Saturday, March 30, 2013

Notable Quotable: J.D. Salinger (#4)

"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, thought."
          --The Cather in the Rye

Holden Caulfield once again sums it up in a couple sentences.  The thing about this character is that he is completely real with himself and with others.  There is no pretense to him.  He calls it the way he sees it.  It's a beautiful thing.

Thursday, March 28, 2013


by Sarah Dessen
Published:  SPEAK, 2004
Pages: 250

When Caitlin's sister runs away, her entire life begins to change.  She takes up cheerleading and starts seeing a mysterious boy by the name of Rogerson.  Caitlin quickly falls into a new routine, spending more and more time with her new boyfriend.  What happens when being with Rogerson becomes a bigger problem than being without him?

As someone that doesn't read the backs of books, the topic covered in this story surprised me.  When a book covers a topic like abuse, rape or eating disorders, to name a few, I feel like there should be a trigger warning attached to it.  I'm not saying that people should never write about these topics, because they should! I just didn't expect this story to be so heavy.  (It's kind of my own fault for not reading the summary.)

Aside from the startling topic, Sarah Dessen works wonders with her characters, developing a situation that feels so real, and in many lives is real. Though, some of the characters were frustrating.  I just wanted to yell at them to pay attention to Caitlin, to read the signs.  In this way these characters feel real.  People are often too caught up in their own lives to see what's going on around them.  I think Dessen captured this exceptionally well in her characters.

This book not only provides a story worth reading, but also gives the reader an opportunity to think.  I thought a lot about this story and abuse.  After discussing it with a friend, I realize that this books paints a great (for the lack of a better word) picture of how hidden a bad relationship can be.  If you don't already know the signs, it's hard to register them as unusual.  There's a partial eye-opening experience and the reader becomes privy to thoughts that might occur during this kind of relationship.  Sarah Dessen gives everyone an opportunity to talk about real dangerous situations.

Stars: 3/5


"Deamland is the secret story of many contemporary teen relationships. Compelling reading."
     --SLJ, starred review

"An affecting and believable portrait of a teenage girl drifting into a kind of dreamland.  You can't help being pulled in by Caitlin's story."
     --The Horn Book

"It's not only the plot that's vivid; the characters are also intensely real. Another pitch-perfect offering from Dessen." 
     --Booklist, starred review

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I recommend

hosted by: The Broke and the Bookish.

I have a habit of wanting to recommend books that I haven't read because either 1) I really want to read them or 2) they've had so much good hype that I feel compelled to recommend it.  I will not being doing that here.  I am going to try my best to stick to books that I have read. Here we go.

1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: If you like a good tear jerker, then this book is for you.  It is incredibly well written and I've talked about it so much on this blog, I can't imagine anyone thinking that I don't like it.

2. Cinder by Marissa Meyer: I just finished this book and wow! All the hype is right, this book is excellent.  The characters are dynamic and the world is so cool.

3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: Another tear jerker, be warned you might not want to read this in public.

4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: This is the one classic that I will recommend again and again. Jane Austen creates a perfectly frustrating relationship between two unlikely people.  I cannot help but love it every time I read it.  If there's only one classic you read, please make it this one.

5. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings is a great trilogy, but my favorite Middle Earth story is about a young Bilbo Baggins.

6. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling: I always recommend this book to people/children that want a great series. It's amazing.

7. The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar by Robert Alexander:  I love stories of Anastasia and the Romanovs and this is by far my favorite story about them.

8. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin:  This story is a great big puzzle. For those that love mysteries, like me, it'll keep you guessing until the end.

9. The Princess Bride by William Golding:  What I really like about this book is that it is an abridgment of a story that doesn't exist.  It's quite funny and has a great combination of action and romance.

10. Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky: This book tackles some pretty heavy content through the eyes of a freshman in high school.  I tell people that this book is a great insight to the minds of what high school might be like.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Notable Quotable: Jane Austen (#3)

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."
      --Pride and Prejudice

I love the first lines in books and this is my favorite first of all time.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


by Marissa Meyer
Published: Feiwel and Friends, 2012
Pages: 390

There's a reason Cinder is great mechanic, she's also a cyborg.  When the young Prince Kai, starts to show interest in the sixteen-year-old mechanic, Cinder has no reason to believe that a prince would be remotely interested in her.  Besides, he is busy looking for a cure for the plague that inflicts hundreds of people in New Beijing and around the world, including his father.  So when Cinder suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic conflict, she has to uncover her murky past to save the planet's future.

This retelling of Cinderella is great!  I love fairy tales and Cinderella is one of my favorites.  Knowing the story of Cinderella, I knew what was going to happen, but finding out how it happened was the best part of this book. I thought Marissa Meyer very cleverly intertwined the classic story into her post World War IV sci-fi technological age.  I was intrigued by the characters, settings and the society.  It was fascinating to read!

What I loved about the characters was that they felt completely new, despite being shells of a popular fairy tale. Cinder is an awesome cyborg, who makes a living fixing machines and androids, but on top of that she has a brilliant personality.  She is independent and smart, but she still struggles with fitting in like any teenager might.  It is very easy to relate to her and the other characters too.

I am a self-professed slow reader, but I flew through this story in three days!  I cannot wait to read the second book in The Lunar Chronicles to see where Cinder goes from here.  I will be very sad to have to wait for the rest of the story, I'm sure.

Stars: 4.5/5


"Author Marissa Meyer rocks the fractured fairy tale genre with a sci-fi twist on Cinderella"
     --The Seattle Times

"...this series opener and debut offers a high coolness factor by rewriting Cinderella as a kickass mechanic in a plague-ridden future.

"There's a lot of moving parts in this fresh spin on "Cinderella," the first in a four book series."

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I had to buy but are still sitting on my bookshelf

hosted by: The Broke and the Bookish.

I have this problem.  My books love to sit and wait for me to find time for them.  I feel like a mother who's neglected her children. I've been working through a lot of the books that I have on my shelves this year, so at least now I'm making progress!

1. Divergent by Veronica Roth - I was told I must have this book, so I got it.
2. Graceling by Kristin Cashore

3. The Memory Palace by Mira Bartok - I met this author at school and she signed her book for me, yet I still haven't read it.
4. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

5. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
6. A Handbook To Luck by Cristina Garcia - She is so lovely, (I also met her at school), and wonderful.  I had to pick up her book!

7. Feed by M.T. Anderson
8. Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon - I saw her read part of this book and I was so taken with it, but I haven't had the time to read it yet!

9. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
10. Dreamland by Sarah Dessen - I got this book in middle school, or maybe the beginning of high school.  It's embarrassing that I still haven't read it.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Notable Quotable: Kate DiCamillo (#2)

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

Kate DiCamillo has a unique way of expressing sentiments that have been said over and over again.  The idea that music is powerful and beautiful is something that everyone knows, but she is able to describe music in a brand new way that is simple, yet completely true.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
Published: Warner Books, 1987
Pages: 384

The Watchmen have retired, but when the masked-heroes start to become victims, Rorschach takes it upon himself to find out who's behind the murders and public humiliation.  He enlists an old friend, Nite Owl, and together they discover just what kind of political conspiracy is taking place.  Will they be able to stop the villain, or will it be too late for them, for the Watchmen, for the world?

Intermixed with the typical graphic novel fashion are sections of text that are either excerpts of memoirs, case studies or newspapers from the world in which Watchmen takes place.  I really like this addition because it gives the reader background information without having the characters live the backstory.  It's like the readers live in the world too and we are reading a real story with supplements that prove that this happened.  It's very engaging and I think it's one of my favorite things about this story.

At the end of each chapter there are quotes that pertain to what just happened in the story. I really like this because it solidifies the story for me.  It gives the action in the story a sense that it could happen to anyone, it is something that anyone can relate with, even though it's about superheros.  Also, I'm a huge fan of quotes.

The illustrations in this graphic novel are quite amazing.  Its realistic quality is fascinating.  The use of color in this graphic novel is very clever.  The muddier colors intensify the situation that we are reading about, and the crisper colors make the scenes more lively.  I really enjoyed the fact that this story was illustrated.  It definitely would not have been as interesting to me had it been a novel.

Stars: 3/5


"A work of ruthless psychological realism, it's a landmark in the graphic novel medium. It would be a masterpiece in any."
     -- TIME, TIME MAGAZINE's 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: My Spring 2013 TBR list.

hosted by: The Broke and the Bookish.

Sometimes I make lists of books that I'd like to get through, but know realistically there are many books that I need/want to read before the ones on my list.  So I've decided to do some serious thinking and pick books that I will read this year and hopefully I'll get through this spring.

1. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
2. Legend by Marie Lu
3. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
4. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
5. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
6. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
7. Divergent by Veronica Roth
8. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
9. Matched by Ally Condie
10. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Realistically I'll only get through about half of these this spring, but it won't stop me from trying to read them all!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Notable Quotable: John Green (#1)

Note it:

"That's the thing about demands to be felt."
          --The Fault in Our Stars

I could quote John Green for ages; his poignancy with words is unlike anything I've come across in a long while.  I am continuously impressed with his ability to manipulate words and make them stab, hit home.

This quote, as simple as it is, is proof of John Green's extraordinary talent with words.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Valiant: A Modern Tale of Faerie

by Holly Black
Published: Simon Pulse, 2006 (originally 2005)
Pages: 313

When Valerie runs away to New York City, she leaves behind a fractured life feeling utter betrayal. Val never expected to stay.  She meets Lolly and Dave, who introduce her to magic and a mysterious creature.  When creatures start dying, fingers start pointing and one of them lands on a friend.  Val is torn between her affection for an honorable monster and what her new friends might be causing. 

The characters in this story are very interesting.  Val is a brilliant protagonist, the best blend of strong-willed, stubborn and broken.  She is also very curious and brave.  On the other hand, Lolly and Dave are slightly more annoying, leaving me frustrated by their actions.  BUT I do know they are that way for a reason so I don't have a problem with it at all.

The descriptions in this story are elegant.  When something magical is described there is a Gothic sense about it.  I like that some people have the "sight" and most don't.  I like that Val sees things differently than most people without the "sight".  She's observant so she sees the goat feet and scales as well as the slight movement of statues.

I will say for those of you who are sensitive to swearing this is not a book to pick up lightly.  It didn't bother me and for the most part did not seem unnecessarily used.

This story could have only been written by someone with a vast imagination, Holly Black has just that.  She has crafted a beautiful modern faeire tale.  I look forward to reading the other two modern tales she has written: Tithe and  Ironside.

Stars: 4/5


"Dark, edgy, beautifully written, and compulsively readable." 

"A gripping read... The exquisite faeries haunt as well as charm." 
     --Publisher Weekly

"Debauchery, despair, deceit, and grisly death - what more could you ask for from a fairy tale? ...A luscious treat for fans of urban fantasy and romantic horror."
     --Kirkus Review

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I'd Like to Start But Haven't

hosted by: The Broke and the Bookish

There are so many books on my TBR pile that are apart of series that I haven't started so this is perfect! I hope to crack into some of these series soon. (Quite of few of these are on my Book Resolution list.)

1. The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
2. The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare - I really hope I like these two series. It's a lot of time to invest.

3. Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth - I'm working on it.  I know, shameful.  I'll have both of them read by the time the third comes out, don't worry.

4. Delirium Trilogy by Lauren Oliver
5. Matched Trilogy by Ally Condie - I've heard so many great things about this series, I can't wait to start it.)

6. Uglies Series by Scott Westerfeld - The first two books in this series have been sitting on my bookshelf since the beginning of high school.  It's about time I actually pick them up.

7. Retold Farytales Series by Jackson Pearce - I know it's not technically a series, but I'm making it one.

8. The Wolfs of Mercy Falls (Shiver, Linger, Forever) by Maggie Stiefvater
9.  The Gemma Doyle Trilogy (A Great and Terrible Beauty) by Libba Bray - This series has been on my radar for so long I almost forgot about it, but I didn't!

10. Graceling Realm by Kristin Cashore - I bought the first book in the fall as a present to myself for beginning my last semester of college ever.

Honorary mention:
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin - I'm afraid to start these purely because of their length.  I would not read anything else for an entire year. It's a true story.