Monday, December 10, 2012

Novel Thoughts #3: Pet Peeves

Welcome to the third edition of Novel Thoughts! Today we're discussing something I think everyone will be able to chime in on: book pet peeves.

Now, since there are a couple pet peeves that I think have been covered thoroughly by the book blogging community (I think the term "insta-love" is proof of that) I decided to talk about a pet peeve I don't think I've ever seen discussed before—it's when a character gets seriously hurt (as in, getting shot) and is in incredible pain in the moment, and then is fine when the scene is over.

I can't be the only one who's noticed this—I've read countless dramatic dystopians with war/government takeover scenes and someone will get shot in the shoulder or the leg (apparently those are the only two targets an evildoer can successfully hit). That's all nice and dramatic in that chapter, sure, but how often do you see that injury mentioned again? Where are the weeks of recovery? The mention of a scar? Something?

Check out the other Novel Thoughts posts below, and don't forget to submit a topic for us all to discuss together here!


So let me know in the comments if you've noticed this as well, or if you've seen realistic injuries in books!

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

"Everything was wonderful and then everything was awful."
My Life Next Door

A gorgeous debut about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another.

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

A dreamy summer read, full of characters who stay with you long after the story is over.

Something I've picked up on while reading is that, more often than not, main characters rarely have more than one sibling, if they have any at all. Coming from a big family myself, I've noticed that they don't pop-up in books too often. My Life Next Door is definitely an exception. The Garretts are a family of ten (count it, that's eight kids) and they were literally my favorite thing about this book. They're so realistic—it's not just a book full of big family stereotypes. The author does a fantastic job of bringing a real big family to life: there's differences from your normal family, definitely, but every moment isn't like a scene from Cheaper by the Dozen. The best part, I think, was seeing it through our main character Samantha's eyes. Having lived her life with a completely different family dynamic, I loved seeing her reactions.

Samantha, while we're on the topic, is just as realistic as a character as each of the Garretts. While most of us aren't in a situation similar to hers—a mother campaigning for office, rich, the golden child—it still feels somehow completely relatable.

And now, since it is a love story at its base, I've got to talk about the relationship. Jase is now high on my list of favorite fictional boys. Really—he's fantastic. He's sweet as can be, loves his family to death, and wonderfully honest. I rooted for him and Samantha the whole way through.

Usually when I'm writing a three-heart review, especially one where I've already listed so many good things, the bad parts of the book instantly spring to mind. This isn't one of those cases—it just felt like a three-heart book. While I loved the characters I mentioned and more that I didn't, I didn't love the book. I think, in part, it's because there's so many sad things that are happening or happen during the book, like Nan and her drugged-up brother. I hate to see people struggle, and when it's so realistic, it's just ten times worse. 

Just a reminder that this book is sort of PG-13—while it's not packed to the brim with cursing, there's that one character who makes the story particularly colorful. And it is a love story, so if those kind of things bother you, I'd steer clear of this one.

While I'd recommend it, this book isn't my new favorite. If you're looking for a summer read to make it through these winter months, you might just want to check this one out.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Novel Thoughts #2: Fictional Worlds

Welcome to week two of Novel Thoughts! We've got an awesome discussion topic this week, coming from Sarah at Sarah's YA Blog. Here it is:
If you could live in the world of any book, which would it be? And which fictional world would scare you the most if you woke up there tomorrow?
I'm seriously in love with this topic. I've spent way too much time thinking about what it would be like to suddenly pop-up in one of my favorite books and live with my beloved characters. So with a bit of deliberation, I decided that if I had a choice to join any literary world, it would be the world brought to us in Cornelia Funke's Inkheart trilogy.


For those who haven't read the series: Inkheart is set in our world with one major addition—there are a few (and I mean few) people called Silvertongues who can read things out of books—meaning that when something is mentioned in a book (a thing, an animal, a person) it might suddenly leave the book and appear in the room. (It works vice-versa as well. Things—and people—can disappear into the book that's being read.)

So I think this answer might be a bit of a cheat—assuming I could find a Silvertongue, I'd be able to visit all the fictional worlds I wanted.

And on to the second question: the answer for me is most likely The Forest of Hands and Teeth Trilogy by Carrie Ryan.


If you don't know anything about this series, let me explain very briefly: zombies. And although reading the books themselves didn't scare me, I know I'd be scared out of my mind if I was living in a world half-full of undead people.

So those are my picks! Let me know how you would answer that question, then check out the other posts with the links below. (And don't forget to submit your own ideas here! If your idea is picked, you'll be offered a chance to do do a guest post like Sarah!)


What fictional world would you want to live in?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

"There’s always a gap between the burn and the sting of it, the pain and the realization."
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. Having missed her flight, she's stuck at JFK airport and late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's sitting in her row.

A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?

Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it. 

I really adore the idea of a book taking place in a 24-hour period, which is what this book did. It gives it a really unique feel the whole way through. I feel like it made it a little harder to put down, because everything was happening so fast. There weren't the breaks of days or weeks that there are in other books, which can sometimes make a book drag on.

I also really like the airport/airplane scenario, which is where almost half the book takes place. I've only been in a few airports, but I just love them, so I love that this book was set in such an unique location for a large part of the story.

This book was a quick read—I knew that it would be just from looking at it. It's only 215 pages and it's got the largest print I've ever seen in a YA book. It's just a really short book. I have nothing against shorter books, but I felt that it was just too short for this story line—things developed too quickly, and people changed from one mood to another all on one page. Things simply weren't described or included and it left me a little unsatisfied.

I don't want bash this book,  but I honestly didn't enjoy it. I didn't connect with the characters: I wasn't too crazy about Hadley, the main character, and while Oliver seemed nice enough and had some funny lines, I didn't feel their connection growing to a point more where they would be more than casual friends.

Oh, and a random tangent: There's this one point where Hadley goes running off without knowing where she's going or how to get there at all—and I understand why she does it, I do. What I don't understand is how her dad let his 17-year-old daughter run off without any explanation of where she's going in a gigantic city she's never been in before. He very clearly doesn't make any effort to go after her, and it just aggravated me because I felt it was so unrealistic.

Despite the hype, a couple funny lines and a nice ending weren't enough to leave a good impression on me. I didn't dislike it, but I won't be going around recommending it, either. This one was just an okay read for me.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Novel Thoughts #1: Favorite Genres

Welcome to my very first Novel Thoughts post! This week we're talking about our favorite genres. I don't really have a favorite, but if I had to pick one, I think it'd be sci-fi. (That sounds beyond nerdy, but it's true.)

Anyway, Inky, Megan and I compiled our favorite genres and I'll be sharing my favorite book in each one!

Megan's Pick: Contemporary
Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanan
Though I don't get to read too many contemporary books, I love the genre. It's hard to pick a favorite, but I think, for me, it's Flipped. I really adore it: it's just a cute little story about how crazy and confusing love can be—especially when you're growing up.
Inky's Pick: Historical Fiction
The Book Thief
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Historical Fiction is a genre I've barely dipped my toes into, but I've loved every book I've tried. The Book Thief is one of my favorite books of all time, so it definitely topped my historical fiction favorites list. (Oh, and if you have any historical fiction recommendations, let me know!)
My Pick: Science Fiction
Unwind (Unwind, #1)
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
This is an obvious one—Unwind is my favorite book, and it's sci-fi to its core. My favorite sci-fi books are always the ones that are just on the edge of believability—the ones that can freak you out because they're just a little too possible. You most assuredly get that with Unwind, which is one of the reasons it's my favorite sci-fi book.
Thanks for reading! Let me know if you agree or disagree with my picks, and what books wou would've chosen instead. Also, check out Inky and Megan's posts and see what they chose!

 If you had to pick, what's your favorite genre?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Novel Thoughts: A Book Discussion

Hey everyone! I just want to update you all on something new and bookish I'll be participating in.

The What:
A book discussion feature, created and hosted by the lovely Megan from The Book Babe, Novel Thoughts.

The Who:
Megan @ The Book Babe
Inky @ The Book Haven Extraordinaire

and, of course, me.

The When:
Bi-weekly on Mondays, starting November 12th.

The Deets:
Check back for a new post every other Monday and see what bookish thing we're all talking about! Then you wonderful people can chime in with your own opinions in the comments. But that's not the only way you can be part of the discussion—you can also suggest topics for us to talk about! To do so, just simply fill in the form on Megan's blog here.

I can't wait to talk books with all of you! See you on Monday.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I'm Participating in NaNoWriMo 2012!

Hey guys! This is just a quick post to let you know that I'm participating in NaNoWriMo! Which I shouldn't. Because I'm busy. And I have things to do. But it's something I've wanted to do since I first heard of it, and I decided that this year is the year that I'm finally going to buckle down and do it.

Are you participating too? Let me know—I'd love to chat with some other NaNoWriMoers!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Haunted Week 2012: Beware of Book Review

{This Girl Reads}

For Beware of Book Review, I read and reviewed Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake: it was definitely the perfect creepy story for the occasion!

So this is it: the very last post of Haunted Week 2012. It's been a blast, guys. I hope you've enjoyed it even half as much as I have. I've loved reading all your posts and comments—you are ALL fantastic.

So thank you so much for participating and following me along on my week of horrors. I wrote up a little survey, and I'd love it if you guys could fill it out for me. It doesn't matter whether you participated on your own blog or just read a post or two: there are questions for everyone. So please check it out!
Hopefully, I'll see all of you creepy creatures back here next year for another week of haunting good fun.

Happy Halloween!

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

"I've seen most of what there is to be afraid of in this world, and to tell you the truth, the worst of them are the ones that make you afraid in the light."
Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, #1)
Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead. 

So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.

I'm currently in that post-wonderful book stage. You probably know what that's like: it feels like your faith has been restored in all literature and YA novels and strong protagonists and plots and everything else that was lovely about the book you just read. It makes you want to go buy a ton of new books (because you obviously have legendary book-picking skills). It makes you want to secure a job as a professional reader because you can literally not think of anything more enjoyable than spending hours a day reading books.

But seriously, I love this book. I read it in two sittings—it would have been one if I hadn't decided that sleep needed to be a higher priority than the book (which was a tough decision, believe me). But enough gushing: this a book review. There will be some actual reviewing.

The pacing in this book is fantastic. One of my fatal reading flaws is that I can get terribly bored if characters get stuck in a certain situation for too long. Anna Dressed In Blood had the situation changing just often enough that I never got bored of the current objective. 

Oh my gosh: the characters. If I had have to pick a favorite—it'd be Anna. I know, you shouldn't pick the terrible haunting ghost who's an infamous murderer, but I can't help it: Anna, you're awesome. Her emotions are insanely realistic and, since I more often dislike girls in YA fiction than not, she completely surprised me by being such an awesome character. The rest of the cast was similarly wonderful—especially Cassio's mom. You rock, Cas' mom. 

I just want to rave about everything in the book—the plot and the writing and all the characters and more—but it's suffice to say that I just enjoyed pretty much every aspect of this book way too much.

If you shy away from serious cursing, that's definitely something you should consider before reading this book. Not that I'm condoning it—but as long as it's not an excessive amount (which it wasn't)—cursing doesn't bother me too much in a book. Basically, Cas occasionally says things a typical seventeen-year-old guy would say. Just a heads-up before you try this book out!

Other than that, my only (nit-picky) complaint is that I wish there'd been a little more description about the character's reactions to everything going on in the story. It's a horror book, so some horrible things are obviously going to happen—I would have liked to see a little more of the characters reacting to them. (That sounds horrible, I know, but I want my books realistically express a situation. I don't just enjoy my fictional friends' pain.)

I promised I wouldn't gush anymore. (Unless you ask. But be forewarned that my book-gushing knows no bounds.)  I recommend it to everyone and hope to get my hands on the sequel as soon as possible.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Haunted Week 2012: Written in the Tombstone

{This Girl Reads}

We've nearly made it to the end of Haunted Week, so it's fitting that today we'll be talking about a lot of endings. Tombstones always have an inscription; the very last words of a person. Today we'll be looking at the very last words of 5 different books. (And because I'm terrified of spoilers, I'll only be using books I've already finished!)

Wither (The Chemical Garden, #1)
1. Wither
 by Lauren DeStefano
"This time, I don't know where the light will guide us."
The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #5)
2. The Last Olympian
 by Rick Riordan
"For once, I didn't look back."

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)
3. The Hunger Games
 by Rick Riordan
"I take his hand, holding on tightly, preparing for the cameras, and dreading the moment when I will finally have to let go."
Heist Society (Heist Society, #1)
4. Heist Society
 by Ally Carter
"And yet, she knew she could be." 
City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments, #3)
5. City of Glass
 by Rick Riordan
"She looked as the fireworks exploded in a shower of sparks—sparks that painted the clouds overhead as they fell, one by one, in streaking lines of golden fire, like angels falling from the sky."
So what are some of your favorite literary last words?