Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Another Double Feature

Well, hello my little coffee beans. How are you? I, myself, am quite well. Shall we proceed to the tags?

Milk Tea Book Tag

This tag was created by the esteemed Alyssa @ The Devil Orders Takeout (where she includes an explanation for the categories as well as a little historical background), and I was nominated for it by the lovely Tessa Ann @ Books, Bubbles, and Arohanui. (Thanks, Tessa!) Both their blogs are awesome, and you should totally go check them out.

Tea: The Foundation of Your Reading Life

I know that I read a bunch of books before I started on Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, but these thirteen books are the ones that stick out the most in my mind. When I was younger, I think I read them at least five times each, and the experience taught me about voice and atmosphere, if that makes any sense. (Also, Lemony Snicket’s NaNoWriMo pep talk from 2010 is pure genius.)
Milk: A Rich, Smooth Book

I haven’t reviewed THE ASK AND THE ANSWER by Patrick Ness, but I plan to soon, so I’ll be brief. Not only does Ness keep the pacing tight and the plot interesting, he also presents nuanced characters and brain-twisting dilemmas. So, not only is it “rich and smooth”, it’s also a hearty read, full of protein and calcium—good for any writer’s mind.
Sugar: A Book You love But Is Controversial

This one’s a hard one, because I’m not sure ENDER’S GAME is controversial, but I know that the author is. Regardless, I fell head-over-heels in love with this book when I finally got around to it. Ender and Bean are basically my heroes, and I honestly did not see the plot twist at the end coming. In other words, I should add this to the reread section of my TBR pile.

Ice: A Book Just For Fun

I feel like nobody talks about Elizabeth Cody Kimmel’s LILY B. ON THE BRINK OF COOL enough, and that makes me sad. Although it’s MG, it’s hardly light and fluffy. Throughout the course of the narrative, Lily comes to realize that sometimes parents aren’t as stupid and blind as they seem, and sometimes the good guys are actually the bad guys. Plus, I haven’t seen too many books about children getting conned, and Lily has a very distinctive, extremely humorous voice.

Silk Stocking: A Book That’s Much Better Than It Sounds

I had to think long and hard about this, because I tend to get embarrassed when I’m caught reading anything popular, so it’s difficult for me to choose something that legitimately sounds lame, instead of something that simply scars my little hipster-wannabe mind. After much deliberation, I decided on LIFE AS WE KNEW IT by Susan Beth Pfeffer. I very much love this book, but the premise does sound a little iffy. I mean, an asteroid hits the moon and knocks it closer to the earth, thus wreaking havoc on the ecosystem. How likely is that? But it doesn’t feel stupid when you actually read it—or at least, that’s what I tell myself.
Yinyang: A Book With Foreign Influence

I’m a big fan of Bram Stoker’s DRACULA. Portions of the book are set in Transylvania (bet you never saw that coming), and I love the feel of the landscape. Also, we get to see some of the locals, and Stoker includes some foreign words, so, bonus points for him. Just, don’t expect his vampires to sparkle.

The Bookish Tag


Disclaimer: Annie @ Curious Wren created this tag, but it didn’t come with a picture, so I edited one myself. If you choose to use this tag—and you’re more than welcome to—I would ask that you don’t use this picture, simply because I don’t want to add to the tag, and I don’t want to end up taking credit for something I didn’t create. So, the picture is mine, but the tag is not. Also, you should totally check out her new blog and welcome her to the blogosphere.

What was the last book you read, and would you recommend it?

I guess the last book I finished reading would be 17 & GONE by Nova Ren Suma (you may remember me yammering on about her IMAGINARY GIRLS). This one was interesting... On the one hand, I really liked it, because the writing was beautiful and the characters were compelling. But it was a harder read, for reasons I can’t give without spoiling it, and I wasn’t able to devour it in one or two sittings, which might have slowed it down a little too much for me. Also, there were a couple bits in it that I didn’t like, and I had an enormous amount of trouble when I tried to review it. Still, I do think I would recommend it—I’d just recommend it with a disclaimer because it deals with some trigger issues.

Describe the perfect reading spot.

I have an armchair in my bedroom, situated right next to one of my bookshelves, and it’s the best spot to sit. Not only do I read, I also write and watch movies and draw pictures there. When I was in school, that’s where I’d camp out while completing my classwork. I’m moving soon, and I’m very sad that I’ll have to leave the chair at my parent’s house (for space reasons). Clearly it will pine away with loneliness during my absence.

Favorite book beverage? Tea? Coffee? Hot chocolate? Tears of your readers?

Well, when I’m reading, I’ll drink coffee or water, although sometimes I’ll brew some tea. I’ll admit, I’m not much of a hot chocolate person. Let me rephrase that—I’m not a big fan of store-bought hot chocolate. When I make it from scratch, I really enjoy it, but it takes some time so I usually don’t bother. When I’m writing, I go for coffee sweetened with the tears of my readers, obviously.

Share favorite quotes from four books.

“Ask her what she craved, and she’d get a little frantic about things like books, the woods, music. Plants and the seasons. Also freedom.”—Charles Frazier, NIGHTWOODS. (I’ve never actually read the whole work, but my sister loves this quote, and she shared it with me.)

“Some upfront advice on avoiding back injuries: Always lift with your legs, no matter how tempting it might be to use your hands.”—Dr. Cuthbert Soup, A WHOLE NOTHER STORY.

Unfortunately, I can’t think of any more quotes at the moment, so here, have this E. E. Cummings poem instead.

What is your most-loved fantasy read? Dystopia? Contemporary? Sci-fi? Classic?

Probably my most-loved fantasy read would be THE LORD OF THE RINGS by J.R.R. Tolkien. For dystopia, I’d say THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins. For contemporary, IMAGINARY GIRLS by Nova Ren Suma (if it really counts as contemporary). For sci-fi, either ENDER’S GAME by Orson Scott Card or THE TIME MACHINE by H.G. Wells. And then for classics, LORNA DOONE by R.D. Blackmore.

List three authors you’ve collected the most books from.

I have about eighteen or twenty (I’m not at home, so I can’t count them) books by Brian Jaques—and I think I’ve only read about six of them. Since I have all thirteen volumes of the Series of Unfortunate Events, that would make Lemony Snicket the next author. And then Ally Carter comes in third because I have ten of her books. There.

What are your thoughts on magic in literature?

I’m fine with magic in literature, although I could go either way. Sometimes it feels overplayed and it gets a bit annoying—sometimes it can be super cool and interesting. It also depends on the sort of magic—I prefer innocent over demonic. 

What types of book covers capture your imagination most strongly? (Feel free to include images.)

I cannot get myself to stop drooling over DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth. Like, it’s such a big problem, if I see it on a bookstore shelf I will pull it out and stare at it even though I own a copy. The same with the INSURGENT cover. Also, I like the Candlewick Press editions of the Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness. And I might be mildly obsessed with the cover of Suzanne Collin’s MOCKINGJAY.

Mention the first book character that comes to mind. Elaborate on this.

Ender from ENDER’S GAME. He’s such a serious little boy, and he’s wicked smart. Despite his age and all, he handles himself with surprising maturity, and he’s a born leader. Also, he’s very psychologically complete, if that makes any sense, and I love the way he processes what goes on inside his head.

Do you lend out your books?  Or is that the equivalent to giving away your own babies?

Well, I do….sometimes. I’ve lent out books and gotten them back dirty, water-damaged, and ripped. And I’m one of those super, nitpicky DO-NOT-CREASE-THAT-BOOK-COVER-OR-SO-HELP-ME-I-WILL-FEED-YOU-TO-MY-PET-KRAKEN sort of people. So I usually only lend my books out to family members, but always with fear and trembling. (I’ve been known to cry when my babies come back even slightly maimed.)

Well, there you have it, my little coffee beans. I’m not nominating anyone, but if you feel the urge to tackle one or both of the tags, just let me know and I’ll link to your post.


  1. Ender's Game! I didn't get to finish it. But I liked what I read. The whole psychological aspect intrigued me so much. And Ender was a really mature kid. I'll have to check it out from the library again.

    Divergent's cover is probably the best, I would have to agree. It's definitely eye-catching and there's something about the fire (also, blue and orange are complimentary colors, they make each other stand out).

    "The perfect reading spot"- anywhere you and a book occupy the same space at the same time. When I was in high school, our homeschool group would meet at the park, but none of my friends would come. So I'd take a book. I sit on the swing with my book tucked under my arm, get up to a nice maintainable height and read. The moms would always make fun of me, but I ignored them.

    I have always wanted to read Dracula. Now I have to try since you insist that it's good. ;)

    1. You should totally read Ender's Game--it's one of my favorite books. :)

      Yes, orange and blue do make each other stand out, and there's just so much detail in the picture. *hugs book*

      True--that is the essential definition of the perfect reading spot. I'm impressed though; I don't think I'd be able to read while swinging without getting motion sick. But that's too bad the moms made fun of you. *pouts*


  2. Oh man, I'm so with you on THE ASK AND THE ANSWER. That whole series is just unfathomably gorgeous (though I must say the ending did leave me a bit unsatisfied); Patrick Ness is one of my absolute favourite authors. <3

    And I must pick up DRACULA sometime, as well - I have a thing about vampires in classic novels, so I'm sort of kicking myself for not having read the epitome of that. One of these days I'll get around to it!

    1. *high fives you* I'm about 100 pages into Monsters of Men, so I can't vouch for the whole series, but I agree about what I've read--it's all so beautiful. Patrick Ness would definitely be high on my list of favorites. And I can understand if the ending wasn't fully satisfying--I'm always surprised when the ending of a trilogy is. :P

      You should totally read it--it's much darker and scarier and just better. Maybe I'm biased, but I feel like it has more class.

      Thanks for commenting! :)

  3. I absolutely adore Ender's Game. It's such a smart and well-written novel and the setting is out of this world - literally and figuratively. So glad to hear you felt the same way! And Life as We Knew It is amazing too, right? It just makes you want to stalk up on canned food and supplies. Thanks for sharing Liz and, as always, fabulous answers! ♥ Loved these tags!

    1. *high fives you* It is so intelligent and thoughtful and deep, and I love, love, love the setting. Life as We Knew It is amazing, yes, and I totally know the feeling. I can't walk through a grocery store without staring longingly at all the canned goods.

      You're welcome, and thanks! Also, thanks for commenting! :)

  4. I've never actually read Ender's Game, though I've been dying to. If only I could find a copy of it in my library I might actually give it a try. Ooh, Patrick Ness! I loved The Knife of Never Letting Go, but again, my library is missing the second book and I can't bring myself to skip it and read book three. This is the sort of series that should be read all in order and given proper respect. Annie's blog tag is fabulous, as are your answers to it. I should really have a go at it myself sometime soon.

    1. Ooh, you totally should--but I understand library issues. My library doesn't have much of a selection, so some books just get put on hold for a long time until I can buy them for myself. :( I'M SO GLAD YOU LOVED THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO. And yes, I recommend that you don't skip book two. Book three starts off right at a climactic moment that won't make sense at all if you haven't read book two. But I promise you, they're both really good. :)

      Thanks, I'm glad you liked my answers. :) And yes, it is a great tag, and you should totally do it. XD

  5. Ooh, I kind of want to steal the bookish one! :D I MAYBE WILL. Because I'm evilly nefarious like that and do steal things *nods*

    Oh oh but I agree about Ender's Game. It's SUCH a good seriously one of my favourites and the movie is equally wonderful. And I think it's a shame that a lot of people are adamantly NEVER reading it because the author is awful. :( I mean, I kinda get it. But also the book is just so good and I want everyone to read it. xD
    I need to finish the Chaos Walking books!
    I adore magic in books, but I like it to have logical rules. *nods* And maybe interesting rules to make it a bit more unique. Like I think Brandon Sanderson's magic systems are INCREDIBLE and so detailed and logical just afdjaskld he is a magic-fantasy-book-writing-genius basically.


      Ender's Game is one of the most brilliant things I've ever read--a good example of why rejecting an author's work because you reject the author is a good way of missing out on something great. The way I see it is that, I'll read anything good--everyone is entitled to their opinion, and I don't see why that should affect how people treat their art. *shrugs*
      I'm definitely up for magic with logical rules. I haven't read any Brandon Sanderson yet, but I've been wanting to. I should go do that. :)
      Thanks for commenting!

  6. Thank you for doing the Milk Tea tag! Ooh, I also picked ASOUE as the foundation of my reading life -- those books were EXQUISITE. I actually deferred reading Ender's Game because of the author's controversial issues, so yeah, I guess it is controversial! And ooh, nice choice for the "foreign" book; Dracula is lovely (the book at least!), and I'll forever remember Sir Christopher Lee's portrayal of him.

    1. You're welcome, and thanks for creating such an awesome tag! :) Ack, the ASOUE books are so great--I think my fondest childhood memories are of reading them. Actually, the first time I was reading The Bad Beginning, I was so engrossed in it I fell down a flight of stairs. I can totally respect holding off on reading a book if you're not sure you're a fan of the author, but I highly recommend it. I'd say it's well worth the read, and I'd hate to see you miss out. :) I'M SO GLAD YOU LIKED DRACULA. *high fives you* *hugs book*

  7. Oooh, ASOUE is such a great choice! I know that it is still among my favorites just because Lemony Snicket is so awesome. :) Ender's Game is definitely a book I loved, although Dracula wasn't something I was able to get through easily. :P Ah, well. I can also totally appreciate you loving Ender as a character because yeah. He was just awesome. And, while I know what it is to be protective of your books, I am far more willing to lend them. XD Thanks for the insight into your bookish life, Liz!

    1. Why thank you. *bows deeply* Lemony Snicket is so brilliant--I especially love how he inserts himself as a character in his books. *high fives you for loving Ender's Game* And I can totally understand why you might not go for Dracula. I really liked it, but then I don't mind slower beginnings and storylines and suchlike. I've always been a fan of the classics. And yes, Ender is such a brilliant, amazing little boy. *hugs Ender* Well, I'm glad you have the freedom to lend yours out more. I think I might write a blog post one day about why I'm so protective of mine, and while I don't want to change, I do envy those who aren't as obsessed with keeping their babies safe.

      You're welcome, and thanks for commenting! :)

  8. I haven't read any of these books except 17 and Gone. *sobs because she needs to read more books but doesn't have TIME*
    17 and Gone was... interesting. It was weird, and I didn't like it that much at times, but the twist was so amazing that I liked it a bit more and I'm not really sure what my thoughts are on it. :p *shrug*

    And, I'm a good little coffee bean. *nods*

    1. I totally understand wanting to read more and not having the time. Grr. We should start a club and wear sad party hats and sit around eating food and sobbing about books we haven't read but want to.

      I agree, 17 & Gone was both interesting and weird, and while I enjoyed the twists and all, it was a heavy read. I think it was difficult for me to live through something like that, even if I only did so vicariously. I still enjoyed it, and I loved the writing, but I don't think I liked it as much as Imaginary Girls. But like you, I'm still not sure what my thoughts are on it. I think that's why I had so much trouble when I tried to review it.

      *pats you on the head and gives you a macchiato as reward for being such a good little coffee bean*

  9. "coffee sweetened with the tears of my readers," lol, that is /good/!

    Cool tag! I've actually read a couple of these, though I think my favorite is A Series of Unfortunate Events. Those books are awesome, and it's insane how he can be so serious and hilarious and heartbreaking all at once. I think Lemony Snicket is my writing hero.


    1. Why thank you. *bows deeply*

      Thanks--I enjoyed doing it. ASOUE is definitely popular, and for good reason. Snicket is clearly on top of his game when it comes to writing. I also like that he doesn't patronize his readers--except jokingly--but he does help introduce new vocabulary and concepts. And he's just so depressing, it's delightful. Plus he makes me laugh so hard. Thanks for commenting!

  10. Oh, I love Ender's Game. So, so, so much!!! Great post!

    1. Me too! *high fives you* Thanks, and thanks for commenting! :)