Posts Tagged ‘books’

So I read this one book. Eleanor & Park. And because my mind is currently a dry inkwell (that was for you, my dear gang), I’m gonna post my review of it. Yeah. (This review also appears on Goodreads.)

Eleanor & Park

 

I didn’t realize it was possible for a book to be so real. Sometimes I stopped reading and did a double-take because it was just so dang believable.

 

I don’t read many YA contemporaries (well, this isn’t necessarily contemporary…It takes place in 1986…But it’s like a YA contemporary.). To be completely truthful, I prefer to stick with the blood-guts-save-the-world-and-maybe-fall-in-love-with-a-devilish-assassin stories. But the thing is, I can’t always relate with those stories. I’d love to be a crazy poisoner/assassin/ninja who goes on quests and can do flips and has mad aim with a bow. (And always manages to seduce the aforementioned devilish assassin who can also do flips and has mad aim with throwing knives or something.) But I’m not. Unfortunate, I know, but true. And that isn’t really the point of fantasy/sci-fi novels, anyway. Their purpose is expressly to be out of the ordinary, et cetera. The point of YA contemporaries, however, is to be completely in the ordinary, completely believable, and completely real.

 

Eleanor & Park was so real, it was scary.

 

Rainbow Rowell managed to capture the very essence of teen romance, and all of the little things that make it so special. The simple joy you get whenever you’re around the Other Person. The way the lovely memories repeat nonstop in your head during any given moment of the day. The way you store up all of the little moments that you can, just in case you won’t get any more. The way you never ever want to think about the After–when “us” ceases to be. (If it ever ceases to be.) And most of all, the crazy feeling of wonder you get when you realize that the Other Person really, truly likes you just as much as you like them.

 

All of these little things matter. And all of them were in Eleanor & Park. Crazy sauce, right?

 

I could go on for ages about the beauty of the characters, the simplicity and elegance of the writing, the realness of the dialogue, and the emotions that were so eloquently conveyed. But I don’t need to do that. All of those aspects were exceptionally well done, and that’s great. But what’s most important is that Eleanor & Park was so very real to me, so relatable to me, that those other things don’t even matter.

 

This book spoke to me so much, and it made me feel so many emotions. It almost, almost made me cry. This is a good thing. This means you should find an edition of this book by whatever means necessary, and read it.

 

Read it right now.

 

Rating: 5/5 gold stars

 

And there you have your daily dose of philosophical words! Have you read Eleanor & Park(If you haven’t, I pity you. If you haven’t and don’t plan to, I…that’s sad. Wow.) Whaddya think of it? Let me know in the comments! Yay!

 

Annnnnnnd yeah, see you when I see you.

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The Notebook Sisters are having a party! *blows horn* And what’s a party without games? A horrible party, that’s what. So I am participating in their sweet version of pass the parcel–otherwise known as a tag. :) How I love tags!

bookparty_zpsaff53714

And now I must answer questions.

1. Name your top 5 favourite YA authors! Five? This is torture. Well, let’s see…Maria V. Snyder, Suzanne Collins, J.K. Rowling, R.L. LaFevers, and Rae Carson. (Sorry, Neal Shusterman. You got kicked off the list. Don’t cry, please.)

2. What’s the last YA book you read and what did you think of it? I finished Crown of Embers (Rae Carson) about a week ago. OHMYGOODNESS it was amazing. It’s the second in the Fire and Thorns trilogy, and…I can’t even. It was so spectacular I nearly died. Also, Hector.

3. What’s your favorite YA genre? (Dystopian, romance, sci-fi, contemporary, etc.) High fantasy (the likes of Poison Study, Throne of Glass, Grave Mercy, Girl of Fire and Thorns, you get the picture). Especially if it involves assassins, castle intrigue, and/or romance.

4. Let’s talk characters! Pick a character you love and tell us why? I would have said Hermione from Harry Potter, but several people have already talked about her, so I won’t. Let’s see…HECTOR! Yes, Hector from the Fire and Thorns trilogy by Rae Carson. He’s the Royal Guard, so obviously he’s quite skilled in the fighting arts and all of that spectacular wondrous-ness. Not only that, but his character is just fascinating. He is first and foremost true to his job, and tries his very hardest never to let personal emotions get in the way. He shows admirable effort, but sometimes his façade cracks and we see the true Hector, who cares very much about his home country and Elisa. (Duh, guys. Did you really think I’d talk about Hector without mentioning the romance?) Speaking of romance, he’s not dumb about it. He realizes that he has to honor his family and his position as Royal Guard first, and isn’t stupid like Edward and Bella. Ahem. Anyways, he’s awesome.

5. Top YA villain? President Snow. Yes, this is a clichèd choice, but he’s just so creepy and awesome. He certainly knows how to get his way and stops at nothing to do it. Creepiness overall.

6. Top YA couple? You’re truly asking me to choose? This is impossible. But…after long deliberation…I’ve got to say Ron and Hermione from Harry Potter. They’re absolutely perfect together. Oh, but we can’t forget Scarlet and Wolf! Or Yelena and Valek! Or Avry and Kerrick! Or Ismae and Gavriel! Or Celaenia and Chaol! OR ELISA AND HECTOR! There are too. Many. Choices. *agony* *breaks into song*

7. With dystopian on the decline, what do you think will be the next hot-trend in YA? I do think it will be high fantasy. (This isn’t just me dreaming.) There have been a good number of high-fantasy releases lately, and I think people will start catching onto the fact that it’s completely boss.

8. What’s the next YA book on your to-read pile? Poison by Bridget Zinn. It looks like a perfect fluffy fantasy, but I fear I shall not be able to finish it before I return it to the library (because SOMEBODY has a hold on it *coughcoughIvyI’mlookingatyoucoughcough*).

9. What’s the fastest time you’ve ever finished reading a book in? (And what was the book?!) Uh…let’s see….oh, yeah, that. This summer I finished Sidekicks (Jack D. Ferraiolo) in the space of 24 hours. Awwww, yeah! Granted, it wasn’t particularly hard reading, but it was fairly long.

10. (And now for the burning question) Do you think books should be sorted according to colour or title? (This matters.) Well, of course it matters! This stuff is important! I have to say by title, because I’m a tad bit OCD and alphabetizing books (…and everything else) is my thing. But now that you mention it, sorting by color would look really cool…hmm. I’ll still stick with title, though, because…just because.

Well, that was fun! Be sure to stop by the Notebook Sister’s epic blog, because, well, it’s epic. I’m not going to stop linking until you click, you know

Also, be sure to check out all of their party info! It’s great fun, so consider participating, too. :) (I hear there are prizes involved, too…) And if you wish to be tagged in this particularly splendid tag, well…TAG! You’re it.

Speaking of parties…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sQyIFd2FD4

This might possibly be my favorite comedic musical theater solo. Genius, I say. GENIUS.

Anyways, have a great day! I’m going to dust off the old weekly-blogging initiative, so you can [possibly] expect more-regular-ish posts soon! [I’m not promising anything, however] And I’m working on a review for a movie that some of you like quite a lot…so there’s that. I’ll keep you hanging.

Bye-bye, lovelies!

(You didn’t think I’d end this post without linking to the Notebook Sisters one more time, did you?)

No, peeps, I’m not going to talk about geometry. Y’all can heave a collective sigh of relief. (Geometry. Sucks.) The real subject of the post is quite different.

You probably have read a book series in your lifetime in which one (or more) of the books was unnecessary. Well, maybe it was necessary for plot points and such, but it dragged and you just didn’t like it. I know I have. (Magic Study, anyone?)

No author would intentionally write a dull book (at least, none that I can think of…). But there are really no set rules to deciding how many books you want to include in a series. There’s a huge trend going on in YA novels in which trilogies are now a thing. I’m not exactly what started the trend, but it’s…a thing now. I personally prefer stand-alones or duos, just because no book is so spectacular and amazing that you’ll remember every single plot point and I like remembering stuff so that I’m not terribly confused. When I read UnWholly, the sequel to Unwind by Neal Shusterman, I couldn’t remember much of the climax in the first book, and had to patch together memories as they slowly returned. This problem obviously presents itself with duos, as well, but it isn’t quite so hard to keep track of everything.

It sounds like I’m dissing trilogies, and I’m not. Well, sort of. I’m sick of reading them, but that doesn’t mean that every trilogy is awful. I love the Hunger GamesUnwind, and Hex Hall trilogies. And yes, 95% of the time the author just feels that the story needs 3 books and isn’t trying to follow the trend or anything. But I’m just sorta tired of trilogies.

But it all comes down to the author and the story (duh). If the story won’t need any follow-up and will end somewhat definitely, then one book is all you need. If there’s too much information to contain in one novel, then two or three books would be a better choice. The novel I’m currently working on (that is, pretending to) is about a Royal Warrior who gets caught up in the planning of a revolution in book 1. The revolution itself will take place in book 2. But the story isn’t complex enough for me to extend it throughout three or more books. Therefore, I’m making a duo. Simple.

Lately, authors have been sticking to shorter series, typically trilogies or stand-alones. But there are series that extend for longer periods, and, strangely enough, most of the authors who write long series write them well. Take, for example, the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I love Harry Potter. It’s one of my favorite series (if not my absolute favorite). There are seven books in all, and each book is increasingly longer. Yet I never got bored of the plot (except a little in Chamber of Secrets–my least favorite book of the series). Rowling gives each book a plot of its own (the first deals with the quest for the Sorcerer’s Stone, the second, the search for Ginny and the mystery of the Chamber of Secrets, et cetera), but everything ties into the main plot: Voldemort’s rise of DARKNESS AND DOOM. *evil music* The seven books were all connected, yet they didn’t each dwell on the one subject of Voldemort and his evilness, and so on. It was rather ingenious. So, longer series can work out very well–you just need to be a really good author. Other examples of longer series that were epic are the Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander and the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. Check them out. You might like them.

Moving on.

Unless you live in a hole, you’ll know that there’s been a lengthy trend in YA fiction of writing dystopia. Or utopia. FUTURISTIC NOVELS, okay? Most of these novels are parts of trilogies. And I’ve found there’s a simple formula for these novels:

Book 1: Protagonist lives in this awful society. He wants to change it (or maybe doesn’t), but it seems impossible. He meets people who want to rebel. Something happens that sparks this rebellion (small or large).

Book 2: There’s a rebellion building as all the people who have been lying around doing nothing for all these years realize that the government is corrupt and evil and stuff. People start rising up in protestation and so forth. The rebellion breaks loose.

Book 3: WAR. (Widows, orphans, a motherless child…Ahem. Sorry.) The government is falling. The protagonist probably has some scars by now, and is likely involved in a love triangle. The rebels win the war, and a new, happy government starts. The love triangle is resolved, possibly tragically. The end.

Not every YA futuristic novel follows this formula, obviously. But there are a good number that do. This type of story-arc is perfect for a trilogy. Except…sometimes not. Sometimes books drag. (Like Mockingjay.) Sometimes there isn’t enough information and action and stuff happening to make the story interesting. But the author’s in a pickle because the story can’t possibly fit into two books, yet three is too many. Such problems.

But it’s up to the author. And the characters. And the plot. The characters need to grow over the space of the book(s). The plot needs to build nicely and then resolve over the space of the book(s). And only the author will know how many books it will take. I’m not telling you to write a stand-alone, or a duo, or a trilogy, or a whatever. This is just me flinging my opinion into space because I like to do that. Any number of books satisfies me if they’re all written well and enjoyable. It’s SO SIMPLE!

Wow. This is a lot of disjointed craziness. Um…I’m just gonna click Publish and stop thinking, savvy?

See you when I see you. If I see you. Ever.

So there’s this award I received which has now sort of just turned into a question free-for-all in the blogverse. My friend Erin (who I mention in 75% of my posts, but she’s awesome, so deal with it), who received the award as well, came up with so many awesome questions that I can’t help but answer them. I know, this is sort of like cheating, but what can I say? I love questions. And now I don’t need to think of a topic to post on, so, lookee there. My job was just made that much easier.

Here we go!

1) What is your favorite book cover? There are so many. I’ll try to narrow it down to my top five. I can’t choose my absolute favorite. Sorry.

Incarnate

Something about the rainbow spectrum absolutely captivates me. Also, the math-equation-ness of the title is so geeky, it's awesome.

Something about the rainbow spectrum absolutely captivates me. Also, the math-equation-ness of the title is so geeky, it’s awesome.

Steel

Outside In

JUST LOOK AT IT. It's gorgeous.

JUST LOOK AT IT. It’s gorgeous.

2) Favorite movie poster? I really like Catching Fire teaser poster.

Catching Fire Teaser

Or the Dark Knight Rises poster:

Dark Knight Rises Bane

It’s a tie between those two.

3) Butter or no butter on your popcorn? NO BUTTER! Butter is too greasy for me. I love white cheddar seasoning on my popcorn, though. LOTS of white cheddar.

4) What was the scariest movie you’ve ever watched? House at the End of the Street. I am not a horror movie person, never have been. However, Jennifer Lawrence was in it, and my friend took me for free (I can never turn down a free movie!), so I went. Call me a wimp, but I was absolutely terrified. I spent most of the movie with my fingers halfway shoved into my ears. I hate suspense scenes where there’s no music, but you know something’s going to pop out and scream, but you don’t know when…Yeah. Needless to say, for about a month after seeing it, I didn’t like walking around the house at night by myself.

5) Are you fluent in more than one language? Nope. I hope to take some kind of foreign language class in a year or two, but right now, I only know a few phrases in Spanish and something like two words in French and Latin.

6) How often do you change your desktop background on your computer? Every day? Never? Usually about once a month. If I edit a picture and really like it, I’ll set it as my DTBG, but I only get around to that occasionally.

7) Is there snow outside where you live? Yes! It just snowed again this morning and now we have between 6-10 inches of snow. YAY SNOW.

8) Do you have a favorite Youtuber? If so, who? I don’t have an ultimate favorite, but I do like Lindsey Stirling’s channel. Because she’s awesome. *shamelessly promoting*

9) Who was your favorite author as a child (“child” meaning 10 and under)? Andrew Clements. I read his entire oeuvre when I was between the ages of 7 and 10.

10) How is the view from your bedroom window? It’s okay. I can see the road and the driveway (which means I can spot intruders very easily; if I stand very still by the wall I can see everything and nobody can see me…*evil laugh*), but mainly I just see the woods that are in front of our house. So…yeah!

Oh, joy. Now I need to come up with more questions.

1) What is the hands-down worst movie you’ve ever seen?

2) What is your opinion of Will Ferrell?

3) Pepsi or Coke?

4) When writing, do you enjoy torturing your characters or do you like them too much to do so?

5) If you could play any one instrument well, which would you pick?

6) Which character, from any book, are you hopelessly in love with?

7) What is your least favorite word in the English dictionary?

8) Algebra or geometry?

9) Do you like reading “the classics?”

10) What is your opinion of Valentine’s Day? Do you love it or hate it?

Oh, yeah. It’s Valentine’s Day. Okay, happy Valentine’s Day. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the holiday. It seems…saccharine. Also, I majorly dislike the color pink. But I don’t hate it.

So…yeah! Good-bye until we meet again…

So here’s another award, this time hailing from Coffee’s awesome blog. She said anybody who wanted the award could have it, and I like awards, because they force me to post but they do all the work for me. (Really, they give you questions and you answer. That’s a pretty dang easy post.)

This award remains unnamed (…I think it might be the Shine On award?), and also has no picture (YESSSSSS HALLELUJAH.) It does have questions. :)

Questions:

1) What was the last book you read? Was it any good? How many stars would you give it, out of 100? I just finished reading The Help. IT WAS AHAMAZING. Very long, but extremely addictive. It was “one of those books” that you physically cannot put down because of its awesomeness. 10 out of 10 stars, definitely. (Also, this is yet another book on my 2013 reading challenge list! So, that’s nice, too.)

2) WHAT ABOUT MOVIES? I love movies. TELL ME YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE. I love movies, too! In fact, I love them so much that I can’t choose a favorite. The Amazing Spiderman. The Avengers. The Dark Knight Rises. Inception. The Hunger Games. (If you haven’t noticed, I love love love superheroes.) Oh, and we can’t forget the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

3) Are you geeky by nature? Yeeeeeessssss. I’m definitely a computer geek. And a book geek. And a movie geek. All of that geekiness has grown over time, but I believe I was just sort of born with a ninja-geeky nature. Yup.

4) Who is your favorite character, from any book/TV show/movie? Why? Ah, poop. There are just too many. Katniss from The Hunger Games is one of the contenders (yes, I know she’s everybody’s favorite character, but for a reason. She’s AWESOME and KICK-BUTT and AWESOME.). So is Hermione from Harry Potter (She’s a book nerd. Of course I like her!) I also like the Black Widow from The Avengers. (Only the movie–I’ve never read the comics.)

5) Who’s your role model? Why? I don’t really have one. All amazing, inspiring people, I suppose. Like Jean Valjean.

6) Which is better: books, TV shows, movies, or music? They’re all so wonderful, except for TV shows [because those are stupid]. We can rule out movies because, while movies are epic, books and music win. Let’s call it a tie.

7) Do you have any (quirky or normal) daily/weekly rituals? Nope. Despite my overall quirkiness, I don’t have any rituals that are particularly crazy. I brush my teeth every night. Does that count?

8) What was the last thing you wrote (besides this post/comment)? Probably an essay about photography for school. Boring, I know, but true.

9) Do you believe in Soul Mates and One True Loves and junk? Not really. I mean, if you’re called to be married, there’s somebody out there who is probably perfect for you, but the whole soul-mate thing just seems stupid to me. Your soul mate could be RIGHT THERE and you might not even notice because you’re so caught up with the idea of finding your soul mate…anyways, yeah. No soul mates for me.

10) WHO IS YOUR OTP AND WHY? Avry/Kerrick from the Healer series. Or Ismae/Gavriel from Grave Mercy. I can’t choose. (Yes, I’m very indecisive when there are so many good choices. DEAL WITH IT.) If we’re talking real life and not fandom-ness, then my answer is NO ONE. I AM ALL ALOOOOOOONE.

Oh, yay! Nomination time!

Well, I’ve decided to do what Coffee did. So, if you’re reading this and want to receive this award, consider it given to you. There. Ta-dah. You just got an award! Congratulotions! (That was not a typo, actually. If you got that little quote, then you’re officially my friend.)

And now I get to write questions for y’all!

1) What is your most prized possession?

2) Which genre of music is your favorite to listen to?

3) Who is your least favorite character in a book/movie/what have you?

4) Coffee or cappuccino?

5) What’s your favorite accent to listen to? (i.e. British, Southern…)

6) What’s your favorite movie adaptation of a book?

7) Google or Yahoo?

8) Who is your book/movie/TV show character crush?

9) What is your opinion of horror movies?

10) What is your favorite quote?

Post away.

Byyyyyyyyyyye!

In 2013, I am making an ambitious goal.

I am going to read 50 books total within the year.

Never mind that I made that exact same goal last year. I reached it, even managing to read 56 books in 2012. I consider it a successful year.

Moving on. My epic friend Erin has begun a unique reading challenge entitled Erin’s Epic Reading 2013 Reading Challenge that I think I shall participate in. So, here goes:

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  • Read a book by a favorite author: Everlost, by Neal Shusterman. I’m a huge fan of Shusterman; I fell in love with his writing after reading Unwind, UnWholly, and Bruiser. I can’t wait to get started on Everlost.
  • Reread a favorite book: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. The movie of Catching Fire is being released on November 22nd of this year, and of course I have to reread the book before seeing the movie. I might end up rereading the entire trilogy, as I did before the release of The Hunger Games, but I’m reading Catching Fire for sure.
  • Read a classic: Les Misérables by Victor Hugo. After listening to the music and seeing the movie, I now must read the book. I’ve heard that it is long and tedious, but I SHALL PREVAIL! I’m not going to try to tackle this very early in the year, though. I have to prepare myself before I begin, of course.
  • Read a book you normally wouldn’t read: How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr. I don’t typically read contemporary YA fic, but the premise of this book seems intriguing and I have read many good reviews on it, so I’m prepared to give it a try.
  • Read a book recommended by a friend: The Percy Jackson series, recommended to me by Erin. This is more than one book, and I’m not guaranteeing that I’ll finish the series at all, but I’m going to try to. I read The Lightning Thief a long while ago and then kind of just left the series. And now I’m back. So, I’m sort of cheating, because I’ve already begun reading the series, but because there are still multiple books left in it for me to read, I’m considering it a legit thing. :)
  • Read a book in a genre you wouldn’t normally read: The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I watched the movie (yes, yes, I know, major faux pas; read the book before watching the movie and all that…) and really liked it. I never, ever read historical fiction. Occasionally I’ll read historical fantasy–even that doesn’t really seem historical because of the magical elements in it, though–but historical fiction is something I avoid like the plague. Since I so enjoyed the movie, however, I’m going to venture into the genre just this once.
  • Read a book primarily about dragons: DragonQuest by Donita K. Paul. This is the second book in the DragonKeeper Chronicles, and I really liked the first book, DragonSpell. However, I don’t really remember much about it. So I think I shall reread DragonSpell (or perhaps just skim-read it), and then move on to DragonQuest. Whatever the case, I’m excited about it. DragonSpell was a little bit slow pacing-wise, but I’m told that the series picks up in intrigue after that. So I’m excited. I love dragons. Dragons are BEAST. Pun intended.
  • Read a book you started but never finished: Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi. When I first read it, I couldn’t get into it and just really disliked it all-around, so I’m not quite sure why I’m going to try reading it again. The premise does sound intriguing now, however, and I don’t really remember much from when I attempted to read it beforehand, so perhaps I’ll like it more now. Who knows?
  • Read a book retelling a fairytale: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer [Not to be confused in any way with Stephenie Meyer.] This is the second book in the Lunar Chronicles, fairytale retellings mainly focusing on Cinder–Cinderella turned cyborg. The first novel in the series, Cinder, was absolutely epic and I cannot wait for Scarlet–which will add Little Red Riding Hood to the story–to be released in February. There are many other fairytale retellings that I am anxious to read, but this one tops the list.

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So, that completes Erin’s Epic 2013 Reading Challenge! If you have any book recommendations, et cetera, leave them in the comments; I’d love to hear them!

Here’s to 50 books in 2013! *raises glass of strawberry slush*