Archive for March, 2012

Book Review: The Fault in our Stars

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Title: The Fault in our Stars
Author: John Green
Summary: [from GoodReads]  
Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

My Review: In going through my reviews to add to GoodReads for the Bloggiesta, I realized I had never reviewed this one even though I read it back in January. Shame on me!

John Green is one of my auto-read authors, but he’s an unusual one for me because he writes Contemporary Fiction. I know contemporary is supposed to be good for us and have great messages and all that, but normally it’s just not my thing. I use reading as an escape and most of the time, I don’t really want to read about real life. Every once in a while though, I’ll read one because everyone says it’s amazing, or because I feel like I need more philosophy in my life, or something like that.

Enter The Fault in our Stars. I was already a fan of John Green – my personal favorites are Katherines and Paper Towns – so I knew I’d have to read it eventually. I thought I’d wait until I could get it from the library, but then I found a hanklerfished copy at one of the local stores… and I just couldn’t leave it there. 

I was so happy I bought it. The book left me alternately crying and laughing, and the surprise ending was very beautiful. The message of the book was one I really needed to hear, especially because I’m an Augustus – I want to do something and matter to people before I die. But the important thing is those few people that it matters a lot to, not the many that it matters a little. I had never thought of it that way before, mostly because I don’t like to think about death.

If you’re reading this review, the likelihood is good that you’ve already read the book. But, on the off chance that you haven’t, you should. It may completely change the way you think – and that’s a good thing.

Top Ten Tuesday: Playing hooky!

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is top 10 books we’d play hooky with. I’m not entirely sure what they mean by this, but I’m going to interpret it as books I would have skipped school to read (and I LOVED school – I never skipped a day, EVER). I have, for once, done the list in order, so counting down from 10: [all links to the GoodReads page for the books]

10. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld – I love steampunk, I love kickass girls, and I love plotlines that keep me guessing! I bought this one on a whim and was unable to put it down for two days straight.

9. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – I’m sure this one will go on everyone’s list, especially since the movie just came out. I reread it recently, and even though I knew the story, I ended up skipping a few chores just to finish it that same night (oops!)

8. Beastly by Alex Flinn – I knew we’d get around to the fairy tales eventually. I borrowed this one from the library originally, just before the film came out. I pined over the book so bad after returning it to the library that I had to buy it, and went through a desperate search to find a paperback copy that wasn’t the movie cover (I think the original is just so much prettier!)

7. Graceling by Kristin Cashore – This one is a little embarrassing, because all I remember about the book is staying up far later than I should have to finish it because I just couldn’t bring myself to put it down and go to sleep. It has been several years now and I really should re-read it, just to see why I loved it so much!

6. The Faerie Wars series by Herbie Brennan – I know I sound like a broken record, but I seem to be the only one who knows about these books! For me, they were company through the long months between Harry Potter releases, and I enjoyed them just about as much!

5. Cinder by Marissa Meyer – I think this one has been in almost every TTT I’ve done since reading it, but it belongs on just about EVERY top ten list I make. It is SO GOOD!

4. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke – The concept of being able to read your favorite characters out of a book fascinated me from the very beginning, and with the release of each of the books in this series, I’m pretty sure I holed up in my room and wouldn’t come out until I finished. This is another I’d like to get to re-reading this year.

3. Divergent by Veronica Roth – I read this one in a SINGLE DAY, foregoing chores, homework and even sleep until I’d finished. I was extremely (book) hung over the next morning as I stayed up until 3 am to finish it, but it was totally worth it!

2. The Neverending Story by Michael Ende – This has been and always will be my go-to comfort book. My copy is so battered that I will not be surprised if it falls apart in my hands one day. The problem, of course, is that once I’ve started rereading I have a hard time stopping for anything…

And of course, number 1:
ANYTHING from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling – I happily went to midnight release parties (luckily all in the summer) and started reading immediately after, even though I am such a morning person that a typical bedtime for me is around 10 if not earlier. As I remember I finished book 7 less that 18 hours from the release, because I WOULD NOT stop for anything. I only ate because my mother forced me, and when I slept it was because it was freakin’ 5 am and I was still up reading. If they had released these books during the school year, I most definitely would have played hooky until I finished reading them – nothing could be more important than my Harry Potter fix!

There you have it! My top ten books to play hooky with. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some reading to do =)

What’s on your list this week?

April Page Count Contest

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Page Count Contest

In wandering the blogosphere this morning, I discovered this upcoming contest. The idea is to use a little friendly competition to get some hardcore reading done. I’m all for that! I am incredibly behind on my personal goal of books read for the year, and my TBR list will probably be hitting the 250 mark this week. Sign me up!

If you’d like to join in, you can click on the badge and it should take you to the sign-up page. The details are fairly simple – Sign up and then add your page count to the Google Doc on her site to be eligible for goodies and prizes! Head to her page for full details and to sign up for the fun =)

P.S. The Media Monday feature will return next week with my review of The Hunger Games! Stick around!

Bloggiesta 2012

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I know I’m a little late hopping on the bandwagon for this one, but I finally decided to join in, instead of lurking in the shadows as I did last year. This year the Bloggiesta is hosted by There’s a Book and It’s All About Books. Bloggiesta here we come!

My (very ambitious) to-do list:
1. Make a new favicon and grab button – I had them before my blog redesign, and I need to make new ones to match.
2. Update my Review linky’s – I’ve been really lax about this recently.
3. Make sure all my reviews are in GoodReads.
4. Research putting a drop down list in the nav-bar (is that what it’s really called? Or am I making that up?) I did it! With some minimal punting and major heart attack moments. I found the tutorial here if anyone else has this on their list.
5. Join at least one Blog Directory.
6. Link the blog to my bookish pinboard on Pinterest.
7. Catch up on mini-reviews – I’m never going to be able to review everything I’ve read, but 1-2 sentences is easy enough!
8. Turn my “Blogs I follow” widget into a blog roll. Edit: Instead of a blog roll, I’m going to put them into the “Links” on my new drop down lists.
9. Find and follow people on GoodReads.
10. Set up RSS for my collab blog?
11. Decide if it’s worth signing up for a Tumblr account (and if so, DO IT!)
12. Join Klout?
13. Participate in at least one mini-challenge.
14. Clean up widgets in my sidebars.

Realistically I will probably only have time to do half of this list, if that, but I’m still excited to be spending that much time on my blog! See you next weekend =)

Book Review: Everneath

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Title: Everneath (Everneath #1)
Author: Brodi Ashton
Summary: [From GoodReads]

 Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she’s returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld… this time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can’t find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.

As Nikki’s time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she’s forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole’s…

My Review: I am so glad that for all the Persephone retellings that we’ve been getting recently, each one is different enough that I don’t ever feel like I’m reading the same thing over and over again.
The original part in this one, at least for me, is that Ashton doesn’t rely very much on the mythology to set up the story for her. Instead, she takes elements of the myths we know and twists them into something different. In fact, while the biggest influence on the story is obviously Persephone, she makes a point of showing us all the other myths that have similar traits, and that could plausibly be related through her explanation.

Even though I will always love the mythology aspect of any retelling, the thing that really had me sticking through this one was the way Ashton painted Nikki – her transition from being completely drained into a living emotional being was obvious even through the writing style. I’m not talking about huge stylistic switches here, but as Nikki starts to feel again, we gradually get more description, probably because Nikki is noticing more. 

And of course, how could I review this book without mentioning Jack. I’m all for any guy that would do what he did for Nikki, at least in a book. The ending reminded me a little of another favorite, Nevermore by Kelly Creagh. I will definitely be looking out for book two and reading it as soon as I possibly can!

Top Ten Tuesday: TBR list

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s list is the top ten books we’d like to read this spring. My list was incredibly hard to come up with, as I have a TBR list of over 230 books (and that’s just the ones I’ve remembered to write down!). But, here are the ones that floated to the top – a mixture of brand new books and books that I’m just embarrassed to say I haven’t gotten to yet. In no particular order, I hope to read (Links go to the GoodReads page for the book):

Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey – I’ve had this one on my TBR list since I first read the summary sometime last year, and I’m desperate to get a copy.

The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross – For those who don’t know, this one is the sequel to The Girl in the Steel Corset (click for my review). It’s going to be tight to get it in this spring, since it doesn’t come out till May, but I absolutely can’t wait, so I’ve included it anyway.

Time Machines Repaired While-U-Wait by K.A. Bedford – This one is practically ancient compared to the rest of my list, but I really REALLY have wanted to read it for a long time, and have yet to find a copy. This spring I’m determined to read it, even if it breaks my “read from the library first” rule and I have to buy it off Amazon!

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows – Honestly, I put this one on the list solely for its amazing cover. I love the premise though so I really do want to read it!

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness – Every so often I feel guilty because I’ve lost my Fantasy roots because there are so many big fantasy series that I haven’t read because I’ve been reading YA. This is one of them. I’m determined to read at least the first one, so I no longer have to say “Yes I love epic fantasy… but no I haven’t read that one”

Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz – I know the hype for this one died down a long time ago, but I still really want to read it!

Starters by Lissa Price – Another brand new one! I’m not sure when I’ll be able to get it from the library as it’s so new, but I’ll be reading it soon as I can.

Sweetly  by Jackson Pearce – I know, I’m a little behind on this one too, but I just can’t read books as fast as they come out and they pile up!

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson – I absolutely love the story of Peter Pan, and I can’t wait to see what she does with this one!

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan – Another embarrassing hole in my library, especially since I have (almost) read every other thing John Green ever published EVER. Must fix this!

So there you have it, the top ten books I hope to get to this spring. What’s on your list?

Book Review: Tempest

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Title: Tempest (Tempest #1)
Author: Julie Cross
Summary: [From GoodReads] The year is 2009.  Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.

That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler.  Recruit… or kill him.

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.

My Review: When I first picked up Tempest from the library, I was in a little bit of a reading slump. I’d just finished Clarity by Kim Harrington, and I wanted something a little different, and frankly less… Young Adult. I’d sped my way through so many YA novels in a row that I felt like I desperately needed a break. But as soon as I had Tempest in my hands and reread the blurb on the back, I knew I couldn’t just read something else and ignore this one. 

While I have always been a fan of time travel stories, this one struck me as fresh and new. There are generally two theories about the way time travel could work, and they are usually considered mutually exclusive – but somehow Cross found a believable way of mixing the two. I’m still not quite sure I understand it! That said, my confusion didn’t detract from the story, because the main character was just as confused as I was.

If you’re not in for the long haul on this one (aka through 2014, the projected release date of book 3) then I wouldn’t suggest starting it just yet. There are so many things left unanswered that left me reeling. I am so desperate to get my hands on the next book, and it’s a whole YEAR away! But if you don’t mind being left hanging this is a delightful book that will have you stumped right to the end!

Top Ten Tuesday: Best in retellings!

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After a long time away from this meme, I’m finally back! I am so glad it was this one too, as it means I get to promote some of my favorite books. Since the topic was kind of open ended, I decided to do my top ten favorite retellings – it allows me to cross genres slightly, but still get some of the best ones in. It also means I’ll have a full list. I read so many different genres that I’d have trouble picking my top 10 favorite in any one!

So, in no particular order my top 10 favorite retellings are:

Cinder by Marissa Meyer (retelling of Cinderella): A new favorite, but it will be staying there for a very long time!

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini (retelling of Helen of Troy): This was not a greek myth I knew particularly well, but I loved the book so much that I’m not sure I care! One day I’ll be a good girl and go look up the original I promise.

Abandon by Meg Cabot (retelling of the Persephone myth): This seemed to be the year of Persephone in retellings, but they were all so good that I didn’t mind. I loved how vivid the imagery was in this one, it was more like watching a movie than reading a book.

Nevermore by Kelly Creagh (retellingish of Poe): I’m not sure how much this one actually counts, as I am completely unfamiliar with Poe’s work, but it was amazing and deserves to be put in MANY top ten lists, so we’ll make it work, yes?

The Goddess Test by Aimée Carter (retelling of the Persephone myth): Another Persephone! This one is completely unlike Abandon and perfect in just as many different ways! PLUS! The sequel is coming out sometime this week, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Wildefire by Karsten Knight (retelling of lots of myths): Not sure if this one really counts as a “retelling” either, but it totally deserves a mention – it would go on my top 10 ALL TIME faves too!

Beastly by Alex Flinn (retelling of Beauty and the Beast): One of my favorite fairy tales reworked into a modern setting. What’s not to love?

The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey (retelling of Beauty and the Beast): Another retelling of my favorite, with a steampunkish twist. I’ve loved this one for ages!

The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan (retelling of Greek Myth): My favorite series by Riordan so far – very engaging, fast paced, and well written enough that children of all ages can enjoy it.

And last but not least

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (retelling of Revelations): Please don’t take offense, but this is the snidest, most satirical version of the coming of the antichrist I’ve ever read. I giggled the whole way through! I currently cannot find my copy which makes me incredibly sad, because I like to reread this one regularly!

Media Monday (5): Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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Anyone know what Saturday was? OK, so I didn’t either till someone retweeted it on Twitter, but this past Saturday was the 15th anniversary of the first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer! Since I’m currently working my way through the series, I thought I’d do this week’s Media Monday to celebrate.

Even though I’m only about halfway through season 3, I am loving this show! I was still in elementary school when it first aired, so there was no way my parents would have let me watch it then. Even though it is that old, watching it through now I feel like it might as well be a current show. Despite the occasional pop culture reference and the obviously outdated hair and clothing styles, the majority of the show is still relevant. I still relate to Buffy even though she’s now younger than I am (on the show at least).

So here’s to Buffy – there’s still a strong fanbase after 15 years, and that’s saying something!

Book Review: Shatter Me

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Title: Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1)
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Summary: [from GoodReads] Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war– and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

My Review: This was an interesting one for me. I’d been in a kind of on-again-off-again reading slump – I’d read 2-3 books in the space of a few days and then not read for the rest of the week. Then I picked up Shatter Me and that definitely put an end to that!

The most interesting thing for me was the style. Mafi really gets into Juliette’s head, and matches the style to what one might imagine someone so terribly alone would write like. It might be off-putting to some. In fact, I’ve read plenty of reviews on GoodReads and elsewhere that said the style was the entire reason they didn’t like the book. But I thought the use of strikethroughs and oddly worded phrases only served to strengthen the sense of loneliness and isolation that were what made Juliette into the character she was.

My biggest complaint, if you could call it that, is that the romance seemed to happen too fast. While I understand that it’s necessary for the story to work, it seemed too pat to have Juliette be saved by a guy she had never spoken to, but that was somehow in love with her, and she in love with him. In a story as desperate as this one, I’d like to believe that the characters the author sets up together will stay together, but honestly, with a love story like that, I’m surprised their romance lasted through the book.

Even so, this book kept me up long past my bedtime, because I just couldn’t put it down! It deserves at least a chance from anyone who loved books like The Hunger Games and Uglies.

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