Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Frustrating Characters

hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.
This was easier than I expected it to be.  O.o

1. Mrs. Lincoln (Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl) - GAH! I just really need her and the rest of the idiots in this book to disappear.  I really cannot stand how this woman and so many other little disciples of this woman are cruel because Lena is different.  It's infuriating!

2. Mr. Price (A Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling) - He is another one of those characters that just make me want to walk into the story and shoot.  As if his corrupt mind weren't enough, the abuse he bestows upon his family is inexcusable and criminal.

3. Harry Potter (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling) - Normally I would say Harry is a great character with the best strengths as well as weaknesses, but in this books he is annoyingly angsty for being a teenager.  The way he sulks around and tells nothing to anyone, makes me want to hit him upside the head and tell him to check himself.

4. Mr. Ruskin (Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin) - This meddles in everything and uses his connections and title to manipulate and destroy lives of those that cross his.  He is one of the characters I end up truly furious because of things he's done.

5. Sadie (Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald) - She has it bad for her best friend and it's frustrating.  She basically gives up her opinions and melts into a Garrett crony.  This makes me crazy, no person should become someone else to try to impress someone.

6. Caroline Bingley (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen) - I'm not a huge fan of this woman.  She is scheming and manipulative, which causes much unnecessary misfortune in this novel.

7. Mildred Montag (Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury - She's a careless, self-absorbed, and a product of her society.  She cares more about having a house lined with television screens than being able to pay for it.  She cares not at all about her husband.

8. Daisy Buchanan (The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald) - She is just a very disappointing character.  There was an opportunity for her to be great, but alas she cannot overcome the comfort that her husband and his wealth gives her.

9. Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini) - I get that he was a teenage boy that lost a lot and found a dragon, but seriously no one person can be this stupid.  He should be able to put two and two together, but most of the time he doesn't until it's too late.

10. Bella Swan (Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer) - Well. This should be self explanatory.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Liebster Blog Award

Thank you Monica @ Welcome to the World of Monica for nominating me for this award. I don't know why you did it, but wow, I really appreciate it! Cool.

There are some rules: 
1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog and link back to the blogger who presented this award to you.
2. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator, list 11 random facts about yourself and create 11 questions for your nominees.
3. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 11 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen. (No tag backs)
4. Copy and paste the blog award on you blog.  

My answers to Monica's questions:
1. What is your favorite food?
I'm a big fan of Mexican and Lebanese food. 

2. What is your favorite band?
You might hate me here, but One Direction is really capturing my attention right now, but you know I also have a thing for Fun.  I can't decide.

3. If you can't answer that question because you have too many, then what is your favorite genre of music?
With very few exceptions, I love(like) most music.  I can tell you I DON'T like Nickleback. 

4. Have you ever dog-eared a book in your life? Be honest, now.
I can't recall I time that I've ever dog-eared a book, but I was young and foolish once, so it could have happened.  Who knows.

5. Have you ever really HATED someone?  As in, not that person annoys me, but I REALLY hate that person?  
No, I strongly dislike people from time to time, but something seriously has to be wrong for that.  I get along with most everyone though.

6. Peanut butter: Do you like crunchy or creamy better? (if you're allergic, please don't be offended by this question)
I'm going to make a judgement call here and say creamy. (Sorry second love, crunchy.)

7. Has there ever been a book you didn't want to read or didn't think about reading but then you saw the movie and decided to read it?  If so, which book&movie?
This happened to me with Eragon. I had no interest in the book, it seemed to long, but I saw the movie and enjoyed it so I gave the book a try.  Unfortunately, I didn't really like the book, but I still like the movie.

8. Which do you prefer: Barnes and Noble.com or Amazon.com?
Barnes and Noble

9. How long have you been reading? Since High School, Middle School, or before you can remember (or other specified time frame)?
I have a very clear memory of myself as a toddler sitting with a stack of books equivalent to my size, reading to myself.  I memorized which words went to which pages, so I wouldn't have to wait for my parents to read to me.  

10. Do you have a favorite TV show or Movie?
Right now I'd say, if it's made by BBC I'll watch it. (Sherlock, Doctor Who, Merlin)

11. The Vampire Academy (by Richelle Mead): Dimitri or Adrian?
I haven't read this, sorry.

Here's the facts:
1. I've recently become a neat freak, but only where the kitchen is concerned.  You've been warned. 
2. I pick which books I should read mostly on the title and the book cover.  I never read the jacket because they give too much away.  I like the surprise.
3. I constantly have dreams where I become apart of my favorite books.
4. I love babies.  They are so cute and adorable!
5. I am a sentimental person, I love keepsakes that remind me of my favorite memories.
6. I am a huge fan of Doctor Who even though I only started watching it last year.  
7. I love movies and going to the theater alone, it's very relaxing.
8. I love musicals and enjoy preforming in them as often as I can fit them into my schedule.
9. I love spicy food!  
10. When I was younger my mom had to ban me from buying books because I had so many.
11. I love Disney! (It's my jam.)

I nominate you!

Here are my 11 questions:
1. How long have you been book blogging?
2. Do you have a favorite genre of books?
3. Which book made you fall in love with reading?
4. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you go?
5. What is your favorite dessert?
6. Do you have a bucket list?  If so, what's something on that list that you'd like to accomplish this year?
7. What else do you do (when you're not reading)?
8. Is there a book that you know you should read, but you're putting it off?
9. How do you arrange your bookshelf?
10. What book have you reread several times?
11. If you could have a superpower, what would it be?


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Setting I'd Like to See

hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.

1. I think it would be really interesting to read a book that set on a ship at sea.  A long time ago I read The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi and really enjoyed that, so I would love to read more books with that setting.

2. A jungle setting would be cool.  I would be interested to see how characters would interact with the on-goings of a jungle, like the Jungle Book.

3. I love Arthurian legend and find the medieval setting fascinating.  So of course, I would like to see more books set in this time period. 

4. More of the Harry Potter Universe is something I will continuously crave, but who doesn't want to know more about the past and the future.  It's so interesting and really well thought out.  I know J.K. Rowling has all the answers, so she should think about sharing them. (please!)

5. A lot of the books I read are set in the US, but I would like to see more in different countries like Australia and France.  I think it's cool to incorporate aspects of the city culture into a book and  it adds to the atmosphere of the story.

6. I love a good ghost story!  There should be more novels set in towns that have a legend attached to them, something to spook the reader.

7. I feel like a lot of stories take place in either the winter of the summer, I'd like to see more take place in the fall.  I absolutely love the fall, so it would be cool.

8. I'd like to see a story set underwater.  I don't know why, but I'm fairly certain I would really enjoy reading a book about an underwater society.

9. Road trip!  I think everyone could do with a little more on-the-road type stories.  I really enjoyed some of the stories like this in the past, but I haven't come across very many recently.

10. I always love high fantasy worlds that are created by authors, there can never be too many.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Anna and the French Kiss

by Stephanie Perkins
Published: Dutton, 2010
Pages: 372

Anna Oliphant wouldn't normally say no to a year in Paris, but when her dad insists that she attend boarding school she does not want to go.  A new country, new friends, this is not how Anna expected to spend her senior year of high school.  When she meets Etienne St. Clair, his perfect hair and British accent grab Anna's attention immediately.  The only thing wrong with the picture is St. Clair's serious girlfriend.  Dreams can come true in the city of love, but will Anna's?

It's been a while since I've pick up a book and finished it in one or two sittings, but this story hooked me from the start.  The incredible setting, Paris - the film capitol of the world, took life in this story.  Anna's discovery of the city through famous monuments felt like mine.  It heightened my desire to travel.

The characters was captivating; the beautiful, intelligent Anna, the charismatic, confident St. Clair, and the rest of the cast, Rashmi, Josh, and Meredith.  The friendship dynamics in this group of friends are realistic and unbelievably entertaining.  I really enjoyed reading about these characters, as if they were my own friends.

Miscommunication is one of the central reasons for all the conflict in this story, and let's be honest miscommunication is the key to a lot of real life conflict, especially in High school. Stephanie Perkins nails the high school life and relationships extraordinary.  Her writing is captivating, enthusiastic and absolutely adorable. With this book she has become a part of my author auto-buy club.  I look forward to reading Lola and the Boy Next Door and her other coming books!

Stars: 4/5


"Very sly. Very Funny. Very romantic.  You should date this book."
              -- Maureen Johnson, New York Times bestselling author of 13 Little Blue Envelopes

"Smart and sensual, Anna and the French Kiss is everything your heart is longing for.  You'll want to live inside this story forever."
               -- Lisa McMann, New York Times bestselling author of the Wake Trilogy

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: 2013 Debuts I'm Looking Forward to

hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.

Because I choose books mainly by recommendation, book cover and title, this is a bit challenging. I don't really like knowing what the book is about going in, so I'm going to give you books with covers that I find memorizing.

 How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Release: May 2013

Release: April 2013

Poison by Bridget Zinn
Release: March 2013

Release: March 2013
The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
Release: January 2013

Release: April 2013

The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller
Release: May 2013

Release: January 2013
Between The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke
Release: August 2013

Release: March 2013

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Casual Vacancy

by J.K. Rowling
Published: Little Brown, 2012
Pages: 512

When councilman Barry Fairbrother dies unexpectedly, he leaves behind an entire town that feels his loss in some way, whether it's a missing father, friend, mentor or an open seat on the local government.  The town of Pagford copes with his death the only way they know how, launching into a war that can only be seen if you really pay attention.  What can be gained from Barry's death, only the town can answer that question.

I tried to remember going into this book that Hogwarts would not appear anywhere, nor would Harry come walking down the streets of Pagford or Yarville.  It seems incredible that the same person wrote both this book and the Harry Potter series, they couldn't be more different.  I'm glad of that actually; this book is quite good.

There is a wide variety of characters in this book, ranging from despicable and loathsome to victims of circumstance. There are mothers who are too sweet for their own good, husbands that are too concerned with themselves to notice change, and teens that cause more damage than they realize with their cruel words.  All of these characters, even the worst are incredibly well developed.  There's a reason I felt anger at Andrew's father and sympathy and hope for Krystal.  Rowling's characters are well thought out and well rounded, I'm not sure there is one character in this book that isn't multidimensional. We see Pat Mollison for maybe 10 pages and get an understanding of her character and her motives better than some characters that take 300 pages to develop.

I thought the pacing of this book was a little inconsistent, though.  There were spots in the book that I really didn't care about, not because it wasn't well written, but because I cared about other characters more than the one's in those situations.  For me, the last 50 pages or so had the most momentum.  I realize that everything was building up to these scenes, hence the idea of a climax.  I thought the story end very well, however unsatisfied I was by it.

J.K. Rowling knows how to slowly suck you into a story and its characters and then tear it away from you. There is just so must realism in this story that it makes it painful to read sometimes.  There is no embellished happy endings for people who obviously can't have happy endings no matter how hard they try, and sometimes that's exactly how the real world works.  Some of the characters are stuck in an endless cycle of uncontrollable circumstances, they do their best to live the only way they know how.

If you are looking for a lighthearted, fun read go elsewhere.

Stars: 3/5


"Rowling knows how to write a twisty, involving plot...She is clearly a skilled writer."
         -- The Huffington Post

"This book represents a truckload of shrewdness....There were sentences I underlined for the sheer purpose of figuring out how English words could be combined so delightfully....genuinely moving."
        -- Washington Post

"The Casual Vacancy is a complete joy to read....a stunning, brilliant, outrageously gripping and entertaining evocation of British society today."
        -- The Mirror (UK)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Goals for 2013

hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.

Every year I have book goals in mind by I don't generally write them down.  I think I shall do that this year.

1. I want to read 50 books again this year.  I am a slow reader so this is a challenge but I did it in 2012 and it was fantastic.

2. I want to complete the book challenges that I join this year.  I was on a roll last year and finished all three challenges.  I would like to continue my winning streak!

3. Last year I brought about 100 books home from my 4 months in New York.  It's time to start reading some of the book on my TBR pile.  I want to make a nice dent in those books.

4. I would like to visit the library more, because books are expensive and I'm broke.

5. It's another year for reading more classics.  I started that a little bit last year, but I want to read many more this year.

6. I'm going to read some of the children's stories that I feel like I should have read ages ago. (like Alice in Wonderland)

7. I need to work on my book habits, especially the ones that require me to finish a book no matter how terrible, and finishing a series once I've started, especially if it's from a book that I didn't enjoy.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Book Challenges 2013

It's that time of year again! It's time to join some challenges. I've got a couple familiar ones and a couple new so let's get started.

First up:
The 2013 Book Blogger Recommendation Challenge, hosted by Reading with Tequila.

RULES: Participants can read any books from the list of books recommended by bloggers in 2012.  You can decide to read books only from the top 25 or from the entire recommendation list.  Rereads do not count towards your total books.  (All formats acceptable: audiobooks, e-book, etc.)
recommended books

The Levels:
Level I: 5 books
Level II: 10 books
Level III: 15 books
Level IV: 20 books
Level V: 20 + books

Level I - 5 books
1. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
2. Divergent by Veronica Roth
3. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
4. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
5. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
2013 TBR Pile Challenge, hosted by Roof Beam Reader.

RULES: Read 12 books from your "to be read" pile.  Each of these books must have been on your bookshelf for at least a full year.  They must be published before 1/1/2012, anything before that is fair game. Create a list of book with two alternatives just in case one or two of your original picks end up in the "can't get through" pile.  Books must be read and reviewed to count as completed.  The 15th of every month there will be a post where you can post your reviews.

1. Dragonflight - Anne McCaffrey (1968)
2. Uglies - Scott Westerfield (2005)
3. Will Grayson, Will Grayson - John Green and David Levithan (2010)
4. Dreamland - Sarah Dessen (2004)
5. Feed - M.T. Anderson (2002)
6. Tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom (1997)
7. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott (1868-69)
8. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte (1847)
9. Island of Blue Dolphins - Scott O'Dell (1960)
10. Fever 1793 - Laurie Halse Anderson (2000)
11. The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie - Jacolyn Moriarty (2006)
12. How to Be Popular - Meg Cabot (2006)

Kissed By An Angel - Elizabeth Chandler (first published 1998, 2010)
Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver (1998)
The Eclectic Reader 2013 Challenge, hosted by Book'd Out.

This challenge will run from January 1st to December 31st 2013.  Create a blog post committing to your participation.  You can choose your books as you go or create a list in advanced.  You have to read a book from each of the genres listed below.  You can read your chosen titles in any order, at any pace, just complete the challenge by December 21st 2013.  Each time you read and review a book as part of this challenge, make sure you identify it by adding either a direct statement or the challenge image badge to the post.

This years genres:

1. Translated fiction - Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy 
2. Historical mystery - A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
3. Romantic suspense - Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
4. Made into a movie - Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garci and Margaret Stohl
5. New Adult - Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
6. Urban Fantasy - Valiant by Holly Black 
7. Dystopian - Legend by Marie Lu
8. Memoir - Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom
9. LGBT - Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
10. Action Adventure - Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan
11. Humour
12. Published in 2013 - The Summer I Became A Nerd by Leah Rae Miller
Dystopian Reading Challenge 2013, hosted by Blog of Erised.

RULES: The challenge runs from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013.  The books must include some form of post-apocalyptic theme and be full length.  All formats are allowed as well as rereads. Sign up for the challenge with the linky on Blog of Erised's challenge post.

The Levels:
Recruit: 1-6 books
Rebel: 7-12 books
Revolutionist: 13-18 books
Leader: 19+ books

I have chosen Recruit: 1-6 books
1. Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
2. Legend by Marie Lu
3. Divergent by Veronica Roth
4. Prodigy by Marie Lu
This is more of a personal challenge. I've been reading off a book list since 2007, but last year I stopped reading from it as much as I usually do. This year I would like to create a nice dent in the list again. There are over 450 books, so it shouldn't be a problem. It's the Teenreads Ultimate Reading List if you'd like to take a look.

My goal is 10 books off the list this year.

1. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
2. Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
3. Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom
4. How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
5. Legend by Marie Lu
6. Cinder by Marissa Meyer 
7. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
8. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
9. 21 Proms edited by David Levithan and Daniel Ehrenhaft
10. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
11. Feed by M.T. Anderson
12. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
13. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
14. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
15. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn
16. The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Resolution

hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.

It's a new year filled with more time to read the books I've been dying to read for years. Here's my list of books that I will definitely read this year.

1. Divergent by Veronica Roth
2. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
3. Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
4. Little Women by Louise May Alcott
5. Jane Eyre by Emily Bronte
6. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
7. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
8. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
9. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
10. The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

Honorable mentions:
Matched by Ally Condie
Legend by Marie Lu
Sweetly by Jackson Pearce
Fathomless by Jackson Pearce
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Steifvater
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

...to name a few.  There are so many more that I have decided to read in 2013.  It's going to be a year of catch up, I think.  We'll see how many of these I get around too.