Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday, as always, is brought to you by The Broke and The Bookish.

Today's topic: Top Ten books on my to-read list this fall, which are not necessarily books that are new, just ones I never got around to reading (in no particular order):

1. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. Everyone says it's fabulous and my close friend loves it, so I plan on stealing it from her soon. Plus if I read it, I can see the movie after!

2. Forget You by Jennifer Echols. Sounds great and exactly the type of book I would like.

3. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. A must read. Sad that I have not read it yet. The end.

4. Summer in the South by Cathy Holton. I love southern gothic and I really should read more of it.

5. Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma. The topic of this book may seem disturbing or controversial to some people, but I think this book has the potential to be very powerful. I would really like to read it and have suggested that my library purchase it.

6. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Many secondary schools use this book in their curriculum and as a teacher, I feel that this is one of those that I should read, even though we do not teach it.

7. The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle. This one might make me a little teary, but again, sounds exactly like the type of book I love.

8. Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker. This storyline sounds very interesting and I'm curious to see how the author interweaves the faith aspect. I would not consider myself a religious person, but definitely want to read this one.

9. Shine by Lauren Myracle. Gotta love coming of age stories from a lovely author.

10. Delirium by Lauren Oliver. I have heard great things and I have become a big fan of dystopian done right.

Feel free to link to your Top Tens in the comments!

Review: The Name of the Star

Author: Maureen Johnson
Publish date: September 2011
Source: Penguin booth at Comic Con
"The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.

Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities."

I was hooked by this book about a third of the way in. It took a little while for me to get into it, but once the murders began, the plot picks right up and cruises along until the end. As in, the last two nights I was reading it, I planned on going to bed early, but I couldn't because I just had to keep reading. I don't normally read thrillers, but it's Maureen Johnson, so I had to.

Rory is the main character (Gilmore Girls reference?), a high schooler who is spending time at a boarding school in London. I really liked "seeing" London through her eyes and reading her thoughts about British culture and mannerisms. With Ms. Johnson's great descriptions of the setting, it was easy to imagine that it was me there in the boarding school (although I would have left after the first murder). The book did get scary/creepy in some parts, but I am a baby when it comes to stuff like that, so it may not have been as scary as I imagine. This book will be part of a series, so I will definitely be reading the others and finding out what happens to Rory and the other characters.

Oh, and if you do not follow Maureen Johnson on twitter, you need to. She is HILARIOUS.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Musing Monday

This week's Musing Monday asks:

What was the last book you…
• borrowed from the library?
• bought?
• cried over?
• disliked and couldn’t finish?
• read & loved?
• got for review? (or: got in the mail?)
• gave to someone else?
• stayed up too late reading?

1. I last borrowed Divergent by Veronica Roth from the library. I love the library so much. Free books, they usually order books for you if they don't have them, they put books on hold for you...I could go on and on.

2. The last book I legit bought was The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. It was fantastic and intriguing and nonfiction!

3. Cried over? I have no idea. I kind of have a heart of stone, so I don't really cry at books. Extreme home makeover, though? Yes. Tears.

4. I started Spoiled by the fug girls a few weeks ago and just couldn't get into it. Maybe it was too pop culture? I'm not sure.

5. Read and loved? Divergent, for sure. I also read Into the Wild so I can teach it in a few weeks and I really liked that one too.

6. I don't get books for review (yet?), but I am a member of NetGalley and plan on reading Saving June soon from there.

7. I kind of gave my mom the Hunger Games trilogy. She has a kindle and wants to read more on it, so I gave her an amazon gift card specifically to buy those 3 books.

8. I stay up too late reading almost every night during the summer. Last night I couldn't stop reading The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson and before that it was Divergent.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Review: Divergent

Author: Veronica Roth
Publish date: 2011
Source: Library
"Beatrice "Tris" Prior has reached the fateful age of sixteen, the stage at which teenagers in Veronica Roth's dystopian Chicago must select which of five factions to join for life. Each faction represents a virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. To the surprise of herself and her selfless Abnegation family, she chooses Dauntless, the path of courage. Her choice exposes her to the demanding, violent initiation rites of this group, but it also threatens to expose a personal secret that could place in mortal danger. Veronica Roth's young adult Divergent trilogy launches with a captivating adventure about love and loyalty playing out under most extreme circumstances."

Let's see...I loved this book! It's a dystopian YA, which makes most people think of the Hunger Games, of course, but I am pretty sure I enjoyed Divergent more! I liked the main character, Tris, and thought she was fairly well developed, which I did not think of Katniss. I liked learning a bit about each of the factions in this future Chicago, and I really hope we learn more about them in the other two novels in the trilogy. I noticed in some reviews on Goodreads that some people were frustrated that Ms. Roth did not give enough backstory for the world that she created, including a general history, but I am convinced that she has much more to tell and reveal in the other books. I think Divergent ends in a way that allows Insurgent to do a lot of explaining, if that makes sense to those who have read it.

I'll be honest...this book was long. Like, 500 pages. Happily, though, it is seriously hard to put down and even though I could barely keep my eyes open the other day, I plowed through the last 100ish pages because I just HAD to keep reading. So good. If you like dystopian lit, this is for you. Simple but effective writing style, good characters (I imagine Four as being quite, uh, good looking?), and an intriguing storyline. Can't wait for the rest of the trilogy.

Currently reading: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Saturday, August 13, 2011


No posts in a while because...
I was on vacation! I went to Florida (in August, I know) and visited both Universal and Disney. The main reason we went was to check out the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which was pretty amazing.

The frozen butterbeer was DELISH and I of course got the souvineer mug, which I plan on using all the time. My lovely boyfriend also bought me a wand, which I said I did not need, but he said it was necessary :)

Disney was pretty incredible. It was so much fun to go back to everything as an adult. I had a blast and can't wait to go back again (but not in August).

Currently reading: Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Review: Then I Met my Sister

Author: Christine Hurley Deriso
Publish date: 2011
Source: Library
"Summer Stetson lives inside a shrine to her dead sister. Eclipsed by Shannon's greatness, Summer feels like she's a constant disappointment to her controlling, Type A momzilla and her all-too-quiet dad. Her best friend Gibson believes Summer's C average has more to do with rebelliousness than smarts, but she knows she can never measure up—academically or otherwise.

On her birthday, Summer receives a secret gift from her aunt: Shannon's diary. Suddenly, the one-dimensional vision of her sister becomes all too solid. Is this love-struck, mom-bashing badass the same Shannon everyone raves about? Determined to understand her troubled sister, Summer dives headfirst down a dark rabbit hole and unearths painful family secrets. Each revelation brings Summer closer to the mysterious and liberating truth about her family—and herself."

I picked this up on a whim at the library and ended up loving it! I could have read it in one sitting, but I started it before I went to bed and got about halfway through before I was too tired to keep going, then finished it this morning. I had never heard of the author, Christine Hurley Deriso, or even seen the book on any blogs, which surprises me. I thought the storyline was really intriguing and I did not want to put it down because I was always eager to know what was going to happen next.
I really liked the main character, Summer, and her friend Gibs, who is sweet, smart, and nerdy (just my type!). I found them both likable and enjoyed Summer's sarcastic, yet honest, outlook on high school and life in general. I'd definitely like to get this for my classroom library at school and will be recommending it come fall!
Next: Right now, I have Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, Spoiled by the Fug girls, Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott, or Into the Wild for school. Decisions, decisions

Review: Shiver

Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publish date: 2000
Source: Library
"Grace and Sam share a kinship so close they could be lovers or siblings. But they also share a problem. When the temperature slips towards freezing, Sam reverts to his wolf identity and must retreat into the woods to protect his pack. He worries that eventually his human side will fade away and he will left howling alone at the lonely moon. A stirring supernatural teen romance."

Ok...I really wanted to like this book. I have heard great things about the series from other bloggers and even though I am not a fan of supernatural romances (a la Twilight), I decided to give it a shot. I didn't think it was terrible, but I guess I just don't understand what is so great about it. Grace reminded me of Bella from Twilight, in that she was basically obsessed with her guy/wolf and he is the only thing that matters to her. I understand being in love with someone, but that person should not be the only thing you think about. I had a hard time being interested in them as a couple and actually thought they were pretty boring.

I'm not sure if I'll read the other two books in the trilogy. I'm curious about them, but I might not be curious enough to actually read them since I had a hard time finding the characters to be believable and interesting in this one.

Currently reading: ...then i met my sister by Christine Hurley Deriso, which is really good so far