Thursday, February 28, 2013

Will Grayson, Will Grayson

by John Green and David Levithan
Published: Speak, 2011 (first published Dutton, 2010)
Pages: 310

When Will Grayson meets Will Grayson, they aren't expecting each other.  In fact, the first is buying a souvenir for his best and gay friend, Tiny Cooper and the other is meeting an internet friend.  Little did they know that their meeting is the catalyst for events that lead to the most entertaining musical to ever hit the high school stage.

Tiny Cooper is one of the funniest characters I have ever had the pleasure to read.  In addition to being completely gay, I mean that in the very best way, he is charming and so outgoing it hurts.  I laughed so much while reading about Tiny's musical, who would have thought to write a musical about themselves? Tiny Cooper.  That's who.

I was very excited to actually see the musical in the book.  I am a self professed lover of musicals so this just made my day.  The lyrics to the songs are priceless and entertaining and the scenes are wonderfully obnoxious.  I can't help agreeing with Will Grayson, the best friend, that Tiny is altogether too much to handle.  That, however, doesn't stop me from enjoying him and the rest of the characters.

The Wills are not quite opposites, just different guys with the same name and a shared Tiny.  They both, however, are having problems of their own.  To a certain extent Tiny, whether intentionally or unintentionally, helps them realize how to go about dealing with their problems.  They are, eventually, brutally honest with themselves and with those they love.  As characters, they are incredibly dynamic.

I give mad props to John Green and David Levithan for coming up with this idea and for writing it.  I am so glad because the world needed this book.  If these authors ever get the itch to write together again, I hope they don't hesitate.

Stars: 5/5


"Will Grayson, Will Grayson is a complete romp.  [It is] so funny, rude and original that by the time flowers hit the stage, even the musical-averse will cheer."
     -- The New York Times Book Review

"Will have readers simultaneously laughing, crying and singing at the top of their lungs."
     --Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

"It is such a good book. [Green and Levithan] are two of the best writers writing today."
     --NPR's The Roundtable

It's An Eclectic Reader 2013 Challenge book!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I'd put on Auto-buy

hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.

1. John Green - I will read whatever he writes, no questions asked.

2. J.K. Rowling - The queen of my childhood.

3. Markus Zusak - He has a mastery of words, it's so enchanting.

4. Stephanie Perkins - Even though I've only read one of her books, I enjoyed reading it so thoroughly that I will be picking up her books for years to come.

5. Jane Austen - Yes, she's dead.  BUT this will not stop me from buying beautiful copies of her books over and over again.

6. Neil Gaiman - His way of telling a story is incredible.  I love reading his tales, dark and otherwise.

7. Kate DiCamillo - The way she writes makes me feel like a child again.  I found her books recently and absolutely love them.

8. Maureen Johnson - Her personality alone makes me want to read everything she's ever written, not to mention the fact that she's a great story-teller.

9. J.R.R. Tolkien - He's another one those authors that if he were to write from the grave I would pick it up instantly.

10. I have a feeling this author will be found in my TBR pile.  There are so many books that I'd like to recommend that I haven't even read yet because I've heard so many wonderful things about the authors.  So number ten is to those authors I will discover this year.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Warm Bodies

by Isaac Marion
Published: Atria, 2011
Pages: 239

R is a zombie with a problem.  He shuffles around a war ridden America, eating brains and wishing there was more to his life, memories even. On one of his many hunting trips, he encounters the memories of one of his victims.  When he makes the decision to protect his victim's girlfriend, Julie, it sparks a change in him, one that could lead him to humanity once more, that is if he can stay 'alive'.

I saw a trailer for the movie based on this book before I'd even heard of this book.  I was strangely mesmerized by it, so of course I knew that I had to read the book.  This is also my introduction into the Zombie genre, so there was a lot riding on this book.  I can firmly say now, that I will be reading many more zombie books.

The unconventional love story between a human and a zombie is enchanting and completely unpredictable.  R's inner dialogue is witty and engaging; I really enjoyed hearing the inner thoughts of a zombie.  His desire to be more human, or rather to have love, provides the catalyst for the story.  R searches for it even before he meets Julie.  It is unique and entertaining.

There are so many aspects of this book that are worth mentioning, the memories and the characters specifically.  Julie seems like any other zombie-apocalypse survivor, hardened, only she has hope.  Strangely enough, R seems to give her the hope in the future, for change, for health.

One of my favorite parts is reading about the culture of the zombies, their rituals and human-like attitudes.  Even though people see them as inhuman corpses, they ironically have very similar situations and compulsions as the living. Isaac Marion has created a story that can capture the attention and imagination of the reader from the beginning.

Stars: 4/5


"Marion is a disarming writer, ruefully humorous, knowingly cinematic in scape. This is a slacker-zombie novel with heart."
     --The Guardian

"Warm Bodies is a terrific book - a compelling literary fantasy which is also a strange and affecting pop-culture parable."
     -- Nick Harkaway, author of The Gone-Away World

"A mesmerizing evolution of a classic contemporary myth."
     --Simon Pegg, actor in Shaun of the Dead

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Characters in YA

hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.

1. Luna Lovegood (Harry Potter) - What's not to love about this beautiful girl who is not afraid to be herself even when others choose to make fun of her.  She does what she wants and holds fast to what and who she believes in.

2. Finnick Odair (The Hunger Games) - He has a heart the size of Texas and it really shows when we learn about the woman he loves.  He has an extraordinary heart and fierce loyalty towards those he trusts.

3. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter) - I figured out why she studies so much: she lived our dream of finding out we belong at Hogwarts.  Also, I can't think of a thing she wouldn't do for those that she loves.  (I'm sensing a theme here.)  She is sass and brainpower, strong-willed and protective.

4. Hazel Grace (The Fault in out Stars) - Her outlook on life is unique and amazing given her circumstances.  I really enjoy her sense of humor and her determination to get along in life.

5. Ed Kennedy (The Messenger) - There is something very charming about not having your life together and Ed Kennedy is the master of coasting through life.  I think his development as a characters throughout this book is the reason I like him so much.

6. Rory Deveaux (The Name of the Star) - Her sense of adventure and supernatural abilities make her a character to remember.  Come on, if you had the chance to pick where you went to high school, tell me you wouldn't pick London.  I would!

7. Hassan Harbish (An Abundance of Katherines) - His humor and loyalty as a friend is the best thing about him.  He's his own person and doesn't let tragedy define him, maybe laziness, but not world events.  His relationship with his best friend is honest and makes me laugh.

8. Andrew "Ender" Wiggin (Ender's Game) - There's an innocence about him that make him one of my favorite characters.  At the same time, just because he's younger and smaller, doesn't mean he'll let others walk all over him.  He stands up for himself and proves himself against others that are much older than him.

9. Scout Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird) - I can't really explain why I like Scout so much, but I think part of it has to do with her not being afraid of Boo Radley.  Their friendship is so precious that I can't help but love both of them.

10. Samantha Madison (All American Girl) - She was one of the first characters I read that I really wanted to be; everything right down to her crazy red and fiery disposition.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Beautiful Creatures

by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Published Little Brown, 2009
Pages: 563

Ethan Wate has been planning his escape for the small Southern town of Gatlin for as long as he can remember.  But when the beautiful girl that has been haunting his dreams becomes the new girl in town, he knows something strange is happening.  He decides to do whatever it takes to figure out why he and Lena Duchannes seem to be drawn together.

I wasn't sure what to think about this book, but I heard nothing but good things so I decided to give it a try.  Also, it didn't hurt that the movie is coming out very soon. (TODAY!)  I am so glad that I did!  This story has a unique twist to the idea of forbidden love between a mortal and a caster.

Setting the story in a small town in South Carolina where change is not well received was a brilliant decision on the part of the authors.  I thought it worked really well in isolating Lena from the rest of the group not only because of who she is but also because the town has decided that new isn't good.  This element of the story felt very real and infuriating.

The combination of lore and Southern history kept me fascinated and engaged.  I loved that the Civil War was part of the history of this story.  It's interesting how that aspect of history can be so convoluted in different parts of the country and adding it into this story was a great touch.

The characters Lena and Ethan are just adorable and their relationship is realistic and challenging.  I like that Ethan doesn't have a problem with who Lena is and that he decides to stick up for her when an entire town, his home town, is against her no matter the consequences.  It's powerful.

This story is not only a wonderful romance, but it's also has fundamental moral dilemmas that left me frustrated and amazed by the characters actions.  Kami Garci and Margaret Stohl have something going on! I look forward to reading the rest of this series; I can't wait to see what happens to Ethan and Lena next.

Stars: 4/5 

"Gorgeously crafted, atmospheric, and original.  I devoured it."
     --Melissa Marr, New York Times bestselling author of Wicked  Lovely

"A hauntingly delicious dark fantasy."
     --Cassandria Clare, New York Times bestselling author of City of Bones

"[Readers] will be swept by the haunting and detailed atmosphere, the conventions and strictures of Southern Life, and a compelling and dimensional mythology."
     --Publishers Weekly

This is an Eclectic Reader 2013 Challenge book!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Romances

hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.

1. Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger (Harry Potter) - This couple is so wonderfully awkward in the formation, but becomes sweet when Ron starts realizing his feelings.

2. Elizabeth Bennet and William Darcy (Pride and Prejudice) - This is a classic case of I hate you, I love you.  I love this story so much, these characters are so strong willed and independent.  It drives me crazy, but I can't help but get giddy over their relationship.

3. Anna and St. Clair (Anna and the French Kiss) - This story is just so cute and frustrating at the same time.  I can't help be love it!

4. Hazel and Augustus (The Fault in Our Stars) - Well I've talked about this book enough, but seriously this couple is amazing.  I don't know what else to say about them because there really are no words to describe them.

5. Hadley and Oliver (The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight) - I like this couple because to takes time to show the beginning stages of the relationship, the budding stages.

6. Jamie and Landon (A Walk to Remember) - Well this story just has me in tears; it's so beautiful and sad.
Nicholas Sparks really know how to pull on people's heart strings.

7. Aragon and Arwen (Lord of the Rings) - A midst all the adventure and the journey, Tolkien manages to weave a beautiful forbidden love story into his tales.  I really like the characters and think their sacrifices for each other are proof of their love.

8. Finnick and Annie (The Hunger Games) - Finnick's love for Annie is absolutely beautiful, it's so pure and wonderful.  He'd do anything to keep her safe. I love them.

9. Ellie and William (Avalon High) - I'm a sucker for Arthurian legend, but this modern telling couple make me smile.  It's heart-warming and the characters they represent a so good!

10. R and Julie (Warm Bodies) - I don't know what it is about this couple, but I really like them.  I like what they stand for in the book and that their relationship slowly makes R more human.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Bookish Memories

hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.

1. I went to the midnight release of the 5th, 6th, and 7th Harry Potter books.  Being in a book store with so many other Harry Potter fanatics was incredible.

2. I interned for a publishing company spring semester junior year of college.  I learned so much and met several authors that happened to come into the office.  It was an awe-inspiring, something that I never expected to do.

3. I met Seanan McGuire in the Spring of 2012 and I found out that we have many of the same interests.  She a wonderful human being and incredibly funny.

4. When I was younger, my dad and I used to read the Series of Unfortunate Events together.  Those 30 minutes at a time were some of the best memories I have reading.

5. Every year my family and I used to go up to a cottage at the end of the summer.  Each night before bed we'd gather on our parents bed and my mom would read A Wrinkle In Time out-loud.  It was great family bonding time.

6. When I was a kid, I used to read under the covers with a flash light after lights out.  Whenever I got caught, my parents would sort of laugh because they knew that my loving to read was a good problem to have.

7. I went to Hogwarts!  When the Universal theme park opened in 2010, I thought to myself 'I'll get there someday'.  I could have never predicted my grandma calling me in May of that year to tell me I was going to be among the first to experience Hogwarts and all it's glory.

8. When I read the last Harry Potter book, I wanted to savor it because I knew there would be nothing like it again.  I ended up taking an entire week to finish the book. Although I spent most of my time absorbing it and crying over it, this is one of my absolute favorite reading memories.