Classic Time!

Way back a couple of months ago, I challenged myself to read one classic book a month. Easy Cheesy right? Apparently not. I was doing so good! I pumped out The Red Badge of Courage during month one, even though it was god awful. Month two was redeemed with Jane Eyre . . . and then I ran out of days in April and kind of skipped that month. Who knew bettering yourself would be so difficult?  Luckily, I stuck to my guns this month and took in a classic. I just finished F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.

GoodReads description:
A portrait of the Jazz Age in all of its decadence and excess, Gatsby captured the spirit of the author's generation and earned itself a permanent place in American mythology. Self-made, self-invented millionaire Jay Gatsby embodies some of Fitzgerald's--and his country's--most abiding obsessions: money, ambition, greed, and the promise of new beginnings. "Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter--tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther.... And one fine morning--" Gatsby's rise to glory and eventual fall from grace becomes a kind of cautionary tale about the American Dream.
First off, I liked this book and enjoyed the bajezzus (yes, that’s a word) out of it. The most amazing thing was that this novel took me by absolute surprise because it wasn’t anything I expected. Everyone who hates the book describes it as a book detailing the lives, and problems, of rich people, leaving me to imagine a book that was probably disjointed and lacking any real story. (You’re probably wondering why I bothered to read it in the first place if I thought it was going to suck but here’s the thing 1) Everyone has heard of this bloody book and I don’t like feeling behind when it comes to books 2) I kept confusing this book with Matt Damon’s movie The Talented Mr. Ripely, don’t ask, and it led to many puzzling scenarios 3) A movie adaption of the book is coming out, starring the stunning Leonardo Dicaprio, and I’ll be damned if I’m heading to see the movie without having read the book and 4) It is considered The Great American Novel (you can just imagine how this infuriates the haters)).  Fortunately, the book was nothing like I expected and I became engrossed in an interesting story of a man trying to reclaim what he once lost.
See Gatsby and Daisy once upon a time ago had a love affair. Unfortunately, the world was in the middle of a war and when Gatsby deployed it became too difficult for rich, popular Daisy to continue waiting for him and she married another man. Now it’s easy to hate Daisy for abandoning Gatsby, especially for someone like me who stopped reading Dear John because I began to loathe the main female character (Not to rant, but the two stars of Dear John fall in love within like what? a week? and then as soon as he's been deployed for awhile she starts pulling for apparently no reason! Okay maybe there was a reason but I stopped reading the stupid book so who knows), but with Daisy and Gatsby it seemed different. True they had fallen desperately in love with one another, but it was the type of love that had to overcome obstacles, ie: Gatsby not having enough money to provide for Daisy, and it’s easy to let hurdles that once seemed so minute when you’re together to grow wild when you’re apart. Once Daisy lost the magic they had held together, she began to question what exactly she was waiting for.
And that's it.
You’ll have to forgive me but I’m currently enamored in the lives of the characters in my current book The Magicians so it’s hard to reflect any more on my last book and this is all I feel like sharing.
So bottom line: If you are trying to get into the classics give The Great Gatsby a try. Good novel and it’s short!
P.S. When looking for a picture of the book for the blog I realized another reason why I was so iffy on reading this book. The freaking cover! Seriously, the cover is really wierd. Why are there eyes above a carnival scene? I mean I know what the eyes are meant to represent but still! Covers draw people in and this repels them. No joke.

I Wanna Dance With Dragons!

I just finished A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin and while I’m super sad that I have to wait for the next book to come out, I’m also glad because now I’m all caught up and can theorize with the rest of the Game of Thrones fans. Seriously, I need to know who John’s momma is!

Even though I really enjoyed this book, I was left with the feeling that not a lot happened but I’m going to attribute that to the way the book was structured, ie: ADWD picks up where A Feast For Crows left and runs simultaneously with it. That being said the stuff that did happen was awesome!
(Plan on many SPOILERS in the text below, that means you Jen!)

You have been warned:
John Snow: The last we saw of everyone’s beloved crow he had just been made Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch and was saved from a wilding attack by King (one of the many) Stannis. Now normally I dread reading John’s chapters (gasp!) and it’s not because I don’t like his character it’s just that I always feel so god awful for this poor boy who gave up everything to defend the realm’s largest cock block and all because he’s a bastard (or is he?). But this book brought about some big changes and I really looked forward to his chapters! After Ramsey Bolton, believing John helped his bride, the fake Arya, escape, threatens John and flays some wildlings John has finally decided to cast aside his vows and help rid the North of Bolton. Finally! I have been waiting for John to leave that stupid wall for foreva and now he finally is. Or was. Slight hiccup, when he told his men and the wildlings his plans some were very supportive and others kind of stabbed him. A lot. So we’re left with a dying John and his smoking wounds lying on the snow at the wall. Some cliffhanger and the worst part is you can’t comfort yourself with the whole “Georgey would never kill him off” because let’s face it who saw Ned Stark getting his head cut off?
Daenerys Targaryen: She pissed me off so much in this book. So her story goes something like this: Captures Mereen and sets the slaves free, turns down the offer of a bunch of ships to take her to Westeros, and continues sitting in Mereen ruling as their queen. She then marries a local because the masters of Mereen are pretty pissed at her (join the club) for freeing the slaves and she needs something to bring everyone together. Shortly after her wedding, one of her dragons attacks someone and in order to stop the mob from slaying him she tries to tame him and ends up riding away with him . . . where she promptly gets dropped off in the middle of nowhere and the last we see of her she runs into her sun and stars’ old Khlalsar who probably aren’t going to be super pleased to see her.
Seriously, that took up her whole portion of the book and the entire time I was reading her chapters I just wanted to shake her. I mean why isn’t she headed to Westeros to reclaim her freaking kingdom? Her dragons are big enough to ride now, she has a freaking army of unsullied and sellswords, and the Kingdom is ripe for the taking. And I get it she’s super young and tired of all this moving and fighting but she just needs to buck the fuck up, she’s Daenerys Stormborn of House of Targygeran for crying out loud.
Tyrion Lannister: My poor giant of Lannister has had a really tough go of it ever since he was convicted of murdering his nephew/king and then killing his dad and Shae. After successfully rescuing Tyrion from the executioners blade Varys, with Jamie’s help,  plans to send him east to Dany. Unfortunately, that didn’t quite work out because Jorah Mormont captured him and then together they were both captured and sold as slaves. My poor heart was so sad for him and I hated reading about his humiliations. And trust me, without the power of the Lannisters behind him there were many. Hopefully, in the next book, he’ll be able to return to Westeros as Lord of Castlery Rock soon. Here’s to hoping!
Theon Greyjoy: Let me start by explaining that I hated this man, who betrayed the Starks, with a passion and luckily, I didn’t have to hear about him for two whole books. A co-worker, who shares my love for Games, told me to just wait until book five when Theon gets what’s coming to him, you’ll probably feel bad for him. Psshhh is what I said, never in a million years would I feel bad for Theon. Well, turns out he was right, I do feel bad for Theon and I know this is going to sound crazy but I might even be starting to like his character. Crazy right? You don’t have to answer that because I know how it sounds, I mean the man betrayed Robb! Well, here’s the thing, my puny little mind couldn’t even fathom a punishment that would be enough for Theon. Georgey on the other hand, whose imagination is apparently limitless, created a scenario in which I pitied Theon and even wanted things to start going right for him. And while I’m not going to describe the particular hell he went through because it was so intense to read that I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. Just know it’s horrifying.
Okay, so those were the stories of the main characters and here are some other crazy tidbits that happened: Davos, and Lord Wyman Manderly, suspect Bran and Rickon are alive and now Davos is headed to some scary ass place to find them. Bran found the three eyed crow beyond the wall, and the last children of the forest, but instead of fixing his legs, like Bran thought he would, the three eyed crow is helping him to change skins with the world around him. This isn’t as exciting as it sounds because Bran is probably going to have to spend his life in a cave becoming one with a tree. Small price to pay, eh? Arya has her sight back (Thank God!) and is on her way to becoming one bad ass assassin. Oh and let’s not forget Jamie! He officially turned his back on Cersei (YES!) and is headed off with Brienne, who has claimed to have found Sansa, who might be getting ready to kill him. And the biggest revelation . . . Aegon, Rheagar’s son (you know the one that supposedly had his bashed as an infant?), is alive. Let that sink in for a minute. Varys and the Mad King’s exiled hand, John Connington, have been keeping him safe and raising him to reclaim the throne.  And yeah that’s about it.
Oh, and the coolest news ever? Georgey himself is heading to Missoula, Montana and my momma is going to see him! I’m so excited for her and I have begged her to tell Martin how in love I am with Jamie because if anyone will appreciate my love for that man, it will be Georgey.
And onto the next . . . I am currently reading The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Top Ten Favorite Book Quotes

Every Tuesday over at the Broke and the Bookish they have a Tuesday Top Ten. This week we're detailing our Top Ten Favorite Book Quotes:

               1. “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” 
 -George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Never has a truer statement been said. Every time I read a good book I fall in love with the characters and their stories. I become engrossed and attached to their lives and ultimately they become my friends. This is why reading is magic. It takes you somewhere else in an instant. It opens your heart and creates an escape for your mind. Reading is brilliant and this quote epitomizes that.

                  2.“Sleep is good, he said, And books are better.”
-George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings

For every reader who has spent a day groggy because they were engrossed in a novel until the wee hours of the morning. It’s always worth it. After all, you can always sleep when you’re dead.

        3.  "After all this time?” “Always," said Snape.
-J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 

I love this quote because it shows how deep true love runs even if it’s painful.

4. “Most maidens are perfectly capable of rescuing themselves in my experience, at least the ones worth something, in any case.”
-Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus


 5. “Rule number one: Always stick around for one more drink. That's when things happen. That's when you find out everything you want to know.”
-John Berendt, Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil

 If you want to get to know people and bond with them you have to commit. You’ll see the truer side of people the longer you stay. That’s when people start to relax and let down their “hoity toity” good behavior vibe. And again, You can always sleep when you’re dead. Notice a theme? Although, I do understand if you wanted to pass up that drink so you could head home and read, reading is always more important. Obviously.

6. “The moment you stop to think about whether you love someone, you've already stopped loving that person forever.”
-Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

I love this quote because it is so tragically sad. It seems to me that if a person is questioning whether they love someone it isn’t because they want to be out of love but because they desperately want to be IN love with that person. Life would be so much easier if people could just choose the ones they give their hearts to.

      7. “In the shop we buy and sell them, but in truth books have no owner. Every book you see here has been somebody’s best friend.”
-Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

 I love this about books! A story can belong to everyone and you can instantly become best friends with all the other readers of that story. 

      8. “This book is to be neither an accusation nor a confession, and least of all an adventure, for death is not an adventure to those who stand face to face with it. It will try simply to tell of a generation of men who, even though they may have escaped shells, were destroyed by the war.”
-Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front

This quote speaks volumes. People need to be reminded that war is not some great game. War has casulties, far beyond the death count, that will mark and change our society years after the war is over.

9. “No sight so sad as that of a naughty child," he began, "especially a naughty little girl. Do you know where the wicked go after death?"
"They go to hell," was my ready and orthodox answer.
"And what is hell? Can you tell me that?"
"A pit full of fire."
"And should you like to fall into that pit, and to be burning there for ever?"
"No, sir."
"What must you do to avoid it?"
I deliberated a moment: my answer, when it did come was objectionable: "I must keep in good health and not die.”
Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

Saucy and smart, I love it.

10. “Good-night, my-" He stopped, bit his lip, and abruptly left me.”
Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

You truly didn't think I would end a post without mentioning tortured love did you? One of the reasons I love Jane Eyre as much as I do is because the whole book oozes the kind of desperate love that tightens my heart. And sure, there may have been a million other quotes to depict that feeling but I like this one best. It shows the simple anguish and torment Mr. Rochester feels when he's near Jane. Nothing is better than that.

P.S. I realize that I may have cheated and used the same book twice but I couldn't help it! The books I love have so many amazing quotes, it was hard to choose!

If You Loved Twilight, You'll Like The Touch Series

I just finished Deadly Little Lies by Laurie Faria Stolarz over the weekend.

This is book two out of five of the Touch series and the series is really growing on me. I finished book one, titled Deadly Little Secret, long before I started blogging so I’ll give y’all a brief description to bring everyone up to date. The story follows a Camelia, a teenage girl whose life was exceptionally normal until, seemingly, bad boy Ben shows up. Camelia is drawn to Ben even though he fled his old town to escape the accusations that he had something to do with his ex-girlfriend's death. Now Camelia is being stalked and threatened and she isn’t sure who to trust. Intense, I know.

Okay, so I know the book sounds incredibly corny but so what? I like it. I originally bought it because I kept seeing the book pop up in random places, like on pinterest and book store display cases, and like the avid reader I am I wanted to keep up with any possible/future best sellers. You know, before they hit it big. Unfortunately, the series hasn’t hit it big (yet!), even though I really like it. Like, I like it in a “the bloody thing has grown on me like the weirwood has grown on/into the three eyed crow” way. (P.S. if you read Game of Thrones you'll appreciate this, if not I'm judging you).  I think part of the series’ misfortune is that the author picked a really crappy way for Ben and Camelia to meet. Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Girl is walking in school parking lot when suddenly a student’s car goes rogue and is headed directly for the girl. Luckily, a mysterious man, who she has never met, pushes her to safety and in that moment they experience an intense connection. (Oh, it gets better)  Turns out boy and girl are in the same science class together and are partnered up, only boy finds it difficult to be near girl. Twilight anyone!? Seriously, I don’t know what the author was thinking when she wrote (can it even be called writing at this point?) this part. When I read it I was pretty pissed off, but I was also on a plane to Miami and free of any other reading material so I persevered. Turns out the story was interesting enough, and aside from the beginning chapters it no longer resembled the Twilight saga and that’s why I chose to read book two. Well, that and because it’s something I can read when I’m on the elliptical for forever and it’s not a book I need to necessarily keep up on to remember the story.

P.S. I hate writing posts about books in a series because I find it difficult to describe the book I’m on without having to go into a million details about the story up until this point. Meaning, I’m not going to even try and describe the goings on of book two. If you liked Twilight, you'll like this, more book candy although maybe not as much desperate love. But seriously trying to “out desperate love” Twilight is next to impossible. I mean vampires ooze desperate love. Well, the kind of vampires that exist in the books and shows I read, maybe not actual vampires.

Oh, and one last “you should read these books” push, the author does a good job at adding little quirks that make the books interesting. For instance, Camelia’s mom is a crazy vegan, Camelia herself sculpts, and her best friends, who I find very annoying, are very individualistic. Now I’m not saying that these oddities make the book, they don’t, the story does, but it does help to give the characters depth and that’s something all young adult books need help with.

P.P.S. I know there has been a lot of talk about Twilight in my last two posts and for that I apologize.

And onto the next (well not really) . . . I'm still reading George R.R. Martins, A Dance with Dragons.

I Read Porn On The Train Like It Was No Big Deal

I just finished Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James and I feel so scandalous.

GoodReads Description:
When literature student Anastasia Steele is drafted to interview the successful young entrepreneur Christian Grey for her campus magazine, she finds him attractive, enigmatic and intimidating. Convinced their meeting went badly, she tries to put Grey out of her mind - until he happens to turn up at the out-of-town hardware store where she works part-time. The unworldly, innocent Ana is shocked to realize she wants this man, and when he warns her to keep her distance it only makes her more desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her - but on his own terms. Shocked yet thrilled by Grey's singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success – his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving adoptive family – Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a passionate, physical and daring affair, Ana learns more about her own dark desires, as well as the Christian Grey hidden away from public scrutiny.

Book one of a three part series, Fifty Shades started off as Twilight fan fiction and even though the names and world of the characters had to change in order for the book to be published, anyone can clearly see Bella and Edward in these characters. Since this was my first tryst into fan fiction I was a little weary that I would be rereading the same old story. Luckily, James’ novel seemed a world apart from Twilight. Gone are the vampires and werewolves and all that truly remains of the Twilight saga is an awkward young girl and the gorgeous domineering man that loves her. Okay, and the corny writing style. Seriously, both books are terribly written and cannot be taken seriously by anyone. For instance, a recent college graduate would never describe herself as smartly dressed for a date, nor would that same girl not own a computer (seriously, what age are we in?!). However, like the Twilight saga, I was unable to put Fifty Shades down. It's addictive! That being said I completely disagree with the book’s self-description of being “deeply moving”.  Deeply moving it is not but it is, however, the ultimate book candy and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Probably because I'll read anything. The people who should be ashamed are the ones who only read these types of books because holy hell, there are a lot of other, and better, books out there.

Oh, and did I mention the book is essentially porn? I’m actually quite surprised that I made it so far into this post without just shouting out that fact. In fact, you may as well just ignore the whole last paragraph because what this whole post boils down to is that I read an entire book of porn and loved it. Well, most of it. There were so many hot, dirty scenes that I ate right up but then they were other parts that had me cringing, especially the parts when Anastasia referred to Christian as “Sir”. Weird isn’t it, I didn’t bat an eye when a leather riding crop was introduced but I wince just thinking of her willingly calling him Sir. Luckily, there was a balance of power and even tortured love (I really should just devote a whole section of each post to tortured love because I’ll find, and immediately become enamored with,  it anywhere). But no really, if it wasn’t for Christian’s obsession with Anastasia and how forlorn he becomes without her I wouldn’t have been nearly as interested. I mean everyone wants a sex god, but a sex god and tormented heart? Gahhh!!

Bottom Line: Read the book. Even if it is porn. You’ll like it, I promise.

P.S. I would like to set the record straight that this book has been on my radar, and to read list, for foreva! But since I just read it I’m now stuck with the masses and am reading a trendy book while it’s trendy. I hate that.

And onto the next . . . I finally gave in and I’m currently reading the final book in A Song of Fire and Ice: A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin.