Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (29)


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme that was created by Breaking the Spine to spotlight a blogger's eagerly anticipated new books.



For this Waiting on Wednesday, I picked The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher.

Release Date: October 18, 2016

Book Summary: "Carrie Fisher's latest book is based on journals she kept while filming the original Star Wars movie."

My Thoughts: So, ever since "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," Oshie and I have been on a huge Star Wars kick. Both of us have been fans for more than twenty years. We've recently re-watched the commentaries for the original movies, and by far, Carrie Fisher's comments and memories are the most hilarious. She has a wonderful, natural sense of humor. I've really enjoyed her past books, and I can't wait to read this exclusive focus on her work creating one of the coolest, sassiest princesses in the galaxy.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

My Top OTPs (Past and Current)


My Top OTPs

Ah, shipping, when you enjoy a series and want certain romantic pairings to become canon! Here's some of my favorites, old and new. Just in time for Valentine's Day.

PAST:

1.) Elizabeth & Darcy (Pride & Prejudice) - With me, if you know me, this is a given. It had to be. It was destined to be, as sure as the sun will shine, the Regency Cinderella had to have her Prince. All the coolness, the pride, the prejudice, the prejudice and pride. I scarcely remember the days when I did not know this OTP. But, even now, I never grow tired of it.


2.) Jane & Edward (Jane Eyre) - I remember reading this with my jaw dropping. I had no earthly idea how the characters were going to get past the issue in the attic. I wanted them together, but it was, unfairly, impossible. Worrying how it would end, was one of my top reading moments, ever. So much love, so much misfortune.


3.) Katniss & Peeta (The Hunger Games series) - I called this one a long time ago. I remember wanting to add a "Team Peeta" banner to this blog, back before the "Mockingjay" novel was released. I kept hoping for their "pretend romance" to be real! Peeta cared so much about her from the start and it was painful to watch her ignore him. Gale was nice, but as a person, he didn't really help Katniss to grow as a character. The ending of the Mockingjay Part II was especially sweet when we saw both "Peeta bread" babies.


4.) Bathsheba & Gabriel (Far From The Madding Crowd) - I admit I still, still need to read the book. But since they were originally novel characters, and you-just-don't-know how hard I shipped them during my first viewing of the movie, I'm gonna include them. Sometimes a girl needs to really think about what's best for her. Mr. Gabriel Oak is the awesome. My hero. Go watch the movie and read the book!!


5.) Sumi & Soichiro (Stepping on Roses) - I got so wrapped up in this manga, it was nerve wrecking waiting to find out the end, and I had to wait years. Again, it was a case of "pretend" romance turned real. For a while, it seemed like another suitor would have been nicer to Sumi. But I hoped and hoped that Soichiro would get over himself and get in touch with his emotions (again, I'm about character growth).



6.) Leah Clearwater & Jacob Black (Twilight) - It was clear to me, once Edward returned to Bella, it was going to be Bella & Edward...she never flip-flopped. So, in return, I wanted Jacob's character to be happy and not merely the sad cast-off. To me, there was a lot of potential for a Leah & Jacob pairing. They were in the same pack, they both lost their first love. Anything, anything, but Renesmee!


7.) Snape & Lily (Harry Potter series) - Talk about complicated unconditional love. Snape is the tragic romantic hero of our time. I know Lily died to protect her son and that action created a powerful magic for Harry. Yet, part of me wished that Lily had somehow survived to magically find her son and reconnect with Snape, who redeemed himself through his love for her. RIP to actor Alan Rickman, who I'll always remember in this role, and for Colonel Brandon via Sense & Sensibility (1995).


CURRENT:


1.) Rey & Ben Solo (Kylo Ren)(Star Wars novelization) - Okay, I'm aware that most fans think they're cousins...or siblings, if, potentially, that Han and Leia had a forgotten daughter. But I hope it's not true! The "lost" family plot has been done. I, personally, hope Rey is a Kenobi or merely a "new" Force sensitive character of no relation to anyone. Ultimately, some of our heroes efforts are wasted if Kylo Ren isn't redeemed/doesn't return to the light side. He's proven that his family doesn't matter to him anymore, so what else will save him except love? For me, this pairing helps both characters to change. I'm on this ship until it sinks!


2.) Alana & Marko (Saga series) [mature audiences only]- Saga is a great space opera heavily influenced by Star Wars. At times, the content is very mature and violent. However, I keep reading because of the unique love story between the main characters, Alana and Marko, who continually risk their lives to be together and protect their young daughter, Hazel. I'm holding my breath that the couple can retire somewhere peacefully in the end.


3.) Claire and Jamie (Outlander series) - This couple stresses me out! Just when I think everything will work out fine for them, the author throws them yet another challenge. The odds always feel stacked against them. Much like, Alana and Marko, I hope Claire and Jamie can retire happily ever after someday...I have several books to read in this series before I can find out.



4.) Kyoko & Ren (Skip Beat) - I started the Skip Beat series at the end of 2015. Overall, it's a comical look at the old show business game, and makes me nostalgic for the days my friends and I dreamed of being pop idols or dating one. Kyoko gives up everything to help her former love, Sho, make it big in show biz. When he casts her aside, she vows revenge. Some readers might hope Kyoko and Sho are able to reconcile in the future. Personally, I see sparks flying between Kyoko and Sho's acting rival, Ren. I've gotta keep reading to find out.


5.) Kell & Lila (A Darker Shade of Magic) - As I've mentioned in other posts at the end of 2015, I am eagerly waiting their sequel. These two must be together! So much witty dialog and tension. Lila has the right amount of sass to rival Kell's magic. They must see each other again!


6.) Abigail & William (Secret of Pembrooke Park) - As I work on this blog post, I'm currently reading this story. Miss Abigail seems to be gaining more suitors, but I love the sweet moments between her and William Chapman. They need to confess their love and solve the secret of Pembrooke park asap!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Review: Cats in Paris: A Coloring Book of the Felines of Paris by Won-Sun Jang

Cats in Paris: A Coloring Book of the Felines of ParisCats in Paris: A Coloring Book of the Felines of Paris by Won-Sun Jang
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

With Valentine's Day around the corner, this is a cute book for cat collectors.

Overall, it's more "cat"astic than Parisian. I had all these sweet French cat stereotypes in my head when I considered this book. And although there are pages with cats against the backdrop of Montmarte, Notre-Dame Cathedral, and the Eiffel Tower, afterwards its mostly typical cats that could be from anywhere. Cat stamps. Cats and flowers. Cats and yarn.

So, it probably won't teach you much about Paris. But if you love cats and want a fun, feline coloring book, this one is nice.

I was given a copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review.


View all my reviews

Friday, January 29, 2016

Review: Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen

Secret of Pembrooke ParkSecret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow, great read for anyone who's ever enjoyed Northanger Abbey or Jane Eyre! Secret of Pembrooke Park has a delightful mix of Austen-like hardship, family, community, and tension, while balancing some Bronte-style mystery. It makes for an awesome combo.

Abigail Foster is a practical, sensible heroine. Although her life is far from content from being in the shadow of her beautiful sister, struggling with her father's financial worries, lack of prospects, and moving, she doesn't complain. Instead she adapts to her new surroundings, the eerie Pembrooke Park, curious to understand its mysteries and tragic history.

Along the way, she finds new friends and suitors. Especially the strong and kindhearted local curate, William Chapman. As a reader, I was eager to finally know the deep secrets of Pembrooke Park. However, I was even more impatient for William to confess his feelings! He was perfect. Handsome, gentle, good sense of humor. The tension was too much. I was clinging to every conversation between William and Abigail.

I have to thank the Goodreads Choice Awards for introducing me to this book and author! I have a new favorite in both areas. Highly recommended to Regency romance fans. Great way for me to start my 2016 reading.


View all my reviews

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Top Ten 2015 Releases I Meant To Get To But Didn't


 Top Ten 2015 Releases I Meant To Get To But Didn't

Heir to Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson - I am a snail when it comes to reading e-books/kindle. I often read at night and prefer print copies to help me sleep. I'm excited to read this! Just gotta remember to get the e-reader out earlier in the day.

First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen - This came highly recommended by other blogs and the Goodreads Choice Awards. A Southern chick-lit romance fantasy sounds like all the checked off boxes on my "what-i-want-in-a-book" wishlist. I need to read this series.

Step Aside, Pops: A Hark! A Vagrant Collection (Hark! A Vagrant #3) by Kate Beaton - I feel like I blog about Kate Beaton a lot. I love her comics about classic literature. I was hoping to get a copy of this for the holidays, but ended up receiving many other great books from the family. So, I'll be gifting this to myself, via the giftcard credit I have, very soon.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas - I felt like this was one of the "it" YA books of 2015. It was everywhere! Popping up on other blogger's reviews, Goodreads, wishlists, and being highly sought in used bookstores. 'Beauty and The Beast' is my favorite fairy tale, so I hope to enjoy this retelling in the future.

A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott - I just spent a year watching old movies for my other blog. Needless to say, I like the glamour and legends of old Hollywood. A historical fiction title involving the charming Clark Gable sounds like the type of drama I'd like to read.

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty - I love, love, love the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. It's become one of my favorite vacation spots and a place of great memories. Therefore, I'm very intrigued about a YA fantasy set there!

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell - I was surprised and interested when Rainbow Rowell released a book on her character's characters from "Fangirl." From reading "Fangirl," the story of Simon Snow sounded cool and Harry Potter-esque, minus Cath's obsession with slash pairings. I respect that some fans like slash, but I'm all about canon pairings and an author's original vision. Anyhow, I wanted to see where Rowell went with the canon version of Simon Snow.

The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick - I was looking forward to the return to the sweet, large, and lovable Jarrett family. I just didn't get to read it last year. I enjoyed the first book in the series so much and I plan to get to this one in 2016.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert - I heard a lot of nice buzz for this book! I haven't read "Eat, Love, Pray" but I did like the movie. I'm all about finding ways to be more creative in all aspects of life. So this seems like a good read for me.

Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder - I should really revisit this series. It's been years since I read the first book, "Poison Study," but the characters Yelena and Valek have stuck with me all this time. I didn't get caught up on the series in 2015, but I want to!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Review: Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster (novelization)


Star Wars: The Force AwakensStar Wars: The Force Awakens by Alan Dean Foster
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Like many fans, I cannot wait for the next movie to come out. Star Wars: The Force Awakens left me with so many nagging unanswered questions. The husband, family, and I have literally spent weeks theorizing what will happen next. It's like a spectator sport for us. We'll probably take bets on: Who's Rey's family?, Why has Luke been missing?, and, Can Kylo Ren be redeemed?

That said, I had to read this novelization to try and gain some clarity. I gained a little, but not much. The book doesn't answer any of the nagging questions. But if you're trying to gain evidence for a certain theory, it'll help, slightly. Reading the novelization allows for descriptions of some of the characters thoughts during key moments, such as Rey vs. Ren, Ren vs. Han.

A lot of the scenes are extending with extra dialogue. Leia and Po have scenes that were cut altogether. Some of the characters have slightly different personalities than portrayed on screen. For example, Rey seems very sweet and virtuous on film. However in the novelization, her character has a layer of self-centered driven survival, which I could buy being tempted by the dark side in the future. Is it a hint? Well, I'll still have to wait to find out.

All and all, nothing new. The film is still superior in my mind. Yet, if you can't wait, it's an entertaining distraction to add fuel to your Star-Wars "what-if" fire.


View all my reviews

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

My Top Ten Bookish Resolutions For 2016



My Top Ten Bookish Resolutions For 2016

1.) Write more Classics' Corner reviews - I always intended Classics' Corner to be a larger part of Vonze's Reader Blog. I've been in college throughout the life of this blog and because my degree was writing intense, I often kept reading and just didn't have the time and energy to properly cover the classics. I've resolved to work on that feature more this year.

2.) Read Dune - I love scifi movies. Oshie introduced me to Dune in 2013 and I loved it! He also pushed me to read "The Fellowship of the Ring" in 2015, and I really wish I had listened to his recommendation sooner. Therefore, I resolve to listen and read Dune the novel.

3.) Read a book with a Goodreads bookclub and discuss - Although I'm a member of several Goodreads clubs, I have never actually read and discussed a book with any of them. I occasionally vote on polls, share and take part in giveaways, and reading challenges. I've even bought and read the selected book for the month, I just never get around to discussing it. This year I resolved to participate at least once.

4.) Read 5 Contemporary Romance novels - I own several contemporary romance novels, but I often set them aside for my historical reads. In 2016, I resolve to catch up on five contemporary romance novels and take part in the contemporary romance challenge.

5.) Visit 5 Little Free Libraries - I have a favorite little free library near my hometown and I want to build and manage one of my own someday. To gather ideas I want to visit five little free libraries. That way, I'll have a better vision of how I want mine to look and function.

6.) Read and giveaway - We are running out of shelf space. Last year, I gave away 20 of my own books, as well as, many of Oshie's, through paperbackswap.com, bookmooch.com, and the little free library. This year, I hope we can read and release (giveaway) many other titles that we've enjoyed but don't plan on re-reading.

7.) Have a giveaway here - It's been a long time since I've gave away a book here on Vonze's Reader Blog. I've been waiting for the right book and not something that made me feel meh. I hope to have another reader appreciation giveaway soon! Maybe join a giveaway hop, too.

8.) Allow myself to DNF - One of my resolutions of 2011 was to finish every book I started. Before this resolution, I was notorious for starting and stopping books. I've proven that I can finish every book, even the ones I don't like, but now it's more important to focus on what I really like.

9.) Start a new feature - I've been brainstorming a fun, new feature for this blog. I could see it being a meme to share with other bloggers. I've just gotta make time to get it started! I resolve to add a page for the new feature and try to update it at least monthly.

10.) Organize the shelves - Ideally, I'd like to take all the books off my shelves and organize them into a YA fiction, manga, historical romance, and non-fiction shelf. But this will be a major task! Some cool day, I'll put on an audiobook, and finally finish this task.

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