Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Best Books I've Read So Far in 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
So...I'm supposed to list my top ten books that I've read so far this year...but I'm a notoriously slow reader and I've only read eleven books so far this year, so it wouldn't be saying much if I listed ten of them. Therefore, I'm only going to rank my top three!

(I was hoping I would be finished with Cinder by this post but then we got a puppy--by "puppy" I mean he's seven years old but he's small and sweet and adorable--over the weekend and that has eaten up most of my time. More on our new dog next time!)

He is currently asleep on my lap.

I haven't read any five-star books yet this year (though Cinder is approaching that territory, but I never settle on a rating until after I've finished the book) but I've had a few four-star books. And really, I know this sounds weird, but part of me likes four-star books better than five-star books. Five-star books are typically books that I fangirl over, like The Hunger Games or Twilight or Never Let Me Go, and usually they start out as four-star until later on. Four-star books are usually books that I went in with no no preconceived notions on how much I would enjoy it and then I really really liked it.

I know that doesn't make much sense. I'm just very fond of four-star books.

Okay, so the top three books I've read so far this year:

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3) Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Search by Gene Luen Yang
I know this one really only appeals to fans of the show, and I know it's a graphic novel so it might not count, but it was really, really well done. It answers the long-asked question of what happened to Zuko's mother. And it tells the story beautifully.



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This novel is short, and it did not have a lot of action, but it was powerful. It is about a butler who is going on a drive to meet a lady that he used to work with, whom he has not seen for several years. During the drive, he is reflecting back on the man they used to serve and ponders whether or not he was truly a "great gentleman." Everything about this book is subtle, which I think is what makes it so powerful.




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I read most of this on the car ride back from Florida. I had seen the movie first, but the book was still engrossing. It takes first place because of its uniqueness. I don't read a lot of mystery/suspense novels, but even so, I feel like this one is pretty original. I loved Amy's character and the way everything came together. I might have to read some of Flynn's other novels. Any suggestions?



I hope you all are having a fantastic week! Let me know what your favorite book in 2015 has been and if you enjoyed any of the ones I listed. =)

--Emily

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Top 15 Characters of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra

prepare for many GIFs
The Avatar universe has a surprisingly vast amount of characters, especially for shows aimed at children. And even though there are a lot of characters, it's not one of those shows where only the main ones are cool and everyone else is lame. No. They're all wonderful.

So, naturally, I decided to rank my top 15.

15) Suyin and Lin
I had to make this one a tie because I couldn't just pick one. Plus, they're sisters, so I thought it was appropriate. Let me just say that I love that even though these ladies are middle-aged, they are still fierce and fearless and awesome. 


14) Ty Lee
I have such a thing for Ty Lee and I really wish she was in more episodes. She's so sweet and bubbly but can also take you down in like two seconds, which is even more amazing when you think about her being a nonbender. I'm all for nonbenders having sweet fighting moves.


13) Korra
I know, I also feel like Korra should be higher on this list. Don't get me wrong. Korra is amazing. There are just so many other characters that I like. And really, Korra kinda had a major attitude problem for the first three books. But I did love seeing her character develop.


12) Aang
I mean, he's Aang. Enough said?


11) Katara
Even though she gets on my nerves a lot of the time, she's still great and I love seeing her waterbend.


10) Asami
Asami is underrated. I often do not give her enough credit, but if you think about it, she's an incredible woman. She's gorgeous, but also intelligent. She's an engineer. She's a nonbender. She's a fighter. She's brave, even after she's lost everything. I'm glad that she gets a happy ending. No one is more deserving.


9) Mako
I'll be the first to admit that I'm a bit biased, but yes, I'm a huge Mako fan. Even when he was terrible in the first two seasons. I just love him.


8) Suki
Suki is the embodiment of girl power. That is all.


7) Iroh
He's like the Mr. Feeney of the Avatar world, except funnier and with more tea.
And he often makes me cry.


6) Bolin
Bolin really grew on me in the third and fourth books of Korra. I love that he found lavabending and convinced the others to save Zhu Li. He started out just as a comic relief character, but he grew up a lot over the course of the series.


5) Toph
Epic. Toph is epic. I can't even words.
She's blind. She's snarky. She invented metalbending when she was twelve years old. She birthed the Beifongs. 
She's the greatest Earthbender of all time.


4) Avatar Kyoshi
Before Toph and Suki, there was Avatar Kyoshi. And she was the fiercest one of all.


3) Azula
Azula is quite possibly my favorite villain of all time. She's so powerful and callous and manipulative and sly and strategic. Also stupid impressive firebender, which I love.


2) Jinora
See here.


1) Zuko
Ah, Zuko. *sigh* 
You make my heart happy.
~~~

Honorable mentions:
Appa, Momo, Pabu, Naga
(Especially Momo.) 
pabu and naga :D They remind me of Appa and Momo
Appa - avatar-the-last-airbender Screencap
--Emily

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

doppelgänger

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people like you exist everywhere
but they are not you.

--Emily
currently listening to: Human by Of Monsters and Men

Monday, June 22, 2015

DYSTOPIA

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

So...this week's Top Ten Tuesday is Favorite Top Ten Topics We've Ever Done In The Past 5 Years, but I've only been doing this for the past few weeks, so I don't have a lot to go on. So I'm doing something different!

Since I recently finished reading 1984, I decided to rank my favorite dystopias.
So here we go, my Top Ten Favorite Dystopias.


10) The Maze Runner by James Dashner
I didn't finish this book. I really could not get into it, which is why it's at the bottom of this list. The movie and concept were okay, though. From what I can tell.


9) Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
I know I read this, but most of it went over my head.

8) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Again, I know I read this, and I know it was about burning books, but I found a lot of it boring.


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7) Unwind by Neal Shusterman
A bit lighter since this was a YA novel. It wasn't fabulous, but it was pretty interesting.

6) Divergent by Veronica Roth
I saw this movie first. It seems a bit like a Harry Potter meets Hunger Games, but I could get on board with it. I finished the book relatively quickly, but have little desire to read the sequels.

5) The Giver by Lois Lowry
Ahh. I read this before I even knew what dystopia was. It's a children's book! And it's fantastic. The only thing that bothers me is the total unexplained way that the Giver transmits memories to Jonas, but I can overlook it. Everything else is really well done.



4) The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
This is basically the feminist version of 1984 and it is awesome and I need to read it again because my tiny brain could not comprehend the glory that is Margaret Atwood. And it has one of my favorite last lines of all time ever. Yes. Read this.

3) Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
You all know this is one of my all-time favorite books so of course it was going to be on this list. But what gets me about this one is that the characters never realize they are in a dystopia. It breaks my heart and makes me feel all the things. Also one of my favorite OTPs.




2) 1984 by George Orwell
I found a lot of this book boring, but I can't deny that it was Orwell is a master of craft. All of these other dystopias seem more primitive compared to this one. This one is more advanced; more of its citizens are slaves to its ideals. There aren't hoards of people fighting against it. Really, there is only one. But this dystopia is stronger than the others on this list. Also the theme of rewriting the past was really intriguing for me. This one wins for chill and craft, but lacks on thrill.

1) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Even though I think Orwell's dystopia is more flawless than this one, this book has several things working for it. It's action-based and really intense, so it's not a boring or dry read. (It's one of the few books that I can read in a day.) It's YA, but the whole fight-to-the-death thing makes the reader know how awful this society really is. But my favorite thing about this series is the strong Roman themes. I love that the author looked more at our history when pulling ideas for our future.
~~~

So tell me: what is your favorite dystopia? Have you read any on this list? Are there any that aren't listed that you like? Let me know!

--Emily
currently listening to: Next Year by Two Door Cinema Club

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Whale sharks, manta rays, and other underwater happiness.

Also known as: The time I forgot how to take a picture.

I've always wanted to see a whale shark. Not sure why, I just think they're cool. And the only place in the US that have them in captivity is the Georgia Aquarium. So, naturally, I had to go.

Deacon actually took me there on our honeymoon last summer on our drive back from Florida, even though the drive through Atlanta wasn't particularly pleasant. BUT IT WAS SO WORTH IT.

Even though the aquarium was fantastic, I did not get a lot of great pictures. I blame my excitement. And also this was before I had a good lens for low-light settings. Anyway, I've put off going through these pictures for almost a year now, but here they are!

Maybe I'll get to go again some day. =) If that happens, I'll try to get better pictures.

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--Emily
currently listening to: The Ghosts of Beverly Drive by Death Cab for Cutie