Saturday, June 29, 2013

Notable Quotable: Laini Taylor (#15)

"Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there's no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic."
     --Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Thursday, June 27, 2013


by M.T. Anderson
published: Candlewick Press, 2004
pages: 308

Everything begins when Titus and his friends take to the moon for spring break.  They meet Violet, a smart and beautiful girl with an affinity for quietly defying the feed. Shortly after meeting Violet, a crazy hacker causes all their feeds to malfunction, beginning a spiral of events that might just decide Titus and Violet's fates.

It's strange to me that most of the characters can be so vapid and yet they are complex in a world that is continually striving for simplicity. There's a moment in this novel where Titus explains that one of the feed's jobs is to know him better than he knows himself.  He inexplicably trusts this bodiless voice to make all his decisions for him.  I find this fascinating and also horrifying.  I get chills thinking about a society where people, for the most part, don't think for themselves.  That's why Violet's character is such an interesting contrast to Titus and his friends.  She has the ability and the determination to question the feed and it's importance.

To be perfectly honest I would have like this book much more if it were written differently.  I get that this is a satire of today's society and culture, but I almost couldn't get past the language in this book.  Using shortened words like "meg", the nonfunctional "like", and casual slang like "brag" every ten words got to be quite annoying.  It is lazy and obnoxious, which might have been the point.  (It reminds me of text-speak that we use today, which scares me.)  I might not have finished this book had I not known that the language was part of the purpose of it.

So if M.T. Anderson's desire with this book is to strike fear and determination for the prevention of this kind of society, he has succeeded, at least he has with me.  Anderson has definitely given me quite a bit to think about.

Stars:  3/5


"This satire offers a thought-provoking and scathing indictment that may prod readers to examine the more sinister possibilities of corporate-and media-dominated culture.
     --Publishers Weekly, starred review

"The crystalline realization of this wildly dystopic future carries in it obvious and enormous implications for today's readers -- satire at its finest.
     --Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"M.T. Anderson has created the perfect device for an ingenious satire of corporate America and our present-day value system...Like those in a funhouse mirror, the reflections the novel shows us may be ugle and distorted, but they are undeniably ourselves.
     --The Horn Book, starred review

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Best of 2013 so far...

I've only read 25 books so far this year so picking my top wasn't too difficult.

1. Cinder by Marissa Meyer - This is seriously creative and innovative.  I thought it was really good and interesting. 

2. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan - This is absolutely hysterical.  I was captivated by the characters. 

3. Legend by Marie Lu - Highly engaging and extraordinarily interesting, I thought this was a great story. 

4. Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion - This was my first zombie book and it did not disappoint.  I thought it captured the zombie essence nicely. 

5. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - This book is so cute I can hardly stand it. 

6. Divergent by Veronica Roth - This book is a new way of thinking, what if people were sorted by personality type.  I really liked the idea of that and how that might be beneficial and/or destructive to a society. 

7. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray - Haunting, beautiful, and eloquent.  I loved the time period that this book is set in and the characters.

8. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll - A tried-and-true children's story, everything I hoped it would be.  Whimsical to the very end. 

9. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman - I thought this book was interesting, clever, and unique.  Loved it. 

10. Watchmen by Alan Moore - This graphic novel is visually stunning and the characters are great.  Who doesn't love a super hero story?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Summer TBR

hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.

It's time for my official summer TBR list.  I have so many books that I want/need to read it will be hard to only pick ten.  Without further ado, here are the books I'm most excited to read this summer! (In no particular order)

1. Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

2. Prodigy by Marie Lu
3. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
4. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
5. The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller
6. The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson
7. Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garci and Margaret Stohl
8. Ready Player One by Ernist Cline
9. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
10. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
11. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

A lot of these books are sequels to books that I read earlier this year.  I think I'm going to have a have a sequels month.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Notable Quotable: Markus Zusak (#14)

"Usually we walk around constantly believing ourselves. “I’m okay” we say. “I’m alright”. But sometimes the truth arrives on you and you can’t get it off."
     --The Book Thief

Friday, June 14, 2013

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

by Laini Taylor
published: Little Brown and Company, 2011
pages: 418

Karou lives in a world where her fake grandmother registers her for school, she goes on strange errands for her guardian, Brimstone, and she can acquire languages from wishes.  She is confident in what she knows, but when Karou ventures to find the answer to the question she's always asked herself: Who am I?, things begin to unravel into a dangerous mess.  What she's about to find out will not only change her life but also push her head first into a world in the crux of crisis.

There are books that people talk about nonstop, that make your desire to read them intensify, that promise a great and stunning book.  These books can, and often do fall short of their praise.  But sometimes the books live up to and exceed all expectations.

Unfortunately for me, this book falls into the category of too highly anticipated.  It is sad to say that I did not enjoy this book as much as I thought I would, given everything wonderful that I've heard about it.  My biggest issue with this book was the pacing.  For whatever reason, I had a hard time keeping interested in the book.  There are definitely periods of time where I could not stop reading, but there were also sections of the book that I thought about skipping because it was taking so long to get through them.

This however, does not mean I didn't notice how the masterful writing was both haunting and humorous.  The banter between characters and the descriptions of every creature were magnificent.  I could plainly see everyone in with their distinct characteristics.  Characterization was insanely good in this novel and the development of each character was purposeful and powerful.

I did like the idea that Karou was an artist and the things she drew in her sketchbooks were her reality, but others thought they were part of her imagination.  I thought that was extremely clever and it also made me think about what I've just assumed was someone's imagination in the past, whether it was story lines or drawings.  The idea that someone could be drawing a truth that I don't acknowledge is really intriguing.

Also, this was kind of like Romeo and Juliet with a paranormal twist to it, and unlike many adaptations, this ended with enough gusto that it couldn't have been predicted.  (Well, I guess it could have, but I didn't predict it.)

Laini Taylor has beautiful writing that alone makes me want to continue reading Karou and Akiva's story.  I am sure I will pick up the sequel in the near future.

Stars: 3.5/5


"A masterful mix of reality and fantasy."
     --Publishers Weekly, starred review

"A breath-catching romantic fantasy about destiny, hope and the search for one's true self."
     --The New York Times Book Reveiw

"...the author crafts a fierce heroine with bright-blue hair, tattoos, martial skills, a growing attachment to a preternaturally hunky but not entirely sane warrior and, in episodes to come, an army of killer angels to confront.  Rarely does a series kick off so deliciously."
     --Kirkus, starred review

This is an Eclectic Reader 2013 Challenge Book!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Beach Reads

hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.

Define beach read: 1) Any book that I have read before and want to read again. 2) The book I am currently reading. 3) Something that reminds me of summer and or beach weather 4) Preferably a book I know won't make me cry. 5) Number four is not a hard and fast definition.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan - This is one of those books that I can't help but laugh out loud.  It puts me in a good mood every time I pick it up.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling - When I go to the beach it's usually on vacation, and very rarely do I go on vacation without a Harry Potter book.  This one's always good because it's where the magic begins.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman - As you wish.

Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald - This book is set during the summer and seems to directly remind me of the beach. (I'm not entirely sure why.)

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (or any other book) by Agatha Christie - I think a good mystery novel can make a beach day wonderful.

Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock - This book is a mixture of lots of different things including a sort of coming of age.  And sometimes you just have to have a bit of romance.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - I didn't read this on a beach, but this would be one of the best books for light fun summer reading.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card - A good old sci-fi book to pass the time and enjoy the weather.

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo - I really think any of her books would be awesome beach reads, but this is my favorite.

Scott Pilgrim series by Brian O'Malley - This graphic novel series is funny and entertaining, both great qualities in a beach read.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

How To Be Popular

by Meg Cabot
published: Harpertempest/ HarperCollins
pages: 288

Steph Landry made one mistake in sixth grade that has followed her into unpopularity for five years.  The entire town has a saying about "pulling a Steph", coined by the queen of the popular crowd.  When Steph finds a book on popularity, she decides that this book is her best chance to overcome her unpopularity.  How well will this book work, and will there be any repercussions?

Meg Cabot was one of my favorite authors in middle school.  I read so many of her books. Each book has a memorable character that could have been my friend.  Again, she creates an endearing character with ideas of her own, whether or not they are ridiculous.

I remember a time where I thought it was very important to be popular, or at the very least well liked.  However, I never schemed to make popularity a reality.  This is something about the book that I thought was pretty entertaining.  It takes that dream so many people have and creates a step by step process to which popularity can be achieved, something I know I would have killed for in middle school.  (I'm sure others would have too.)  It also shows how friends react to the idea of changing identity, and the effects obsession can have on someone and the people around them.

It was fun to go back and read another Meg Cabot book.  While I had a good time reading it, I will say that had I read this book when I bought it (in 8th or 9th grade) I would have enjoyed it much more than I do now.  Despite that, I think this book is entertaining and clever. Good for anyone looking for a fun, light read.

Stars: 3/5


"Despite featuring upperclassmen, Steph's aboveboard actions and mostly pure thoughts make this a fun and light text suitable for a younger audience wanting to read about older teens."
     --Kirkus Review

"This endearingly funny book looks at the pain of feeling unpopular."

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Traveling Souls

hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: They go to Amsterdam, who doesn't want to go there?

Harry Potter (in particular The Goblet of Fire) by J.K. Rowling: Harry's first time to the Quidditch World Cup, that had to be an excellent experience. Travelling there and seeing everyone that is devoted to this sport that he has grown to love so much.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: Anna gets to go to a boarding school and France.  That would be a dream come true. (The only thing better, perhaps, would be a boarding school in England.)

Which brings me to: A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray: The world Gemma finds and how she travels there alone is worth the read.  It's fantastical and beautiful, a place I wish I could visit.

Alice's Adventure's In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll: Wonderland is somewhere I've wanted to go since I saw the Disney animated film as a child.  Falling down the rabbit hole always seemed like it would be great fun.

I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak: Ed Kennedy makes his rounds talking to people he never thought he would.  I really like the use of travel in this book.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle: Meg and company get to explore different worlds they've never heard of and meet a cast of characters along the way.

Divergent by Veronica Roth: The Dauntless only know one way to travel, by train, jump and maybe you'll be able to catch it as it goes by.

Legend by Marie Lu: The cat and mouse chase in this book takes us all over LA.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien:

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Notable Quotable: Cornelia Funke (#13)

"...there was another reason [she] took her books whenever they went away. They were her home when she was somewhere strange. They were familiar voices, friends that never quarreled with her, clever, powerful friends -- daring and knowledgeable, tried and tested adventurers who had traveled far and wide. Her books cheered her up when she was sad and kept her from being bored..."