Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Non-bookish sites

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and was created by the lovely Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner.

I LOVE this week's topic, which is: Top Ten sites you read that are NOT about books.

1. Jezebel: I've been reading Jezebel since it started about 5 years ago. I love it, although not as much as I used to. The community used to be a bit different, but I still love the articles and check it every day.

2. CNN.com for my world news, of course

3. Neatorama for odd and off the wall articles

4. Pamie.com: I used to go to Television Without Pity all the time back in the day and Pamie wrote awesome Gilmore Girls recaps. I've been reading her blog since high school.

5. The Small Things Blog: I love her hair tutorials

6. Hyperbole and a Half: clean ALL THE THINGS!!

7. Pinterest: It's addicting, you know.

8. The Bloggess: Beyonce the chicken. I die.

9. The Oatmeal: He just GETS it.

10. The Daily What: Quirky news

Monday, May 21, 2012

Review: Insurgent

Author: Veronica Roth
Publish date: May 1, 2012
Source: Library
"One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.
" (Goodreads)

Even though this was my second most anticipated book of the year (behind Pandemonium), it still took me over a week to read. Not because it was bad, but because I have so much going on with the end of the year and taking a class. I feel like I'm going crazy and losing my mind, but I am definitely sure of one thing: Insurgent was FANTASTIC.

Like Pandemonium, Insurgent is not a typical second book in a trilogy or series. This book was full of nonstop action and was most definitely not a boring filler. It picks up where Divergent left off and Veronica Roth does not do any recapping of previous events, so you might want to reread Divergent or check out her blog post bringing you up to speed to Insurgent (obviously book 1 spoilers if you click it!).

After reading all 525 pages of Insurgent, I WANT MORE. I loved everything we got to learn about the factions and characters. As I was reading, I kept trying to figure out what faction I would be in and I have no idea! I don't fit into just one and I think that's part of the beauty of this series: we can see ourselves everywhere and can identify with the characters. Love it. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Just popping in to say that A Reader's Pensieve will be pretty slow for the next 4 weeks. 18 days left in the school year (not that I'm counting or anything) and trying to keep up with end of the year craziness AND my first grad class is kicking my butt. Seriously, I've had Insurgent for a WEEK and I'm still not done! The approximately zero free time is severely impacting my reading time, but once June 8th hits, I am ALL READING, ALL THE TIME. Oh and um, you know, taking that class. But mostly reading. I CAN'T WAIT.

tl;dr: If you are patient, I'll be back and full steam ahead in 4 weeks.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday Check in 5/11

Well, this week has been CRAZY in terms of work and my new grad class, so I haven't been reading much. I started reading Vanish by Sophie Jordan earlier this week, but set it aside since I couldn't really get into it. I DID, however, get INSURGENT from the library and want to finish it tonight/this weekend (along with grading ALL THE THINGS and doing homework).

I'd like to get to these this week if I can:

Insurgent by Veronica Roth
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter (UM grad, aw yeah!)
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa (I know, I know, STILL)

This week on the blog:
Review: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
Top Ten Tuesday: Quotations
Review: Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty

Dear May:
Please be done now.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Review: Second Helpings

Author: Megan McCafferty
Publish date: 2003
Source: Library
"Jessica Darling is up in arms again in this much-anticipated, hilarious sequel to Sloppy Firsts. This time, the hyperobservant, angst-ridden teenager is going through the social and emotional ordeal of her senior year at Pineville High. Not only does the mysterious and oh-so-compelling Marcus Flutie continue to distract Jessica, but her best friend, Hope, still lives in another state, and she can’t seem to escape the clutches of the Clueless Crew, her annoying so-called friends. To top it off, Jessica’s parents won’t get off her butt about choosing a college, and her sister Bethany’s pregnancy is causing a big stir in the Darling household." (Goodreads)

Jessica Darling!! This girl has completely won me over with Second Helpings! I loved that in this book, she was still snarky and sarcastic, but at the same time was growing up. However, that's not to say that she made great choices during her senior year at Pineville; she did a few things that made me think, "wth, Jessica?!?" BUT at the same time I completely GOT it. Who doesn't make dumb choices in high school and then learn from them? We live and learn and I like that Megan McCafferty let Jessica live and learn.

I really like that Jessica gets older throughout the series. It's refreshing to read about someone going from a snarky sophomore to a still snarky but more mature senior and then into college in the later books. I also think this narrative/timeline style helps in that you don't feel like you are spending too much time on one plot point. Months fly by in these books!

Re: The Marcus Flutie thing from my review of Sloppy Firsts: I GET IT NOW. I get it and I hope it continues in the rest of the series. YOU. YES. YOU.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Quotes

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and was started by the lovely Jamie at The Perpetual Pageturner. This week's topic is:

Top Ten Book Quotes

I am TERRIBLE at remembering quotes but I will do my best!

1. "It is our choices, Harry, that show who we truly are, far more than our abilities." -Dumbledore

2. Tina Fey's prayer for her daughter from Bossypants. Google it. I dare you to not fall out of your chair laughing. Too long to write here.

3. "In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you." -Mr. Daaaarcy

4. "Don't judge a man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins." -Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech. This quote has stuck with me since 4th grade.

5. YOU. YES. YOU -Second Helpings. Not really a quote, but OH WELL.

6. "So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane." -Looking for Alaska

7. "What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person." -Paper Towns

8. "So it's not gonna be easy. It's going to be really hard; we're gonna have to work at this everyday, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, everyday. You and me... everyday." -Yeah, I like the Notebook. And I like the movie more than the book. SUE ME.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Review: Between Shades of Gray

Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publish date: 2011
Source: Library
"Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously-and at great risk-documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.
" (Goodreads)

A couple weeks ago, I was doing a rare perusal of the library shelves (instead of putting everything on hold as usual), I found Between Shades of Gray and picked it up, remembering that I had wanted to read it and historical fiction sounded good at that time. Let me just say...WOW. I loved it. A lot.

I've never read a book set in this particular time and place before and I have to say, I'm pretty ignorant about that era as well. Ruta Sepetys has COMPLETELY opened my eyes to history, which I'm sure was one of her goals. I can't imagine going through what Lina and her family did and I'm so glad that Ms. Sepetys decided to make this horrible aspect of history more widely known. My mind was blown.

I really loved the writing style here: simple, but brutally effective. Reading about things like death, starvation, and sickness were like a punch to the gut and to characters that I knew and loved? Ouch. My heart hurt. Ms. Sepetys created some wonderful characters that I was sad to say goodbye to when I finished the book.

If you are looking for wonderful historical fiction (or just a wonderful book), do yourself a favor and read Between Shades of Gray. You won't regret it.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday Check in 5/4

Lately I've been feeling like there is something missing here at A Reader's Pensieve. I decided I'd like to do a weekly round up type thing on Fridays in which I go over my posts for the week and talk about my reading choices for the following week. So, without further adieu, I give you...

Friday Check in 

Clever name, no? ;)

Posts on the blog this week
Review: Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
Top Ten TuesdayBook to Movie
Review: Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

Next week I'd like to read, um, two of the books from last week that I never got to AND: 

The Iron King: Julie Kagawa
Vanish: Sophie Jordan
Second Helpings: Megan McCaffery (currently reading)

Next week look for a review of Between Shades of Gray and Sloppy Seconds!

A note on my non-blog life: I am officially starting grad school on the 7th. I am really excited to start my MLIS, but feel that my blog will suffer a bit, especially in May since I'll be teaching full time still and getting used to being in school again. Once June 8th hits, though, I can focus on my class and the blog! I get the feeling this first month of school+work is going to be crazy! Any advice is appreciated :)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Review: Sloppy Firsts

Author: Megan McCafferty
Publish date: 2001
Source: Library
"When her best friend, Hope Weaver, moves away from Pineville, New Jersey, hyperobservant sixteen-year-old Jessica Darling is devastated. A fish out of water at school and a stranger at home, Jessica feels more lost than ever now that the only person with whom she could really communicate has gone. How is she supposed to deal with the boy- and shopping-crazy girls at school, her dad’s obsession with her track meets, her mother salivating over big sister Bethany’s lavish wedding, and her nonexistent love life? 

A fresh, funny, utterly compelling fiction debut by first-time novelist Megan McCafferty, Sloppy Firsts is an insightful, true-to-life look at Jessica’s predicament as she embarks on another year of teenage torment—from the dark days of Hope’s departure through her months as a type-A personality turned insomniac to her completely mixed-up feelings about Marcus Flutie, the intelligent and mysterious “Dreg” who works his way into her heart. Like a John Hughes for the twenty-first century, Megan McCafferty taps into the inherent humor and drama of the teen experience. This poignant, hilarious novel is sure to appeal to readers who are still going through it, as well as those who are grateful that they don’t have to go back and grow up all over again.
" (Goodreads)

All right, people, I finally did it: I read SLOPPY FIRSTS. And while I did not LOVE it or ADORE it to death, I did indeed LIKE it and in fact already have Second Helpings in my possession.

First things first: Jessica Darling is one of the most real teenage protagonists I have ever had the pleasure of reading about or hearing a story from. Everything she said/thought about high school...I could have said. She was so sarcastic and pitch perfect and REAL. Megan McCafferty must have been in my head because I found parts of myself in Jessica.

The Marcus Flutie thing: I don't get it...yet. It's a 5 book series and I've only read book 1, so I think there is more Flutie to come because I feel like we/Jessica haven't dug into him enough yet. I am excited to read more from Jessica's POV and look forward to learning more about Marcus. Oh and laughing out loud. Because I did that. Quite a bit. Bring it, Second Helpings!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Book to Movie

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and started by Jamie at the Perpetual Page Turner. This week's topic is:

Top Ten Books I'd like to see as movies

1. Divergent: How awesome would this be on film???

2. The Shade series

3. Delirium/Pandemonium: I think this has been optioned as a film.

4. Across the Universe/A Million Suns

5. The Night Circus: I think this one would be hard to pull off well.

6. Lola and the Boy Next Door: This would be ADORABLE

7. This Lullaby: My favorite Dessen book

8. Chaos Walking trilogy: I believe this has also been optioned.

9. When She Woke: I really want to see red people.

10. Cinder: This might be awesome.