Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday (5)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine.


This week's WoW is...
by Sarah Dessen
May 10, 2011

I'm a big Sarah Dessen fan, so I can't wait for her newest book to come out! I finally read Someone Like You in February (the only book by Sarah I hadn't read), and now I need a new one by her. =)

What about you? What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday, Monday (3)

Monday, Monday is the day where I showcase something I love just to show my appreciation for Mondays


I only have one thing this week, but it's excellent. It's a pretty popular website called Sporcle


The website is comprised of a bunch of quizzes on completely random things. If you haven't heard of it, I would definitely check it out. There are quizzes based on everything. Whether you are a history buff or love to read banned books or know 80's music better than anyone, there is a quiz (or ten) for you. 
And now you have a nice way to start off (waste) your week. Happy Monday!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Boy Book by E. Lockhart

Title: The Boy Book
(Ruby Oliver #2)
Author: E. Lockhart
Published: Delacorte Books
(September 26, 2006) 
Here's how things stand at the beginning of newly licensed driver Ruby Oliver's junior year at Tate Prep:

- Kim: Not speaking. But far away in Tokyo.
- Cricket: Not speaking.
- Nora: Speaking--sort of. Chatted with Ruby a couple of times this summer when they bumped into each other outside school--once shopping in the U District and once in the Elliott Bay Book Company. But she hasn't called Ruby or anything.
- Noel: Doesn't care what anyone thinks.
- Meghan: Doesn't have any other friends.
- Dr. Z: Speaking.
- And Jackson. The big one. Not speaking.

But by winter break, a new job, and unlikely but satisfying friend combo, additional entries in The Boy Book, and many difficult decisions help Ruby see that there is indeed life outside the Tate Universe.*

---

I really enjoyed The Boy Book. It was every bit as good as The Boyfriend List, and then some.

Each chapter begins with an excerpt from Ruby and Kim's Boy Book that relates to what happens during the chapter, and they were titled accordingly. (e.g. Rules for Dating in a Small School, Neanderthals on the Telephone: Or, How to Converse; Clever Comebacks to Catcalls, etc.) The excerpts were exactly what the subtitle says: "A study of habits and behaviors, plus techniques for taming them." They were so entertaining, and I thought they were a great way to introduce each chapter and give hints on what would happen.

Another thing I really liked about the book was the character development. E. did an excellent job of showing each character's personality, including those that only popped up two or three times. Just by the dialogue, their actions, and Ruby's comments, I felt like I knew a lot about them. Ruby didn't need to say exactly what she thought of each person and what they thought of her; I just kind of knew.

Sure, it wasn't action-packed, and it didn't put me on the edge of my seat, but it still kept me wanting to read, and I was sad when I finished and had to stop.

Ruby Oliver Number One? Great. Ruby Oliver Number Two? Excellent. Ruby Oliver Number Three? Can't wait.


*summary from inside jacket of hardcover

Saturday, March 26, 2011

In My Mailbox (6)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

This week was more of an I-Read-This-Book-And-Liked-It-So-I'll-Read-This-One-Too week...

 

Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan - After reading Dash & Lily's Book of Dares and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist and loving them both, I wanted to read about Naomi and Eli too, so I checked it out of the library.

Pretties by Scott Westerfeld - I also got this from the library because I liked Uglies so much. Not much else to say about it other than I'm excited. 

The Boy Book by E. Lockhart - Again from the library. This is the sequel to The Boyfriend List

And there's my mailbox for the week. Very sequel-y. Did you get any sequels? I hope so. Will you link me to your IMM whether you did or not? I hope so.

Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles (QR)

Title: Rules of Attraction
(Perfect Chemistry #2)
Author: Simone Elkeles
Publisher: Walker Books
(April 13, 2010)
(spoilers if you've not read Perfect Chemistry - highlight with caution)
Carlos Fuentes idolized his older brother, Alex, when he was a member of the Latino Blood. So when Alex chose to get jumped out of the gang for a chance at a future with his gringa girlfriend, Brittany, Carlos felt shocked and betrayed. Even worse, Alex forced Carlos to come back from Mexico to join him on the straight and narrow path. Trouble is, Carlos just wants to keep living on the edge. And ties to his Mexican gang aren't easy to break, even hundreds of miles away in Colorado.

In Boulder, Carlos has to live with a college professor--and he feels completely out of place. He's even more thrown by his strong feelings for the professor's daughter, Kiara, who is nothing like the girls he's usually drawn to. But Carlos and Kiara soon discover that in matters of the the heart, the rules of attraction overpower the social differences that conspire to keep them apart.*

---

The quote at the top of the inside jacket of the hardcover reads, "If you loved Alex Fuentes, wait until you meet his brother Carlos..."

So true. Rules of Attraction was very similar to Perfect Chemistry. It had a lot of the same ideas and same storyline, but with a few different twists. Because of these similarities, I don't have a significant amount to say about it (hence the quick review). (You can really just look at my Perfect Chemisty review, and you'll get basically the same idea of the book.)

Rules of Attraction is narrated in two points of view: Carlos and Kiara. They trade back and forth, one starting where the other leaves off. I love the variety of two narrators, and how much I came to understand each character through it.

A similar but excellent sequel to Perfect Chemistry. I now look forward to book number three: Chain Reaction




*from inside jacket of hardcover

If You Can Read This, Thank a Teacher

Betty of Reflections With Coffee is hosting a mini-challenge as part of Cindy's (of Princess Bookie) Contest Craze. (Check them both out!)

Here's the challenge:
Do you remember who gave you your love of reading?  Your mini-challenge is to scribble a quick thank you note to that person. 

Maybe it is a parent who read to you at bedtime, or an elementary school teacher or even a college lit professor.  If the person is no longer here on earth or you don't have the address, scribble anyway.   Then post it on your blog (and leave the link here)  or  tell us in the comments a bit about the person, and how he/she influenced you. 
I tried writing a comment but because I have so many people, I couldn't manage to make a short one. So I decided to post instead.

Betty's card

Here's who have I have to thank for my love of reading:

My Parents - Before I could read, my parents would read to me (like most parents do). And then, once I could read, they would read to me if I wanted them to, or they would help me read to them. For most of my young life, if there was reading going on, it was generally them reading to me or me reading to them. So they introduced me to the wonderful world of reading. (Surprising, isn't it?...)

My Sister - My sister is only three years older than me, but she was a pretty big influence on me (still is). One thing she loved to do was read, so, because I wanted to be just like her, I started reading a lot too. She read to me sometimes, and at other times, she would help me read. Honestly? She was probably the biggest influence who wasn't one of the main ones teaching me to read. (She did help teach me though.)

My Teachers - Mrs. B* was my kindergarten teacher. I could read before kindergarten, but she helped me read more and gave me different books to read to help me, so she was a big boost to my love of reading.
I had Mrs. H* for first grade, and she was constantly giving me and two other kids books (like Henry and Mudge and Mr. Putter and Tabby and Amelia Bedelia), and she (as most first grade teachers do) encouraged me to read as much as I possibly could. She was such a huge influence on my life in a lot more than just loving and learning to read, but she passed away three years ago.
Mrs. F* was my second grade teacher (who actually still teaches the exact same class in the exact same classroom as she did when I was in second grade). She helped in lot of ways similar to Mrs. H, but it was at a higher reading level. She was/is an even bigger influence on my life, and she was a fantastic teacher. (I'm sure she still is.) I could go on and on about how much I love Mrs. F, but I won't take up more space about her. I think we all have a teacher like that.
I obviously have many more teachers who influenced my reading life, but those are the ones who shaped my love for reading the most.

My Librarians - I live in a small town with a very small library, but I was constantly going with my mom to the library. I couldn't tell you for sure (I don't totally remember), but I think that how sweet the librarians were** also helped me love reading. Not as much as everyone above did, but they are worth mentioning and worth thanking.

And there you have them. The people who helped me love to read. All of them are wonderful, and I have all of them to thank.

Now that I've shared mine, I want to see yours. Make your own post (whether you enter the challenge or not) and link me to it or just leave me a comment. Wherever it is, whoever it is, I want to read about why you love to read.







*I'm not putting their full names, just in case. 
**and still are - There were two of them at the time, and yes, one of them still works at my library. The other now works at the county level, so I still see her sometimes. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Goodreads

I got a Goodreads account last year (it told me that it was in February), but I've never actually done anything on it. Until today. I finally added some books to my read and to read piles (okay, I had made a small read pile forever ago), rated my reads, and added a couple reviews. I also joined a couple groups. Anyway, the reason I'm telling you all of this is (a) so you can check it out if you want and (b) because I'm not completely sure what else I should do on the site. So, if I haven't done something yet/you know of some fantastic group I should join/there's a book I need to read to my TBR/we should be friends/whatever else, let me know! Okay? Okay. Awesome. =)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday (4)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine.


This week's WoW is...
by Gayle Forman
April 5, 2011


My guess is that everyone's heard about this, and most people are excited about it. Although it wasn't my favorite, I enjoyed If I Stay, so now I'm looking forward to reading its sequel. 

What about you? What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Title: Uglies (Uglies #1)
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Publisher: Simon Pulse (Feb. 28, 2005)
Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license--for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.

But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world--and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.*

---

I'll admit straight off the bat that the only reason I read this was because I was sick of hearing about how great it was and feeling like the only person in the world who hadn't read it, so I finally picked it up and read... thankfully.

At the beginning, I was kind of regretting the decision, and my expectations for the rest of the book dropped pretty dramatically. (They were pretty high considering all the hype I've heard over it.) I would argue that the beginning is pretty necessary to understand the rest of the book, but that doesn't mean I fully enjoyed it. 

It took a good seventy, eighty pages to get into it. But, when I finally did, I really got into it. It took off from about ten miles an hour to seventy, and it kept the pace up through the end. I don't have much to say about the middle or the end that without spoiling anything.

I loved the sci-fi element of the book. I thought Scott did a fantastic job of imagining a future like this. It was very thorough and explained well without being too much or getting boring (past the very beginning). He also incorporated the things we do now into the story, and it all fit perfectly. 

All in all, an excellent book. Maybe not the best beginning, but after pushing past it, I really came to enjoy it. I already have Pretties (Uglies #2) on hold at the library, and I can't wait to get it. 


*summary from back cover of paperback

Monday, Monday (#2)

Hey. You. It's Monday morning. Wake up. It's a new day, a new week. Whatever happened last week is done. Perhaps it was amazing. Then again, maybe it was terrible. Either way, you have a new shot at a great week.


Monday, Monday is the day where I showcase a thing or two I love just to show my appreciation for Mondays. 


I have two things this week. The first is a Vlogbrothers (if you haven't heard of them, click here) video from January. It is about John Green's book Looking For Alaska. John basically discusses everything that went into it, which could be terribly awful, but it's not. It's fantastic. So you should watch it.




The second is a comic from xkcd that makes me giggle every time I see it:


So, without further ado, here comes Monday. I welcome her with open arms.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (QR)

Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
(December 2, 2010)
Anna was looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she's less than thrilled about being shipped off to the boarding school in Paris--until she meets Etienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Etienne has it all... including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss? Stephanie Perkins keeps the romantic tension crackling and the attraction high in a debut guaranteed to make toes tingle and hearts melt.*


---

Reread that last sentence of the summary for me. Sounds pretty cliche, right? Yep. It is. But it's also true. So true. I wanted to move to Paris, attend the School of American in Paris (SOAP), and find my own Etienne.

I was planning on making this a normal review, but I can't find anything non-repetitive to say except for the following: 
Yes, the book was somewhat cliche. Yes, there were a few things that I didn't like. Yes, I am now in love with Stephanie Perkins. Yes, I highly recommend you go find a copy.




*summary from inside jacket

In My Mailbox (#5)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme started by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Only one book this week...


The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath - I bought this at a thrift store in pretty fantastic condition (and not just for a thrift store) and was really excited when I found it because I've been wanting to read it for a while. Plus, the cover is adorable. =)

Did you get something with a cute cover? Yes? You did? Awesome. Link me to it. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday (#3)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine.


This weeks WoW is...
(Shades of London #1)
by Maureen Johnson
September 1, 2011


What can I say? I'm in love with Maureen Johnson (the author, not the character in Rent). Honestly, I have no more reason for wanting to read this. Like I need it. =)

How about you? What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Title: Nick & Norah's
Infinite Playlist
Authors: Rachel Cohn
and David Levithan
Publisher: Knopf Books for
Young Readers (May 23, 2006)
It all starts when Nick asks Norah to be his girlfriend for five minutes. He only needs five minutes to avoid his ex-girlfriend, who's just walked into his band's show. With a new guy. And then, with one kiss, Nick and Norah are off on an adventure set against the backdrop of New York City--and smack in the middle of all the joy, anxiety, confusion, and excitement of a first date.*

---

I had always been hesitant to pick up Nick & Norah because of the vastly mixed reviews I've heard. From what I can tell, most people seem to love it or hate it. And I didn't want to read it just to find out that I was in the latter category. After reading (and loving) Dash & Lily's Book of Dares, however, I decided to give it a shot. And, boy, am I glad I did. 

I'm not going to say that I enjoyed every single page of this book, but, as a whole, I thought it was excellent. Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have a certain chemistry that I saw in both Nick & Norah and Dash & Lily. From the characters to the plot development to the little oddities they find to toss in, I was very happy I decided to read it.

The one caveat I have is about the age/maturity level. I'm not going to give you a, "don't read it if you're under...", but I feel as though I should point out the maturity level of the book. There's a fair amount of cursing, along with some sexual content. Just a little warning.

And with that warning in mind, if you're in the same boat I was in, jump out and find a copy of this book. The water's nice and warm.





*summary from Random House 

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Title: The Adventures
of Huckleberry Finn
Author: Mark Twain
Publisher: 
Since most of us know the basic idea of Huck Finn, I'll leave a summary out. If you really want one, check out SparkNotes. They have a nice overview of it.

There were two reasons I was not looking forward to my English class this year. One was the famous-(to our school, at least)-ly difficult newspaper project (in which you make a newspaper about a person's life). And the second reason? The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I really had no interest in reading it. And knowing that we would have to take several quizzes and a test, along with writing a paper on it, did not make me look forward to it any more.

Once we started it, however, I actually began to enjoy it. Not so much the random quizzes to make sure we were actually reading and not just SparkNotes-ing. But the book itself proved to be rather good. I would randomly begin laughing out loud as I was reading. I found myself worried about Jim and excited about where Huck would venture to next.

There are only two complaints I had about the book: the dialects and the ending. In case you don't know, Huck Finn was the first book to use dialects. The book also takes place in the South, so almost everyone who talks has a distinct dialect. The worst was Jim. Almost every time Jim spoke, I had to read what he said three times: once just to read, the second to decipher, and the third to put everything together. This made it a lot harder to enjoy because it felt more like normal homework than reading.

The ending was the other thing that really bugged me.
(Spoilers ahead. Highlight at your own risk.)
The entire book was filled with adventures, so I was expecting the book to end with a bang... It didn't. If you've ever read Huck Finn, you probably wondered what the deal was with the ending. It just... ends. In case you haven't read it (remember that you highlighted knowing there were spoilers), basically what happens is Huck says something along the lines of, "Writing a book is a lot of hard work. If I had known that in the first place I wouldn't have started," and then The End. That's it. It just stops. Don't get me wrong. It's a happy ending. I liked what happened. What I don't like is how painfully boring it was compared to the rest of the book. Honestly, I think Mark Twain just got a little tired of Huck and Jim and decided to just... stop. But he couldn't just end it, so he wrote a conclusion chapter. 

Those were just my thoughts. I'd really love to hear others' opinions of the book. Have you read it? Did you have to read it for school? Did you just read it for fun? What did you think of it? How about that ending? I want to know!! So you should tell me. =)

Monday, Monday (#1)

Hey. You. It's Monday morning. Wake up. It's a new day, a new week. Whatever happened last week is done. Perhaps it was amazing. Then again, maybe it was terrible. Either way, you have a new shot at a great week.

I feel bad for Mondays. I really do. I feel like instead of getting the short end of the stick, they don't get any of the stick at all. It's not like it's their fault. They aren't the ones who chose to come right after the weekend. And yet, most people seem to dub Mondays as awful, even though something fantastic could happen. Judge a book by its cover, why don't you?

So in honor of dark, dreary, darling Mondays, I've decided to start showcasing a couple things I love every Monday, just to show my appreciation for them.


Now most have you have probably already heard of this and voted and check up on it weekly, but just last month I discovered the Literary Crush-A-Thon. The tagline describes it all pretty well: "Testing the lengths of Team ______'s Strengths." Basically, if you haven't seen it yet, click on the link. Because it's fantastic.


Monday, Monday... It's a new day, new week. Let's make it a fantastic one.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Fact: I Wanted to be an Author

I really, really did. It was my big aspiration. I loved English. I thought I had what it took. I read every waking second. I did what I could to find out what I should do. Then I discovered I was wrong.

I've been thinking about this a lot during the past couple weeks, and I really wanted to write it down. So I figured I may as well make a post out of it (seeing as I owe you guys a good month or so of blogging). Since I'm not really sure what to say and in what order, I'm just follow each sentence of the caption. Here goes...

I really, really did.
Yes. You read it right. Did. Past tense. No longer. 

It was my big aspiration. 
My plan was to go to college and become a teacher. (Or a librarian. Librarian-ing was also in my thoughts.) But I would write on the side and eventually become a published author.* I had this part all planned out. Some girls have their weddings planned out, from the man to the cake to the dress to their future children. But me? I had my career figured out. 

I loved English.
Although this is in past tense, I still do. I definitely love it more now than I used to. Anyway. It seemed like one more reason to become an author. Now that I think about it, it really wasn't the greatest one. 

I thought I had what it took.
You know how I said I had it all figured out? Well I wouldn't have admitted this, but I knew I would get a book published. Knew it. The whole teacher/librarian thing was just a cover up. That's how dead set on the whole thing I was. I had no doubt that I would make it. 

I read every waking second. 
Good thing read can function correctly in past and present tense. I'm actually pretty sure I read more now than I used to....

I did what I could to find out what I should do.
In other words, I searched authors' websites for tips on writing. I still do this, actually. Partly to write better (even if I don't want to make it a career, it's still a good skill), but more to see what they say. Authors have good advice and clever ways of presenting it. Take, for instance, John Scalzi's 10 Things Teenage Writers Should Know About Writing. Or this page from John Green's FAQs.** Or Maureen Johnson's advice on How to Write a Book. Or FAQs from Meg Cabot. Or (last one) Justine Larbalestier's How to Write a Novel. Just to name a few of my personal favorites. 

Then I discovered I was wrong.
I realized that I didn't actually want to be an author. I just thought I did. (That, or I unconsciously changed my mind... I'm gunning for the first one.) You probably noticed that nowhere did it say, "I wrote every chance I got," or, "Writing was my favorite thing," or, "Nothing made me happier than when I was writing." Yeah. That's because none of those are true. I did write. But not as much as I would have had I actually wanted to be an author. The day I realized I didn't want to be an author was the day I realized that I'm not a writer. I'm a reader. 



*Cliche much?
**Okay, so it's not actually advice. It's more people asking him questions on how he writes. But it's still good.

In My Mailbox (#4)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

I got a couple things this week that I've been wanting to read for a while, but just never got around to. And they are....

  

The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide by Douglas Adams - I actually borrowed this one from one of my teachers, and I'm super excited about it. It'll probably have to wait a week or two to be read, but I will get to it.

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore - This I finally got from the library. I figure if I'm going to be constantly hearing about it, I may as well know what it's about, right?

Real Live Boyfriends by E. Lockhart (ARC) - I won this from Claire of Bookworm Readers (check her out!), which explains why I'm just now getting the ARC of a book that came out in December. I will admit to you that I've not yet read the second or third books, so I'll be getting them soon so that I can start in on this. 


And a couple others....



Amelia: A Life of the Aviation Legend by Donald Goldstein and Katherine Dillon
Last Flight by Amelia Earhart

For English class we have to make a newspaper about someone's life. I couldn't really think of anyone I have a particular interest in, so I decided to go with Amelia Earhart. The first book is the one I'm using for my project, but I got the second just because.


How about you? Is your mailbox half comprised of Amelia Earhart? Probably not. Should you link me to yours in the comments? Probably. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler (QR)

Title: Fixing Delilah
Author: Sarah Ockler
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for
Young Readers (December 1, 2010)
Things in Delilah Hannaford's life have a tendency to fall apart.

She used to be a good student, but she can't seem to keep it together anymore. Her "boyfriend" isn't much of a boyfriend. And her mother refuses to discuss the fight that divided their family eight years ago. Falling apart, it seems, is a Hannaford tradition.

Over a summer of new friendships, unexpected romance, and the moments that test the complex bonds between mothers and daughters, Delilah must face her family's painful past. Can ever her most shattered relationships be pieced together again?*

---

I have one word for this book: adorable. Simply adorable. I loved every page of it and had trouble putting it down when I had to. Sarah Ockler managed to nail that perfect combination of fighting, loving, and crazy that family is comprised of, which matched just perfectly with the romance and friendship included. 

Delilah was in for a crazy summer when she and her mom left for Vermont. Little did she know that it would turn out to make a beautiful story. 

*summary from inside cover

In Which I Apologize

Why, yes. I did randomly disappear for a month without telling anyone. However, I am back and ready for some serious blogging. (Not tonight. I need sleep. Have play practice in eight hours. But as soon as that is over. I'm back. Anyway...) I just wanted to apologize for that awkward and terrible absence.

Also, I've been thinking about the challenges I was going to do this year. I haven't... actually... started on either of them? So I was thinking that I would stop both of them and do one set goal of how many books I'll read this year (120, maybe?). Let me know what you think in comments. I'm really not sure of what I want to do. Help is needed!

Soooo.... yeah. Sorry. Please forgive me. And help me figure out what to do! I just don't know...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

In My Mailbox (#3)

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.

This week the only thing I got was Tuck Everlasting. I saw it at the bookstore and remembered how much I love it, so I bought it.



How about you? Did you get something far more interesting this week? Probably. Should you link me to it in the comments? Probably.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Booking Through Thursday (#3)

This week's Booking Through Thursday question:

“How would a teen-age boy who is going to work with his hands ever use Literature of England in his work?”

The age-old “How am I going to use this in real life?” question. How would you answer it?


I feel like this comes down to about three options:

1) Critical reading: Almost anywhere a person ends up working, they'll need to know how to read and understand it. And even if it's not understanding Jane Austen or Shakespeare, it still teaches you to think as you read.

2) How life was: For the most part, Literature of England (I'm assuming this is a class) would probably teach older Lit (Austen, Shakespeare, Bronte), which would help show how life used to be. It may not be beneficial to the work itself, but I would argue that it's still good to know what it was like.

3) It won't: Maybe neither of the other two are correct and Literature of England won't be useful one bit. Other than teaching you that sometimes we have to do stuff that is seemingly useless and we hate. 

But that's just my opinion? What do you think?


Scarlett Fever by Maureen Johnson (QR)

Title: Scarlett Fever
(Suite Scarlett #2)
Author: Maureen Johnson
Publisher: Point (Feb. 1, 2010)
(Spoilers in summary below, if you've not read SS#1. Highlight with caution.)
Faced with her family's financial woes, Scarlett has taken on the job of assistant/indentured servant to a newly minted theatrical agent, professional eccentric Mrs. Amy Amberson. Scarlett ends up at the beck and the call of a Broadway star (her own age!), dealing with territorial doormen, and walking a small dog with insecurity issues -- all while starting her sophomore year at one of New York's most rigorous high schools.* 


---

When I picked up Scarlett Fever, I was expecting a book I would like just as much as Suite Scarlett, and Maureen Johnson did not disappoint. To be honest, I could just direct you toward my review of Suite Scarlett, and you'd understand what I loved about Scarlett Fever as well. Full of craziness, Scarlett made me want (once again) to jump into the Martin family and hang out with the gang. 

Iffy Broadway shows, oddly nice siblings, and surprising plot twists? Definitely a book you should check out. Then again, who would expect less of a book dedicated to ABBA?

*summary is a partial from inside jacket

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday (#2)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine.


This week's WoW is...

(Little Blue Envelope #2)
by Maureen Johnson 
April 26, 2011



13 Little Blue Envelopes was the first Maureen Johnson book I read and also when I fell in love with her. So now I can't wait to find out all about that thirteenth envelope!



Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (QR)

Title: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares
Authors: Rachel Cohn and
David Levithan
Publisher: Knopf Books for
Young Readers (Oct. 26, 2010)
Imagine this:
You're in your favorite bookstore, scanning the shelves. You get to the section where a favorite author's books reside, and there, nestled in comfortably between the incredibly familiar spines, sits a red notebook.
What do you do?
The choice, I think, is obvious:
You take down the red notebook and open it.
And then you do whatever it tells you to do.*


---

I don't have much to say about this, other than that it was adorable and very clever. I'm not really sure why I enjoyed this so much; it's hard to pinpoint one thing. Maybe it was the whole idea of the notebook. Maybe it's that I love scavenger hunts, and that's what this reminded me of. Maybe it was the awesome cover. Or maybe it was the idea of winter in the city. No matter what it was, I definitely suggest it. 


*excerpt from book (pg. 1)

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Prefects' Bathroom

I'm sick. Like a lot of other people right now. Except unlike most of them (I'd imagine), I take baths when I'm sick. (Or if they do, they probably won't admit to it.) One thing I was thinking about while I was in my very small, doesn't-fit-me-properly bathtub was Harry Potter. More specifically, all the cool things they have in Harry Potter. As I was mulling over everything they have that we don't, I decided that if I could have three things from their world, I would go with a wand (of course), a broomstick (sadly, I cannot drive, so this would make life soooo much easier), and... the bathtub in prefects' bathroom. (For those of you who haven't read, don't remember it, or just want to read about it again, click here.)

You have no idea how appealing this looks.


I understand that that makes me super nerdy and I should have gone with the invisibility cloak or pumpkin juice or something else like that. I just love taking baths, and having an unendless supply of hot water, bubbles, and space sounds like heaven to me.

After all my thinking, I'm really curious as to what others' would pick. Let me know in the comments (or link me to it if you make your own post).

Sunday, January 30, 2011

In My Mailbox (#2)

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. (The IMM Page)


My camera is actually at my friend's house right now [I forgot it there last night because I'm really smart... (insert sarcasm here).], so I just have pictures of the covers, rather than an actual photograph of them. Ohwell. I'll have it back soon. Anyway....


I only got two books this week. I won them together in a contest by Sarah of Book Duck (go check her out!). And they are...




Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Dream Girl by Lauren Mechling




I haven't started on either of them yet, but I'm beyond excited for them both!


What did you get in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Title: Perfect Chemistry
(Perfect Chemistry #1)
Author: Simone Elkeles
Publisher: Walker Books for
Young Readers (Dec. 23, 2008)
Fairfield High School. A place where those from opposite sides of town don't mix. So when Alex Fuentes--Mexicano, gang member, south-sider, bad boy-- and Brittany Ellis--white as snow, head cheerleader, north-sider, seemingly perfect-- are paired up in chemistry, it's bound to turn into an experiment gone wrong.


---

I started this at school yesterday, and, like Taken by Storm, read for a nice chunk of time after school to finish it. And finish it, I did. 

Perfect Chemistry is narrated from two points of view: Brittany's and Alex's. As one person stops telling the story, the other starts, exactly where the first left off. Because of this, you get almost the entire story in mixed perspectives. I loved hearing what each person was thinking throughout the story, as opposed to just one point of view. Alex would mix random Spanish in with his dialogue and narrations, which annoyed me a little bit, just because I really wanted to know what he was saying, but I got over it because it is, after all, the way he would talk/think. 

As I said above, I finished it after school, but that entire night, I couldn't help but think about it. It didn't matter how well our basketball team was doing or how much fun I was having, Alex and Brittany were still first on my mind. 

And although I wouldn't say that this is one of the best books I've read, it was still really good. A little predictable, sure, but still sexy (just look at that cover), fun, and amazing at the same time. I definitely suggest you add it to your reading list. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Booking Through Thursday (#2)

This week's Booking Through Thursday question:

What’s the largest, thickest, heaviest book you ever read? Was it because you had to? For pleasure? For school?


Ignoring text books, I'm almost positive that it was Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (which is actually bigger than the Deathly Hallows). I read it "for pleasure" because I'm a huge Harry Potter fan. I can't think of anything I've read that was longer than this, but maybe I forgot about one....

How about you? What's your BTT answer? 
(Link me to it below, and I'll check it out!)

Taken By Storm by Angela Morrison

Title: Taken by Storm
Author: Angela Morrison
Publisher: Razorbill (Mar. 5, 2009)
Seventeen-year-old Leesie Hunt has rules: No making out. No sex. And definitely no falling for a non-Mormon. She pours all her passion into poetry, thoughts of escaping her tiny town and getting into her dream school, BYU.

Then Michael Walden arrives in Tekoa and everything changes. He is a free diver, which means he can hold his breath for minutes at a time. This is how he survived the storm that took his parents' lives, and the world as he knew it.

Leesie and Michael couldn't be more different: his dreams are tied to the depths of the ocean and hers to salvation above. Yet they are drawn to each other, even when jealousy, unbearable rules, and haunting memories threaten to tear them apart.

Every time Michael goes diving, Leesie is afraid he'll never come back up. he is drowning in tragedy and she knows it's up to her to save him. Somehow.

But when temptation becomes too strong to resist, who is going to save her?*

---

I started this book at school this morning, and I could tell from the start that it wasn't going to be good. I pushed myself to read the first couple chapters. The third was slightly better than those, the fourth a little better than the third. And on and on it went, each chapter getting a little better than the previous one... and then, it hit full blast, and I was hooked. After I got home, I sat for two and a half hours and read straight to the end. (Thank goodness I hadn't started reading any later or I would not have gotten much sleep.) 

The book is narrated in two perspectives: Leesie's and Michael's. Leesie's sections are all in poems (which I fell in love with) and Chatspot (IM) logs, while Michael's are Dive Logs (basically just him narrating). I found that the transitions were smooth, and because of the format, I always knew who was narrating (sometimes I get confused with books like this). 

Everything about this book (except for the first few chapters) was simply amazing. The plot (although not super original), the characters, the dialogue, the everything. 

Maybe I'm just a sucker for romance, but I fell hard for this. There's no doubt that I'll be buying this the next time I'm at a bookstore, and I recommend it fully. Turns out I was right: It wasn't good... It was incredible.**


*summary from inside jacket
**I really wanted to add this in, but couldn't figure out where to put it, so I just added it in down here.
"The world spins, the starts shift, and I can't see anything except his smoky gray eyes gazing into mine.
You scare me, whispers from my mouth across his. 
Good, he breathes into me. I need you to save me."
(from back cover of hardback)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart

Title: The Boyfriend List
(Ruby Oliver #1)
Author: E. Lockhart
Publisher: Delacorte Books for
Young Readers (Sept. 26, 2006)
Fifteen-year-old Ruby Oliver has had a rough ten days. In the past ten days she:
 - lost her boyfriend (#13 on the list)
 - lost her best friend (Kim)
 - lost all her other friends (Nora, Cricket)
 - did something suspicious with a boy (#10)
 - did something advanced with a boy (#15)
 - had an argument with a boy (#14)
 - had a panic attack (scary)
 - lost a lacrosse game (she's the goalie)
 - failed a math test (she'll make it up)
 - hurt Meghan's feelings (even though they aren't really friends)
 - became a social outcast (no one to sit with at lunch)
 - had graffiti written about her in the girls' bathroom (who knows what was in the boys'!?!)
But don't worry--Ruby lives to tell the tale. And make more lists.*

---

The Boyfriend List is one of those books that I wanted to read and was going to read but then didn't. I kept thinking, oh, I'll get it the next time I come to the library. And then my sister bought it, and I thought, good. Now I'll actually read it... I didn't. Until a few days ago. I finally got around to it and am so I happy I did.

You know how you read some books and go, that would never happen in real life? I didn't think that once in this book. E. did an amazing job of keeping it realistic. I was never sure what would happen next, and I especially couldn't figure out how it was going to end. 

E. wrote (a lot of) footnotes into the book, which I loved. (I'm not exactly sure why. I just have a thing for footnotes in books.) It was a really clean way of adding in extra information without actually interrupting the story.

If you haven't read it (although I'm under the impression that I'm the only person in the world who hasn't), you should look for it. Don't say you'll get it and say you'll read it and never do it. Just go get it. I suggest leaving right now. Before you forget. Then again, if it's three in the morning, and your library and/or bookstore aren't open yet, you could probably wait until eight-ish.... or you could just steal it.... **


*Summary from back cover of paperback 
**I don't suggest doing this. It may not be worth getting arrested. It is an option though. 

"Waiting On" Wednesday (#1)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine where I get to tell you what upcoming release I can't wait to get my hands on.

My very first WoW is...

City of Fallen Angels
(The Mortal Instruments #4)
by Cassandra Clare
April 5, 2011


[There is a summary below with spoilers, if you have not read books #1-3. Highlight with caution.]
“City of Fallen Angels takes place two months after the events of City of Glass. In it, a mysterious someone’s killing the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle and displaying their bodies around New York City in a manner designed to provoke hostility between Downworlders and Shadowhunters, leaving tensions running high in the city and disrupting Clary’s plan to lead as normal a life as she can — training to be a Shadowhunter, and pursuing her relationship with Jace. As Jace and Clary delve into the issue of the murdered Shadowhunters, they discover a mystery that has deeply personal consequences for them — consequences that may strengthen their relationship, or rip it apart forever. Meanwhile, internecine warfare among vampires is tearing the Downworld community apart, and only Simon — the Daylighter who everyone wants on their side — can decide the outcome; too bad he wants nothing to do with Downworld politics. Love, blood, betrayal and revenge: the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.” *

Like most others right now, I absolutely cannot wait for City of Fallen Angels. I discovered the Mortal Instruments series in October of last year. After I finished City of Bones, I immediately got City of Ashes, and then City of Glass. Once I finished those, I figured out when CoFA was coming and marked it in my calendar. Only 68 days left!


*summary from Goodreads

Monday, January 24, 2011

2011 Anthology Challenge

Yesterday I joined the 2011 Debut Author Challenge, and today I discovered the 2011 Anthology Challenge hosted Tegan of Not Your Faerytale. I was super excited when I discovered it because I absolutely love anthologies, but, like our lovely host, I rarely read the whole thing, start to finish. But now, I shall. I've made my goal four (Novice), and I will keep track of my progress on the Challenge page.



Here's my starting list (which I'm sure will change):
4. Corsets and Clockwork (5/10/11) 


Are you taking the challenge? Link me to it, and I'll check it out!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

2011 Debut Author Challenge

Today I decided to join the 2011 Debut Author Challenge, hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren. I've made my goal to read and review twelve (yes, the minimum) debut YA books this year, and I'll keep track of my progress on the Challenge page


Here's the (tentative) list I'm starting with:
1. The Latte Rebellion by Sarah Jamila Stevenson (1/8/11)
2. Across the Universe by Beth Revis (1/11/11)
3. Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal (1/11/11)
4. Subway Girl by P.J. Converse (3/15/11)
5. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (3/22/11)
6. This Girl is Different by JJ Johnson (4/1/11)
7. The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter (4/19/11)
8. Saving June by Hannah Harrington (4/19/11)
9. Moonglass by Jessi Kirby (5/3/11)
10. Sparrow Road by Sheila O'Connor (5/12/11)
11. Flutter by Erin Moulton (5/12/11)
12. Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard (6/14/11)*


Are you taking the Challenge this year? Are there any books not in my list that I should read? Let me know!


* A couple others I'm thinking about...
13. Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik (8/2/11)
14. The Map of Me by Tami Lewis Brown (8/30/11)

In My Mailbox (#1)

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. Instead of rambling on about it, I'll just link you here.



Bought


Uglies by Scott Westerfeld - I'll admit that I haven't read this, and I'm probably the only person left who hasn't, but I did finally get it, which means that it should happen soon.

Library

The Juliet Club by Suzanne Harper - I don't have much to say about this other than I thought it looked interesting. 

Taken by Storm by Angela Morrison - I put this on request during summer, but I didn't get it until this week. Fingers crossed that that means it's good.

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles - Two of the girls I sit with at lunch are currently obsessed with Simone, so I thought I'd check her out.

The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney - Supposed to be one of the best books of 2010. I can't wait to finally read it. 

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare - I actually already read this, but with all of Cassie's twitter Q&A's, I feel like I either missed a lot the first time through, or I just forgot it all. Either way, I figured I needed to read it again.

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan - See the paper sticking out of this one? Yeah. That's my sister's bookmark. She stole it before I got the chance to start it.

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie - I'm in love with Peter Pan, but I've never actually read it, so I felt like I needed the real story. 

School

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (not pictured) - I also got Huck Finn this week because we're reading it in English, but it's at school because I've already read the section that we have to, and I'm pretty content enjoying my weekend without Huck, Tom, and Jim. 
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