Thursday, June 30, 2011

Review: Keeping the Moon

Title: Keeping the Moon
Author: Sarah Dessen
First Edition Release Date: Sep. 2000
Publisher (of my edition): Speak
Pages: 228

My Summary

Colie still sees herself as the fat, friendless, girl who is always relocating and constantly being teased. But, now, her mother is off motivating others to lose the weight her and Colie lost and Colie is forced to stay with her aunt in Colby, a small town in North Carolina. She finds herself faced with an assortment of brave, and slightly odd, people. With the help of her co-workers at her new waitressing job Colie learns to see the beauty in herself and to let go of the past.

My Thoughts

I love this book. It's a great summer read. It's quick and has great characters and the scenes and situations grab you. Colie struggles with her image of herself, but it's not irritating. Sometimes characters will have too much self pity, but Colie is more subtle. Sarah Dessen can write about serious situations and show how the characters aren't constantly thinking about it, and that the small things shape our lives, too.

Everything is odd. The characters are the oddest. They had strange habits and said strange things and were surrounded by strange objects, and they were kind of random, too. They were the kind of people you'll stare at in wonder. When Norman was first descriped I thought "Really? He's going to be the main guy?", but now I am very fond of Norman. He's so odd, but not as odd as Mira. I have a fondness for her, too. It helps that she makes cards like I do! I knew Isabel would be an interesting character, and she was. Her and Morgan were exactly what Colie needed. They all were. I loved watching Colie grow and I like the person she became.

When I read a book by Sarah Dessen I'll sometimes get to a point where I wonder where a character dissapeared to and on the next page the character is there! She knows exactly when they're needed. Her books are balanced with what is needed to keep the reader happy and with plausible substance. The word "perfect" comes to my mind when I read her books.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Review: What Happened to Goodbye

Title: What Happened to Goodbye
Author: Sarah Dessen
Release Date: 10 May 2011
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Pages: 402


My Summary

Mclean Sweet and her father need a change after her mother ruins both of their lives and love for basketball when she leaves them for their favorite team's coach. Now she has a new life herself, and twins, but she still won't leave Mclean alone. Mclean has had 4 identities in 2 years. First their is the old Mclean, but then she was Eliza, Beth and Lizbet. Now she's relocating again and instead of being Liz as she intended to be, she has accidently ended up Mclean. After being so many different people, how can she be herself? Instead of carefully choosing her friends her friends of chosen her, and then there's Dave. Smart Dave with his strict parents and a love, and no talen, for basketball. After picking up and leaving so many people and places, is it possible for her to want to stay?

My Thoughts

*sighs* This book makes me smile. It wasn't an in your face I HAVE PROBLEMS kind of story, which made it suble, but when you sit back and think about how she changed her identity so many times and how she isn't comfortable being herself if appears more glaring. While reading it, though, the story is so smooth and you get wrapped up in the scenes and her life and you understand why she has changed herself so many times. I could relate to the way she treated her mother. Yes, teenagers rebel, but when a parent cheats it hurts the kids and makes them hate their parents sometimes. The plot and situations were all wonderful, realistic, and captivating.

Mclean isn't shy, or even quiet, but she thinks things through a lot and doesn't say what's on her mind. It's easy to understand her and sympathize with her. She's a great main character, I liked hearing everything from her point of view. Dave made me smile and laugh. I love his humor and just the way he is. He's kind of goofy and extremely smart. Adorable. I actually REALLY liked Deb! She made me laugh quite a few times. I want to hear what her story is. About her growing up. Sarah Dessen creates the most incredible characters.

As I read Sarah Dessen's writing I am constantly thinking about being able to write as she does and create these struggling, real, characters and scenes, and how satisfying and empowering it would feel to have made such a world. Her writing makes me want to create the way she does. It's beautiful. I can't imagine writing being more appealing. I ACHE to create as she does.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Faves of 2011 (so far) the books

Hosted by inkcrush!
DAY ONE: the books

Many of these books go into other categories as well, but I'm trying to use each book only once (if possible) so I can mention as many different books as possible!

1. Favorite book read so far in 2011
This is hard, but I'm going with Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones and Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen. This year, so far, these are my favorites. These books speak to me. These books I can't put down. These books have stolen my heart. (The Only Alien on the Planet is still my favorite book, but I didn't read it for the first time this year)
 
 
 
 
 
2. Most powerful book
While I was reading Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen I wanted to get up and do somethng spontanious. It would be 1am and all I wanted to do was go out and enjoy the quiet night with someone. It made me want to do something new, something different. This book spoke to me.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
3. Brilliantly funny
Maureen Johnson's 13 Little Blues Envelopes and The Last Little Blue Envelope were hilarious reads! Ginny traveled all over the place in Europe because of the little blue envelopes her dead aunt had left her. The situations and scenes were a hoot!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
4. Best ache-y, heart-breaking, tear-jerker read
Winter Longing. *sigh* I was worried this book would be too sad for me to read. She finally told her friend how she felt about him and the next day he died. Tricia Mills did a great job with the emotions.
 
Where She Went by Gayle Forman. I'm sure you know what's going on here. I cried so many times while reading this book. What happened between Adam and Mia in the first book, If I Stay, and then you find out where they are in their lives now! Adam's struggles are heartbreaking.
5. Most beautiful story
Sarah Dessen's The Truth About Forever. *sigh* The characters and scenes in this book are lovely. It's all lovely.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
6. Delicious rainy day comfort read
So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti is an enjoyable book to get sucked into. Death Cab for Cutie is my favorite band and Susane has mentioned them in one of her other book and "So Much Closer" is a line from a Death Cab song. I really like that. I always listen to music on rainy days, and I'll always listen to Death Cab while reading her books.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
7. Adrenalin-fuelled, unputdownable award
Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward has less action in it than the rest of the books in the series, but, belive me, it still has plenty of action! And, oh, I just love this series. Once I start one of the books in The Black Dagger Brotherhood series I can't stop reading until I've finished it.
This should also be my choice for series that I'm loving, but I'm choosing to give it this award instead.
 
 
 
 
 
 
8. The beautiful prose award
Yeah, yeah, I chose Shakespeare. My friend was in The Taming of the Shew and I helped her learn all of her lines. I really appreciate and love the lines in Taming, more, I'm sure, than I would have if I hadn't been helping her.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
9. Most atmospheric and vivid setting
Every book in The Bride Quartet painted beautiful wedding scenes. I couldn't help but imagine how I might want my own wedding to be. The house and grounds sounded incredible, so did the beach. The cakes, the flowers, everything combined to make a beautiful picture. I now appreciate all the hard work planning a wedding is.
 
10. I-so-want-to-go-there award
Who wouldn't want to enter a favorite childhood story? I mean, I don't want to be turned into a beast! But, come on, don't tell me you didn't fall for Kyle in this book. And, really, to be part of a childhood story!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
11. Most original and imaginative
I know there are several books written in Tweets by now, but this was my first one. I read it because I was writing a paper for my English class on Twitter. Writing that paper is what got me to start blogging and Tweeting. The style felt very new and creative to me.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
12. Best under-appreciated, hidden gem book
I won Calling for Angels by Alex Smith from LibraryThing Early Reviewers. It was really good! Alex Smith is a very young author and it was inspiring to read her book.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
13. I-had-no-idea-I-would-love this-so award
 
Zombies Vs. Unicorns by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier
This was NOT a book I had any intention to read. My sisters know I used to love unicorns, so they me this book for Christmas, and I'm so glad they did! The book is hilarious, dark, and just plain WRONG at times.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
14. Most haunting story
I didn't read very many "haunting" books, in my opinion. The entire time I read Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann I kept thinking "This is awful! Give me more." The missing people, her "boyfriend" being one of the missing people, what she's going through with the desk, her OCD struggles, THE END. Good, creepy stuff.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
15. Outside my comfort zone but gosh how I loved it
The only book that I can think of that might be "outside my comfort zone" is Christa Desir's book Manhole. I beta read it. I don't usually read books with topics very "serious" or "difficult" like Manhole. It's about a rape victim. I only read books that I want to read, so why would I have books "outside my comfort zone"? This is the closest I've got to that. It's great!
 
16. Series that I'm loving
I've lost track of how many Argeneau Vampire books there are. Lynsay Sands keeps writing them, and I keep reading them! The series is sexy and full of action! Reluctant Vampire is the newest Argeneau Vampire book out.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
17. Most memorable voice award
There is no way I could NOT use Where She Went by Gayle Forman for both tear-jerker award and memorable voice award. The voice and the feelings were... intense, and, yes, memorable. Captivating.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
18. Completely awesome premise award
In The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson Jack the Ripper is back! How awesome is that? The whole idea of the book is great, and then the book itself is GREAT!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
19. Would make the best movie
I've read several books this year that HAVE been turned into movies, but I'd say Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen would be the one I'd most like to see as a movie (aside from the ones that already are). The emotions and scenes would work great in movie form!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
20. Want to re-read already
As soon as I finished Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones I wanted to re-read it and be in the world all over again. Oh, Howl...
 
Every book I have read by Jennifer Echols I have re-read and always want to re-read again. Endless Summer is no exception. What a great summer read, I know I'll take it to the beach with me next month!

TGIF (2)

TGIF is hosted by Ginger at GReads! Check it out and post your link!
 
This weeks TGIF: Where is your ideal place to take a summer vacation and get lost in a book?

I don't enjoy beaches for the same reasons most people do. I'm not a fan of swimming in the ocean. I will do it, but not for long. Instead, I prefer to sit and read on the sand or the balcony of my favorite beach house/condo in Deleware. I know, most people want to go to Florida, or to a different country, but I love the boardwalks and beaches in Deleware. I read Dracula for the first time on that balcony when I was 13. I stay at a hoppin' place where people are always walking underneath my balcony, and the beach is RIGHT THERE. During the day I people watch and read, and in the evening I just read with the sound of the ocean. *sigh* Such a pleasant time of the year for me. Can't wait to be there next month!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Hunger Games Music Video Parody

My sister is a YouTuber and doesn't read much, but, of course, knows how much I love to read. She knows that I love The Hnger Games, so when a YouTuber she follow, WinterSpringPro, posted a funny video concerning The Hunger Games she showed me. Usually I roll my eyes at what she shows me, but I thought this was great! I wanted to share the video. Check it out!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Ramblings About the Trip

Hello! I am here to tell you about how busy I am. That I don't have the time to write blogs posts, which I am unhappy about because I only just started blogging! Now I will ramble about my busy trip.

I came to Erie, Pennsylvania about two and a half weeks ago, the end of May. I will not be coming home to Maryland until the 4th of July weekend. I have a lot of family up here, and my pregnant aunt is a kindergarten teacher (actually, I have two aunts who work in the kindergarten wing of the school... Plus, many friends there.), so I am helping her close her classroom since she will be taking the next two years off to be with her children. When she had the first kid, Ruby, I came to stay for a month each visit every six months or so. Sometimes I stay longer. I love it up here! I have cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents. I get passed around and enjoy everyone's company. I babysit, I go to the Amish auction with Nana, I take kids on bike rides. But, mostly, I stay with my aunt Amy and cousin Ruby.
Here's a some stuff I've been up to.

Kildaer nest
There's a kildaer nest at the farm (where my grandparents live), and kildaer are birds. They lay eggs in gravel or dirt. The mothers run away from the nest and ruffle their wings and act as though they're hurt to distract you from the nest. Don't let this fool you, they are very stupid. We have some hatched kildaer at Amy's house and they will be chased down the very long driveway and into the road before they will go into the grass. I have a picture of the nest!
Weirdly enough, a deer was walking around the house on a Saturday afternoon. It appeared confused. Wasn't eating, just walking around. A couple hours later, still too early for it to be out, the deer was back!
The oddest animal came the next morning when we looked outside at 10am and saw a coyote! My uncle Michael got excited and opened the door, and then he ran upstairs to grab his gun, but he had already scared it off. We explained to the 3 year-old cousin that they are not dogs, and coyotes are mean, STAY AWAY. That evening I was in the graveyard with Amy and Ruby where my friend Caleb picked me up (Caleb is my only friend around here my age. I hang with his Mom, too.) We came back to the house, and then got a call from Amy saying the coyote was in the yard staring at her. She ran up a neighbors driveway (really long driveways) and we went outside. Michael had his gun. He took a shot at it! Though, he missed. It was very exciting!
Also, there was a raccoon on the deck, again, in the afternoon. Ruby calls them catroons. What's with these animals being out in the middle of the day?! Enough about the animals.

Lake Erie

Ruby in Lake Erie

I've been going to the lake. It's freezing! That doesn't stop the little kids, or me. I also go hunting for sea glass, surprisingly, there is quite a bit to be found.

The first week of being here I completely packed Amy's classroom. She was still teaching, and the kids were already familiar with me since I come and help at the school when I can, so they were hanging all over me while I packed.
All I want to do is help when I'm here. If anyone is going anywhere I always volunteer to join them. Not usually the case at home. When I do spend time reading or on the computer I feel that I should be spending time with someone. I end up with little time to write blogs and such.
And then, on Monday, I got sick. Headache, stomachache, stuffy nose, sore throat, too tired to do anything but lay in bed watching TV and sleeping. Miserable for a couple days in which I rarely left my bed. I missed Waiting on Wednesday, too. Thankfully, I'm feeling better now!

Today I went to the Amish auction! I love going there. My Nana and I get to spend time together and they have fresh donuts! Everything is better Amish made. Nice people over there. The guy sounds like he's yodeling as he auctions off plants and veggies and fruits and flowers. It's a neat experience.

Anyhoot, I believe I am done rambling. I should go play with my cousins, Emmy and Brother, since they're over here to play. I think we'll go drive the mule around! By the way, the mule is similar to a mini jeep, not an animal. Though, there are horses here.
How is everyone? What's new?

Friday, June 10, 2011

TGIF (1)

TGIF is hosted by Ginger at GReads! Check it out and post your link!

This weeks TGIF question is "YA Saves: How do you feel about the "dark" books filling the YA shelves today?"

I will assume you have read the article by The Well Street Journal that has the book world all riled up. If you haven't read it here's the link. Oh dear, oh dear. I've been thinking about that article all week. It was actually fun being a part of that epic night protesting the article. I'm nearly glad that they posted it because it gave people a reason to show their love for YA books. Honestly, I bet more people were convinced to read YA book than not.

Back to the question!

The "dark" books are some of the most compelling and fascinating books I've read. It opened my eyes to problems I would never have thought about if it hadn't been for the books. The information in these books needs to be out there. People need to know they're not alone, or just the possibilities of the situations in the "dark" books. The most efficiant way I can think of a parent doing a good job of parenting would be to read the books as well and talk to their kid about the contents to make them comprehend what they are reading.

But really, kids are smarts, they can, and ARE, reading and understanding these books. Do you think authors are trying to corrupt children? They are trying to inform people, give them a friend, be an entertainment, or just write because they enjoy it and it turns out people like it! They are not sitting there cackling and saying "People will be so messed up after reading this book!" No. These authors are thinking about their readers, their fans. They are the ones reaching out to us and we are responding because we want to. Why do you think the books are so popular?

Did you notice the article consists of skeptical adults dissing YA books? Why don't they ask a teen who has actually read the books. You know what, I'd say as many adults read them as teens. They are LOVED. These dark books are inspiring, thought provoking and enjoyable. My favorite book The Only Alien on the Planet by Kristen D. Randle is considered "dark". It's about a boy who has been hurt and how he recovers. It shows HOPE. Is hope dark? What happened to him is "dark", but it doesn't end there. What happened to him has stuck with me, but that's because I also think of the way he pulled through. THAT is what I concentrate on in the books. Bad things make the good much more important.

In all, I love the "dark" YA books. I never want them to end. I will continue to devour them for as long as I possibly can. I could talk about them for hours, and I do!

What are your thoughts? Give me a link and I'll check it out, too!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Review: The Name of the Star

Title: The Name of the Star
Author: Maureen Johnson
Release Date: 29 Sep. 2011
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Pages: 384

My Summary

When Rory moves from a small town in Louisiana to a boarding school in London the city is going wild over a murder similar to Jack the Ripper's first murder. It soon becomes clear Jack the Ripper's attacks are happening all over again. Rory is getting used to boarding school life with a roommate and a cute boy when she becomes the only witness to have possibly seen the murderer. But is there a reason she is the only witness? He was right there and her roommate never noticed him. Was it only her imagination? Before she knows it, Rory's world has been drastically changed and her life is at risk.

My Thoughts

This book is crazy! It's intense with a great mystery that's scary, and there's even romance! I had never read anything on Jack the Ripper before, but now I feel quite farmilar with his story. Really, I don't know much on the topic, but I think Maureen did a great job researching! I actually had a grusome dream because of the book. The amount of action through the scenes in the book worked great. All I wanted to do was read this book until I finished it. 

Rory was great! The main character of a book will get on my nerves, but she felt real in a not annoying way. Her reactions to everything saw she and found out was perfect, especially since I can imagine how hard her reactions would be to write. I enjoyed all of the characters. Jerome was okay, I didn't dislike him, but I would rather her be with Stephen. I really like Stephen! But I also have a thing for cops. The balance between the characters felt right, I mean, no one was only appealing or only annoying. They all had well developed personalities. And, of course, Ripper was creepy!

Maureen is a writer I am always entertained by. I always want to read more by her, whether it's books or Tweets. She is funny and has crazy ideas. My curiosity to hear what will happen to her characters next continues. I am dying to read the next book!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (1)


Title: Audition

Author: Stasia Ward Kehoe

Release Date: 13 Oct. 2011

Publisher: Viking Juvenile

Pages: 464








When high school junior Sara wins a coveted scholarship to study ballet, she must sacrifice everything for her new life as a professional dancer-in-training. Living in a strange city with a host family, she's deeply lonely-until she falls into the arms of Remington, a choreographer in his early twenties. At first, she loves being Rem's muse, but as she discovers a surprising passion for writing, she begins to question whether she's chosen the right path. Is Rem using her, or is it the other way around? And is dancing still her dream, or does she need something more? This debut novel in verse is as intense and romantic as it is eloquent. (from Amazon.com)

The cover is what caught my eye, and then I read the summary and found it just as intriguing as the cover. Plus, I have a soft spot for books in verse. I know people who devote their lives to dancing (not as intense as, I'm sure, the characters in this book do) and I can't wait to read how she strays to a new passion, and how the Remington will react! She's even living with a host family. I've always wanted to be a foreighn exchange student, or something similar to it. I'm excited for this one.




"Waiting on Wednesday" is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine

Monday, June 6, 2011

Review: Where I Belong

Title: Where I Belong

Author: Gwendolyn Heasley

Date Published: 8 Feb. 2011

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 304

My Summary

Corrinne lives in luxury in New York City, spending money without a care, going to classy parties, and attending a private school. Corrinne and her best friend will soon be leaving to Kent - a boarding school - when her father gets laid off in the recession. Corrinne's life is turned around when she is forced to move to Broken Spoke, Texas, join a public school, and get a job shoveling manure. She resents her parents for forcing her into the situation and plots her escape from small town life. But when her friend from New York comes to visit, she finds she has changed since she arrived at Broken Spoke. Maybe her Grandparents aren't so bad, and she is even making friends, plus, there are some irresistible hotties.

My Thoughts

This book sounds better than it is. I was genuinely looking forward to reading this book because I was looking for a YA western romance and because I read a good review on it. However,  I expected too much from it. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't an awful book. The main character started out annoying and I thought she would evolve into a more appealing person, but by the end I still didn't particularly like her. The romance did not go as I had hoped it would. I didn't read it for the romance, but I did think it would have more substance. The book seemed to end abruptly without resolving all the kinks. It could have easily continued into another chapter to round it off.

There was a substantial amount of information on each character to know them decently. I knew them, but I didn't like them! I want to like the characters I read about. Some of them were sweet and fun, and all of the characters were realistic. Kitsy was cute, the brother made me go "Awwe!", and I want the Grandma to cook for me! The food sounded delicious... Her Mom was annoying.

Heasely's writing? Well she kept me reading. I read it in a day and ignored my company because I wanted to see how everything would turn out. Most of the conversations in the book were believable. There were a couple ridiculous parts, like when Corrinne said "But yeah, I'll go to the dance with Bubby because you two are my only friends in Broken Spoke, so I want to be with you guys."  She is a proud person and would not let any insecurities of that magnitude show, much less spell them out in those words. She is not a character to appear pitiful.

I am picking apart this book, but it wasn't a bad read. I enjoyed sitting down and reading it on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. This is Gwendolyn's YA debut, and I look forward to reading more by her in the future. Congratulations on it, Gwendolyn!