Jan 31, 2012

Top Ten Book Club Books (Top Ten Tuesday)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Click the picture to visit them!

Top Ten Books That Would be Good for Book Clubs
Confession: I'm not big on book clubs. To me, book clubs feel like high school English class. I always felt that the teachers were making stuff up and the poor authors were rolling in their graves laughing when we were informed that the color of the hobo in the background's shoes was a symbol for death. Well, maybe not that detailed, but you get the picture. Here are books I would like to discuss, but not pick apart and overanalyze. 

1. The Nature of Jade - Deb Caletti (2007)
I love this book. I experience panic attacks and anxiety like Jade and I could really relate to that. Plus, it deals with Jade falling for an older guy who is a single dad. It's definitely complex enough to talk about for awhile!

2. Uglies - Scott Westerfeld (2005)
Dystopians are perfect for book clubs. This one is a great choice because we'd all like to think that our governments are always doing what's best for us, but Tally finds out that hers is doing what's best for them.

3. Tuck Everlasting - Natalie Babbitt (1975)
This book is a heartbreaker for sure. I read it when I was 12 and 10 years later I have never gotten over it. Would you choose to live forever?

4. The Fault in Our Stars - John Green (2012)
Hazel has cancer. Some days it gets her down, some days she barely thinks about it. From love and 'cancer perks' to trophy bashing and hospital stays, this book is a roller-coaster (that only goes up). 

5. Dreamland - Sarah Dessen (2004)
This book made me want to scream. Sometimes in life people have too much to deal with, so when the person who helps you through starts hurting you, what do you do then? 

6. I Am the Messenger - Markus Zusak (2006)
I was going to choose The Book Thief, but honestly this one got to me more. Ed's journey drives home how sometimes there are horrible things happening so close to us, but we are unaware of them because we are in the invisible bubble that is our own life. 

7. Just Listen - Sarah Dessen (2006)
This book shows how people's perception and judgement can be sickeningly wrong and how that effects someone already dealing with a terrible situation. As Owen says, sometimes we can't think or judge, we just have to listen. (Similar to Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, but I read that one way too long ago to talk about it)

8. Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher (2007)
Often, a suicide leaves people wishing they had answers. This book is full of answers to that burning question: why? but Clay and 12 other people struggle with the weight of knowing those answers. 

9. Chaos Walking trilogy - Patrick Ness (Book 1: 2008)
Todd grows into a man in a world where men are plagued by his town's dark past, and discovers his own morals in the process. The redemption of one character plus the overall complexity of this series is unbelievable and cemented Ness in my mind as one of those authors who could write a dictionary and I would still read it. 

10. Looking For Alaska - John Green (2005)
Life is complicated and messy and confusing. John Green knows how to take life and put it on paper. I love how the sexual situations in this book are not romanticized and steamy, but real and awkward and unsure. 

Jan 27, 2012

Top Ten Books/Authors That Deserve More Attention (Top Ten Tuesday)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Click the picture to visit them!

Top Ten Books/Authors That Deserve More Attention
This week is a free topic, so here are the top 10 books and authors who I belive deserve more attention in the blogosphere, the media, and in general.

1. The Pace by Shelena Shorts (2009)
Eternal love without the paranormal creature vampire / werewolf / faerie / or fallen angel thing.

2. Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev (2009)
One of the most truly unique books out there in my opinion. A strong heroine with a mind of her own in a magical theatre.

3. The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman (2011)
A sweet and honest contemporary that reads like an indie movie. (My review)

4. Candor by Pam Bachorz (2009)
Pam Bachorz has a knack for creating dystopians that take place in small, isolated places with antagonists who truly believe they are doing the right thing.

5. Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston (2008)
A very different take on faerie stories, with more action :)

6. I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone by Stephanie Kuehnert (2008)
A contemporary that doesn't gloss over the sharp edges in the heroine's life.

7. Need by Carrie Jones (2008)
Evil, sexy pixies and the phobia-collecting girl who is determined to stop them at all costs. ALL of Carrie Jones' books deserve more attention.

8. Gingerbread by Rachel Cohn (2002)
I know 2002 was 10 years ago (actually, I just realized that...), but this book was one of the most different contemporaries I'd ever read and I loved it.

9. Jars of Glass by Brad Barkley & Heather Hepler (2008)
These authors have 3 books out and I have loved every single one of them. This one broke my heart a little.

10. Breathing by Cheryl Renee Herbsman (2009)
One of the sweetest contemporary love stories I've ever read!

Jan 19, 2012

Death by Latte

Death by Latte by Linda Gerber
(book 2: Death By series)
Published: Sept. 18th, 2008 by Sleuth/Speak

It was only a few weeks ago that Aphra Connolly's life changed completely. She had been living a quiet existence on her father's secluded island resort, until Seth Mulo turned up and stole her heart...and provided information that led her to find her mom in Seattle. But the reunion isn't quite what she expected. Aphra's mom, Natalie, doesn't seem happy to see Aphra, and Natalie's boyfriend, Joe, insists that Aphra go home. Even worse, Seth shows up, only to ask her to return the ring he gave her the previous summer. At least Natalie's hunky neighbor is sympathetic. But when Joe is found dead at a nearby coffee shop, Aphra discovers her whole trip to Seattle has been based on a lie. And now someone just might be trying to kill her...

       Ok, so I only read this because the book I bought was $5 for all 3 of the books in this series. I gave Death by Bikini 3 Robots. You can read that review here. There really wasn't much plot at all in this book. Even though the 1st book was decent, this book is just a nothing story - tiny little bits of advancement in the plot with Aphra's mom, but other than that there is no reason for this book to exist.

Reasons I love this book:
  • twists - Once the story actually got going, Aphra and her cohorts got into a bit of a situation. Even though some characters were extremely suspicious from the beginning, there were some little surprises in who turned out to be on which side.
  • pace - These books are on the short side, so the plot moves pretty quickly. The beginning was a little slow for me, when Aphra met up with her mom and found out what was going on, but after that everything was faster.
Huh, what?:
  • Aphra - Alright, Aphra. Let's review what we've learned from the 1st book. Someone that you thought you could trust was actually a killer. So...why are you spilling secrets to people you've known for 2 minutes? Aphra is supposedly 16, but she just comes off as younger, maybe 12. I don't know if it's because she's so self-centered or something else. 
  • plot - There is no reason for this book to exist. The only significant thing that happens has to do with Aphra's mom and could have easily just been thrown into the next book. Much of the book is just dull. Exciting things happen, but the way they are written is just not interesting. It's kind of like watching something happen from behind glass where you can barely see or hear what's going on. 
  • Seth's arrival - All of the sudden, out of nowhere, Seth appears in Seattle with no explanation as to how he got there. He's has his own reason for being there, but it seems like the author's reason for bringing him into the sequel is simply to have a love interest present. 
Favorite quotes:
  • The air felt like it was being sucked from my lungs, and my head rang as if someone had clapped their hands over my ears. Hard. I don't remember falling, but the next thing I knew, I was sitting on the dock, head pounding. The boast was a mass of flames.        - pg. 107-108
  • There's a thin line between suspicion and paranoia and I hate to think I may have crossed it, but the more I thought about it, the more suspicious I became. The vehicle we were driving belonged to - and had been equipped by - the Agency. An Agency man had suggested we take it. Why?   - pg. 193
2 Robots
This book contained nothing important to the series and I've lost whatever little interest I had in the plot. I'm not going to read the 3rd book even though I already own it. Good if you want a short, quick read and a cute, easy mystery.

Acquired: bought

Jan 13, 2012

Bass Ackwards and Belly Up (New Adult Challenge)

Bass Ackwards and Belly Up by Elizabeth Craft, Sarah Fain
Published: April 1, 2007 by Poppy

Harper Waddle, Sophie Bushell, and Kate Foster are about to commit the ultimate suburban sin - bailing on college to each pursue their dreams: write the next Great American Novel, make it as a Hollywood, and backpack around the world. Middlebury-bound Becca Winsberg is convinced her friends have gone insane...until they remind her she just might have a dream of her own. So what if their lives are bass ackwards and belly up? They'll always have each other.

      This is a book in the same style as The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, but more predictable. The girls are older and their plots aren't as interesting as the Pants books, but this was still a pretty enjoyable read. There is a sequel that I will probably read as well. 

Reasons I love this book:
  • Harper - Harper is the Tibby of this book. She's the girl that stays at home. Harper, despite being the cause of the girls' college rebellion, struggles with her book writing endeavor and feels like her dream pales in comparison to what her friends are off doing. Honestly, between her job, living arrangement, and sleeping habits, Harper felt the most like a college student to me, even though she wasn't in college. And I usually don't like plots where the character crushes on a teacher, but this one was interesting because Harper's no longer his student in this situation.
  • Becca - It felt like everything went wrong for Becca even though she's the only one who did the expected thing by going to school, which is probably why she was easy to identity with. Everyone's had that feeling of 'what did I do to deserve this?' 
  • ending - Even though I thought much of this book was predictable, I was pleased that everything wasn't all wrapped up with a happily ever after. There is a sequel and I want to see where this story goes because at times it felt like I was waiting for the real story to begin.
Huh, what?:
  • Sophie's story - I don't have a problem with Sophie herself really, it's just that her plot was something I've seen dealt with so often in movies and TV shows. It's just completely predictable. From the guy she should be with vs. the Hollywood jerk she is with to the struggling to find work actress, there's nothing new here.
  • Kate's love interest - I understand that there's not much time to develop each girl's love story when each girl only gets 1/4 of the book, but Kate's was too quick for my taste. Sure, there are people who you meet and instantly click with, but this guy is literally one of the only people Kate's shown talking to at all during her trip. 
  • plot development - This book has been called The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants for college-aged readers. I would say the comparison stops at 4 friends being apart on different journeys in life. This book left me wanting each girl's story to be so much deeper and more developed. I feel this could have been accomplished, especially between 2 authors.
Favorite quotes:
  • There was something about a seventeen-year-old high school graduate sleeping on Harry Potter sheets that lacked dignity. In fact, created a vacuum of dignity. Nonetheless, Harper had spent an intimate night with Harry, Ron, and Hermione in the grungy, half-finished basement she now called home.                    - pg. 57  (I totally disagree with this statement, but it was funny!)
  • Kate leaned her elbows on the counter and smiled. "Let me explain. I have to stomp on some grapes. Today. It's very important. Any grapes will do." The clerk opened and closed his mouth, unsure how to proceed. Then he held his finger up, seeming to have an idea. He searched behind the counter, found a calendar, flipped through it quickly. Revelation spread across his face. "This is...American Thanksgiving tradition?"       - pg. 260 - 261
3 Robots
Despite the predictability this is a good read and I want to read the sequel.

Acquired: swapped for on swap.com

Jan 10, 2012

Top Five "Write Another Book Already" Authors

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Click the picture to visit them!

Top Five Authors I Wish Would Write Another Book
(This post has a surprise in it!)
These are authors I really want another book from and I'm limiting myself to 5 or I would be listing forever. Most of my choices ARE writing books, so this list highlights my hatred of waiting for book release dates! Each book pictured is the author's latest release.

1. Sarah Dessen - last release: May 2011
It hasn't even been a year since Sarah's last book came out (plus she has a toddler now)! I think Sarah Dessen's books are some of the most amazing contemporaries out there and I want more. I would love it if her next book had a college-aged main character!
2. Scott Westerfeld - last release: September 2011
It only seems like a long time since one of Scott's books came out because I didn't really like Leviathan.  There is an Uglies manga coming out in February, but I'm hoping for a new series sometime soonish!

3. James Dashner - last release: October 2011
Luckily, James just announced the release of a Maze Runner prequel for this August. The Maze Runner trilogy is his 1st YA series and it's action-packed and crazy intense. I want more YA books from him!
4. Shelena Shorts - last release: August 2011
The Pace series blows my mind (on that note, I seriously need to read The Iron Quill!) and is not in most stores and not getting the attention I think it deserves. Shelena has hinted on her blog that she'll be announcing a new series soon and I'm so excited! I'm so upset that I missed one of her appearances that was in my area!
5. Lisa Mantchev - last release: September 2011
Lisa's Theatre Illuminata series is another one that I rarely see in stores and that I don't hear about near enough. Her books are full of desserts and fairy mayhem and are so unique. I'm looking forward to whatever she decides to do next! I really want people to know about Lisa's and Shelena's books, so if you read this far, leave a comment with your email by next Tuesday, the 17th and I'll pick a random commenter to win any book in the Pace series or the Theatre Illuminata series from the Book Depository.