Some things are just so damn good that they deserve to be savored. And savor I did while reading Laini Taylor’s vividly imaginative epic, Strange the Dreamer. Although I was in no rush to reach the end of this tale, I was enthralled from beginning to end. The world, the characters, the writing itself, were all sublime.
Lazlo Strange, as the title would imply, is a dreamer in every sense of the word. Since he was a young boy, orphaned by the war and raised by monks, he has been fascinated by a mythical lost city that others brush off as the stuff of fairy tales. It isn’t until years later when he is living the humble life of a junior librarian that Lazlo is presented with the opportunity to seek out his dreams, and with them, the lost city of Weep.
This story is pure magic. It did exactly what I always hope for a book to do: it made me feel something. And in this case, not just something, but a LOT of somethings. Parts of the book are so damn fun, while others are so charming and so sweet you’ll never want them to end, and then other parts are utterly devastating. Beauty and ugliness. Love and hatred. Dreams and the harsh realities of human nature. This book is gonna give you the feels.
This was, without a doubt, a 5/5 Stars sort of read.
Despite that bleak-sounding title, this tag is actually a lot of fun. 🙂 I saw Birdie Bookworm’s post with it and couldn’t resist giving it a shot. The rules of the game go as such: you pick 30 characters from books you’ve read and write those names down. After that, you randomly select 2 of those names for each of the questions. At this point, you’ll use what you know about each of the characters to pick who you think is the best answer given the specific question presented. Pretty easy, right? Since I like reading graphic novels/comics so much, I’m including characters from those as well as regular novels. Alrighty, now that we’ve sorted out the rules, let the games begin!
You only have one more spot on your spelling bee team, who would you pick to complete your team?
Huh, funny how both characters came from science fiction novels. Well, this one is definitely no contest. In a match of intellect I am absolutely going to have to pick Sevro over the outlandish Zaphod Beeblebrox.
Both characters want to kill you, which one would you kill first so you have a better chance of surviving?
Damn, I would prefer not to be on the bad side of either of these characters, but I’d say I’d rather not have to take on the Darkling over Katniss. I’ll take my chance with Katniss and her arrows in this case.
You’re on the Bachelor/Bachelorette and you’re down to these two characters, which one are you going to give your rose to?
I would have to say Melanie. She seems way more likely to take one for the team and go into the games willingly to protect someone, especially if she cares about them. Maika on the other hand is a lot more jaded and would probably just let me go into the games to die.
You’re stranded on an island, which character would you sacrifice to engage in cannibalism?
Ew. lol I’m not looking to turn cannibal any time soon, but logistically speaking, Molly is more scrawny and wiry if I’m remembering right, so probably not that great to eat. If you’re going to stoop to eating people to survive, might as well eat someone that is a little more tender like Esther. Sorry, Esther!
You’re the next DC/Marvel superhero (with your own tv show, of course), who is your sidekick?
Okay, I adore Hodor and all, but I am going to have to say Lord Maccon. How could I pass up having a ruggedly sexy Scottish werewolf for a sidekick? I’m sure his alpha tendencies would cause a power struggle, but I think I’d be okay with that. 😉
You’re a manager of an avocado admiring company, who would you fire for lack of communication skills?
Heh, undead pitted against the undead. What an interesting turn of events. Well, I know that Coburn has one hell of a foul mouth on him and an attitude for days, so I suppose he might not be as great communicating with whatever sorts of customers or clients frequent “avocado admiring companies” overall. “The customer is always right” is sure to not fly with him, especially if the customer is a homicidal idiot like the ones he encounters in his book.
You’ve just finished a book in which your favorite character dies, which character is most likely to comfort you?
Mmmkay, so on one hand we have a hulking ultra-violent killing machine, and on the other we have a small little English girl. Oddly enough though, I’m going to have to give this one to the massive beast of a man who can shove his fist straight through your chest. Luther has that sensitive side to him that keeps him from just becoming another ruthless maniac. He’s got heart, so I could see him comforting someone like that. Plus, Alice doesn’t see the point in books without pictures, so yeah, definitely gonna have to give this one up to Luther.
Ugh, it’s High School. Who would most likely be part of the popular clique?
I would have to say Isabelle for this one. There’s nothing snooty about her character or anything like that, but she’s a girl that everyone deems to be beautiful and although there is SO much more to her character than just looks, that’s really all it takes for some people to be deemed “popular” in society. Plus, Kinsey’s got too many demons (literally AND metaphorically) to join the ranks of the popular kids at school.
The day has arrived; you’re finally a year older! Who would have the nerve to forget your birthday?
Heh. Just the fact that both of these characters would have no access to the technology needed to become BookTube stars is funny to me. But, pretending that they did in fact have the technology, I would see Emily being more into that sort of thing than Arya. It’s been a long time since Arya had time for things like books.
Sleepover time! Unfortunately, you can only invite one person. Who would you invite?
Well, that certainly escalated quickly. Both characters are awesome, but I’m gonna have to go with Marko. Added bonus: He’s already got that dad thing down since he’s got a kid. Major drawbacks: He’s got a bounty on his head aaaand I really don’t feel like getting my ass kicked by his wife (and awesome character/his soulmate) Alana.
You’ve just written a super important text. Who would see it, but not reply?
This is a tough one. Neither of them are really jerks or anything, but both of them feel like they have the weight of the world(s) on their shoulders, so I could really go with either or on this question. I think we’ll go with Darrow though since the technology in his story is beyond the point of simple text messages. He’d probably see my archaic form of communication and laugh.
You’ve just woken up and it’s time for breakfast. Your mom and dad have been replaced by . . . who?!
Books and wine make an excellent pairing, and this is something proven frequently over at the YA and Wine blog where you can find awesome wines to go with awesome books, fantastic reviews, and exciting posts about book/author-related events. I was thrilled to be tagged for Krysti’s newly created book tag about the many types of kick-ass ladies in literature. Big thanks to her for tagging me to do this awesome new tag! Now, let the ass-kickery begin!
Match at least one YA girl with each of the themes below.
Tag as many people as you like!
Okay, it’s been a very LONG time since I read this book, but I’m going with the Slayer (named Sophie) from Spike & Dru: Pretty Maids All in a Row (A Buffy the Vampire Slayer novel). Slayers are total warrior girls! 🙂
GIRLS WHO FIGHT WITH THEIR MIND:
How could I not choose Hermione Granger for this category? I mean, c’mon, she was the brightest witch of her age. 😉
GIRLS WHO FIGHT WITH THEIR HEART:
Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Karou has a lot of heart, and love plays a large part in her story.
GIRLS WHO ARE TRAINED FIGHTERS:
Virginia au Augustus (aka: Mustang) from the Red Rising trilogy. I nearly picked her for the “girls who fight with their mind” category since she is known to be highly intelligent, but she is also trained to fight with more than just her mind so here she goes!
STRONG GIRLS OF COLOR:
Inej Ghafa (aka- “The Wraith”) from Six of Crows. She’s strong in every sense of the word, and she’s one of the many reasons I can’t wait to read Crooked Kingdom!
GIRLS WHO FIGHT TO SURVIVE:
Temple from The Reapers are the Angels. She’s grown up in a tough, zombie-filled world, and she’s never known anything else.
GIRLS WHO ARE WEAPONS MASTERS:
Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games trilogy. Total pro with that bow and arrows. I wanted to list Inej and her trusty blades again for this, but I’m mixing it up with another girl and another type of weapon instead. 😛
GIRLS WHO DON’T CONFORM TO GENDER ROLES:
Okay, this series isn’t YA, but the young-but-fierce Arya Stark from A Song of Ice and Fire immediately came to mind, so she’s who I’m going with. 😀
GIRLS WITH KICK-BUTT MAGICAL POWERS:
Nina Zenik from Six of Crows. She’s part of the Corporalki order of the Grisha (a heartrender, to be exact), which means she has the ability to snatch the air from your lungs or even stop your heart if you’re in her line of sight.
STRONG GIRLS IN CONTEMPORARY NOVELS:
Honestly, this isn’t really an area of reading I’ve explored, so I’m stumped for an answer. Here’s a cute puppy instead!
SERIOUSLY FIERCE GIRLS:
Isabelle Rossignol from The Nightingale. This book really isn’t strictly YA, but I feel like Isabelle’s half of the story could be considered YA, and she becomes one hell of a fierce girl. Not through brawn, but through her determination and spirit.
MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK WITH A STRONG LEADING LADY:
Wonder Woman: Warbringer! I can’t wait for this one to come out. 🙂
So, ladies & gents, there we have it. 😀 This tag was a lot of fun, so I’m tagging each and every one of you!! Let’s spread this tag like wildfire and promote the hell out of some badass ladies in fiction! Have a great weekend, folks! ❤
Sound writing advice from the pink-haired badass author that is none other than Laini Taylor.
Definitely gonna try to keep these words in mind as I continue my 30 day writing binge. So far I’m off to a good start. I hoped to achieve 3,336 words by the end of day two and I did it! I even went for extra credit points with an additional 143 words! 😛
I came across this tag done by none other than The Shameful Narcissist Speaks and just had to give it a go! Yay, books! Anyone is welcome to join in on the fun and do this themselves as well. 🙂
EBOOKS OR PHYSICAL BOOKS?
That’s right, I like both. I love going into book stores and libraries. I love how a collection of books looks displayed with pride on one’s bookshelves. I just love books! That said, I’ve been on the kindle bandwagon since the first kindle came out. I love the convenience of being able to take a bunch of books with me wherever I go without having to worry about damaging them. I love being able to download sample chapters for free to see if I like the writing style of a new author before I purchase it. And I love having access to countless stories at any given time without even having to leave the house. Plus, there are a lot of money-saving perks to getting books on the kindle.
PAPERBACK OR HARDBACK?
Paperback. Don’t get me wrong, hardback books can be gorgeous and all, but this one simply comes down to cost in the long run. Paperback is cheaper.
ONLINE OR IN-STORE BOOK SHOPPING?
In-store. I know I said I dig the convenience of being able to buy books on the kindle without having to leave the house, but that is just for the convenience. I absolutely love book stores. Used book stores, thrift shops, big chains and independent book stores. (This pertains to comic book shopping as well.) I have my mother to blame for this. We always went book shopping together when I was growing up. It was like an unspoken oath that if we went out for a girls’ day out, there were going to be book shopping adventures. This is a love I share with my best friend, and our ideal BFF dates always include books AND coffee or ice cream. Point being, amazing adventures and memories are to be had in book stores, so get out there and revel in your bibliophile ways!
TRILOGIES OR SERIES?
Doesn’t matter to me. Take as many books as you need to tell your story so long as you tell it well and keep me invested in it as a reader.
HEROES OR VILLAINS?
Villains, duh. Though I love me a good antihero, too. 😉
A BOOK YOU WANT EVERYONE TO READ?
I’m one of those sadists that always tells people they should read A Song of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin. Like the little devil on their shoulder, I urge them into it and when they finally give in and read it I sit back and wait with a smile on my face for them to thank me while simultaneously hating me for the emotional turmoil they go through while reading it. Same thing applies to the show, Game of Thrones. But, hey, I’m only paying it forward though, since Cupcakes and Machetes did it to me first. 😛
RECOMMEND AN UNDERRATED BOOK.
Dweller, by Jeff Strand. A book that stirred such a range of emotion in me while I was reading it. This tale of a bullied boy who befriends a literal monster he encounters in the woods is definitely more than meets the eye. It manages to disturb you at times and then touch your heart at others. I actually cried a couple times while reading this book. This novel was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel in 2010, so it has received recognition, but I feel like it’s still one that not a lot of people I have encountered have read or heard of so I included it here as an “underrated” book.
THE LAST BOOK YOU FINISHED?
Well, the last novel I finished was Clovenhoof by Heide Goody and Iain Grant. The last comic book I finished was volume 2 of Saga.
WEIRDEST THING YOU USED AS A BOOKMARK?
Oh, jeez. lol What haven’t I used as a bookmark at this point? Hmmm . . . I’m going to say the floppy disc coasters at my boyfriend’s place. He got a set of them on his coffee table and I’m always using them in lieu of an actual bookmark when I’m over there.
USED BOOKS, YES OR NO?
Sure, why not? I have plenty of great used books. 🙂
TOP THREE FAVORITE GENRES?
Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Horror, and any blend of the three and their sub-genres. I also like science fiction, I just haven’t read all that much of it (yet).
BORROW OR BUY?
Either or. I would love to be able to buy every single book I read to support the authors writing them, but it just isn’t practical for me at this point in my life. But I regularly borrow and lend out books with my friends, check them out from the library, and purchase them when I can.
CHARACTERS OR PLOT?
Ooooh, tough question. I love a great plot but I’m going to say characters if only for the fact that I can deal with a book that is sort of lacking in the plot department as long as the characters are done very well, but I can’t stand flat, boring characters that I don’t find myself caring about as a reader. If the reader don’t care about the characters it doesn’t really matter what peril the writer puts them in, does it? That said, I love a brilliant plot, too. Give me a great plot AND great characters and you’ll have a fan for life. 🙂
LONG OR SHORT BOOK?
I’d probably say a long book if I’m really drawn into the story. There’s nothing worse than being so into a book and then noticing that there just aren’t enough pages left for all the things that you know still need to happen in the story. But if they can leave you with a satisfying ending, a short book is fine too.
NAME THE FIRST THREE BOOKS YOU THINK OF.
Well, the first books I think of are the ones I’ve just discussed in this post so far, so for the sake of not being redundant I’ll ignore those and pick the first book to come to mind from each of my top genres I previously listed. So, a book that springs to mind in the fantasy genre: Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor. For historical fiction, of course the one I am currently reading comes to mind: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. And for horror, House of Corruption, by Erik Tavares.
BOOKS THAT MAKE YOU LAUGH OR CRY?
Well, I already mentioned that Dweller made me cry several times. I think it also made me laugh too if I remember properly (it’s been a while since I read it). There’s a particular scene in George RR Martin’s A Dance with Dragons that made me tear up a bit. Other than that, none particularly come to mind.
OUR WORLD OR FICTIONAL WORLDS?
Depends on the world. lol There are a LOT of problems in the real world today, but I wouldn’t want to add zombies or demonic beings to the mix. Some fictional worlds are awesome though, so yeah, depends on the book.
AUDIOBOOKS: YES OR NO?
I’ve listened to a few, but I usually read books rather than listen to them. I appreciate the fact that I can multitask while listening to an audiobook, though. That’s pretty awesome. It also really depends on the narrator of the audiobook though. If they just drag the story along at a slug’s pace in a monotone drone or just can’t keep my attention then I quickly lose interest and zone out.
DO YOU EVER JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER?
Yup! lol I know we shouldn’t, but I think that’s just how it goes sometimes. We see something that draws our attention or we find attractive and it causes us to pick it up off the shelf and look into it. That doesn’t mean I won’t read a book with a plain, or even ugly, cover though. I’m just more likely to notice a flashy cover.
BOOK TO MOVIE OR BOOK TO TV ADAPTATION?
I’ve really been digging book-to-TV adaptations. They tend to be less rushed and more detail oriented when done properly. But films can be done really well too, so it just depends on the series and the creators/cast/budget/etc.
SERIES OR STANDALONE?
There’s something special about reading a series. You get to fall in love with the characters, the world, and the story and not have to say goodbye once you finish the last page. You get to revisit these things in the sequels and build on them. Standalone books can be great too, but I’m going to say series for this.