TOP 10 QUIRKY CHARACTER NAMES

So you pick up a new book and you're introduced to someone. Not just someone - someone with an incredibly odd name. It's common, as I tend to think of them as 'book names' and I have come across people in my life who have those type of names and said 'you should be in a book' because let's face it - fictional people are the best, why not sound like one? But it's okay to have a slightly unusual name in a story as it makes them memorable and it lets people be imaginative. It's also something that helps with the character development, as it sometimes indicates their personality traits.

Interesting.

So whether it's strange, funny or just damn brilliant, we've put together some that we've always remembered. We certainly won't put these names down for a future child's name but they're pretty cool! 


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READY, SET, NANOWRIMO!

With October just a couple of days away, we have entered the official part of the NaNoWriMo prep season. The time has come for planners to kick their organizational skills into gear, and for pantsers to consider heading down to the store and purchasing the coffee and sweets they'll likely need to survive the writing marathons looming in their imminent future. The NaNoWriMo website is being reset in October, and all 2014 participants will be free to create their upcoming novels, input titles and patiently wait for the other side of Halloween, when the real work begins.

Here at TheHonestBookclub, we love, honor, respect and cherish the tradition that is NaNoWriMo, and all it stands for (until November comes around, when we are very likely to be cursing the idea, ourselves and that part of our brain which decided it was a good idea for us to entertain). Apart from our usual literary shenanigans like reviews, interviews and blog tours, some of the other well-established features of our blog will be dedicated to the art of creative writing. In an effort to minimize the torturous, agonizing battle with our motivation, inspiration and various other -tions come November, today we have compiled a list of affairs to put in order during NaNoWriMo prep. If you have found yourself wondering what you could do in October to make your life easier in November, you've come to the right place. These are just a few of the very many options at your disposal. Whether you're a planner or a pantser, you're likely to come across some tips which might be of use. Believe us - your sleep-deprived November self will appreciate the effort in retrospect.




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COVER REVEAL: THE PROPHECY BY ERIN RHEW

We have a surprise up our sleeves! The lovely people at BookFish Books have been incredibly kind and given us an amazing opportunity to showcase one of the upcoming dystopian reads: The Prophecy by Erin Rhew! We were lucky enough to be in with the in-crowd and get a sneak peek at this brand new cover, which was released today. So now we get to share our excitement about it to the world. How gorgeous is that cover?! We're of the opinion that it has a Divergent feel to it - and Divergent is one of those series where the covers could do no wrong. No doubt it'll attract a big audience, and it certainly sounds like our cup of tea.




Growing up on a small farm in the kingdom of Vanguard, seventeen-year-old Layla Givens lives a deceptively tranquil existence. But her carefully constructed life quickly falls apart when she’s abducted by a religious zealot who proclaims her The Fulfillment of an ancient peace prophecy and whisks her away to marry her greatest enemy.

Wilhelm, Prince of the Ethereals, is reluctant to meet his new bride. He's grown up believing Vanguards are evil, an enemy to fight and fear...not love. Can he set aside his prejudices and work alongside Layla to bring lasting peace after centuries of war?

Nash, a loner who has never fit in, carries a huge secret, one big enough to destroy both kingdoms. When he accidentally meets Layla, he’s no longer content to live in the shadows, but he must resist his growing attraction—for her safety and for the longevity of the two kingdoms.

When Nash's secret is revealed, a firestorm sweeps through both realms, with Layla at the center. Now she must choose between duty and desire while the fate of two nations hangs in the balance.






We have a few snippets for you under the cut - give it a read! 

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IN MY MAILBOX - SEPTEMBER 26TH


*stands up* Hi, I'm Natalie and I have a book buying problem. Well I went into the book shop today to, you know, just browse and by browse, I mean pine over the books I want to buy. It was my day off so I wanted to spend some time in there to see what's out, look at all the amazing books, be in my element and BAM! Before I know it, I'm at the till looking dumbfounded, handing over money for a couple of books. How did I get there? I don't know but I think the book pixie put me there.


Books need to stop being so damn irresistible! 



Anyway, I thought I'd share what I got today - they're really good ones, books I've wanted for a while so let me know what you think!




Let's go down the pile.

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BOOK REVIEW: EVERNEATH BY BRODI ASHTON

 Everneath on Goodreads


Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath. Now she’s returned — to her old life, her family, her boyfriend — before she’s banished back to the underworld... this time forever. She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can’t find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these precious months forgetting the Everneath and trying to reconnect with her boyfriend, Jack, the person most devastated by her disappearance — and the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s just one problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who enticed her to the Everneath in the first place, has followed Nikki home. Cole wants to take over the throne in the underworld and is convinced Nikki is the key to making it happen. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back, this time as his queen.

As Nikki’s time on the Surface draws to a close and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she is forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole’s queen.







Everneath falls into the category of those books which improve dramatically as the story progresses. The climax justifies initial expectations, the aftermath makes up for the slow pacing, and the cliffhanger leaves the reader anxious for the next book in the series.

But in essence, and where it truly counts, Everneath is a story about a love-triangle, first and foremost. The mythological aspect promised in the synopsis is very much secondary to that of a renewal of a long-lost romance, and a buildup of a brand, new one. Based on the synopsis alone, I had expected it to be the other way around. From a purely personal standpoint, in stories centered around mythology and ancient lore, I prefer romance to take a backseat to what is actually promised in the brief description of the story we are given (The Raven Boys, anyone?). However, bearing in mind that this brand of paranormal romance is geared towards the young adult crowd and frequently compared to Fallen, Unearthly and Twilight should have been a clear enough indication that romantic aspect would prevail, and that romance would be largely responsible for slowing the pacing to a crawl at times.


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STRONG FEMALE CHARACTERS IN BOOKS, GENDER EQUALITY AND EMMA WATSON'S U.N. SPEECH

Every Monday on this blog, we do a Top 10 Monday. It's our way of showing consistency, both to our readers and to ourselves, and of maintaining a sliver of stability in an otherwise unpredictable world of blogging about contemporary literary trends. So each week, we pick a topic which is in some way related to books, or which we choose to relate to books, and we pick ten books/characters/concepts from literature which best illustrate the theme chosen. Sometimes we do a joint list, sometimes we make separate ones. But we always agree on the theme, and always discuss it as we compile our lists throughout the week.

These are the not-so-fascinating inner workings of blogging. And not-fascinating as they may be, we enjoy them immensely.

For this Monday, we have agreed on - as Natalie so English-like puts it - "Top 10 Kick-Arse Female Characters". This particular theme had been a long time coming, given the almost daily discussions we have on the subject of the strength some female characters exhibit in the books we read, and the lack thereof displayed in others. The subject of the "strong, female lead" has been thoroughly canvassed between ourselves over the time we've known each other, and it is one which seems inexhaustible.


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TOP 10 KICK-ARSE FEMALES


Girl power! Isn't it brilliant when you pick up a book and the protagonist is a strong, powerful woman? A woman who doesn't rely on a man and who can kick some serious arse? A woman who can change the world, inspire others and beat up a group of baddies? 
It's refreshing to see it considering most books, and especially movies, usually have a male lead with a damsel in distress. Mary Sue. Bella Swan. The girl always has to be in trouble and the man has to save her. She hurts herself. Or she can't live without her man. Snore. No thanks! It's time to put a stop to it and that's where we decided to put together a list and show you the most influential females in the books we've read, and get you to meet these powerful girls. 

So support our kick-arse females and give these books a try! 





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FANART: DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE

Earlier I published a piece about author appreciation and fanart. In this day and age, there are precious few things I take as much pleasure in as combining two of my greatest passions - art and literature - and all in an effort to give back to those whose words never fail to leave me inspired and moved, and whose work I will forever hold in high esteem.

Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy is just one such work (or... well... three such works, but that sounds incredibly awkward). And Laini Taylor herself is just one such author. At times, we connect with a novel on so personal a level, it feels as though it was written specifically with us in mind. Not that I could strictly speaking identify with Karou, the protagonist of the series. But Karou, with her blue hair, her famous sketchbook and her fierce independence, is the sort of character that invokes inspiration and sets the bar higher - both for the future protagonists we are going to come into contact with, and for ourselves. Karou's strength was of the silently empowering kind. It was not a trait which occasionally reared its head as an afterthought. Instead, it was consistent throughout, from the very first to the very last page, and it was what kept me going even when my heart was hammering in my chest, even when I was reading feverishly through the night in hopes of better times ahead for these beloved characters I'd become attached to. Karou, the daughter of smoke and bone. Karou, the one who dared to dream a world free of prejudice and violence. Karou, whose struggle is every bit as relevant in our world as it is in hers.

And it reads like a poem. 1550 pages of high fantasy read like effortless poetry - the kind that flows and whispers, and echoes long after the final page attempts to announce the official end. The ending is no more than a middle - a beautiful middle. And, in my case, the ending is the beginning of endless inspiration, for months after the fact.

So in an effort to practice what I preach - to honor my favorite author(s) through my art - I have created this piece, of Karou as I see her, of Ellai and wishbones.

I will now proceed to shut up and allow the art to speak for itself.


 Daughter of Smoke and Bone on deviantArt


If you wish to follow my artistic pursuits, you can find and follow me on deviantArt.

(My review for Dreams of Gods and Monsters is yet to come; I am yet to come up with words grand enough to convey how much I loved it. All the superlatives in my vocabulary have failed me.)

I am also unable to come up words to thank Laini Taylor for being so accessible and so there. It is an absolute horror that I still don't own this trilogy, despite my incredible love for it. During the creation of this artwork I found myself wondering whether Karou's eyes were black or if my memory was deceiving me. And, not being in possession of the books (which I borrowed from a friend to read, and which I have every intention of getting as a box set when I can afford one), I had no way of verifying it for myself. So I asked Laini herself on Twitter, and she replied within seconds. The experience left me awed. My favorite authors are tantamount to deities in my universe. So, in a way, I spoke to God the other day... and God spoke back. ♥ Laini, if you ever read this - thank you ever so much, for all your words - both the 160-characters-or-less kind, and the 1550 pages of poetry in prose.


- Lexie
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AMAZON INTRODUCES FIVE NEW KINDLE MODELS (IN ONE FELL SWOOP)

All has been quiet on the Kindle front for a little too long... and now we know why. The manufacturer of one of the most successful e-reader brands currently on the market has been working diligently on not only one, but five new Kindle models, all to be launched in the fall of 2014.

The introduction of five new models, all at the usually affordable prices, is sure to light a fire under the competing e-reader manufacturers, the most prominent of which are Barnes and Noble, whose Nook e-readers are considered on par with Amazon's Kindles and Indigo Books & Music, with their wide range of Kobo e-readers.

But Amazon has gone further than introduce just e-ink based e-book readers to the market. In the largest Kindle bundle-release to date, Amazon has actually announced three new tablets (famously known as Kindle Fires) and two e-ink-based Kindles. With one of the tablets specifically designed for children, the Kindle manufacturers seem determined to cover all their bases, and to introduce something for everyone's tastes and predilections.



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BOOK REVIEW: THE HOOK UP BY KRISTEN CALLIHAN





The rules: no kissing on the mouth, no staying the night, no telling anyone, and above all… No falling in love.

Anna Jones just wants to finish college and figure out her life. Falling for star quarterback Drew Baylor is certainly not on her to do list. Confident and charming, he lives in the limelight and is way too gorgeous for his own good. If only she could ignore his heated stares and stop thinking about doing hot and dirty things with him. Easy right?

Too bad he’s committed to making her break every rule…

Football has been good to Drew. It’s given him recognition, two National Championships, and the Heisman. But what he really craves is sexy yet prickly Anna Jones. Her cutting humor and blatant disregard for his fame turns him on like nothing else. But there’s one problem: she's shut him down. Completely.

That is until a chance encounter leads to the hottest sex of their lives, along with the possibility of something great. Unfortunately, Anna wants it to remain a hook up. Now it’s up to Drew to tempt her with more: more sex, more satisfaction, more time with him. Until she’s truly hooked. It's a good thing Drew knows all about winning.

All’s fair in love and football…Game on.







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BOOK REVIEW: METAMORPHOSIS (BOOK BOYFRIEND #1) BY ERIN NOELLE




Scarlett MacGregor has lived a very sheltered life courtesy of her over-the-top controlling parents. Having never been to a co-ed party, much less on a date, Scarlett has relied on her books, her music, and living vicariously through her best friend Evie to keep her sanity as she's patiently awaited her freedom from their rule.

When Scarlett and Evie go away to college, Scarlett quickly meets Ashton, Dylan, and later, Mason, and is thrown into a crash course of like, love, and lust. With Evie's help, she must figure out the difference in the three and which one she wants before she ends up without any of them.

Metamorphosis is the story of Scarlett's transformation from a young, naive girl to a strong, mature young woman and her search for self-discovery and true love.


may contain spoilers

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MOCKINGJAY PART 1 TRAILER NOW RELEASED!

The time has come. (And good thing, too, we were beginning to lose hope.) The Mockingjay lives!

... Well, that and the new official trailer for the long-anticipated Mockingjay: Part 1, the third installment in the wildly popular book-to-movie adaptation of The Hunger Games series, has finally been released.



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TOP 10 FIRST SENTENCES IN LITERATURE

"Sometime during your life – in fact, very soon – you may find yourself reading a book, and you may notice that a book’s first sentence can often tell you what sort of story your book contains." - A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Miserable Mill by Lemony Snicket

Over time we have found that the first sentence, the first paragraph or the first chapter of the book can be as surefire an indicator as any as to the rest of the content of the book itself. This is not to say that first sentences always make the book as a whole. We have read (and loved) many works of literature where the first sentence was mundane and wholly forgettable, but the content overall proved memorable and inspired many re-reads. But having that perfect mini introduction to rope us into the story remains the easiest way a reader can be "bought", or rather "sold" on the story. The art of crafting a witty, intriguing introduction to a book hasn't been entirely lost on us, so this week's Top 10 Monday is dedicated to the ten first sentences in literature that have appealed most to us, be it their significance for the overall book, or their witty, humorous nature which promised good things to come.

Lemony Snicket said it best.



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BOOK REVIEW: INESCAPABLE BY AMY A. BARTOL



My name is Evie Claremont and this was to be the making of me–my freshman year of college. I’d been hoping that once I’d arrived on Crestwood’s campus, the nightmare that I’ve been having would go away. It hasn’t.

I may be an inexperienced seventeen-year-old, but I’m grounded…sane. I look for rational explanations to even the strangest circumstances. Since meeting sophomore Reed Wellington, however, nothing makes any sense. Whenever he’s near, I feel an attraction to him–a magnetic kind of force pulling me towards him. I know what you’re thinking…that sounds fairly awesome. Yeah, it would be…if he liked me, but Reed acts as if I’m the worst thing that has ever happened to Crestwood…or him. But get this, for some reason every time I turn around he’s there, barging into my life.

What is the secret that he’s keeping from me? I’m hoping that it’s anything but what I suspect: that he’s not exactly normal…and neither am I. So, maybe Crestwood won’t be the making of me, but it could be the breaking of me. I’ve been left to wonder if the dark future my dream is foretelling is… inescapable.




Amy A. Bartol, I did not see you coming.

The first and most prominent complaint I have about Inescapable is the synopsis. Coupled with the (notoriously unreliable) word of mouth, the synopsis is phrased in such a way as to make the book sound run-of-the-mill. Though now that I think the matter through, perhaps this mundane quality to the description is specifically designed to lower expectations and ultimately make the reader exclaim:

Amy A. Bartol, I did not see you coming.

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TOP 10 FUNNIEST BOOK CHARACTERS


Happy Monday! We decided to shake away the Monday blues with a fail-safe way of cheering everyone up - our choice of the ten funniest literary characters. Or, well, at least funny enough to get an audible guffaw out of most everybody who has picked the books up. It's a win-win situations, really. If you have yet to pick up any of the books/series listed below, consider these our recommendations for a good laugh. If you've already read some (or all) of the books mentioned, this is an excellent opportunity to refresh your memory and have a hearty chuckle with us as you make your way through the list.

Don't even get us started on the amount of times we laughed just compiling it.

As usual, the list is in no particular order.




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BOOK REVIEW: SWEET EVIL BY WENDY HIGGINS



Embrace the Forbidden

What if there were teens whose lives literally depended on being bad influences?

This is the reality for sons and daughters of fallen angels.
Tenderhearted Southern girl Anna Whitt was born with the sixth sense to see and feel emotions of other people. She's aware of a struggle within herself, an inexplicable pull toward danger, but it isn't until she turns sixteen and meets the alluring Kaidan Rowe that she discovers her terrifying heritage and her willpower is put to the test. He's the boy your daddy warned you about. If only someone had warned Anna.

Forced to face her destiny, will Anna embrace her halo or her horns?




A surprisingly interesting plot ensues!

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BOOK CHALLENGE: BOOKSHELF SCAVENGER HUNT

You might be familiar with this challenge, especially if you're familiar with Booktube overall. As with most parties, we are (fashionably) late to this one as well, since the challenge/tag was circulating the YouTube and the book blogosphere early in 2014. But being nine months late to a party isn't all that late. Right?

This challenge was created by TheLibraryofSarah. You're supposed to be tagged to do it, but we're being our usual loners rebels, so we're also crashing the party uninvited. After being nine months late to it, we figured coming uninvited is a minor transgression by comparison.

The challenge is pretty self-explanatory: following a set of questions, we're supposed to scavenge our bookshelves and hunt for titles which fulfill the requirement of each question. It gets easier to explain as we go along.

And without further ado...





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BOOK REVIEW: THIS IS SARAH BY ALLY MALIENKO

 This Is Sarah on Goodreads


When Colin Leventhal leaned out his bedroom window on the night of May 12th and said goodbye to his girlfriend, he never expected it would be forever. But when Sarah Evans goes missing that night, Colin's world unravels as he transforms from the boyfriend next door to the main police suspect. Then one year later, at her memorial service, Colin makes a phone call that changes everything. Is it possible that Sarah is still alive? And if so how can he bring her back?

As Colin struggles with this possibility, across the street, Sarah’s little sister, Claire learns how to navigate the strange new landscape of life without her sister. While her parents fall apart, Claire remains determined to keep going even if it kills her.

THIS IS SARAH serves as a meditation on loss, love and what it means to say goodbye.



(ARC graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.)


Sarah was:
- blonde
- a klutz
- a really great singer
- honest
- goofy

Sarah is:
- dead

Ally Malienko brings us the story of Sarah, a seventeen year-old girl who gets into a car on her way to a party, never to be heard from again. Or, more specifically, Ally Malienko brings us the story of those who Sarah leaves behind. Rather than conceptualize the story as a whodunnit murder/mystery scenario, the author brings us the very best of YA contemporary: an abundance of character exploration in the face of change.

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TOP 10 MUST-READS

This week's Top 10 Monday is a special one. It is not only dedicated to one of our close friends (whose birthday was yesterday), but it also features said friend's picks as a kind of "guest star appearance". The reason this friend is featured on our book blog, apart from abundantly supplying us with books for no reason at all, all year round, is because this friend has begun to actively read (for pleasure) earlier this year. At 31, he is the perfect example of how it's never too late to start, and of the profound influence a book can have even on those who never felt like they were missing books in their lives before. He is the perfect example of how a proper recommendation goes a long way, and how a chance given to a new experience can be a chance given to oneself to broaden one's horizons.

He was also the one to pick this Top 10 Monday theme. And it was as simple - and as complex - as top 10 must-reads. Given that it was a recommendation which started him out on reading, having him recommend a variety of books to others alongside us feels like coming a full circle. It's oddly appropriate, and endlessly inspiring.

Happy birthday, Dennis! And congratulations on reading 30 books so far this year, thus beating your own challenge twice already.

And without further ado...




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