This blog is now inactive. Feel free to peruse our past posts and archive. – Rosey and Tally

Books with Music

I can’t wait to bring you guys some reviews but because this week has been hectic and full of music and catching up on months of sleep, here’s a few of my favorite books with touching music moments.

the name of the wind The Name of the Wind– Hands down wins as one of the few books that had me bawling at the music scenes. One of the best part of the books I still can’t get that awesome power that Pat gives to his words and the raw emotions that dig at me when Kvothe plays. Call me a crazy lady but this book touches the soul of what it means to be a musician.

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The Clockwork Three-I read this during a time when I was getting a little tired of the steampunk fad but this book managed to make me both sad and incredibly happy. An enchanted violin? I’m sold.

seraphinaSeraphina-Okay so maybe I loved this one because 1) I play the flute too and 2) dragons. Bringing the technicality and soul of music couldn’t be brought together any better than this.

throne of glassThrone of Glass-I don’t know whether to count this as a major music moment book but there was one scene that I had to reread again and then again just because the words were perfect.

promise of the witch-kingPromise of the Witch-King-Another book that has a flute int it but what fascinated me was not only this book but the entire series about some not so great and goodly protagonists. This is makes the list because it isn’t about the redemption of an assassin, far from it, and yet, he does find something akin to it thanks to a magical item called Idalia’s flute. A must read series if you’re a fantasy fan I’ll tell you.

So these are some books that I’ve read the last couple of years that had me a little weepy-eyed because they had some great musical moments. What books have you read recently that had a touching moment involving music?

Happy reading,

Tally

P.S. Apologies for the formatting, can’t seem to get it to behave.

Line Catchers (4): Heimweh

As I browsed my shelves for a book for today’s post I had absolutely no idea what I was looking for. I just kind of stared blankely at it until something popped out. That something was one of the best books I’ve ever read, and one of the books I really think everyone should take the time to absorb, Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi (yes it’s a Holocaust book, yes it will be sad, but it is an amazing memoir told by someone who really has something to say and it’s actually beautiful).

I read this book for an honors History project in my freshman year of high school and I absolutely loved it. I bought a copy and wrote all over it because that’s what I do with books I read for school (some may call it blasphemy, but I truly believe there is a lot of value in notetaking, and I keep every book I write in for future perusing (came in handy today)) (there are too many parenthetical comments in this post), and though I loved pretty much all of the book (it destroyed me for a bit, but in the good, strengthening kind of way and Primo Levi is an amazing writer) there was one line, one word, really, that stuck in my brain. Part of my honors assignment was to create art based on the book I read, and I ended up using the quote I’m using today in my art (I was going to use the piece I did for the graphic in today’s post but then realized that I’d been staring at my books for so long that it was dark out and I do not have the technology to take blog-quality pictures with non-natural lighting – maybe I’ll put an edit at the bottom with the piece once I’ve had time to photograph it in the light but no promises).

I think I’ve sufficiently built up the suspense to show you my graphic (I just bought a fancy new computer with all kinds of graphic capabilities but I have not yet figured out how to use them effectively so we’re still at my usual standard of graphic, but look forward to some things made with actual photoshop (!) and maybe even electronically drawn because I can theoretically do that though I must say drawing with a stylus is very different that with pencil/charcoal/pen on paper).

heimweh_bookmarks

This quote can be found in chapter 4 of Survival in Auschwitz, which is titled Ka-Be, and it is said in the context of Primo Levi describing the conditions and prisoners in the Auschwitz (for lack of a better word that isn’t in German) medical ward. It’s devastatingly sad, but I’ve gotten something from that sentence that is unique. I’ve long had a love of words in other languages that don’t translate to a single English word, and “heimweh” definitely fits that category, but there’s something else in this word that just . . . Fits. I don’t quite know how to explain it, and everyone will take their own meaning from any quote they see, but I’ve always considered this quote hopeful. (Many people are doing a double take, but stay with me for a moment.) After much thought I’ve decided that the reason that this one word and the concept behind it are so comforting is that it reminds me that humans are capable of so much, even in the worst and darkest of times. The Holocaust was arguably the worst event in documented history, and certainly fits my definition of hell. Having established that these men, living dismal conditions and housed in a place specifically designed to break down their will and fight and their humanity itself, are actually in hell (or purgatory or whatever you want to call it), I find it so astonishing that they are able to feel and express and discuss such a complex feeling. In dismal conditions people can still convey feelings I’ve never been able to explain in my language (another point is that I have experienced heimweh extensively and could never figure out how to explain it as a child so maybe I’m just reassured that others share my emotions, but I really don’t think that’s the whole size of it). I think the existence of this word speaks volumes about the human will, no, determination, to survive, and that’s something that I got from the entire of Survival in Auschwitz. This word, and by extension this phrase, gives me such faith in humanity, and in a world where I can log into my Facebook page and see reports of two murders and one instance of torture by people my own (teen)age without scrolling down that’s something one can really use. So while I know this post is making some of you angry and some of you sad, I would encourage you to hold on to it and think. Survival in Auschwitz was so painful to read, and I hurt for days after finishing it, but it’s one of those rare occurrences that I can use to define my life so far as “before” and “after.” I hope that with this post I have given just one person a feeling similar to mine, because this book and quote were truly important in shaping who I am.

That got a little soapboxy, but as you’ve probably gathered I have very strong opinions on this topic. Thanks for hanging in there, and I really do encourage you to read Survival in Auschwitz. By the way, the text in the graphic is superimposed on a picture of the Auschwitz concentration camp that I got here.

Have a happy Sunday and I hope I haven’t depressed you too thoroughly,
Rosey

Three Books I Cannot Review…

Which means, I totally should, right?

If you’re a reader, then you’ve probably come across that book that stays with you and leaves you unable to think but you want to rant and/or rave about it to the closest person. I’ve come across three such books that rendered me useless afterwards. I refuse to review them because I couldn’t do a proper job of it. I refuse to read them again because that’s a scary idea. Maybe after I’ve rambled at you, dear reader, you can help me find my courage to do so. These books are definitely worth a second read.

a conspiracy of kings

Title: A Conspiracy of Kings
Author: Megan Whalen Turner
On Goodreads, I rated it: 4/5 stars

Megan Whalen Turner is a fantastic author!! I discovered her back in seventh grade and like many other fans, I’ve been waiting for her next book to release after this one. This one, it just, was everything and nothing of what I expected. I WANTED MORE GEN. I got Sophos. Who is a very endearing character but GEN. After my *extreme* initial disappointment I enjoyed the story completely, especially towards the end because while it had a few cliffhanger strings to keep us wanting, it was a stand alone by (I love those books that can be part of a series but are completely satisfying without needing a sequel) so more GEN. I mean SOPHOS. I became attached to this young king. So read it. All of the books from Megan Whalen Turner are satisfying, brilliant, page-turners.
mockingjayTitle: Mockingjay
Author: Suzanne Collins
On Goodreads, I rated it: 3/5 stars
Mockingjay, Mockingjay, how shall I put this? I loved you, I hated you, I fear you. Emotionally it was everything I could have expected but plot-wise it was a bit lack luster. Going at a neck-breaking pace I fear I felt detached from most of the characters for the most part. I’ve not yet resigned myself to some of the fates of these much loved characters. I had a love/hate relationship with the ending. Collins is a brilliant author though and I absolutely loved her previous series, The Underland Chronicles. So I’m definitely eagerly awaiting her next book series.
the fault in our starsTitle: The Fault In Our Stars
Author: John Green
On Goodreads, I rated it: 3/5 stars
A friend highly recommended this and my curiousity got the best of me so I picked up Mr. Green’s book not too long ago. I’d read Paper Towns (one of Rosey’s favorite reads!) a while ago and while it was stirring, I can’t say contemporary is my thing. Sadly such was the case with this book. I had a hard time liking Hazel and I found it quite predictable but I’d be heartless if I said it didn’t twist my heartstrings a little. Augustus and Isaac were more likeable and I appreciate the very real take on terminal illness that didn’t pull back at all with its punches. With a lot of touching moments at the end of the book, I can say this is worth going to sleep at 4am. Great book, easy to recommend.

Favorites Shelf: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I was recently mopping my floors and staring at my bookshelf (because what else would you do while cleaning) and realized that I haven’t actually reviewed all the books on my favorites shelf. I’m not talking my mental “favorites” shelf, which is about a gagillion books long, but the physical shelf where I put my favorite books. Being a book blogger and moreover a book lover, I have my own unique system for organizing my books (mostly so I can find my way to whichever book I want in the vast ocean of literary works I own). It involves a single shelf dedicated to my favorite books in order of preference and merit (but also organized by author because I can’t not organize my books by author), excluding dystopian series because then it wouldn’t fit on a single bookshelf. Anyway, I decided that this would never do and that I’d better review these books quick. Also, I saw a chance to make a graphic. I like that (though I’m not very good at it).

Here is a picture of said bookshelf, but look, it’s mysteriously blurred out (insert chance to make a graphic here).

TFIOS_shelf

Can you guess which book I’m reviewing today? The one in focus, perhaps?

I’m going to forgo my usual header because there’s no use to giving these books a rating. This review is for The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I don’t EVER talk about this book in public and try to avoid the subject because I love this book so much (as does most of the reading world). It ended up on Tally’s Three Books I Cannot Review list (coming up later this week) and I, similarly, have avoided reviewing it for various mental health reasons. Maybe this is bad for our readers because we don’t review those books we love the most (a lot of the books you’ll read about being on my favorites shelf I haven’t previously reviewed for this reason), so I’m going to attempt to review them here, but give me some slack on these reviews because these will be the hardest books for me to talk about publicly. Maybe I’ll devote a later post (I haven’t written the Tuesday post for next week yet so maybe you’ll see it then) to why we (I) refuse to talk about some books, but for now we’ll focus on this book in particular.

My favorite John Green book is Paper Towns, but The Fault in Our Stars is the first book on my favorites shelf because it hit me so hard in the emotional stomach that I just felt it deserved that first place spot. Because it got that first place spot, the next four books on my shelf are also by John Green because as previously mentioned I can’t bear to break up an author in my organization system (you should see my Scott Westerfeld section). First, a (hopefully spoiler free) summary:

Hazel Grace Lancaster has lived on borrowed time for a great part of her life, thanks to miracle cancer-slowing drug Phalanxifor. There is no knowledge as to when this time will run out, but Hazel has accepted that and would be pretty okay with staying home and watching America’s Next Top Model for the rest of her undetermined lifetime. In spite of Hazel’s wishes, her mom insists that she attend Cancer Kid Support Group, which Hazel thinks is kind of ridiculous.

Then Hazel meets the least ridiculous thing about support group: Augustus Waters. Extreme fan of metaphor and drama, Augustus attempts to sweep the usually unsweepable Hazel off her feet, and in the process gets swept off of his one foot at least several times. The result is everyone lying on the floor, in every array of emotion possible.

When I say everyone lying on the floor I mean that metaphorically but also quite literally in that I was lying in a sort of puddle-heap hybrid by the end of this book. It (metaphorically) killed me emotionally, though a tiny bit of that might’ve been because I read TFiOS in one sitting starting at like eight o’ clock the night I bought it so I was sitting there having my feelings ripped out at approximately five a.m., but it was also a really emotionally difficult (but great!) book. Everyone (meaning one person) I’ve ever talked to about it also says they suffered a mental breakdown while and after reading the last chapters, and that is in agreement with every online discussion of the book I’ve ever read.

I don’t want to say too much more about TFiOS because I don’t want to risk ANY spoilers, but just know that it really is really truly really worth a read. It didn’t make it to the tippy top of the NY Times bestseller list for no reason.

The author, John Green, does other things besides write books, including running a vlog with his brother, Hank, and generally building and sustaining an awesome online community that has been helping to decrease worldsuck (aka do good things for the world) for years, as well as providing a ton of fuel for intelligent discussion (we like that here at Bookmarks) and the increasing of knowledge. You should go check him out.

Can you guess which book I’m reviewing next? (Here’s a hint: it’s the one not blurred out all the way.)

Happy Tuesday and hope you’re warm,
Rosey

Line Catchers (3)

Welcome to our third week of Line Catchers! Book quotes abound and as readers we all have our favorites. This is where Line Catchers comes in, where we hope to bring you some of our favorite lines from books, movies, or songs we enjoy.

music

Credit to Pasov for the background.

Another book quote this week, I loved The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss not just because of his wonderful play with words, but because as a musician, his words ring clear and true. Lately, I’ve been devoting my spare time to my flute and solo I picked out for this this last year, senior year. A harder piece than any other before I’ve learned to appreciate even more fully the time that people devote to their crafts, whatever it be. Especially those of exceeding patience; the teachers, the artists, the musicians, and yes, the writers. Do what you love and you’ll enjoy life a whole lot more, right? Practice is a necessary tool and as you go about your days this week don’t forget to give some time to that which needs your attention!

Have a wonderful week
~Tally

Review: The Reaver by Richard Lee Byers

the reaverTitle: The Reaver
Author: Richard Lee Byers
Pages: 352 (Ebook)
Rating: 4/5

THE REAVER came out February 4th! I received an ebook copy from Netgalley for review.

In the 4th book of the multi-author Sundering series, Richard Lee Byers introduces Anton Marivaldi—a renowned reaver with an insatiable thirst for bounty and a moral compass that always leads him toward the evil he’s never tried.

Endless, pounding rain afflict the Sea of Fallen Stars and the coastal regions surrounding it. Harvests are failing, travel and trade are disrupted, and civilized forces are giving way to the deluges caused by the storms. In panic and despair, many have turned to the goddess Umberlee, Queen of the Deeps, offering her sacrifices with hope that they will be spared the inevitable reckoning of her perpetual tempest.

Evendur Highcastle, undead pirate captain, risen from the depths to assume the mantle of Umberlee’s Chosen, takes advantage of the people’s desperation to strike for both spiritual and temporal power in her name.

Vying with Highcastle for the hearts and minds of the people is Stedd Whitehorn, a little boy and the chosen of a god thought lost to time: Lathander, the Morninglord. In a time of such upheaval, Stedd’s message of renewal and hope runs in stark contrast to the savage ethos of Highcastle and his waveservants.

When Anton captures the boy in order to collect Highcastle’s considerable bounty, the reaver is quickly caught in the riptide caused by the sundering of worlds.

Start out with a fight scene. Check. Pirates and ships and magic and awesome powers. Check. Keep me interested. Yep, check. Wow, this book blew me away. I loved reading this! I had no trouble picking up where I left off whenever I had to put it down and I enjoyed Anton Marivaldi’s adventure with Stedd and Umara. I love reading from the bad guy’s perspective which made it even better when I got to read from Stedd’s point because it was so refreshingly different. Anton had me swaying between liking him and thinking some of his “kind” acts a bit out of character but I grew fond of him as the story progressed, especially as he teamed up with Umara.

One of my favorite parts were the lions and what happened after Stedd got to his destination. Won’t elaborate more than that. I loved the fight scenes too! Always a new factor to throw in and keep things interesting. Umara definitely brought things to a whole new level of interesting with her wizardry. The events of the Sundering are coming together spectacularly and I’m sure that any long time Forgotten Realms fan is going to enjoy this story as much as I did. Even new fans can pick these books up and dive in without a problem.

Byers brought an excellent tale to the table, one that made me forget about anything but the sea and the not so romantic antics of pirates and their battle for domain and power. There was almost nothing for me to pick at so I say, pick this up! The ending was perfect for Anton and Umara, two not so pure characters and I was really happy for Stedd. Not a heavy tale, it has my praise for being captivating and reaver worthy.

Happy Reading
~Tally

Spoiler Review: Abandon by Elana Johnson

Abandon Elana Johnson SPOILERSTitle: Abandon
Author: Elana Johnson
Rating: 4/5 stars
Pages: 446 (hardcover)

Many of you may remember my wave of enthusiasm as I read the Possession books, Possession, Surrender, and Abandon. Well, on the same night during which I reviewed Abandon, I also wrote a spoiler-ridden review to get some of my . . . Emotional blockages out of the way. During a recent laptop overhaul I discovered this review that I had intended to post at some point, and decided that the time is now. There will be spoilers. You probably won’t get it if you haven’t read the book. You might not get it even if you have read the book. I hope this gives you a little bit of insight into how my brain actually works, as there’s quite the difference between the reviews I usually post and the initial spasm I experience after finishing a book. I hope you enjoy it despite or because of those reasons. Here, in its entirety, is my spoiler review, sans edits since my original brain splat.

Though I really loved Possession and Surrender, there was something about Abandon that made it so perfect I couldn’t breath while I was finishing it. It wasn’t even that late at night when I was reading, so I can’t blame exhaustion for my overemotional breakdown like I can with most of the books I’ve lost it over. I was sitting there, nine thirty at night, huddled in a corner even though it was 85 degrees in the dark, and I couldn’t believe what’d just happened. This happened three times, with building intensity.
First, Laurel fell. I had to read everything from both Zenn and Jag’s point of view several times because I could not comprehend what had just happened. When I did get the basics (Vi’s mom just fell off a hoverboard, everybody freeze and decide that since she knew the risks it’s okay she died), I thought for a few minutes that Zenn had killed her. I felt relief, because I was ready for Zenn to freaking commit to a side already. I also felt despair, because a. Vi had lost her mother and b. Thane had lost his wife without really reconciling with her like I’d hoped he would. Also c. d. e. and f., but that’s more detail than I need to get into.

Then, Thane sacrificed himself for the good of the Resistance. That was the way for him to die. It was perfect and beautiful and so, so tragic. My jaw actually dropped, which I’ve been noticing happening for a long time, but haven’t noticed often. It dropped lower than it’d ever dropped, I do believe. The emotional cascade nearly made me stop reading. But I kept on.

And then Zenn happened. I was literally, really, truly, curled in a ball, dripping tears onto the pages of my pristine copy of Abandoned. I didn’t even have the presence of mind to care. I had expected Vi to be the one to go, and I was going to be flat out enraged if she dropped off. I was so surprised. I, again, couldn’t figure out what had happened. I hadn’t even thought to mentally prepare for Zenn dying. I had expected to be left with the opposing points of the love triangle, a bitter old lady with a thousand cats still wondering what would have happened if Vi had survived. Instead I was a blob of person-mush, falling apart for someone I had barely tolerated for most of the book. Me and Zenn had some problems, to say the least. But everything, and I do mean everything was redeemed with his last italicized thoughts, and I am still trying to deal with his death. I don’t think I’ve fully accepted it yet.

I am now forcing myself to move past the deaths, and focus on some of the other things, the thing I’m focusing on being the plot. I read all three books in a few days, really back to back, so the plot is kind of a flowing line through the whole story span (not really plot arc. There are a ton of those within the story span. It’s very confusing), but I ran into a bit of a hitch in my flawless reading plan when I was about ¾ of the way through Abandon. It corresponded with the weather taking a turn for the hot, I do believe, but I went to bed late one night and when I woke up didn’t feel the need to read my book for like eight hours, which was a lot for me. It was a good thing for me personally, actually, I did a ton of classwork and worked out in the time I spent away from my book, but I did lose a little bit of that fluidity with the plot line. I went back later in the day and nearly died from plot angst, though, so I apparently didn’t lose all of my memory.

There wasn’t one event that drove me away from the book, but about 105% of the reason was because of Zenn’s narration, I do believe. I got really tired of him and Saffediene and Vi and all that suck, because two love triangles is just too much for a book to handle. I got tired of him worrying about which side to pick, as I’d already mentioned. He needed to just commit, to a side, to a girl, to an ally (the thought of him leaving Jag again was also not attractive to me). I needed to get out of his head for a while, I think. I started back on with a Jag chapter, and I think that was really good for me because I regained my faith in Elana Johnson’s (awesome) writing expertise and remembered that I really loved everyone except for Zenn.

Hope that was entertaining if not educational,
Rosey