Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Sequels Ever

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling - The back story we get in this novel is so good.  I love that kind of thing; it gives so much insight to the characters we know and love.

2. Percy Jackson: The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan - I'm not sure if the story was any better than the first, but I love Tyson so much.  He's introduced in this book, so I have to give it some love.

3. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer - I just finished this one, but I loved it.  Not only does it have a great story but it also made me very excited for the rest of the series.

4. Tales From the Hood by Michael Buckley - All The Sisters Grimm stories are cute and entertaining, but I really liked how this story played out.  There was a little bit of the Little Red Riding Hood in this book and a little bit of time travel.

5.  Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins - I think that Peta and Katniss' story continues so well in this book.  I like usage of the Quarter Quell and what that means for the two victors.  I think some of the new characters are great.

6. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien - It's a prequel to the Lord of the Rings, which is kind of like a sequel, right?  I love this story and Bilbo and the whole cast of characters.  I think it's beautifully written and not too descriptive. (I know how Tolkien loves to make sure his readers see exactly what he sees.)

7. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis - Depending on which way you read them, this is a sequel.  I absolutely love this story, the wonderment of find Narnia and how Lucy draws her siblings in, making them believe.  I just love it.

8. Where She Went by Gayle Forman - I loved that the narration in this book switched from the first book.  We finally get to know what happened, If Mia survived and how everyone is handling it.

I've got a lot of sequels left to read, but I'm sure some of them will end up on this list!

Sunday, September 22, 2013


by Marissa Meyer
published: Feiwel and Friends, 2013
pages: 454

Scarlet's grandmother is missing and nobody seems to care. But she knows that her grandma would never just leave without telling her where she's going.  Scarlet decides that if the police won't do anything, she's going to find her.  With the help of a mysterious stranger,Wolf, she finds clues about her grandmother's whereabouts and uncovers secrets that she has kept from Scarlet.  In the midst of all this, Cinder is now running for her life, unsure what to do next.  Will she fight the evil Queen Levana or will the pressure of who she is be to much to handle.

I love fairy-tale retellings in any form of media and I loved Cinder, so I had high hopes that Scarlet would be just as excellent, if not more.  And it was.  I thought the way Marissa Meyer incorporated the story of Little Red Ridding Hood was a great addition to the overall story of Luna and the Earth.  It's a little easier it hide Cinderella in a story because the rags to riches theme is quite common but Little Red Ridding Hood is very distinct and quite often very noticeable when retold.  However, Meyer hid the story quite well.  The highlights complimented the plot and did not overwhelm the story at all.

I think my only complaint about this book is in regards to the characters, in that there are so many of them.  Well, actually there aren't that many, but they all have a moment in the spotlight.  The point-of-view changed quite frequently and while that wasn't really a problem, it sometimes felt like there was too much going on.  Specifically, Scarlet and Cinder primarily split this novel, so there was less time to see Scarlet and the characters in her story develop.  Whereas, Cinder had an entire book to herself and then her story continued in this book.  This makes me curious as to how much the future books will be split and hopefully the character development will be balanced well.  But I'll have to wait for that.

That being said, I cannot wait to see what happens in the next installment.  I'm ready for more Scarlet, Wolf, Cinder, Prince Kai and the new arrivals.  I loved reading this book and I'm still incredibly impressed by the way Marissa Meyer weaves the fairy-tales into the world she has created.  I don't want to wait until February, but the anticipation is fun!

Stars: 4.5/5


"The author has stepped up the intrigue and plot from the first novel, and readers will be eagerly awaiting the next."
     --School Library Journal

"The sci-fi elements are stronger than the fairy-tale allusions this time out, but the story remains just as absorbing...Readers will be thrilled to discover that this steampunky fairy-tale/sci-fi mashup promises two more installments."

"Returning fans of Meyer's Cinder will gladly sink their teeth into this ambitious, wholly satisfying sequel."
     --Publishers Weekly, starred review

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Fall 2013 TBR List

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

There are so many book left for me to read this year, and I want to get to them all.  That being said, some of them are from previous TBR piles.  I just didn't have time to read them, but that's okay, I'm hoping to get to them this fall.

1. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
2. Ready Player One by Ernist Cline
3. Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
4. My Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan
5. The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson
6. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
7. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
8. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
9. Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
10. Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey

The last five are from a challenge that I'm participating in so they will all get read.  The others are either books I've recently bought or ones that fulfill the criteria of another book challenge that I'm participating in this year.  I'm hopeful that I will finish all my challenges, even if it means reading nothing but challenge books until the end of the year.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Where She Went

by Gayle Forman
published: Speak, 2012 (originally Dutton Juvenile, 2011)
pages: 264

Three years after the terrible accident that changed Mia and Adam's lives forever, they have drifted apart.  Adam has gained major success with his band and Mia is showing incredible promise as a cello prodigy.  One night in New York they meet again and finally hatch out what's been holding each other back for years.

One of the things I really enjoyed about this book is the fact that it's told from Adam's perspective.  I love that we get Mia in the first book and now we get Adam.  It's powerful the way the narrators are used to convey their story.  I think that this story would have worked in Mia's point of view, but it's much more power in Adam's and likewise is true in If I Stay.  We get to know the characters so well.  I just love it.

The NYC setting is fantastic, partially because I've lived there and know details about the city that help me enhance the setting and the story.  NYC fits the story perfectly; it showcases the progression of their character, how they've grown and dealt with tragedy.  I think it's often hard for a setting to speak into the story, but Gayle Forman does that very well with her choices.

I'm one of those people that wants to know everything, so I was kind of disappointed that there was three years in between the books.  It just might be me being greedy but I wanted to know what happened in those three years.  We get glimpses of their past, and some of what happened to Adam in those years.  However, I still want to know everything, but I appreciate what was revealed and how it was revealed to the reader.

Gayle Forman scored huge on these books.  She wrote a very satisfying sequel and I enjoyed reading every minute of it.

Stars: 4/5 


"Stunningly Memorable."
     --Romantic Times

"Achingly satisfying"
     --Family Circle

"A gorgeous portrayal of rejection and rekindled love.... A sensitive depiction of the kind of man we'd all love our daughters to meet."
     --USA Today

"Both characters spring to life, and their pain-filled backstory and current realities provide depth and will hold readers fast."
     --Kirkus Reviews

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'd Love to See as Movies/TV Shows

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - I've been hoping for a movie version of this book for ages and now it's coming! I cannot wait to see this one.

2. Cinder by Marissa Meyer - I think this would be an awesome movie, and if it were done right, it definitely would be great.  The cyborgs and the lunars would be so cool on the big screen.

3. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - I have a feeling that this would either make an excellent rom-com or a TV series.  There's definitely potential as TV show, although I don't know how it would go past a season, unless they did the companion books too, but I don't care.

4. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie - I'm sure there's been a movie and a TV show about this, but I would love to see a modern day version of this book.

5. Legend by Marie Lu - I want to see a movie version of this book so bad!  I love the characters and the setting.  Seeing those come to life on the big screen would be great.

6. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin - Ever since I read this in middle school, I've wanted to see a movie version.  It's clever and quirky and just right for an engaging movie.

7. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs - I would be very interested to see how this story plays out on the big screen.  I feel like it would resemble X-Men, which I have not qualms about.  It could be quite good.

8. Maximum Ride by James Patterson - I've been dreaming about this movie/TV series since middle school.  I loved the beginning for this series so much.  I would love to see these bird kids come to life and kick some butt!

9. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green - My dreams are coming true with this one.  I am so excited that this book is going to actually become a movie.  I've never been so excited to cry my eyes out.

10. Avalon High by Meg Cabot - I want a redo on this one! Disney made a DCOM (Disney channel original movie) and pretty much changed everything about the story.  I want to see one that's truer to the book, because there is nothing wrong with it!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie

by Jaclyn Moriarty
published: Arthur A. Levine Books
pages: 491

Bindy Mackenzie has always been the top student in her school. She is an incredibly disciplined and hard worker, some may even call her an overachiever.  She considers herself the kindest and most inspiring student in her year.  Unfortunately, she is alone in consideration.  At the beginning of the year, she is put into a group with unlikely friends who help her discover that she is in danger.  Apparently someone wants to kill her, and the clues are in her carefully documented life.  They have to figure out who wants to kill her and why before time runs out.

I was very unsure about this book to begin with, mostly because of the narrator.  Bindy Mackenzie's personality shines through her documentation of year 11 and while it is excellently executed, I found it hard to get into.  I was skeptical that someone so ordered and formal could also entertaining and inviting.  To be frank, she was kind of annoying.  Yes, it did take me a bit, but I finally started to enjoy Bindy's commentary and her portrayal of the other characters.

The voice of this book is just so ridiculous.  While the story seems very far-fetched, anything is up for grabs at Ashbury High. I had to extend my suspension-of-disbelief for this story.  It could happen but highly unlikely that it ever would happen.  I will say that is was almost entirely unpredictable, the twists and turns were welcomed and brought new life to the story.

One thing I did really enjoy was the connections back to some of Jaclyn Moriarty's other books.  I've only read one of them, but characters and situations are referenced from the other books.  Even though these were passing moments, I thought they were fun and clever.

Now that I'm getting used to Moriarty's writing style, might pick up another one of the Ashbury High stories.

Stars: 3/5


"The novel - written entirely in letters, diary entries, e-mail, etc. - is fast and funny but not frothy.  Moriarty's story is complex, original, and unpredictable enough that it's much more than a guilty-pleasure read."
     --The Horn Book Magazine, starred review

"Moriarty's characters speak in voices as playful and inventive as the novel's format.... An unisial novel with an exhilarating pace, irrepressible characters, and a screwball humor."
     --Booklist, starred review

"Moriarty's novel keeps readers guessing - and...laughing out loud - all the way to the end."
     -- USA Today

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Books You Wish Were Taught in School

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

In honor of the first day of school, here is my list of books that I think should be taught in school.

1. The Giver by Louis Lowery
2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
4. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
5. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
6. Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt
7. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
8. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
9. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
10. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien