Top Ten Tuesday May 28: Favorite Books Released In the Last Ten Years

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Updates are now at That Artsy Reader Girl.

May 28: Favorite Books Released In the Last Ten Years (one book for each year) (submitted by Anne @ Head Full of Books)

Can I cheat? I want to cheat. Some years have more than one book that is a favorite! And I feel I missed a few (mainly Star Wars novels) because I was going by the lists on Goodreads for each year and their lists only went up to 100.

2009
1. Horns by Joe Hill
2. Catching Fire (The Hunger Games 2) by Suzanne Collins

2010
3. Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices 1) by Cassandra Clare
4. Room by Emma Donoghue
5. Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

2011
6. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
7. A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy 1) by Deborah Harkness
8. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
9. The Name of the Star (Shades of London 1) by Maureen Johnson

2012
10. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
11. Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy 2) by Deborah Harkness

2013
12. NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
13. Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices 3) by Cassandra Clare

2014
14. Red Rising by Pierce Brown
15. The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy 3) by Deborah Harkness

2015
16. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
17. Golden Son (Red Rising 2) by Pierce Brown

2016
18. The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
19. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
20. Morning Star (Red Rising 3) by Pierce Brown

2017
21. The Bear and the Nightingale (Winternight Trilogy 1) by Katherine Arden
22. The Girl in the Tower (Winternight Trilogy 2) by Katherine Arden

2018
23. Iron Gold (Red Rising 4) by Pierce Brown

2019 so far…
24. The Winter of the Witch (Winternight Trilogy 3) by Katherine Arden

I have big hopes for:
25. Dark Age (Red Rising Saga 5) by Pierce Brown

Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 – Sunday, April 14

It was snowing! The news actually said it was a record: 16 hours of uninterrupted snowfall. The most ever during the daytime.

And then by Tuesday it would be 70!
Thanks a lot Chicago.

The snow canceled many flights. I heard on a podcast that there were rumors that George Lucas and perhaps even Ewan McGregor were supposed to fly in for the 20th Anniversary of The Phantom Menace panel on Monday, but their flights were cancelled.

I didn’t get to go to the TPM panel because my sister and I were heading home, but those that went said it was a bit lack luster and the end felt like it was scrapped together at the last minute because they didn’t have their surprise guests. Who knows?

My sister and I went to a panel in the morning: This Deal is Getting Worse All the Time. It was a cute interactive game. They gave out raffle tickets and if your number was called you went up to play any variety of games for the chance to win a prize. But then some were mystery packages and you had to make a choice, a gamble really, to either keep your prize or upgrade it for the mystery package that could be a better or worse prize. It was fun to watch but I was glad my number wasn’t called. The only prizes I liked were Star Wars lunch boxes. I don’t care to collect any toys.

At 12:30 I had a ticket for Matt Lanter’s autograph. I brought my Clone Wars cast photo for him to sign. It being day 4 I could tell he was tired. He was quiet, but very nice and appreciative. I said that I was so emotional when it was announced that TCW was returning and I can’t wait to see it. I mentioned that I was sad Timeless was cancelled but glad at least that it got some closure. Then I also said it was cool that he met Hayden and to have a photo of the two Anakins together. He said Hayden is a nice guy and that was the first time they had met.

My sister and I met up with our friend Megan for The Clone Wars panel. We decided with the snow and the huge pain it was to go over to the Wintrust Arena that instead we stayed where we were and see it in the Live Streaming room. So we queued up early for the people without the reservation QR codes. We made it in and it was a very emotional panel.

You can watch the whole panel here. I am going to make some references with the time stamp.

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A Short History of the Girl Next Door by Jared Reck

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Matt Wainwright is constantly sabotaged by the overdramatic movie director in his head. He can’t tell his best friend, Tabby, how he really feels about her. He implodes on the basketball court, even though no one cares about the JV team. And the only place he feels normal is in Mr. Ellis’s English class, discussing the greatest fart scenes in literature and writing poems about cantankerous candy-cane lumberjacks.

If this were a movie, everything would work out perfectly. Tabby would discover that Matt’s madly in love with her, be overcome with emotion, and fall into his arms. Maybe in the rain.

But that’s not how it works. Matt watches Tabby get swept away by senior basketball star and all-around great guy Liam Branson. Losing Tabby to Branson is bad enough, but screwing up and losing her as a friend is even worse.

After a tragic accident, Matt finds himself left on the sidelines, spiraling out of control and in danger of losing everything that matters to him. From debut author Jared Reck comes a fiercely funny and heart-wrenching novel about love, longing, and what happens when life as you know it changes in an instant.

Even though this book came out in September 2017, the copy I read was an ARC I had on my TBR pile since Book Con 2017.

I was so surprised by how much I really loved it. I thought it would just be another YA novel about unrequited love and it would get put in the donate pile when I was done.

At first I thought it was ok, and the basketball lingo went over my head, but I really grew to like the characters. Especially Tabby, Matt’s mom and his grandpa. Oh, and I love that Matt, his dad and Tabby love Star Wars.

Jared Reck is an 8th grade teacher and that really helped with setting the tone of what teenagers are like. I felt like I was thrown back into high school.

The book takes a dramatic turn and I found myself unexpectedly bawling my eyes out. But the story ends with hope and I really liked the message.

So, I am not going to put this in the donate pile. It’s book with a lot of heart, some humor, and it’s got short chapters (which was a relief after the last book I read). It’s a quick 2-3 day read.

5 out of 5 Nerds.

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice

This is the story of Louis, as told in his own words, of his journey through mortal and immortal life. Louis recounts how he became a vampire at the hands of the radiant and sinister Lestat and how he became indoctrinated, unwillingly, into the vampire way of life. His story ebbs and flows through the streets of New Orleans, defining crucial moments such as his discovery of the exquisite lost young child Claudia, wanting not to hurt but to comfort her with the last breaths of humanity he has inside. Yet, he makes Claudia a vampire, trapping her womanly passion, will, and intelligence inside the body of a small child. Louis and Claudia form a seemingly unbreakable alliance and even “settle down” for a while in the opulent French Quarter. Louis remembers Claudia’s struggle to understand herself and the hatred they both have for Lestat that sends them halfway across the world to seek others of their kind. Louis and Claudia are desperate to find somewhere they belong, to find others who understand, and someone who knows what and why they are.

Louis and Claudia travel Europe, eventually coming to Paris and the ragingly successful Theatre des Vampires–a theatre of vampires pretending to be mortals pretending to be vampires. Here they meet the magnetic and ethereal Armand, who brings them into a whole society of vampires. But Louis and Claudia find that finding others like themselves provides no easy answers and in fact presents dangers they scarcely imagined.

Originally begun as a short story, the book took off as Anne wrote it, spinning the tragic and triumphant life experiences of a soul. As well as the struggles of its characters, Interview captures the political and social changes of two continents. The novel also introduces Lestat, Anne’s most enduring character, a heady mixture of attraction and revulsion. The book, full of lush description, centers on the themes of immortality, change, loss, sexuality, and power.

 

I did not finish this. I stopped reading at page 288 (out of 340). I tried to push through to the end, but I just got so bored and uninspired. I already wasted too much time on it.

I got this 20th Anniversary Edition for free at Book Con in 2014 and I have been trying to dwindle my Book Con pile. This book put me behind schedule. I need to learn to just give up when I have stalled and have no desire to continue.

The thing is that it started off with promise, and with the exception that I hated that there were no chapter breaks, I thought it was interesting. I liked the twisted dynamic between Lestat, Louis, and Claudia. Claudia was the most interesting character. The mind of a woman trapped inside the body of a child and frustrated that she will forever look like a child and be vulnerable.

It wasn’t until Louis and Claudia got to Paris that I became so bored and really tried of Louis’s depressing contemplations.

Some parts are really poetic and I bookmarked them:

Page 13: “Evil is always possible. And goodness is eternally difficult.”

Page 161: “It seemed at moments, when I sat alone in the dark stateroom, that the sky had come down to meet the sea and that some great secret was to be revealed in that meeting, some great gulf miraculously closed forever.”

…but Louis’s musings became way too much. Like every sentence and sometimes they felt like run on sentences. So when I gave up I just looked up the ending on wikipedia. I barely remember the movie with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. I saw it once almost twenty years ago, and besides the movies always differ from the books.

So, yea, I am done with this book. I don’t have to finish every book.

2 out of 5 Bites.

Top Ten Tuesday May 14: Page to Screen Freebie

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Updates are now at That Artsy Reader Girl.

May 14: Page to Screen Freebie (Books that became movies/TV shows, movies that became books, great adaptations, bad ones, books you need to read before watching their movie/TV show, movies you loved based on books you hated or vice versa, books you want to read because you saw the movie or vice versa, etc.)

 

Bad Book to Film Adaptations:
1) Riding in Cars with Boys by Beverly D’Onofrio. Staring Drew Barrymore.
The book is only autobiography I liked because it reads like a novel and it has some dark humor. That did not translate to the movie and they made Beverly too sweet.

2) Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.
Staring Alden Ehrenreich before he was Han Solo! It actually had a good cast: Viola Davis, Emmy Rossum, Emma Thompson and I liked Jeremy Irons as Macon Ravenwood. I actually read the book after seeing the movie, and honestly, the book was better.

3) Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Staring Han Solo! I mean Harrison Ford. And Viola Davis again! I read the book after seeing the movie and my favorite thing about it, the subplot with Ender’s siblings was completely cut out of the movie. So yea.

4) Horns by Joe Hill. Staring Daniel Radcliffe.
While the movie does have its dark humorous moments, a great soundtrack, and Daniel does a great job playing Ig, the climatic end is so much better in the book! And they missed the mark by not making the Treehouse of the Mind magical.

5) Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. Staring Ben Barnes. Now Ben Barnes is perfect casting because he is beautiful. I can’t remember the details but something about the ending was changed so much that just changed the characterizations in a bad way.

Good Book to Film Adaptations:
To avoid repeating myself with each one listed I felt these films really stood true to tone, characters and the plot. Yes, some details were omitted, but overall they kept what was important to the story and it was like watching what pictured in my head.

6) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin. Staring Kiera Knightly and Matthew Macfadyen.

7) Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Staring Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck.

8) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Staring Leonardo DiCaprio.

9) Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. He also wrote the screenplay and directed the film. Enough said. Staring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, and Ezra Miller.

10) We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. Staring Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, and Ezra Miller.

Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 – Saturday, April 13

Saturday is usually the busiest day of a convention and it showed at the queue for the shuttle. In the morning my sister and I met Megan, Lea and Nicki at the line for the shuttle and it was a cold wait. I was dressed as Padmé that day and I didn’t want to bring a jacket or scarf. It was going to be a long day of running from queue to queue and I didn’t want to carry it around. So while waiting on that line outside I was shivering.

A few shuttles passed us by and they were full. We waited about 40 minutes and about 4 shuttles passed us by. We were about to order a Lyft when finally an empty shuttle arrived.

I made my costume. At first I was going to dress in the leather corset look from AotC but then I thought about the Chicago weather and also what costume I could finish in time for Celebration so I went with the green velvet gown from RotS, minus the pregnancy belly. It is more of an “inspired by” look than an exact replica. The fabric is actually pleated velour and I beaded the pin myself with the symbol of Naboo.

Ugh, the hem got caught in the escalator! Luckily I pulled it out in time, but I have to clean some grease off the hem. Such a cosplay noob move!

Megan originally was going to cosplay as Medal Ceremony Leia but her costume was not going to be repaired in time. So she dressed as Bespin Leia (the dress is from Her Universe).

Ever since Celebration Orlando 2017 I have had hope that Hayden would attend another Celebration. Bummed that we missed Orlando, Megan and I vowed to attend the next one and if Hayden came we would go in together for a photo op.

With the exception of The Clone Wars cast photo op (which to save on cost Megan and I decided to do together) I held off on other ops, waiting for Hayden’s announcement. He was the last to be announced. Since he was a bit pricy I sacrificed my other wish list items:
– I also considered getting a photo op with Freddie Prinze Jr. and Jason Isaacs, or with the Rebels cast (although the voice actor for Zeb was not there)
– and then I was also considering getting autographs from cast of TCW and Rebels.
– I would also like Ahmed Best’s autograph on a photo I have with him and Jake Lloyd from Big Apple Con in 2010.

After Hayden was announced I only ended up getting Warwick’s photo op and Matt Lanter’s autograph.

The thing is Hayden doesn’t go to many cons, but Jason, Freddie and Warwick do. So I hope to see them at another con or at another Celebration. Hopefully the whole cast of Rebels will be at the next one for a cast photo.

The first thing for the day was that Megan and I had a photo op with 7 cast members from The Clone Wars.

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