Mid Year Book Tag

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My wonderful friend Jess from Princessica Of Books tagged me for the “mid year book freak-out tag” at the beginning of July and I’ve decided to do it since this seems like a great way to recap a half year of reading without only talking about books that were released this year. I’m going to keep these answers short and sweet so I don’t question my choices too much considering I have read many amazing books so far this year.

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2016:

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The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2016:

The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6) by Brandon Sanderson. Sanderson is always good, and Mistborn is always good, but this one in particular was phenomenal.

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to:

The Inside of Out looks like a very interesting read! It’s been on my radar for a while now but just hasn’t happened.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year:

This would probably have to be Timekeeper by Tara Sim. I actually don’t have a ton of releases I’m waiting on this fall which is such a contrast from last year where I had a dozen books preordered…

5. Biggest disappointment:

Goldfish (aka ‘Girl Out of Water’) by Nat Luurtsema. A synchronized swimming book with poorly researched, non-existent synchronized swimming. Count me extremely disappointed and a little bit mad. I wrote a very frustrated review, too.

6. Biggest surprise:

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I was actually pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed The Siren by Kiera Cass. I read The Selection by Cass because they’re kind of fun and silly books but I actually got rather attached to this standalone fantasy romance.

7. Favorite new author: (Debut or new to you)

Can I call the combination of Nina LaCour and David Levithan in You Know Me Well a new favorite author? Because I’m fairly convinced that they worked magic together.

8. Newest favorite character:

I seriously love Shallan from The Stormlight Archive. Such a funny, smart, damaged kid. 😩

9. Book that made you cry:

Some books make me tear up easier than others, but to truly make me cry I have to be very attached to the book. I cried a bit in both the middle and the end of Calamity by Brandon Sanderson because Reckoners was just one of those series I got amazingly attached to.

10. Book that made you happy:

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I recently binge read the entire Eighth Day trilogy: I re-read the first two books and then read The Morrigan’s Curse by Diane K Salerni and this entire series, especially the endings of each book, makes me SO HAPPY.

11. Most beautiful book you’ve received or bought so far this year:

ALL MY BOOKS ARE BEAUTIFUL. But some of the more gorgeous ones have been: The Winner’s Kiss, Alcatraz Vs the Knights of Crystallia, Spells & Sorcery, The Diabolic

12. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

There aren’t any books super nagging at me, but I do plan to read: The Raven Cycle, Any Sanderson that I have not read yet, (aka Warbreaker) The Bronze Key (Magisterium #3), The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase #2), and any fall/winter ARCs that might come my way.

What books do you most want to read this year?

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What Booktubeathon Taught Me + Booktubeathon Wrap-Up

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(a selection of the instagram challenges I completed for booktubeathon)

This past week was booktubeathon. A seven day long, booktube based, photo and video challenge making, reading extravaganza. I filmed and posted a booktubeathon TBR with books to account for all seven of the reading challenges… and finished approximately 5 of those books (4 graphic novels) and two of the reading challenges. My other goal was to complete all of the instagram and video challenges: I posted 4 of the instagram challenges, and filmed 4 of the video challenges. (1, 2, 3, 4)

But I am okay with what I did during this readathon because I feel like it taught me one important thing: my videos do not have to be perfect for people to enjoy them.

The nature of booktubeathon’s video challenges (and of my wi-fi connection) is that the videos need to be filmed and edited within a space of hours. The video challenge is released at midnight EST, and your finished and uploaded video must be submitted by midnight the next day. Factoring in an hour for export and color grading, around two hours for export, and a desire to get the video up in early afternoon… That doesn’t leave a ton of time.

Normally, I take days to put together a video. I think about what I’m going to talk about and what I want to say. I want the lighting and everything to be perfect when I do film, and I allow myself at least 45 minutes to film. I spend hours upon hours editing: making sure everything moves seamlessly, that I’ve cut out all the ‘um’s and ‘uh’s and that the audio is coded just right.

When it came to doing booktubeathon challenge videos, I had to let go of all that. I filmed in one take. I cut within the space of half an hour. They might have been shorter videos in the first place, but it was still sort of amazing. And the videos still turned out pretty well! They were far from perfect, but they didn’t need to be just right. They could just be alright and that was just fine.

I feel like for a long time I’ve been holding myself back a little creatively because I want everything I post to be exemplary. While I’m not going to continue creating videos in this rushed style I think I will take some of this with me and not feel like everything I make needs to be extremely polished. Maybe it’s better to make something “alright” instead of nothing at all.

Though, when it comes to instagram, I don’t think I will ever stop being a huge perfectionist with those pictures. But maybe that’s alright since those take a bit less time than a video in the first place. 😉

In the interest of a wrap-up, here are a few of the book challenges I DID complete:

  1. (read a book with yellow on the cover) Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
  2. (read a book only after sunset) Saga Vol 1-4
  3. (read a book that’s older than you) Jason and the Argonauts half completed
  4. (read seven books) The Eighth Day and The Inquisitor’s Mark by Diane K Salerni

After the readathon had ended I did also end up completing the challenge “read a book you discovered through booktube” by reading The Raven Boys for the first time! Better late than never, right?

Are you good at readathons? Have any favorite readathon experiences?

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BBCP Pages to Pictures: Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians

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This summer I decided to take part in Nori @ ReadWriteLove28‘s Book Blogger Creativity Project! For this project teams of book bloggers were created that had to work together to create a series of book related posts. I was on the Magenta Team and we created ‘Pages to Pictures,’ a series of posts where each one of us has “adapted” a book into a movie form: cast the actors for each character, said where it should be filmed, listed what scenes need to be included in the movie, and so on.

For the movie adaptation I created I decided to take a slightly different approach by putting together an animated movie. I choose for my book one of my absolute favorites, Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson. I have long considered how this crazy middle grade book could be adapted for the screen so I thought it only right that it be the one I write about. I believe animation is the only way to do this one because while special effects are super amazing now, a lot of what appears in this book is absurd (knights! hidden kingdoms in the middle of the ocean! dinosaurs! monsters made out of shredded paper!) and trying to pair it with the realism of live actors would frankly just make it look a bit like a b-list horror film.

Animation Style

This is an aspect I’ve waffled around with a lot because there are just so many possibilities, but in the end I’ve figured it would be best created in the style that most animated feature films have been lately: kind of false and bubbly with a slightly 3D effect.

Though I also think that the flat style commonly seen in many cartoon shows would also work really well in this book. Then again, if the animation looked exactly like the covers or the illustrations from the new Tor Teen editions of this book series, I would have no complaints.

Characters + Voice Actors

I love movies and tv shows, but if I’m honest I know next to nothing about actors. There are a few of them (*ahem* the entire cast of The Newsroom) that I can recognize instantly but… that’s about it. So, for the characters I’ve decided to suggest what I think their voices could/should sound like, and an actor or two that would make a good voice for them.

(admittedly some of these characters don’t show up until book two, but I’ve written about those that I have the clearest picture of)

Alcatraz: If I’m entirely honest I have no idea how the voice of our snarky, nerdy, cynical protagonist should sound. The problem with Alcatraz is no voice I’ve ever heard seems right because I’ve never heard any role try to be Alcatraz. I do believe that this role would maybe need two Alcatraz’s: whether it’s the same voice ‘aged up’ or two different ones so that the older Alcatraz (who is supposedly writing these stories) can speak in the monologues and such… I feel like I wouldn’t know what or who is right for this role until I would see it.

Bastille: While she is really much more than that, from a movie stand point Bastille is the perfect example of a “tough girl” role. She talks smart and fast, most of the time she is serious and curt, and she definitely has the best deadpan of the group. Honestly, I love Bastille so much that I would take the role (joking, I can’t act) but the first actor I think of is Beth Riesgraf based on her role in Leverage as the thief Parker.

Leavenworth (Grandpa Smedry): Leavenworth is really the only character whose voice actor I had picked long before I started writing this post. Grandpa Smedry is a kind, fun, completely nuts old man, and I see him as a slightly more jovial version of Charlie Skinner in The Newsroom. Therefore, the only voice I can think of for him is Sam Waterston.

Kazan: Kaz is the main traveller of the group, and is mostly pretty gruff, though he (like all of them) has his own shade of ridiculous. For example, one of his hobbies is keeping a list of why short people are better than tall people. For some reason Don Cheadle comes to mind for this role, but I don’t have any true preference in a voice for Kaz.

Australia: My favorite description that is ever given within the book for Australia is that “[she] is smart, but she forgets it sometimes.” (or something like that, I’m paraphrasing) Australia is bright, optimistic, and a little bit oblivious. I feel like Rowan Blanchard gives off that sort of ‘innocent and ridiculous but still very smart/competent’ when she plays Riley Mathews in Girl Meets World, so I think she could be a good choice.

Scenes to Include

Because these books are so short, and because about half of each one is made up of Alcatraz’s monologues, theoretically I believe a movie of this book could contain every scene. But, if not, here’s a short list of what needs to be included:

  • Showing Alcatraz in foster care… And maybe burning down a house or two
  • Leavenworth and Al’s first meeting (even just because it’s hilarious)
  • Bastille beating up Alcatraz with her purse (ditto)
  • The paper monster
  • The jail scene (I figured this could actually be cut but the character development is actually really crucial)

What could be cut:

  • Everything at the gas station
  • The dinosaurs (even though I love them)
  • The hook at the beginning… (probably shouldn’t put it there in case it’s never resolved in movie form)

As for the monologue portions of the books… A lot of those do need to be included for most things to make sense. I think it could be done in voice overs, freeze frames, or some sort of combination of those kind of things but there is crucial info that doesn’t happen within the outward plot that I think this story shouldn’t lose.

What do you think of the feature that my group came up with? What book(s) would you love to see a well done movie of?

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Booktubeathon TBR!

Booktubeathon, the annual book Youtube read-along, stars tomorrow and runs for the entire week! This year I will be participating in it for my first time and so over the week I formulated and filmed a video of my to-be-read list based on the event’s reading challenges. You are welcome to watch the video (I would love if you did!) though I have also added the list of the books below.

  1. (read a book with yellow on the cover) The Sun is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon
  2. (read a book only after sunset) Saga Vol 1
  3. (read a book you discovered through booktube) The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater
  4. (read a book by one of your favorite authors) Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson
  5. (read a book that’s older than you) Jason and the Argonauts
  6. (read and watch a book-to-movie adaptation) The Odyssey

My personal goal this booktubeathon is to complete all the video and instagram challenges. I hope that you will subscribe to my youtube channel and follow my instagram to keep up with my progress, and I’ll be back here at the end of the week with a full wrapup.

♥, Tamara

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5 Ways Gemina is like Illuminae (and 4 Ways it Isn’t)

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If you’ve been around on here for any length of time than you probably know that when I read Illuminae for the first time last spring it entirely rocked my world. More recently I re-read Illuminae and than had the opportunity to read the upcoming sequel, Gemina… And I can tell you that it was likewise amaaaaazing. So much so, that I haven’t been able to talk about it much beyond keysmashes and long strings of capital letters. To spare you from a review filled with just that (seriously you should thank me for saving you) today I decided to talk a little bit about what make Gemina similar to it’s predecessor, and what makes it different… But in entirely the best way, trust me.

Similarities

Totally Unique Format

Illuminae was fantastically created with all it’s pictures and documents and transcriptions. Gemina has all of that and even takes it a step further with illustrations and even more super cool things that totally wow-ed me.

Characters You Will Root For

Hanna and Nik are extremely different from Kady and Ezra, but their stories will still suck you in and make you root so hard for them to win.

So Many Censored Swear Words

It might just be me, but there sometimes large blocks of text in these books that slow me down because for some reason I have to take the time to fill in what each of the blacked out swear words would be. (what’s with that, brain?) Never fear, just like in Illuminae, everyone in Gemina swears like sailors and it’s all censored. Leaving you to wonder: if this is far in the future, are their swear words even the same ones we use?

Countdowns and Tension

You remember all those countdown clocks in Illuminae leading to all those bad things? Yeah, there are more of those and they are scary. 

Lots of Death

… With Illuminae’s death toll did you really expect anything different?

Differences

Intensity That Creeps Up On You

Illuminae started at a super intense moment, and through the book the hits just didn’t stop. In Gemina I found that the beginning didn’t seem very high stakes, but as the story went on all the elements from the beginning of the book slowly came together to create a lot of intensity. You just gotta wait for it a little bit.

Plot Points That Mess With Your Mind

I didn’t find Illuminae at all hard to understand, but Gemina… There is a moment that will make your head spin a little bit. Not in a bad way, but… Wow.

Creepy Aliens

In book one we had a creepy disease, and a creepy Artificial Intelligence. In Gemina we get some very chilling alien creatures thrown into the mix. I recommend reading parts of this one in daylight.

An Unlikely Character Team Up

Illuminae featured two main characters who had fought right before the book started, but who already knew each other very well and had done many things together before. Gemina, in contrast, features two main characters who seem like complete opposites and who never work together… Until they have to.

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