Saturday, December 15, 2012

Smart Girls Get What They Want

Smart Girls Get What They WantTitle: Smart Girls Get What They Want
Author: Sarah Strohmeyer
Publisher: Balzer + Bray June 26th, 2012

Plot Summary from Goodreads:
Gigi, Bea, and Neerja are best friends and total overachievers. Even if they aren't the most popular girls in school, they aren't too worried. They know their "real" lives will begin once they get to their Ivy League colleges. There will be ivy, and there will be cute guys in the libraries (hopefully with English accents)! But when an unexpected event shows them they're missing out on the full high school experience, it's time to come out of the honors lounge and into the spotlight. They make a pact: They will each take on their greatest challenge--and they will totally "rock" it.

Gigi decides to run for student rep, but she'll have to get over her fear of public speaking--and go head-to-head with gorgeous California Will. Bea used to be one of the best skiers around, until she was derailed. It could be time for her to take the plunge again. And Neerja loves the drama club but has always stayed behind the scenes--until now.
These friends are determined to show the world that smart girls really can get what they want--but that could mean getting way more attention than they ever bargained for. . . 

Fiona's Grade: A for being Adorable! 

This book is super  cute and adorable with surprising depth. Reading the title and the blurb, I thought it was going to be a cute story about the shy nerdy girl becoming the prom queen and date the sweetheart jock. And while this book does have a dance and a sweetheart jock in it, it's really a book about coming out of your shell and adolescence in general.

Gigi is falsely accused of cheating, and has to set the record straight and change the ridiculous cheating policy. But in order to do that she has to run for student rep- a recently vacated position. But in order to do that, she must give a speech and she has incredibly stage fright. The plot is both predictable and unpredictable at the same time- like I knew which guy she would end up with, I just didn't know how. It definitely kept you interested.

One thing I also liked was that while the plot focused on Gigi, her two best friends were also doing things like skiing and acting and they were as real as she was. I really enjoyed both Bea's love of skiing and Neerja's pursuing acting. I also enjoyed the French grandmother and all the other characters. Even Ava and Will were interesting in some respects.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It is a super cute contemporary read that made me wish I had branched out more in high school. If you love a good contemporary this is the book for you.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier Book Review

Sapphire Blue (The Ruby Red Trilogy, #2)
photo from Goodreads
Title: Sapphire Blue
Author: Kerstin Gier
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. Oct. 26th, 2012
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Gwen’s life has been a rollercoaster since she discovered she was the Ruby, the final member of the secret time-traveling Circle of Twelve. In between searching through history for the other time-travelers and asking for a bit of their blood (gross!), she’s been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle really mean.

At least Gwen has plenty of help. Her best friend Lesley follows every lead diligently on the Internet. James the ghost teaches Gwen how to fit in at an eighteenth century party. And Xemerius, the gargoyle demon who has been following Gwen since he caught her kissing Gideon in a church, offers advice on everything. Oh, yes. And of course there is Gideon, the Diamond. One minute he’s very warm indeed; the next he’s freezing cold. Gwen’s not sure what’s going on there, but she’s pretty much destined to find out.

Fiona's grade: A 
This book continues right where Ruby Red left off. It then continues at a world-wind pace. It is remarkable how much time does not pass from the start of the book to the end of the book, and so much happens! It's really rather ridiculous. Like Ruby Red, this book leaves you on a weird cliffhanger, and it makes you really want the next one. I was appreciate the complexity of the plot. I have no idea what's going on sometimes with the Circle and it's wonderful.

I really love all the characters in this book. I love that we got to see more of Gwen's family. I really liked her grandfather and would love to see more of him in the future. I also liked that we got to see a little more of Mr. George. Charolette irked me; I don't know if she just wasn't as annoying in the first book or if I just realized how much I was annoyed by her. The count was the same as ever. And I'm a little confused about whether I like Gideon or not, he's an interesting one.

One thing that I find interesting about this series is the fact it is originally written in German and is being translated into English. It's a really interesting series and it would be very different if it had been written by an American author. I really enjoy it for that reason.

This was a great book and I really enjoyed reading it. They just need to translate the next one a little faster.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing Me

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme run by The Broke and the BookishEvery week, there is a new topic and you make a list based on that topic. This week's topic is the "Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing Me". Let's get started! 

1.ALL my textbooks!
Seriously, what college student could complain if Santa brought them textbooks? None.

2. The Diviners by Libba Bray 
When I first saw this topic, this is the book I instantly thought of this book because I really want to read it! I currently have it from the library and I'm really excited to read it soon.

3. Any book listed last week
Seriously, guys, I am so excited for all these books that if Santa were to bring them, I would be delirious with joy.

4. Original Nancy Drews
I'm a Nancy Drew nerd, more so when it comes to video games, but they are also fun to read. I would love a 1930s copy of Secret of the Old Clock. Who wouldn't?

5. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson 
I loved this book when I read it last year and would love my own copy.

6. Shine by Lauren Myracle
I read this book last spring, and it is so beautifully written and makes you think and I love it and I want my own copy to read again and again.

7. Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
I really want to read this book, but unfortunately my libraries do not have it available yet. Hopefully I will get to read it soon!

8. The Percy Jackson series
I have read all of these books, but I do not own any of these books. I would like that to change.

9. Anything on my TBR pile on Goodreads
Anything I have marked TBR is something I would love to get as a gift. No lie.

10. Lots of Book Shelves
Part of the reason I don't own a lot of books is because I do not have the shelf space for a lot of books. I have one book shelf in my room and it is stuffed to the brim with books.

This weeks topic was really, really hard for me because I do not buy books that often and when I do it is often on a whim. I am much more of a "go-to-the-library" kind of girl. I actually did some catalog cruising to decide what books I wanted to put on this list.

What books do you hope Santa might bring you?

P.S. I also changed my blog template! What do you think?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Semi-Charmed Winter Challenge Update

Hello! It's time for my update post for Semi-Charmed's Winter Book Challenge. I read 4 books this month.

 5 points: Read a book written by an author you have never read before. The Stranger by Albert Camus
5: Read a book you already have at home but haven’t gotten around to yet (from the library, from a bookstore, borrowed from a friend, on your e-reader, whatever). The City of Bonesby Cassandra Clare
10: Read a book written in the decade that you were born. 
10: Read a book that takes place in the state/province where you were born. If you were born outside the U.S. and Canada, read a book that takes place in the country you were born.
15: Read a book titled The _______'s Daughter or The _______'s Wife.
15:  Read a book that was originally written in a language other than English. Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier
20: Read a book with a number in the title. This could be an actual digit or a number like “hundred” or “thousand.” No arbitrary numbers are allowed (e.g. several, few, many, couple).
20:  Read a book set during Christmas or another winter holiday.
20: Read a book written by an author who shares your initials.
25: Read a Pulitzer Prize winner or finalist for fiction.

25:  Re-read a book. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
30: Read three books from three different genres (e.g. romance, historical fiction, horror, biography, etc.). Remember, the books used for this category cannot count for any other category. 
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera (philosophy) (Is philosophy a genre? Because otherwise I would stick in as literary fiction)
The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan (fantasy)
My third will probably be a contemporary young adult romance. I just don't know which one yet

Total Points: 35

I don't really know what other books to put int the other categories, so if you have any suggestions please let me know.

Are you doing this challenge? How many points do you have? 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Most Anticipated Books of 2013

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme run by The Broke and the BookishEvery week, there is a new topic and you make a list based on that topic. This week's topic is the most anticipated books of 2013. Let's get started! 

1.  House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus #4) by Rick Riordan October 2013
This is easily my most anticipated book of 2013, and if you've read Mark of Athena, you know why. I'm really excited to see how Riordan continues the series after the events of MoA. 

2. The Madness Underneath (Shades of London #2) by Maureen Johnson February 26th, 2013. 
I read the first book in this series last year around Halloween, and as someone who usually doesn't enjoy paranormal, this is an auto-recommend for me. I can't wait to read the rest of the series. Plus, Maureen Johnson is one of my favorite authors. 

3. Perfect Scoundrels (Heist Society #3) by Ally Carter February 5th, 2013
This series is fantastic! I enjoy reading about all the Cons that Kat and Hale do and watching there romance *hopefully* blossom. I don't know if this is a trilogy, but I have high hopes for this book. 

4. Severed Heads, Broken Hearts by Robyn Schnieder June 4th, 2013
I've been following Robyn on the internet for awhile now, in addition to reading her Knightly Academy series published under another name. I'm really excited for this book she has coming out to see more of her hilarious wit. 

5. Emerald Green (Ruby Red #3) by Kerstin Gier Fall 2013
This series was originally written in German and is slowly being translated into English. The last one is due for fall 2013, and I know I will be excited to read it when it arrives. 

6. Shades of the Earth (Across the Universe #3) by Beth Revis January 2013 
I know I have yet to review A million suns, but I am really excited to see how this series concludes. 

7. The third book in the Divergent series by Veronica Roth 
Although I am not one hundred percent sure this book is coming out in 2013, I adore this series and I am excited to see how it progresses. 

8. The Elite (The Selection #2) by Kiera Cass April 23rd, 2013
I really enjoyed The Selection when I read it over the summer and I am excited to see how the process continues in the next book. 

9. Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School #1) by Gail Carriger February 2013
When I was browsing through Goodreads, this book popped up and the title reminded me of Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series as did the summary. And apparently she has another series out that is based int he same world, so I will definitely have to check those out too. 

10. The last Gallagher Girls book by Ally Carter
Speaking of which, the last Gallagher Girl book is expected to be published in 2013. So I am obviosuly excited for that.

This took a lot less time than I thought. I guess I have a lot to look forward to in the new year! 

What books are you looking forward to being released in 2013? 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare Review

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)
photo from Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder -- much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing -- not even a smear of blood -- to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . . 

Fiona's rating: B-
This book was interesting to say the least. It would be really-action packed for a bit, then it would slow down and try to explain some things before jumping back into the action.

What I really enjoyed about this book was the story and the world building. I wanted an extremely action-packed plot so I got bored during a couple stagnant moments in the story. The plot was really engrossing and I wanted to know what was going to happen next.

My main issue with this book is that the characters were a little bland. Clary was a good character, but there wasn't anything really interesting about her, other than the fact she was an artist like her mother. I understand that she was sheltered a lot, but she was just a little vanilla. Simon was your stereotypical witty dork and Jace was your usual troubled child. They were enjoyable to read, but they didn't really develop over time, so I'm hoping to see more character development in the series.

The story itself is an interesting premise. As we discover throughout this book, everything Clary was ever told ever is pretty much a lie. It got to the point, where I didn't even know what the truth was anymore. I was accidentally spoiled for "the big reveal" at the end (if you've read the book you know what I'm talking about- I hope). So that wasn't a surprise for me, rather the way it was brought up. I'm curious to see how Clare will decide to recover from this.

Overall, it's a nice read and easy to get through if your looking for a quick read. It has a little romance in it, but I don't know whether it will  continue throughout the series based on the "big reveal". I'm really excited to see where this series goes.

Note: From now on, I'm going to be giving each book a letter grade review, just like how they do in school.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books/Authors I'm Thankful For

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme run by The Broke and the BookishEvery week, there is a new topic and you make a list based on that topic. This week's topic is Books/Authors I am most thankful for. 

1. John Green
If you haven't read a John Green book, get thee to a library and do so. They are phenomenal and will change your life. I'm most thankful for Paper Towns and The Fault in Our Stars. 

2. Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice was the first "classic" novel I read, and therefore expanded my love of literature. If it hadn't been for that, I wouldn't be the reader I am today.

3. J.K. Rowling/ the Harry Potter series
Harry Potter was the first series I "got into", meaning obsessed with. There was definitely a time in my life where I read and read again the books obsessively. I wouldn't be the reader I am today without them.

4. Rick Riordan
He puts out maybe two books a year and they'll stick with you for all the time in-between. Love his incorporation of mythology and writing style

5. The Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
This series is one that I grew up too. It's awesome and I'm thankful that she is still putting out books.

6. Paper Towns by John Green
As mentioned above, I am thankful for all of John Green's work. However, I am especially thankful for Paper Towns, since I found it very relevant to my life when I was in high school.

7. The Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene
This is one where I haven't read all the books, but I am thankful for Nancy Drew as a character, teaching young girls that they can go solve mysteries. 

8. Ally Carter
I am thankful for Ally Carter writing books about girls who do awesome things all the time, like being spies or pulling heists. I'm excited to read more from her. 

9. Maureen Johnson
I am thankful for Maureen Johnson being a witty writer who is able to switch it up easily and for making me laugh on Twitter on a consistent basis. 

10. Lastly, I am thankful for my parents for reading to me early, for encouraging me to read on my own, and (almost) never censoring my reading. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Semi-Charmed Winter Book Challenge

Hello, all! I decided to participate in the Semi-Charmed Winter Book Challenge from November 1st-January 31st. You can find out more here. The first check-in post will be on December 1st, so check back then! Since I am a little late to the party, I thought I would include at least one of the books I have read this past month. 
Here's the list. I'm only listing the ones I know for sure as of right now, so this list will definitely be updated. 

5 points: Read a book written by an author you have never read before. The Stranger by Albert Camus
5: Read a book you already have at home but haven’t gotten around to yet (from the library, from a bookstore, borrowed from a friend, on your e-reader, whatever). The City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
10: Read a book written in the decade that you were born. 
10: Read a book that takes place in the state/province where you were born. If you were born outside the U.S. and Canada, read a book that takes place in the country you were born.
15: Read a book titled The _______'s Daughter or The _______'s Wife
15:  Read a book that was originally written in a language other than English. Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier
20: Read a book with a number in the title. This could be an actual digit or a number like “hundred” or “thousand.” No arbitrary numbers are allowed (e.g. several, few, many, couple).
20:  Read a book set during Christmas or another winter holiday.
20: Read a book written by an author who shares your initials.
25: Read a Pulitzer Prize winner or finalist for fiction.

25:  Re-read a book. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
30: Read three books from three different genres (e.g. romance, historical fiction, horror, biography, etc.). Remember, the books used for this category cannot count for any other category. 
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera (philosophy) (Is philosophy a genre? Because otherwise I would stick in as literary fiction)
The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan (fantasy)
My third will probably be a contemporary young adult romance. I just don't know which one yet. 

I didn't fill out all of these, in part because it's going to take me some time to find all of these, and also because I find it highly unlikely that I will finish this challenge because of school. 

Happy reading! 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Mark of Athena Reaction Post

WARNING: This post will contain spoilers for Mark of Athena. You have been warned. 

To sum up my reaction in one word: NOPE.

But seriously, guys, what the heck? 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday Blog Post

Happy Veterans Day all! Since I have a free moment today and don't feel like writing my paper at all, I thought I would give you a brief update on my reading life.

Now, let's look at what I actually read since the semester started.

I have only read three titles this entire semester and they have all been for class (technically I have read three other books for a class, but I'm not going to count them since I didn't actually read them).

The first book I read was Madame Bovary by Flaubert. I was really excited to start reading this in class, and I really don't remember why. It was okay, but it wasn't amazing. It was okay, it was very prettily written, but I didn't love it.

I also read "Much Ado About Nothing" By Shakespeare. I liked this better than Bovary and the next book I've read this semester. I really enjoyed reading it and watching it. This is my first really enjoyable encounter with Shakespeare, as I had only previously read "Julius Caesar  which was okay, but I think I would appreciate it a lot more now. I look forward to reading more Shakespeare in the future.

The most recent book I've read this semester is one I actually finished last night, The Stranger by Albert Camus. This is another book I liked but didn't really love. But it was also very interesting.

And that is all I have read since August! Right now, I'm currently read Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan, which is what I've been reading in my spare time for the past month. I'm also going to start Everything and Nothing by Borges for one of my classes. I'm not very excited to start it, but I hope it's interesting. It also has a very nice looking cover, which I may post a picture of later.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Brief Update

Hey, everyone! I'm sorry I haven't kept to my word of updating once a week, like I said I would once the semester started. The truth of the matter is that I can hardly believe it is October! Where has the time gone?

I know this is a popular excuse, but I have been really busy with school, work, and Phi Sigma Pi. And because of all of that, I've barely had time to read for my classes, much less time to read for fun. So until the semester starts to wind down, do not expect frequent posts. I will be back, hopefully for a little bit in November, but more likely than not, December.

See you then and I hope you are all well!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Across the Universe
photo from Goodreads
Amy joins her parents on Godspeed, a ship headed for a new planet where her parents and ninety seven people like them will colonize a new planet. They are cryogenically frozen and will sleep for three hundred years while the ship travels to this new planet. However, she is awoken fifty years earlier than anticipated due to someone who is trying to kill her. She then meets Elder, and together they work to unravel the secrets of the ship.

I am not a massive sci-fi fan. That title belongs to my mother. But this book was awesome.

What the plot summary doesn't tell you is that the point of view is divided between two characters- Amy, the girl who is cryogenically frozen and Elder, the boy who will inherit the leadership of the ship. This is good because there's a couple chapters where Amy frozen and there really isn't a lot going on on her end. However, because of this we get the best of both worlds- a familiarity with the world with Elder and the awe of seeing it for the first time with Amy.

This a very plot-driven book. Though may lag towards the beginning, especially with Amy still frozen and we really don't get why we're reading through Elder's point of view. And the plot is complicated. Like, I finished the book and I have no idea where this trilogy is going to go. There are a couple "Surprise!" moments, which are good. I'm excited to see how this story arc expands.

My only concern is that I felt the characters were a little- uninteresting. Which was okay, because the amazing plot more than makes up for it. I really couldn't connect with either of the narrators, though they were both written excellently. I liked them both all right, but I don't have any I adored. While there was some character development, I'm hoping that there will be a little more in the next book.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han Review

The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer, #1)
Photo also from Goodreads
Plot Summary from Goodreads:
Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer--they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one terrible and wonderful summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.

So I originally picked up this book simply because I had seen a lot about last summer and I have been reading a lot of contemporary recently so I decided to pick it up. And I read it in one day.

This book was really not what I was expecting. I was expecting a light contemporary with the two brothers kinda bickering over Belly and shenanigans. However, this book was darker and had a lot of secrets that come to light. Overall, the plot is pretty simple. It's the summer before she turns sixteen and her relationships with all the people at the beach house, especially Conrad and Jeremiah. It's also about her first love and a new love.

I liked Belly. She reminded me a lot of one of my friends and I could identify with her easily. Both the brothers were interesting too. I definitely had a preference for Jeremiah, but I could see Conrad was hurting and that was why he annoyed me sometimes. I liked how it explored Belly's relationship with her parents.

One things this book did is it flashed back to previous summers they had spent at the beach house, which I think helped us to understand what the characters are going through present day. I especially liked the story arc with her best friend Taylor.  Also, I really loved how it took place at the beach, but because it was kinda a darker beach read, I cannot imagine the beach as a hot, sunshiny place. When I think about it, I can only imagine it as overcast. 

My main issue with this book is actually the title. I don't really like the title. It just sounds silly, like it's some seriously light chick lit. And while it does kinda fall into the chick lit genre, it's a little more complex than the title would lead you to believe.

Overall, I would recommend this book if you like summer reads that take place at the beach, but am looking for some depth.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Brief Update Post

Hey guys! I realize it has been awhile. I went to a conference for my co-ed honors fraternity and then went on vacation with my mom. And now I leave for school and a new job tomorrow. So posts will be less frequent but I will still try to update on a weekly basis.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Boy Book by E. Lockhart (Ruby Oliver #2) Review

The Boy Book: A Study of Habits and Behaviors, Plus Techniques for Taming Them (Ruby Oliver, #2)
photo from Goodreads
The Boyfriend List didn't need a sequel- it would've been good as a stand alone novel. Happily, it did get a sequel and it is just as good as the first. The Boy Book shows Ruby's life after all the drama of sophomore year. She's still going to therapy and now's she got a job  working in a zoo. Her only real issues are what she refers to as her leper status. Throughout the fall semester, Ruby is faced with a lot of difficult decisions. 

This was very much a life-after novel; it tackles a lot of unresolved things from the previous book, such as what happens to Noel? Do Nora and Ruby become friends again? Does Ruby keep going to Doctor Z? And all these questions and more are answered. While there is a fair amount of drama in this book and it sometimes feels like too much, it's accurate. When  I think back to when I was in high school, these scenarios actually seems plausible. 

I enjoyed being in Ruby's mind again, and since it was her telling us what was happening versus telling us what happened, I feel like we as readers were able to delve into her psyche better. I am happy we got to see Megan more- if you read my review of TBL, you know that she is the one I identified with- but in this novel, I kinda identify with Nora more, as we both like to read. I really didn't care for Cricket in this one, same with Kim. As for the boys, I really liked Noel. In fact, I think he is my favorite of the boys. 

Rather than the chapters being the names of boys like The Boyfriend List, this book''s chapters were titled with the chapters of The Boy Book, which if you read the last one, you know that The Boy Book is the book that Ruby, Kim, Cricket, and Nora wrote to demystify the strange patterns of boys. I thought this was a cute concept. 

Overall, if you liked The Boyfriend List and want to read more about the shenanigans of teenage girls, this is definitely the book for you.  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

WWW Wednesday #6

WWW Wednesday is a meme created by Should Be Reading. To play along, simply answer these three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you just finish reading?
  • What do you think you'll read next? 
All links lead to Goodreads. Let's get started!

What are you currently reading?
I am about halfway through Across the Universe  by Beth Revis. I've been reading a lot of contemporary young adult recently and wanted a change of pace, so I decided on this! I'm really enjoying it thus far. It's been awhile since I read  a science fiction book that wasn't really dystopian (though it still kinda has a dystopian feel to it).

What did you just finish reading?
I finished two books this week. First, I finished The Boy Book by E. Lockhart last weekend, which was excellent and will have a review coming soon. Then on Monday, I started and finished The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han, which was a lot darker than I expected and that oddly makes me want to read the next one.

What do you think you'll read next?
I still have a lot of book out from the library, now including Fire by Kristin Cashore. I am also looking forward to reading the next book in The Ruby Oliver series, The Treasure Map of Boys

What have you been reading this week? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Most Vivid Worlds/Settings in Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme run by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week, there is a new topic and you make a list based on that topic. This week's topic is Top Ten Most Vivid Worlds/Settings. Note: I am listing them by book title rather than world name.
1. The Harry Potter series
I dare anyone not to put this on their list. Seriously, Harry Potter is fantastic world building.

2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Collins describes the suffering of District 12 really well, especially when compared with the excess of the Capitol.

3. Divergent by Veronica Roth
I love the factions and seeing how different they are from each other.

4. Knightley Academy by Violet Haberdasher
This one is similar to Harry Potter, but has the same great world building.

5. Anything by Robin McKinley
Robin McKinley is excellent at world building and describing everything. Everything I've read by her is excellent.

6.  Warriors series by Erin Hunter
It's about cats! And I really enjoy the simplicity of the setting.

7. Poison Study by Maria V Snyder
This one in kinda similar to The Hunger Games, but I really enjoy the world building in this one and the distinctions between the North and the South.

8. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
I just read this one recently and I really enjoyed the descriptions of the different kingdoms and how Katsa would compare them to where she was from.

9. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
GWTW gives such a vivid description of every thing! During some of The Civil War scenes, I would have to take a break because some of the writing was too gruesome. I love the descriptions of the southern landscapes!

10. Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
This book is very thick- and for good reason! It is packed with vivid details about travelling through Paris and the catacombs. If you like Paris, you'll enjoy this.

What are some of your favorite fictional settings/worlds? Let me know in the comments.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Graceling by Kristin Cashore Book Review

Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1)
Photo from Goodreads
Katsa can kill a man with her bare hands- she's a Graceling, meaning she's been "graced" with an extreme skill. You can tell someone's a Graceling by their eyes- two different colors. Although Katsa in the king's niece, she is forced under his thumb to be his thug because of her Grace. When she meets Prince Po-someone who almost matches her in terms of combat skills- she has no idea how her life is about to change.

When I first heard about this book, I was very skeptical mostly because I didn't trust the judgement of the people I had heard about it from. So I put off reading it for a long time because of my skepticism. I don't really regret that, but I do wish I had read it sooner because it was excellent.

There is never a dull moment in this book. There is always something happening, some sort of plot progression going on. The plot itself is excellent. You definitely can't tell from the very beginning what is going to happen, though what happens at the very beginning is very important.

I liked Katsa, but I didn't love her right off. I actually disliked how rude and cold she was. It was like she was just running around, screaming, "I CAN'T BE TAMED!" which is all right by me but it got annoying after awhile. I grew to care about her about halfway through, and now I'm disappointed that it doesn't look like she'll be in the next book. I also liked Po and all the other characters. I liked Katsa and Po together.

The world building in this book was excellent. I definitely got a feel for all the different kingdoms that we visit with Katsa. My favorite was Lienid. I'm intrigued by the next book because it takes place in a world outside the seven kingdoms.

I'm thinking I will read Fire soon, but I kinda want to just skip to Bitterblue because I don't think Katsa's in next book. But I don't want to skip around in the series so I'll end up reading Fire. 

Have you read Graceling? What did you think?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

WWW Wednesday #5

WWW Wednesday is a meme created by Should Be Reading. To play along, simply answer these questions:
  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you just finish reading?
  • What do you think you'll read next?

What are you currently reading?
I'm a little over halfway through Graceling by Kristin Cashore. I'm really liking it so far and will probably be reviewing it within the next week. It has definitely reminded me how much I love fantasy novels. 

What did you just finish reading?
I just finished A Field Guide for Heartbreakers by Kristin Tracy. You can see my review of it here. As you might be able to tell, I really enjoyed it. I love travel books. 

What do you think you'll read next? 
I have a lot of books out from the library, including the sequel to The Boyfriend List. I may also read the rest of the Graceling series. Or I may read something else entirely. 

What are you reading this Wednesday? Let me know in the comments. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Books for People who like The Hunger Games

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme run by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is "Books for People Who Like X". I chose The Hunger Games because  I wanted to showcase some of the good dystopian fiction floating around and I wanted to showcase  books with a strong female character.  These are in no particular order. Also, all links lead to Goodreads. 

1.  Divergent by Veronica Roth
This is sort of an auto-recommend for me when it comes to THG. Oh, oh you like you The Hunger Games? Read Divergent. Some people will argue that the two series are too similar, but they just share some traits on what makes a book dystopian.  Plus for a female character, you get Tris, who I adore.

2. Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
This book is not a dystopian story. However, the government structure kinda reminds me of a dystopian, I chose this one for Yelena, a strong female character who makes an interesting choice. 

3. Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell
This is not one of my favorites. However, it is a classic dystopian. It really lacks a strong female character, but is very interesting nonetheless. I may end up rereading it soon to see if my opinion has changed in the past five years. 

4. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
I have a soft spot for Ray Bradbury's writing style and I actually just read this recently. It's a really interesting look at a life without books (if you can imagine such a thing). 

5. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
I'm actually reading this right now and a good portion of it is just Katsa running around going, "I CAN'T BE TAMED!" So while it's not a dystopian, it definitely as a strong female character. 

6.  Anthem by Ayn Rand
This is another one I read in ninth grade. However, I actually liked this one. A really good dystopian about the idea of identity. 

7. The Giver by Lois Lowry 
Another classic dystopian that I didn't know was a series until five seconds ago. I really enjoyed this one for the most part, though the ending left me hanging. 

8.  Uglies by Scott Westerfield
This is another dystopian series that is about "turning pretty" even though there is more to being pretty than physical features. I really like the first book but the series kinda goes downhill for me.

9. Wither by Lauren DeStefano
This is one that I am hopefully going to read soon. I am definitely intrigued by it. 

10. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
See above. These both have interesting world concepts that I am pretty sure they will deserve to be on this list. 

That's my ten choices if you like The Hunger Games. What else would you recommend? 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Field Guide to Heartbreakers by Kristen Tracy

Today was a day I had nothing to do but read... so that's what I did.

A Field Guide for Heartbreakers
Photo from Goodreads
Dessy and Veronica arrive in Prague to attend a writing workshop. However, the two girls have wildly different ideas- Dessy is trying to heal her broken heart by diving in to the workshop while Veronica wants to flirt with all the dudes and help heal Dessy's heart. However, it becomes clear that all is not going according to plan with the boys' mixed signals and their ability to cause tiffs between friends.

This book looks like it would be a cute romance about two girls who travel abroad, meet hot guys, and eat ice cream. But it's not nearly as light as it appears to be. This book deals with much larger issues like relationships between parents, trust, and how to deal with suit mates.

The plot of this book was really cute, and I think accurately showed how two teenage girls would spend a month abroad. Both the major conflicts ended nicely; although I thought the main antagonist's motive was a little silly until I took a step back. Then it made a little sense. Overall, the plot was very interesting and kept me reading.

I really liked both Dessy and Veronica as characters. I identified a little more Dessy, but I think that's because as readers we are seeing everything through her eyes. I liked Veronica too, though I found her a little too much at times. You definitely see growth from them both.  The minor characters in this novel were also excellent.

I loved the fact this book was set in Prague; in fact, that's what drew me to this book. I also appreciated the fact that despite the fact that Dessy and Veronica were remarkably different people, they could put their differences aside and be really good friends.

Overall, I'd recommend this as a fun travel read that makes you think about relationships.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart

The Boyfriend List: 15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs and Me, Ruby Oliver (Ruby Oliver, #1)
photo from Goodreads
Ruby Oliver's life has definitely taken a turn for the worst. Over the past ten days she has, lost her boyfriend, her best friend, all of her other friends, and had a few panic attacks. Now her parents have her going to see a shrink to work out her problems. At her shrink's request, Ruby goes on to make The Boyfriend list- a list of boys who have at one point meant something to her in her life. And thus, the boyfriend list is born.

I listened to this book for the first time back when I was fourteen and grounded. I thought it was adorable then and really enjoyed. Unfortunately, by the time I realized that there was more to the series, I had promptly forgotten everything that happened. I then decided that now was the time to reread and see how much I remember.

I adore Ruby. She is hilarious and someone I would love to be friends with. However, the character I most identified with was Megan, the girl who drove Ruby to school. I hope we see more of her in the series. I also  really liked Nora, as I felt some connection to her, especially towards the end. I didn't feel any sort of connection to Kim or Cricket.

As for the plot, I remembered a lot more of it than I thought I did, but I remember being shocked at some the first time I read it. Just shocked. Overall, the plot is good and all the conflict isn't necessarily resolved by the end of the book, hence why turning it into a series is a good idea.

One thing I think actually makes this book good is the structure. I like that each chapter was devoted to a boy on the boyfriend list and her therapy sessions, and still included actual plot progression. There wasn't any chapter that was completely devoted to unimportant things- every thing was important.

I would recommend this book if you want a fun contemporary read that isn't one of those "love-at-first-sight" books, but still has a romantic element.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

WWW Wednesday #4

WWW Wednesday is a meme created by Should Be Reading. To play along, simply answer these questions:
  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you just finish reading?
  • What do you think you'll read next?

What are you currently reading?
I am currently reading Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury as part of the Nerdfighter's Summer Book Club. I'm about halfway through it and it is really interesting. I forgot how interesting Bradbury's writing style is. 

What did you just finish reading?
I just finished reading The Boyfriend List  by E. Lockhart as part of my Kate's Book Club Summer Reading Challenge. As I type, it dawns upon me that I had given myself until the end of July to complete and have five books left to read.  Anyway, a review of The Boyfriend List should be up by Friday, if not tomorrow. 

What do you think you'll read next? 
Either one of my summer reading picks or one of the dozens of books I have out from the library. 

Post your answers in the comments! Happy reading! 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme run by The Broke and the Bookish. This weeks Top Ten Tuesday is a freebie, so I decided I would do "Top Ten Books I Would Recommend to High School Students". 

1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
THIS BOOK! I think that high school students would like this book because it is a story of young love. It lends itself to being part of the "literary cannon".

2. Paper Towns by John Green
This is one that I would recommend if you are on the verge of graduating high school because it deals a lot with some of the emotions associated with that and relationships. 

3. The Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
This is one I would more recommend for girls, and maybe middle grade at that. This is an excellent series for girls who want to think.

4. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
This book is a memoir, which isn't usually my cup of tea, but it is really excellent. A good book for students who are stepping outside their usual genres.

5.  A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Another very interesting book. This is one I read for school and actually enjoyed.

6. The Book Thief by Markcus Zuask
Another I read for school and enjoyed. Though ti is rather lengthy, it a fast read and explores a lot of interesting themes.

7. The Little Prince  by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Though this is a children's book, it explores a lot about love and life.

8.  Sleeping Freshman Never Lie by David Lubar
This is one I would recommend to people just starting high school, as it gives a really interesting portrayal  of that experience. 

9.  Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris
This also may be more of a middle grade book, but it is super adorable and for people who like fairy tales.

10. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
I am actually reading this right now and I think it would be an excellent book for high school students, whether you think it is about censorship or not. 

These are my picks, though these are just general choices. What I would recommend to high school students depends on that student. What do you think high school students should read?