On the Same Page: Howl’s Moving Castle

Title: Howl’s Moving Castle

Author: Diana Wynne Jones

Publishing Information:  April 22nd 2008 by Greenwillow Books

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fiction, Romance, Magic, Adventure

Series Information: Book one in the Howl’s Moving Castle Trilogy

Format: Paperback, 429 pages

Source: Borrowed from my public library

Recommended For: Readers looking for a fun and quick read that will bring them back to their childhood.

Related Reviews: Check out Amy’s post and Brittany’s post

Hi friends! Here again for our On the Same Page post! This month we read a classic that we had all neglected to read while growing up! Howl’s Moving Castle is one of those books that I have always regretted not reading, not to mention the fact that people keep telling me that I absolutely needed to see the movie – and we all know that I can’t watch it before reading! So that is just what I did, I set out to read Howl’s Moving Castle and I devoured it in a day! I loved this book so much, it reminded me of growing up reading The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, which I think is my go to highest compliment! Okay so let’s get into the comparison…

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The first thing that I should tell you is that I am finding that those who watched the movie prior to reading the book enjoy the movie a lot more, and vice versa. Actually, multiple people have told me that they were unable to even finish the book because they were not enjoying it as much as the movie! I read the book first and found that I enjoyed the book so much more than the movie. I don’t really see how I can write this post without ruining some of the plot so, spoilers ahead! Continue reading

On the Same Page: Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson

Title: Peter and the Starcatchers

Author: Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson

Publishing Information:  May 11, 2006 by Disney-Hyperion

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retelling, Middle Grade, Adventure

Series Information: Book one in the Peter and the Starcatchers series

Format: Hardcover, 452 pages

Source: Borrowed from my public library

Recommended For: Readers looking for a retelling of a timeless tale, one that brings you back to the beginning before Peter was Peter Pan. If you are looking for a heartfelt story that reminds you what life was like before you “grew up,” then this is the book for you.

Related Reviews: Brittany’s Post on retellings and Amy’s post bringing you back to the origins!

Hey there, lovelies! This month the gals and I went a little younger in our pick and chose Peter and the Starcatchers as our May read! We mainly chose it because the narration is done by Jim Dale and we loooove Jim Dale!! I actually started off listening to this one but didn’t have much time so I picked up the print copy and was very impressed by both! Much like I did for our post on The Goose Girl, I am going to talk to you guys about some retellings that you can read if you are interested in Peter Pan. Spoiler alert: Peter Pan is actually one of my least favorite stories from my childhood (as well as one of my least favorite Disney movies…ugh, Wendy) but I still felt myself enthralled by Peter and the Starcatchers. I loved the way in which it went back to the beginning, and helped show who Peter was before he became Peter Pan. The relationships were fleshed out and the whole novel was action packed and fun. It was the ending that really cinched my love for this novel. I teared up a bit and my heart melted, I will definitely be continuing on with this series.

If you want a love story that will surprise you and make your heart ache…

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Tiger Lily is one of the most lyrical and heart wrenching stories that I have ever read. From page one I was taken by Tiger Lily and they way she was vastly different from those around her. I fell for Peter as she did, little by little she gave into him and let him into her heart. Through Tink’s eyes I was able to see how she couldn’t quite give enough and wasn’t exactly what Peter needed. There were times I was so frustrated with her and just wanted her to be what he needed her to be even though I knew it wasn’t her, I knew she didn’t know how to give in without giving up herself. I’ll be honest, the ending was so heartbreaking yet beautiful at the same time that I read it over and over. I felt my heart break and mend almost simultaneously. It was phenomenal. The story was riveting. It was heartbreaking, tender, harrowing, compelling, breathtaking and all around gorgeous. I recommend it to fans of strong heroines such as Scarlet, fans of Peter Pan and readers looking for a fantasy novel that will make them feel an array of emotions.

“If there was a true moment that Tiger Lily fell so in love with Peter she could never turn back, it was that night, when he shivered and walked and told her he was warm, and told her he loved her so much. She was fierce, to be sure, but she had a girl’s heart, after all.”

If you want a darker retelling that will leave you shocked and raw…

The Child Thief by Brom

Brom completely re-imagines the tale of Peter Pan, turning it into a thoroughly detailed and layered story. Avalon was once a magical and beautiful paradise, until man showed up on its shores. The “man” in question being the Captain and his crew (saw that one coming, didn’t you?) The crew is made up not of not savage men, but puritans (but really, what’s the difference?) looking to start a new civilization. Brom tells the tale of horror, betrayal and dedication through a child narrator named Nick, a narrator I quickly fell in love with. Nick is a strong minded boy, who attempts to stand up for what is right while shirking away from what would be “easy.” If you are looking for a more adult retelling, one that will leave you raw then pick up The Child Thief…

Those that I have had on my TBR for a while…

Continue reading

Review: Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George

Title: Dragon Slippers

Author: Jessica Day George

Publishing Information:  March 20th 2007 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Adventure, Romance

Series Information: The first in the Dragon Slipper series

Format: Hardcover, 324 pages

Source: Bought for my personal library

Recommended For: Fans of Patricia C. Wrede, Merrie Haskell, and dragon books of all kinds.

True, when Creel’s aunt suggests sacrificing her to the local dragon, it is with the hope that the knight will marry Creel and that everyone (aunt and family included) will benefit handsomely. Yet it’s Creel who talks her way out of the dragon’s clutches. And it’s Creel who walks for days on end to seek her fortune in the king’s city with only a bit of embroidery thread and a strange pair of slippers in her possession. But even Creel could not have guessed the outcome of this tale. For in a country on the verge of war, Creel unknowingly possesses not just any pair of shoes, but a tool that could be used to save her kingdom…or destroy it.

Creel and her brother are taken in by their aunt and uncle after their parents die, unfortunately for Creel, their aunt doesn’t think much of Creel and her prospects. Instead of acting as a loving aunt should, Creel’s caregiver decides to drop Creel off near a dragon’s lair. It is her hope that the dragon will abduct Creel and in turn, attract an adventurous heir of some type of fortune that will then provide for Creel and her entire family.

Creel does, in fact, get picked up by a dragon but what follows is not the experience that she expected. Instead of meeting a ferocious dragon and being forced to sit and wait to be rescued, Creel rescues herself and manages to talk the dragon into giving her a piece of his hoard. No, not gold, silly human, why would all dragons collect them same thing? You see, a dragon’s hoard is representative of the dragon’s hobby, and this particular dragon collected shoes. Creel heads to the kingdom’s capitol with a new pair of beautiful, unique, and powerful blue slippers, and manages to find work in a dress shop, using skills her mother taught her before she died. What happens next is a series of fantastical adventures that leads Creel to form a lifelong bond with a dragon and the beginnings of a romance with a rather sweet prince.

It is no mystery to any of my readers that I love dragons. Give me a book with a friendly dragon or even better, a friendship between a human and a dragon and I am sold. This series was actually recommended to me from one of my fellow librarians because she knew how much I enjoyed The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede. Though Creel was less snarky than Cimorene, they were both headstrong and fabulous. The secondary characters were just as lovely and interesting, I’m sure you aren’t surprised to hear that I thoroughly enjoyed Prince Luka. It was the dragons, however, that really brought my interest from simply liking this book to loving it. I love how thoroughly Jessica Day George described these characters; she has a knack for bringing personalities off the page. As I mentioned prior, each dragon has a different type of hoard, Shardas, Creel’s best friend, collects glass, and his cousin Feniul is extremely unique as he collects dogs, try and picture that because I promise it is as adorable and funny as it sounds.

Shelf Talker: While it may sound that this is just another dragon inspired fairy tale employing all of the familiar themes, I promise that it is more involved than that, and though reminiscent of other tales it is uniquely sweet and promising. Admittedly, there is one scene in particular that had me tearing up as if my heart was breaking, that is the depth of friendship and loyalty that manifests between the characters. As I turned the last page I was smiling with glee and desperately hoping for more from these characters. This novel comes highly recommended for those of you looking for a sweet story about a girl, her dragon, and their successful attempts to save a kingdom.

Fortnight of Fright: Review The Book of Bad Things by Dan Poblocki

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Hi friends! Welcome to week two of Fortnight of Fright! This week we will be sharing a few reviews of creeptastic books with you, and a guest post by Cat Winters!! Make sure you check out what we had last week, A guest post by Dan Poblocki, Eldritch Black, some awesome bloggers AND a giveaway! Also don’t forgot to check out what Amy and Brittany have for you on their blogs!

Title: The Book of Bad Things

Author: Dan Poblocki

Publishing Information:  August 26, 2014 by Scholastic Press

Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Mystery

Series Information: Standalone

Format: Hardcover, 256 pages

Source: Obtained an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley

Recommended For: Readers looking for a horror novel that is just the right amount of horrific, fans of Anna Dressed in Blood and Cat Winters

Related Posts: The Ghost of Graylock Review and The Bad Place Guest Post by Dan Poblocki

One kid’s trash is another kid’s terror in this spooky supernatural mystery.

When Cassidy Bean leaves New York to spend the summer upstate, she’s disappointed to find that Whitechapel is not the quiet, pleasant suburb she remembers. Ursula Chambers, the strange old hermit at the end of the cul-de-sac, has passed away under mysterious circumstances. And the townspeople are shocked to discover that Ursula was a hoarder: Her farmhouse is teeming with stacks of newspapers, piles of furniture, mounds of antique dolls and taxidermy animals.

Cassidy watches as the people of Whitechapel descend upon Ursula’s farmhouse, claiming her abandoned treasures for their own. She listens as rumors spread that Ursula’s vengeful ghost is stalking the town with a warning from beyond the grave. And when Cassidy resolves to uncover the truth behind the strangeness, she learns there are more bad things in the world than she ever suspected. . . .

Cassidy was a wonderful main character, it was easy to love her and I can’t tell you how much I adore how real Dan Poblocki’s characters feel. Cassidy certainly doesn’t have it easy in New York, and I really felt for her and the way that she needs this escape to Joey’s house and family. Joey is dealing with some issues of his own, most importantly the loss of his dog, and the belief that his neighbor Ursula Chambers isn’t all that she seems. Joey’s next door neighbor, Ping, was incredibly refreshing and fun, I loved the way these three interacted with one another and stood together to face down the “bad things” in the neighborhood. Probably my favorite part of the novel was the addition of Hal and his antics, I enjoyed his character thoroughly. Continue reading

Fortnight of Fright: Guest Post by Eldritch Black

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Hello, friends! I am incredibly excited because today I have Eldritch Black, the author of The Book of Kindly Deaths (reviewed – HERE & spoiler alert: I loved it) on the blog today. He is sharing a pretty fantastic post written by Horasmythe Spindleclef, the food critic for the Grimwytch Gazette, on some of the many places to frequent around Grimwytch – and which places you should avoid, as well. ALSO he has been so kind to sponsor a giveaway, so read on and after you’re finished, enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a copy of The Book of Kindly Deaths, AND a gorgeous necklace featuring the lovely book. Happy reading!

Unearthly Delights

Greetings, my name is Horasmythe Spindlecleft, also known as the gourmet of gourmets. If you’ve ever dined in my modest little Inn “The Fat Cobblefoot”, situated on the side of the Foggypeake mountains, you’ll be well aware of my extensive knowledge of food. And the finer things in life.

You’ve no doubt heard of my infamous twice-fried bat wings and hair of Hackthin tart, creations of exquisite beauty, though I say so myself. Not to mention my highly regarded Doormouse eye on toadstool and very-berry-sherry sauce.

It’s with great pride that I can announce I’ve been appointed chief scribbler of food reviews for the Grimwytch Gazette.

Below are the very first of many pearls of wisdom concerning places where weary travelers may sip and gorge upon unearthly delights. Outside of The Fat Cobblefoot.

As well as places to avoid like Fungal-throat plague.

The Malady Inn

A Fairly good stock of Old Catwhist, shame about the clientele.

The Malady Inn is a worn old building on the side of the Eastern Blackwood Road. Inside is a cosy, dingy room and its fairly affable landlord, Mr. Barrow. His bar is well stocked for the most part, although not to the scale of The Fat Cobblefoot. I chose a dish of sainted duck, goat-foot soup and a pint of Old Bramble’s Tipsy. It was an adequate meal until a table of Babbleslithers sat beside me and ruined the meagre ambience. Upon finishing their food, one of the more portly among them threw up his entire course through his left eye.

An unpleasant, vulgar end to a mediocre, but serviceable evening. Continue reading

The Book of Kindly Deaths by Eldritch Black

Title: The Book of Kindly Deaths

Author: Eldritch Black

Publishing Information:  September 16th, 2014 by Spencer Hill Press

Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal

Series Information: The first in a planned series* (*I believe)

Format: Paperback, 304 pages

Source: Obtained an ARC from the publisher for review

Recommended For: Fans of the darker side of middle grade, fans of Neil Gaiman, and Claire Legrand.

When twelve-year-old Eliza Winter finds a secret room in her missing grandfather’s sprawling, Gothic house, her safe, sheltered life is blown apart. Inside, below a stained glass window where moonlight shines no matter the time of day, sits The Book of Kindly Deaths.

When the strange, crooked man from the book arrives on the doorstep claiming to be a rare-book collector and demanding entry into the house, Eliza’s world is turned upside down. To escape him, she must dive all the way into the spine-tingling world of The Book of Kindly Deaths to save her grandfather–and write an end to the nightmare she’s caught inside.

When my friend and fellow blogger Estelle reached out to ask me if I wanted to read and review The Book of Kindly Deaths by Eldritch Black I was a bit hesitant due to time and responsibilities and ya know, life. But when she told me that it was being geared toward fans of Neil Gaiman, my interest was immediately piqued. Then I read the synopsis and realized that the gal was right, the book was right up my alley. Many thanks to Estelle, Eldritch Black, and Spencer Hill Press for giving me a chance to read and review what turned out to be a rather perfect book for my tastes.

As you can see, this is a story about Eliza Winter and her adventures in a world unlike our own in order to save her grandfather, and others who have been affected by the monsters who frequent the streets of this parallel land. While reading, I was at first somewhat wary because The Book of Kindly Deaths read a bit like a compilation of short stories. In fact, it was very reminiscent of On The Day I Died: Stories From the Grave by Candace Fleming, which was entertaining, but not what I was looking for. Thankfully once I delved further into the story things started to come together and I really enjoyed the different tie ins from the stories within the Book of Kindly Deaths. There was one particularly interesting story filled with characters called “the wrong people.” That is, they were all together wrong. They were a group of “people” with greasy wiry hair, yellowed skin, and crooked teeth who eat mud pie filled with rotten vegetables. They lock up humans, and bring them out for show so that other residents of Grimwytch can see their abnormalities – that is, pale skin, white teeth and normal hands and toes. I loved Katherine’s story, and her escape from Grimwytch and the bittersweet ending to her story. Continue reading

Review: The Witch’s Boy by Kelly Barnhill

Title: The Witch’s Boy

Author: Kelly Barnhill

Publishing Information: September 16th 2014 by Algonquin Young Readers

Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Adventure

Series Information: Standalone

Format: Hardcover, 384 pages

Source: Obtained an ARC from the publisher via Netgalley

Recommended For: Readers looking for a middle grade novel filled with self discovery and friendship with a perfect blend of darkness and hope.

When Ned and his identical twin brother tumble from their raft into a raging, bewitched river, only Ned survives. Villagers are convinced the wrong boy lived. Sure enough, Ned grows up weak and slow, and stays as much as possible within the safe boundaries of his family’s cottage and yard. But when a Bandit King comes to steal the magic that Ned’s mother, a witch, is meant to protect, it’s Ned who safeguards the magic and summons the strength to protect his family and community.

In the meantime, in another kingdom across the forest that borders Ned’s village lives Áine, the resourceful and pragmatic daughter of the Bandit King. She is haunted by her mother’s last words to her: “The wrong boy will save your life and you will save his.” But when Áine and Ned’s paths cross, can they trust each other long enough to make their way through the treacherous woods and stop the war about to boil over?

There is so much to be said about The Witch’s Boy, right from the beginning I was hooked in the story that was reminiscent of old tales being told over a campfire. Kelly Barnhill managed to weave what felt like a very old story into the life of Ned and his (now dead) twin brother. It was a different way in which the author portrayed our main character, as he was not one, but two boys merged into one by their mother’s love and magic. Ned is described as “the wrong boy” who lived when an accident struck he and his brother. But somehow, Ned manages to grow to mirror his mother’s strength, taking control of the increasingly pushy magic that flows through him. It was a novel filled with different stories that flowed together to tell a very important tale. Overall, the novel was unique and refreshing in the way that the author portrayed the characters and their combined flaws and strengths.

The best things about The Witch’s Boy were the characters and their relationships with one another. I loved Ned for his courage and ability to move forward for the love of his family. I loved Aine for her strength, wit, and the choices that she makes when faced with adversity. Don’t even get me started on the wolf and his loyalties to this pair. Aine’s father had a great backstory that broke my heart a little, which brings me to the second thing that I loved about The Witch’s Boy, the fact that Kelly Barnhill doesn’t shy away from the hard stuff.

If you are familiar with some of my other reviews of middle grade novels, you will remember that the one thing that will make me love a novel geared toward children is the ability to not brush over those “tough” subjects. I’m talking about grief, pain, death, and so on. I have to be honest and say that I was pleasantly surprised while reading The Witch’s Boy because the author does a perfect job of serving the reader a plate of bitter heartache which is then followed up with just enough light and hope to keep one going. I am completely in the mindset that these so called “children’s” novels are often darker than young adult or adult novels because the kids can handle it. Much respect to the author for perfectly blending darkness and light, for showing the reader how to hope and move forward through all sorts of trials.

An added bonus to loving this novel was that I actually met Kelly Barnhill at the Kids Author Carnival a few months ago and she was wonderful. Honestly, one of the nicest people that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.

Shelf Talker: The Witch’s Boy was everything that I wanted it to be. It was a beautiful and wonderful story about love in all forms. It had adventure, coming of age, a perfect blend of darkness and hope, and elements that reminded me of the fairytales I read as a kid. In truth, I loved it, and I think you all will too.

On the Same Page: The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand

Title: The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls

Author: Claire Legrand

Publishing Information: August 28, 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Mystery, Horror

Series Information: Standalone

Format: Hardcover, 343 pages

Source: Purchased for my personal library

Recommended For: Reders looking for a book that doesn’t shy away from the dark and rough patches of growing up. Fans of Neil Gaiman, Adam Gidwitz, and Tim Burton.

One of the things that stuck out to me while reading The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls was the way in which Claire Legrand doesn’t shy away from the so called “dark” elements. In fact, those were my favorite parts of the novel. Legrand writes a story about a very clever and strong girl. She writes a story about the importance of learning that it’s what inside that counts and ugliness can come from within. Most importantly, she writes a story about friendship, and the importance of never giving up. With that in mind, for this month’s On the Same Page post, I am going to focus on themes in The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls that are also found in some other excellent middle grade novels so you can add some awesome read-alikes to your radar! Continue reading

Kids Author Carnival: ANNOUNCEMENT!

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Hello, friends!!

Those of you who follow me on Twitter may know that I am heading to BEA again this year and I could not be more excited to see everyone!! This year, in addition to attending BEA, I am also working at the Kids Author Carnival. For those of you who don’t know, the Kids Author Carnival was inspired by the Teen Author Carnival and is being organized by the wonderfully talented Claire Legrand. It is a huge event being held on Saturday May 31 from 6-8:30pm at Jefferson Market Library. There are going to be some pretty amazing children’s authors there, and fabulous things going on for younger readers. I encourage you to grab your younger sibling and head on over to Jefferson Market Library. Make sure you say hi if you do stop by, I would love to meet you!

Happy reading! Continue reading

Book Hoarders Anonymous: Best of 2013

I haven’t done a Book Hoarders post in a while so I thought to close out the year I would do a little survey like I did last year and focus on some of my favorite personal literary moments of the year! Sorry in advance..it’s link and picture heavy 🙂

Book that reminded me that I love to read: The Sandman series did this for me. The graphic novels are so different from anything that I have ever read and I found myself enamored at the inclusions of different character from history popping up into stories. It really made me think and remember what knowledge I had of these historical figures, or superheroes, etc. and that made me love it even more.

Favorite BAMF: I think Daenerys takes the cake for this one. She is so incredibly young but so fierce. I love her so much. Especially when she says things like “Dracarys!”

Favorite companion: Ravens! Though not technically “fantastical” by nature but some of the ones I read of this year were pretty amazing. Matthew, from The Sandman series and Fiacha from my (ahem 4th? 5th? re-read) of Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier is one of my favorite companions, EVER.

Favorite debut author: For sure Cat Winters, the author of In the Shadow of Blackbirds. The book was absolutely fantastic and heartwrenching. Ms. Winters was so gracious and lovely after I reached out to her upon finishing the novel, and she moved quickly to the top of my auto-buy authors.

BFF: Hands down Sybella from Dark Triumph. She was so dark and brave throughout the novel, I couldn’t help but love her. Truly, some of my closest friends describe her as my “spirit animal,” and I can’t wait to see what she and the other ladies get in to in Mortal Heart.

Most swoon-worthy lad: Okay, I am doing it, I’m cheating. I tried to look elsewhere but the title of most swoon-worthy lad goes to Captain Carswell Thorne, hands down. I can not tell you how many pictures I took of his lines and how many flailing texts were sent to my friends while reading Cress. He has made my top 5 of best swoons EVER, and that is saying A LOT.

Favorite pick found while perusing: Dragon’s Bait by Vivian Vande Velde. I was handed this by a bookseller at The Book Barn because she noticed that I like Patricia C. Wrede and assured me that this title was a readalike. I was pleasantly surprised over the nostalgia, I obviously also loved the strength in the main lady and the swoons in the main dragon!

Fantastical creatures: Not sure if he counts but, Death personified! He was breathtaking in Keturah and Lord Death and I look forward to reading more novels with him in the center!

That bad boy you shouldn’t love, but…: UMM hello? THE DARKLING 4EVA. I love, love, LOVE him so very much…from his quartz like eyes to his brooding demeanor. I just picture him controlling darkness and I get all “humina humina” to MAH BONES. *swoons* Honorable mention goes to Morpheus from Splintered by A.G. Howard

Favorite male lead: KVOTHE. Ohhhh Kvothe…I spent so much time with him this year (umm..over 50 hours of audio – which reminds me, OH HAI, Nick Podehl <3) and my heart sang and broke for him at times. He is so interesting and witty and hello, he’s a ginger, how can I not love him so?!

Favorite female lead: Eleanor, from Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. For the good and the bad, she reminded me of me when I was in high school.

Best summary in less than ten words: Scary vampires in an Amish setting. (Thanks, Ame!)

A return to an old favorite (title, genre, etc.): WOO! ROBIN HOOD, BABY!! I chose Robin Hood as my focus for our Classics Retold event and I am so glad that I was able to go back to the story that I love in Hood by Stephen Lawhead. I am excited to read book 2 and 3 in the series as soon as possible!

So glad I judged by it’s cover: In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters. The piercing gaze of the girl on the front and the ethereal being behind her, I had to have this book. I am so glad that I jumped to request this from Netgalley upon seeing it because it was one of my favorite reads of the year.

Broke my Heart: The Fables installments from this year really got to me. I have become WAY too invested in the characters and have fallen in love with the story, I love these graphic novels so much but boy did they crack my heart a little. Let’s not even get started on A Song of Ice and Fire…

Heightened by the narrator: For sure A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket narrated by Tim Curry is first in my mind when thinking of narrators who make the series for me. I started reading this series years and years ago and never finished because as I grew older I had a hard time making it through these novels in print. However, the audiobooks are absolutely stellar. The parts that I tended to read over because of annoyance or lack of interest, sprouted from my speakers and made me smile and laugh out loud.

Gave me the creeps (which I love): The Ghost of Graylock by Dan Poblocki, I sincerely hope that this author starts writing adult horror because he is FANTASTIC.

It’s in the words..: The Woodcutter by Kate Danley was so lyrical and beautiful that I found myself bookmarking every few pages. It was a simple, yet gorgeous read.

Biggest disappointment: Hmm probably Towering by Alex Flinn. I have heard a lot of good things about this author and it might have just been a wrong book, wrong time sort of thing but I did not enjoy this novel AT ALL.

Worth the hype: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. First, I was lucky enough to meet Rainbow at BEA this year and she was so fantastic, she also has great hair. Second, I am not a contemporary reader, and the sickly sweet romances are not usually my thing…HOWEVER Eleanor and Park was recommended to me by so many people that I trust and I fell so deeply in love with it, I immediately added all of Rowell’s books to my TBR. Never has hand holding been so romantic.

Newest addiction: Audiobooks!! As some of you may know, I am incredibly picky when it comes to audiobook narrators. Jim Dale is an obvious love and I fell into loving Neil Gaiman as soon as I heard his free audiobook Click, Clack, the Rattlebag but I had a hard time finding someone else to enjoy. I seem to have a problem with the jarring tone of a female narrator and and I felt sort of lost for a while until Heidi and Amy convinced me to try Nick Podehl, the narrator of The Kingkiller Chronicles. Well WOO BOY am I happy that I gave him a listen! over 50 hours of audiobook later and I am IN LOVE! I was also lucky enough to find some audiobooks narrated by Tim Curry, The Series of Unfortunate Events and a lovely version of Dracula, while perusing!

Favorite villain: Krampus wins this one, I think, though I don’t know for sure that he is considered a villain despite his “evil” ways. This novel by Brom is absolutely enthralling, I read it almost a year ago and I still can’t stop thinking about it.

Favorite laugh out loud moment: Like last year, I have to go with a Duncan moment from the second installment of The League of Princes: The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle. “Oh, I disagree,” Duncan added. “It makes me think of cow-owls. And those are horrifying. MOO-WHO! MOO-WHO!” This series is honestly fantastic and I can’t wait for book three!! Honorable mention goes to the final installment of A Tale Dark and Grimm: The Grimm Conclusion by Adam Gidwitz, this one had me laughing out loud as well!

The kissy bits: WOO Shadow & Bone had some yummy moments, as did Dark Triumph by LaFevers, Splintered by Howard, and Eleanor and Park had some epic hand holding (also CRESS because seriously..*faints*) Seriously, you guys…*FANS SELF*

Biggest ugly cry moment: Ya know, I didn’t really have any ugly cry moments this year..I don’t usually read those kinds of books so I somehow missed out. I did, however, tear up a few times while reading Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein. They were both lovely books, though I did not love them or get as attached as other readers.

Favorite new to me genre/book: Historical fiction! Between In the Shadow of Blackbirds, and The Caged Graves, I quickly jumped on the historical fiction bandwagon and asked Hannah and April for some suggestions. Needless to say, my TBR pile grew a lot and I am excited to move into some non Tudor England historical reads!

Mind. Blown.: Man, I feel sorry that I can’t explain myself better here but…that THING that happens in A Storm of Swords (and it’s not the thing you think)..yeah, I did NOT see that coming. I am so thrilled that I read this series, I can’t even begin to explain how worth it it is to take on the epicness that is A Song of Ice and Fire.

Thank you, Netgalley!: Splintered by A.G. Howard was a titled that I found on a whim while looking through Netgalley. The cover was gorgeous and the synopsis sounded awesome – a twisted fairytale, Alice in Wonderland meets Tim Burton in novel form? Sign me up! The world was vivid and the swoons were aplenty.

Non-bookish THINGS that I loved in 2013:

LOKI: Now, you all know that I love the villains SO MUCH and Loki isn’t really NEW on my radar since I have read and LOVED Norse mythology for as long as I can remember, but I started working hardcore on my WIP this year and…well..there are some Loki like bits in there. That got me delving more into his character, which only made me love him more. Also look how cute my new shirt is…

Game of Thrones: Again, not so new, but some of you may know that I participated in a Song of Ice and Fire Read Along this year and though it was very time consuming…it was AWESOME. Honestly, it is totally worth it, the series is so epic and you just fall so into the world, I definitely recommend giving it a go.

Neil Gaiman: Okay, I may have mentioned him a time or…five..but I was lucky enough to see Neil Gaiman THREE TIMES this year, and I MET HIM FACE TO FACE a few months ago and it was just a once in a lifetime experience. He is so amazing and gracious, and genius. Also his wife, she is pretty fantastic as well. No words.

Literary Lushes: I started a second website with my best friend Brittany (The Book Addict’s Guide) which focuses on ARC tours and Twitter chats. It has been such a great experience working with someone that I love and it has really opened me up to new bloggers and experiences which makes me incredibly happy!

Going forward I would like to introduce some new fun features on the blog – (including a new review feature!) and obviously share some wonderful reviews with you all! What about you guys, what can you tell me about your favorite literary moments of the year? I look forward to seeing you all in 2014!! As always, thanks for reading!