Saturday, December 25, 2010

Matched - Ally Condie - 2010

Title: Matched (1st in series)

Author: Ally Condie
Year: 2010
Overall: * * * * * (5/5)

GoodReads blurb: Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

Plot: * * * * *
Characters: * * * *
Stlye (writing style): * * * * *

My Review: This is the first book in a new dystopian series. It was like the Uglies series, The Giver, Logan's Run, and a passing drifter all got together and made a book baby. In the very best way possible. Cassia is different and kind and a teenager in a world where teenagers don't really get to do the things we currently associate with being young and carefree. There are strict rules, everything in your life is planned for by somebody else, and people generally aren't supposed to question this. Like the Uglies books without the weird plastic surgery part, though they do get rid of all the "anomalies." I really liked this take on what our possible future could be. I don't know when dystopias became something I really liked reading about, but they really pull me in and I like reading about how Cassia learns of the different types of love as she grows.

To Buy: Amazon

The Lying Game - Sara Shepard - 2010

Title: The Lying Game (1st in series)

Author: Sara Shepard
Year: 2010
Overall: * * * * (4/5)

GoodReads blurb: I had a life anyone would kill for.

Then someone did.

The worst part of being dead is that there’s nothing left to live for. No more kisses. No more secrets. No more gossip. It’s enough to kill a girl all over again. But I’m about to get something no one else does—an encore performance, thanks to Emma, the long-lost twin sister I never even got to meet.

Now Emma’s desperate to know what happened to me. And the only way to figure it out is to be me—to slip into my old life and piece it all together. But can she laugh at inside jokes with my best friends? Convince my boyfriend she’s the girl he fell in love with? Pretend to be a happy, carefree daughter when she hugs my parents good night? And can she keep up the charade, even after she realizes my murderer is watching her every move?

From Sara Shepard, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of thePretty Little Liars books, comes a riveting new series about secrets, lies, and killer consequences.

Let the lying game begin.

Plot: * * * *
Characters: * * * *
Stlye (writing style): * * * *

My Review: This is the first book in Shepard's new series. And I am totally hooked. I love how Shepard can just suck you into this completely bizarre story and take you away from reality for a few hours and keep you wanting more once you're finished. The mystery aspect of it is great so far, though just like in the Pretty Little Liars books there are twin sisters involved. I like that Sutton is realizing how awful a person she could be at the same time that Emma is discovering it too, it almost makes it feel like there are 3 sisters involved instead. I am very excited for the next book in the series, "Never Have I Ever," which comes out sometime in the Summer. I never really reach the point with Shepard's books where I can say they are truly fantastic novels, but they are great fun to read and keep me so entertained!

To Buy: Amazon

Along for the Ride - Sarah Dessen - 2009

Title: Along for the Ride

Author: Sarah Dessen
Year: 2009
Overall: * * * * (4/5)

GoodReads blurb: It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.

A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.

Plot: * * * *
Characters: * * * *
Stlye (writing style): * * * * *

My Review: This was also a reread. I enjoyed it as much the second time around as I did the first, and though I remembered most of the plot clearly, there were so many little details about the characters and their interactions that I had forgotten, which made it really fun to be reminded of. Auden is a bit different than a lot of Dessen's characters. She can be very blunt, if only because she hasn't quite figured out that people don't like that, and she really has a hard time being social with people. I had forgotten that Eli has long hair in the book, which made it hard to picture him in my head. I love that almost all of the characters had layers that Auden sort of had to peel off in order for her to see that people aren't just one thing or another.

To Buy: Amazon

Currently reading: Trying to figure that out still...


I just returned from the Caribbean, which was amazing to say the least. The water was beautiful, our cruise ship was great, and we made great friends. We also read a lot. Mike listened to the audiobooks of The Lord of the Rings and I read three books. The reviews of those books will follow.
It was nice to relax and enjoy some quiet time in between all of the activities the ship offered.
The next three posts will be dedicated to these books:
Matched by Ally Condie
The Lying Game by Sara Shepard
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen (a reread)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Graceling - Kristin Cashore - 2008

Title: Graceling
Author: Kristin Cashore
Year: 2008
Overall: * * * * * (5/5)

GoodReads blurb: Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight — she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme, and in her case horrifying, skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug. When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po’s friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace — or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away... a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

Plot: * * * * *
Characters: * * * * 1/2
Stlye (writing style): * * * *

My Review: This was actually a reread for me. I read this for the first time in early 2009, and I think I waited just the right amount of time to read it a second time through, because somehow I had forgotten much of the plot. I remembered the basics about the characters, but I had forgotten the intricacies and small details of the characters and the land that makes up the 7 Kingdoms. I still love Katsa and Po so much, but upon a second reading, I realized how much I enjoyed the secondary characters. Raffin & Bann, Bitterblue, Ror & Skye. Cashore does such a great job of giving each character a unique voice, or sense of humor, just something that makes you forget that all of these characters came from the mind of one person. I really want to reread Fire now!

To Buy: Amazon

Currently reading: Matched by Ally Condie (2010)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Recent acquisitions

I will try to do this post every once in a while to keep up to date lists of books I have recently acquired in some way.

Matched - Ally Condie - Released Nov 30, 2010

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

Matched on Amazon

The Lying Game - Sara Shepard - Released Dec 7, 2010
I had a life anyone would kill for.

Then someone did.

The worst part of being dead is that there’s nothing left to live for. No more kisses. No more secrets. No more gossip. It’s enough to kill a girl all over again. But I’m about to get something no one else does—an encore performance, thanks to Emma, the long-lost twin sister I never even got to meet.

Now Emma’s desperate to know what happened to me. And the only way to figure it out is to be me—to slip into my old life and piece it all together. But can she laugh at inside jokes with my best friends? Convince my boyfriend she’s the girl he fell in love with? Pretend to be a happy, carefree daughter when she hugs my parents good night? And can she keep up the charade, even after she realizes my murderer is watching her every move?

From Sara Shepard, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of thePretty Little Liars books, comes a riveting new series about secrets, lies, and killer consequences.

Let the lying game begin.

The Lying Game on Amazon

New review format!

I'm going to introduce a new format to my blog, so I can keep track of books better and actually have some standards on why I did or did not like the books I read.
Here goes!

Overall: (0-5 stars)
GoodReads blurb:
Stlye (writing style):
My Summary:
To Buy: (Amazon link)

Here is the first run through with the new format:

Title: The Summer of Skinny Dipping
Author: Amanda Howells
Year: 2010
Overall: * * * (3 of 5)

GoodReads blurb: Sometimes I still wake up shivering in the early hours of the morning, drowning in dreams of being out there in the ocean that summer, of looking up at the moon and feeling as invisible and free as a fish. But I'm jumping ahead, and to tell the story right I have to go back to the very beginning. To a place called Indigo Beach. To a boy with pale skin that glowed against the dark waves. To the start of something neither of us could have predicted, and which would mark us forever, making everything that came after and before seem like it belonged to another life.

My name is Mia Gordon: I was sixteen years old, and I remember everything.

Plot: * * * 1/2
Characters: * * *
Style: * * *

My Review: There were times when I really liked this story, but I felt like what happened wasn't a surprise because of how frequently it was hinted to that "the undertow was badddddd." I liked Mia for the most part, though I got the "poor me" vibe from her a lot, and she seemed to be very "typical female protag." I wasn't a big fan of Simon as a character either. There just weren't enough likable people in this story for me. Also, I was remind of Lucas by Kevin Brooks, without the "angry village" bit.

To buy: Amazon

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Upcoming book releases

As promised, the updated list of books coming out soon (and a few from the past 2 months that I need to pick up):

Behemoth - Westerfeld - Oct 5
Dash & Lily's Book of Dares - Cohn/Levithan - Oct 26
Matched - Ally Condie - Nov 30
The Lying Game - Shepard - Dec 7
Fall For Anything - Summers - Dec 21
Deadly Little Games - Stolarz - Dec 28
The Education of Hailey Kendrick - Cook - Jan 4 2011
The Iron Queen - Kagawa - February 2011
Delirium - Oliver - Feb 2011
Miles From Ordinary - Lynch Williams - March 15 2011
Where She Went - Forman - April 5 2011
Stay - Caletti - Apr 5 2011
The Anti-Prom - McDonals - Apr 12 2011
Bumped - McCafferty - April 26 2011
The Last Little Blue Envelope - April 26 2011
What Happened to Goodbye - Dessen - May 10 2011
Bitter End - Brown - May 10 2011
Beauty Queens - Bray - May 24 2011
Between Here and Forever - Scott - May 24 2011
Nightspell - Leah Cypress - May 31 2011
Sisterhood Everlasting - Brashares - June 14 2011
Forever - Stiefvater - July 12 2011
Never Have I Ever - Shepard - July 26 2011
He's So Not Worth It - Scott - Summer 2011
As I Wake - Scott - Fall 2011

I am very excited about some of these titles.
Especially excited that "Fall For Anything" will be out when I get back from my honeymoon!
I am still sticking with Stolarz's "Deadly Little..." series even though I don't think I particularly liked the second one, but how can I not stick with a character named Camelia?
I am curious about Brashares' "Sisterhood Everlasting." Is it a 3 Willows book or Traveling Pants book? I can't even find confirmation if it's real or not...
I hope Sara Shepard's next series is as entertaining as Pretty Little Liars is.
Of course my old faithfuls Dessen, Caletti, & Scott are coming out with new ones and I have to say I am most excited about Caletti's "Stay."
Thought what I would REALLY like is for Kristin Cashore to come out with the next 7 Kingdoms book. Please?

2011 YA Debut Author Challenge

I am signing up for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by The Story Siren. Starting Jan 2011 and ending Dec 31 2011, I will read, at the very least, 12 YA novels written by debut authors. I'm hoping to read more than 12 though, and I will count them towards my annual goal of reading at least 5o books a year. To learn more about the Challenge and sign up, you can go here.

I have chosen a few titles from The Story Siren's spreadsheet of debut author's to check out and have started a list:

XVI - Julia Karr - Jan 6
Across the Universe - Beth Revis - Jan 11
Other Words for Love - Lorraine Zago Rosenthal - Jan 11
Where I Belong - Gwendolyn Heasley - Feb 8
Exposed - Kimberly Marcus - Feb 22
Falling Under - Gwen Hayes - March 1
Unlocked - Ryan G Van Cleave - March 1
Ten Miles Past Normal - Frances O'Roark Dowell - March 22
Bumped - Megan McCafferty - April 26

I will keep updating as I do more research and as some of the debut titles add more information to the book descriptions on Amazon.

In my next post I will update with my other upcoming "books to read" and their release dates.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Promises, promises

I cannot for the life of me remember the last book that I finished. I am almost done with the following books: Thirteenth Child by Wrede, Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters by Standiford, and Blame by Huneven. Blame is not a YA book, and it is written in a really strange POV. Also, I can't really say that I like the main character whatsoever. But for some reason, I am really into finding out what the plot twist is, since it has been alluded to so much, and with so much of the book left, it can't just be about Patsy feeling sorry for killing two people. Sigh.

I think the reason I haven't been reading as much is my iPhone. I am addicted to it. Instead of reading on the train, I play games. And I haven't been reading much at home either, partly because of homework and partly because I have been getting headaches all the freaking time. Sometimes it's so bad that my vision goes blurry when I change my focus.

The movie review plan was put on hold, because we took forever to send back our old netflix DVDs and get the new ones I added to the list.

I have started writing in a more journal-type way again, though. It has been really good for me, I missed writing personal entries, which are very different than the book reviews I post on this blog.

There are a few books that came out in the last week or so that I am really excited about, they are:
Where the Truth Lies - Warman
Girl, Stolen - Henry
Her and Me and You - Strasnick

I will have to head over to B&N this week to see if any of them are in yet, but so frequently when I go there on a mission I am let down. Here's hoping!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Another Thing...

I also wanted to write about a moment that happened the other day at Barnes & Noble. I was doing my usual browse of the YA section to see how up to date their selection is (eh..). While I was standing in one aisle, these two girls, maybe 13 years old, were discussing with each other who they should ask to help them. One girl said to the other "Just go up to someone and ask!" So the two girls turn to me, and the braver one asks, "Can you recommend any books by an award-winning author?" I immediately grinned and reached right for Paper Towns by John Green. I'm glad we were near the G section, because it was actually a pretty swift move that I made to reach out and swipe it right off the shelf. The girls were super thankful and really sweet, and I heard one of them say, "See! She was way more helpful than the people that work here!" Which totally made my day.

Anyways, I just wanted to add that in as a post because it was actually really fun to pick out a book for someone else and I hope they enjoy it, because it really is a fun book to read. Hopefully they aren't too young for it... Lol.

September - 70ish books.

I've read quite a few new books since the last time I posted. I am up to about 71 for the year so far. I won't do a full rundown, because that would take forever, and I already write down all of my book reviews in a regular journal.
Some worth mentioning:

Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers -- After reading this, her second book, I am definitely a fan. Both were stories of "popular' girls falling aside, but were each in very different ways. Regina was a deeply complex character, and at times I wanted to hate her and pity her all at once. I think I liked Parker better, from Cracked Up To Be, but both female leads are well developed and both of Summers' books are definitely worth reading.

The Key to the Golden Firebird by Maureen Johnson -- It took me years to find this book as well as Devilish by Maureen Johnson. I chose to put Key to the Golden Firebird on this list because it is similar to two of her other books, 13 Little Blue Envelopes and Girl at Sea. These three books are all about teenage girls coming into their own and learning who they are. I really liked the supporting characters in Firebird, especially May's sisters and her neighbor Pete. The sisterly bonding at the end was just awesome, too.

Forget You by Jennifer Echols -- I am a big Jennifer Echols fan now too. I really, really loved Going Too Far, which I read last year. And Forget You was just as well written and sucked me in just as much. It was fun and confusing to figure out all of the intricacies of the night that Zooey was in the car crash with Doug. One thing I didn't like was how quickly she was ready to give her life over to Brandon and be his little devotee. But Doug made up for it and their back and forth was great.

She's So Dead to Us by Kieran Scott -- When I read this, I didn't know it was going to be the beginning of a series (the rest haven't come out yet). So when I got to the end I was a little 'wtf' because it definitely left off in what is a cliff hanger to teenage girls. I was excited to find out that there will be more books to come, because I really enjoyed Ally's point of view. Her situation was different than most lead characters who experience a "fall from grace" because with Ally, it had nothing to do with her, and had everything to do with her father's shady investment practices. I am really looking forward to seeing what happens next.

Every Little Thing in the World by Nina deGramont -- This was one of two teenage pregnancy books that I read with not very much time in between. I almost wish I had read this one second instead of first, because it was so much better than the other one and it would have redeemed the topic for me. I tend not to like YA books that discuss pregnancy because it's a very touchy subject for everyone and I think people sometimes tiptoe around it too much in a story or come at it too harshly. This book handled it fantastically. Sydney was not ready to be a parent, and she needed to learn to stick up for herself, which was how she got pregnant in the first place, because she didn't insist on condoms. Her best friend Natalia tries to convince her to keep the baby, but eventually Sydney admits to herself that it is just not right for her to be a parent so young. Even while I was reading this book I kept hoping that Sydney would get an abortion, because if it had been a fairytale pregnancy book, I would have been pissed, which is why I really didn't like the other book that I read after this one. I was so relieved when she told the nurse at the hospital.

The Pretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepard -- For some reason, I really love this series. The books are fun and mysterious and just take you away from wherever you are and pull you into this twisted world of Rosewood. I'm not usually a big series girl, but these books are just too fun. I haven't read the very last book, though I bought it the other day so I will get to it soon.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins -- This was a really great way to end the series. At first, the writing seemed very different than the previous two Hunger Games books. But I think this was done on purpose, to give this book a different feel. This wasn't a book about the Games or about Katniss struggling to survive. This was a book about war, about what people lose and what people fight for. It was really well done in my opinion. There was a lot of Katniss "in recovery" though, which was at times a bit boring. But for the most part, I thought this book did what it set out to do and gave its readers a satisfying end, though maybe not a completely happy one.

There have also been a few books mixed into the last bunch that were just not for me. They get some mention too:

Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala -- This was the other pregnancy book, which took the route of "girl gets pregnant to keep boyfriend, learns this is wrong, keeps baby anyways, grows into a wonderful young woman whose parents start to love her." It was just... not for me. I didn't like the writing style, and I didn't like any of the characters, except for Rand's dead sister. And it really doesn't say much for your book if the only character I like is dead.

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater -- I was really looking forward to this sequel to Shiver. Shiver was fantastic and unexpected. Linger was not. Linger was basically the exact story just switched. Grace and Sam's relationship is all about whining that they can't see each other and whining about not being wolves. It was just kind of a boring mess. The only redeeming chapters were the ones from the new wolf Cole.

Stalker Girl by Rosemary Graham -- I am still not sure how I feel about this book or this story. I really think it could have been a lot... more. Just, there could have been more to the story, more to the writing, just more. I'm guessing the reason it was written in third person was to make the reader feel almost as if they were stalking Carly, while Carly was stalking Taylor. However, there was A LOT of back story, and the back story wasn't introduced as being back story, so I was really confused about the timeline of events for a while. Carly was an emotional mess, but the things that she did while "stalking" just didn't seem believable. I really wasn't convince while I was reading this book. I was really excited that there was a YA book that had the word Stalker in the title, but I was really disappointed.

Tangled by Carolyn Mackler -- I liked the intertwining stories in this book. But I didn't like that each person's story got cut short from their point of view, and then we heard all about the meaty stuff later from someone else. It was like the hard situations would have been too difficult to write or something, because a lot of the good situations were just told through the grapevine. I also didn't like that the book blurb made it sound like the whole book would take place on Paradise, when in fact, only the first story did, and the island itself really wasn't as big a part of the story as it was made out to be.

I'm currently finishing up The Thirteenth Child by Patricia C Wrede. It's about a different America, one where people use magic and the frontier is still being explored and expanded. Eff is an interesting lead character, since she has a lot of feelings of guilt that are basically based on nothing but her awful Uncle's warnings. I loved Wrede's Dealing With Dragons books, so I was excited to pick this one up. I think it's funny that I used to enjoy a fantasy series like the Dragons books because for a long time after that, until about the last year or so, I was very opposed to fantasy and sci-fi books. It seems that this is the first in a series, so I think it's mostly been laying the ground work, because there hasn't been much actual excitement in the story so far. But I have faith that it will change directions soon.

I make no promises, but I will try to post again soon.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Too Many Books For My Bookshelves

I finally got tired of having random piles of books scattered about on tables, floors, stacked in front of other books on shelves, and decided to reorganize. The small bookcase in the living room stayed the same, because the shelf space is smaller, and can't fit tall books, so all my short books stayed put. The large bookcase in the living room had a massive makeover.

The top shelf, which was unused except for random papers, is now a shelf for my favorite authors (Caletti, Johnson, Green, Collins, Cashore...).
The second shelf down is a continuation of this, as well as random books I really enjoyed (Dessen, Stolarz, Summers, Wiess...).
The middle shelf is what I refer to as "adventure books" (read as: books I am making Mike read). This includes my paperback Harry Potter collection, the Redwall books, LOTR & The Hobbit, and Mike's Genghis Khan books.
The second shelf from the bottom is half "grown-up books" (like The Help, White Oleander, Pillars of the Earth...) and half memoirs, like Chelsea Handler's books, and my many memoirs about messed up females.
The bottom shelf is half school books from UMD, and half books I've borrowed from my mother. There is also a stack of "coffee table books" including one about Penguins, one about the Bruins, and one about the state of Washington.

The bookcase in my bedroom also got redone. The top shelf, which was where my favorite authors resided before, is now for my To-Read books.
The middle shelf stayed mostly the same, and is where all my Push Fiction books hang out. I added a few books I like as well.
The bottom shelf is now for books I read and liked, and might like to read again.

The excess books that I removed from shelves are now in a box, as they have been dubbed as too embarrassing to be seen on shelves by myself or anyone else. I don't have a place for the box yet, but as soon as I muster up the motivation I will add it to the other boxes of embarrassing books that are in the bottom of my closet.

I finished "Familiar Scars" by Christy Leigh Stewart, which was the book I won from GoodReads, and started reading "When It Happens" by Susane Colasanti. It's alright so far, but it hasn't sucked me in as I wished it would.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bad bad blogger

Sooo... I am somewhere in 30's for the book count. I only read 3 books the last month, which is alright since I read a lot in the months prior. Also, I've been doing that thing where you read 5 books at once, so it takes forever to finish any of them, but then all of a sudden you finish all 5 in 3 days. It's crazy. I shouldn't do it. Plus, it gets confusing.
I am currently (still) reading the second Pretty Little Liars books, "Flawless," and some other books that I really can't remember at the moment... Ugh. I also won a book from GoodReads, so I have to read that and then write a review about it on GR.
I will try to update again this weekend.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

April Update

Since my last update, I've read "How it Ends," "For Keeps," "The Iron King," "Birthmarked," "Forever,"and probably some other books.

"Birthmarked" by Caragh O'Brien was simply fantastic. I couldn't find any definitive information about whether there will be a sequel or not, but I seriously hope there is. Gaia was a wonderfully written protagonist and the whole story line was amazing. I loved that it was sort of a mix of "The Hunger Games" and The "Uglies" Series, and all those sort of "America in the messed up future" books, but with a really new and unique take on it.

"The Iron King" by Julie Kagawa was a lot better than I had expected it to be, but it still took me a long time to get used to the style of writing. I really enjoyed the story, but it was hard not to be annoyed with the language sometimes. I do look forward to the next book in the Iron Fey series, though.

"How it Ends" was so touching and lovely, and different!

"For Keeps" was so sweet and cute. Josie and Live, the two main female characters were such a nice portrayal of best friends, and the strange relationship twists with Josie's parents and grandparents were a story line I hadn't really read before. I like new twists on simple stories.

I think I am the last female ever to read "Forever" by Judy Blume. It was so blunt and honestly written that at some points I was like "Did she REALLY say THAT?" But at the same time it was so refreshing, and I love that a book written in 1975 is still relevant to teenagers. I'm glad that the story didn't end with anything terrible like STDs, AIDS, or young pregnancies. I loved that it ended with the simple lesson that when you're young, something that seems forever can end pretty quickly, whether you expect it to or not.

I am currently reading "Going Bovine" by Libba Bray. I've never read anything by Libba Bray before, but so far I really like her writing. I'm about half way through, and I like Cameron a lot. He's very honest and clever and I keep smiling when I'm reading.

Next up is "Tangled" by Carolyn Mackler.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Why I Love Reading

Or, one of the many reasons I love reading.

When I read a book, everything else sort of fades away, including time. To me, it feels like everything is evened out, and it's easy for me to reconnect with a place or the different versions of me that I've been throughout my life. For instance, this weekend I'm visiting my hometown and today I went down to the beach and to read for a bit. While I was reading, it occurred to me that when I'm reading books now, I feel exactly the same as all the other times I've read books. I could go back to that beach in ten years, read a book, and feel like the same person I was earlier today.

I don't know if that makes any sense, because it feels like one of those things that makes complete sense in my mind, but just won't translate properly to the page. One down side of this, though, is that I somehow feel like a 16 year old whenever I'm reading, probably because that's the age when I needed books the most to help deal with the rest of the world. I'm not complaining though, because I think that's one of the reasons that books are so comforting to me.


I've now read 28 books this year. I don't have my list with me, so I can't update formally, however I did read some really great books recently that I do remember.
Deb Caletti - The Six Rules of Maybe. I really enjoyed the character interactions in this book, and truly, I am just such a sucker for Deb Caletti books. Ugh.
Elizabeth Scott - The Unwritten Rule. Usually when a girl kisses her best friend's boyfriend, it's pretty bad and def not a good time. But the way this was written really made the circumstances and context come into play, and I really liked the main character (Sarah? possibly?).
Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver. I really wasn't sure if I was going to like this book or not, because it was a strange premise. Samantha lives the last day of her life 7 times, and each time you can see how she is coping and progressing with accepting her own death and trying to be a better person at the same time. I ended up getting completely sucked into it.

I just got a few books in mail including:
How it Ends - Laura Wiess
The Iron King - Julie Kagawa
Birthmarked - Caragh O'Brien
Tangled - Carolyn Mackler
Every Little Thing in the World - Nina de Gramont

I also just pre-ordered John Green and David Levithan's new book, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, which I am verrrry excited about. And, I keep updating and adding to my "Books to Buy" file. The newest additions are:

Already out:
Albatross - Josie Bloss
The Secret Year - Jennifer Hubbard
Sing Me to Sleep - Angela Morrison
Prey - Lurlene McDaniel
Forever - Judy Blume
Letting Go of Lisa - Lurlene McDaniel
Hold Still - Nina LaCour
Read My Lips - Teri Brown
Stained - Jennifer Richard Jacobson
The Wrong Mother - Sophie Hannah
The Last Summer (of you and me) - Ann Brashares
The Sword of Truth series - Terry Goodkind

Soon to be released:
For Keeps - Natasha Friend - Apr 6
The Karma Club - Brody - Apr 27
Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots - McDonald - Apr 13
Something Like Fate - Colasanti - May 4
She's So Dead To Us - Scott - May 25

For some reason, I was trying to find something out about a Lurlene McDaniel book the other day, when I stumbled upon this blog: The blog is basically recaps of Lurlene McDaniel's books, which are usually about terrible tragedy/illness/so on. They are really quite depressing books, and I used to read them ALL THE TIME in Middle School. I have no idea why. I called my Mom last night to ask her if she remembered them, and she goes, "Yeah, the books about dying kids." Anyways, the author of the blog is a woman named Amy (I think she is a YA writer, but not sure), and the recaps are incredibly funny. She takes these books apart bit by bit and I can't stop laughing out loud when I'm reading the posts.

I would really like to find out if anyone has done this for Caroline B Cooney's books, because I was also big into everything she wrote. It was seriously a problem. I would go to Barnes & Noble and zoom right to the (very small) YA section just to look for Caroline B Cooney books. I really don't know why. I remember thoroughly enjoying them, too, so I kind of want to re-read some of them, but what if that ruins them for me forever? Imagine if "Wanted!," "Hush Little Baby," or even "Twins" were never the same for me again!?

...On that note, it's time for me to get a new hobby.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sixteen and Counting

I am currently reading my seventeenth book of this year, "The Likeness" by Tana French, author of "In the Woods," which I read in January. I've also read "The Weight of Silence" by Heather Gudenkauf, which was incredible, especially for a book that I picked up at Target on a whim.
Here is the updated list:
Handle With Care - Picoult
The Lovely Bones - Sebold
In The Woods - French
Nothing Like You - Strasnick
Goth Girl Rising - Lyga
Love Is The Higher Law - Levithan
Dork Whore - Bahr
Loose Girl - Cohen
Holidays on Ice - Sedaris
Dear John - Sparks
Dawn - Brooks
The Missing Girl - Mazer
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas - Boyne
The Last Song - Sparks
Scarlett Fever - Johnson
The Weight of Silence - Gudenkauf

The books that I really enjoyed from this list were "In The Woods," "Love is the Higher Law," "Dork Whore," and "The Weight of Silence." I've become more open to detective/mystery novels, or at least novels that include that sort of theme. I think if you really like good suspense, "In the Woods" and "The Weight of Silence" are fantastic for you to read. Both books I happened to pick up, one at a train station and one at Target. I don't usually branch out when I choose books, but I am really glad I did, and I will continue to do so.

So far, "The Likeness" is pretty good, I am just getting into the really interesting part now I think, when Cassie goes undercover. I like that it is about Cassie (a main character in "In The Woods") although I still wish things had worked between her and her former Murder Squad partner Rob.

After I finish "The Likeness," I plan on reading "Franny & Zooey" by JD Salinger (recently deceased) because while I loved "The Catcher In The Rye," I never read anything else by him. Some of my favorite people to follow on YouTube & Twitter have said "Franny & Zooey" is their favorite book, so I am anxious to read it.

There are still plenty of other books on my list to read after that as well, and I just made a new list tonight of the books that are out soon. Here are a few of those that I am most excited about:
YA Fiction:
The Unwritten Rule - Scott - Mar 16
Six Rules of Maybe - Caletti - Mar 16
Every Little Thing In The World - de Gramont - Mar 23
Will Grayson Will Grayson - Green & Levithan - Apr 6
She's So Dead To Us - Scott - May 25
My Name is Memory - Brashares - Jun 1
Linger - Stiefvater - July 20
Mockingjay - Collins - Aug 24
Non-YA Fiction:
FaithFul Place - French - July 13

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The First Five

I finished three books today. I was halfway through two, and then read a whole book in between. I'm well on track for the 50 book challenge. I read on Good Reads that people are trying to read 12 books a month. While that may be completely plausible for people who don't have two jobs and are starting grad school, it just isn't possible for me. I like my 50 book challenge, and if I see that it will be too easy to accomplish, then I'll push it to 75. But 144 books in a year? That's absolutely mad.

This year so far I've completed:

The Lovely Bones - Sebold
Handle With Care - Picoult
In The Woods - French
Nothing Like You - Strasnick
Goth Girl Rising - Lyga

Besides that last one, it's almost like I've advanced to adult literature. But just you wait, that YA will come creeping back in in no time!

I really enjoyed In The Woods. It was another train station book, but it sounded familiar, like I'd heard about it somewhere, so I picked it up. It takes place in Ireland and has a really cool sort of intertwining plot revolving around a detective, Rob Ryan. I didn't really like how it ended though, because I loved how he and his partner on the murder squad, Cassie, worked and played off each other and I thought it would be nice if he hadn't screwed that up. Also, I still really want to know what happened to his friends when they were young. But alas.

Handle With Care was another typical, emotional Jodi Picoult novel, so it was enjoyable, but not very different from her other books. I did like it and I learned a lot from it, which is always good. I hate when you take nothing away from a book.

The Lovely Bones was very good to reread. I read it back when it first came out so I wanted to reread it and get familiar with it before going to see the movie. I haven't seen the movie yet but I hope it doesn't spoil the book. I love Susie's father, sister, and grandmother in particular in the book and I hope they are portrayed well.

I figure I should be able to finish two more books this month. Not definite though, because I start class on Monday and I have no idea what the work load will be like. Although I will be on trains quite a bit so maybe I can just read then. We'll have to wait and see.

Next up I plan on starting Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan and I still have to finish Lolita which I have been reading on and off for about three years. Ridiculous, I know.

More updates coming soon.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The 50 book challenge

I definitely read more than 50 books in 2009. I think it was around 60 at the final total. My numbers were always a little off because I didn't keep track of them until June. So for about 6 months I could only tally up about 12 books that I had read, though I am sure there must be more. But even so, I made up for my slow start during the Summer and Fall and then rounded out the fifty books with the Harry Potter series. And I did NaNoWriMo in November which took a lot of time away from reading and into writing.

Since this seems to be the only New Years resolution I can manage to keep, then I shall make it again, officially, here.

In 2010 I will read at least 50 books. I will only count re-reads if I haven't read them since high school. (so "Speak" and "The Lovely Bones" will count, but "The Truth About Forever" and "The Nature of Jade" won't). Is it sad that I already know what books I am going to re-read this year? Oh well.

I am currently reading Goth Girl Rising by Barry Lyga and I also started Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult because I was stuck at a train station with nothing to do except buy a random book and start reading it! I might hold off on finishing it right away though because I want to re-read The Lovely Bones before I see the movie when it's out.

After those books I am not sure what's in store. I still want to read The Chronicles of Narnia and I have a lot of random books I bought last year that never made the cut.

2009, The Best Parts:

My boyfriend asked me to marry him
I got accepted to Grad school
I went on a road trip with my best friend for 10 days
I read Harry Potter, and know I would be in Gryffindor
I won NaNoWriMo
I saw one of my favorite bands, AAR, twice
Mike and I made it through our first year of living together
I learned that there are still people out there who will help a stranger
I discovered I am brave