Top Ten Tuesday #5

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

In accordance to this week’s TTT prompt, these are the top NINE books found on my TBR fall list. (My list falls short by one, okay.) While I look forward to reading many books during the new season (Crown Duel, The Scorpio Races, and Un Lun Dun to name a few), I selected books I anticipate the release of. Once again, I listed these books in no particular order — except the first two! I am already tired from waiting on Stormdancer and The Assassin’s Curse, enough said.











1. Stormdancer (The Lotus War #1) by Jay Kristoff
2. The Assassin’s Curse (The Assassin’s Curse #1) by Cassandra Rose Clarke
3. Dodger by Terry Pratchett
4. The Middlesteins by Jami Attenburg
5. Freaks Like Us by Susan Vaught
6. Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst
7. Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy #1) by Sarah Rees Brennan
8. The Diviners (The Diviners #1) by Libba Bray

Wait for it…

9. The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
My stance remains unmoved from last week, but just because I’m worried I won’t enjoy Rowling’s new novel doesn’t mean I can’t welcome it… with apprehension.

Aye, this post feels empty. Normally I would accompany each book with my thoughts, but there is little else I can say aside from, “I want to read this!” (And how repetitive that would be.) I’d love to hear what others have planned to read for the next few months, however — new releases or not. Tell me in a comment or link me to your TTT post!


Top Ten Tuesday #4

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 top 10 are bookish confessions. As a fairly honest bookish person, listing 10 confessions proved difficult — I didn’t think I would list that many, but with a little extra thought and searching…

1. I never finished Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, which I’ve only recently begun to admit this year. I had left off at the moment Harry wakes up to see Hermione’s and Ron’s hands outstretched toward each other, feeling lonely. At some point shortly after I called it quits, and the decision had nothing to do disinterest. I stopped for a few reasons:

  • Any and all HP 7 spoilers went flying out from a friend’s mouth. This did play a role in some disinterest (though only a small amount!), but…
  • My memory is shoddy with just about everything. In fact, I’d say it’s only good for retaining English lessons from years ago and past reads. It’s therefore unusual for me to forget something so direly important to a book’s plot, such as, “What is a horcrux?”  But it happened.
  • I did not want Harry Potter’s adventure to end for me, and I could not find courage in me to face Dobby’s death scene.

Until I finish Deathly Hallows, I refuse to see the second half of the film. Book before film, always. At least for Harry.

2. One day a pile of library books were stacked at my bedside on the floor, which is located no more than a foot away from my desk. At the desk’s edge sat another book stack — rather wobbly — topped with my coffee mug. The wobbly stack didn’t support the mug’s weight, and coffee spilled everywhere. Philip Levine’s Breath collection mopped up a bunch of large stains. I never said anything, and I was never charged damage fees.

3. It’s easier to feel excited by adding new books to my collection than by reading them.

4. One bookish secret I have never told a soul until now is that I never finished Laini Taylor’s Lips Touch: Three Times. I felt far too anxious to start the next book in my to-read pile, so I read about quarter of Taylor’s third story at most. It’s not as though I felt bored by Taylor’s stories, because I liked the first one and enjoyed the second with enthusiasm pumping through my system. I liked the second story so much that the third felt disappointing, I suppose.

Notes found in Sylvia Plath’s Collected Poems

5. I love finding other people’s annotations inside previously read books, but besides annotations? That depends. I have found an old receipt for cigarettes, bookmarks, students’ tardy notes for school, and library check-out receipts. I like finding check-out receipts, because I see which books were borrowed and discover new reads.

6. As for me, you can find annotations in just about every book I read — even library books. I used to erase my pencil markings for the library, but then I grew tired of it. (And by “annotations,” I mean: yes, I write notes, but I more frequently mark quotable lines.) I feel like I am marring books, but I also like it when I find that someone else also found the same sentence as interesting as I do.

7. I chose to write a book report on Mein Kampf, which I checked out from the library. I guess you can say that, technically, I didn’t finish the giant second half of the book. Before going ahead on my decision to read Hitler’s book, I wish I had looked at the translator’s note. It acknowledged that Mein Kampf offers no insight on the reasons I picked it up. Not only that, but it racked up a library fee worth $20+.

8. Luckily I never had  to pay the $20 fee. The library system somehow kicked me out, so a librarian told me I could create a new account. “That’s good news,” she said. “It means you didn’t have any library fees!” Shhh.

9. Reading slumps plague me the most when my work load is light, and all the fun gets sucked out of my favorite hobby. I want to read, but the slump says, “No!” So I then force books upon myself and feel even worse.

10. It’s not that I’m not looking forward to J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, but I’m worried that I won’t enjoy it. I want to enjoy it. I want to love it almost as much as I love her Harry Potter series, if only because this is J.K. Rowling: the woman who first got me to stay up until 4 AM, reading, entering a magical realm and refusing to leave. Up until that point, I don’t think I’d ever felt attached to a book before.

These are my top 10 bookish confessions! What are yours?

Top Ten Tuesday #3

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 prompt is to list your 10 favorite books during your blog’s lifespan. Is this a joke? No one can make me choose only 10 favorites. There are too many books, and too many I’d love to share with everyone! This list — which I wrote in no particular order — has undergone countless changes. Even now, I continue to make mental changes by switching and swapping titles. I want to list every book I’ve read and loved since — and even before — my WordPress blog forced itself upon the Internet.

Without further delay (because at this rate, I will keep my list under scrutiny and the post will never see publication), here are my top 10:

1. The Arrival by Shaun Tan
Here is a book I recommend everyone of any age read. In a wordless graphic novel, Tan artistically expresses — and with dazzling cinematic beauty — an immigrant’s tale. Most of us are familiar with this story: a foreigner makes a long journey to new lands, and all in hope to establish a better life. No matter how old and rehashed one might believe this story to be, Shaun Tan’s work is a refreshing gust of air that also took my breath away. I think many can appreciate the chronicle of a man braving a new world, while all (particularly children) will feel enthralled by the drawings and curious creatures. Overall, The Arrival is an imaginative piece of well-executed craft, and I can always go back and expect to feel same amazing enchantment.

2. Looking for Alaska by John Green
John Green hit my radar in late 2009 — a Nerdfighter enthusiast was ecstatic about an upcoming book (Will Grayson, Will Grayson), and even that was not enough to entice me. It sounds pathetic, but I needed a push and many reminders before I would step foot into the crazy realm of John Green hysteria. I waited a few years until I read Will Grayson, which — seeing as how I enjoyed the read — piqued my curiosity. Jeez, finally. After a so-so experience with Paper Towns, someone highly recommended I try LFA, and I am happy I went along with the suggestion. An Abundance of Katherines remains the only Green novel I haven’t finished, but I suggest LFA to those who haven’t encountered his books before. To this day, it remains my personal favorite of his work.

3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I cried. This book made me cry, which isn’t an easy task to accomplish. I’m more easily impacted, emotionally speaking, by cinema rather than literature. And yet: two rivers ran their course down my cheeks, and I found myself carrying out that whole stiffing-my-tears business. I try to regulate breathing until it steadies, and then I repeat some mental incantation, like, “It’s just a book; stop it. It’s just a book. …Stop it.” (I’m not a public crier, alas.) Death amused me, Rudy’s end crushed all my joy, but I will always look at Liesel’s relationship with Hans — as well as with Max — with sentiment. The Book Thief deserves attention for its sweet but wrenching coming-of-age story, and I hope you all should attempt it at least once — especially with a film in the works! (Yay or nay? I stand on uneasy but expectant ground.)

4. Go the Fuck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach (Illustrated by Ricardo Cortés)
I can’t say I will later look at this list and regret making Manbach’s picture book a part of it, but I think of other books I’ve read. Books with more sustenance, you can say. The Picture of Dorian Gray, for example, is a classic I love, and I could list Suzanne Collins’s THG series as well. THG, in fact, would be rather fitting since the DVD and Blu-ray were released this weekend. In the end, I love all of these books, and although Go the Fuck to Sleep is quick to read, it’s also entertaining. This book is worth a smile and a laugh, and I’d read it again for the sake of amusement. Samuel L. Jackson’s audio, however, wins my favor.

5. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
A laugh-out-loud satiric observation of the aristocratic life, The Importance of Being Earnest oozes formidable wit and illustrates why Oscar Wilde is perfection. No, Dorian Gray did not make my list despite how much I love that story — and don’t get the wrong impression. I nearly added Mr. Gray, but what it comes down to is mood and how Wilde effortlessly makes me laugh. I will certainly visit more of Wilde’s writing in the future, but I am just as likely to revisit this play time and time again. Even though I am past the wonderful first read of The Importance of Being Earnest — an experience I can never re-create (lest amnesiac misfortune befalls me) — I love how I can still return and get the same kick.

6. Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo
It’s no secret: I’m a YA book junkie, and this happened to land a spot on my YA favorites shelf. Second to Hartman’s Seraphina, I look forward to this book’s sequel. Prior to decking bookstores and libraries, hype that surrounded Shadow & Bone hooked my curiosity and raised expectations. Disappointment typically follows once I set a piece of literature to higher standards, but I find that Bardugo’s style owns an attractive quality that engaged me from the get-go.  Absorbed into the text — sitting there, reading — I hated life for butting in. When I had some place to go, I’d sit up from my comfy reading nook and walk with my faced still crammed inside the book. I wanted to carry on reading, but I didn’t wish the story to end, either. Emptiness replaced eagerness once I reached the end, so… Come on, 2013.

7. We Thought You Would Be Prettier by Laurie Notaro
Laurie Notaro, particularly her older and non-fictional work, hardly disappoint when I feel in need for a mood-boost. If Laurie’s humor suits you, I recommend the humorous essay collection of We Thought You Would Be Prettier. Laurie puts ridicule on display, exaggerating and poking fun at her own faults and everyday life. What sounds like an embarrassing and hectic life make priceless stories that are perfect for sharing. I think her latest book fails to match the humor in her previous work, but I can always count on her to tell relatable stories that put a smile on my face.


8. What the Living Do by Marie Howe
Because I chiefly read YA literature and review little else, I don’t believe many people know that my love for poetry dates beyond my YA obsession. 50 percent of my first few top 10 lists consisted of poetry, in fact: Umberto Saba, Rilke, Komunyakaa, Hilda Morley, and Kevin Young (to give some names). I wound up removing them all save for Marie Howe’s What the Living Do. This collection moves me, as I still see it as powerful with the great ability to bear itself raw through artistic, gentle appeal. From a childhood marked by sexual abuse, then growing up to see death (especially that of Howe’s brother), love and more, Howe explores relationships among the living and dying. Her language is plain but never dull; rather, it’s all at once striking, conversational, and effective.

9. How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford
I’m surprised I still feel affection for Standiford’s book, because it has lasted such a long time! (Which is to say that it’s been months.) There are books I read, and although I enjoy and continue to adore them, the exact feeling of adoration returns like a weak tide, growing fainter every time they cross my mind. The laughter at the similarity between Bea and I, the frustration toward Jonah, and my upset over the bittersweet ending for  How to Say Goodbye in Robot remains fresh. Compared to other YA contemporaries, this is one of few I claim holds a unique trait. Where else do you find a friendship like Bea’s and Jonah’s?


10. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Please. As if no one saw this coming. I would feel genuine shock if even a single person thought Seraphina wouldn’t make the list. Likewise, I imagine the people who are familiar with me skimming my top ten, chanting, “Where is it? Where is it?” And here it is! Gosh, have I tired anyone from my Seraphina-related banter yet? I fell in love with this book. As I normally do with something I love, I share and obsess and gush until I meet a new fascination. I just haven’t found a new fascination, but I am very eager to read Stormdancer

Top Ten Tuesday #2

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 Top Ten Tuesday list is: Top ten posts on your blog that give the best picture of you — both as a reader and a person. As a blogger who’s nearly reached 60 posts (3 more posts to go!), I considered opting out this week. I’m just beginning to collect a decent post number and establish a sense of routine here at midnight coffee monster. And, for honesty’s sake, the idea of people possibly browsing through older, yuckier posts unnerves me.  (You mean people do this already? Oh.)

By all intents and purposes, this blog is my personal e-space largely dedicated to books. As such, I occasionally but appropriately post book banter. Whether I want to discuss my current hoard (and there is always a hoard), mourn the end of favorite stories, or share excitement for upcoming books, these posts represent my every day. When I come home or when a free hour finds me, I look forward to an abundance of literature.

But from an abundance of literature choices arise, and I’m one of those people who find difficulty in deciding. I start one book, read 20 or so pages, and allow a different book to distract me. I try to keep monogamous relationships, but I’m easily a cheat. It doesn’t help, then, that I constantly look for new reads and make library requests. I won’t say how many items I have, but there are 13 on hold, an extra 2 pages of unavailable items, and my TBR list remains a gargantuan monster. (If it weren’t for libraries, I’d drown in a debt so large that would take five lifetimes to pay off.)

Hence: I love memes for their interesting prompts and allowing me to discuss past reads.

Library Loot (co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader) is among my top favorite and most frequently abused memes. Books pictured in this particular loot post show my favorite haul since doing the meme — for one: ever since I met THG’s end, I can’t get enough of YA dystopia. (I’m still working my way through this pile, too… 2 books to read!)

I admit that I’m lax with WWW Wednesdays (hosted by Should Be Reading), but I enjoy it just the same. Because I can’t review all the books I read, WWW Wednesdays give me an opportunity to share thoughts about recent and current reads. From this (and other memes, such as Recommend A…), it’s easy to gather my tastes.

I like to keep genre and style varied, as I believe diverse interests beat a narrow one! I’m open to new experiences, though I of course have preferences. As such, I enjoy participating in fun reading challenges, as they help push me to read books I’ve waited too long to start. Additionally, I get to discover new wonders and better define my inclination toward certain styles, genres, stories…

And what kind of “book blog” would midnight coffee monster be without book reviews?

Things I’m willing to do to grab the first copy of Hartman’s Dracomachia… I’d even snatch a draft if I could. Where the rich fantasy found in Seraphina pleasantly surprised and left me eager for more, Shadow & Bone equally excelled; albeit, it is fantasy though much more light. (I also confess that I fell for the Darkling. When I forced myself to take reading breaks, I considered the Darkling’s future role — both as a Grisha leader and a love interest, and whether he was “evil” or “good.” I knew where he would land, but I tried to convince myself otherwise. Damn you, Bardugo.)

I cannot say that Gray’s Ostrich Boys will ever become a favorite read, as the experience left me disappointed. I do, however, love a good coming of age story.

…Then moments present themselves in which nothing book-related has a home:

(I advise everyone to never take me too seriously. I exaggerate often and enjoy poking fun at life and myself. Reading, however, is serious business.)

Top Ten Tuesday #1

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

Yes, I decided to finally participate in the Top Ten Tuesday meme — the prompts always look like such fun, and I couldn’t refrain much longer. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday list is: Top ten characters I’d switch places with for 24 hours.

1. Eskarina Smith from Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

A female wizard?! No such thing, unless you are the brilliant, forever-squinting Esk. “Girl power” — pushing the concept of sex equality — plays a huge theme in the third Discworld book, and I adore this little wizard-witch’s perseverance. Everyone loves to inform Esk (and with steadfast certainty) what she cannot do simply because it’s not “right” — it’s unheard of! — for women. After spilled tears, hard work, and determination, it all pays off when the chance comes to prove herself. As a smart character, I would hop at the opportunity to trade a day for Esk’s life  — the first female wizard allowed entrance into The Unseen University.

2. Lucy Pevensie from The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis
The B&N leatherbound edition sits and sits on my desk — unread, I’m sad to say. Although I did read The Chronicles of Narnia (book 1) as a “tween,” and while Aslan and Mr. Tumnus remain favorites, Lucy wins my favoritism over her other siblings. As the youngest, her ‘childish’ perspective makes it easier to believe and see in things others don’t. How I wish I still saw the world this way!

Courtesy of Fanpop

3. Eskar from Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Out of ALL the characters in this lavish novel, I somehow found myself pining for more Eskar. I admire Seraphina: she’s intelligent, daring, and strong, yet also vulnerable. I love Seraphina, I do, but Eskar is something else entirely.

Oh, Eskar: that one cool saarantras who makes a few brief appearances but leaves a lasting punch of an impression. By her draconian nature, she is a constant blankface with inquisitive but superior air. Her demeanor expresses a coolly indifferent attitude — very casual but stern. When it comes down to it, Eskar is head in charge and owns it, and I’d simply love to strut in all that awesome.

Courtesy of Harry Potter Wikia

4. Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Luna, compared to the rest of Harry Potter characters — and possibly tied with Dobby — is the one I adore most. Utterly quirky, she is fascinatingly peculiar. For that, I think she possesses a great perspective on people and on life. Luna is often misjudged, but rarely — if ever — is she quick to (mis)judge others. Were it possible, I’d trade my humdrum life for Luna’s unconventional one, if only to immerse myself in her environment and see the world through her eyes.

5. Voldemort from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Read it again if you must. Yes, I said Voldemort. What I would do to be the almighty powerful Dark Lordess, worshiped by evil minions, and die the ugliest duckling who ever lived… Oh.

6. Bea from How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford
Bea and my former teenaged self have so much in common that I felt Standiford observed me from afar and violated my thoughts. The narrative comes across as openly honest to what Bea thinks and feels, and I loved her loyalty most. Overall, I think she is a wonderful separation from typical female characterization, but I am truly jealous of her friendship with Jonah!

Their friendship borders a fragile line between a beautiful friendship to inseparably unhealthy. The two don’t harbor romantic feelings for each other, but Jonah feels  jealous when other guys show interest in Bea. Although Jonah never expresses attraction to other girls (or guys, for that matter), I know Bea would feel bitter, too. But hey: I wish I’d had a friend as great as Jonah in high school. Shooting squirt guns at prom attendees as you drive by to have a night of fun — just you and your BFF — and haunting time-traveling parties…

7. Annie Cresta from Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Annie is mentioned in Catching Fire a few times, though little becomes known about her character. Even then: her spotlight has a weak bulb, and it flashes past her in seconds. Her character is such a small background figure in Mockingjay that you may only remember Annie for her connection to Finnick Odair. Finnick, in fact, is why I’d trade places with her — Mr. Odair, reportedly gorgeous, is an honest and funny guy who Katniss doesn’t spend enough time with.

Most of Finnick’s time is spent with Annie. Annie — I am sure she is likable person, but we don’t see enough of her for me to know or care, and I only care about Finnick Odair.

Well, don’t expect us to be too impressed. We just saw Finnick Odair in his underwear.

8. Miles “Pudge” Halter from Looking for Alaska by John Green
I’m not sure what it is about Pudge, but I think he represents a good portion of the “adorkable” definition. Besides: he gets to live my youth’s dream, which is to say that he attends boarding school. I think Ursula Nordstrom’s The Secret Language implanted this idea of boarding school + friends + adventure!time = a mostly great year. But Pudge experiences tragedy — an event that changes him but learns to grow from. He has a wonderful circle of friends, and even though I think a bufriedo sounds sickening, I want a culinary orgasm too!

9. Lou from No & Me by Delphine de Vigan
Put plainly, I find Lou charming. She feels burdened by world problems and nears the point of outrage when she contemplates solutions — how simply something could be solved if invading factors didn’t make situations complex. She thinks it’s cruel how she is afforded so many ‘luxuries’ in life when there are people who live on the streets. That’s when she meets the homeless No, and Lou’s personal world grows greener and richer for the friendship that blooms.

Lou and No have a sweet, genuine friendship, and Lou’s authenticity as a caring human being wins my approval stamp. Yes, I definitely would not mind stepping in her brave shoes.

Courtesy of Empire Online

10. Ebenezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol  by Charles Dickens

Scrooge, we all know, is far from flattering and even farther away from likable. Stingy, he also has a foul mouth rank with bah‘s and humbug‘s, and I feel not an ounce of pity when he finally meets the Ghost of Christmas Future. No one loves Scrooge! Everyone is eager to sell his belongings, not having the faintest pinch of guilt or sadness. No time for mourning the grumpiest old man known in town, is there?

I’m not stingy, nor do I scrunch my nose like a spoiled, irritating brat, but I do have “humbug days” (sometimes weeks, even). Scrooge’s experience and respective change remind me how important kindness and laughter are, so yes: I’d switch with Scrooge, but just for a day.