5 AM and stand all day, jet around, and tend to people for the next eight hours.” Praise for those who can do this every day without much complaint, because those are the ones with real passion. Me? I look at these residents and I care and empathize, but: do I really want to do this? I don’t know, and it sucks to put yourself through some tough work only to discover in the end that you hate it.)

Books, however, have the opposite effect. I love weaving through aisles and flipping through curious books, and even returning to the same old books that a deep part of me desperately wishes to own (but I somehow convince myself to put them down anyway). I am down for a library raid any day (and even have some library loot to share soon), and just like borrowing books, buying and hoarding books are a pick-me-up. “This day has been tough,” I say to myself. “I deserve this!”

So what did I get? Ahem:

Siddhartha and Teeth

  • Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz

For months I have heard and read wonderful reviews about Teeth, and I have eyed it for probably just as long. I’d walk into the book store and make a beeline for one of my favorite sections (YA fiction), and ogle and grab and carry this book all around the store. Never did I buy it, though. I’d find another book — or, as is often the case — a set of books I decided I’d for-sure read and enjoy over Moskowitz’s novel.

Like anyone, I feel utterly disappointed to buy a book — so full of hope believing that I will like or even adore it — only to discover it’s a flop. Let me tell you: Teeth is anything but. I am told the prose is a wonderful match for an original story, and thank goodness I agree. Teeth, I learned, is nothing like I thought it would be, which is neither necessarily bad or good, but oh! This book is good. Very, very good. It has been far too long since I’ve felt truly hooked into a story that I can’t put down. Lucky for me that I typically have free Fridays, because I stayed up well into normal waking hours — nearly finished reading — before I decided sleep is a beautiful, beautiful thing. This book and its main characters latched on quickly and have now left me with a lingering bittersweet sensation.

  • Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse (Translated by Hilda Rosner)

This is the story of how I finally came to own Siddhartha and simultaneously made myself feel a teeny bit happier in the process.

Consider this a “feel better now” present to and from myself for having a not-so-great first-day clinical experience yesterday, because I do. I could turn the ordeal into a long, whiny rant, but to keep it “short”: I should have been up and getting ready at 5 AM, and I was. Or did. …Or tried. I physically removed myself from the bed only to lie back down to sleep for another half hour. A half hour became 6:26 AM, and: Oh my holy heavens I have to be there BEFORE 7!

It's smashing

Needless to say: I was 20 minutes late, had a ridiculous time finding available parking, became confused and lost once inside this facility (Where are my classmates?! Where is my instructor?! WHERE IS THIS HIDDEN ROOM LOCATED?!), I most likely annoyed the heck out of several staff members, and I nearly broke down in pathetic tears because I’m extremely ridiculous and I’m late, I’m late! The rest of the day was rough, and I will leave it at that.

What better way to make myself feel better than by driving to the nearest bookstore? Yes, there are other delicious things out in life like chocolate-gorging that send me straight into pure bliss… followed by a free-fall drop into self-loathing. Books don’t have calories I want to stab, so yeah. The bookstore it is.

Siddhartha is just one of hundreds upon hundreds of titles I want to read, and I do hope to read it this year. I made an attempt last year and failed (it’s embarrassingly easy for me to become distracted sometimes), but I know this book is not particularly long. “Great choice,” the cashier told me — he appears awfully fond of this classic, and I hope to appreciate it as well.

In My Mailbox #1

In My Mailbox is a book meme hosted by The Story Siren. Click here to read more and participate!

In My Mailbox is a book meme hosted by The Story Siren. Click here to read more and participate!

That’s right. I decided, finally, to participate in the In My Mailbox meme, and it’s about time. If any of my regular visitors recall, I resolved to buy books if and only if I intend to read them shortly after the purchase. Well. I haven’t been very good at keeping this promise to myself, but you know what? Buying books feels good. It feels really, really good to walk into a bookstore and leave with what I hope are fantastic books. I know it will be months, possibly even years, before I ever get around to reading them, but the fact remains: I own them, and ownership feels awesome.

I know I haven’t been good at updating Midnight Coffee Monster on a consistent basis, so it is fair to assume that I don’t time-manage well. At all. (Especially when classes are in session.) I do have posts planned, including reviews! It is only a matter of when I can find decent time, and I have to thank each and every one of my subscribers for sticking with me through hiatus periods. Meanwhile, I would love to share my recent books buys. It’s like I said: I didn’t keep my resolve. I neglected and ignored it, or pretended like I never made such a challenge. In fact, I’ve been pretty naughty about it all. But hey! What’s bought is bought, and I am most certainly not returning a single book.

Dystopia

I started The Maze Runner (Maze Runner #1) last year, and I forcibly sat the book down to remind myself of a nasty giant thing called “studying.” School, as always, shoved its bad self in between me and a good book. I wasn’t too happy, but what could I do? I swore to read it “later,” and “later” I have decided, is this year. I would not say that I read too far into the book, but I covered at least a quarter, and oh my what a fantastic chunk of story I read! I’d fallen for this book before I ever started to read it, which is why I went ahead and purchased the last two books in the Maze Runner series.

And now… Patrick Ness. Whoa-ho, I told myself, “Yeah, you shouldn’t buy The Knife of Never Letting Go until you have, in the very least, finished Dashner’s Maze Runner series.” Yeah, okay. That did not go as planned. I bought the book, and I have zero regrets.

But wait! Look at this…

Railsea and The Ask and the Answer I bought the second book in the Chaos Walking series!

Let it be known that I would buy Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking #3), but it’s currently out of stock in-store (and has been for the last three weeks). It is much easier not to buy something if it’s not staring me in eyes. Otherwise, I also made my second Miéville purchase! I still have not read my copy of Un Lun Dun, but I just may start it after I finish Railsea. The cashier had nothing but praise for the latter, and I find that I agree with her as I slowly chug along on Sham’s journey — the world-building and use of language is a blast of refreshing delight!

Classics Of course, I find it nearly impossible to pass up a good book deal when I see it, so when I finally — after dropping into B&N several times a week for who knows how long — I noticed one of the classics stands. (This is probably because I tend to revisit the same shelves repeatedly.) Buy 2, get 1 free! Yes, please. My problem here was figuring out which classics I wanted most, but I eventually left with:

I own and have read The Importance of Being Earnest, which I full-heartedly adore, and I can’t wait to finish reading the other plays. Oscar Wilde, may I say, is on a high level of perfection that no one can touch. He’s glorious. His writing is glorious. I would marry his books if I could, and no one is allowed to insult him in my presence. (Why would you even?)

Berlin Boxing + Peregrine

Well, well. It’s about time I bought Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children! I read this last year, and it quickly found its way to the top of my 2012 favorite reads. This was a library check-out originally, so I’m pleased to finally have my own copy.

But please: let the second Miss Peregrine installment come out this year! If only for the sake of my sanity, because I’m already going bonkers over the discrepancy of Dracomachia‘s expected publication. I need something, here. Come on, Riggs. Please. Please please please.

Lotsa books

On with the classics! I could not ignore Austen, as I found both of these novels marked as 75% off. As a result, each book cost less than $2. Not bad, right? I have already read Northanger Abbey, as well as It’s Kind of a Funny Story (before I knew a movie was to be made), and greatly enjoyed both. Let me say that if you think Vizzini’s book is anything like its film adaption, you’re mistaken. I am still in shock that such a boring and almost uneventful movie was inspired by this humorous yet honest story about a boy and his depression.

I am not sure what to expect from Irving’s collection, as I’m unfamiliar with his writing style (I’m nearly ashamed to admit), but do look forward to Persuasion! While I’ve made several unsuccessful attempt to finish Pride & Prejudice (not because I dislike it, but because I’m always distracted!), I surprisingly took a fondness for Northanger Abbey. Likewise, I hope to enjoy Barrie’s classic just as much, and I am most eager to start it.

That’s a wrap, everyone! Quite a bit of books, am I right? I swear, oh God do I swear, that I will not purchase anymore. …For this month. Ahem. This amounts to what — 15 books? I refuse to acknowledge the price these total out to, but, oh. It was worth every penny.