Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 End of Year Book Survey



Hey!  So since the year is winding down, I'm doing to participate in The Perpetual Page Turner's "2013 End of Year Book Survey!  Here goes nothing! 

1. Best Book You Read In 2013? 

Historical Fiction: The Book Thief  by Markus Zusak
Classic: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Realistic Fiction: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Sci-Fy: Scarlet by Marisa Meyer
Apocalyptic: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Dystopian: Divergent by Veronica Roth is tied with Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Paranormal: The Coldest Girl In Coldtown  by Holly Black

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith.  This book had such a cute cover and amazing ratings.  I was so disappointed when it turned out to be a cliché.  

 3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013? 

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black.  (Review here)

No need to take a trip down memory land about how much Stephanie Meyer ruined vampires for me; I'm sure you all understand.  Anyway, when I received this ARC for a blog tour over the summer I was a little weary because I was unfamiliar with the author, and also unfamiliar with any other version of vampire besides the sparkling kind.  Let me tell you, this book blew me away and was one of my favorites from over the summer. 

 4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?

Cinder and Scarlet by Marisa Meyer!  I loved these books so much!  Scarlet, in my opinon, is one of the most impressive sequels ever!

Review for Scarlet here

 5. Best series you discovered in 2013?

I actually have started a lot of series in 2013!  I started and loved the Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth.  ( Mini Review for Insurgent here and review for Allegiant here)
I started a whole bunch, but the most promising are 
The Tiger Saga by Colleen Houck.  
(Review for Tiger's Curse here  and review for Tiger's Quest here)
and The 5th Wave Series (Review for Book One here)

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?

This is depressing, I know, but I was late hopping on the John Green bandwagon!  But I'm so glad that I did!  


I also read work by Veronica Roth, Lauren Oliver, and Maggie Steifvater


7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.  I'm not usually such a fun of spooky or horror books.  Somehow this book managed to weasel it's way into my heart!  I'm so excited for the sequel in the new year!

 8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?

Reason to Breathe by Rebecca Donovan!  It's not often that you come across a book where you care so deeply about a character, but Emma is just so hard not to like!  Her situation is daunting, and I had to keep reading to make sure that she was safe.  This book was thrilling not because of how outrageously scary it was, but by how fathomable the situation actually was.

 9. Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green.  I just got a signed copy, and with the movie coming out this summer I'm bound to read it again!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?



11. Most memorable character in 2013? 

Blue Sargent from The Raven Cycle by Maggie Steifvater.  

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?

The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013? 

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and Allegiant by Veronica Roth are neck in neck for this spot; given that they both brought me to tears that lasted several days.  I do believe that the winner is 
The Book Thief, probably because in reality, something very similar to those events actually happened in real life, while Allegiant is just a futuristic vision of what may be the future.  

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read? 

The Maze Runner by James Dashner!  I need to read the rest of the series still, and there is a movie in the works!?!  Still, I should have read this sooner. 

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?



16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

Shortest: Animal Farm by George Orwell
Longest: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

 17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? 

I think that the end of Allegiant by Veronica Roth left me wanting to spoil the entire book for all of my friends just so that I could cry on their shoulder.  Luckily, I didn't! 

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

I don't think that it gets any better than Cath and Levi from Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl.


19. Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously?

Crazy Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted.

20. Best Book You Read In 2013 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

The Pentrals by Crystal Mack.

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?

YA obviously.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?

Gansey from The Raven Cycle books by Maggie Steifvater.  He is just incredibly charming.

23. Best 2013 debut you read?

The Pentrals by Crystal Mack

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?

Definitely anything that Marisa Meyer wrote in The Lunar Chronicles.

25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013?

Geektastic: Stories From the Nerd Herd 
Edited by
 Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci



26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013?

Oh my gosh so many!!!!

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
Reason To Breathe by Rebecca Donovan
Allegiant by Veronica Roth
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder
Looking for Alaska by John Green

27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?

Defiantly The Probability In Miracles!  There needs to be some more hype about this book!



1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2013? 

Well, I didn't exactly discover this, but my friend Emma over at Spun With Words started her blog up this year!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2013? 


3. Best discussion you had on your blog?


4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else’s blog?


5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

The "Beat the Heat Readathon" hosted by Auntie Spinelli Reads

6. Best moment of book blogging/your book life in 2013?

Meeting Marisa Meyer and getting my books signed.  We had an awesome discussion about her writing and she even told the group I was with a fairy tale!  

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?



8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?



9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

These two sites have amazing book clothing! 


10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I completed my Goodreads goal of 100 books for 2013!  Yay me!!!!




1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2013 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2014?

Can I smush the entire Percy Jackson Series and Heroes of Olympus Series in Here?  I'm so behind but I want to read them so bad!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2014 (non-debut)?

A three way tie between 

Cress by Marisa Meyer
Panic by Lauren Oliver
and 
Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

3. 2014 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

I honestly don't know!  I guess we'll find out!

 4. Series Ending You Are Most Anticipating in 2014?

Off the top of my head, I can't think of any!  I'm coming up with a lot of series' getting second or third books, but not last installments.  Hmmmmm...

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2014?

My reading goal for 2014 is 120 books!  I'm amping up the stakes!

Blogging wise; I just want to keep writing thorough reviews and increasing my readership!  



I hope that you had a wonderful 2013, and may I wish you a happy new year.

~Remy



Sunday, December 29, 2013

Stacking The Shelves: Final Book Buying of the Year


Stacking the Shelves in an amazing feature hosted by the fantastic Tynga's Reviews where you post about the books/book related things that you bought/acquired that past week.  (Or since the last time you post a Stacking the Shelves).

Today I have quite a lot of amazing books to share with you, so I best be getting started.

I received as gifts due to the wonderful holiday season: 


The Fault In Our Stars by John Green.  (THIS IS SIGNED!!!!!!!! ASDKJAOGIENKJQWEHR;JKSDHAEA;WDHDUGHPEWHR)

Please excuse my fangirl moment! :)

The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordon
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Then, because I just can't help myself, I took a trip to the library, and got this large stack of books:


United We Spy by Ally Cater
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Delusion by Laura L. Sullivan
Monument 14: Sky On Fire by Emmy Laybourne
She Thief by Daniel Finn
Twinmaker by Sean Williams

At this point you must think that I'm nuts for acquiring this many books in a matter of days.  Let me tell you, I have a problem, because I went out and bought MORE.

I went on a small day trip with my mother and grandmother to this tiny little town a couple hours away from us.  It's absolutely adorable, and has not only several bookstores, but also a writing store!  I've been there before, here's a link to the last time I was there.

Anyway, at the bookstores I got:


The Book Thief  by Markus Zusak
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.

I've acutally read a couple of those, but just didn't have copies for myself.  Here's my review for Peculiar Children and The 5th Wave.

When I went to the writing store, I got some goodies too!


You Know You're a Writer When... by Adair Lara
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
An adorable notebook from Chronicle Books

And then this "I make stuff up" T-Shirt, to go along with all of my storytelling abilities.


When I was taking all of these pictures, my cats decided to be freaking adorable, so I thought that it was only appropriate to include them here. 



Anyway, until tomorrow!  

~Remy










Saturday, December 28, 2013

Out of This Place: A Quirky Australian Novel in Verse

Review:
Title: Out of This Place
Author: Emma Cameron
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: May 14th, 2013
Format: Library Hardcover
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance, Verse
Rating: ✎✎✎


Blurb:

In verse, three teen voices sound. Beach bum Luke works shifts at the local supermarket, and avoids trouble at school. His mate Bongo gets wasted, blocks out memories of the little brother social services took away and avoids the stepdad who hits him. Casey, the girl they both love, dreams of escaping to a free new life.

My Thoughts and Reflection:

It's been a while since I've read a novel in verse, and to be honest I was excited about it.  The premise sounded interesting enough; this girl must be pretty special to have captivated two boys.  And I might have a thing for books set in Australia.  But that's a maybe.  
Anyway, quickly I realized that this book was, despite being written in verse, told awfully strangely.  
The first third of the book is from the POV of Luke.  Honestly, Luke left barely any impression on me, his third of the book was bland and boring.  Disappointingly, it also gave me a poor impression of Casey.  I couldn't grasp a spark of personality because she was barely in it!  
When the POV changed to Casey it felt like suddenly I was reading a different book.  Her section was fast paced, surprising, and mentioned very little of Luke.  It did give a glimpse at the romance between her and Bongo.  Overall it was a little strange; I felt like her character was suppressed in Luke's section, and just exploded all of the pages of section two.
Bongo was my favorite character because he was interesting, raw, and real.  Luke was bland and completely unimportant to the story.  Casey was strange and awkward with her journey.  Bongo on the other hand, had the most fascinating story to tell. 
The most annoying aspect of this book was the authors tendency to retell previous scenes from the next  POV.  It felt like before we could get with the current plot we had to review what the character was doing during the first third of two thirds of the book, even if it wasn't relevant.  
To be honest, this book was disappointing, boring, weirdly paced, and unimpressive.  I'm certainly not going to go out and look for more from this author.    

~Remy

Friday, December 27, 2013

Until It Hurts to Stop: Contemporary Stand-Alone

Review:
Title: Until It Hurts to Stop
Author: Jennifer R. Hubbard
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Publication Date: September 12th, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: ✎✎✎


Blurb: 

In seventh grade, Maggie Camden was the class outcast. Every day, the other girls tripped her, pinched her, trapped her in the bathroom, told her she would be better off dead. Four years have passed since then, and Maggie’s tormentors seem to have moved on. The ringleader of them all, Raleigh Barringer, even moved out of town. But Maggie has never stopped watching for attacks, and every laugh still sounds like it’s at her expense. The only time Maggie feels at peace is when she’s hiking up in the mountains with her best friend, Nick. Lately, though, there’s a new sort of tension between the two of them—a tension both dangerous and delicious. But how can Maggie expect anything more out of Nick when all she’s ever been told is that she’s ugly, she’s pathetic, she’s unworthy of love? And how can she ever feel safe, now that Raleigh Barringer is suddenly—terrifyingly—back in town?

My Thoughts and Reflection:

It's hard to decide where to start with this book, but I guess I should just start at the beginning.  We meet Maggie, a teenage girl still scarred by brutal Middle School bullying.  I guess this is where I found my first problem.  I mean, bullying is awful and cruel.  I'm not denying that it can leave pain long after it occurs, but in Maggie's case, her tormentor moves away, and no one bothered her after that.  I feel like she should have matured a bit more and grown up.  
Now when her tormentor Raleigh returns, my second problem arises.  There is all this tension and anxiety from Maggie, but at the end of the book we realize that Maggie was really just projecting it all.  Raleigh wasn't thinking twice about Maggie, and it was Maggie's own inability to move that lead to the confrontation that eventually happened.  The confrontation, however, wasn't event hat much of a high point of the book, and sort of felt like a plot point that just ended abruptly.
Having said this, in my opinion this book is not really about Maggie and Raleigh, it's about Maggie and her friend Nick.  
Their relationship was completely cliché.  Boy and girl, best friends, boy gets girlfriend, girl gets jealous, boy breaks up with girlfriend, boy and girl date.  I felt like I was watching a bad Disney made for T.V. movie.  
I think that Maggie's other friend does add the depth to this book, (which it desperately needed).  She points out Maggie's self absorption and is really the only character to really help Maggie grow as a person.  
On a side note, I did appreciate the depth of Nick due to the situation with his father, as well as the fact that he and Maggie were so dedicated and interested in such an alternative sport.
All in all, Maggie was sometimes completely oblivious and it was painful to read as she made dumb mistakes, other times she was genuine and sincere.  
This book has left me with the impression that this author/publisher duo is poor at writing blurbs, as well as a book of substance.  I hope that in the future the author can hone her talent into something meaningful.  

~Remy

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Super Six Sunday: Six Books That Made My Heart Melt

Super Six Sunday is an awesome meme hosted over at Bewitched Bookworms!

This week's prompt is "Super Six Books That Made My Heart Melt"




The Fault In Our Stars


The Probability of Miracles


The Book Thief


Thirteen Reasons Why


Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone


Shine


~Remy






Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Beginnings of Everything

Review:
Title: The Beginnings of Everything
Original Title: Severed Heads, Broken Hearts
Author: Robyn Schneider
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: August 27, 2013
Format: Library Copy
Genre: YA, Contemporary; Romance; Tragedy
Rating: ✎✎✎


*This cover looks hideous online, but in person the colors are gorgeous!

Blurb:

Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.


But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes? 

If you haven't read this book I hope that now you are intrigued or want to!  But to avoid spoilers please stop reading HERE! :)

My Thoughts and Reflection:

This book seemed to get a lot of hype after it was re-released with a new cover and title.  In my opinion the new title defiantly fits the book better, but I'm sort of indifferent about the covers... 

Anyway, now for the actual book.  Ezra was a wonderful narrator.  He is open about his opinions and his personality is quickly established.  

The other characters... They were quirky and interesting... But they didn't have enough of lives themselves.  There are a couple of instances were events happen that don't directly involve Ezra, but the lack of substantial subplots was obvious.  

Immediately after Cassidy was introduced as a character I knew two things; she was the romantic interest and that she was going to be trouble.  Her tendency to hold things back made her extremely suspicious and I honestly didn't think she was all that.  She didn't come across as someone that I would want to be friends with, so I disliked her from the beginning.  

After thinking about this book for a while it has become apparent that there are two separate plots in this novel; the extremely dull relationship of Ezra and Cassidy and Ezra's self evaluation as a person after his accident.  Cassidy May have been the mysterious new girl in the beginning, but she and Ezra didn't have a lot in common.  Ezra's self evaluation added depth to his character and was actually interesting to read.

At the end of the book things actually get exciting.   Cassidy reveals that she was just using Ezra as a toy and that she actually has a real boyfriend.  If this had actually been the reason that she broke up with him I would have been all "This is amazing!  Her character actually has some motivation in this story."  But nope.  It turns out she won't stay together with Ezra because her dead brother (which we didn't know about) was the one who hit Ezra and caused his injury.  And get this, Ezra is even willing to move past all these facts but Cassidy is just like "It's too hard for me."  Ugh. Ugh.  Yuck yuck yuck.  

I was not that impressed with this book.  It wasn't extremely horrible, but Cassidy ruined it for me.  Even though those last few chapters had excitement that I failed to predict from page one, it still wasn't that great. 

However, because this book had quite a lot of potential, and just wasn't executed quite so nicely, I'll be willing to give another book by this author a chance.  Maybe.  

~Remy

P.S.  This somehow didn't register on my radar but the cover was released for the sequel to Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children!  Review here.



Isn't it beautiful?!?







Monday, December 9, 2013

Remy Rant: My Love/Hate Relationship With GoodReads (New Feature)


Remy Rant:
My Love/Hate Relationship With Goodreads

Now, many of you who are reading this are thinking, Whaaaaaaaat??  Whaaaaaaat is this? (Read very dramatically with emphasis on the *H*)  
Well people, I'm going to answer your questions!  I was inspired by my friend Emma over at Spun With Words when she posted her new feature Sunday Spiel.  I realized that I don't really have any regular features or something like it on my blog.  So I started brainstorming.  Then, after re-reading her post I got caught up in the fact that sometimes people review books that they didn't finish, and how sometimes people on Goodreads rate books that they didn't finish, and then it affects the overall rating of the book, and it bugs me so much, and so many other things bug me about Goodreads, but I love it so much and–hold up.  That was a SUPER long run-on sentence and I'm sorry.  I just don't think that there is a better way to express my chain of thought.  Haha, get it? Chain instead of train? Oh never mind. 
Anyway, I do enjoy ranting about things, in the right setting of course, so my new feature was born: Remy Rant!  Get it?  Because I'm Remy and I'm Ranting?  Maybe I should just stop making awful jokes in my blog posts...

Now that I've explained what Remy Rants are, and why I'm doing them, I just want to dive into my topic: My Love/Hate Relationship With Goodreads.

I joined Goodreads in late 2012, at least I think, after being prompted by a group of friends.  They all were using it, and loved so I thought, what the heck, it sounds really cool right?  And it is!  There are so many things that I love about Goodreads!  I love how I can have an actual list of books that I want to read, I love how I can follow the blogs of authors I like right from the site, I love how they host contests with ARCs, I love how I can see in my feed what my friends want to read, I love how I can see what my friends are thinking about a book as they read it, I love seeing my friends reviews as soon as they review them, I love seeing the overall ratings of books, I love that you have access to all the different covers in one convenient place, I love the Goodreads app and how I can scan books with it, I love that I can have an annual goal of how many books I want to read and that it keeps track for me, I love that I can mark a book as a to-read even if it hasn't come out yet, I love that I can categorize my books into different groups, and I love so many other things. (Sorry again for my tendency to run on.  *Feeling Sheepish*)     

Despite all of these things that I love, there are some things that I hate.  Such as:

1.  People who don't finish reading a book can review it and distort the overall rating, because no offense, you can't review a book that you didn't finish like you finished it.  You have to acknowledge in your review that you didn't finish it, and you shouldn't give it a star rating because that distorts the statistics!!!!  And that drives me crazy. 
2. I don't like how you can rate a book before it's already come out. I understand that this is probably for the purposes of Book Reviewers like myself who actually have access to ARCs, but when I see that a book is already rated 5 stars and I go to the reviews and people are saying, "OH MY GOSH I LOVE BLAH BLAH AUTHOR AND I CAN'T WAIT FOR THIS BOOK TO COME OUT!!!!"–Hold up, you can't rate something that you haven't read!  All books by the same author are not written equal!  There are books by some of my favorite authors that I've hated, and there are books that I've hated, but when I've read another book by that same author I've liked it.  So you can't just assume that you're going to like a book just because you like the author.  You can sort of guess, but not all out assume. Nuh-uh.  If you're guilty of this, pleeeeeeeeease stop.  
3.  A great aspect of Goodreads is their Listopia, so why can't I access it from the app?
4.  The quotes system needs to be organized better.  I love saving my favorite book quotes, but it's really hard to search for them!  Sometimes I'll search, and be all "Oh it's not there, I'll just create it!"  But then it won't let me because it's embedded into a longer quote.  I don't need the whole chapter* (exaggerating for emphasis), I just want the sentence or two that I found meaningful.  
4.  How come sometimes I mark something as finished from the app and it doesn't transfer over to the main site?  It's supposed to be the same thing!
5.  This is only slightly annoying, and I understand that it is for privacy reasons, but do I really have to validate my password every time I try and read my messages?!

I'm sure that there are more things that I could go on about, but that pretty much sums up my love/hate realtionship with Goodreads.  Needless to say I'm going to suck it up and deal with the aspects I don't like about it, because all in all, I do love Goodreads.

Do you have a Goodreads?  Let me know why or why not!  Do you have a rant about Goodreads?  Share your opinion in the comments!

~Remy




Sunday, December 8, 2013

Life In Outer Space and Stacking The Shelves

Review
Title: Life In Outer Space
Author: Melissa Keil
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
Publication Date: August 1st, 2013
Format: Library Copy
Genre: YA; Contemporary; Geekish
Rating: ✎✎✎✎



Okay, so if you haven't read this book, read above and below!

Blurb:

Sam is a geek movie-buff with a ragtag group of loser friends who have been taking abuse from the popular kids for years. But when the super-cool Camilla moves to town, she surprises everyone by choosing to spend time with Sam's group. Suddenly they go from geek to chic, and find that not everything boils down to us and them. With their social lives in flux, Sam and Camilla spend more and more time together. They become the best of friends, and Sam finds that he's happier and more comfortable in his own skin than ever before. But eventually Sam must admit to himself that he's fallen in love. If he confesses his true feelings to Camilla, will everything change again?



If you haven't read this book stop here!  :)

My Thoughts and Reflection:

This aussie book has sort of a typical geek-contemporary premise; cool girl joins geek group, geek guy likes girl, but does she like him back?  This book stood out a little from it's twin geek-contemporaries because of the flaws in the characters.  Our protagonist is Sam Kinnison, and he is a horror movie freak who can't seem to write the screen play that he's dreamed of.  I've found that movie geeks are kind of an under appreciated group and more books should be written about them, because the are awesome and there are SO many different types of movies; thus, different types of movie geeks.  But anyway, moving away from my movie geek rant, Sam is not perfect.  He is smart, but not always the best friend.  He loves movies, but is out of place talking about other things.  And his family life kind of sucks.  No, it just plain sucks.  Then here comes Camilla, the cool, sophisticated nomad who lives with her rock star dad and–hold up, she's got some problems too, it just takes Sam so long to see it.  Sam's relationships with the other characters and friends is endearing, as well as dealing with the fact that Camilla is friends with the popular group too.  With that little aspect Sam is sort of immature and needs to get a grip, I mean, yeah they were jerks and mean, but it wasn't like they made his life total hell.  I don't know, it just felt like he needed to man up and accept that people can change.  The plot of this book wasn't exactly exhilarating, but the characters were all so endearing that you felt obligated to follow along with their lives.  I find it similar to how Emma over at Spun With Words described Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell.  The end was cute a sweet, but entirely not surprising.  I would have liked if this book had some other aspect to it; I'm not sure whether it's a mystery, more action, or something.  The only other side-plot is the problems with Sam's best friend Mike, but it's not really a sub-plot because Mike disappears for the middle chunk of the book.  While that has an explanation, it just makes it hard to categorize Mike's life as a true sub-plot, leaving this book completely sub-plotless, and unsatisfying.  I rated this book four pencils because 1. The characters were quirky and unique 2.  I love books set in Australia, 3. Three, the plot was sweet and 4.  The writing was engaging.  However, despite these positives I found that the book was missing something and was unfulfilled.



Anyway, I did get to take a trip to a local book store (Support local businesses!!!) this weekend and I snagged a few books from the library this week.  I got this haul:


Bought:

The Eye of Minds by James Dashner (SIGNED!)
Perfect Ruin by Lauren Destefano

Borrowed From Library:

Barely Breathing by Rebecca Donovan
Lockdown: Escape from Furnace by Alexander Gordon Smith
Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil

Au revior

~Remy



Monday, December 2, 2013

HUGE Stacking the Shelves


Hey!  I had an amazing Thanksgiving and I hope that you did too!  Not only did I get to spend time with friends and family, I also got to go BOOK SHOPPING!!!!!!!


I got...

1. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (for my book club)
2. Ava by Hannah Hoffmeister (A signed copy from my aunt!)
3. Unwind by Neal Shusterman
4. UnWholly by Neal Shusterman
5. UnnSouled by Neal Shusterman
6. Six Months Later by Natalie D. Richards
7.  Until It Hurts to Stop by Jennifer R. Hubbard
8. Enders Game by Orson Scott Card
9.  Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson 
10. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children: The Graphic Novel 
Story by Ransom Riggs, Art by Cassandra Jean (OH MY GOD I'M SO EXCITED FOR THIS ONE!!!!!!!! AND THE SEQUEL IS COMING OUT SOON!!!! GAH!!!)

But wait, there's more!  

I don't know if I've mentioned this before,  but I collect vintage children's lit. (Mostly Nancy Drew).  I managed to pick up several hard to come by copies!


Anyway, that's my haul! 

Adios

~Remy





Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Pentrals

Review:

Title: The Pentrals
Author: Crystal Mack
Series: The Pentrals #1
Publisher: Apologue Entertainment
Publication Date: November 12, 2013
Format: ARC
Genre: YA; Sci-Fy; Fantasy; Mystery
Rating: ✎✎✎✎✎




Blurb:

Picture your life without free will. 

No choice. No voice. No personal direction. 

For 17 years, it's the only path I've known. Always a follower, never in control, I am an afterthought, burying my impulses as I bend to the whims of another. I dream of someone taking notice-of falling in love and being kissed. But I probably never will. 

My name is Antares. I am a Shadow.

Deep in a secluded canyon lies Talline, a metropolis of mirrors filled with forces called Pentrals that outline our very existence. Antares, Pentral Class Two, took an oath to act without influence—to echo without opinion. But in a cruel twist of fate, she must watch as Violet, her person, encounters a tragedy that will change both their lives forever. When Violet starts making careless choices, Antares can no longer remain a silent silhouette. She won’t allow lost friendships, broken hearts, or those mysterious menaces looking out from the glass to tear apart Violet’s very being. In doing so, Antares unknowingly crosses forbidden boundaries and ends up illuminating a darkness much deeper than her own.

My Thoughts and Reflection:

Let me just say that I fell completely in love with this book, from the very beginning.  The premise is entirely intriguing, an I immediately fell into the concepts of the shadows and classes of Pentrals.  All of that information was fed evenly yet quickly in the beginnings of the book.  It was very well done.  When relationship (although that isn't quite what it is) between Violet and Antares is introduced, Antares' character really starts to build as you can feel her emotional attachment and concern for her "person".  Violet's complicated life and exterior relationships are also well introduced into the story.  
*SPOILERS IN THE FOLLOWING*
After the "Switch" Antares' character really begins to manifest, because she struggles with deciding to either do the right thing, or to act as Violet would really begin to act.  As all of this is getting introduced, the world building and overall plot problems begin to show.  As soon as we realize the problem with the Pentrals in the mirrors the rest of the story begins to fall into place, although not quite.  I would say that there are quite a few surprises towards the end that surprised me, and please me.  The end managed to wrap up the story just enough, but leave me craving so much more.  I cannot wait for the sequel and other following books.  Overall, this book impressed me and I have fallen in love with Crystal Mack's beautiful words.

–Remy   

Friday, November 22, 2013

On NaNoWriMo

The word dream to me has two meanings; one is some sort of wishful thinking, and the other is what happens when you are asleep.  Dreaming when you are asleep I find fascinating, and it always seems that my dreams see straight into my soul and pick out my deepest desires.  But anyway, dreams that are wishful thinking I find sort of weak.  If there is something that you dream of, wish about, yearn for, you should take it to the next level, and make it a goal.

I have a goal, as you might have guessed.  My goal is to be a writer.  

When I renamed this blog earlier this year "Books In Her Head" it sort of had a double meaning.  While yes, books that I read tend to stay in my head as I contemplate them, I feel like this title also represents the fact that I have all of these ideas and stories in my head too, or in other words, future books in my head. 

My goal to be a writer has been something I've thought about since elementary school, but I have never taken it as seriously as this year.  My first step in taking that seriously was to pledge myself to NaNoWriMo, or to those of you that are unfamiliar, National Novel Writing Month.  The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write an entire novel in a month, 50,000 words for the adult one, and 30,000 words for the Young Writers Program.  

I was excited, nervous, and distracted with school in the weeks following up to November, and when that first day hit, I had not decided what to write about.  I quickly chose an idea from my head and sort of ran with it for the first two weeks.  

This past Monday I was working on my novel, and I just sort of got to this point where I realized that I absolutely hated where the story was going.  I didn't like who my characters were becoming.  Most importantly, I had this enormous gap of space between where I was at and how the story needed to end.  

Some people might criticize me for not planning, but I disagree.  In my previous experiences, the only stories that I ever finnish are ones that I only half lay out in my head, and run with the rest of the way.  When I try and plan out stories I get too caught up in little unimportant details and never get anything done.  

Regardless of why I got to that point, there I was, half way through with a novel that was not what I wanted it to be.  The first step was taking ownership of the fact that I was unhappy with my writing.  After that, everything came a little bit easier.  I consulted with a writing mentor of mine and was able to pinpoint a clearer theme and purpose for the plot.  I also laid out the bare bones for my characters, so that I at least had something solid to shoot of from.   

The hard part though, was looking at my novel, starting from the beginning, and revising.  It was painful to be on day 22/30 and have to re-write all my previous words.  However, while I'm not quite done with this part, I have confidence that I will get back on track and will finish on time on November 30th.  

The lesson I learned today was not that I need to plan more, not that I need to be completely confident with all the ideas I start to write about, but that it is okay to make mistakes.  I'm glad that I stopped writing the novel that I was writing, because it was very, very bad.  Now I can change it, and make it into something that I'm proud of, not something I want to hide in a drawer and never think about again.

In the words of Samuel Beckett,

"EVER TRIED.
EVER FAILED.
NO MATTER.
TRY AGAIN. 
FAIL AGAIN.
FAIL BETTER."

~Remy