Lord Of The Rings Inspired Wish List

Next April, Andrew and I will be heading to Lincoln Center three nights in a row to watch Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films in their entirety with a LIVE orchestra.  I AM SO EXCITED.  When we bought our tickets on the day of their announcement last year, I felt like April would never arrive but now that it’s March, I can’t help getting excited all over again!  I’ve been browsing Etsy and Weta and The Noble Collection for Lord of the Rings inspired items that I want to wear to the event.  Here are some of my top picks!

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I have basically wanted this Elven Leaf brooch / necklace from Weta Workshop forever. I have no idea why I haven’t purchased it yet. But I definitely think it’s going to be an addition to my accessory collection in the very near future!

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LOTR Hair bow via Etsy

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Bag End Purse via Etsy

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Gandalf the Gray Inspired Cloak via Etsy

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The Hobbit Tea Necklace via Etsy

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Tree of Gondor tank via Etsy

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Tea & Book Chat: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of reading one of the most exciting and well crafted stories I’ve read in a long time.  The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick is a beautifully written and illustrated story that was well deserving of the Caldecott Medal it was awarded in 2008.  The story is about a little boy, Hugo Cabret, who lives in the train station in Paris, and tends to the stations clocks.  One thing I loved about Hugo Cabret is that the story centers on clocks and time and the setting, a train station, is a place where people rely on clocks and spend much time of their time waiting.  Before Hugo’s father died he worked at a museum and was restoring an automation that had been broken.  The automation was of a man sitting at a desk and once fixed and properly wound, the automation would write something.  Since losing his father and finding the remains of the automation, it had become Hugo’s sole ambition to fix the automation and see the message that he felt his father had left for him.  Shortly after taking him in, Hugo’s uncle, an employee at the train station, disappeared and Hugo began taking his paychecks and continuing on tending to the clocks so the Train Inspector would not find him and he would not end up in an orphanage.  He tried to pay for everything he needed with the coins he found since he didn’t know how to cash his uncles paychecks but he was forced to steal some necessities from time to time.  The only exception to Hugo’s rule were toys.

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 After the sleeping old man woke and caught Hugo trying to steal a blue mouse, he instructed Hugo to empty his pockets and confiscated his notebook, calling Hugo a thief.  Hugo was furious and devastated as the notebook was filled by his father with instructions on how to fix the last automation he was working on.  The old man looked haunted and upset and demanded to know where Hugo had stolen the notebook from but Hugo kept insisting that it was his.  The old man said he was going to burn it and Hugo ended up following him home which is where he meets a little girl who is slightly bigger than him named Isabelle.  Isabelle promises Hugo that she will not let Papa Georges burn the notebook and she instructs him to meet her at the bookstore the next day.

After another failed attempt of trying to get his notebook back from the old man, Papa Georges tells Hugo he will give him the opportunity to work at the toy booth and possibly earn his notebook back.  Hugo meets Isabelle in the bookstore as promised and she tells him that his notebook is safe.  Hugo will not tell her what is so important to him in the notebook.  Then Isabelle’s friend Etienne, a movie theater manager who is kind enough to sneak her in, arrives in the bookstore and promises to sneak Isabelle and Hugo in a movie next week.  Isabelle’s godparents will not let her see movies so she must lie in order to go and Hugo must make excuses to the old man as to why he can’t work at the toy shop. When they get to the theater they discover that Etienne has been fired for sneaking children into the movies but luckily Isabelle is able to use her hairpin to pick the lock to the back door and the children get to enjoy the show.  It reminds Hugo of the times he used to go to the movies with his father.  It also reminds him of the story his father told him about his favorite movie he had ever seen.  There was one scene he described in which a rocket went into the moons eye.

The next day Isabelle instructs Hugo to meet her at the bookstore again because she had found his notebook and stolen it back for him.  The old man finds Hugo with the notebook and accuses him of breaking into his house and stealing the notebook from him.  He is very upset and tells Hugo that he was going to give it back to him if he would’ve just waited.  Isabelle doesn’t say anything to defend Hugo even though she is the one who stole the notebook so Hugo begs to be able to say goodbye to her.  He runs over and hugs her while stealing her heart shaped key necklace in the process.  Hugo runs back to his room and checks his work on the automation against the instructions in his fathers notebook and finds that everything he has done is correct.  Isabelle bursts into his room and yells at him for stealing her necklace before Hugo has time to hide the automation.  He tells Isabelle that it was his fathers and the two watch as Hugo uses Isabelle’s key to wind the automation even though Hugo would much prefer to see the message by himself.

When the automation stops writing, Hugo and Isabelle are shocked by what they discover.  The automation draws a picture instead of a message.  The picture is of the scene of the movie that Hugo’s father had told him about but Hugo can’t figure out what it means.  But the to their surprise, the automation continues drawing until it finishes with a signature at the bottom of the page.  The signature being Georges Melies, Isabelle’s godfather, the toy shop owner.  The book is split into two parts and it is now that Brian Selznick provides the reader with the following note:

That brings us to the end of this story.

Now you know how the mysterious drawing

I mentioned at the beginning of this book came 

to be discovered.  It had been hidden inside the

clockworks of a well loved machine, waiting to

be released by a stolen key.  Here the curtain

closes and we fade to black.

 

But another story begins, because stories

lead to other stories, and this one leads

all the way to the moon.
 

It is now that we’ll leave it up to you to continue the story.  The second half of the book is where Isabelle and Hugo solve the mystery of the automation and we discover things beyond our wildest dreams.

What I Love

 Brian Selznick uses beautiful language to paint the scene in the readers mind.  Some of my favorite quotes from the book include:

I hope the snow covers everything so all the footsteps are silenced, and the whole city can be at peace.”

Hugo to Isabelle: “Sometimes I come up here at night, even when I’m not fixing clocks, just to look at the city.  I like to imagine that the world is one big machine.  You know, machines never have any extra parts.  They have the exact number and type of of parts they need.  So I figure if the entire world is a big machine, I have to be here for some reason.  And that means you have to be here for some reason, too.”

The drawings are another huge portion adding to the beauty of the book.  They give you insight into the story the way that Selznick intended it to be told.  One of our favorite drawings is this one:

Martin Scorsese obviously saw the genius in the storytelling skills of Brain Selznick and chose to adapt it into a film starring Asa Butterfield and Chloe Grace Moretz.

I also love the history of cinema that is included in the book.  One of the first movies ever created in 1895 was called A Train Arrives in the Station and when the train came speeding towards the screen, the audience screamed and fainted because they thought they were in danger of being run over.

The chapters names!  My favorite being The Invention of Dreams

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I hope you continue the story on your own as I cannot praise The Invention of Hugo Cabret enough.  I read it in one day because I literally could not put it down and because sometimes stories are just that beautiful.  Hugo Cabret struck a chord with my inner child and I swear I felt the excitement as I ran with Hugo through the train station on his and Isabelle’s adventures.  Reading a story that focuses so heavily on time, dreams, and young people trying to find their place in the world really makes you stop to think and reevaluate where you are.  Happy Reading!

*This is an archived book chat that first appeared on www.wearpinkwednesdays.com*

A Darker Shade Of Magic Blog Tour + GIVEAWAY!

Hi there, and welcome to Red London!  I’m so excited to be participating in the blog tour for A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab and in the London I would prefer to live in, given the choice.  I’ve already read and reviewed ADSOM which I’m positive is going to be my favorite book of 2015.  There’s thievery and magic and pirates and parallel London’s and it’s absolutely perfect in every way.  I’m a huge fangirl of Victoria aka VE Schwab so I was over the moon when Tor reached out to me about the book’s official blog tour which entails (wait for it) a question answered by Victoria herself!  But that’s not all, Tor is also giving away a hardcover copy of A Darker Shade of Magic along with a double-sided signed poster featuring the US and UK covers of ADSOM, and they’re willing to ship internationally!

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So without further adieu, here is the question I asked Victoria, along with her answer:

Q:  You’ve expressed on various forms of social media that you’re also a huge Marvel fan so I’m very curious, if you were given the chance to write a story arc for one superhero, who would it be and why?

A: Loki. Hands down. As a card-carrying Slytherin, this shouldn’t be a surprise. It’s not just his stylish black-and-green attire or the fact he’s been played by Tom Hiddleston, but Loki is one of my favorite things: complicated. He’s a true grey character, an anti-hero to some, an anti-villain to others, and I would love the chance to play with that.

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*Giveaway*

Win a copy of A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab & a signed double-sided poster

Giveaway ships internationally

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Darker Shade final for Irene

A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC

V.E. Schwab

A Tor Hardcover

978-0-7653-7645-9 / 0-7653-7645-8

$25.99 | 400p.

Ebook: 978-1-4668-5137-5 / 1-4668-5137-6 | $12.99

On Sale February 24, 2015

Print – IndieBound, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, Powell’s, Walmart.

E-Book – Kindle, Nook, iBooks, eBooks, Google Play, Kobo

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If you can’t get enough ADSOM, you can check out the book trailer or take this Buzzfeed quiz to see which London you belong in.

Also, make sure to check out the other stops on the A Darker Shade of Magic Blog Tour!

February 17 — Vampire Book Club — Red London

February 18 — The Eater of Books — White London

February 19 — Icey Books — Grey London

February 20 — Effortlessly Reading — Red London

February 21 – Cuddlebuggery – White London

February 22 — JessBella Reads — Grey London

February 23 — Istyria Book Blog — Red London

February 24 — Stories and Sweeties — White London

February 25 — Please Feed the Bookworm — Grey London

February 26 — The Nerd Herd Reads — Red London

February 27 — Novel Heartbeat — White London

February 28 — The Flyleaf Review — Grey London

March 1 — Addicted 2 Novels — Red London

March 2 — Books, Bones, and Buffy — White London

March 3 — My Friends are Fiction — Grey London

March 4 — Super Space Chick — Red London

March 5 — The Midnight Garden — White London

March 6 — Amaterasu Reads — Grey London

March 7 — Fiction Freak — Red London

March 8 — The Escapist — White London

March 9 — Addicted Readers — Grey London

March 10 — Bookish Antics — Red London

March 11 — The Social Potato — White London

March 12 — Young Adult Hollywood — White London

March 13 — The Modge Podge Bookshelf — Red London

March 14 — A Dream Within A Dream — White London

March 15 — Fandom Monthly Magazine — Grey London

March 16 — The Nocturnal Library — Red London

March 17 – Reading with ABC – White London

March 18 – Moonlight Gleam Reviews – Grey London

March 19 – Book Munchies – Red London

March 20 – Poisoned Rationality – White London

March 21 – Blood Bookaholic – Grey London

March 22 – Live to Read – Red London

March 23 — There Were Books Involved — White London

March 24 — My Bookish Ways — Only time will tell…

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Melissa + Karl Lagerfeld Collaboration

I am just smitten with the new styles in Melissa’s collaboration with Karl Lagerfeld for Summer 2015 shoes.  I adore the Violatta flat gladiator type sandals with perfectly placed pearls.  They’re so chic!  They could definitely be dressed up or worn casual to add a polished touch to a casual summer ensemble.  I also love the Ultragirl flats in white which have a cat head with big eyes adorning the toes.  They’re so so cute!  The Pearl heels are lovely as well but I wouldn’t opt to buy them since I can’t see myself being able to walk comfortably in them for extended periods of time or on the uneven concrete streets of NYC.  All in all, it’s a great collection!  I remember how much I loved their collaboration last year which resulted in glittery pink heels with ice cream cones on the backs (in fact, there are still a few pairs on sale on their website!).

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Tea & Book Chat: The Dream Thieves By Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Cycle #2)

**Warning! If you haven’t read The Raven Boys which is the first book in the Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater, there will be spoilers ahead.  You can read my review of the first book instead if you haven’t started the series yet!**

The Dream Thieves is an amazing follow up to The Raven Boys.  This book focuses heavily on Ronan who is by far one of the most interesting characters in the series.  We’re introduced to his ability to pull objects out of dreams and bring them into the real world which is something that he hasn’t shared before.  We also learn a lot more about Ronan’s family history and about his father and the relationship between him and his two brothers. Ronan is the most mysterious of the Raven Boys so it was such a pleasure to find out more about him and learn about where his tough exterior formed from.  He is also befriended by a terribly destructive character, Joseph Kavinsky.  The dynamic between the pair is tense and wildly unexpected.

I really enjoyed the relationships that began to develop in this installment.  We’re introduced to the Gray Man who is sent to Cabeswater to hunt an object called the Greywaren.  He ends up being a potential love interest for Blue’s mother Maura and their dynamic is nothing short of the strangeness you would imagine between a psychic and a hitman.  Admittedly, the Gray Man’s storyline was a slow start for me.  Adam’s character is also evolving into an impatient and unpleasant person which causes Blue to have some serious reservations about their relationship.  Her and Gansey continue to get closer which I am all for!

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The Dream Thieves is a much quicker paced read than the first book in the series.  There were many more action scenes and having the background of the first book, Maggie Stiefvater was able to explore more of the magic in Cabeswater.  In The Dream Thieves, nightmares come alive and the dream sequences are hauntingly beautiful and gorgeously frightful.  There is SO MUCH symbolism which will not be entirely evident until the end of the book.  The plot continues to be complex and allows the reader to further develop so many feelings for all of the main characters.  I still think about the final action sequence in the book and my mind is just blown.  I cannot wait to read the third book as a result!

Final ThoughtThe Dream Thieves has so much character development and a beautifully complex plot.  Maggie Stiefvater’s beautifully crafted story interweaves everyone’s fates in such a haunting and harmonious way.  Similar to The Raven Boys, the beginning of the novel is a slower read but there is so much payoff at the end.  If you liked The Raven Boys even a little bit, you absolutely must continue the series because The Dream Thieves will blow your mind.

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Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same.

Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life.

Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after… (via Goodreads)

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BookTube: February Book Haul

Check out my newest BookTube video, my February Book Haul!

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Tea & Book Chat: The Winner’s Curse By Marie Rutkoski (The Winner’s Trilogy #1)

I moved The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski to the top of my TBR pile when I realized that it’s sequel, The Winner’s Crime would be debuting within a week and oh my goodness am I ever glad that I did!  The top reason that I enjoyed The Winner’s Curse as much as I did is the fascinating plot coupled with Rutkoski’s extraordinary world-building.  It starts out slow, but once I got into the world, I was really INTO it.  The series takes place in a world with different classes where slaves exist.  Our main character, Kestrel, is being pressured by her father to enlist in the Valorian army or get married, as all girls her age are forced to do in their society.  Kestrel doesn’t have any desire to do either but later events in the novel force her into a choice.  There’s a forbidden romance that forms between Kestrel, the daughter of the Valorian General, and Arin, slave she purchased who is of Herrani descent.  I was very hesitant to pick up the book (despite the glowing recommendations from other bloggers) because the idea of reading about a world with slaves that’s heavily political didn’t really interest me but gladly, I was very wrong and The Winner’s Curse definitely broadened my horizons!

The romance between Kestrel and Arin was very atypical and didn’t feel like a romance at all.  Their relationship was closer to a game of Bite and Sting (a popular tile based game played by Valorians) than a full blown Romeo and Juliet type of forbidden love affair.  Their feelings for each other developed slowly and began mostly because Kestrel is intrigued by Arin’s brutal honesty with her and his interest in music which he denies.  She begins to value his opinion and thinks of him as the sole truth teller in a world of people who feed her niceties in an effort to appease the general’s daughter.  Because Kestrel puts so much trust in Arin, it hurts her when she learns that Arin is not in fact being honest about who he is or what his intentions are.  You can almost feel Arin’s pain too when certain events occur because he does really cares about Kestrel and he’s obviously very confused about these feelings.  The pair are drawn to each other against all odds and watching them try to figure out their feelings while other outside events that are so much bigger than them are occurring is heartbreaking.

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Kestrel is an AWESOME heroine.  She’s one of the sassiest teens you will ever meet and while everyone believes her to be well trained in combat since she’s the general’s daughter, it’s actually her cleverness that often gives her the upper hand.  She’s strong minded and continuously strategizing outcomes of every situation.  Kestrel really wants to understand her feelings, make her father proud, and live a life that isn’t chosen for her, a feat that seems like an impossibility.  Arin, on the other hand, is blunt and borderline disrespectful but his attitude is justified in a world where his people lost everything they once had including their freedom.  Arin is also highly intelligent and he knows how to push Kestrel’s buttons.  Everything that happens in The Winner’s Curse is strategic.  It felt as if I were reading a political thriller and Rutkoski did such a great job of developing both the Valorians and the Herranis that it was very challenging to choose a side to root for.

Final Thoughts: The Winner’s Curse is an intriguing read with compelling world-building.  The political aspect and the forbidden romance keep you on the edge of your seat, especially once you get through the first 50 pages.  I’m looking forward to more character development in the sequel, The Winner’s Crime, which hits bookstores tomorrow.

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As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart. (via Goodreads)

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5 Fandom Friday: Harry Potter Characters I Would Name My Kids After

This week’s 5 Fandom Friday topic is character’s I would name my kids after, but I’ve decided to modify it to Harry Potter characters I would name my kids after.  I’ve also taken a liberty with the number 5 and raised it to 7 because as any Potterhead would know, 7 is the magic number.  I’ve chosen each of the characters listed below for a combination of loving the name and a specific reason relating to the character.  For instance, while I enjoy the name Bellatrix, I could never in good conscience assign that name to an innocent child.

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1) Luna Lovegood – My all-time favorite character in just about anything ever.  No explanation is really needed here!

2) Lily Potter – Lily is the kind-hearted and brave mother of Harry.  She’s independent in her decision making and chooses her friends (ie Snape) based on her own feelings without caring about what others will think.

3) Molly Weasley – Molly is a very organized woman who takes the best possible care of her family but isn’t afraid to keep everyone in line.  I’ve always admired her greatly.

4) Percy Weasley – Obviously Percy is not one of my favorite characters and I admit this is more because I like the name Percy than anything else, but hear me out.  He’s always concerned with doing well in school, he’s a prefect and he follows in his father’s footsteps and works at the Ministry of Magic.  Then his character turns horrible for a few books, but he does make amends with the rest of the Weasley’s at the end of the series.

5) Andromeda Tonks – Originally Andromeda Tonks, she followed her heart and married a muggle born wizard named Ted Tonks.  Andromeda is disowned by her family for marrying someone who isn’t a pureblood and shortly after tying the knot, she gives birth to Nymphodora Tonks.

6) Cedric Diggory – Cedric Diggory was the first huge character death in any book that really affected me.  I remember crying my eyes out and re-reading The Goblet of Fire over and over again so I could relive all of the moments where Cedric was alive.

7) Alice Longbottom – Alice Longbottom is Neville’s mother who was an Auror working for the Ministry of Magic until she and her husband were tortured to insanity by Lord Voldemort.  She was a well respected wizard and she openly defied Voldemort several times which cost her the memory of her son.

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February 27th – Characters I Would Name My Kids After
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March 6th – Favorite Snacks/Drinks To Consume While Blogging
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BookTube: Coffee Book Tag

The next book tag I chose to tackle is the Coffee Book Tag, because how could I not?  I published the full list of questions in the description box below the video in case anyone else wants to make a video of their own!   Apologies in advance for sort of sounding like I’m dying through parts of this video because I’ve been super sick but I was just too excited to take a break and rest.  Happy reading!

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Waiting on Wednesday: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly anticipating.  This is my first week participating and I feel obligated to choose Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses.  The cover is my favorite of 2015 so far and I just cannot wait to delve into my own copy when it debuts on May 5th!

A Court of Thorns and Roses

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever. (via Goodreads)

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