Friday, June 29, 2012

Under-Rated and Under-Known Books

So earlier this month Misty at thebookrat and Kayley at kayleyreads both did videos on under-rated and under-known books. I thought it was an interesting topic, one that I had been considering covering for awhile.

So without further ado, here's my list of under-rated and under-known books.

1. The Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
I have discovered that this series is only really under-known with my generation. The first book came out in the eighties, so people who were eleven then are more familiar with the series. However, it is a really good series about navigating adolescence.  There is one more book left to be released in the series.

2. Once Upon A Marigold and Twice Upon A Marigold by Jean Ferris
I read this book in middle school. It's a type of fairy tale, but it's not a retelling. It's cute and has a moral, although it is kinda spelled out.

3. Carpe Diem by Autumn Cornwell
Why have more people not read this book? It's about a girl who goes to Asia with her kooky aunt and self-discovery. What's not to love?

There are my three recommendations! I may do this again to just keep compiling a list of under-rated/under-known books.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Insurgent Book Review

WARNING: While this will not contain spoilers for Insurgent, it will contain major spoilers for Divergent. Read at your own risk.

Insurgent (Divergent, #2)
Picture from Goodreads
Abnegation has been utterly destroyed and the Dauntless are split in half; half traitors staying in Erudite, the other half taking refuge in Amity. War looms as conflict between the faction grows even more heated and the Divergent are consider an even bigger threat. Tris tries to pick up the pieces of her city while still trying to come to terms with the events of the last book. Tris must decide where her loyalties lie- to her faction, to her family, or to herself.

I'm gonna level with you- I put off reading this book for awhile because I was concerned about the number of feels I would have after reading it. This was an accurate concern.

There was truly never a dull moment in this book- full of action, yet it wasn't battle after battle. There was a lot of character development as well. Tris goes through quite a lot of development from the self-sacrificing hero that is frequently found in young adult fiction. Other characters also receive a lot of development. One thing I really liked that it showed Four and Tris as a couple fighting and dealing with real couple things like each other's families. In this book we also get a better look at the other factions besides Dauntless and Abnegation, which makes the world seem more real. Also, the ending will leave you craving the next book... Which doesn't come out until 2013.

Overall, if you've read Divergent, but haven't read Insurgent you are depriving yourself of a good book.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

WWW Wednesday #3

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 just started Leviathan by Scott Westerfield last night. I'm hoping I'll like it. 
What did you just finish reading?
I just finsihed Insurgent by Veronica Roth and it was excellent.  I am exploding with good book feels and I  can't wait to read the next one... in 2013. 
What do you think you'll read next? 
No idea! Might continue with the Leviathan series, might read some contemporary. I don't know. 

Sorry this is so short! I haven't been reading much recently. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer Reading Update

Hey guys! I realize I've been gone for two weeks, hence why I thought I'd give you an update on my Summer Reading Challenge run by Kate's Book Club. I guess I'll also point out that I changed not only the theme, but the title and url as well. I like it; it's shorter and easier to say. 
Anyway, I will show the list, updated with what I've already read: 

1. One Book Recommended By A Friend. Leviathan by Scott Westerfield. 
2. One Book That Has Been Sitting On Your Shelf For Over A Year.The Luxe by Ana Gobbersen. .
3. One Book You Read A Long Time Ago And Don't Remember.The Boyfriend List  by E. Lockhart
4. One Book From Your To Be Read List.Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. ALSO John and Hank Green- who are awesome- are reading this for the Summer Time Nerdfighter Book Club!
5. One Book You've Never Heard Of.Past Perfect by Leila Sales. 
6. One Classic.Either Emma by Jane Austen or This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
7. One Book You Started But Never Finished.
The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray.
8. One New Release. Insurgent by Veronica Roth. 
9. One Book That Is Outside of Your Typical Genre.Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi. .
10. One Chunkster (A Book That Is Over 400 Pages). The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly.
In short, I have finished three out of ten books. I forgot to mention when this challenge ended for me.  I'd like to have it done by July 30th, as that when I leave for a school related trip, but if not by then, I would like to be finished by August 14th, as that is when I move back. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Past Perfect Review

All Chelsea wants to do the summer before her senior year is hang out with her best friend, eats lots of ice cream, and hopefully finally get over her ex, Ezra. But when she shows up for work at Essex Historical Colonial Village, it turns out he's working there as well. This makes getting over him all the more difficult, even when she thinks she might be falling for someone new. In Past Perfect by Leila Sales, we experience all the highs and lows of Chelsea's summer as a colonial reenactor. 
Past PerfectI read this book in practically one sitting- a rare feat for me. I don't know whether it was because I couldn't sleep or if it was because that this book was so adorable that I couldn't put it down. Although the plot line was a little predictable and the characters were a little bland at times, Sales made up for it with the book being downright hilarious. I cannot remember when I last literally laughed out loud at a book. I also really enjoyed the aspect of the historical village and the rivalry between the colonials and the Civil Warriors, though I feel that it could have been played out more. I also really enjoyed the relationship between Chelsea and Fiona, her best friend and their whole "ice cream connoisseurs" thing. It was a nice touch on a hilarious novel. I also appreciated the growth they both experienced. I found a little bit of the ending unbelievable, but it did end nicely.  Overall, if you like history and contemporary young adult literature, I would definitely recommend it. 

WWW Wednesday #2

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 just started Alice in Charge by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, part of her Alice series. I probably won't review this one, but after reading this one and the next one in the series, I may do a post on the series overall. 

What did you just finish reading?
Last night I finished two books, I finished Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen at a reasonable time then I started and finished Past Perfect by Leila Sales at the wee hours of the morning. The visit to Northanger was lovely, and a review for Past Perfect will be up either later today or tomorrow. 

What do you think you'll read next? 
As I stated last week, I often don' know what I'm going to read next even after I have finished a book. However, since I have recently started Katesbookclub's Summer Reading, I will probably read one of those books next. You can find that list of books here

What are you currently reading? Have you read any of these books? Share in the comments!

Kate's Book Club Summer Reading

So I realize this is going to be a lot of posts in a couple of days, but Kate at katesbookclub is holding a summer reading challenge going on that you can read about here. After much deliberating and research on choosing books, I ultimately decided to do it. Here are the books I have (mostly!) decided on:
1. One Book Recommended By A Friend.
Leviathan by Scott Westerfield. I borrowed this from my boyfriend at the very beginning of the year and I still have it.
2. One Book That Has Been Sitting On Your Shelf For Over A Year.The Luxe by Ana Gobbersen. Back when my parents had first discovered that Half-Priced Books was a thing, my mom bought me this because she thought I might like it. I have yet to read it.
3. One Book You Read A Long Time Ago And Don't Remember.The Boyfriend List  by E. Lockhart. I listened to the audio book of this years ago, but never really  progressed with the series from there. I decided I might want to read the second one in this series only to discover that I do not remember a thing.
4. One Book From Your To Be Read List.Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I'd been wanting to read this for awhile, and considering recent events, I find it high time I do so.
5. One Book You've Never Heard Of.Past Perfect by Leila Sales. It took me the longest time to find this one. I was just sitting around wondering what I could possibly find that I hadn't heard of. Then I realized I already had one book I hadn't heard of.
6. One Classic.Either Emma by Jane Austen or This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I've been wanting to read Emma for ages- it's one of the few Austen novels I haven't read. However, the only Fitzgerald I've read is Gatsby and I'd like to read more, so I may read that instead.
7. One Book You Started But Never Finished.
The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray. I have tried to get through this book twice and have yet to succeed. I like to think I remember the first two well enough to not have to reread them. 
8. One New Release.
Insurgent by Veronica Roth. I bought this when it first came out for my Nook and have yet to read it. 
9. One Book That Is Outside of Your Typical Genre.Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi. This is another it took me awhile to find. I settled on this because it appears to be an autobiography of sorts, which I'm not inclined to read and it is a graphic novel, which I almost never read. 
10. One Chunkster (A Book That Is Over 400 Pages).When I look at my bookshelf, two books stand out as chunksters,  Gone With The Wind and The Tea Rose. Since I have finished GWTW, I will read The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly. 

Are you participating in Katesbookclub's Summer Reading? If so,w hat are you reading? 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. It’s a fun way to get to know fellow bloggers while simultaneously enjoying the fun of a list!
This week's Top Ten Tuesday is "Good Beach Reads". One of the great tragedies of my life is the fact I do not live near a beach. However, when imagining myself on a beach, I can see myself reading these books.

Top Ten Beach Reads
1. L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad
I reviewed this not so long ago. It is just a light and fun book for the beach.

2. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants by Ann Brashares.
An oldie but a goodie. Four girls magically fit into one pair of pants, so as they spend their first summer apart . Another light read wit some depth.

3. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
One thing you will learn rapidly about me, dear reader, is that I greatly enjoy travel books, especially during the summer where the bulk of my travelling will be occurring. This is one of my favorite travel books, and the book that started my love for Maureen Johnson. Definitely recommend.

4. Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
I started this series last winter, and have been really enjoying it. It's another nice light read for summer, even though it takes place during the school year.

5. Carpe Diem by Autumn Cornwell
Another one of my favorite travel books, however it is underrated. Shows the importance of going with the flow and that you can't plan out your entire life.

6. Gimme a Call by Sarah Mlynowski
A girl communicates with her freshman year self in an attempt to change her current situation. What could possibly go wrong?

7. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Out of all of John Green novels, this is perhaps the best in terms of a summer read. It is a road trip novel and is downright hilarious.

8.  The Summer of Cotton Candy by Debbie Vigue
A girl working in an amusement park for the summer. Really light and fun.

9. Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding
Based of Jane Austen's most famous novel, Bridget Jones is hilarious.

10. I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have To Kill You by Ally Carter
Although this is another that takes place during the school year, it is a really fun book, though the series does get progressively darker.

What are your top ten beach reads? Do you agree/disagree with any of my choices? Share in the comments!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Ruby in the Smoke Review

The Ruby in the Smoke (Sally Lockhart, #1)Sally Lockhart's father is dead. His death seems to be connected to a mysterious phrases, "The Seven Blessings", a phrase that when uttered, kills one of his business associates from shock. These Seven Blessings begin Sally Lockhart's journey into Victorian London, trying to uncover the truth of her father's death. While doing this, she also discovers that she is an important key in two mysteries: one involving the opium trade, another an Indian ruby. While being pursued by villains, Sally is determined to find out the truth in The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman.

From the first page to the last chapter, there is never a dull moment in this book. It is full action and all kinds of different characters with their quirky dialects. Sally, herself, defies all the gender stereotypes we expect from a Victorian heroine. She calls herself "good at figures" (math) and can shoot a pistol no problem. Instead of fretting about catching a husband at the age of sixteen, she is too busy being awesome.

This book, like the previous one I reviewed, did the whole jumping around character perspective thing. However, this gives the whole mystery a fuller view: the reader can see what the heroes and the villains are doing. While it may take a bit to know who's on what side, it is worth it.

I would recommend this book to people who love a good mystery. If you're looking for something a little more mature then Nancy Drew, then look no further. This is the first book I've read by Pullman, but I have definitely enjoyed it and am planning to read the next in the series.

So have you read The Ruby in the Smoke? Did you love it? Did you hate it? Have you read any of Pullman's other novels? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

WWW Wednesday #1

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 finish reading recently?
  • What do you think you'll read next? 
What are you currently reading?
Right now, I'm reading two books. I'm still making my way through Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. It's very long and I'm a little over halfway through.  I also just recently started The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman, better known for his Dark Materials trilogy. I'm only a couple chapters in and there has been a lot of action thus far.

What did you finish reading recently?
I just finished L. A. Candy by Lauren Conrad last night. You can find my review here. If you're too lazy to read my review, here's a summary: It was average.

What do you think you'll read next? 
I hate this question because I have trouble predicting what I'll be in the mood for. After I finish GWTW, I hope to start some of the books I'll have to read next fall. Other than that, I may read more Nancy Drew next or one of the other books I have checked out from the library.

What are you currently reading? Do you have as much trouble deciding what to read next as I do? Have you read any of these books? Comment below and let's chat!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

L. A. Candy Review

L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad begins with Jane and her best friend Scarlett moving to L.A. Jane is there for an internship; Scarlett is going to U.S.C. While going out on the town, they are approached by a producer for a reality show. He thinks they would be perfect for his new show. While the girls are initially reluctant to agree, they eventually decide to being on the show. .Their lives change dramatically, rushed into stardom with almost their every move being filmed and broadcast for the world to see.

Let me start by saying that this book is not awful. It's not great by any stretch of the imagination, but it's not awful. It's probably the average chick lit young adult book. The plot line is predictable. The characters are a little bland and lack depth, but it's a nice summer read. 

One things that actually bothered me about the point of view jumped around a lot. The POV is mostly Jane, but a good portion of the story is not Jane. It wouldn't have bothered me so much if it had been just Scarlett and Jane, possibly adding in the other girls they star on the reality show with. However, it seemed like it was in the POV of wherever the action was, which now that I think about it could be a sort of commentary on how the reality show was set. However, all the different POVs seemed the same.

Overall, a pretty average young adult book aimed for teenage girls. Nothing really remarkable. It was a light, fun, easy read.  I haven't decided whether or not I want to read the next one. But if you're looking for an easy read that won't take over your life, I'd definitely recommend it.

So have you read L.A. Candy? Did you love it? Did you hate it? Were you put off by the author? Share your thoughts in the comments! 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Book to Movie Adaptations: Trailers

There are three movies that I know of coming out later this year that are based on books I have read and enjoyed. Two of them have trailers that I have seen, one of them has a trailer premiering after I plan to publish this. Let's review the first two trailers!

So I genuinely forgot how wonderful this book was. I had to read my freshman year and truthfully we probably didn't devote as much time to it as we should have. But this movie looks amazing and it makes me want to read the book again.
This trailer looks really weird to me. When I watched it the first time, I was really confused. Not because it deviates from the story, but because the style was not what I was expecting. Then I remembered Baz Luhrman was directing it and suddenly it all made sense. I'm looking forward to it.

The other book I know of that has a movie adaptation coming out this year is The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. As far as I'm aware, the trailer will not premier until tomorrow, but everything I've seen so far for this movie looks good.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Midnight in Austenland Review

Okay, so I know I said I didn't want to review parts of series, especially since I didn't review the first on this series. However, this book isn't exactly a sequel to Austenland  and I have much to say about it.

Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale begins with an introduction to our heroine Charolette Constance Kinder, a divorcee with two children. After drowning herself in her work, she decides to take a vacation to England. After reading Jane Austen, she decides she would like a Jane Austen vacation. She then decides on Pembrook Park, which offers a unique vacation experience. Visitors dress in Regency era garb and are entertained and wooed by actors hired to play gentlemen that resemble the men in Jane Austen's books. They are assigned a woman to woo, offering a marriage proposal at the end of the two weeks. When Charolette arrives, she is unsure where the role ends and reality begins. There is a mystery at Pembrook Park,  but is it just a story or is it a real live mystery? How much are the actors hiding? Charolette discovers all this and more.

If you haven't read Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, this book might not make a lot of sense at times. There are a lot of references to Northanger, and having read it will amplify the experience of reading this book. But don't let that stop you from reading it. However, while having read Northanger will amplify the reading experience it will also make it suck for the last hundred pages.

There are two mysteries in this novel- one that is just a story and one that is straight out of a Nancy Drew novel. They are both interesting, but I felt the first mystery was tied up a little too quickly in order to make way for the second one. It was also a little anti-climatic. However, the second mystery completely took over the entire plot. Personally I left the second mystery was a bit much, and the longer it was prolonged, the more I was thinking, "Please stop. This is enough. This is one of the Gothic novels I was warned about." The romance aspect also got a little ridiculous at times. However, in typical Austen fashion, all the characters lived happily ever after, except for the villain.

While I preferred Austenland, this book was not bad by any stretch of the imagination.  The characters were believable, there were some old and new faces. It actually made me want to read Austenland again, so I can see what was new and what was already there. If you like Jane Austen and/or a mysteries, you will likely enjoy this book.