Friday, August 27, 2010
I also believe, however, that comments are also one of the hardest things to receive. I know this from my personal experience. To elaborate (Warning, this might get boring. Feel free to skip to the next paragraph.), I use google reader to update my blog. I go through my unread items and star the ones that I want to read later. When I read my starred items, I'll comment on particularly striking posts. Here's where the problem comes. A lot of times, I'll star items, and then I'll star even more items. Before I know it, I'll have hundreds of items I need to read. There's no way I can read all those items, so I usually just unstar them, and start over from my unread items. I wish I could say that I'll make sure my starred items do not pile up, but I know that life is busy. But I also know that comments make an IMPACT.
In short, I think readers have good intentions, and may genuinely like certain blogs, but simply do not have time to comment and read many entries. Also, the large number of great blogs also makes it difficult to comment. At the same time, most bloggers spend hours writing posts for their readers, so to know that readers appreciate them is great. Appreciation also helps bloggers find the motivation to improve their blogs, so shouldn't readers try to comment more, even if it is just a little?
So here's my pledge to comment more on my favorite blogs, and I hope you do the same. :)
Thursday, August 26, 2010
As a reader, I know I have watched many terrible movies based on books. Of course, I have enjoyed a select few. I feel like this class could give me an appreciation of adaptations. At the end of the semester, I will write a post with overall thoughts. Below is a list of the books I have to read, along with the movies I have to watch. The texts are the ones next to the numbers and the bulleted are the adaptations.
1) The Taming of the Shrew - William Shakespeare
- The Taming of the Shrew (1966)
- 10 Things I Hate About You (1999) (!!!)
- Romeo and Juliet (1968)
- Romeo + Juliet (1996)
- Atonement (1999)
- The Dark Knight (2008)
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
In The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein, Libby Schmais uses a common idea--a love triangle--and creates something that stands out. Schmais made the novel unique by the format and the protagonist (Lotus). The novel is set up in diary format. The diary itself is an assignment given by Lotus's English teacher, similar to Don't You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dunphrey. This format allowed readers to get personal (nice phrasing, yes? :P) with Lotus.
Lotus herself is a character filled with personality! I have read hundreds of novels, and yet, Lotus stands out in my mind as one of the most memorable. Before I began this novel, I was not sure if I would like Lotus. I was afraid that her obsession with all things French would annoy me after a few pages. I was wrong. Lotus remained amusing throughout the entire novel. Schmais was able to do this by adding humor throughout the novel.
My main complaint with this novel deals with the minor characters. I wish Schmais would have fleshed them out more. Given that the novel is in Lotus's perspective, I realize that opportunities to discuss minor characters are limited. However, it seemed like Schmais had perfect places to insert more details about characters, yet she did not. In several parts of the book, Lotus mentions Joni's mom. Schmais offers few details about Joni's mom (who has a certain condition), and I felt myself unsatisfied. I mean, why mention her at all, then? While Schmais did leave the novel open to sequels, I do not know if one is actually planned.
The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein is a great book for anyone interested in French cultures and/or likes unique protagonists!
Libby Schmais's site
Libby Schmais's blog
I received this book from Book Divas.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
As you may know, the final book of The Hunger Games trilogy was released today. For many, it was a much anticipated event and are probably reading the book as we speak. Others, however, are not quite sure what the hype's about. Today, I wanted to know how did you learn about The Hunger Games series. If you have not read it, why not? I know many are skeptical the novels will live up to the hype, but are there more reasons? I would really like to know. :)
I'll also share my story. I discovered The Hunger Games from teenreads.com. The site had a promotion where the first (I forget the number) got an ARC of The Hunger Games. Once he or she reviewed it, each person would receive a signed hardcover of the novel! Truthfully at first, I was skeptical. I received the ARC, and it was pitched as "a book that will change your life." This was before the book was even released, so I think my thoughts were only natural. However, then, I read the book and loved it! I sent my review, and for weeks I didn't receive a hardcover. I was not upset, I mean I got an ARC of the novel, what more could I ask for? But then the novel came in the mail, and to this day, it is one of my most prized books.
So share your thoughts on the trilogy! :D
Monday, August 23, 2010
To begin, I will introduce myself. My name is Krista, and I am 18 years old. I live in Georgia, United States, and I just started college in Atlanta. I have always been an avid reader. Two years ago, I wandered upon some book blogs and thought, why not? Well, two years later, here I am? Aside from reading, I like food, photos, movies, and music (who doesn't like music?). Below is a picture of myself:
Monday, August 16, 2010
Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games, along with fellow tribute Peeta Mellark. Katniss should be celebrating the wealth she has brought her entire family and district, but she can not. The terror she encountered in the Games still haunts her. The Capital also wants her dead. By pulling out the poisonous berries, Katniss defied the Capital, and no one defies the Capital. Soon, there are rumors of rebellion within several of Panem's districts--a rebellion that Katniss unknowingly created. Even worse, this is the 75th annual Hunger Games. Every 25 years, the Capital creates an even more vicious version of the Games. And this year's game is the unthinkable...
I read The Hunger Games two years ago, when the novel was first released. I loved it, and anxiously waited for Catching Fire. Yet, I did not pre-order the book, and by the time it was released I had started school. I wanted to focus on my schoolwork and the ~60 books I own, yet have not read. When summer rolled around, I knew I had to read Catching Fire. I ordered the book along with pre-ordering Mockingjay. I started reading Catching Fire the afternoon I received it in the mail. I read 340 pages that day, a record for me. The next morning I finished the rest of the book. If the speed at which I read this book does not tell you how much I enjoyed it, I do not know what will.
The characters in this book are top-notch. Readers see more of their favorites from The Hunger Games, along with a few new characters. Collins does not reveal much about the new characters, but I think they will play a larger role in Mockingjay. Also, Collins is a great storyteller. Most of the chapters end with cliffhangers, so readers will continue to flip pages wanting to learn more. I did not necessarily like the direction this novel took about halfway through (if you want to know what exactly I mean by that, look in the comments), but it had no effect on how I felt about the novel overall.
If you have not read Catching Fire yet, READ IT. With the release of Mockingjay in a week, there is no better time than now. Also, if you have read Catching Fire, feel free to discuss your thoughts on it and/or predictions on Mockingjay in the comments.
P.S. I am Team Gale. :-P
The Hunger Games Site
Suzanne Collin's Site
I purchased this book.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.
I read The Hunger Games when it was first released and loved it! For some reason, last year, I did not buy Catching Fire. Instead I waited until last week to order it, along with a pre-order of Mockingjay. Catching Fire came in the mail on Friday afternoon, and I finished it Saturday morning. So good!
Friday, August 13, 2010
Recently, I got chosen to be a CSN Preferred Blogger (yay!), and all their bedroom furniture sets reminded me even more how much I'm going to miss my bed. Seriously, I don't think a lofted bed could be quite as nice.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
This week's Youtube Connection is different in that it's the first time that I have not read the featured book. In doing this, I think I can help create buzz for more books, so I hope you enjoy the change. Anyway, this week's video is the book trailer for Love in the Present Tense by Catherine Ryan Hyde. I previously reviewed Becoming Chloe, which I liked. Enjoy!
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Oh, and asking my questions MAY get you bonus entries on a future giveaway. *hint* *hint*
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Holly Schindler is the author of A Blue So Dark.
Sypnosis of A Blue So Dark:
Fifteen-year-old Aura Ambrose has been hiding a secret. Her mother, a talented artist and art teacher, is slowly being consumed by schizophrenia, and Aura has been her sole caretaker ever since Aura's dad left them. Convinced that “creative” equals crazy, Aura shuns her own artistic talent. But as her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet draws Aura toward the depths of her imagination. Just as desperation threatens to swallow her whole, Aura discovers that art, love, and family are profoundly linked—and together may offer an escape from her fears.
Today, I have a guest blog, on a very fitting topic, by Holly.
It can happen to any of us…our once-insatiable appetite for literature drops, with no explanation. Whether it’s a reading or writing passion, if it disappears, it can leave you feeling…kind of…guilty. Like you’re completely slacking.
I say, get RID of the guilt. In my book, a slump is a sign that you’ve grown.
Yup, that’s right. You’ve grown—because you’re no longer challenged. You’re stagnating. A slump means it’s time to expand those borders.
Do not—I repeat—do NOT decide you need a break. Instead, get yourself to the library. And head STRAIGHT for the genre section you never approached before. Maybe romance. Or sci-fi. Or literary classics. Whatever you once avoided like the plague, ATTACK it. Immerse yourself. You’ll soon find yourself rejuvenated. I promise. Because a new genre means you’ve been thrown into a brand-new world.
And if you’re a writer, the same applies—finding it hard to get motivated? Put aside your current project—not for forever, just for a while. Again, do NOT take a break. Stay in the rhythm of writing…but write something (say, a short story) in a genre you once thought you’d never master. (Even try your hand at poetry!) Once you’ve written a short piece—just for fun—you’ll find yourself ready to head back to tackle your current WIP.
This bit of advice actually helped me find my way to the subject of my sophomore novel, PLAYING HURT, due out in 2011…My debut (A BLUE SO DARK) is a literary problem novel. PLAYING HURT is a romance.
Yep, genre hopping. I’m pretty sure it’s the spice of life…
If you would like to find out more about Holly or her books, you can visit her website or her blog!
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Outcasts United - Warren St. John
The extraordinary tale of a refugee youth soccer team and the transformation of a small American town
Clarkston, Georgia, was a typical Southern town until it was designated a refugee settlement center in the 1990s, becoming the first American home for scores of families in flight from the world’s war zones—from Liberia and Sudan to Iraq and Afghanistan. Suddenly Clarkston’s streets were filled with women wearing the hijab, the smells of cumin and curry, and kids of all colors playing soccer in any open space they could find. The town also became home to Luma Mufleh, an American-educated Jordanian woman who founded a youth soccer team to unify Clarkston’s refugee children and keep them off the streets. These kids named themselves the Fugees.
Set against the backdrop of an American town that without its consent had become a vast social experiment, Outcasts United follows a pivotal season in the life of the Fugees and their charismatic coach....
Outcasts United is actually my required reading for freshman seminar. I read the introduction, and I look forward to reading the rest. :P
Monday, July 26, 2010
Last week, I went on vacation to Washington D.C. and New York City. The trip was exhausting, but fun. In NYC, I went to The Strand, which is a HUUUGE bookstore. I fell in love with it. :P I highly recommend anyone visiting NYC and love books to check it out.
My cousins from Canada are coming over today and are staying for about two weeks, so my posts will probably be minimal. Afterwards, I plan on posting more. I still need to write my reveiw for Forget You by Jennifer Echols. I also will try to schedule some posts because I know once my college starts, I will be super busy! If you're wondering, I'm going to be a freshman at Georgia Tech. Go Jackets! :D
Oh, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to comment below or email me at towerofbooks(at)gmail(dot)com. I like getting to know my readers. ;)
Friday, July 9, 2010
A lawyer's advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee's classic novel—a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with rich humor and unswerving honesty the irrationality of adult attitudes toward race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence, and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina and quiet heroism of one man's struggle for justice—but the weight of history will only tolerate so much.
The 50th anniversary edition of one of the best-loved books in American history: Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning classic To Kill a Mockingbird. Featuring some of the most memorable characters in literary history—attorney Atticus Finch, his children Scout and Jem, and of course Boo Radley—To Kill a Mockingbird is the indelible story of race, class, and growing up in the Deep South of the 1930s.
To commemorate the Golden Anniversary of the “Best Novel of the 20th Century” (Library Journal poll of American librarians), filmmaker Mary Murphy has interviewed prominent figures—including Oprah, Anna Quindlen, and Tom Brokaw—on how the book has impacted their lives, and compiled the interviews in Scout, Atticus, and Boo: the perfect companion to one of the most important American books of the 20th Century. Additionally, Scout, Atticus, and Boo features a foreword from acclaimed writer Wally Lamb.
July 11th marks the 50th anniversary of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. To celebrate the occasion, I was given the opportunity to give away 2 sets of To Kill a Mockingbird and a book companion, Scout, Atticus, and Boo: A Celebration of 50 Years of To Kill A Mockingbird. Also, many bookstores across the country are throwing parties for the book. You can find dates and participating stores here: http://tokillamockingbird50year.com/.
To enter this giveaway, complete the form below! USA only, and the deadline is July 17 at 12 p.m. :)
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
So, my question to you, how do you get yourself out of a reading slump?
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Peak - Roland Smith
After Peak Marcello is arrested for scaling a New York City skyscraper, he’s left with two choices: wither away in Juvenile Detention or to go live with his long-lost father, who runs a climbing company in Thailand. But Peak quickly learns that his father’s renewed interest in him has strings attached. Big strings. He wants Peak to be the youngest person to reach the Everest summit—and his motives are selfish at best. Even so, for a climbing addict like Peak, tackling Everest is the challenge of a lifetime. But it’s also one that could cost him his life.
Geek Magnet - Kieran Scott
Everybody loves KJ. Especially the geeks. See, KJ Miller is super nice, smart, pretty, the stage manager of her high school’s spring musical . . . and a total geek magnet. She’s like the geek pied piper of Washington High, drawing every socially clueless guy in a five-mile radius. If only Cameron, the hottest guy in school, would follow her around and worship her the way her entourage of dorks do. Enter Tama Gold, queen of the popular crowd, and solution to all of KJ’s problems. KJ is too nice, and the nice girl never gets the guy. Tama’s ready to help KJ get cruel, ditch the dorks, and win Cameron’s heart. But is KJ?
Band Geek Love - Josie Bloss
All band, all the time. That's how trumpet goddess Ellie Snow has made it to senior year. No drama, no dating. Just keeping lock-step within the safe precision of the Winslow Marching Band. She's a fierce section leader now, and so over the heart-crushing social disaster of her freshman year. No boy is going to ruin Ellie's shining moment-her senior solo performance at the homecoming game.
And then Connor Higgins shows up. Not even Ellie can resist the trumpet player who could be a model for Abercrombie & Fitch. It's a hook-up made in band-geek heaven! But Ellie's not ready to publicize their romance, not even to her best friends. After all, Connor's just a sophomore. What would everyone say? Breaking formation and revealing her true self would be like . . . marching on the field completely naked!
Then Ellie discovers the flipside of secrets and how it feels to be shut out by the ones she loves.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
The Pillow Book of Lotus Lowenstein - Libby Schmais (from Book Divas)
Lotus Lowenstein's life is merde. She dreams of moving to Paris and becoming an existentialist. Yet here she is trapped in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with a New-Agey mom, an out-of-work dad, and a chess champion brother who dreams of being a rock star. Merci à Dieu for Lotus’s best friend, Joni, who loves French culture enough to cofound their high school’s first French Club with Lotus. At the first meeting, the cutest boy in the world walks in. His name is Sean, and he too loves French culture and worships Jean-Paul Sartre.
At first, Lotus thinks Sean is the best thing to happen to her in years. He’s smart, cultured, and adorable. Unfortunately, though, Joni feels the same way. And having an existentialist view of love, Sean sees nothing wrong with enjoying both girls’ affections. Things come to a head when all three depart for Montreal with their teacher, Ms. G, on the French Club’s first official field trip. Will Sean choose Joni over Lotus? And will Lotus and Joni’s friendship ever recover?
Thursday, June 24, 2010
This week's book is Butterfly by Sonya Hartnett. The video is the trailer of the 2008 film Flashbacks of a Fool. Even though the novel and movie are different, a character in Butterfly (Maureen) strongly reminded me of a character in Flashbacks of a Fool (Evelyn). Enjoy!
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
The Unwritten Rule is my first Elizabeth Scott novel. To be honest, I was slightly disappointed. I felt that Scott did not fulfill the book's complete potential. Scott characterizes Brianna as a bossy person, who only shows affection through unkind remarks. Throughout the novel, I was just waiting for Sarah to stand up for herself. I felt like she was a complete pushover. Scott demonstrates that Brianna's nature is due to her parents' treatment of her. However, I still could not feel sympathetic towards her.
The ending took me by surprise. I expected a "and they all lived happily ever after" sort of ending, but it was not. Without spoiling anything, Scott ends the novel in a way that makes complete sense with the characters in the novel. It's hard to say much without spoiling.
After reading The Unwritten Rule, I can see that Scott is an author that is not afraid to take risks. In this case, I thought that some of risks worked (the ending), while others failed (Brianna's character). I look forward to reading more books by Scott. I currently have Perfect You on my bookshelf, and her more serious novels look fantastic too.
Elizabeth Scott's Site
I won this book from a giveaway.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Speaking of summer, I wanted to know how your summer is! Not too mention, I have a great opportunity for all of my readers! Meaning, giveaway time. Just fill out the form (link below) for a chance to win a $40 gift card, which you can use at any CSN Store! There may be shipping charges or, in the case of Canadian addresses, international fees for certain products. Giveaway ends July 4th.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
This week's book is Saving Zoë by Alyson Noel, which I finished reading last night (and loved!). I decided to show a book trailer. Enjoy!
Monday, June 14, 2010
Hollywood is completely different from Alexia's hometown, Morganstown, West Virginia. For one, the guys are a LOT more hunkier. Alexia soon finds herself in a romance with Grant Delray. The only problem is, he thinks she is Kari Kingsley! Will Alexia ever be able to tell Grant her true identity, and will he want anything to do with her afterwards?
I really enjoyed reading My Double Life. On first glance, the novel seems like sugary sweet goodness, without any true substance. Rallison, however, cleverly adds in a family plot line, that not only gives the book substance, but also makes it unique. I also liked how Rallison made Alexia half-Latino. Doing this allowed Alexia to be a memorable character. Another character I enjoyed was Kari Kingsley. Rallison's portrayal of Kari revealed that even Kari, who has always been surrounded by Hollywood, struggles with her fame. Humanizing Kari allowed readers to sympathize with her situation, even if the sympathy was little.
Another reason I liked My Double Life was that the book allowed me to view an event I have fantasized about. I mean, we have all dreamed about becoming famous right? Like the rest of us, Alexia dreamed about it, and she got to fulfill her fantasy. It was a fun adventure, and I was definitely swooning over Grant Delray, especially near the end. As I was reading, I was practically grinning ear to ear. Yes, I became starstruck over a fictional character. The only problem I had with My Double Life was the end. I felt that a part of it seemed too good to be true.
I recommend My Double Life to anyone who has ever fantasized about being famous.
Jennifer Rallison's Site
I received My Double Life from Book Divas.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
Kristin Harmel's novel After takes a common plotline, a dead family member, and puts a unique twist on it. Most of the grief-related books I have read were very intense. Given the subject matter, this seems like a given. I mean, a book about grief has to intense, right? Well, as I read After, I learned that grief-related books do not have to be intense. While, I certainly would not call After a light-hearted read, the novel was much lighter than I expected. I thought this was a pleasant change from the typically heart-wrenching grief novels.
One major problem I had with After was that parts of the novel felt a bit contrived. Throughout the novel, Lacey tries to keep her composure, and she pretty much succeeds. This did not really seem believable. I would have enjoyed having a more flawed protagonist. I also think, that between Lacey and Logan, Logan was the more interesting character. I felt that seeing his way of dealing with grief (or not dealing with it) was much more interesting than Lacey's story. Last, Sam just seemed too good to be true. Sam recently moved to Lacey's town. He doesn't drink. He's a nice guy. He's been through a situation similar to Lacey's. I mean, really, what are the chances of that?
Kristin Harmel's Site
I received this book from Book Divas.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Friday, April 30, 2010
I generally write my own summaries, but I happen to love the summary from Annick Press's website for Nothing But Your Skin, so I am using it.
Louella hates her name. She’s obsessed with colors and when she gets upset, she yells herself hoarse. People call her “slow,” but Lou knows one thing for sure: she wants to be with her boyfriend—no matter what her parents or doctors think. Poignantly and sensitively told, Nothing But Your Skin chronicles the aftermath of a mentally challenged girl’s decision to have sex.
Nothing But Your Skin is a simple, yet powerful love story. From the beginning Cathy Ytak engulfs readers into a her story. The plot line itself, a mentally challenged girl decides to have sex, is unique, and I really enjoyed it. Lately, it seems like many YA novels share similarities, so this short story was refreshing. I also liked how Ytak touched onto the thoughts of Louella's family. By doing this, Ytak demonstrated Lou's feeling of alienation (because her parents do not believe Lou chose to have sex), which is something all teens can relate to. Because the story was rather short, however, Ytak did not delve quite as deep as I would have liked. Maybe a few pages longer would have been nice.
This short story strongly reminded me of a Korean movie, Oasis. If any of you have watched and enjoyed it, then I strongly suggest you grab a copy of Nothing But Your Skin/The Pool Was Empty.
Below is a book trailer for the Single Voices series:
Six bloggers were chosen to review each story, so below are the links to the other bloggers!
The Pool Was Empty/Hey! Teenager of the Year
Descent Into Paradise/Greenbean Teen Queen
A Place to Live/The Book Muncher
I Am Not Emmanuelle/Cindy's Love of Books
Sunday, April 25, 2010
The Unwritten Rule - Elizabeth Scott
After - Kristin Harmel
Lacey's world shatters when her dad is killed in a car accident. And secretly? She feels like it’s her fault. If she hadn’t taken her own sweet time getting ready that morning . . . well, it never would have happened. Her mom wouldn’t be a basket case. Her brother Logan wouldn’t drink. And her little brother would still have two parents.
But life goes on even if you don’t want it to. And when Lacey gets the chance to make a difference in the lives of some people at school, she jumps at it. Making lemonade out of lemons is her specialty. Except she didn’t count on meeting a guy like Sam. Or that sometimes? Lemonade can be a pretty bitter drink to swallow.
Getting Her Pretty Back - Molly Ringwald
To her millions of fans, Molly Ringwald will forever be sixteen. As the endearing and witty star of the beloved John Hughes classics Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Pretty in Pink, Molly defined teenage angst, love, and heartbreak. While remembered eternally as the enviable high school princess Claire, or the shy, vulnerable Samantha, Molly has just celebrated her fortieth birthday. Facing a completely new, angst-inducing time in her life, she is embracing being a woman, wife, mother of three, actress, and best friend with her trademark style, candor, and humor.
In Getting the Pretty Back, Molly encourages every woman to become "the sexiest, funniest, smartest, best-dressed, and most confident woman that you can be." She shares personal anecdotes and entertaining insights about the struggle to get through the murky milestones and identity issues that crop up long after the prom ends. Whether she's discussing sex and beauty, personal style, travel and entertaining, motherhood, or friendship, Molly embodies the spirit of being fabulous at every age, and reminds us all that prettiness is a state of mind: it's "the part of you that knows what you really want, that takes risks."Lavishly illustrated by Ruben Toledo, Getting the Pretty Back is sure to charm women of all ages with Molly's unforgettably personal, refreshingly outspoken take on life, love, and, of course, finding that perfect red lipstick. . .
Friday, April 23, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
This week's book is The Dark Divine by Bree Despain. On her website, she has a book playlist for her novel, so this week I've featured two of the songs. Enjoy and be sure to check out the rest of the songs on the playlist!
This song is What Sarah Said by Death Cab for Cutie. I absolutely love this song, and it fits the book perfectly!
I put a slight twist on the next song, which is Creep, originally by Radiohead. Thanks to all the embed codes disabled on the Radiohead videos, I chose Sad Kermit's version. :P Enjoy!
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
I found Becoming Chloe to be a refreshing and inspirational read. A lot of YA novels out today tend to overcomplicate things by adding paranormal elements or controversial topics. Catherine Ryan Hyde, however, goes to opposite route by making a fairly simple novel, and in my opinion, simplicity can be much harder to write about. Luckily, Hyde did an excellent job writing this novel. In essence, Becoming Chloe is about two teens trying to make the most of their lives. Hyde could have easily focused the novel on the struggles Jordy and Chloe have faced, but she doesn't. Instead, her focus is on the beauty of the world. The simplicity of this novel is what makes it so wonderful. The novel reveals that beauty still exists in a world that is so full of hate. A very simple, yet powerful message, very much like the book itself.
The road trip in this book was epic, to say the least. With little money, Chloe and Jordy plan to go from New York City to the West Coast, where they can ride horses on the beach. Their trip is not without struggles, but to see Jordy and Chloe make so much of their horrible lives was inspiring. This novel seriously makes me want to spread hope, peace, and love. Ha.
I recommend Becoming Chloe to anyone who is looking to find hope in the world.
Catherine Ryan Hyde's Site
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Caragh M. O'Brien's Birthmarked is a wonderful example of great dystopian fiction. One of my favorite things about this novel was the protagonist, Gaia, who reminds me of Katniss from The Hunger Games. Gaia's spunky, clever, and easy to relate to. Like Gaia, I think all teenagers are just looking for some answers. Another thing I enjoyed about this novel was the use of codes. Without giving any spoilers, I thought O'Brien's code was really clever. The use of codes was made even more clever when readers learn of the importance of genetics in the novel. (Get it, genetic codes?) :P
Out of all the novels I've read, this one has one of the most intriguing opening chapters. O'Brien starts Birthmarked with a birth scene. The scene will effectively reel readers in, and it also gives them a feel of the rest of the novel. The press release that came with this novel called it a cross between A Handmaid's Tale and The Hunger Games. Seeing as I've never read A Handmaid's Tale, I cannot tell you if that part is accurate. I do, however, believe The Hunger Games comparison is accurate, as I mentioned earlier with the similar protagonists.
Overall, Birthmarked is a great dystopian novel that should not be missed.
Caragh M. O'Brien's Site
Roaring Brook Press
I received this book from Holt's InGroup program.
Monday, April 19, 2010
I decided to bookmooch Beginners' Love after seeing this post over the summer. Frankly, I was curious to see just how much time can affect a YA novel. I found myself somewhat surprised. Norma Klein did a wonderful job writing Beginners' Love. If I was a teen in the 80s, I would have loved this book. I found Beginners' Love to be a very realistic novel, which shocked me. As a current teen, I thought any 80s YA novel would shy away from important topics like sex. While I think Klein could have done a better job, I was still impressed. In a way, this book even reminded me Anatomy of a Boyfriend.
Beginners' Love did have a few generation gap differences (if that makes sense). I seriously had no idea what a diaphragm was until I read this. Also, I did not understand most of the pop culture references. This book also made me realize how smoking is perceived has changed over the years. My main dislike about Beginners' Love was the poor ending. Throughout the entire book, Klein wrote about provocative subjects. At the end, however, it seemed like she avoided truly discussing the controversial topics, which made no sense to me. Had this book been written in today's society, I think Klein would have hit these topics straight on.
In a way, reading this book was like time traveling. I felt myself warped into a world similar, yet completely different from my own. This book also poses an important question: Can current YA novels stand the test of time? I think a select few can. While I hope Twilight can be forgotten (too late for that, probably), I would love to see my children reading The Hunger Games.
Norma Klein Obituary
I received this book from a trade.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Forget You - Jennifer Echols (ARC)
When swim team captain Zoey wakes up from a car accident with partial amnesia, she is torn between the boy she remembers...and the one she doesn't.
You can actually find the cover of this online, but I thought this was more fitting, seeing as the ARC does not have the cover. ;)
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
100. The Egypt Game - Snyder (1967) I really enjoyed this book as kid. I kind of wished it was higher though.
99. The Indian in the Cupboard - Banks (1980)
98. Children of Green Knowe - Boston (1954)
97. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane - DiCamillo (2006)
96. The Witches - Dahl (1983)
95. Pippi Longstocking - Lindgren (1950
94. Swallows and Amazons - Ransome (1930)
93. Caddie Woodlawn - Brink (1935)
92. Ella Enchanted - Levine (1997)
91. Sideways Stories from Wayside School - Sachar (1978) Hilarious series. My teacher read these books to my class, and everyone loved them.
90. Sarah, Plain and Tall - MacLachlan (1985) Meh, I didn't like this one.
89. Ramona and Her Father - Cleary (1977)
88. The High King - Alexander (1968)
87. The View from Saturday - Konigsburg (1996)
86. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - Rowling (1999)
85. On the Banks of Plum Creek - Wilder (1937)
84. The Little White Horse - Goudge (1946)
83. The Thief - Turner (1997)
82. The Book of Three - Alexander (1964)
81. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon - Lin (2009)
80. The Graveyard Book - Gaiman (2008)
79. All-of-a-Kind-Family - Taylor (1951)
78. Johnny Tremain - Forbes (1943)
77. The City of Ember - DuPrau (2003) I read this book in middle school and thought it was okay.
76. Out of the Dust - Hesse (1997)
75. Love That Dog - Creech (2001)
74. The Borrowers - Norton (1953)
73. My Side of the Mountain - George (1959)
72. My Father's Dragon - Gannett (1948)
71. The Bad Beginning - Snicket (1999) I love this series, but I hated this book. In elementary school, I tried reading this book. I didn't like it, so I read the 7th (yeah, I never got the whole reading a series in order as a kid). I ended up loved the series.
70. Betsy-Tacy - Lovelae (1940)
69. The Mysterious Benedict Society - Stewart ( 2007)
68. Walk Two Moons - Creech (1994)
67. Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher - Coville (1991)
66. Henry Huggins - Cleary (1950)
65. Ballet Shoes - Stratfeild (1936)
64. A Long Way from Chicago - Peck (1998)
63. Gone-Away Lake - Enright (1957)
62. The Secret of the Old Clock - Keene (1959)
61. Stargirl - Spinelli (2000)
60. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle - Avi (1990) Didn't like this book at all.
59. Inkheart - Funke (2003)
58. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase - Aiken (1962)
57. Ramona Quimby, Age 8 - Cleary (1981)
56. Number the Stars - Lowry (1989)
55. The Great Gilly Hopkins - Paterson (1978)
54. The BFG - Dahl (1982)
53. Wind in the Willows - Grahame (1908)
52. The Invention of Hugo Cabret (2007)
51. The Saturdays - Enright (1941)
50. Island of the Blue Dolphins - O'Dell (1960)
49. Frindle - Clements (1996) Pretty inspiring, but all of Clements's novels follow the same skeleton. :/
48. The Penderwicks - Birdsall (2005)
47. Bud, Not Buddy - Curtis (1999)
46. Where the Red Fern Grows - Rawls (1961) This should be in the top 10!!!!
45. The Golden Compass - Pullman (1995) I think a teen can appreciate this novel more than a kid. I had to force myself to finish it. The end was the best part IMO though.
44. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing - Blume (1972) I remember reading and liking this book, but I can't remember particulars.
43. Ramona the Pest - Cleary (1968)
42. Little House on the Prairie - Wilder (1935)
41. The Witch of Blackbird Pond - Speare (1958) This was one of my favorite books in elementary schools. When I reread it middle school, however, I didn't like it as much.
40. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - Baum (1900)
39. When You Reach Me - Stead (2009)
38. HP and the Order of the Phoenix - Rowling (2003) I'm a HP fan. :)
37. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry - Taylor (1976) Don't remember this one much. It was okay, I guess.
36. Are You there, God? It's Me, Margaret - Blume (1970)
35. HP and the Goblet of Fire - Rowling (2000) I'm a minority, but this is either my 1-2 favorite book of the series.
34. The Watsons Go to Birmingham - Curtis (1995) This book has one of my favorite scenes from a children's book. (brownie points [and maybe more!] if you can guess which one in the comments)
33. James and the Giant Peach - Dahl (1961)
32. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH - O'Brian (1971)
31. Half Magic - Eager (1954)
30. Winnie-the-Pooh - Milne (1926)
29. The Dark Is Rising - Cooper (1973)
28. A Little Princess - Burnett (1905)
27. Alice I and II - Carroll (1865/72) LOVED the books!
26. Hatchet - Paulsen (1989)
25. Little Women - Alcott (1868/9) This was nice, surprisingly.
24. HP and the Deathly Hallows - Rowling (2007) <3 style="font-weight: bold;">22. The Tale of Despereaux - DiCamillo (2003) This book was ADORABLE!
21. The Lightening Thief - Riordan (2005)
20. Tuck Everlasting - Babbitt (1975) This was another one I didn't think I would like as kid, but I did. I thought Babbitt made a great choice with the decision the protagonist makes in the end.
19. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Dahl (1964)
18. Matilda - Dahl (1988)
17. Maniac Magee - Spinelli (1990)
16. Harriet the Spy - Fitzhugh (1964)
15. Because of Winn-Dixie - DiCamillo (2000)
14. HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Rowling (1999)
13. Bridge to Terabithia - Paterson (1977) Sweet book.
12. The Hobbit - Tolkien (1938)
11. The Westing Game - Raskin (1978) This is personally my favorite children's novel.
10. The Phantom Tollbooth - Juster (1961) I read the play based on the book. It was okay.
9. Anne of Green Gables - Montgomery (1908)
8. The Secret Garden - Burnett (1911)
7. The Giver -Lowry (1993) How can you not like this book?
6. Holes - Sachar (1998) I liked it, but I think the rank should be in the teens.
5. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - Koningsburg (1967)
4. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - Lewis (1950)
3. Harry Potter #1 - Rowling (1997) To be honest, this was the weakest book in the series in my opinion. Once again, I didn't understand the concept of reading a series in order as a kid, so I read the second one first. This caused the first book to drag when I read it.
2. A Wrinkle in Time - L'Engle (1962)
1. Charlotte's Web - White (1952) Definitely deserving. :)
100. Hate List by Jennifer Brown
99. Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix
98. A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly
97. Among The Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix Nice dystopian novel.
96. Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Claus
95. Forever by Judy Blume
94. The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
93. Tithe by Holly Black
92. Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott
91. Wings by Aprillynne Pike
90. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
89. Angus, Thongs And Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
88. Marked by PC And Kristin Cast
87. Maximum Ride series by James Patterson
86. The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky This book should be higher ranked.
85. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
84. I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak
83. Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
82. The Mediator series by Meg Cabot
81. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
80. Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
79. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald One of my favorite books I've read in high school.
78. Along For The Ride by Sarah Dessen The only Sarah Dessen book I've read, and I liked it!
77. Evernight by Claudia Gray
76. If I Stay by Gayle Foreman
75. Life As We Knew It series by Susan Beth Pfeffer
74. Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
73. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
72. Alana: The First Adventure series by Tamora Pierce I read the first one and loved it.
71. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
70. Unwind by Neil Shusterman
69. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
68. Paper Towns by John Green This is one of my favorite books.
67. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles-
66. A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith
65. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
64. The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time by Mark Haddon
63. The Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
62. Blue Bloods series by Melissa De La Cruz- BLAH!
61. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
60. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
59. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt see #20 on children's list
58. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
57. Eragon by Christopher Paoloni
56. Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine
55. The Vampire Diaries by LJ Smith
54. Fallen by Lauren Kate
53. The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. The Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot
51. Inkheart series by Cornelia Funke
50. Number The Stars by Lois Lowry
49. Lord Of The Flies by William Golding I read this a few years ago. I need to read it again, but I liked it.
48. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
47. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares
46. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
45. The Summoning series by Kelley Armstrong
44. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
43. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
42. Ender's Game series by Orson Scott Card
41. Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
40. Wake series by Lisa McMann read the first one
39. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
38. Are You There Good? It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume
37. Looking For Alaska by John Green Even though I personally liked Paper Towns more, if I am being unbiased, I think this one deserves a higher ranked than Paper Towns.
36. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
35. A Great And Terrible Beauty series by Libba Bray
34. His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillip Pullman read the first, but I couldn't be bothered to read the rest.
33. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
32. Romeo And Juliet by William Shakespeare I like MacBeth and Othello better...
31. The Dark Divine by Bree Despain I'm reading this now. It's a slow process.
30. Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr
29. Forest of Hands And Teeth by Carrie Ryan I liked this, but I don't think it deserved this high of a rank.
28. Holes by Louis Sachar see #6 on children's list
27. The Outsiders by SE Hinton I didn't like this.
26. The Catcher In The Rye by JD Salinger Deserves to be higher.
25. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
24. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
23. The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank
22.Uglies series by Scott Westerfield
21. Beautiful Creatures by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia
20. Poison Study series by Maria V. Snyder
19. Book Thief by Markus Zusak I loved this.
18. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carlson Levine
17. Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
16. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
15. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott see #25 on children's list.
14. Anne of Green Gables series by LM Montgomery
13. The Giver by Lois Lowry see #7 on children's
12. The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare I have only read the first one, but I enjoyed it.
11. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
10. Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
9. A Wrinkle In Time series by Madeline L'engle
8. Graceling series by Kristin Cashore
7. Percy Jackson And The Olympians by Rick Riordan
6. Nick And Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
5. Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austen
4. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee Well deserved.
3. Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer I've read the firs two. Way overrated.
2. Harry Potter series by JK Rowling I'm a HP fanatic.
1. The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins I've read The Hunger Games. I have a problem with a series that hasn't been completed yet being #1 though...
What are your thoughts? The most interesting thing about these lists are the novels that overlap. Most shockingly, I can't believe Little Women is higher ranked on the YA list than on the children's list. I have always considered it more of a kid's book. :/
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Butterfly - Sonya Hartnett (ARC)
Growing up during the 1980s in the safe complacency of the Australian suburbs, Plum Coyle should be happy. But on the cusp of her fourteenth birthday - and on the fringe of her peer group - she lives in terror of the disapproval of her cruel and fickle girlfriends, and most of all, she hates her awkward, changing body with a passion.So when Plum's glamorous next-door neighbour Maureen, a young wife and mother, befriends Plum, Plum responds with worshipful fervour. Plum feels herself reinvented. With Maureen, she becomes the girl she's always wanted to be. But Maureen has an ulterior motive for taking Plum under her wing...
(My ARC cover is different, but I can't find it. I think this one is the Australian cover.)
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Can't you just feel the tension seeping off the cover?
Monday, April 5, 2010
Ever since I heard of this book, I wanted to read it. Even all the negative reviews did not steer me away. Either I'm stubborn, or I wanted to form my own opinion. My own opinion mirrors that of the negative reviews: I had problems with this novel.
I wanted this novel to be a light-hearted love story, with some family elements, maybe a cross between Isabelle's Boyfriend and Little Black Lies. Unfortunately, I did not get that. From the summary, readers are led to believe that El's new life is a recent change. Once I began reading, I learned that the change was over a year ago. I really just wanted to scream, "GET OVER IT," it meaning El's new life and her crush on Eric. I found El to be a selfish and shallow character, and I just could not find any sympathy for her.
Karen Tayleur throws a major twist towards the end of the novel. The twist took me by a complete surprise, and I was literally sobbing at it. After I finished crying, however, I was left scratching my head. I could not find an actual purpose for the twist, other than to shock readers. The twist made some of El's actions throughout the novel more understandable, but I feel like Tayleur could have added more depth to the book if readers knew of the twist from the beginning. Instead, Tayleur decided to veer readers on a completely different path, only to reveal the truth at the end. I do not want it to sound like I dislike twists because I generally enjoy them. Chasing Boys was just not a book that would have benefited from one.
Having said that, the fact that I cried must have meant that I had some sort of emotional connections to the characters. I realized that El was not as selfish and shallow as I once thought. Overall, I just wish Tayleur would have developed El more throughout the novel, rather than just waiting for the twist to explain everything. On a more positive note, the romance elements were fun, even if they were predictable, but I would not pick up Chasing Boys just for the romance. I have read many books that do romance better.
Even though my opinion mirrored the negative reviews, I do not regret picking up this novel. Making your own opinions is important, and if this book seems interesting, you should pick it up. Maybe you will enjoy the twist (and book) more than I did. :)
Karen Tayleur's Site
I won this book through a contest.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Wherever Nina Lies - Lynn Weingarten
Nina was beautiful, wild, and adored by her younger sister, Ellie. But one day, Nina disappeared. 2 years later, everyone has given up hope that Nina will return, but Ellie knows her sister is out there. If only Ellie had a clue where to look.Then she gets one, in the form of a mysterious drawing. Determined to find Nina, Ellie takes off on a crazy, sexy cross-country road trip with the only person who believes she's got a chance - her hot, adventurous new crush. Along the way, Ellie finds a few things she wasn't planning on. Like love. Lies. And the most shocking thing of all: the truth.
The book contains interior black-and-white illustrations, since the sister's drawings play a crucial role in the story.