Top Ten Tuesday: What Books?

Top Ten Tuesdays

How goes internet peeps?! I am back! Hopefully? Maybe? In an attempt to create some regularity and scheduling in my life, but I’ve made these promises before, so lets be forgiving shall we? At the very least I feel like I can do my memes. So lets take a trip back in time to the world of Top Ten Tuesday hosted over on The Broke and the Bookish.

This weeks topic is Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far This Year, and unfortunately I’m going to have to cheat. See problem is this year has been 100% bunk in the way of reading. I’ve barely gotten any in, and some of it has been re-reads, and the rest hasn’t necessarily been awesome, so realistically this is going to be The Only Books I’ve Read In the Last Little While. But hey, its a start?

1. The Circle by Dave Eggers: Bought this book on a whim when I was in Costco, I cant seem to stay away from that giant isle all covered in books. As mentioned before, I 100% judge books by their covers, and this one drew me in. Flipping it over I saw a glowing quote from Margaret Atwood, a very strong point in its favour. But then I opened it up and saw the following quote, emphasis mine:

The Circle is Brave New World for our brave new world . . . Now that we all live and move and have our being in the panopticon, Eggers’s novel may be just fast enough, witty enough and troubling enough to make us glance away from our twerking Vines and consider how life has been reshaped by a handful of clever marketers . . . There may come a day when we can look back at this novel with incredulity, but for now, the mirror it holds up is too chilling to LOL.” —Ron Charles, The Washington Post

I knew I had to read it. I fell into this book and emerged a couple of days later more wary of Facebook then I had ever been. It was eerie in that this could be today, or tomorrow or 5 years from now. Its the future but today, and nothing is so blatantly wrong, but everything is just off enough to make you feel super uncomfortable, like someone shifting your furniture 3 inches to the left. It was marvellous.

2. Codex Born by Jim C. Hines: OK remember a million years ago? I had Libriomancer on my TBR for fall list? (OMG I looked it up, its from way back in Oct 2012) Well I read it, and I loved it. And I will be the first to admit that its not perfect. It gives into fan service a little too much, and all of the references will make no sense to anyone in 1o years, but dear lord was it fun. The premise is filled with potential, and despite some of the characters being a little flat, I loved just how nerdy Isaac is. So I read the first book and this year I devoured the second, Codex  Born. I would not say that it was as good as the first one, but I was glad to see old friends come back into the picture and have a chance to get fleshed out. The biggest downer to this book were the flash backs. I get it, Lena is a dryad created from a sci-fi smutt novel, she is going to be sexy and have some sexy times, but i feel like it got a little out of control at times. Lena is trying to grow from that, become a person in her own right so to keep throwing her own trope at her time and time again felt a little defeating. Don’t get me wrong, I will read the next book. And I will likely read just about anything that Jim C. Hines put out, I just wish he would trust his readers to be a little more intelligent and less hormone driven.

3,4. Orxy and Crake/Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood: So in an attempt to finish off the MaddAdam Trilogy by Margaret Atwood, I’ve gone back and done a little rereading. It was great going back and falling into the amazing world Atwood has made for us. Also, because I read them in quick succession it was easy to pick out all the places that the stories crossed over. I had initially read each book after it had been written, meaning I had a hefty 6 year gap in between, so getting the chance to read them both so closely together was a treat. Sneaky references to characters I loved and hated popping up all over the place. I’ve started reading MaddAdam, but shortly after starting reading it, I found The Circle, and if you cant tell from my love letter to it above, it consumed all my reading. Its back on my radar, but is playing second fiddle to The Cloud Atlas, which i need to crack out for book club this month.

5. Wandering Son by Hōrō Musuko, illustrated by Takako Shimura: There is always room in my life for manga, but I feel like I’ve completely ignored this medium as of late. So when we had Graphic Novel up for EOG Book Club last month, I decided to renew this passion and dive head long into this beautiful manga. Manga in general gets a lot of criticism for looking the same, and I cant agree more. A majority of the titles have a very similar quality to character design and plot, which means that you can have two characters from two different titles look identical. With that being said, I feel that i gravitate to the more unique drawing styles. This title isn’t vastly different, but the sketchy style and slow, very natural pacing of the story makes it stand out. The story (in as far as I am, because I am only at volume 4) follows two children, a boy and a girl, who are struggling to come to terms with their gender identity. Without going into it too much just let me say that its beautiful. The author broaches a very delicate subject with charm and tact, and like i said a slow plodding pace that is absolutely essential to the material. To have children come to conclusions and figure everything out at a normal manga style clip, would do the characters a total injustice. I will 100% continue to follow this series.

So its only five, but its a start.
Here is to trying again!

Much Love!


Top Ten Tuesday: Not Listening and Making Goals

Top Ten Tuesdays
Not even going to apologize for my horrendous absence, they keep happening and I keep apologizing, and as my mom always told me “Sorry means I’m never going to do it again.” And I really do feel bad for being gone all the time but to be completely honest its probably going to happen again on more then one occasion.

I am also going to be sneaky and not do this weeks Top Ten Tuesday, and do the one from last week. Partially because I cant think of any debut novels I am really looking forward to, the other part is because its my first book blog of the year and I should probably lay down some goals and plans or what have you.

Top Ten Bookish Goals for 2013

1. Continue running the EOG Book Club: This last year has been so amazing with the book club, while some of the ladies have floated in and out and are kinda irregular we have a pretty strong core of about 4 of us that have been keeping strong. Every month brings new insights about new books and genres, and way more laughing then is entirely healthy.

2. Give the EOG Book Club a stronger online presence: I’ve been absolutely awful this year when it comes to blogging consistently, both with Top Ten Tuesday and with the book club. I’d like to at the very least have this happening regularly again. Its once a month I have zero excuse. We also discussed in our December meeting how much fun we think it would be to record our discussion and pop them online. I have no idea how realistic that is, or if we will actually do it, but its something I’d love to explore. I think we are all intelligent and hilarious and I think would make for good listening.

3. Explore more Canadian authors and Canadian settings: I love this great big country of mine, its beautiful and diverse and has so many lovely delicious differences. This month for book club we have Canadiana for our genre, we agreed to choose either a Canadian author or a book set in Canada, which if we are going to be honest are probably going to be pretty mutually exclusive. There just are not a lot of non-Canadian authors flexing their brainpower in a Canadian setting. When i was a kid I was obsessed with Canadian authors, and if I could find them, Albertan authors. I was lucky enough to stumble onto Kit Pearson, and Monica Hughes, two authors who were not only from my home province, but who also lived in Edmonton, which was the closest major city to me. They continue to be my two favorite authors over a decade later.

4. Read more to my niece and nephew: Sadly i live about an hour away from my niece and nephew, and therefore i dont get to spend a tonne of time with them. One thing I have thankfully been able to do is read to them. My sister has been very good about making sure my darling babies have lots of books around and love reading. I go out of my way when I’m in town to be at her house before their bed time so we can sit together, one tiny person on each side and read 3 or 4 books. I love it and I want to do it more!

5. Blog at minimum once a week: I’m not perfect and I know it, I want to blog so much more, but I want to nail myself down to at least one a week.

6. Join a couple of reading challenges: There are a whole bunch of reading challenges over at A Novel Challenge, so far I am interested in the Kidlit Read and Review challenge as well at the YA challenge. Obviously if I do the Kidlit one its going to involve extra blogging, but I mean I dont think thats a huge issue on such little compact books. And even if I do some of the others I dont need to necessarily do a full review but just check in and let you know what i’ve been reading.

7. Get Growing Up Without Harry off the ground: I mentioned it a long, long, long time ago, but believe you me I definitely haven’t forgotten about it. I’ve kept on reading, and will honestly probably need to go back and get a refresher, but I want to write this so so so so so so bad! I cant even pin point why, but it just feels right so I hope to get it right.

8. Get Sequential Genesis off the ground: This is another project I mentioned super briefly. I have found comics due to the beautiful lady who lives over at FacelessMasses, and I have been absolutely enthralled by the medium. I am by no means an expert on the topic of comics and sequential art, but I am loving it none the less. I’d really like to give this some perspective as an outsider looking in. Comics were not something I was into, manga yeah, but comics are a whole different beast.

9. Show my e-reader some love: I have a pretty awful/awesome habit of buying books. Like copious amounts of books. I love to be surrounded by them. Mix this with my growing love of comics. My very very very tiny apartment is running out of space. So what I’d like to do, with the exception of books that continue a series I’ve already begun, or by authors I religiously follow, I am going to get the book in a e-reader format whenever possible. I figure this will save me a lot of space, as well as save me a bit of money.


Top Ten Tuesday: Lets Get Reading

Oh well hello again Blogosphere!! 😀 How absolutely delightful to encounter you again! 😀 Its been far too long since I have indulged in the delight of a Top Ten Tuesday, or  any book blogging really.  Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted over at the fabulous The Broke and the Bookish, swing by and give them some love.

This week we were give a rewind, so we get to go ahead and pick a past topic that we missed or would like to rehash. I am going to tackle Top Ten Books On Your Fall TBR List. Seeing as I was mia at the time of the post I figure its a good jumping of post because boy do I have a stack of books waiting for me to tackle it!

1. A Hero for WondLa byTony DiTerlizzi:
When I read the first book I was floored by the amazing world Di’Terlizzi had built. It was not only beautiful, well described and incredibly unique, it was enormous. So when I finished the first book I promised myself to grab the second book as soon as it came out. Weeeeeell I didn’t, I only picked up this book a couple of weeks ago, and have been swamped in the interim. Its sitting provocatively on my coffee table asking me to read it and by golly if I dont get to it soon.

2. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs: I cant even remember how long ago I picked this one up, somewhere around the time it was released I think. What I do remember was being absolutely terrified when I read it!! Please note that I have a very weak threshold when it comes to scary things, and this books scared my pants right off!! But that make it perfect for EOG Book Club this month as we have decided to embrace the spirit of October and read horror/spooky stories (the spooky part came from myself and a friend who are total horror wimps). So its time to overcome my fears and tackle this one!

3. Kill Order by James Dashner: This is another title I have been eagerly awaiting! The whole Maze Runner series is one of the most brilliantly executed story lines I’ve ever read. Dashner does something absolutely amazing, and is a master of suspense, making this one wiggle its way to the top of my pile.

4. Harry Potter books 4 – 7 by J.K. Rowling: As some of you might know I never grew up reading the Harry Potter series and that has recently spawned a project of going through and reading them and typing up my thought and feeling on a series that has shaped the childhoods of a generation. I’d really love to have finished reading them before Christmas and have corresponding posts written up that I can slowly release a month at a time.

 5. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson: This was recommended to me by a close bibliophile friend as Maureen Johnson is one of her favourite authors. The premise as compared to Johnsons other works seemed the most appealing, and I am actually pretty excited to dive into a book I know someone else personally recommended.

6. The Infinite Day by Chris Walley: For this one I might actually end up having to re-read the whole series! I started reading this series years ago, and as its actually a pretty obscure title I had a heck of a time tracking down the individual parts (especially when the first two books were combined into a singular volume and ordering the third book actually got me the last book in the series rather then the third, which had become the second after the combining of the first two books… blah) But I’ve read the first two (or in my case 3 as I have the first two as separate novels), and started in on the 3rd and for whatever reason lost my steam. I’m not surprised. It actually took a number of years and reread just to get through the first one (thats what I get for trying to read such a spiritually and emotionally loaded book at 13). I’d love to finish off and see how the whole epic ends, but I’m thinking it might call for a total rehash of the whole series.

7. Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini: Another once you can attribute to a running series. This one was more deliberate in its hiatus. I remember the loooong, loooong wait between the first and second book, and what felt like an even longer wait between the second and third. So even after purchasing the third book, I promised I wouldn’t read it until the fourth one was out. Now obviously it camp out last November, so I’m thinking its more then time to jump on this train and get back to reading.

8. Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines: This one I haven’t actually picked up yet, it just came out in August and I am super excited to grab a copy! After reading and falling in love with his amazing take on our classic fairy tale characters in his Princess Series, I cant wait to jump into his newest series.

9. Crossed by Ally Condie: I’m actually very excited to read this one! My friend borrowed me a copy of Matched last month and I whipped through that puppy right fast. I honestly did not think I would like it even a little as it was marketed as a dystopian love story for teens. Yeah… no thanks… But the world that was created and the amazing structure given to the society were the real show stoppers. Yes there was a love story, but it felt secondary to the plot rather then running the plot like I had feared. Now I am excited to jump back into the same world and see where it takes me this time.

10. My Enormous Stack of Comics by Various: Earlier this year a friend introduced me to the wonderful world of comics.  I had dabbled here and there , mostly due to my moms well meaning habit of picking me comic adaptations of Jane Austen novels. I loved my manga, and that was good enough for me. I had no desire to read all about super heros all day. She helped me learn that not all comics are about super heros,  and not all super hero comic are bad. So now, some six months later, I’ve grown what feels to me to be a decent litte collection and a whole new appreciation for sequential art. This has spawned another project I hope to start up called Sequential Genesis, in which I will explore both comics and manga, giving reviews and insite into titles, and hopefully convincing you that this can be literature too.

What books are you hoping to get to this fall?

Top Ten Tuesday: Reading Between the Tan Lines

Upon rereading my title I figured maybe it might sound a little naughty, but its not, so shame on you! This week over on Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the darling blog The Broke and the Bookish) our topic is Top Ten Books I’d Recommend as Beach Reads. Now I am in Central Alberta, Canada and contrary to popular belief we don’t have beaches and palm trees and movie stars everywhere. We do however have beautiful roasting summer days that are perfect for sitting out on the patio or by the lake, and what better to do while tanning your self then picking up a good book and wafting away?

Now for something to be a good Beach/Summer read it needs to be two things; 1. Easy to tote around/the cover is no so incredilbly embarassing your afraid of people seeing your read it in public*, 2. The story is easy enough to pick up and put down multiple times (cause its the summer and heck if I’m going to spend all of it sitting) but still keeps your interest. So I will go with those two qualifiers and be on my way!
*Obviously if you are lucky enough to own an e-reader of some sort this may not be an issue, but I am personally afraid to bring my Touch Screen Kobo any where near sand and water.

Rose Daughter – Robin McKinley: Two Tuesdays in a row and its far from coincidence. Robin McKinley is a favourite author with a splendid imagination. Her second retelling of Beauty and the Beast is less childish and more complex, but just as beautiful and elegant as you remember. The good points? Its a story that’s familiar to about 99% of us, so we can go and come back and still have a good idea of who the characters are and the general idea of what is going on. Also the cover is rather non-descriptive so your safe from hecklers. Bad points? It starts off a little slow, so don’t give up if it doesn’t grab you in the first 50 pages.

The Story of Beautiful Girl – Rachel Simon: If you checked out my EOG Book Club review from April you will know just  how much I loved this book. The characters are beautifully written and the author well researched. The story follows Lynnie and Homan and their dash to freedom from their terrible treatment in the School for the Incurable and Feeble minded. Lynnie is recaptured and sent back, Homan is feared lost in a flooded river, and Lynnie’s baby being cared for by the elderly widow Martha. Good points? The chapters focus on one character at a time at a specific moment in time, it doesn’t jump all over the place willy nilly so following the story even after leaving it for a week is rather easy. You also have your choice of covers, all of which are well put together. Bad points? I cant even think of any, this book is perfect.

World War Z – Max Brooks: Not going to lie, I have learned to love Zombie novels! Zombie movies not so much, because they are far too gory. In a book I can choose to jump a gory part, or since its my imagination limit the blood and off screen the gore. A friend turned me onto this book, and after reading The Forest of Hands and Teeth Series (a teen zombie series) which I loved, I was game. Good points? There are enough thrills and chills to keep you coming back for more, but it written as episodic stories of peoples experiencing the Zombie war so its pretty impossible to get lost. Bad points? I personally hate my cover, more cause its ugly then anything. Also if your a wimp like me the chapter in which you meet the first case may terrify you.

The Illustrated Man – Ray Bradbury: This one is a little heart breaking as we lost Mr. Bradbury last week. He was an amazing writer with an imagination like no other. I remember my first experience with his work in grade 10, we were reading short stories and we had to read a creepy short by him called The Veldt. The story stuck with me and I spent the next 7 years (oh man I feel old now) trying to find a copy of the story.  Two years ago I was searching Veldt on the bookstore computer (a habit I ritually do with 2 authors and a number of out of print titles) and got a hit! The whole collection quickly became a favorite. Good points? Each story is self contained and doesn’t require any previous knowledge of his work to understand. The stories while dense, are  on average 10 pages or less. Bad points? If you don’t like classic science fiction this is not the book for you. I personally find reading 1950’s science fiction in a modern world fascinating. (Was super hard to find the same cover as the one I have, I personally like this cover infinitely more then the modern artsy covers, this is classic sci-fi dang it. Hand drawn is key!)

The Princess Series – Jim C. Hines: If you want a series of fantastic adventure written for grown women, that’s easy to read without being childish, and will make you laugh, yell and cheer I highly recommend this series. It follows the adventures of Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty in the years after Cinderella’s marriage to the Prince. Cliché you say? You couldn’t be more wrong! Hines mixes our Disney girls with the original Grimm tales and a good helping of his own brilliance to make 3  lead female characters you cant help but love and root for! Good points? Its action, adventure and fantasy for women. It doesn’t talk down to you, but is light enough to be enjoyable. Bad points? I really don’t like the covers, especially of the first one, it makes it look like its all cotton candy and bubble gum which its not. Not so embarrassing I wont take it to public (this series and I were inseparable)  but if I had had the option of an e-reader I probably would have gone that way.

Top Ten Tuesday: Rewind to Nostalgia

Oh man, hello Top Ten Tuesday! Its been a really long time hasn’t it? Well I’m back, and it looks like I picked the perfect week to ease back into it. For any of you lovely people who wandered here through my facebook or twitter Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish, which is a delightful blog in and of itself.

The topic of the week is Rewind, which lets us pick any topic we like. The term makes me laugh, remember when we actually had to rewind our VHS tapes? You’d rent it from the video store and it would have that corny sticker that said “Be Kind, Rewind”. Pretty soon kids are going to have no idea what it means. Anyway tangent, the word rewind is making me feel nostalgic so I am going to go with Top Ten Books I Loved as a Kid. It also has me rocking out the Newsies soundtrack from the 1992 movie, man I had the biggest crush on Racetrack… 😛

 The Hollow Tree – Janet Lunn: This is the first children’s historical fiction book I ever read of my own volition. I had done novel studies in school but none of them had ever really stuck with me. Looking back though, all of the the novel studies I can remember also featured male leads, so while the stories were good, I had a hard time connecting with the characters. I cant remember where I got my copy, an inkling says my auntie might have picked it up for me, but Its been a treasure ever since. I read it every couple of years and still really enjoy the characters and writing style and setting. It is such an excellently written children’s book with a believable and strong girl lead.

Devil on my Back – Monica Hughes: My first foray into Monica Hughes’ writing was with Guardian of Isis, which is definitely another one of my favourites. I stumbled onto her while stumbling around the stacks of my junior high library. Hughes also being a local author sealed the deal for me. After finishing off what I thought to be the rest of the Isis series (I would find out years later that there was in fact a 3rd book) I greedily devoured the rest of Monica Hughes books and while each one holds a special place in my heart Devil on my Back was my first foray into the dystopian future genre that would later take hold of my life.

There Will Be Wolves – Karleen Bradford: I spent a lot of time in my grade 5 -7 years hanging out in the Library, our Librarian Ms Taylor would let us spend our recesses and lunches in if we liked, and I got the chance to play on the old type writer and browse through the stacks. I found this book during one one such browse. I had never read anything that was set during the crusades and it had a female lead (something I stuck to almost exclusively, Monica Hughes’ books being one of the few exceptions), so I was willing to give it a try. The book had no qualms about showing the harsh reality of life during the crusades, both for those who were being concurred and for those who followed in the shadows of the armies.

Galax-Arena – Gillian Rubinstein: This book was delightfully spooky in places and ridiculous in others. Once again my thirst for a dystopian future with all its terrible consequences. The mix of gymnastics in space with aliens and a little bit of Lord of the Flies. It was also the first book I ever read with a swear in it, which maybe should have traumatized be but instead made me feel so grown up.

A Handful of Time – Kit Pearson: This  book I got from my favourite auntie (I’m a terrible person :P). I had told her all about my love of Kit Pearson’s book Awake and Dreaming and in all her infinite wisdom bought be a copy of  A Handful of Time for my 12th birthday. It had everything 12 year old me could have wanted, a girl who was 12, set in cabin country Alberta, and a watch that let you travel through time. Throw on top of this that the main character was dealing with a lot of the same social anxiety as I was and you had a perfect escape.

Beauty – Robyn McKinley: I grew up on Disney. My mom had a copy of every Disney VHS that came out, sometimes two if they came out with a special edition. The splendour and magic of fairy tales took me out of my boring life and dropped into a place more extraordinary then I had ever known. When I found McKinley’s retelling it took a story I already knew and loved and gave it a whole new dimension. It has since grown my love for retellings and has branched out into the grown up versions of both fairytale and classic story retellings such as the Wicked Years series and The Big Over Easy.

Lord of the Rings – J.R.R Tolkien: The first of the LOTR movies came out when I was still in junior high, but the lead up was immense. I was swept away in the thrill of a new fantasy adventure series  and learning it was based on a book series made me determined to finish reading the entire Trilogy before the movies came out. I was sadly not able to finish the entire series before the first film but was able to polish off The Fellowship of the Ring and a good chunk of The Two Towers. If it hadn’t been for the impending movies, and a love of The Hobbit, I dont know if I would have found the will power to muscle through some of the denser chapters of what is now a favourite series.

Exodus – Julie Bertenga: This is the first book I remember buying, like actually walking into a bookstore picking up and paying for it with my money. It was the beginning of my buying beautiful books phase, and it treated me well. I honestly hate the redesign for the series covers, they are ugly and play into the whole “Teen Lit novels need to look dark and moody”. Exodus brought me into one of my favorite genres, it was a step above the distopian future I loved, and dropped me into a distopian apocalyptic future, which was a delightful change of pace. And for all the books in that genre I have read this one still feels beautiful and unique with its watery planet and ancient internet.

Alex Series – Nancy Simpson Levene: Aww man the names of these book were simple priceless! Grapefruit Basket Upset, Hot Chocolate Forgiveness, Crocodile Meatloaf. In elementary I ate these silly books up! They were written by a Christian author specifically to teach morals and values in a fun way for kids. My mom bought me one and I was hooked! Alex was delightful silly and brash and was the epitome of a little girl. I remember on several occasions my mom bribed me with these books to get me to do extra chores around the house!

The Incredible Worlds of Wally McDoogle – Bill Meyers: Another one of those Chrisitan series that was about morals and values, but this one was absolutely hilarious. It was another one of the new exceptions I made to having a boy lead character. But Wally was nerdy and clutzy and all around loveable oaf who on top of living his own increadibly unlikely and funny story was also creating his own worlds and stories on his laptop.

Top Ten Tuesday: Blogging Your Best

Morning beautiful people, fellow bloggers, readers and any combination thereof!

This week over at The Broke and the Bookish its time for another round of Top Ten Tuesday! This weeks topic: Top Ten Tips for New Book Bloggers. Now obviously I am the most fantastic and revered book blogger out there *crys into work keyboard* and know all the things you need to do, but let pretend that I have in fact only been doing this a couple months and only sporadically at best *shifty eyes*.

But for reals even though I haven’t been at it very long that I have been doing this, and I will readily admit I’m not the most consistent. At the same time I think it gives me fresh eyes and a newbs perspective, so take me with a grain of salt, or the entire shaker, but here’s my tips!

1.  Add Cover Art: One of my biggest peeves is going to someone’s blog and finding that though they are talking about books, and even in some cases cover art and find that there is not a .jpeg to be seen. I can understand if its a once in a while thing, internet is down and your blogging on your phone, or your strapped for time, but really on an ongoing basis its rather frustrating for a few of reasons. a) I want to know what the book looks like. It can be a totally amazing read, but if it has an uber embarrassing cover it might be something I’d rather pick up for my e-reader rather then running to the store to pick it up. b) If I’m at a book store I am way more likely to be triggered by a cover then title or author name, I can see the cover when I’m browsing I can say “Oh wait, i remember this, soandso gave it an awesome review!” c) It gives the reader something to focus on when browsing through your page, a web page of non-stop text hurts the eyes and can be hard to concentrate on.

2. Check Out Other Blogs: I love to read other peoples blogs, everyone has such a unique voice and point of view. And its great to look at how other people write and take a look at books you might normally not read yourself. It helps you gain perspective and open yourself up to new genres and new people.

3. Comment: Lets face it, we all love to hear back on what we have to say. Its life affirming when someone agrees with or compliments on your work, and as hard as it can be critique is what helps us to grow and keeps us from growing stagnant.  Taking the time to actually read someone else’s work and give a thoughtful comment will help you to take and give criticism as well as creating foot traffic on your site. I know I love to check out the blogs of people who have dropped in and took the time to say hello.

4. Try Out A Meme (or two): This is something I would like to work on myself. A meme gives you a structure and a topic to help expand your writing, connect with other bloggers and give you a reason to write even when your not feeling all together inspired. Try one to start yourself off, just to get into the habit of writing something on a deadline and build from there.

5. Be Consistent: Totally something I know I am not good with, but know is important. There are some bloggers that I can count on every morning to be updated. I wake up, have my shower, settle down with my breakfast and pull them up on my phone for a read. They are always on time, same time. Even if its just a quick note to say “Hey guys, can’t get in to do a proper blog this week/today!”, it saves the reader a day of flipping back and forth waiting for something new to show up.

6. Be Yourself: I love stumbling onto a new blog and getting that breathe of fresh air as you read someone’s writing that is totally themselves. Its not necessarily unique, or trendy, but you can tell that they are being open and honest and are expressing themselves openly and honestly.

7. Don’t Get Discouraged: For the most part we are blogging for our love of books, not to get famous, or get money (though I for one am completely willing for both to happen). Its something we need to keep in mind! Never let low page views, a negative comment, or a week or seven of missed posts get you down, remember why your here, pick yourself back up and get back at it!

8. Keep It Clean and Simple: There is nothing more distracting then clicking a link to a site and being bombarded by dancing .gifs, neon fonts, sparking back grounds, and a million count down clocks. Having your blog laid out in a simple clean format makes it easier for readers to see what you have to say and really pay attention. It also allows and invites readers to located and browse through your archives to see what else you have to say. There is nothing wrong with liking bright and sparkly, just remember that if you want people to hear what you have to say you need to make it easy for them to access.

9. Pick Your Blog Host Carefully: I’ve been blogging on and off for years on a variety of formats, and when I finally found and settled on WordPress I was thankful I hadn’t settled anywhere else permanently. I didn’t have any followers who weren’t friends or family so my constant jumping of hosts wasn’t a big issue, on the flip side all those posts that I wrote and would love to share with new friends and followers are scattered over a several sites in various graveyard ghost blogs. Check around, try a couple of accounts and test blogs before you commit!

10. Make Friends: We bloggers are in general really nice people! We love to talk and discuss our favourite subjects and are more then willing to share advice and knowledge whenever we can. Knowing you have friends and creating a community can help you blossom as a blogger and a person. Reach out and make a friend, both your lives will be enriched by the experience.

Top Ten Tuesday: Who are you?!

Hello again everyone!! Its been a while since I have updated this blog, I do apologize, I even have a giant update to post about last months EOG Book Club (Spoilers: It was epic). But seeing as my brain is currently a wad of cotton-pudding hybrid, I figure I should start out with a Top Ten Tuesday to get me going. This weeks topic: “Top Ten Books That Were Totally Deceiving (those covers or titles that don’t fit the books, a book that was totally different than its summary, or those books you thought were going to be fluff that turned out to be more serious etc etc.)” Me likey this topic! Its one where I can pick favourites or disappointments. Though in retrospect maybe I should call it misconceptions in a few places.

1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: Spent years trying to muscle my way through this novel, but in the end Cole’s Notes’ed my way to  a passing grade. I adored both the movies, (Colin Firth have all my babies please) and was determined to read the book. About a year ago I stumbled on a cheap copy of the book (my previous attempts were from school or my enormous complete works of Jane Austen 20lb tome.) It was simple, clean, and hard cover bungee bound, which meant it could survive the various abuse it was sure to suffer during its travels in my purse. When I got it home to finally read it I was delightfully surprised that the otherwise very boring cover hid some treasure, the book had not only the novel, but several essays, graphs, and character synopsis’s that helped me to see Austen’s world in context, and know who the heck everyone was. With this new knowledge and understanding I was able to pound through Pride and Prejudice and actually enjoy it, pick out the little jokes and laugh and feel Elizabeth’s emotions.

2. We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver: Had heard a lot of really good things about this book, and the synopsis made it sound like it would be an engaging and thought provoking book into the mind of a mother dealing with the guilt of a son jailed for a school massacre. Opened the book, tried reading, and found myself face to face with some of the densest and (in my opinion) the most pompous writing I’ve ever read. Its supposed to be written in the style of letters, but to my knowledge no person on earth writes personal correspondence   as though they are trying to write the next great Russian novel… I was super disappointed and gave up after the first letter.

3. The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham: Bar none one of my favorite novels. Bar none one of my least favorite covers… OK, there’s a cuckoo, on someone’s head, whose lying on the ground, with their eyes open, staring all creepy at you. Granted after reading the book I get the symbolism , but for a person picking up the book for the first time it looks like crazy birds are running around killing people, and while that is an awesome story, it is not this story.

4. The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde: I found this book by asking around my local book store. I wanted another fairy tale retelling and had hit a wall in my search. Not a fairy tale but nursery rhyme retelling I was game to try something new. Though billed at a detective story I really didn’t expect it to have much of a mystery involved. Boy was I wrong, I have never in my life been more surprised by an ending. The twists and turns were wild and unexpected and lead me on a epic romp that I will never forget. Something I expected to be quick comedy turned into a delightfully complex mystery.

5. Mine Until Midnight by Lisa Kleypas: I apologize to the world!!! I actually liked this book!! They synopsis and cover quickly lead the observer to draw all sorts of conclusions about the quality and content of the book. It was my pick for our mandatory romance book for last months book club, I picked it cause it looked like it would be hilariously silly… not so friends, not so. The story was well thought out, and while not perfect by any means, much better then I had anticipated. I found myself getting invested in the well being of the main character and when it wrapped up suddenly, running to the book store to pick up the rest of the series.

6. Door in the Dragons Throat by Frank Peretti: Its a kids book, I read it when I was 14 because it looked interesting, and like a quick light read. It was in fact quick, light not so much, what I had not anticipated, absolutely terrifying. Frank Peretti is a fantastic suspense/thriller writer. 14 year old me did not know this, 14 year old me did not expect this, 14 year old me had nightmares that had me sleeping with the light on for at least a week.

7. Identical by Ellen Hopkins: I had read one book by this author before on  suggestion from a friend. I had greatly enjoyed the book despite my less favourable attitude towards the writing style. When I went to the book store to look into more of her titles I found them to revolve mainly around drug addiction, something that didn’t peak my interest. Then a few months later Identical came out. Nothing, and I repeat nothing could have prepared me for how this book wrecked me. Without saying too much about the plot lets just say the synopsis and cover while accurate are insufficient.

8. Secret Six – Unhinged by Gail Simone, Nicola Scott, Doug Hazelwood: Woo, a delicious comic for everyone out there!! 😀 I have had the great luck of finding a large company of nerdy comic book type friends in the last couple of months. They are amazing. ❤ I however am a nerd of a different sort, more sci-fi and manga then comics and super heroes. One lovely friend did me the great honour of borrowing a few trades of one of her favorites. It was DARK! I had anticipated the fighting and the nitty gritty, but it was infinitely darker then I could of imagined. I was thinking back to my cousins comics with Spiderman stopping kids from doing drugs and busting smugglers in Manitoba (an issue I still love and cherish). Not to say I didn’t like them, the writing was superb and the characters dynamic,  it was just so much different then I thought.

9. The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C Hines: If you’ve never read a book by this author then you are really missing out. His obvious love and care for his characters bleed through the pages, while his imagination takes you on wild adventures filled with magic and sword play. I was lucky to have stumbled onto this series by accident when trolling the science fiction/fantasy section at Chapters, their system while nice does not allow for searching by plot or theme like the magic card catalogue at the library. The cover makes it looks like silly fluff, fantasy written specifically for girls, with no real meat or substance to it. The synopsis while not horrible does nothing to dispel this myth. These characters were some of the most complex and interesting ones I had found in a long time, and the stories while they did have their share of fluff, were complex and interesting.

10. The Book Thief by Markus Zusack: I know, I know here it is again! 😀 And if it wasn’t such a good book then maybe I would feel bad, but its awesome so I dont… This book is marketed for tweens and teens, thus a lot of adults shrug it off as inconsequential. A person could never be more wrong. I have harped on the awesome that is this book in almost every Top Ten Tuesday because it is so well written and moving, so honestly if you haven’t read it get off your butt and get on it!