Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Beginnings/Endings

hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. 

Here are the first and last lines of some of my favorite books.  I'll let the quotes speak for themselves.


1. "Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much." - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

2. "My name is India Opal Buloni, and last summer my daddy, the preacher, sent me to the store for a box of macaroni-and-cheese, some white rice, and two tomatoes and I came back with a dog." - Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

3. "The morning after noted child prodigy Colin Singleton graduated from high school and got dumped for the nineteenth time by a girl named Katherine, he took a bath." - An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

4. "The best time to talk to ghosts is just before the sun comes up." - Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

5. "Here we go again." - Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

6. "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 by Jane Austen

7. "In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit." - The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien


1. "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." - The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald 

2. "Behind him, across vast distances of space and time, from the place he had left, he thought he heard music too.  but perhaps it was only an echo." - The Giver by Lois Lowry

3. "Don't ever tell anybody anything.  If you do, you start missing everybody." - The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Notable Quotable: Gayle Forman (#17)

"It's quiet now. So quiet that I can almost hear other people's dreams."
     --If I Stay

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Summer I Became A Nerd

by Leah Rae Miller
Published: Entangled Teen
Pages: 267

Maddie Summers is a typical high school cheerleader - popular, pretty and dating the quarterback.  But what people don't realize is that she is a closet nerd.  When Maddie meets Logan, the guy behind the local comic book shop, her love for comics and sci-fi threatens to spill out.  The life that she has carefully spun starts to unravel and the lies quickly become harder to control.  She risks hurting everyone she cares about, including herself.

First things first.  Anything that references Harry Potter is okay in my book. Aside from that, there were so many wonderful references to books, movies and comics that I couldn't help but enjoy reading this book.  I also loved that there were multiple LARPing scenes, it just made me excited to be a nerd.  I don't think there are quite enough outlets for geeks/nerds to be proud.  This book definitely allows for people to declare their love loud and clear. It's refreshing.

The characters were also highly believable and well rounded.  Although, I did have issues with Maddie at certain points.  I'll be the first to admit I was irritated that she ran around in secret, doing the exact opposite thing I would do if a nerd boy declared his feelings for me.  The lying thing was perhaps the most irritating thing about her.  I didn't see the need for her to have lied so much and about the things she did.  Some of them (well all of the lies, really) didn't seem necessary to me. However, from a character stand point, I thought she was well written, the popular girl who's secretly in love with comics and sci-fi and LARPing.

The whirlwind romance of nerdiness is the icing on the cake.  I had a hard time putting this book down once I picked it up.  Leah Rae Miller has stormed onto the scene with The Summer I Became a Nerd, and I hope she will continue to make nerdy books as amazing as this one.

Stars: 4/5


"Leah Rae Miller's debut is charming, funny, clever and utterly geek-tastic! Beyond that, I appreciated the book's message that the road to happiness is to be true to yourself first."
     --The FlyLeaf Review

"Between the laugh out loud dialogue and Mddie and Logan's pulse-skipping romance, I longed for the Flash's speed so I could read the book over again and again!"
     --Cole Gibsen, author of the KATANA series

"A sweet and fun summer read that turns the tables on the popular guy/nerdy girl scenario and refreshingly features a popular girl who wants to let her nerd flag fly."
     --Just a Couple More Pages

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors That Deserve More Recognition

hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.

1. Gabrielle Zevin - She is a brilliant author, but it seems like she is completely underrated.  I've only read Elsewhere and Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac but her other books sound very interesting.

2. Stephanie Perkins - It seems like everyone in the book blog community knows and loves her but outside of our group, not many people 'in the real world' have read her books.

3. Markus Zusak - It still surprises how many people I talk to that haven't read The Book Thief, which is one of my favorite books.  This man is an amazing writer and everyone should read his books.  I think that book is being made into a movie so, he'll be big news soon.

4. Simon Van Booy - His short stories are crafted beautifully. My favorite of his short story collections is The Secret Lives of People in Love.

5. Ellen Raskin - She wrote The Westing Game.  I read this book several times when I was in middle school and I still think it is a great read.  She has some other books that are also really good!

There are probably more on my list but these are the ones I can think of right now.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Anna Karenina

by Leo Tolstoy
Published: Penguin Classic Deluxe Edition, 2001
Pages: 838

Anna Karenina lives a nice life with her husband and son, but when she goes to visit his brother and his wife she meets a man that turns her life upside down.  When her love affair with Count Vronsky begins she has to start making decisions. Will she leave her husband and her son?And how will she face society with a ruined social presence?  What Anna decides will change her life forever, whether for better or worse she does not know.

It took me way longer than I expected to finish this and for no other reason that it is just very long.  Because of the length, the pacing was not consistent.  I found myself unable to focus at times, I mean there's only so many pages I can read about lawn mowing.

The story, however, is captivating and haunting.  Tolstoy's writing is eloquent and simple.  There is beauty in his sentences and depth in his meanings.  He writes with purpose; there is plan for every detail he has written, whether it is character development or to show contrast in characters.  I very much admire the way Tolstoy writes.

Leo Tolstoy has a way of expressing emotion that is unlike anything that I've ever read.  At the beginning of the book, Stepan Oblonsky's guilt is so accurately described, it felt completely authentic.  Only someone who has felt this extreme sense of guilt could explain it so perfectly.  Throughout the entire novel, we get to see how characters think and how they justify their actions or misconstrue other people's intentions.  It really shows the dysfunction of people, but more specifically families.

Although I enjoyed reading this book, I won't be diving into anymore Tolstoy for a while.  I need something a little less dense in my life right now.

Stars: 3/5


"Peaver and Volokhonsky are at once scrupulous translators and vivid stylists of English, and their superb rendering allows us, as perhaps never before, to grasp the palpability of Tolstoy's 'characters, acts, situations."
      --James Wood, The New Yorker

"In their version, Anna Karenina becomes a surprising rediscovery... Pevear and Volokhonsky may truly be said to be the reinventors of the classic Russian novel for our times."
     --PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize Citation

This is an Eclectic Reader 2013 Challenge book!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Best/Worst Movie Adaptations

hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

Best Movie Adaptations: 

1. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien 
2. Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
3. The Princess Bride by William Golding 
4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (Keira Knightley edition)
5. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee 

Worst Movie Adaptations:

6. Inkheart by Corneilia Funke
7. The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman
8. The Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
9. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo 

The In Between: 

10. Eragon by Christopher Paolini
11. Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

I saw both of these when they first came out, way before I read either of these books.  I really enjoyed the movies. Now that I've read both books, I can appreciate how people would think they are terrible adaptations.  I can agree with them on that, but I still enjoy watching these movies every once in a while.  

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Notable Quotable: Veronica Roth (#16)

"But becoming fearless isn’t the point. That’s impossible. It’s learning to control your fear, and how to be free from it, that’s the point."

Thursday, July 4, 2013

July TBR Pile // BookTube-A-Thon

Percy Jackson and The Olympians: The Lightning Thief

by Rick Riordan
published: Hyperion books, 2005
pages: 389

Percy Jackson is a 12-year-old troublemaker that finds himself being chased by creatures and gods that have only been heard of in Greek myths.  When Zeus' master bolt is stolen, Percy is the biggest suspect. He and his friends set out to prove his innocence, but they only have ten days to keep the peace on Mount Olympus, and prevent war between the gods.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  The application of the Greek mythology into modern day America is quite entertaining.  I liked that certain gods owned shops and that others gods disguised themselves as humans. Apart from the main plot, I thought the subplots were solid and incorporated really well with the rest of the story.  They are very deliberate, seemingly insignificant scenes were tied back into the plot.

 I absolutely love the way Rick Riordan explains ADHD and dyslexia not as disabilities, but different ways of understanding.  I thought that was really cool.  Along with this, the humor in this book is noteworthy.  Being that the book was narrated by Percy, it felt very natural, not in the least forced.  Each character had their own sense of humor and it was revealed through their interactions with each other.

The characters in this book are excellent, mainly Percy and his friends, Annabeth and Grover.  Their character development throughout their journey is incredibly paced and evident.  Each of them grow into their themselves; they become more mature and yet they still retain believability as 12-year-olds.

This book is full of action-packed adventure that had me captivated from the beginning.  I cannot wait to continue Percy Jackson's story in the rest of series.

Also, I can see why people like the book so much more than the movie.  You just get so much more from the book!  (This doesn't mean I didn't like the movie.)

Stars: 5/5


"Percy is an ADHD, wise-cracking, first-person narrator.  Naturally, his real quest is for his own identity.  Along the way, such topics as family, trust, war, the environment, dreams, and perceptions are raised."
     --School Library Journal

"The sardonic tone of the narrator's voice lends a refreshing air of realism to this riotously paced quest tale of heroism that questions the realities of our world, family, friendships and loyalty."
     --Kirkus Review

"If you want a young person to read a book, take a lesson from Rick Riordan and start it by warning readers to close the book right away and go back to their uninformed lives.  This book will bring out the readers...with its fast pace and adventure.

This is an Eclectic Reader 2013 Challenge Book!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Intimidating Books

hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

1. Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin - They are just so huge!

2. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver - Again, this book is long and I was told by a friend in high school that it was hard to read.  It might be a good time to try it though.

3. Anything Charles Dickens - I had a bad reading experience in 9th grade with Great Expectations.  I was bored out of my mind.  Now I'm a  hesitant to pick up another one of his books, although I know I should give him another try.

4. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy - I've been reading this brick for a long time and at some times it feel almost too dense to read. I'm slowly but surely getting through it.

5. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand - This book is not only behemoth, but it also tackles hard subjects and has been called her manifesto.

6.  Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead - I know I'm a bad person, but I'm hesitant to start reading anything that has vampires in it.  I'm working on this awful stereotype, believe me, but something about this being a series makes me a little weary.  (Although, I am watching Buffy and Angel right now, so I'm getting better.)

7. Anything by Hemingway - I want to read his work, and I really feel like I should, but I'm afraid that I won't like it/understand as I feel I should.  He's talked about as one of the greatest American authors, so I'd really like to get up the nerve to try reading one of his books.

There's quite a few.