Friday, September 26, 2014

Notable Quotable: James Dashner (#47)

"Minho nodded and faced the crowd. 'Be careful,' he said dryly. 'Don't die.' Thomas would have laughed if he could, but he was too scared for it to come out. 'Great. We're all bloody inspired,' Newt answered, then pointed over his shoulder, toward the maze."
     --The Maze Runner

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (#10)

Harry Potter Moment of the Week hosted by Uncorked Thoughts.

The Most Cringe Inducing Scene:

There are a couple reasons I've cringed during this series, whether it's because the scene is horrific or the scene is almost unbearably awkward, I'm cringing all the same.  I'm going to share with you one that makes me cringe every time I read or watch it.

The cringe of horror:

When Harry receives detention from Umbridge, everyone assumes it's going to be something ridiculous, but no one assumes that it will be cruel.  The first time Harry shows up and we learn that the ink for the lines he's writing come from his own blood, makes my skin crawl.  I mean almost everything about Umbridge makes my skin crawl but this just somehow seems to be one of the worst.  This is the first substantial evidence we have that Umbridge has her own agenda and while it may not be the same as Voldemort's, it is still a very real kind of evil.

Harry placed the point of the quill on the paper and wrote: I must not tell lies.
He let out a gasp of pain.  The words had appeared on the parchment in what appeared to be shining red ink.  At the same time, the words had appeared on the back of Harry's right hand, cut into his skin as though traced there by a scalpel -- yet even as he stared at the shining cut, the skin healed over again, leaving the place where it had been slightly redder than before but quite smooth.
Harry looked around at Umbridge.  She was watching him, her wide, toadlike mouth stretched in a smile. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Gone Girl

by Gillian Flynn
Published: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 2012
Pages: 395

Nick Dunne has good life, but on the morning of their five year anniversary his clever and beautiful wife, Amy, disappears leaving chaos in her wake.  The search is on and Nick isn't doing himself any favors with his cringe-worthy performance for the press.  Amy is gone leaving Nick to wade through a series of lies and deceit to find out what really happen, and the question everyone is asking: did Nick kill Amy?

This book is a whirl-wind of mystery and plot twists and 'didn't-see-that-coming's.  I'm fairly decent at figuring out a some of the mystery in books before it's revealed, but this book caught me by surprise every single time.  I was thrown for a loop every time the characters revealed different aspects of themselves to the reader.

There is some incredible characterization in this book.  Gillian Flynn is excellent at revealing different aspects of her characters in the most intriguing ways; she can paint people innocent and then in one sentence break every conception reveal their innermost despicable qualities.  This is one of the reasons it is hard to choose a side in this story, it's hard to decide who is in the wrong.   This book will make you think hard about the people you know.

The story is told in dual point of view, Nick Dunne and his wife, Amy Elliot Dunne.  Nick's POV is told in real time and Amy's is in the form of journal entries.  I thought this was a really intriguing way to tell a story, it definitely gives us two very different perspectives of the situation at hand.  I really enjoyed tension that was added because of the differing POVs and the contradictions that happen because of it.  It definitely added to the suspenseful nature of this novel.

Gillian Flynn has crafted an excellent thriller that made me paranoid for a good couple of weeks after I finished the novel.  She questions the human condition and the plausibility for hiding true colors in your own home, from the people who know you the best.  I will be looking forward to the movie adaptation; I cannot wait to see how this novel turns out on the big screen.

4/5 Stars


"Ms. Flynn writes dark suspense novel that anatomize violence without splashing barrels of blood around the pages... But as in her other books, Ms. Flynn has much more up her sleeve than a simple missing-person case.  As Nick and Amy's alternately tell their stories, marriage has never looked so menacing, narrators so unreliable."
     --Wall Street Journal

"Readers who prefer more virulent strains of unreality will appreciate the sneaky mind games of Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, a thriller rooted in the portrait of a tricky and troubled marriage."
     --New York Times

"A perfect wife's disappearance plunges her husband into a nightmare as it rips open ugly secrets about his marriage and, just maybe, his culpability in her death... One of those rare thrillers whose revelations actually intensify its suspense instead of dissipating it.  The final pages are chilling."
     --Kirkus, starred review

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Fall TBR

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This fall I want to get around to some of the books that have come out this year and some of the older books on my book shelf.  However, I have a list of genres that I have to get around to as well, so I'm going to try and incorporate those into this TBR.

1. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
2. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
3. Something Real by Heather Demetrios

4. Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
5. The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
6. The Young Elites by Marie Lu

7. Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
8. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
9. Matched by Ally Condie

10. Ugies by Scott Westerfeld
11. Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
12. Splintered by A.G Howard

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Notable Quotable: Harper Lee (#46)

"He would be there all night, and he would be there when Jem waked up in the morning."
     --To Kill A Mockingbird

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (#9)

Harry Potter Moment of the Week hosted by Uncorked Thoughts.

Best Dumbledore Moment:

There are so many Dumbledore moments that I love, it's hard to choose just one.  However, one that stands out to me currently is how he handles the death of Cedric Diggory.  Instead of the end of term festivities and House Cup celebration, Dumbledore takes a moment to honor Cedric with the entire school and their guests.  This is clearly a turning point for the series, but it's also a turning point for Dumbledore.  We've known all along that he cares for his students, particularly Harry, but this moment is when we truly see how much he cares for them.  He is not willing to sugar coat or coddle them because he feels they deserve to know the truth, they deserve to know what's happening.  Keeping them in the dark only blinds them, making them susceptible to the same fate as Cedric.   His call to action is mostly about knowledge, so that Cedric's terrible death is in vain.
"Today we acknowledge a really terrible loss.  Cedric Diggory was, as you all know, exceptionally hard working, infinitely fair-minded, and most importnat;y, a fierce, fierce friend.  Therefore, I feel you have the right to know exactly how he died.  You see, Cedric Diggory was murdered, by Lord Voldemort.  The Ministry of Magic does not wish me to tell you this.  But not to do so I felel would be a n insult to his memory.  Now the pain we all feel at this dreadful loss reminds me, and, reminds us, that though we may come from different countries and speak in different tonues, our hearts beat as one.  In light of the recent events, the bonds of friendship made this year will be more important than ever.  Remember that, and Cedric Diggory will not have died in vain.  You remember that, and we'll celebrate a boy who was kind, and honest, and brave, and true.  Right to the very end."

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Maze Runner

by James Dashner
Published: Delacorte Press, 2009
Pages: 375

When Thomas wakes up, he knows two things: his name and the fact that he can't remember anything else.  Now he is forced to make a home with the boys he meets in a place called the Glade.  They were sent here just as he was, the only difference being that things started going weird when Thomas showed up.  Thomas joins the effort to get out of this weird world that some of the boys have called home for two years.  The only possible way out is through the maze, but he'll have to gain the trust of those in charge to even begin to help.  The problem with that is there are several boys who believe that Thomas is the problem and not the solution.

Thomas is a curious character from the beginning, he knows as much about himself as the reader does.  It's easy to empathize with him because his lack of knowledge and language of the Glade is the same as ours.  The reader learns right along with Thomas.  This is a great writing tactic.

The plot moves along steadily leaving mystery after mystery to uncover.  There is always a tidbit of new information that keeps me reading, keeps me wanting more.  I sped through this book at a spectacular rate.  I just couldn't get enough information.  The characters were interesting and the more we learned about them, the more we learned about their surroundings.

As is the nature of any book beginning a series, it's hard to create a story within itself that's not purely setting the stage for the rest of the books.  I think this book did a very decent job at this, but the last chunk of the book felt very much like it was just a segue to the next book in the series.  Don't get me wrong, I think it sets up for the next book very well, there just seemed to be a little bit too much set up and tease.  Not enough questions were answered before more questions were revealed. (I'm all about questions being answered.  It's hard to be patient.)

Despite my frustration with the ending of this book, will definitely be continuing on with the series and hopefully I'll get some answers to my questions!  And I'm incredibly interested to see how the movie adaptation differs from the book.

4/5 Stars


"Dashner knows how to spin a tale and make the unbelievable realistic.  Hard to put down.  This is clearly just a first installment and it will leave readers dying to find out what comes next."
     --Kirkus Review

"A fast-paced narrative.... Dashner's suspenseful adventure will keep readers guessing until the very end."
     --Publisher's Weekly

"The tantalizing hints of a ravaged world outside makes for gripping reading."

An Eclectic Reader 2014 book. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: One Book Isn't Enough

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

It's funny: this week's topic has made it very obvious to me that I never considered that the authors of my favorite books growing up had ever written anything besides that book.  This list will quite likely hold several of my favorites growing up.

1. Jennifer E. Smith - I read The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight back when it was first released and I got really excited when I found out she was writing another book, but I never read it.  Since then she wrote two others, so there is no excuse that I haven't read more by her!

2. Patrick Rothfuss - I read The Name of the Wind in 2011 right before the sequel was released with intention that I read those back to back, but then I didn't and I have no idea why!  I really enjoyed the first book and every time I think about Rothfuss I remember that I haven't read the second.  Soon, though.

3. Holly Black - I read Valiant a couple years ago and liked it pretty well, but it was around then that I realized that she wrote The Spiderwick Chronicles.  I've seen that movie and really enjoyed it, so it's been on my list forever to read that series.  Putting those connections together has led me to want to read more of Holly Black.

4. Jay Asher - I read Thirteen Reasons Why earlier this year and really enjoyed it.  I'd been meaning to read one of his books for ages and now that I have, I really need to read the rest of his books.

5. Ellen Raskin - I read The Westing Game back in middle school and absolutely loved it.  Why I have never read another book by her, I do not know, but thinking about it makes me want to.  One of hers may be the next book I read.

6. Madeleine L'Engle - I've read A Wrinkle in Time a couple times when I was a kid, but I didn't know it was part of a series until I was in high school.  L'Engle's writing is beautiful and now I'm wondering how the series continues.

7. Kazuo Ishiguro - I read Never Let Me Go this year and the beautiful writing had me thinking about the book for weeks after.  Now that I know he has written several other books, I need to read them!

8. Gary D. Schmidt - I read Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy in 2010 and immediately fell in love with the story telling in that book.  I immediately picked up a couple other books by Schmidt, but I have yet to read another one, though I have reread Lizzie Bright since then.

9. Melissa Kantor - In middle school, I read If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince? and it was one of my favorite books then.  I haven't read anything else by her, but I know there's a good chance my inner middle-schooler will absolutely love them.

10. Khaled Hosseini -  The Kite Runner is a beautifully haunting book and for some reason, also known as time and infinite books, I haven't gotten around to reading anything else by him.  It's about time I make that a priority though.

Bonus Jonas:

11. Harper Lee - I first read To Kill A Mockingbird back in middle school and then I read it again in high school and watched the movie.  Since then, I have dreamed that Harper Lee had written another book because her first was amazing.  Alas, we will never get another book by her.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (#8)

Harry Potter Moment of the Week hosted by Uncorked Thoughts.

Least Favorite Book:

I hate to even think of the books like this but if I had to choose a least favorite book it would have to be Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.  Harry is at his most annoying in this book, he often makes me angry, but not as angry as Professor Umbridge.  When I first read this book, I literally throw my book at the wall.  There is a dent in the wall to prove it.
Dolores Umbridge is a despicable character and her introduction to the series happened in Order of the Phoenix which is one more reason that it's my least favorite book.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014


by Lois Lowry
published: Delacorte Press, 2006
pages: 169

Matty is growing up and the village he now calls home is in danger. He used to be able to come and go as he pleased through the Forest surrounding the village, but the Forest seems to be changing its mind as of late.  The villagers have been as well.  Matty notices and Seer, Matty's surrogate father,  is noticing too.  Seer warns Matty about these changes but it's up to Matty to figure out what exactly is happening and what he should do about it.

 Matty's role in this book is probably my favorite part of it.  I absolutely love this character and could argue that he might be my favorite character for the entire series.  His desire to help people has grown since we last saw him and it's very clear that he has change quite a bit.  Matty is still every bit mischievous and inquisitive as before, but now he has some wisdom and purpose to go with it.  He loves his role in the village as the messenger and the fact that the trees respect him.

There is a very strong political theme running throughout all of these books.  Seeing it so plainly took away part of the magic of the story.  I'm not a huge fan of blatant messages; I'd rather see something more subtle.  The concept of the Trademaster and his market is very intriguing, but the obvious vehicle for politics.  However, I do like the interactions between the Trademaster and the village people.  It's interesting to see what people are willing to do for what they want.

I loved that we finally get to see what happened to Jonas and Gabe.  It's no secret that they are alluded to in Gathering Blue, but it was nice to finally see them again as more active characters, to see what's become of them.  And there is still much more room to grow for both of them, but Gabe specifically.

Hopefully, Lois Lowry's final installment will answer any questions that this book didn't.  I look forward to reading it soon.

Stars: 4/5 


"Lowry masterfully presents another thought-provoking, haunting tale in this third novel, a companion to The Giver and Gathering Blue."
     --Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Lowry moves far beyong message, writing with a beautiful simplicity rooted in political fable, in warm domestic detail, and in a wild natural world, just on the edge of realism."
     --Booklist, ALA, starred review

"Told in simple, evocative prose, this companion to The Giver and Gathering Blue can stand on its own as a powerful tale of great beauty."
     -- Kirkus Review, starred

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Underrated Books According to My Family

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

1. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (My pick) - Every opportunity I have, I plug this book because I don't think it gets nearly enough attention.  I absolutely love this book and cannot say enough good about it.  There's mystery and scheming and

2. Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani (Mom's pick) - My mom loved the character's story in this book.  The family makes handmade leather wedding shoes and one of the granddaughters takes a real interest in their work.  It's a coming of age story that's centered around a young mid-20s, early 30s woman.

3. Thieves Like Us by Stephan Cole (Hunter's pick) - Hunter really enjoys it because of the main character and the plot is enticing.  It's about a group of teenagers that are hired to steal.

4.  Out of Darkness by Keith Terry (Rachel's pick) -  The premise of the book fascinated Rachel and for good reason. It's about a guy who is hired to study The Book of Mormon and assess it's authenticity.  It hearing her talk about this book makes me want to read it.

5. The Spenser Series by Robert B. Parker (Dad's pick) - This is one of my dad's favorite series and even though there was a television series based on these books in the 80's.  There are significant human psyche revelations that you wouldn't expect a detective series to incorporate.

6.  Glaciers by Alexis Smith (Leigh's pick) -  It's a very well written book on the shorter side but incredibly beautiful and poignant.  A character driven book about a couple days in the life of a girl who lives in Portland.

7. The Murder of Bindy MacKenzie by Jacyln Moriarty (Gabby's pick) -  This book is folded into three other books in a set of companion novels.  That's one of the reasons that Gabby likes it.  The series should definitely get more attention that it does.

8.  Jumper by Steven Gould (Lauren's pick) - Even though there is a movie based on this book, Lauren still thinks that it's completely underrated.  The movie is far from doing the book justice and most people don't even realize it's based off of a book.  But she loves it and swears that it is one of the best books she's read.

9.  Guitar Notes by Mary Amato (Also my pick) - I read this book a couple years ago and really enjoyed it, but I haven't heard much about it elsewhere.  I think people who love a good story that involves music would really enjoy this book.

10. Mama's Bank Account by Kathryn Forbes (Gramma's pick) - It's a wonderful book.  It was turned into a long running television show in the 40s and 50s and was also a movie.  Even though it got some time in the spotlight, Gramma thinks it should have had more.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Notable Quotable: Harper Lee (#44)

"They are certainly entitled to think that, and they're entitled to full respect for their opinions... but before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience."
     --To Kill A Mockingbird

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (#7)

Harry Potter Moment of the Week hosted by Uncorked Thoughts.

Favorite Edition of the Books:

I grew up reading the American editions so naturally those are among my favorite editions.  I'm partial to the hardback copies of these books.  I've also always loved the English editions.  The spines of the English editions are really cool.  I love the solid blocks of color.  I have to say though I really like the new paperback box set that came out this year.  They are all very beautiful.