Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books I Read in 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post created by The Broke and the Bookish.

So today's post is for the best books I read in 2014. I'm going to amend it a little and do the best books I read for the first time in 2014, because let's be honest: I read The Hobbit this year, and that would totally displace a new book.

1. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

2. The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

3. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

4. Alienated by Melissa Landers

5. The Selection Series by Kiera Cass

6. Cell by Stephen King

7. Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

8. The Maze Runner by James Dashner

9. Dead Silence by Kimberly Derting

10. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post created by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week, it's all about Authors I got to know in 2014. Not authors I actually met, but rather authors whose books I read for the first time. Though, actually, two of them are also authors I met! Anyway.

1. Mindy McGinnis

2. Melissa Landers

3. Kendare Blake

4. Jackson Pearce

5. Kiera Cass

6. Lauren Kate

7. Elizabeth Blackwell

8. Lauren Oliver

9. Ransom Riggs

10. James Dashner

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Review: Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Released: September 24, 2013
Source: mine (signed)
320 pages

Description: Teenage Lynn has been taught to defend her pond against every threat: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and most important, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty—or doesn't leave at all. Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. But when strangers appear, the mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won't stop until they get it. . . .

My Review:  SPOILERS (big ones)

I got this book at the Buckeye Book fair after my friend Erin assured me I had to read it. I had heard of it before, but never picked it up. But I bought it and got it signed by the author, who was lovely. (Thanks, Mindy McGinnis!)

I really strongly liked this book. There were a few things I disliked, which is why it has four stars when I kind of hand five-star reviews out like mints (guilty).

First, though, I'll tell you what I liked. The premise is realistic, and the characters are quite real. I can easily imagine Lynn growing up in this semi-apocalyptic world with her mom. The story moves along  fairly quickly, and I like how it gradually brings in more characters.

I did not, however, like how the book kind of brushed off some things I would have liked to see more in-depth. The epilogue hit me in the face like a wet sponge. That's less a mark on the author and more my needing to know what happened in-between, though. I'm not generally a huge fan of epilogues. I tend to pretend they didn't happen, sorry.

I wanted more for Lynn, too. She starts off so closed-off about emotions that she can shoot a man and drag his body into the field with zero remorse. I guess it's reasonable that she  would take a long time to change, but I hoped to see a little more before the end, or perhaps a big change and then a snap back after Eli dies, or after she shoots her father.

I guess really what I want is another book, because I don't feel like I got enough from this one. It left Lynn's story feeling unfinished, but I guess that's okay because there is already another book! I have it in my possession from the library, so hopefully it ties up some loose ends I've found.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'm Looking Forward to in 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post created by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's post is for books I am psyched for in 2015. 

1. The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

2. The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

3. Fairest by Marissa Meyer

4. Illuminae by Aimee Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

5. Invaded by Melissa Landers

6. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

7. Rebel Mechanics by Shanna Swenson

8. Winter by Marissa Meyer

9. Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

10. The Heir by Keira Cass

Monday, December 1, 2014

BTM: Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine


Movie: HALF A STAR (sorry, I don't actually have a graphic for half a star)
             I would like to make it clear that this half-star was earned by the presence of Hugh Dancy. (Cary Elwes would earn some points if he wasn't portraying a cartoonish king who doesn't exist in the book)

Sometimes, when a book is made into a movie, the screenwriters do the book a disservice. That cannot be said in this case, but only because I don't think they read more than the description of the book.

The movie has nothing in common with the book but the names. It's best to just pretend the movie isn't supposed to be based on the book at all.

Some of the worst offenses:

The book takes place over a few years. Ella and Char meet at her mother's funeral, and get to know each other and become friends slowly. Insta-love can go rot. The real love story is perfect.

The Royal Family
There is no evil uncle trying to take the throne from Char. Char's parents are very much alive and happy. No one is trying to steal the crown. 

The ogres aren't being unfairly killed. Ogres are evil and can use mind control. Ella actually learns to do it herself speaking ogrese. She doesn't need to be rescued from the ogres-- she rescues herself, thank you very much. And Char isn't after them to avenge his father; he is after them because it's his duty as sovereign. 

The elfs aren't enslaved. They live in the woods, and Ella meets Slannen only briefly. 

Mandy isn't inept. She has been the fairy godmother to Ella's family for generations. She is the one who tells Ella about her drop of fairy blood, which results in her having tiny fairy feet. 
Mandy gives Ella the fairy book (which decidedly does not have a man trapped in it, but does show letters and diary entries that mention her) before she goes to finishing school.

Finishing School
This was a big deal in the book. Ella is there for a long time, and it's where she meets her Ayorthaian friend. She also steals Hattie's wig when she leaves. Oh yeah, Hattie wears a wig. I can't believe that was left out. Such a waste of comedy potential.

The Balls
That's right, balls. Three of them, to be exact, which were condensed into one in the movie, though still wrong. Ella goes to see Char, since she broke his heart forging a letter to him from Hattie saying that she eloped with an old rich man, knowing that it was for his own good. Ella wore her mother's dresses and glass slippers that Char himself gave her after they found them at the wedding of Ella's father and Dame Olga. Ella conceals her identity, and Char doesn't know it's her until the end of the last ball.

The End
Ella is not imprisoned for trying to kill Char because she doesn't try to kill him because the evil King doesn't order her to because he doesn't exist. Char asks her to marry her at her house, and she breaks the curse by saying no, knowing that if she were to marry him, she could be used against him. Of course, saying no frees her to say yes. They marry and live happily ever after.

Now, in fairness, I will list the things that are the same:

1. Character names
2. Ella is cursed with obedience
3. Her mother is dead, and her father remarries an awful woman with two awful daughters

Oh, wait. No, that was it.
Maybe someday someone will make an adaptation that does this amazing book justice.

Until then, I will continue to read the book and sigh at the existence of the movie.