Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New releases for the day!

September 27 new releases!


Lost In Time by Melissa De La Cruz
The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

I've always looked forward to new releases, especially when a ton of ones I've been eyeing come out in the same week or even day!

Happy reading! :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Book Discussion #2: Buy or Borrow

Every reader has their own preferences. Some would rather invest in their own physical copy of a book, while others scan the library. Buying and borrowing both have their positive attributes, it all depends on what you like best.

Do you prefer to buy or borrow your books?

Hannah: I definitely prefer to buy my books. Yes, I do realize that borrowing books saves money and can also prevent owning books that you loathe, but what can I say? I love physical copies of books. At one point in time my book collection was at a record low, 10 books. As a reader and collector, I want to be able to look at my shelf and be brought back into that one particular story or have the option to pick it up and re-read my favorite parts. I buy books because what if I borrow a book and I end up loving it? Then I'll end up going out and buying it anyways. And if I buy a book and hate it? Well, it's just another book on my shelf, and it doesn't bother me at all; especially if the book I hate has a stunning cover. Sure, the book was terrible, but at least it looks pretty! I have borrowed from friends and also my local library, but my love for books will continue to blow all my cash because I prefer buying over borrowing.

Emily: This will short and sweet, not because I don't care, but because the answer is so straightforward for me. BUY. I have bought my own books my whole life. I can probably count on one hand the number of books I have gotten from the library. I do borrow from my friends because it would be dumb to buy the book. BUY.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Question of the week: Worth the hype?

Book hype. We've all experienced it. Whether it's with the second book in a series we're getting into, or a debut novel hitting the radar, the hype is what pulls us in. When there's tons of people giving rave reviews, as a reader you get an "excitement high." (my fellow book bloggers have experienced this) And when the book finally hits the shelves, it either met those expectations or fell flat.

What books have you read that were worth all the hype they got prior the release? What books didn't meet those expectations the hype set for it?

Hannah: Sadly, I do sometimes get pulled into the hype for a novel. It's like standing on the edge of a whirl pool and being sucked in spinning, and not being able to escape. I both love it and hate it at the same time. While I'm all for hyping up a book, sometimes all that hype doesn't end well for me. A few books that comes to mind that did live up to the hype are: The Hunger Games by Suzzane Collins, Divergent by Veronica Roth, and Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. Let me start with The Hunger Games. This post-apocalyptic novel has gotten SO much hype. A couple of my friends were even hesitant to pick it up because of all the hype. I, myself wasn't hesitant what so ever. Emily recommended it to me and had been on my case about reading it, so finally I did, and HOLY COW I ATE THAT BOOK. Seriously though, it was that amazing. I'm glad it still gets hyped up so more people will read it. As for Divergent and Anna and the French Kiss; I cyber-stalked Divergent until its May release and read plenty of reviews before succumbing to Anna and the French Kiss. Overall, both AWESOME books that I fully recommend. Now, on for the books that truly let me down. The first book I instantly think of is Matched by Ally Condie. After reading the plot, I was sold. A dystopian novel where you're entire life is planned for you; who you'll be matched with, what you'll eat, and even when you'll die. The premise was just so intriguing, but man was I disappointed. Yes, the story line was okay, but nothing to write home about. The intensity and romance I hoped for just wasn't there. I felt no emotional connection to either of Cassia's possible matchees and the climax build up didn't happen until the last few chapters. Another book that didn't live up to all the hype it got was Fallen by Lauren Kate. Before I start bashing the book, I will say one thing; the cover is gorgeous. That was the only aspect that honestly had me reading this book. Also, Jessica told me it was the best thing ever; which wasn't true for my opinion (sorry Jessica!). The novel itself was dry and a bit boring. Not to mention, the big "turning point" is what I had already predicted based on the synopsis on the back cover. My disappointment further came from the lacking romance and character development, both of which I had hoped for most. As the hype will continue its journey through many books, I will more than likely continue to follow that hype, but only if its base plot appeals to me. And if you're a person backing up the hype on a book, make sure you absolutely love it and you're not just affected by all those stellar reviews.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
Dutton books, 310 pages

"One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical. Hilarious, poignant, and deeply insightful, John Green and David Levithan’s collaborative novel is brimming with a double helping of the heart and humor that have won both them legions of faithful fans."

I will confess that I have an obsession with John Green novels. I'm attached to Looking For Alaska and his overall message in Paper Towns felt truthful and to the point. While I had also read An Abundance of Katherines, I still had yet to read Will Grayson, Will Grayson. Now, this isn't only written by John Green, it's also written by David Levithan who familiarly wrote Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist and Dash and Lily's Book of Dares. Although I had never read anything by David Levithan, due to John Green, I absolutely had to have my hands on this novel. And man, did I inhale this book. I've been busy like crazy, yet I still managed to finish it in two days.

The characters are what really won me over in this novel. Of course, we have the two Will Graysons. John Green's Will Grayson likes to not care and shut up, while David Levithan's Will Grayson is angry and depressed. I enjoyed both of them. There is character development occurring for each Will and that growth was fantastic. I always love it when a book can successfully develop their characters, that way they don't end the book the same as it started. As for the side characters, I loved them as well. Tiny Cooper is (John Green's) Will Grayson's best friend. He is huge (hence the irony with his name), he is fabulous, he is gay, and he is putting on a musical based on his own life. There's also Jane, who's a little hard to read at the beginning, but later, I learn to like her. (David Levithan's) Will Grayson has only one friend named Maura, who he doesn't even really consider a friend anyways. So he is basically friendless and depressed and also gay. I strangely enjoyed him, even though he does get mad and depressed and you'd think you'd hate that sort of character.

The plot is packed with drama and relationships and I just couldn't get enough of it! I really enjoy that this contemporary fiction novel is so different than anything I've ever read. From reading about each Will Grayson and how they meet and their lives connect somehow. It's just an amazing story line to put it simply.

John Green never fails to make me laugh. Imagine yourself in the quietness of the library and stifling a chuckle or two. This always happens when I read one of his books. David Levithan's writing style was very great as well. It was clearly different from John Green's, but I liked it a lot.

Although, this book was awesome, I will admit that the ending was a little anti-climatic. I was just waiting for that epic ending, but it just didn't live up to those expectations I was hoping from this collaboration novel. Also, there are a few warnings I'd like to put out there for a potential reader of Will Grayson, Will Grayson. First of all, there is explicit language. This is not just a single f-bomb in one chapter, but they are continuous throughout the novel. Now, this doesn't bother me one bit, especially because it's contemporary, but for some young readers or someone who is uncomfortable reading that, then I say find another book. Also, another thing to note is that this book has homosexual characters and themes in it. Again, this doesn't bother me one bit, but I know that some people might be turned off by that or feel uncomfortable reading it.

Let me just say again, that I am yet again amazed by another John Green novel and happily introduced to David Levithan's writing, which I hope to read more of! A unique contemporary read.

4 - I really liked it. Worth buying.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs
Katherine Tegen Books, 304 pages

"Lily Sanderson has a secret, and it’s not that she has a huge crush on gorgeous swimming god Brody Bennett, who makes her heart beat flipper-fast. Unrequited love is hard enough when you’re a normal teenage girl, but when you’re half human, half mermaid like Lily, there’s no such thing as a simple crush. Lily’s mermaid identity is a secret that can’t get out, since she’s not just any mermaid – she’s a Thalassinian princess. When Lily found out three years ago that her mother was actually a human, she finally realized why she didn’t feel quite at home in Thalassinia, and she’s been living on land and going to Seaview high school ever since, hoping to find where she truly belongs. Sure, land has its problems – like her obnoxious, biker boy neighbor Quince Fletcher – but it has that one major perk – Brody. The problem is, mermaids aren’t really the casual dating type – when they “bond,” it’s for life. When Lily’s attempt to win Brody’s love leads to a tsunami-sized case of mistaken identity, she is in for a tidal wave of relationship drama, and she finds out, quick as a tailfin flick, that happily-ever-after never sails quite as smoothly as you planned."

Let me begin with why I even read this book. For one, I have a love of mythical creatures such
as: unicorns, centaurs, etc. One of my favorites being mermaids. Now, if you're like me, you
don't want to read just any mermaid story. And if I'm being honest, there aren't that many
mermaid books out there anyways. (So, I'm glad this one is!!) And I greatly enjoyed this book!

The main character Lily is only fourteen. So keep in mind that her maturity level and her
perceptions are not exactly up to scale of someone that is say, seventeen years old. Lily was a
character that I both liked, yet wanted to smack some sense into at the same time. First of all, I do
feel that her name is such a typical mermaid name! I do wish it was something a little more
unique or interesting. That being said, I did enjoy reading about Quince. Quince is the type of
guy you love to hate, or that's how it is for Lily anyways. He's sarcastic, blunt, and definitely
obnoxious. But don't worry, there is far more to him than his playful exterior and that's what I
loved about him. Lily did seem bothered by him, but Quince always had good intentions. Brody
for me was definitely under-developed. And that's not just for the reader, he's under-developed
for Lily too. He's the type of guy every girl wants and he doesn't really change throughout the
book. Lily's best friend Shannen, I felt like I didn't get to know that much about her.

As for the plot, I found it intriguing. Although, I will admit, I found it predictable, I still greatly
enjoyed reading it. Childs does a terrific job building up her Thalassinian underworld, and I wish
I belonged in it! Forgive My Fins was also an incredibly fast read. Even though it's almost fall
right now, I feel like it would've been such an awesome summer read! It's set in Florida and just
the story line has summer appeal.

This book was definitely cutesy. So, if a cute story or something sort of chiclet does not appeal to you, then I wouldn't read it. But, if you're a fan of mermaids and are down for an adorable romance, I say choose Forgive My Fins! It's sure to keep you wanting more.

4 - I really liked it. Worth buying.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Quote of the Week Wednesday!

Hannah: "Oh, Lily," He says shaking his head. "I know about love. About wanting and dreaming and wishing with every part of your soul. I know enough to recognize the parts that are real and the parts that are only in my fantasy." - Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

Emily: "I'm not playing Scrabble against against Singleton. God, if I want to be reminded of how dumb I am, I'll just consult my verbal SAT scores, thanks." - An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

Jessica: "'I want the men to be gentle and courteous as they gather the chickens. Under no circumstances do I want anyone to show disrespect to any of the chickens.' 'Disrepect,' Kahlan repeated. 'To a chicken.' 'That's right.'" -Soul of the Fire by Terry Goodkind

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Book Discussion #1: Series vs. Stand Alone novels

When it comes to deciding which book to read next, whether it's a stand alone or in a series can affect your decision. So, what do you prefer: series or stand alone novels? Also, what is your favorite series and your favorite stand alone novel?

Hannah: This question is always tricky for me to answer. I want to say straight forward that I dislike series, but this isn't always the case. Although, I have noticed a new trend in series. Today it seems that all new book releases are either a book already a part of a series out or is the first book in a new series. The negatives to series is that once you start the first, there's no going back. Even if I don't like the book, I'll ultimately have to discover how the story ends. Some books I believe need to be involved in a series, particularly fantasy or dystopian novels. These two specific genres entail world building, so by having the first book to set up the premise and details of a society it will allow for a greater story line. In other cases, such as contemporary fiction, there is no need for a series. I personally don't mind trilogies, but more than 3 books irks me. My favorite series is a tie between The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling, and my favorite stand alone novel is Looking for Alaska by John Green.

Emily: Oh man... the answer to this question is mighty complicated for me seeing as how what I think is completely opposite from the evidence on my Shelfari. I would much rather prefer a stand alone novel, but I do agreee with what Hannah said as to specific genres needing to be in a series, such as fantasy and dystopian. If the author is building a world or introducing a new and extremely complicated concept, a series is the best option so the author doesn't have to rush things in one book. Now, if I take a look as to what my favorite books are, I can honestly say that about 90% of them are in series. Those series are THAT good. I feel that books today are all becoming series because of the series that were so amazing and successful. This is sad to me. I would love to pick up a book knowing that the book will end. Let me go off on a tangent here... YES. Things HAVE to END at some point!!! Don't have a book series go on for more than 5 books. It gets old. (Unless you are Ms. Rowling. Then, by all means, write a hundred books!!!!) Also, it is nice to know the planned amount of books that will be in a series so that you know what you are signing up for by book one. For example: Although the Inheritance Cycle is one of my favorite books series, I was honestly angry at the end of Brisingr (Book 3). It was supposed to be the last one, and it clearly wasn't. And then we find out that we have to wait YEARS for the last one to be released! Sense my frustration? Anyways, in conclusion, if the series is epic, it is completely worth it, but I do like my novels here and there. Favorite Series: Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling (Duh) and The Sword of Truth Series by Terry Goodkind; Favorite Stand Alone: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Jessica: Whether the book is a stand alone or part of a series does not usually affect my initial decision to read a book. The problem that most people have with series is that if the first book is bad, they still feel the need to read the rest of the series, but in my case, this isn't true. I've always been able to pick up the first book in a series and not finish the series if I didn't like the first book. If the first book in the series is really good, then I prefer series because I don't want the story to end. Sometimes with stand alone novels I feel like the story got over with too quickly. Favorite Series: The Sword of Truth Series by Terry Goodkind; Favorite Stand Alone: Entwined by Heather Dixon

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Looking For Alaska by John Green

Looking For Alaska by John Green
Dutton Books, 221 pages

"Miles 'Pudge' Halter is abandoning his safe-okay, boring-life. Fascinated by the last words of famous people, Pudge leaves for boarding school to seek what a dying Rabelais called the 'Great Perhaps.' Pudge becomes encircled by friends whose lives are everything but safe and boring. Their nucleus is razor-sharp, sexy, and self -destructive Alaska, who has perfected the arts of pranking and evading school rules. Pudge falls impossibly in love. When tragedy strike the close-knit group, it is only in coming face-to- face with death that Pudge discovers the value of living and loving unconditionally. John Green's stunning debut marks the arrival of a stand-out new voice in young adult fiction. "

Now, let me start from the beginning. My other fellow bloggers (hint: Emily and Hannah) kept saying to me over the summer that I had to read this book called Looking For Alaska. Finally, I said to just give me the book already before both of them spoiled the whole thing. So, I sat down for my nightly reading ritual and opened this little black novel.

The next time I talked to Emily, she asked what I thought of the book so far, with much enthusiasm I might add. But my reaction was that I was only fifty pages in and I really didn't understand why she had been so insistent that I read it. She told me just to keep reading and you'll understand why.

While they found this book laugh out loud funny (there was only one part that I honestly giggled), I think that I took something different from this book than they did (Or they just told me the humorous moments over the more in-depth ones to get me to read it. I have been in a major historical fiction phase lately.) What I received from this book was a consistent thought throughout that touches the mind of every teenager, or person for that matter, at a certain point in their lives. Besides Pudge's "Great Perhaps", life's labyrinth and how we escape it is the other main objective that is discussed. Perhaps in writing this novel, John Green was trying to convey that we all have to decide how to get along in life.

Along with the religious class that Pudge and his classmates are required to take (Which, after reading about, I believe that every high school student should take.), and the mindset that everyone needs to choose what path they are to lead, this book simply makes you think. Thinking is not a common use of time anymore, but it can enrich our lives and this novel has certainly enriched mine.

Rating: 4 stars- I really liked it. Worth borrowing.