Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Falling into Place

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where bloggers can showcase books that we are eagerly waiting for.

On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road. 
Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly told by an unexpected and surprising narrator, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn’t understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn’t understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect? 

Why I'm Waiting:
Honestly, this is an amazing blurb.  I'm completely on the edge of my seat.  Also, I think that the cover is fantastic.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Top Ten Characters I'd Want With Me On a Deserted Island

Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week's Top Ten is "Top Ten Characters I'd Want With Me On a Deserted Island"

1. Draco Malfoy (Harry Potter)
I don't think that Draco would actually be all that helpful on a deserted island.  He would argue with every decision that we made, but he would be the first to point out a mistake that could cost us our lives.

2. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)
 I think that everyone knows why I want Hermione, and it's not for her know-it-all personality.  Hermione is an exceptional witch, and her memorization of numerous spells would be handy on a deserted island.

3. Sherlock Holmes (BBC)
Sherlock is the most calculating character that I know, and I would immediately put him in charge.  Then eventually we'd have an election of some sort, but Sherlock would always be an advisor!

4. Lihn Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles)
Cinder's cleverness and mechanic background would prove useful as my team of characters would have to build a contraption to get us off that island (unless it turned out to be fun, then maybe we'd all stay and Cinder would invent us the internet or something).

5. Carswell Thorne (The Lunar Chronicles)
Thorne would probably have no actual usefulness, but his antics would be amusing and he'd be some wonderful eye candy.

6.  The Doctor (BBC)
The Doctor has visited hundreds of planets and societies, and he certainly would give the best advice as to how to form our little utopia.

7. Merlin (BBC)
Merlin's magic would be useful, and he is already trained as a servant.  I only want the best to serve me as Queen. (Lol, no.  Me as a queen would end up with the whole kingdom burned)

No fan art :(
8.  Bindy Mackenzie (The Ashbury/Brookfield Series)
I have a dream that Bindy would someday marry Sherlock (once she was much older!) so I thought that I should bring her along.  She's the only female character I've ever come across that I think could actually take Sherlock.

9. Spider Man
I honestly just want his hotness along with us, but I suppose his webs could build some pretty cool tree houses.

10. Luna Lovegood (Harry Potter)

Luna would literally be my best friend, so she just needs to be there for moral support.

Wow, umm, I watch a lot of BBC and apparently want every Harry Potter character to come with me! :)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Book Hype, Blurbs, and Skewed Reading

I've always been a firm believer in the power of recommendations.  A lot of my friends aren't particular book nerds and frequently enjoy a recommendation of something that I think would appeal to them.  Since becoming a member of the book blog and book reviewing communities, my view on reviews has changed a little.  Recommendations these days are pressured by hype; I've even heard myself say "I haven't read it, but I've heard it's good."  Funny, because I don't always LOVE hyped books the same way other do.  (For more on hyped books, read Grace's post here).  
Now as a reviewer, I've found that I don't like to read reviews as much before reading books, or after reading them and before reviewing them.  Other peoples reviews can influence my outlook on the book.  The last thing I want to do is be swayed by someone else's ideas.  I do like to read other peoples reviews after reviewing the same book, because it's always interesting and enlightening to be informed about what they took from the book, because it so often differs from my take away.  Reading other bloggers reviews reinforces my thoughts on what different bloggers think.  I must talk about this a lot on this blog, but it's obvious that bloggers most likely look for different things in books; we're all different people.  But those things skew reviews and ratings.  I may love a good mystery and inticrite descriptions, while other bloggers may hate that but love cheesy relationships and high school settings. Everyone has different preferences, and that's okay. 
I hate recommendations like "Oh my gosh this book is so good, you have to read it!"  Who has to read it?  What sort of demographic is it geared for?  What's the genre?  Pace?  Romance level?  There are so many different aspects of a book that "this is so good" just doesn't cover.  
I mentioned above that I like to recommend different books to my friends.  I always make a point to recommend things that  I think they would like based on what they've like in the past.
John Green is a perfect example of this.  I might really enjoy his writing style and ability to evoke emotions (I'm pointing to you Looking For Alaska), but one of my good friends hates romance and contemporary.  She likes vampires and horror, so I recommended her things like that. 
The book community often becomes obsessed with a certain series or author, and thinks that everyone must love them.  Yes, I adore Harry Potter and if we don't love it at the same capacity we probably can't be good friends, but not everyone likes fantasy, and that's cool.  A lot of people love The Hunger Games Trilogy, but I only like the first book.  
Sometimes I feel like the nerd community, particularly the book nerd community are hypocrites.  We pride ourselves by not enjoyed mainstream activities as much and by being nerds, but within our own community we don't always support authors and books that aren't popular or featured in the New York Times.  Some of my favorite books, The Probability of Miracles, Ultraviolet, Dark Mirror, The Girl With the Borrowed Wings, aren't as well known, and I've never met or read reviews from anyone else who has even read them, much less liked them as much as I did.  Booknerd community, we need to fix that!  There are so many gems that are hidden by the glare of hyped books.
My last note in this post is sort of a personal opinion.  I don't always like to read blurbs of books.  Actually, I prefer to not read the blurbs.  I adore going into a book blindly.  I feel like I'm more intune to the details (since the weren't already provided for me) and read more carefully, and overall enjoy the book more.  But Remy, how do you choose what books to read if you don't read blurbs?  Now don't get your panties in a twist, I do sometimes read reviews.  But I also have trusted authors, recommendations from friends or reviewers who have similar tastes as myself, series' that I haven't finished, and genre's that I tend to like.  This is just a personal thing, and I certainly think that blurbs are a positive thing.  I know that a lot of people enjoy using them to figure out what books they should read.

Wow, that was a fun post.  Sort of random, but I was feeling inspired.  Haha.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Don't Even Think About It: JK you HAVE to read this!

Title: Don't Even Think About It
Series: Don't Even Think About It #1
Author: Sarah Mylnowski
Publisher: Orchard Books
Publication Date: March 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Genre: YA; Contemporary; Fantasy; Romance 

This is the story of how we became freaks. It's how a group of I's became a we.
When Class 10B got their flu shots, they expected some side effects. Maybe a sore arm. Maybe a headache. They definitely didn't expect to get telepathy. But suddenly they could hear what everyone was thinking. Their friends. Their teachers. Their parents. Now they all know that Tess has a crush on her best friend, Teddy. That Mackenzie cheated on Cooper. That Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper. Some of them will thrive. Some of them will break. None of them will ever be the same.

My Thoughts and Reflection:
I'd never read any of Sarah Mylnowski's work before picking up Don't Even Think About It.  I read Amber's (from The Mile Long Bookshelf) very convincing review and knew I had to give it a try.  I requested it from the library and grabbed it yesterday along with a large stack of numerous other reading materials.
I was on my laptop earlier watching Netflix, but was getting annoyed with T.V.  I turned to my stack and was drawn towards Don't Even Think About It.  Why, I'm not sure.  But here I am a couple hours later having finished the book in one sitting.
I was completely annoyed with the version of the cover my copy has (above, left) but I'll get into that later.  My copy had a larger font size than I'm used to but I quickly got over that as well.
I was drawn into the story and the characters; it was like they were pulling my along.  I already knew the premise, but it got me excited to see everything play out in the beginning and how everything ended up.  The plot was curiously entertaining and while at some parts, in retrospect, were slightly predictable (obvious foreshadowing), I didn't pick up on it was I went along.
The fact that the book is told not from one point of view, but by everyone's, was awesome.  (The POV was everyone at once, together in a group).  Throughout the story there was this great group commentary on the conversations and situations that the characters had gotten themselves into.  (The group narrating narrates in past tense).
All of the characters were intense and amusing.  Their situations were relatable, quirky, and fun to read about.  I had uncontrollable laughter throughout this book, much to the annoyance of my brother.  The thing that I like most about the characters is the way that Sarah Mylnowski wrote their situation.  There was a large number of students who have the telepathy.  In the story, there are characters that are focused on more than others, and that was perfect.  It's often painful as a reader when authors incorporate way to many characters, and it detracts from the story.  The reader is aware of many additional characters, and test, they are all casually mentioned, but I never felt overwhelmed but the amount of characters.
After finishing this book, I was shocked by how much I had enjoyed it.  I laughed a lot, I was excited for the characters and the way that they story progressed.  I don't know why I was shocked, though.  Perhaps it's that I don't really favorite a lot of contemporary reads.  (Although is this even contemporary?  Fantasy in present day?  I don't know…)

This is one of the funniest, most entertaining books that I've read in a long time.  Readers who like contemporary with a little twist with enjoy this, along with readers who are sick of one person narration or female centered stories.  And ummm, how am I going to wait until 2015 for the sequel?  I haven't craved more from characters or a writer in a long time.  FAVORITED!

Dust Jacket Ramblings:
As I mentioned earlier, I am not a fan of the hardcover cover (above left).  I think that the use of models forces the readers to imagine the characters in a certain way, and with this book it is very unclear which girls on featured here.  With that said, while I do prefer the paperback cover (above, right), I don't think that either of them does the book justice.  The paperback cover is simpler and I love the silhouette  design, but it's color and the fact that the silhouette is of a girl is clearly meant to appeal more to girls (not to say that guys can't like pink, but no one can deny gender stereotypes in cover design).  Anyway, the single girl doesn't represent the large group of characters featured in this book, and in no way encourages male attention.  This is a book that really represents both genders, and it angers me that a blatant gender stereotype was used in the making of this cover.  This book will lose many readers because of the way that the book is designed.  As much as people like to say "Don't Judge a Book by It's Cover", everyone, especially cover designers, know that's not true.  Sorry for ranting, I'll probably write a discussion about this.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Let's Get Lost

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where bloggers can showcase books that we are eagerly waiting for.

Five strangers. Countless adventures. One epic way to get lost. 
Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most. 
There's HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings…until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love. 
Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila's own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you're looking for is to get lost along the way.

Why I'm Waiting:

I read Emily from Forever Literary's review and was immediately convinced that this is a book that I want to read.  I'm always a sucker for road-trip books, and isn't the cover beautiful?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Unremembered: A Gripping Sci-Fy Drama

Title: Unremembered
Series: Unremembered #1
Author: Jessica Brody
Publisher: Farrar Struas Giroux
Publication Date: March 5th, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Genre: YA; Sci-Fy; Romance; Mystery 

When Freedom Airlines flight 121 went down over the Pacific Ocean, no one ever expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe.
Even more strange is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories period. No one knows how she survived. No one knows why she wasn’t on the passenger manifest. And no one can explain why her DNA and fingerprints can’t be found in a single database in the world.
Crippled by a world she doesn’t know, plagued by abilities she doesn’t understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can’t remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. But with every clue only comes more questions. And she’s running out of time to answer them.
Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who have been making her forget?

My Thoughts and Reflection:

I picked this book up at my old library a couple of days ago.  I had just renewed my library card and hand't seen their new addition space yet.  Needless to say, the library is even more beautiful than it was before.  So of course, in my excitement, I had to grab some books.  I had a little more time to browse than I sometimes do, and when I saw this title I knew I had to check it out.  
Unremembered has sort of been on my radar since it was released, but I'd never gotten around to buying a copy or borrowing it from any library.
The night I cracked it open I had just finished one of my books for school and was feeling slightly burned out.  I planned on only reading a few pages to determine if it was worth my time, but the next thing I knew I was half way through the book!
Unremembered was utterly addicting.  I was fascinated by the story world, sucked in by the mystery and the funny characters.  Jessica Brody spent a lot of time making even the details stand out; that's why I remember the distinct personality of the nurse that Seraphina has at the very beginning of the book.
It's hard a first to really get Seraphina as a protagonist, because she doesn't even know herself.  However, as she goes about the book and has some self discovery, the reader picks up along the way too.  I liked Seraphina as a character, because despite her nativity and lack of social grace she never was completely stupid or ignorant in any situation.  She was always observing, and that made her feel much more realistic.
The plot of this book focuses mostly on dissevering who Seraphina is, and eventually we come to realize that it's not what we thought at all.  I was impressed by the science aspect and how surprised I was as the book was concluding.  I also liked how even though this book was sort of centered around romance, it wasn't at the same time.  It was very balanced.
The ending was a cliffhanger of sorts, but not at all unsatisfying.  I immediately requested the sequel from the library though!

This riveting piece of science fiction will appeal to mystery lovers and romantics alike; keeping everyone on the edge of their seats as you travel on a journey with Seraphina and Jessica Brody.

Dust Jacket Ramblings:

I like the symbolism in the cover of this book; the blurry face of the girl representing the loss of her memories (including who she was).  I like that the title script incorporated some of the science aspects of the book.  This cover was far from incredible, but it was very fitting to the story.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Blogging Confessions

Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week's Top Ten is "Top Ten Blogging Confessions"

1.  I'm Shy

I'm shy in pretty much all aspects of blogging.  I'm always afraid to contact other bloggers, to request ARCs, or to join conversations.  It's something that I've been trying to work on, but I chicken out all the time.  I've gotten better at commenting on other blogs though.  I really should branch out and contact some of my favorite bloggers, at least to just tell them how much I like their blogs.  My social awkwardness is even worse online, and I don't know how that's even possible.  

2. I'm Twitter Illiterate

I have a Twitter, and I've used Twitter, but I just haven't gotten the hang of using it the way that a lot of book bloggers do.  Some of that is due to my overwhelming shyness, but some of it is just because I'm not sure about the best way to take advantage of the site would be.  

3.  I Don't Schedule Reviews

Although I have in the past, I'm certainly not as caught up as I'd like to be about scheduling reviews.  Scheduled reviews helps keep my stress level down during the school year, so I probably should work on that this summer.  Haha

4.  I Don't Have Any Publicist Connections

As much as I wish that I did, I don't know any one at any Publishing Houses, so I'm not one of the bloggers getting ARCs mailed to me on a regular basis.  My shyness certainly contributes to this, so I'll be working more on reaching out to people.

5.  I Read Other Blogs Daily, But Don't Always Post Daily

Somehow I always make time to stop by my favorite hangouts, but I don't always put in the daily time to have a Daily Post.  Sometimes I feel like if I did post everyday my posts wouldn't be as thoughtful or as long, so I'm not sure if it really matters.

6.  I Don't Like Star Rating Systems

As you might have noticed, I have gotten ridden of my rating system on my blog.  I felt like the star system (or in my case "pencil") was limited my reviews.  While I do enjoy Cee's (The Novel Hermit) ABC rating system and PolandBananasBooks' Percentage Rating, I feel like for my own personal blog no rating system is better.  I like reading whole reviews because different people like different things in books, and that can skew star rating systems dramatically.  (For example, while I was largely not a fan of Panic by Lauren Oliver, and would have rate it a 1-2 star, others in the blogesphere loved it and their ratings were 4-5 stars).

7. I Want to Switch to Wordpress But Am Terrified of Making the Switch

I think that the title of this one pretty much sums it up.  I would love to make the switch, since I have heard wonderful things about it.  However, I'm afraid of losing followers and learning a whole new system, that I may end up not liking, and then what would I do?  I really should work that.

8.  It's Really Hard to Keep Up With Memes

Weekly memes, like this "Top Ten Tuesday" or "Waiting on Wednesday" are hard for me to keep up with.  I'm not always available on those days, and even though the list is revealed pretty far in advance I never get around to pre-writing the posts.
My own original memes are hard to keep up with too, because my ideas for them are sporadic.  That's another thing that I suppose I'll try to work on.

9. My TBR and The Amount of Unread Books I Own is Scary 

Goodreads is a wonderful resource, but then allowed me to add anything that even look remotely appealing to my TBR list.  I ended up making a "real" TBR least to separate the books that I really want to read. 
I also have a problem with buying books.  And my ratio of books I own that I have read to books that I haven't read is concerning.  These last few months I made a vow to only read books that I owned, and that worked until I moved and got excited about my new library cards.  

10. I Never Have My "Currently Reading" on the Blog Updated

I mean, sometimes I do, but I'm the sort of reader who is reading seven books at once.  Often times books aren't going to be finished for months, and I don't review every book that I read.  I'm debating with myself over whether the "currently reading" is misleading for reviews that will never be written, but I'll probably keep it around.

Wow, I just spilled my blogging guts all over this post.  I hope you enjoy all of my embarrassing blogging confessions and if you have any advice on how to get over some of my blogger fears let me know!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Mini Reviews: July 2014

Mini Reviews:

These are a few books that I've read lately and thought I share a little taste of my opinion.  If you'd like to discuss my full review of any of these titles, shoot my an email. (Info in my "About Me" page).

The Mysterious Benedict Society
Trenton Lee Stuart
I loved re-reading this adorable Middle Grade!  All the characters are so interesting, I want to continue with the story! :D

Carolyn Mackler
While this book was interesting, I didn't really like the format that it was told in.  All of the characters were well developed and unique, but I felt like their stories weren't properly finished.

The Shadow of Blackbirds
Cat Winters
This book was absolutely amazing; a new favorite!  I haven't read much historical fiction lately, but this certainly got me in the mood.  Everything was spooky and I just ate up this book!

The Language Inside
Holly Thompson
This was a heartfelt novel of pain in told in verse.  Definitely for the kindhearted.

If You Find me
Emily Murdoch
This was a serious contemporary, but very much worthwhile.  I was surprised by how much I was sucked in, and by what an eye opener it was.  

Maybe One Day
Melissa Kantor
This was a kind and beautiful best friend story that is sure to tug at the ol' heartstrings.  Very realistic with the emotions of a best friend, I really enjoyed this contemporary.

Far From You
Tess Sharpe
This book was full of interesting stories, a troubling mystery, and a balanced set of characters.  I really like how this book played out, including the climatic ending!