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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.


As we come back from our break it seems like everyone’s unveiling new features (have you heard about Line Catchers?), and I’m not one to argue. With this, I bring you Flashback! It’s basically exactly what you’d expect from the name: I head back to the middle readers and review a book I loved back when I read absome lighter topics (because nobody wants to hear me review The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest again (although there’s a fascinating biography of Stieg Larsson written by his lifepartner Eva Gabrielsson that I’d kind of like to reivew)). It could take off, it could sink dismally, but I think I’ll give it a try. My first flashback: Double Identity by Margaret Peterson Haddix.

Oh, and did I forget to mention the fun part? I’m not allowed to read any synopses, selections from the book, reviews, blurbs, etcetera for the first half of the review. The only thing I get to look at is the cover. Then I do my research (aka I read all or part of the book) and we see how bad my memory is.

I read Double Identity in fifth grade, and I really loved it. A lot. A few years ago I was at a bookstore and saw it used (I’ve mentioned previously that I have a habit of collecting books I liked when I was little *cough*theres’s a reason I have storage underneath my bed *cough*) and it’s been living in my house ever since. I reread it a while back, but it’s still been about three years since I last had a refresher.

[SPOILERS] but not necessarily correct spoilers:

As far as I can remember, main character Whoseit (no I don’t remember her name… Brittany? Elizabeth? Hailey?) has lived a life full of normalcy. Sure, her parents are weird and overprotective, but everyone’s are, and sure, they’re kinda stuck in the past, but that’s no reason to worry, right? Whoseit has a thing for peach flavored instant oatmeal (a surprisingly important part of the book), and really loves swimming.

One day nearing her twelfth (is it? Or sixteenth? I don’t know) birthday, Whoseit’s mom loses her mind. Her dad whisks away his wife and daughter in a car where he got the electric window controls switched out for the roller kind (also important), and leaves Whoseit in the hands of an aunt and adultish cousin (Jordan?) who are pretty weird. They treat Whoseit like someone very fragile and spend a lot of time looking like they’ve seen a ghost. As Whoseit settles in at her new home (by the way, where are her parents? She tries not to think about that), she realizes that it’s not just her eccentric family members. The whole town turns pale and wobbly when Whoseit enters the scene (she’s basically the antiKesha, the party always stops when she walks in), but nobody explains anything to her. As she realizes more and more that there’s something big she hasn’t been let in on, papa Whoseit sends a perplexing package full of cash and identification papers (I think).

(About here is where things go fuzzy for me, so hold on to your hats) It soon comes out that Whoseit is her parent’s second draft at raising children. The first was killed in a car crash around her twelfth (we’re going with twelfth) birthday and, get this, Whoseit is that girl’s clone. As hard as the parents tried to replicate exactly Whoseit 1.0’s childhood and upbringing, they kept getting overprotective of their daughter (they knew what was going to happen next, and sometimes they didn’t want that thing to happen), and ended up with, in Whoseit 2.0’s opinion, an inferior second choice.

After that discovery things sort of blew up and there was an evil scientist running around trying to catch Whoseit and figure out how to clone people but everything worked out well and Whoseit made it past the date of Whoseit 1.0’s death, which meant she was finally living her own life. The end. Good book.

Major apologies to anyone I might’ve offended with that one (really though, sorry). Let’s see how well I did.

First off, main character’s name is Bethany, not Whoseit. Secondly, it’s Bethany’s thirteenth birthday, not twelfth (though I was surprisingly close). Third, I was pretty close to getting Bethany 1.0’s name, Elizabeth, but I kind of thought both girls had the same name. But still. I was close. The evil scientist I remembered was actually someone who’d paid Bethany’s dad to clone him, then got caught embezzling from his science company and put in jail, so Bethany’s dad just cloned Elizabeth. The dude just wanted to know what happened to his clone. Cousin’s name: Joss, not Jordan. Indeed, Bethany’s father does send her an envelope full of cash and birth certificates, which kind of tips her off that there’s a little more to the story than she expected. All in all though, I did better than I had expected.

Quite honestly, rereading Double Identity was not what I’d hoped, but I guess that’s to be expected. I’ve grown a lot as a reader and a person (not to mention I’ve spent countless hours analyzing plotlines and symbols and all that literary stuff so I’m a little bit of a snob where I wasn’t when I was still in elementary school). It was kind of a blast from the past, which I find worthwhile. Also, Double Identity was a pretty solid middle reader. I’d give it 3/5 stars.

Cheers,
Rosey


Today we continue the playlist review of Shiver by Maggie Steifvater, heading into chapters six through ten. If you missed the original post, fear not. If you want to keep up only with the playlist reviews, they’re all organized on the Recurring Topic Archives.

Chapter 6: October – Stephan Moccio
Grace, post wolf time, finishes dinner and receives the news she will be getting a new car, which to her means freedom. She and the white wolf from before have a midnight standoff.

Let me say it for the thousandth time, I am a vibe over literal message, so for Shiver especially I pick a lot of instrumental/classical/not-lyrically-matching songs and ask that you just roll with it. This one sounds awesome and I feel like it conveys (if you’re reading along at home, you’ll know what I mean) the whole chapter pretty well and especially the part at the very end of the chapter where she’s in bed with her sweater.

Chapter 7: The Devil’s Tears – Angus & Julia Stone
Sam is still obsessed with Grace. End of chapter.

I picked this song mostly for the instrumental background, but the lyrics are also fairly pertinent. I especially love the instrumental intro. It sounds like Sam to me.

Chapter 8: Tear Us Apart – Ghost Beach
Grace spends some time with actual human beings, though she doesn’t like it much, and she feels like one of her two friends, Olivia, doesn’t like her much anymore. At the end of the chapter, she hears a scream, but we don’t know where it comes from.

In actuality, I a little bit picked this song because the title directly relates to the chapter, but it also sounds like the chapter, so I think it’s allowable.

Chapter 9: In Our Nature – José Gonzales
Grace follows the scream (she believes it’s the dead dude’s, Jack Culpeper) into the woods, where she sees the angry lady wolf, the pack leader, and a new wolf who has the same colored eyes as Jack’s. Grace comes to the conclusion that there are more things going on than she currently has a grasp on.

I feel like José Gonzales is a pretty werewolfey dude, and I know I’ve been telling you vibe over message but this message is pretty great. The sound is also a bit like the chapter, but maybe not the part of the chapter where things are the most dramatic.

Chapter 10 – Brain Stew – Green Day
Grace is still fighting with Olivia when Isabel Culpeper, Jack’s sister, comes in and talks about how her rich and influential family is having all the wolves killed that afternoon. This freaks Grace out, obviously, and she drives off in her quickly stalling car to where the hunting party has already left, leaving a powerless officer in their wake. After making up a story about a ‘friend’ who was in the woods to make the officer do all he could to stop the wolves, she takes off in the hopes of saving any wolves she can.

I try to avoid Green Day because all of their songs have been heard a hundred times, but this song was the best for this emotionally-fraught chapter and the gritty (okay not so gritty, but gritty for paranormal romance) hunting scene.

Hopefully your day has been less exciting than Grace’s,
Rosey


I know most of the world’s already heard (and squeed) about this, but in case you missed it, the highly esteemed JK Rowling (and Warner Bros.) made an announcement I believe will mean a lot to the news-deficient Harry Potter fans of the world.

Many of you will be familiar with the book Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, which was written as a tie-in to the Harry Potter series we all know and love. Penned under the name of Newt Scamander, the book plays a minor part in the original series as one of the textbooks students at Hogwarts are required to buy and bring to school.

Rowling’s new movie (again with Warner Bros. Entertainment, her partner for the film franchise and the TV adaptation of The Casual Vacancy), titled, fittingly, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, will detail previously mentioned fictional writer Newt Scamander as he interacts with the wizarding community in New York during (approximately) the 1930s. Not much else has been released (read the official press release here) regarding the actual content of the film, but it has been confirmed that it will incorporate several of the creatures introduced in the original series along with new ‘fantastic beasts’ that we haven’t encountered before.

Follow our post tag ‘Fantastic Beasts’ to keep track of all we have to say about the upcoming film and the rest of the series, and keep those eyes open for new announcements!

Try not to break anything in excitement,
Rosey


Do you know what today is?

No?

Are you sure?

It’s Bookmark’s One Year Anniversary!

That’s right! We’ve been around for exactly 365 days.
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(I made a graphic but it didn’t turn out very well. I tried a new program and it didn’t make much sense. But that’s not important.)

What is important is our past year of blogging (semi)regularly and putting so much of our time and effort into this lovely blog we’ve got here.

If you’ll indulge me in a few stats…
In our 365 days on the web we’ve published 159 posts and used 387 tags. Within those tags, if you ignore our indexing tags (like when we tag Rosey or Tally or the day of the week), our most popular tag is Playlist Review (could’ve predicted that) and then Stacking the Shelves (also not so very surprising).

Our spam bots have flagged (and then we’ve sorted through) 2,223 spam comments, which are usually annoying and often a little bit funny, and we have 105 legitimate and highly appreciated comments (really though, if you want to talk to us, don’t be shy. We like you).

We’ve got 132 Facebook posts and 108 tweets.

I’m done with the stats, I do believe. Thank you for listening. And thank you for reading.

We’ve done a lot, and learned a lot, in this past year. I know I, definitely, am much better at this whole blogging thing than I was on this day previously. I don’t think we’ve reached the tip of our learning curve, which means things are still getting better as we become more experienced and better versed in the world of HTML tags and CSS coding. (In all honesty you probably won’t notice those things because they’re more behind-the-scenes.)

We’re also planning for what the next year will hold. New recurring topics (did you know we have them all catalogued on our Recurring Topic Archives?), new playlist reviews, and many, many more Stacking the Shelves.

We’ll be launching into our first movie review when The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is released. We’ll be reviewing galleys and ARCs to give you a preview of what’s coming up. We’ll be interviewing authors and begging them to sign books so we can give them to you. We’ll be liveblogging (for the first time!) this year’s WordPress convention, and I’m thinking about starting up a book-themed cooking segment. We’re considering adding another form of social media (hey reader, we like your shoelaces), and wondering whether to try vlogging (don’t get your hopes up, though, there’s probably about a 10% chance of that actually happening). We’re also trying to digitalize some art, and make actual bookmarks of some of our popular reviews because we get lots of people looking for bookmarks.

All in all, it’s going to be an awesome year.

Thanks,
Rosey


All apologies for my absence last week, I was on vacation in this gorgeous place, where it is very easy to forget about whatever technological obligations you may have. This week I fly away again, but I’ll leave some posts for you in preparation.

And now, we move to books, the things you actually care about. And school, the thing you probably wish you didn’t care about as much. Also the thing you wish hadn’t just started/wasn’t about to start. More specifically, that summer reading assignment you may be stressing over (I got lucky this year – no assigned reading! Though I would rather have summer reading than most of the other summer homework I got). This post will likely not be helpful if you have a specific book assigned to you, but if you get to pick from a list (or choose freely!), search no further. I’ve collected a short list of my favorite, relatively original to choose, meaningful (all the better to write about) and interesting books that are approximately school appropriate and linear enough for easier projects. Good luck!

#5:

 photo Saras-face.jpg
Sara’s Face by Melvin Burgess
Melvin Burgess, author of the risqué books Doing It and Smack tackles teen insecurity in a delightfully sinister manner. (This is for seriously one of my favorite books of all time – I should review it).

In her quest for a body she’s happy with, Sara accepts the help of an infamous megastar who has undergone multiple plastic surgeries. Though he feels he’s the only one, Mark, Sara’s boyfriend, doesn’t support plastic surgery, even though Sara told him he could have free reign on her upcoming boobjob.

#4:

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Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
You can read my review of this book/graphic novel here, but if you don’t have the time I assure you it’s great. (Though you might want to check it with your teacher because it’s a graphic novel. It’s very text heavy, but there are pictures and some teachers oppose that).

It’s hard enough to grow up in the best of circumstances, but young Marjane Satrapi has it worse than many. She lives in a war zone, where she’s forced to cover her hair and hide her personality. As she struggles to understand what her family is fighting for, she grows up without before she can notice.

#3:

Bumped by Megan McCafferty
Bumped by Megan McCafferty
This series is tried and true for school projects by yours truly (I read both books for the first time for free choice assignments), and probably by lots of other people as well. Both Bumped, the first book, and Thumped, the sequel, are ripe with meaning and real-world application while also ridiculously fun to read.

Melody Mayflower and Harmony Smith are polar opposites. Melody is ready to launch a career as a successful surrogette, aka a babymaker for rich, infertile, over 18 year olds. All she needs is for her agent to find the perfect partner so she can get started. Harmony is about to be married, already considered an old maid in her superconservative religious sect at the age of sixteen. When their worlds collide, neither of them is sure what to think.

#2

Hold Still by Nina Lacour
Hold Still by Nina LaCour
A gorgeous book, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, Hold Still is steeped in meanings and poignant things to consider. It’s also a gorgeous read (both in literary terms and visually – the in-text art is unparalleled) and similar to the very popular 13 Reasons Why without making teachers roll their eyes because you’re the fifth person to do it this year (nothing against 13 Reasons, but a bit overused, just saying).

Struggling to understand her best friend’s recent suicide, Caitlin turns to the diary that was left under her bed by Ingrid before she vacated her life. As she begins to heal, Caitlin finds various outlets and makes new friendships until she might, just maybe, have a real life again.

#1

The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw
The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw is the motherlode when it comes to hidden meaning and symbolism. It is also possibly my favorite book of all time (I have about five of those), and so, so beautiful. I cannot praise it enough. I really, really love it.

Twentysomething Midas has a very dull life until Ida steps onto his peculiar island and changes everything. Though her step is clunky and uncoordinated, it’s the first step toward a cure for Ida’s perplexing affliction – her body is turning to glass. As she and Midas work toward the cure they’re not sure exists, the clock ticks, and so do their hearts.

There you have it. I hope you have some more ideas now. I also hope you have the luxury of picking one of these books, because though they’re academically interesting and kinda fun to analyze, they’re also great books, or in the case of The Girl with Glass Feet stunning literature.

Happy reading, and my condolences on school starting (unless you’re into that, which I totally respect),
Rosey


Hello there, Tally here!

I’ve been gone for a long month, which might be the reason for the scarcity of posts lately. Just arriving home today, I find myself scarce of time to offer a proper review, which, boy, have I been reading a lot in my absence. I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know this, for now, I’m excited to announce that this coming Tuesday, August 6th, will be the release of the much anticipated (by me at least!) R.A. Salvatore book, The Companions.The Companions

I received an ARC ebook copy so look forward for its review, this Monday!

Still catching up on all the good book news,
~Tally