Friday, December 21, 2012


by Neil Gaiman, P. Craig Russell (Adaptor/Illustrator)
Published: HarperCollins, 2008
Pages: 186

This is an Eclectic Reader Challenge book!

When Coraline moves to a new house, she discovers another home strangely similar to the same as hers, only better.  Everything seems wonderful: the food is better and the toys are cooler.  But when Coraline's other mother tells her that she should stay, Coraline will have to fight to go back home to her real parents.

I have now read the book, watched the movie, and read the graphic novel.  Every edition of this story has sent chills down my spine.  Although I did think that the written version was much creepier than the graphic novel, it still creates an atmosphere fit for a spooky story like this.

The illustrations in this graphic novel are incredible.  I thought this adaptation was beautiful and striking.  P. Craig Russell  took the story of Coraline and drew it out in a haunting and creepy manner.  These illustrations gave the story a new life.  The rats throughout this story are very sinister and create a nice sense of foreboding.

All of Coraline's neighbors are unique and quirky, with special oddities.  The actresses breed dogs and crazy man upstairs trains a mouse circus.  The interesting character bring light to a dark story.  I am impressed by Neil Gaiman's ability to think up such interesting and dark ideas for this story.

I have read other Neil Gaiman works and I must say that he has a way with words and crazy characters.  His imagination is filled with an amazing ability to weave plots together to create an interesting story and a fantastic read.  I have enjoyed reading his work and will most definitely continue read anything written by him in the future.

Stars: 3/5


"A magnificently creepy story for stouthearted kids who love a brush with the sinister, Coraline is spot on."
               --Kirkus Reviews

"Gaiman's tale is inventive, scary, thrilling and finally affirmative.  Readers young and old will find something to startle them."
             --Washington Post Book World

"By turns creepy and funny, bittersweet and playful, can be read quickly and enjoyed deeply."
              --San Francisco Chronicle Book Review

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Paper Towns

by John Green
Published: Dutton, 2009
Pages: 305

It's an "Eclectic Reader 2012 Challenge" book!

Quentin Jacobsen is on a mission.  His mission: to find the girl that he's been in love with for as long as he can remember, Margo Roth Spiegelman.  After a night of crazy adventure and revenge, Margo disappears and it's up to Quentin to find out where she went.  But as he looks deeper into the mystery, he finds that the Margo he knows and loves, might not be the real Margo.

John Green has created an incredible cast of characters that simultaneously annoy and excite me.  One of the reasons I really like this book is because I connected immediately with Quentin.  I wanted to find Margo just a bad as Quentin did and I was incredibly disappointed whenever we hit a dead end.  When the bigger picture was revealed, I was surprised right along with Q.  This connection to the characters is incredible and can only be the work of a fine writer.

The mystery is clever and well thought out, twisting and turning in ways that I couldn't predict at all.  There is rarely a mystery that I can't figure out before it's revealed in the book but John Green stumped me.  I am proud to say that I am very happy that I didn't figure everything out, it made this book ten times more intriguing and wonderful.

John Green has done it again.  He has created a narrative that has captured my attention from the beginning.  The mystery and the relationships between the characters make this book incredible.  Moving forward, I will read anything that John Green writes.

Stars: 4/5


"Green...delivers once again with this satisfying, crowd-pleasing look at a complex, smart boy and the way he loves.  Genuine--and genuinely funny--dialogue...mystery...and delightful secondary characters.  A winning combination."
           --Kirkus Reviews

"Green's prose is astounding-from devastating observation and truths.  The mystery of fascinating, cleverly constructed, and profoundly moving."
         --School Library Journal

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


by James Patterson

Published: Little Brown and Company, 2012
Pages: 368

This is an Eclectic Reader Challenge book!

Max and company are back in the final installment of the Maximum Ride series.  All is well for the group as they try to be normal kids, that go to normal school. But what happens when The Voice, tells everyone that they have specific jobs to help protect Max and save the world.  All hell is about to break loose and Max is the only one that can save us all, or can she?

To be perfectly honest, I did not have very high expectations going into this book.  I wasn't a huge fan of the last couple books in this series, but I wanted to see how this story ended.  It left me very unsatisfied.  It was almost as though Patterson had just remembered there were questions that needed answers and he started scrambling to answer them without taking the time to make the answers make sense.

As for the characters, they continue to be my favorite part of these books.  Even though the love triangle between Dylan, Max and Fang irritated me, I really did enjoy Nudge, Iggy, Gazzy and Angel.  I thought of all the characters these four were most interesting, in fact they seemed to be the only ones that stayed in character throughout the series.  We still got the craziness of these kids in their own environment, at their best.

By the end of this novel, I was so frustrated with the answers we were given these questions: who/what The Voice was, how was Max supposed to save the world, are Fang and Max going to finally get together, why was Dylan even introduced. ect.

I was looking forward to a strong ending with questions answered.  It was quite unfortunate that this series didn't end better.  That being said, I am still sad to see this series end.  The bird kids have taken me from middle school into adulthood.  I enjoyed seeing how their stories end, even if I didn't like the way it ended.

Stars: 2/5

"This book...has all the characteristics of [James Patterson's] work for grown-ups: pace, action, mystery and cool.... This skilled and compulsive take is so involving...and it proves that girls can be tough, too."
               --London Times, "Children's Book of the Week," July 3, 2005

"The key to Maximum Ride's success may be that it incorporates concepts familiar to young people....  What  makes these characters so appealing is that they have wings and can fly... Another plus: the book has a feel of a video game.... Fights and flights are nonstop in Maximum Ride.  The writing is visual and cinematic-things that kids expect from their video games, TV cartoon shows, and action movie."
               --USA Today

Monday, December 17, 2012

Fahrenheit 451

by Ray Bradbury
Published: Balentine Books, 1953
Pages: 179

It's an "Eclectic Reader 2012 Challenge" book!

In a world where firemen create fires and books are banned, Guy Montag is a fireman.  He never questions his orders or the destruction and ruin his actions cause others.  But when he meets a young, eccentric neighbor, his whole way of thinking and opens his eyes to the past.  When everyone in his life starts to disappear, Montag begins to question everything he knows.

This book has been a long time coming.  I have been hearing about this since, well probably since middle school.  I really can't believe I have made it this long without reading this book.  I am absolutely intrigued by dystopian novels and Ray Bradbury is one of first authors to attempt this type of story.

I thought this book was very well written; it is beautiful and descriptive writing.  The dystopian world created by Ray Bradbury is incredibly bleak, but believable.  At one point in the story, we get an explanation about why the world is as it is, and it's somewhat plausible.  I imagine this world in the future and I shutter.  Bradbury was prolific in this novel with the message of censorship.  Knowledge is a powerful things, as is censorship in the wrong/right hands it can be extraordinarily destructive.

The characters in this book are so interesting.  Each complex in their own right, Mildred and her seeming vapidness, Clarisse and her carefree spirit, Beatty and his exploration of technology and willingness to defy the government.  All of these characters make this story intriguing and compelling.

I wanted to know more.  The open-ending is fine way to end it, but they always drive me crazy.  I always want to know what happens next.  Ray Bradbury has created a dystopian novel that kept me entranced by it's intense and frightening tale.

Stars: 3/5


"Frightening in its implications... Mr. Bradbury's account of this insane world, which bears many alarming resemblances to our own, is fascinating."
              -- The New York Times

I Am the Messenger

by Markus Zusak
Published: Knopf Books, 2007
Pages: 360

This is an Eclectic Book Challenge book!

Ed Kennedy is an underage cabdriver that seems to be going nowhere with his life.  Then he starts receiving cards with names on them.  Ed becomes the messenger.  He begins to deliver messages to people he has never met.  His dull life is suddenly brimming with purpose.  Only one thing remains a mystery:  who's behind Ed's missions.

This book is so well written, it kept me continuously curious and interested.  After the first incredibly comical chapter, I was hooked.  It's not every day you read about someone unintentionally preventing a bank robbery.

The characters are incredibly engaging as well as infuriating.  Ed and his friends are an incredibly complex and quirky bunch of people.  They balance each other so well.  The Doorman is possibly one of my favorite characters in this book.  He may be just a dog, but he embodies so much more.  His human characteristics and relationship with Ed makes this story ten times better.  Ed knows exactly what The Doorman wants and needs and The Doorman knows exactly what Ed needs.

It seems that Zusak has a purpose for every word he writes. Each carefully placed poetically that gives this story a gritty charm.  I admire how he crafts words into sentences and sentences in to paragraphs.  Those paragraphs become the stories that grace the pages of his books.  .

It seems that Markus Zusak can do no wrong.  I cannot wait to what he has planned for his next novel.

Stars: 5/5

"Zusak doesn't sugarcoat anything, but he makes his ostensibly gloomy subject bearable the same way Kurt Vonnegut did in Slaughterhouse-Five: with grim, darkly consoling humor."
-- Time Magazine

"Elegant, philosophical and moving...Beautiful and important."
-- Kirkus Reviews

"An extraordinary narrative."
-- School Library Journal

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I wouldn't mind santa bringing me

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

There are so many books that I would love to see show up under the Christmas tree this year but here are ten that I would really like.

1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
3. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
4. Legend by Marie Lu
5. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Steifver
6. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K Rowling - (Even though my family has a copy, I don't actually own my own copy.)
7. Seraphina by Rachel Hatman
8. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
9. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
10. On the Road by Jack Kerouac

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween Spirit

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

I love Halloween and the scary stories that come with it! Here are some of my favorite stories to get me into the Halloween mood.

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson: The cover of this book alone has got a creep factor to it, but the thing that draws me the most - the villain is a Jack the Ripper copy cat.  How much more information do you need to know that there will be some serious thrills in this book!

Edgar Allen Poe: This man always creeps me out, but I absolutely love it! Reading The Tell-Tale Heart, The Masque of the Red Death, or The Cask of Amontillado puts me the Halloween mood right away.  His ability to craft stories that are equally intriguing as they are eerie is wonderful.

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote: The fact that this book is a retelling of a true story gives me chills.  The story is told in an incredible fashion.

Agatha Christie:  Her murder mysteries get me every time!  I just really enjoy trying to figure out the mystery before we are told in the book.  Murders generally put me in a spooky mood.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling:  I think it's always appropriate to read Harry Potter, but this book in particular I think gets me into the Halloween spirit.  This one more so than the rest of the books has an emphasis on Halloween which great.  Not to mention the giant snake and spiders.

It's interesting because there are a lot of supernatural and fairy tale books on my to be read list that would probably put me in a great Halloween mood.  I just haven't gotten around to them yet!  It's the curse of the long TBR pile.  Examples:

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Sisters Red by Jackson Pierce
Sweetly by Jackson Pierce
Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross
Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvator
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Sarah Grahame-Smith
Graveyard by Neil Gaiman
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Unfinished Series

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This is great topic because I have this thing where if I read a book and it's part of a series, I MUST finish the series whether or not I like it.  (I know it seems ridiculous, but I'm working on it.  I promise.)  This is a great way to chronicle the series I need to finish so that my sanity can return.

1. The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Poalini - I read Bringr this summer and only have Inheritance left before I can wipe my hands clean of this series.  I'm not a huge fan, the first one was okay, the second almost unbearable, the third one was much better, but I get annoyed with Eragon so often that it's irritating to read these books sometimes.  I know this sound harsh, I'm sorry.  BUT I will say I do like the sense of adventure in these books and the magical elements too.

2. The Sister's Grimm Series by Michael Buckley - This is just about the cutest series about fairy-tales I have ever read, not to say that they are cute as the series progresses. I really like the idea that all the fairy-tales are actually real and they live in a town in America.  It's a really intriguing and adventurous children's series.  I only have 3 books left and now that I have them, I will fly through them.

3. The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott - I'm currently in the third book of this series.  These are also really cool books that incorporate historical figures into the immortal world.  I have been listening to this series while running and it's really good for that.  The stories are engaging and keep my mind off the road, even though the first three books cover only 4 or 5 days.  It's action packed and highly entertaining.

4. The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss - I've read the first book, The Name of the Wind, it's really long so it took me awhile, but it is great!  It's very similar to the Lord of the Rings series, in the sense that it's high fantasy in a world that seems very real.  I love the way the story is told.  I'm going to dive into the second book very soon.  But I'll have to wait for the third, it has no release date yet.

5. Shades of London by Maureen Johnson - I really enjoyed the first book in this series and I absolutely cannot wait for the next in this series to come out.  I love the paranormal aspect of this series, something I did not expect coming from Maureen Johnson, but I really love it!  The second book, The Madness Underneath, is coming out March 2013. I'm pumped!

6. The Giver trilogy by Lois Lowery - I just recently found out about this. I've been told that this series is more of a loose trilogy:  The Giver, Gathering Blue and Messenger.  I guess they're are more like companion books, but I still really want to read the last two.  I liked The Giver, so I'm intrigued to see where the story goes from there.

7. Maximum Ride Series by James Patterson - I've been reading this series since the end of middle school and I've really like some of the books in this series and others not so much.  I do like the story though.  I'm excited that the final book in this series is now out.  I can't wait to see how the bird-kids' journey ends.

8. Ender's Saga by Orsen Scott Card - I had no idea that this was a series before this post actually.  So now I have some new books to add to my list.  I really liked Ender's Game, so I'm excited to see what happens next in Ender's life!

9. Seeds of America by Laurie Halse Anderson - I really liked the first book in this series, Chains, and Forge has been on my list for awhile.  I'm exctied to hear that a third one is being written.  I'm interested to see how the characters' stories play out, especially in the time period that this story takes place.

10. Inkheart Series by Cornelia Funke - I've read the first two books in the series and I am looking forward to picking up the last one, Inkdeath.  I'm thinking sometime this summer, though, it's going to take a good chunk of my attention to finish it because it's so long, but I think it will be worth it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Book People

hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.

This topic was really hard to just name 10 people that I would like to meet because I just really want to meet everyone.  I love talking about books and making friends because of books.  It's just such a cool thing to connect with someone over a books.  Aside from their author status or their youtube fame or their goodreads/blog status, they are in fact normal people.  I love that.  I love reminding myself that nothing is too extraordinary, anything can happen.  It's great!

1. J.K. Rowling - It would be an honor to meet the one woman that gave me my childhood and some of my best friends.  I would love to sit and chat with her about life, growing up and pop culture and really anything. I would probably have trouble talking, but I would definitely make it work.  It would be absolutely a dream come true.

2. Stephen Chbosky - Perks of Being a Wallflower is just so beautifully written and real, I want to understand his process of writing.  It would be a cool opportunity to talk to him about life and the creative process and such.

3. Meg Cabot - It would be cool to be able to talk to one of the authors that played a key role in my decision to become a writer.  She is for sure on that list.
4. Kate DiCamillo - She writes such wonderful children's books, I would love to chat with her about how she gets her ideas and what she includes in her writing.  I think they are so creative and unique, they are truly inspiring.

5. Stan Lee - He is Stan Lee. I want to give him a great big hug and thank him.  That is all.

6. Suzanne Collins - I like that she has experience writing in different facets of the media, books and TV. I think it would be really cool to sit down with her and discuss the differences with her.  It would help me figure out more of what I want to do in the future.  It would also be great.

7. Maureen Johnson - She seems like the coolest person ever.  I would love to pick her brain and go on an adventure with her.  I want to know how she does life.  New York and the UK please let me know your secrets!

8. John Green - Really just probably one of the most amazing authors. He and his brother have some many intellectual things to say.  I feel like I learn something from them every time I watch one of their videos.  (I freaking LOVE learning, so this is the best combination possible.)

9. Priscilla at The Readables - Priscilla has so many intelligent things to say about the books she reads and I enjoy that she has themed months for her books.  I think that a really great idea, but I don't read fast enough to do that.  She is also a book person that I would love to meet.

10. Sanne at Books and Quills - I have watched many of her youtube videos and I always enjoy what she has to say about books and the pretty ones she shares with her viewers.  She looks like someone who would be a great person to talk to about books.

11. Every other book person there ever was.  I just want to be friends with all the book people.  Please and thank you.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Where It Began

by Ann Redisch Stampler
Published: Simon Pulse, 2012
pages: 369

When Gabby wakes up next to her boyfriend, Billy Nash's, totaled BMW, she has no knowledge of how she got there, what happened or even her own name.  She is fine to keep everything as it was before the crash, the girlfriend of the most popular guy in school. Gabby has to start finding out the truth but is it really what she wants to hear?  It takes her best friends to show her what's really going on.

I was not immediately enthralled with this book mostly because the Gabby was so blindly ignoring the obvious.  Her character is so infuriating, it's no wonder I wasn't apart of this crowd in high school.  Although, I have to think if I had been apart of this crowd in high school, I may done some of the same things Gabby did.  Despite all this, Ann Redisch Stampler gets into the mind of Gabby extremely well.  I actually believe a teenaged girl is telling me her thoughts.

The humor throughout this book is chuckle worthy.  The SAT words springing up every once in a while and the sarcastic remarks about colleges made me laugh on more than one occasion.  The wit that Ann Redisch Stampler writes with is amusing and wonderful.  I really enjoyed the sarcastic side of Gabby.

Although the book started a little slow, I was quickly sucked into the world of Gabby and her new popular friends.  I found that I couldn't put this book down.  I had to see if Gabby would continue to stay in her own little world, or if she would find out what happened the night of the car crash. 

Stars: 2/5


"A terrific read!  Ann Redisch Stampler puts you in Gabby's head and keeps you there until the griping conclusion.  A writer to watch!"
                - Alex Flinn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Beastly

                - Jenny Han, bestselling author of the Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: True Confessions

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Here are my book confessions:

1.  A absolutely HATE dog ears.  I don't like most book defaces, like writing in books and using the dust jacket as a bookmark, but I can live with those.  However, if anyone tries to dog ear my books, there will be problems.  I cringe at the sight of it and cry a little inside whenever I see someone smash the corners down.

2. I never read the jacket summary of a book.  I think it gives away too much of the story, so I go in blind.  I like not knowing anything about a story I'm about to read.  It's always interesting what I pick up.

3. I buy books on impulse.  I cannot go past a bookstore without going in and at least thinking about needing to buy a book.  Also, if there is a book section in any store I will find it with my book sensors.

4.  I used to think that graphic novels were just for little kids.  I was completely wrong.  When I took a graphic novel class last year, my mind was blown!  I can't get enough of them now.  Also, I have a new respect for the entire genre of graphic novels.

5.  I've almost convinced myself that I've read more classics than I actually have.  Sometimes I believe that I've read the entire Jane Austen collection when in fact I haven't read many of her works, including Sense and Sensibility, and Persuasion.

6. I am very picky about who I lend my books too.  It just can't bare to imagine someone treating my book in any other way than how I've decided it's right to treat books.  When I do lend books, I always preface it with a list of my rules, the main one being I will kill you if you dog ear my book.  I always supply a bookmark with my books and take of the dust jacket when I lend my books out.

7. I have a very hard time speaking to authors.  I get tongue-tied and end up just staring at them hoping they know what to do in this situation or just saying things like:  I love your books and you're an amazing author.  While these are really nice, conversations never come of it.  I think it's because I hold many authors to the level of fame that someone might hold Johnny Depp.  But it's true, to me, they are famous.  They are the people I'm most interested in.

8. I can't not finish a book.  Also, if the book is in the series I have to finish the series as well.  This explains why I haven't read the Game of Thrones yet.  It doesn't matter if I don't like the book, I have to know how it ends.  It bugs me otherwise.  I just have to know.

9. I do not like e-readers.  I don't have anything against those that do, but you will probably never see me using one.  I love the feel and the smell of real book too much to give it up.  Also, I like seeing the progress I've made in a book.

10.  I have four completely full bookshelves in my room and a rather large bookshelf in the basement.  My collection is getting a little out of hand but when I decided to get rid of some, I could only come up with a handful that I was willing to part with.

11. EXTRA:  Last semester I interned for a publishing house.  They had free book stacks.  I ended up taking way too many home with me. *cough100cough*  I've decided I can no longer work somewhere with free book stacks.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Alice I Have Been

by Melanie Benjamin
Published: Random House, 2010
Pages: 345

This is an "Eclectic Reader 2012 Challenge" Book!

As Alice Liddell reflects on her childhood, it is apparent that she was a very curious little girl.  She's the daughter of Dean Christ Church in Oxford, surprisingly sensible, incredibly charming and the inspiration of the little girl in Alice in Wonderland. 

There were many characters that absolutely unsettled me.  Mr. Ruskin and unfortunately, Mr. Dodgson were just a couple of the characters that I ultimately did not like.  I wanted to like Mr. Dodgson but there was just a feeling I got when reading about him that I couldn't reconcile.

I must say that the relationship between Alice and her mother drives me insane.  I have never read about a relationship so poor, so unhealthy.  I causes me great pain and anger to read their interactions and her mother's final insults.

Alice, however, was most definitely a great character and I really enjoyed hearing her story.  I've always been curious as to the person who inspired the bright-eyed Alice in Alice in Wonderland. Although, this is a fictional story, I love the fact that someone took the time to create this world that centered around the life of Alice Liddell.  She is such an adventurous girl, not afraid to speak her mind or do what she wanted.  Only pausing to consider her class standing and the proper ways of a young woman, every once in a while.  Even when tragedy strikes Alice stays strong, empowering.

Melanie Benjamin does a spectacular job writing the history of Alice Liddell.  This fictional account of a real woman, provides so much insight to what could have been the relationship between Lewis Carol and Alice.  There were times when I sincerely believed Alice was really telling me about the trials and tribulations of her life.  Her writing is enchanting and utterly convincing, she captured me as Mr. Dodgson had captured the young Alice with his stories.

Stars: 4/5


"Melanie Benjamin blends the known with the unknown in a seamless tale of love, loss and myth. It's storytelling at its finest."
           —Sarah Addison Allen

 "Benjamin draws on one of the most enduring relationships in children's literature... spinning out the heartbreaking story of Alice from Alice in Wonderland...Focusing on three eras in Alice's life, Benjamin offers a finely wrought portrait of Alice that seamlessly blends facts with fiction. This is book club gold."
           —Publishers Weekly starred review, "Pick of the Week"

"Melanie Benjamin works valiantly to conjure up the real girl behind the Wonderland myth, and finds glints of genuine magic."
          —Entertainment Weekly

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Getting Over Garrett Delaney

by Abby McDonald
Published: Candlewick, 2012
Pages: 336

Sadie realizes that her best friend, Garrett, will never return her unrequited love, she sets out determined to detox herself from him.  The problem is she wants to be his friend so it's trickier than she imagined.  Lucky for her, Garrett runs off to writing camp and she rekindles a friendship with childhood best friend, Kayla.  Getting over Garrett Delaney will be tough, but with some moral support Sadie realizes she just might be able to find out who she truly is.

Abby McDonald has written a genuinely fun book.  Her comical over the top character Sadie, has me laughing and smiling at her absurd rules and friends. One of my favorite characters is LuAnnHer impeccable style and perky attitude has her on my list of fictional characters I would like to be friends with.  There is so much sass in this book it's hard to keep up with it.  The entire Totally Wired crew is full of surprises and entertainment that could last ages.

 Leave it to Sadie to have you liking her and hating her, but ultimately understanding her emotions.  Most people say things they don't mean when they are being picked apart, even if it's by friends that are just trying to help.  That defensive nature is so strong, especially for Sadie.  She has to figure out who she is and learn to trust herself.  Abby McDonald successfully conveys this particular emotion in her characters.  I felt very sympathetic towards Sadie, but at the same time I knew she was going to regret some of her choice words.  That's just the way friendships go though, highs and lows.

This book started off just right with the perfect about of literature talk and desperate love for a certain Garrett Delaney.  They discussed of the classics I've been meaning to read myself.  However, it seems that the lesson in this book is not only for the character.  By the end of it, I was wondering just why I had to read some of the classics that feel a more like a daunting task than an exciting adventure.  Abby McDonald made me think about my life and whether or not I'm being truthful with myself.  It's surprising who/what can affect you without your realizing it.  As Aiko, barista of Totally Wired, said, "Just because people say something's great, it doesn't mean you have to agree, not if you don't actually enjoy it" (162.)  I can now guarantee that most of the books I read will be because I want to, not because I think I should be reading them.  After all, I'm still in school so there will be some I actually have to read. 
Well done, Abby McDonald, well done.  I look forward to reading more of her books in the future. 

Stars: 4/5


"Charming and poignant - perfect for anyone who's ever had to mend a broken heart."
              - the Fug Girls, authors of Spoiled

"In this entertaining anti-romance, McDonald turns the tragedy of unrequited love on its head as she traces her heroine's determined and often comical efforts to find herself and become more independent."
                 —Publishers Weekly

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

by Agatha Christie
Published: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1926
Pages: 276

It's an "Eclectic Reader 2012 Challenge" book!

When Roger Ackroyd is murdered, all angles point to his stepson as the murderer.  It's up to master detective Hercule Poirot and doctor James Sheppard to discover the identity of  the killer and whether or not the rumors are true.

Agatha Christie is among the greatest mystery writers ever known and for good reason.  Her mystery is so well thought out and executed; it makes for a great read.  I found myself constantly trying to beat Hercule to figure out the identity of the murderer.  I am sad to report that I hopped from person to person and ultimately came to the wrong conclusion. I will not become a detective any time soon.

Hercule Poirot is possibly my favorite character in this book and luckily he is a reoccurring character in several Christie's mysteries.  This quirky detective has the audacity to shut down his nosy neighbor, the gossip queen of the village.  He is easily one of the most entertaining character, with his unexplained oddities and his gardening.  I look forward to reading about this character in future Christie books.

We read the story form Dr. James Sheppard's point of view, which is very interesting in a murder mystery.  It's a clever way to write a mystery novel because the reader only gets a certain view of the circumstances and in this case it's from Dr. Sheppard's view.  I didn't notice or realize that until Hercule Poirot began to explain himself to Dr. Sheppard.  It's really very interesting.  

Agatha Christie writes great light reading with plenty of humor and eccentricities.  I shall definitely be reading more Agatha Christie in the near future!

Stars: 3/5


 “A classic—the book has worthily earned its fame.”
                - Irish Independent

“One of the landmarks of detective literature.”
              - H. R. F. Keating, Crime & Mystery: The 100 Best Books

“Agatha Christie had a mind like a mousetrap and taught me, in novels like The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, the pleasure of literary surprise.”
              - William Dietrich, New York Times bestselling author 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Romances in the Real World.

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week it's about which romances I think would make it in the real world.  This is a very interesting topic and I've actually been thinking about this quite a bit recently.  I wonder quite often if some of the couples I read about and love would actually make it in the real world.  So here we go:

1. Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen)  There is just something about their relationship that I love.  Elizabeth is, in many ways, Darcy's equal.  They fit perfectly. 

2. Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley. (Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling)  I love them together and spent half the series waiting and wishing that they would end up together.  They were best friends and that lead to one of the strongest relationships I have read.  The progression of their relationship just gets to me sometimes.  From Ron making fun of Hermione in Sorcerer's Stone to Ron trying to impress her with a book on how to get girls in Deathly Hallows, it is so much fun to read again and again.  

3. Westley and Princess Buttercup (The Princess Bride by William Golding)  Westley is probably the most perfect character I've ever wanted to be real.  His willingness to do anything for Princess Buttercup and the fact that he was brought back from "almost dead" for the sake of true love, screams perfect pair!

4. Tristan and Yvaine (Stardust by Neil Gaiman)  Their relationship started out rocky for obvious reasons.  When Tristan realizes that his true love is in fact right in front of him, the real magic starts to happen.  They are compatible it's ridiculous. 

5.  Hazel Grace and Augustus (The Fault in Our Stars by John Green)  I don't care that there is this sense of nothing bad ever happens to people in perfect relationships.  These two have an amazing relationship, tide and true.

This is quite a sad state of a list.  Unfortunately, it seems that I read too many books with unrealistic relationships.  I can tell you a number of relationships that would not work at all in the real world.  For example, Bella and Edward.  I don't think it's necessary to explain why other than she was found curled up in a ball on the forest floor because he broke up with her.  
Also, I would love Peeta and Katniss under any other circumstance than the one they are forced into.  Peeta's love is so evident that at times it hurts.  I just wish Katniss would have actually made a choice. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Westing Game

by Ellen Raskin
Published: Dutton, 1978
Pages: 182

When 16 heirs gather at the will reading of local business tycoon, Sam Westing, they don't know what they are getting themselves into.  The heirs get pulled into an elaborate game in which only one can win the 200 million dollar inheritance prize.  Turtle Wexler, resident shin kicker and the youngest of the heirs, is determined to win this game.  However, when they are all split into pairs it becomes evident that they must work together to find the answer to the question poised in Sam Westing's will.

I first picked up a copy of this book in middle school intrigued by the cover and the idea that it might be similar to the board game Clue.  This book has quickly become one of my all time favorite books, having read it several times over the course of these last 8 years.  

Ellen Raskin excellently weaves clues to this engaging mystery throughout this novel, taking the narrative in so many different direction, the reader can't even guess what will happen next.  Different view points and clue revealed at the perfect moments, makes this book suspenseful and also entirely entertaining.  The characters are not lacking in humor at all, especially the dearly beloved Sam Westing, who created this ridiculous game in the first place.  I laugh every time I read this book, even though I know what's coming next.  With so many hidden backgrounds, this cast of characters truly begin to find out who they are.

My favorite character Turtle Wexler, just happens to be one of the smartest girls her age.  At 13, she already knows how to play the stock market and win.  She's also very fond of her braid, heaven forbid someone tugs on it.  That's where the shin kicking comes in.   Aside from her general 13-year-old ways, she is clever and insightful.  She knows that there is something more going on with the Westing game and she's prepared to figure it out. 

There is a reason Ellen Raskin won the Newbery Medal for this book.  

Stars: 5/5


 A supersharp mystery. . . . Confoundingly clever, and very funny.
               -Booklist, starred review

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Name of the Star

by Maureen Johnson
Published: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2011
Pages: 370

This is an Eclectic Reader Challenge book!

To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect coming into this novel.  I hadn’t read anything about it, but I did know that it was getting recommended left and right.   I love Maureen Johnson’s other books so left at the chance to read a copy of this book.  She has not failed me.  This book is highly entertaining and I was pleasantly surprised that the setting was England.  (I love many things that have to do with the UK.)  Even though, I’ve never been to London, I felt as though I knew my way around after reading this book. 

Rory came all the way from Louisiana to attend school in London.  However, when the murders start to occur, it becomes clear that Rory is not going to have a normal English education.  Even worse, a strange man repeatedly runs into her but no one else seems to remember him.  Her friends start to wonder if she crazy and she starts wonders if she is in danger. 

The characters are absolutely engaging.  Rory and Jazza, her roommate, compliment each other and when Boo gets thrown into the roommate mix, the dynamics changes just enough to keep the characters growing.  Rory’s oddities match her frustration and the way her friends see her.  Her adventurous spirit gets her into all sorts of trouble without even realizing it.  Rory's sharp wit and crazy family stories make her a hilarious character.  Rory is surrounded by a cast of fantastic quirky characters that make this book unforgettable.  

I am glad to report that there is a solid Doctor Who reference and enough witty banter to hold anyone over until the next Maureen Johnson book is published.  Maureen Johnson once again expertly crafts this story with humor, teen angst and romance.  Nothing seems out of balance.  I can even hear the British accents!

This book is the first installment in the supernatural thriller series Shades of London.  Look forward to the next book due out sometime in 2013!

Stars: 4/5


"A gorgeously written, chilling, atmospheric thriller. The streets of London have never been so sinister or so romantic."
                    - Cassandra Clare, #1 New York Times bestselling author

"Johnson uses a deft hand, applying the right amount of romance and teen snarkiness to relieve the story's building tension. Departing from her previous works, she turns paranormal on its head, mocking vampires and werewolves while creating ghosts that are both realistic and creepy. A real page-turner." 
                 - School Library Journal

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Trading places with characters.

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

 I would most definitely trade places with characters!  Here's a few.

Princess Buttercup (The Princess Bride by William Goldman):  I just love the idea of being in a world with Wesley the farm boy. "Aaaass Youuu Wishhhh"

Hermione Granger or Luna Lovegood (Harry Potter by JK Rowling)  This would be a dream come true!  Honestly, both of these women have unique and genuine views on their world.  I would love to see how they view their world.  It would be a whirlwind to be friends with the chosen one for a day. 

Turtle Wexler (The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin)  The idea of being in the midst of a real life strategy game is utterly alluring to me. 

Prosper (The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke)  Although, he is homeless and deadset on protecting his brother from his awful aunt and uncle, it would be most interesting to spend a day in his shoes.  I've heard Venice is a beautiful place and what I wouldn't give for some adventure there.

Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen)  Really, I'm a sucker.  I want a Darcy.  So yeah.

Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle)  I want to be a detective, that would be cool.  That minus the cocaine habbit.

Sam (Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steven Chobsky)  Perhaps I would like living her wild, fearless lifestyle, perhaps not.  I am not completely sold on it, but I do know that I would have absolute fun with Charlie and Patrick. 

Boo Radley (To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee) This would be really interesting, observing the world from inside the comfort of my own home.  I would be very curious.

Alice (Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carol)  I WANT!  This would be the greatest day of exploration and mind-boggling wonderment for me.  I want to have tea with the Mad Hatter and enjoy the oddities of Lewis Carol's glorious world!

Lily Owens (The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd) Despite her father, I think it would be really interesting living with the crazy, wonderful Boatwright sisters.  I could tend to the bees all day long and listen to their stories. 

Side note: This was harder than I expected.  I read too many depressing books.  Good books, but no way would I want to be a part of those worlds.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Rory Gilmore Challenge

So I found a full list of the books read by Rory Gilmore and I was very curious to see how many of them I have read.  I love Gilmore Girls and always thought Rory read a lot, turns out read did read a lot.  Let's see how similar our book choices are, shall we? 

1984 by George Orwell
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon -TBR
An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Archidamian War by Donald Kagan
The Art of Fiction by Henry James
The Art of War by Sun Tzu
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Atonement by Ian McEwan - TBR
Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy
The Awakening by Kate Chopin
Babe by Dick King-Smith
Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women by Susan Faludi
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
Bel Canto by Ann Patchett - TBR
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath - TBR

Beloved by Toni Morrison
Beowulf: A New Verse Translation by Seamus Heaney

The Bhagava Gita
The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Built a Village in the Forest, and Saved 1,200 Jews by Peter Duffy
Bitch in Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel
A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays by Mary McCarthy
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Brick Lane by Monica Ali
Bridgadoon by Alan Jay Lerner
Candide by Voltaire
The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
Carrie by Stephen King
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

The Children’s Hour by Lillian Hellman
Christine by Stephen King
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse
The Collected Short Stories by Eudora Welty
The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty by Eudora Welty
A Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
Complete Novels by Dawn Powell
The Complete Poems by Anne Sexton
Complete Stories by Dorothy Parker
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole - TBR
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas père - TBR

Cousin Bette by Honor’e de Balzac
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
The Crucible by Arthur Miller
Cujo by Stephen King
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
David and Lisa by Dr Theodore Issac Rubin M.D
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
The Da Vinci -Code by Dan Brown
Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
Demons by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Deenie by Judy Blume
The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson TBR
The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band by Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx
The Divine Comedy by Dante
The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
Don Quijote by Cervantes
Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhrv
Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson - TBR
Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems by Edgar Allan Poe
Eleanor Roosevelt by Blanche Wiesen Cook
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn
Eloise by Kay Thompson
Emily the Strange by Roger Reger
Emma by Jane Austen 
Empire Falls by Richard Russo
Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol
Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
Ethics by Spinoza
Europe through the Back Door, 2003 by Rick Steves
Eva Luna by Isabel Allende
Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer - TBR
Extravagance by Gary Krist
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore
The Fall of the Athenian Empire by Donald Kagan
Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World by Greg Critser
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
The Fellowship of the Ring: Book 1 of The Lord of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien
Fiddler on the Roof by Joseph Stein
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce
Fletch by Gregory McDonald
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand - TBR
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger - TBR
Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers
Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut
Gender Trouble by Judith Butler
George W. Bushism: The Slate Book of the Accidental Wit and Wisdom of our 43rd President by Jacob Weisberg
Gidget by Fredrick Kohner
Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels
The Godfather: Book 1 by Mario Puzo
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Alvin Granowsky
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford
The Gospel According to Judy Bloom
The Graduate by Charles Webb
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald 
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
The Group by Mary McCarthy
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling 
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad 
Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry 
Henry IV, part I by William Shakespeare
Henry IV, part II by William Shakespeare
Henry V by William Shakespeare
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
Holidays on Ice: Stories by David Sedaris
The Holy Barbarians by Lawrence Lipton
House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III - TBR
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer
How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
How the Light Gets in by M. J. Hyland
Howl by Allen Gingsburg
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo -TBR
The Iliad by Homer
I’m with the Band by Pamela des Barres
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Inferno by Dante
Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
Iron Weed by William J. Kennedy
It Takes a Village by Hillary Clinton
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë -TBR
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan - TBR

Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
The Jumping Frog by Mark Twain
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
Just a Couple of Days by Tony Vigorito
The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar by Robert Alexander
Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Lady Chatterleys’ Lover by D. H. Lawrence
The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000 by Gore Vidal
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
The Legend of Bagger Vance by Steven Pressfield
Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis
Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
The Little Locksmith by Katharine Butler Hathaway
The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
The Lottery: And Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
The Love Story by Erich Segal
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
The Manticore by Robertson Davies
Marathon Man by William Goldman
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by Simone de Beauvoir
Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman by William Tecumseh Sherman
Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
The Meaning of Consuelo by Judith Ortiz Cofer
Mencken’s Chrestomathy by H. R. Mencken
The Merry Wives of Windsro by William Shakespeare
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides - TBR
The Miracle Worker by William Gibson
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
The Mojo Collection: The Ultimate Music Companion by Jim Irvin
Moliere: A Biography by Hobart Chatfield Taylor
A Monetary History of the United States by Milton Friedman
Monsieur Proust by Celeste Albaret
A Month Of Sundays: Searching For The Spirit And My Sister by Julie Mars
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall
My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and It’s Aftermath by Seymour M. Hersh
My Life as Author and Editor by H. R. Mencken
My Life in Orange: Growing Up with the Guru by Tim Guest
Myra Waldo’s Travel and Motoring Guide to Europe, 1978 by Myra Waldo
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult 
The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin
Nervous System: Or, Losing My Mind in Literature by Jan Lars Jensen
New Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson
The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay
Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
Night by Elie Wiesel
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen – TBR
The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism by William E. Cain, Laurie A. Finke, Barbara E. Johnson, John P. McGowan
Novels 1930-1942: Dance Night/Come Back to Sorrento, Turn, Magic Wheel/Angels on Toast/A Time to be Born by Dawn Powell
Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Charles Bukowski
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Old School by Tobias Wolff
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez - TBR
The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life by Amy Tan
Oracle Night by Paul Auster
Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
Othello by Shakespeare
Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan
Out of Africa by Isac Dineson
The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition by Donald Kagan
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde - TBR
Pigs at the Trough by Arianna Huffington
Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain
The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby
The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker
The Portable Nietzche by Fredrich Nietzche
The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill by Ron Suskind
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Property by Valerie Martin
Pushkin: A Biography by T. J. Binyon
Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
Quattrocento by James Mckean
A Quiet Storm by Rachel Howzell Hall
Rapunzel by Grimm Brothers
The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham
Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Rescuing Patty Hearst: Memories From a Decade Gone Mad by Virginia Holman
The Return of the King: The Lord of the Rings Book 3 by J. R. R. Tolkien
R Is for Ricochet by Sue Grafton
Rita Hayworth by Stephen King
Robert’s Rules of Order by Henry Robert
Roman Holiday by Edith Wharton
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
The Rough Guide to Europe, 2003 Edition
Sacred Time by Ursula Hegi
Sanctuary by William Faulkner
Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford
Say Goodbye to Daisy Miller by Henry James
The Scarecrow of Oz by Frank L. Baum
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand
The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette by Judith Thurman
Selected Hotels of Europe
Selected Letters of Dawn Powell: 1913-1965 by Dawn Powell
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen - TBR
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
Several Biographies of Winston Churchill
Sexus by Henry Miller
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Shane by Jack Shaefer
The Shining by Stephen King - TBR
Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
S Is for Silence by Sue Grafton
Slaughter-house Five by Kurt Vonnegut -TBR
Small Island by Andrea Levy
Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway
Snow White and Rose Red by Grimm Brothers
Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World by Barrington Moore
The Song of Names by Norman Lebrecht
Song of the Simple Truth: The Complete Poems of Julia de Burgos by Julia de Burgos
The Song Reader by Lisa Tucker
Songbook by Nick Hornby
The Sonnets by William Shakespeare
Sonnets from the Portuegese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
The Story of My Life by Helen Keller - TBR
A Streetcar Named Desiree by Tennessee Williams
Stuart Little by E. B. White - TBR
Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust
Swimming with Giants: My Encounters with Whales, Dolphins and Seals by Anne Collett
Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Term of Endearment by Larry McMurtry
Time and Again by Jack Finney
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Tragedy of Richard III by William Shakespeare
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

The Trial by Franz Kafka
The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson
Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett
Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
Ulysses by James Joyce
The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962 by Sylvia Plath
Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe - TBR
Unless by Carol Shields
Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
The Vanishing Newspaper by Philip Meyers
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
Velvet Underground’s The Velvet Underground and Nico (Thirty Three and a Third series) by Joe Harvard
The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
Walt Disney’s Bambi by Felix Salten
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
We Owe You Nothing – Punk Planet: The Collected Interviews edited by Daniel Sinker
What Colour is Your Parachute? 2005 by Richard Nelson Bolles
What Happened to Baby Jane by Henry Farrell
When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka
Who Moved My Cheese? Spencer Johnson
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum - TBR
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë - TBR
The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Books I've Read: 63
To Be Read soon: 27

This was fun.  And wow Rory is well versed. :D  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Vivid Worlds/Settings in Books

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Vivid settings are something that I love about books, it's fun to remember the ones that caught my imagination the most.

1. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, the arena in this book is just utterly fascinating.  The water and trees are just so intense.

2. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, the entire wizarding world to the most vivid setting that I have ever read.  There is so much detail to this world that I often imagined myself in this world.  Specifically, Hogwarts is just so wonderful and spectacular with its hidden passage ways and moving staircases.

3.The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold - something about this neighborhood just stands out to me.  I can imagine the houses that lined the cornfield with the underground shelter.  All of this is rather haunting but incredibly vivid in my memory.

4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. - Gatsby's elegant house is picturesque in my mind.  Also, when reading this book I cannot get the doctor's eye out of my mind.  That billboard outside of the car shop is one of the most memorable settings.

5. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien - Lothlorien is one of the most magical places my mind has ever journeyed to.  With the buildings winding around the trees in the elflike fashion it is stunning, incredibly beautiful.

6. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo - this one is a little weird because this sticks out in my mind because of the darkness.  The absolute darkness of the dungeon that Despereaux must enter.  It's almost like there is no setting here but the darkness is so encompassing, you feel as though you're in that nothingness with him.

7. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis - specifically the Magician's Nephew.  It is one of the coolest things I've ever read, reading the creation of Narnia as we know it is extraordinary.  A lamppost grows out of the ground!  I mean, really!

I guess I've only got 7 today, sorry friends. One would think this would be easier.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Recommendations

 hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

 It's time to do some book recommendations!  This weeks topic is: Top Ten Books For People Who Like X Book (Pick a book and pick 10 readalikes)

Let's do a throw-back shall we?
If you liked The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot.

First I would say check out All American Girl, Avalon High, and anything else Meg Cabot might have written.

Then you might like Dairy Queen, The Off Season, and Front and Center, by Catherine Gilbert Murdock.  Cute Contemporary fiction about a girl who wants to play football and love.

After that you could try The Memoirs of A Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin and possibly one of her other books Elsewhere.  (I like Elsewhere better but it's a little different than Princess Diaries type.)

Quite possibly you'll like An Abundance of Katherines by John Green.  (You might as well read everything else John Green wrote too.  It's excellent.)

Okay now pick up If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince? by Melissa Kantor.  This book is really cute and writing about makes me want to reread it.

Try The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  It really isn't comparable at all to The Princess Diaries, but I think everyone should read this book so there. SNEAK ATTACK.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Alchemyst

by Michael Scott
Published: Random House, 2007
Pages: 375

Book One in The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series.

For hundreds of years, Nicholas Flamel and his wife, Perenelle, have kept the most powerful book in the world safe.  It has been stolen, with the exception of the last couple pages, by Dr. John Dee.  Now, the fate of the world rests in the hands of twins, Sophie and Josh.  With the help of Nicholas Flamel, they must find Perenelle, and retrieve the book before Dr. Dee destroys the world.

I just kept waiting for Nicholas Flamel to reference his good friend from England, Albus Dumbledore.  Alas, earwax.  Not even once did his name grace the pages of this book.  It's okay, his absence did not ruin this book for me.  It was actually very interesting to see a version of the world of Nicholas Flamel, a man that I had read briefly about in the Harry Potter books. 

It was really interesting to see some of my favorite ancient myths come alive. The idea that there are elders and immortals living among us as mortals is so cool. It makes it just believable that something like this could be possible. There really could be unexplainable things living in the world is particularly entertaining.

Most of the characters are very enjoyable. Nicholas Flamel and Scathoch are incredibly believable character despite the fact that they are immortal and in one case part elder.  They are perhaps some of the most compelling characters in this book.  Even though Perenell is not the focus of this book, what little we see of her makes the book that much better. She is feisty and resourceful as any 700 year old woman should be. Her wisdom seems like it will be more prevalent in the books to come. I look forward to reading more about her and discovering exactly how powerful she is.

Michael Scott's take on the age old myth of Nicholas Flamel is enchanting and entertaining.  This middle grade book series has writing that captures the imagination of its readers and keeps them eager to read more.  Luck has it that this is the first in a series that is just beginning.  I cannot wait to read the following books in the series.

Stars: 4/5


“The juxtaposition of our reality with magic and myth is riveting.”
          —Kirkus Reviews

“[A] riveting fantasy. While there is plenty here to send readers rushing to their encyclopedias . . . those who read the book at face value will simply be caught up in the enthralling story. A fabulous read.”
           —School Library Journal

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Author Recommendations

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

If you like these authors, you might like these other books.

If you like the Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, you might also like The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.

If you like Suzanne Collins, Ender's Game by Orsen Scott Card might also satisfy you're need government defiance and a strong independent lead characters.

If you like Sarah Dessen, The Fault In Our Stars by John Green and My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult might be a nice balance between love and loss.

If you like the middle grade fantasy like Inkheart and The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke, The Sisters' Grimm Fairy Tale Detectives series by Michael Buckley would be a great addition to your reading list.

Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes may be a classic detective, but Hercule Poirot is quite a detective himself.  Agatha Christie's novels are great supplements to Conan Doyle's mysteries.  Try The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, you might just find you enjoy it.

If you like Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steven Chbosky, It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon are great books that also enter the might of the teenage psyche.

If you like J.K. Rowling, you might want to try A Wrinkle In Time by Madeline L'Engle or The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Curse of The Slow Reader

I know this blog has been a little barren in regards to how often I put up reviews.  This reflects the amount of reading I have been doing lately.  I can only read so many books in a span of time, and if possible I only read one at a time.  I like the concept of being completely engrossed in a book and I think that reading multiple books at a time takes away from that a little.

All this being said, I am a slow reader.  I like to take in every single detail and dive in as far as possible.  That means I can get through a 300 page book, depending on the pace, usually in a week, but sometimes it takes me longer.  The people that can read multiple books at a time and in a week are incredible.  Lots of times they are just as absorbed as I am.  I am so jealous of that cool ability.  I wish I had it, alas I do not.

I guess all I'm saying is that I am reading as fast as I can.  I will post them as I finish, but I can't promise I will have a review every week. I am going to work to make this blog the best it can be.
I hope that you enjoy it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Summer TBR

hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.

This list is going to be very similar to the list I did a couple of weeks earlier, because I've decided it's time to catch up with the book blog community in terms of books that I have been putting off for a while.  My list of books to read: here are 10 that I will definitely read this summer.

In no particular order:
1. Divergent by Veronica Roth (also, Insurgent)

2. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (I'm reading it with Nerdfighteria! Whoot Join us!)

3. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (I'm going to read this as part of a book club.  I'm super excited to read and discuss this one.  I've hear nothing but good things about it!)

4. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (as well as the rest of the series.  It's time to start, yeah?)

5. Cinder by Marissa Meyer

6. Matched by Ally Condie (I picked up a copy while I was working in New York and now it's begging me to read it.)

7. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (I also found this while working in New York.  I had never heard of it before but the cover intrigued me so now it's on my list.)

8. Legend by Marie Lu

9. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

10. The Maze Runner by James Dashner (This has been on my list for over a year now.  I just need to read this series.)

Runners Up:
11. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
12. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (also, Lola and the Boy Next Door)
13. Paper Towns by John Green
14. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Although they didn't make the top ten they will definitely still be read this summer! :D

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Scientists

by John Gribbin
Published: Random House, 2002
Pages: 647

It's an "Eclectic Reader 2012 Challenge" book :D

To be perfectly honest, I had to read this for school otherwise I probably would have never picked it up.  And by probably, I mean definitely.  I have never been a huge fan of science, which is slightly ironic because one of my favorite genres is science-fiction.  I just never found the facts of science all that interesting or understandable.  That being said, I was pleasantly surprised about how much I enjoyed this book. 

The full title is The Scientists: a history of science told through the lives of its greatest inventors.  Rather than this book being full of facts and information that is hard to understand, John Gribbin took a different approach.  He gave the readers a history lesson.  The readers get a little biography of each scientist that is introduced, making it read more like narrative than a textbook. 

I will be honest, because I had to read it for class I had to read it in two weeks, which is a task giving the obnoxious length.  I read most of it, not all but most.  However, what I did read was very engaging.  There were points when I had to force myself to read, but as soon as I began I was intrigued with the history of the scientists.

The voice of the book was entertaining mostly because at times it seemed rather informal, telling the reader "I'm not going to discuss this because it's not really important but well maybe I'll tell you about it later."  Honestly, these inserts probably are not necessary but they are funny and I got a kick out of reading them. 

The best part of the book was not the discussion of the science that was developed, but the discussion of the life of the scientists.  It is much more interesting to know the life of the scientist because then the reader gets an understanding of who the person was when they discovered their incredible sciences.  The book starts at the very beginning with Ptolemy and his model of the universe and it ends with the future of science as we know it.

There is a section in the book about Marie Curie and her discoveries with radioactivity.  It really is fascinating to reflect on her work as one of the first female scientists to be recognized for her work.  She won two Nobel prizes and paved the way for women scientists after her.  It is weird to think that at one time she was not allowed to work in the labs with men because she might cause too much sexual arousal.  Little things like that just make the history of science better.

Stars: 3/5


"Essential reading...tells the story of science as a sequence of witty, information-packed tales...complete with humanizing asides, glimpses of the scientist's personal life and amusing anecdotes."
         - London Sunday Times

"A magnificent history...enormously entertaining."
         - The Daily Telegraph

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Beach Reads

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This weeks topic is Books that I would recommended as beach reads.  Well, I think most books are good beach reads, that is I would read any genre book at the beach.  I just love the sun and the beach with a good book.  I even read 1984 at the beach last year so my books might be a little weird but stick with me. :D

1.  First off, The Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling are great beach reads.  I read parts of the last three books on a beach.  BUT remember to wear sunscreen, you might regret reading them when you are really burnt because you got sucked into the book.

2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is always on my beach read list.  I LOVE this book almost more than I love Harry Potter.  (Did I just say that?)  I never get tired of feeling the wind when I read about it in this book.

3. Nicholas Sparks tends to be a nice quick read for the beach occasion.  Something like The Last Song, The Notebook or A Walk To Remember are always good.

4. The Princess Bride by William Goldman is a really good book to take to the beach.  It's fun, it's romance, it's adventure.  This book is full of wonderful humor and great characters!

5. Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary Schmidt.  As with Gatsby, reading this book at the beach enhances the story.  The wind in the story is a character in and of itself, so reading it where you can feel one of its characters is just unbelievable.

6. Janet Evanovich, her Stephanie Plum books are just ridiculously hilarious and a perfect light read for a sunshiny beach day. One for the Money

7. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg is so great.  There is nothing like a good tall tale to make a good day great!

8. Sarah Dessen books are always good light and fluffy reads for the beach.  Some of the really good ones have been Keeping the Moon, Dreamland, Lock and Key.

9. I have a feeling that a good mystery novel would be the perfect companion to a beach day.  In that case, how can I not recommend Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes.  Mystery and clever explanations, it's a great way to spend a day.

10. Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson.  It's the story of how Peter Pan became Peter Pan.  Need I say anymore?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Book That Everyone Except Me Has Read

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Rewind!  I didn't get to do this topic but it feel so relevant right now.  I feel like there are so many books/series that I need to read to catch up with everyone.  (That's what I get for becoming stuck in a book list that over 500 books long.)  So here are my top ten Book that everyone else has read.

1. The Stephanie Perkins books Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door.  I have seen so many reviews recently that I just need to find the time to read these two books.  Luckly, I've just bought Lola, so that will be read soon.

2. The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare.  The covers alone make me want to read these books!  Also, you everyone has said I need to read these books.  I feel like a fool.

3. Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin.  I'm not sure I want to read this series, mostly because it's so long, but it looks really good.  Also, his name makes me feel as though it should be placed next to other highly respect authors with initials in their names: J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, J.K. Rowling.

4. Divergent by Veronica Roth.  This also has been on my list for ages.  Well, not ages exactly.  I just found out about it in January, so six months.  But that's a long time.  Now its sequel has come out and now I feel incredibly behind.
5. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.  The internet tells me to read this book.  My aunt tells me to read this book.  Someone compares it to J.K. Rowling, which means I have to read this book (although I am skeptical.  The last book that someone compared to Rowling in order to get me to read was the Twilight series.  And well, we all know how accurate that comparison is.)  However, everyone seems to really enjoy it, so it goes on my list!

6. Paper Town by John Green.  I have read everything else John Green has written because I LOVE him and his writing.  I have no idea why I haven't read this one yet.  I own it for Pete's sake!  Really, Alex?  So this is probably going to be nextish on my list.  Oh John Green, please continue to write wonderful books for the next rest of my life.  Thank you.

7. Delirium and Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver.  This one has been on my radar for only a short time, but again everyone has read this!  Why am I so completely oblivious to potentially really good books?

8. Maggie Stiefvater.  All her books, but in particular The Scorpio Races.  Her name has been floating around my universe for a while now.  I think it's time to just pick up this book and figure out if I'm going to like this author.  (If I've heard correctly, it will be a yes.)

9. Anything by Neil Gaiman.  I've only read one of his books, Stardust.  And after watching the episode of Doctor Who that he wrote, I just really should most definitely continue to devour his writing.  Oh man, is everything he touches amazing? 

10. There are a lot of classics that I should have read by now.  I'm going to name a few of them.  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.  There are so many more on this particular list.  I will get to them eventually. right?