Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Hope People Still Read


Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Books Written In The Past 10 Years That I Hope People Are Still Reading In 30 Years

This was particularly difficult and I'm not entirely sure why.  I kept thinking of really good books but they were all written in the 90s.  I might be stuck a decade back in my mind...

1. The Harry Potter Series.  J.K. Rowling. Most of them were written in the past ten years, so I'm cheating a little.  I have a solid conviction that these books will be read for generations to come.  As long as the generation that grew up with Harry continues to pass it on to their children, I have no doubt that these books will live on forever.

2.  The Secret Life of the Bees.  Sue Monk Kidd.  This story is so poignant and graceful that it deserves to continue to be read.  It handles heavy subjects very tenderly without taking anything away from them.

3. The Book Thief.  Markus Zusak.  I can't explain why I like this book so much and why I think everyone should read this book.  I just have no words to describe it.

4. Speak.  Laurie Halse Anderson.  This woman can write about anything and make it enthralling.  That being said, this book tackles a heavy subject in a unique and interesting manner that gives teens more understanding. 

5. The Fault In Our Stars. John Green.  Like many of the other books on this list, it tackles a hard topic eloquently. Also, it's John Green.

6. The Help. Kathryn Stockett.  It is  beautiful book. We must remember the past but continue to the future. 

7. All American Girl.  Meg Cabot.  This book made me consciously decide to be a writer.  Need I say more?

8. The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Brain Selznick.  This book beautiful incoporates art into a story and it ends up that the pictures tell so much more than the words.  It is a beautiful representation of how the creative arts work together to bring a masterpiece. 

9. The Hunger Games.  Suzanne Collins.  This is just a great series.  I really enjoyed reading them and I know I will pick them back up in the future. 

10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  Steven Chbosky.  I'm cheating I don't care.  This book should be read by every high school student.  It is wonderfully and beautifully written and has it's own charm.  I love this book.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

by Jennifer E. Smith
Published: Poppy, 2012
Pages: 236

This is an Eclectic Reader Challenge book! 

The title makes it very evident that it is going to be a love story.  What the title doesn't tell you is that the love story is heartwarming and adorable.  Statistically speaking, this story should be an easy story to like.  

Hadley misses a flight to England by only four minutes.  This gives her enough time to brood over the fact that her father is getting married to the British woman that he left her mother for and that she has never met.  However, these four minutes change her life.  She meets Oliver.  He is also traveling to London, but for an entirely different reason.  The sparks ignite and could it be, love at first sight. 

I quite enjoyed this novel, it was lovely.  It was definitely a light friendly read.  The characters were quite witty and that always makes me laugh.  I really enjoyed the banter in this book specifically between Oliver and Hadley. 

Hadley's character works through a lot of emotions and thoughts in this book.  It is hard to write a character that has so much baggage, but Jennifer E. Smith did a fine job.  It didn't seem unnatural or forced. Hadley could have been highly annoying but she was a character that I sympathized with and celebrated.  

The one thing about this book that drove me crazy was the tense.  Present tense works in some context, but very few and I found it rather distracting.  At first it was obnoxiously distracting, but I got somewhat used to it and the tense became only mildly annoying.  I think it was an attempt to feel like someone that was looking in on the action rather than it be telling of something that passed, but it didn't work well.  

The idea of the story seems a little farfetched but that's the backbone of a good teen romance, and By George it makes for a really smooth read.  It warmed my heart.

Stars: 3/5


“A fast-paced and entertaining novel with a superlatively romantic premise…Readers will be as caught up as Hadley is by the physical and emotional distances she traverses.”
            – Publishers Weekly

 “Smartly observed…Smith’s acute insights make Hadley’s heartache and loss as real as the magical unfurling of new love.”
            – Kirkus

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Blogs/Sites You Read That AREN'T about Books


Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Blogs/Sites You Read That AREN'T about Books

1. Hypable: This is a convenient source of entertainment news compiled in one spot.  I really enjoy it!

2. Mental Floss: It's one of the best places to go for random fact and information.  It is a mental overload!  There are so many interesting articles to read.

3. Head Trip:  I have been following this comic for a long time now.  The artist is great and has an excellent sense of humor!

4. Ultimate Guitar:  I use this site to look up guitar chords.  It's really handy and I've never had to look elsewhere for a song.

5. How Sweet It Is:  This blog is just about the best cooking blog I've ever found.  I've tried several of these recipes and they all turned out wonderfully!  There are pictures to help the cooking process along.  It's great.

6.  Mugglenet:  I absolutely love this site, it's actually my homepage.  This is where I go for all my Harry Potter news.  I really like everything that comes out of this site and the group of people who run it as well.  They have podcasts and other entertainment that I love.

7. The Oatmeal: This is hilarious.

8. Youtube:  I can spend endless hours on youtube, watching funny videos and song covers.  I also spend time making videos that are hopefully entertaining to others. 

9. Tumblr: This is probably one of my biggest weaknesses.  I love this site more than it is healthy to love.  It helps me with my Doctor Who and Loki feels. :)

10. Twitter: I can't help it, I love to tweet and to read them... especially Maureen Johnson's tweets.  I'm always on @alexandriapaige

Monday, May 21, 2012

Bridge to Terabithia

by Katherine Paterson
Published: Harper Collins, 1996
Pages: 143

This is an Eclectic Reader Challenge book!

I never read this book as a child, but I definitely should have.  I have been meaning to read this for a very long time and I finally took the chance to read it this month.  I saw the movie once when it first came out and I remember loving it, however sad the story.  This story is magical in any medium.

Jess Aarons knew two things about life.  1) He liked to draw and 2) his father didn't approve.  He was content to fly under the radar at school and try to fit in at home where he is surrounded by women.  When Leslie Burke moved into town, she changed Jess's life forever.  With the power of imagination, Leslie and Jess created the beautiful kingdom of Terabithia where they would protect and rule.  This powerful world shares with him the importance of friendship and family.

All the characters were expertly developed, in fact I related to quite a few of them at different points in the novel.  There is a subtle elegance to the way the characters interact with each other, especially Leslie and Jess.  Leslie imagination is an entire character in and of itself, from her we get the beginnings of Terabithia.  She allows the reader to see what she sees and brings out the imagination in each reader.

The relationship between Jess and May Belle is one of my favorite relationships in the book.  Jess loves his little sister in a way that is obvious through his interactions with her.  Yes, she is just a little sister but sometimes he treats more like a friend than a nuisance.  Her dedication to Jess is very realistic and entertaining to read; as a little sister I remember feeling a little like May Belle at some points in my life.

There is a spirit about this novel that draws the reader in, that makes you want to continue reading, that makes you cry out at injustice and cheer with excitement.  This novel touches the reader, leaving a lasting effect.  This is a children's book, but anyone can read it.  In fact, I encourage everyone to read this novel.

Katherine Paterson eloquently addresses difficult topics in ways that make it assessable to anyone reading it, whether it be a child or an adult.  She does not dumb down her ideas, instead they are poignant and assessable to anyone.

Leslie and Jess inspire imagination in those that read this story.  I will never forget their story, and will continue to imagine as they did.

Stars: 5/5


 “Set in contemporary rural America, the story is one of remarkable richness and depth, beautifully written.”
        - The Horn Book

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters and Pets

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

The original idea was top ten authors would should be in a reality show, but I could only think of three so I decided to do my own top ten (with the freebie given by The Broke and the Bookish, of course.)

Top Ten Characters to Name a Pet After:

1. Sirius Black (Harry Potter):  I can't help it, I would name any black dog after this amazing character. 

2. Iorek Byrnison (The Golden Compass):  He's a fierce warrior and a loyal friend, what's not to like about this polar bear?

3. Boo Radley (To Kill A Mockingbird):  One of my favorite books and one of my favorite characters.  I would name any pet after this guy.

4. Gwin (Inkheart): I'm not sure I would ever own a ferret or a Marten, but I would definitely name it after the ferocious character. 

5. Arthur Dent (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy):  I would name a dog after this wonderful man, although I would love the dog to be a wonderful, blubbering fool.  Also, I would call him Dent.

6. Rue (The Hunger Games): I would name a hamster or rabbit after this graceful character.  (Also, raccoon comes to mind, but I doubt I will ever own a raccoon.)  Perhaps a monkey.

7.  Jay Gatsby (The Great Gatsby):  I would name a bird after this wonderfully sad character.  He would be absolutely perfect.

8. Despereaux (Tale of Despereaux):  If I ever owned a mouse, he would be named Despereaux.  I fancy my mouse to be adventurous and chivalrous.

9. Kingsley Shaklebolt (Harry Potter):  I love Kingsley's name and think it would be perfect for an orange tabby cat.

10. Minny (The Help):  Her feisty nature would be a great name for a puppy.  Also, they tend to make many a s**t pie. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Quotes

Here are my top ten quotes: (I tried not to repeat Rowling, but didn't quite make it. Oh well.)

"That's the thing about pain," Augustus said, and then glanced back at me. "It demands to be felt."    
    - John Green, The Fault In Our Stars

"If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals."
    - J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

"And he discovered, finally, the source of the honey-sweet sound.  The sound was music." 
    - Kate DiCamillo, Tale of Despereaux

"A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship."
    - Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

"You don't forget the face of the person who was your last hope."
    - Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

"What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though."
    - J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

 "Let us learn to show our friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead."
     - F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

 "And now," cried Max, "let the wild rumpus start!"
      - Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are 

"Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us."
       - Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

"Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure."
       - J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

by Stephanie Meyer
Published: Little Brown, 2010
Pages: 178

For those of you that do not know, this novella is part of the Twilight Saga.  Stephanie Meyer apparently got attached to one of the newborn vampires in Eclipse

Bree Tanner is a newly made vampire.  She has no idea who created her or why she was created.  All she knows is that she is continuously thirsty for blood, and that she feels alone.  Along comes Diego and her sense of her surrounds change.  She begins to question what she has been told, taking the chance to find the truth about her "rebirth."

While I did not really like the Twilight series, I must say that I tried to go into this with an open mind.  I was pleasantly surprised.  Stephanie Meyer should have written about Bree Tanner instead of Bella Swan. 

 It was kind of fun and definitely entertaining to see how this story fit in with Bella's version of Eclipse.  It is a treat to be able to see what was happening in a different part of the vampire world, making it much more well rounded.  I think it is neat that Stephanie Meyer knew about some of the other characters' backgrounds and decided to share it with her readers.  As an avid reader, I like to think that most authors know everything about the world they created.

Bree Tanner's voice makes this story altogether consuming.  The reader just gets sucked into the story and does not come back up for air until it is over.  She her smart thinking keeps her on her toes, effectively drawing the reader in further.  Bree is smart and quick on her feet; she is a character worth reading about and rooting for.

My one complaint is that Bree seemed to trust/fall in love with Diego suddenly as if she imprinted on him.  I'm not sure, but this does not seem even remotely realistic, but then again this book is about vampires. 

Bree Tanner may have had a short second life, but her story will forever grace the pages of this novella.

Stars: 3/5


"Meyer has, like one of her vampires, turned into something rare and more than merely human.... People do not want to just read Meyer's books; they want to climb inside them and live there."

"Piles on the suspense and romance."
                 -USA Today

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Books into Movies

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

no explanation today sorry, just I think all of these would make fabulous movies! :D

1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
2. The Body of Christopher Creed by Carol Plum-Ucci
3. Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
4. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
5. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
6. Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
7. Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary Schmidt
8. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
9. Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
10. The Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley

I'm sorry this is rushed.  It's late, I've been traveling all day, and I won't whine or make anymore excuses.