Monday, December 30, 2013

The Troop by Nick Cutter
Published January 7, 2014
by Gallery Books*
Lord of the Flies meets The Ruins in this frightening novel written in the bestselling traditions of Stephen King and Scott Smith.

Boy Scouts live by the motto “Be Prepared.” However, nothing can prepare this group of young boys and their scoutmaster for what they encounter on a small, deserted island, as they settle down for a weekend of campfires, merit badges, and survival lessons.

Everything changes when a haggard stranger in tattered clothing appears out of nowhere and collapses on the campers’ doorstep. Before the night is through, this stranger will end up infecting one of the troop’s own with a bioengineered horror that’s straight out of their worst nightmares. Now stranded on the island with no communication to the outside world, the troop learns to battle much more than the elements, as they are pitted against something nature never intended…and eventually each other.

“Lean and crisp and over-the-top....Disquieting, disturbing,” says Scott Smith, author of The Ruins and A Simple Plan, The Troop is a visceral burn of a read that combines boldly drawn characters with a fantastically rendered narrative—a terrifying story you’ll never forget.
This book was... gross. But that was only due to the fact that scenes were described so well. I mean, they were pretty gory and I had a hard time reading some of the scenes. I actually had to skip some of them because I wanted to gag a little bit. It was weird because I can usually deal with gross scenes, but in this case I just couldn't do it.

The story splits between what is going on on the island where the Boy Scout Troop is and interviews conducted by the government about what happened that caused the events (for example, a scientist who created something bad that spread). I don't want to give away too much, but it makes people so insanely hungry that they will eat anything (though thankfully not humans- if there were zombies this would have been beyond horrifying) while quickly wasting away no matter how much they eat.

The content was good, but as I said before you probably need a stronger stomach to get through this. The story was fast paced and kept me coming back to see what would happen next despite the creepy shivers I'd get every time I got to a gross scene.

*I received a free digital copy to review.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh 

Named one of the Funniest Sites on the Web by PC World and winner of the 2011 Bloggies Awards for Most Humorous Weblog and Best Writing, the creator of the immensely popular “Hyperbole and a Half” blog presents an illustrated collection of her hilarious stories with fifty percent new content.
In a four-color, illustrated collection of stories and essays, Allie Brosh’s debut Hyperbole and a Half chronicles the many “learning experiences” Brosh has endured as a result of her own character flaws, and the horrible experiences that other people have had to endure because she was such a terrible child. Possibly the worst child. For example, one time she ate an entire cake just to spite her mother.

Brosh’s website receives millions of unique visitors a month and hundreds of thousands of visitors a day. This amalgamation of new material and reader favorites from Brosh's blog includes stories about her rambunctious childhood; the highs and mostly lows of owning a smart, neurotic dog and a mentally challenged one; and moving, honest, and darkly comic essays tackling her struggles with depression and anxiety, among other anecdotes from Brosh's life. Artful, poignant, and uproarious, Brosh’s self-reflections have already captured the hearts of countless readers and her book is one that fans and newcomers alike will treasure.
This was a highly entertaining book that didn't take me very long to get through. I love Brosh's blog Hyperbole and a Half and it was like reading her blog in printed form... The pictures from both her book and blog are probably the best part, by the way. I found her writing about her experience with depression to be touching and explained in a way that it makes it easier for people who have never dealt with it to understand.

OK, I'll be honest. You could skip buying the book and read the blog for some of the chapters in the book, but the book is highly entertaining and when you want to read it you don't need internet access. Also, it's very colorful and doesn't require batteries to read it... unless you're reading it at in the dark by flashlight. And if you really prefer a digital version it's available on Kindle and other electronical versions. But if you like her blog you'll like this book.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Before I Die by Candy Chang

Published November 5, 2013

What do you want to do before you die?

When artist Candy Chang painted the side of an abandoned building with chalkboard paint and asked her neighbors this question, she never expected it to become a worldwide phenomenon. Within a day of the wall’s completion, however, it was covered in colorful chalk dreams as people stopped and reflected on their lives. Since then, more than two hundred walls have been created by people all over the world.  This beautifully designed book is an inspiring celebration of these walls. Filled with our hopes, fears, humor, and heartbreak, it’s a reminder of our shared connections and a chance to ponder life’s ultimate question.
Candy Chang is an artist that (I think at least) brings people together with her interactive projects. This project specifically started as something for the community (in New Orleans) and it has since spread world wide. Some of the things people wrote were funny, some were sad, and some inspiring.

The book is filled with pictures and stories and, at the end of the book, it tells you how to make your own "Before I die" wall in your community. This is something that, with the help and resources, would be a great project for my town. While it's not the kind of book I typically read, it was a nice change and is something I'll probably leave on my coffee table and look at from time to time when I need some inspiration.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield

Published November 5, 2013
Caught up in a moment of boyhood competition, William Bellman recklessly aims his slingshot at a rook resting on a branch, killing the bird instantly. It is a small but cruel act, and is soon forgotten. By the time he is grown, with a wife and children of his own, William seems to have put the whole incident behind him. It was as if he never killed the thing at all. But rooks don’t forget . . .

Years later, when a stranger mysteriously enters William’s life, his fortunes begin to turn—and the terrible and unforeseen consequences of his past indiscretion take root. In a desperate bid to save the only precious thing he has left, he enters into a rather strange bargain, with an even stranger partner. Together, they found a decidedly macabre business.

And Bellman and Black is born.
William Bellman has some luck and a lot of work ethic... and then more bad luck (though never with money). He is a business man who makes that his focus. Whatever he is working on at the time gets his full attention and thoughts. I both liked and hated that about him. But when he sees the man in black he becomes obsessed with him- both in trying to find him and thinking about who he is/might be.

When it came to the end of the book- we follow him from the time he is a child and kills the rook to late adulthood- that he wasted the time he could have had with his family by focusing on working. His work seemed to be the center of his life and when tragedy strikes he is thrown even more into business pursuits. It seemed to me that his focus on business rather than family was such a waste. But after being surrounded by so much tragedy he loses the ability to appreciate what he has and he makes "more"- getting more, saving more- his life. It was sad but very interesting and well written.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

2013 Banned Books Week!

I always get excited about Banned Books Week but then I forget to post anything about it until it's either halfway through or at the very end. I think the last time I posted anything about banned books week was back in 2010. I'm sorry. I am easily distracted.

I think it's the lists the I like to look at most. For example:

Top 10 Challenged Book by Year
100 Most Frequently Challenged Book by Decade

Banned books that shaped America

I still can't understand why the Harry Potter series was the #1 most challenged book from 2000-2009. Of course, I love Harry Potter so I'm biased (I talked about why I love it in this post). It would almost be better if, in order to challenge a book, you have to read the entire thing. Who are you to say a book should be banned if you haven't even read the full thing yourself? And so what if you didn't like it? What makes you so special that you think that because you took offense other people shouldn't have access to it? It infuriates me... so go out and read a banned book. Because you can!

There is also a Virtual Read Out going on this week. Click the link to find out more!

Free download of the full banned books lists

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Help for the Haunted by John Searles

 Published September 17, 2013
from William Morrow
It begins with a call in the middle of snowy February evening. Lying in her bed, young Sylvie Mason overhears her parents on the phone across the hall. This is not the first late-night call they have received, since her mother and father have an uncommon occupation, helping "haunted souls" find peace. And yet, something in Sylvie senses that this call is different than the rest, especially when they are lured to the old church on the outskirts of town. Once there, her parents disappear, one after the other, behind the church's red door, leaving Sylvie alone in the car. Not long after, she drifts off to sleep only to wake to the sound of gunfire.

Nearly a year later, we meet Sylvie again struggling with the loss of her parents, and living in the care of her older sister, who may be to blame for what happened the previous winter.

As the story moves back and forth in time, through the years leading up to the crime and the months following, the ever inquisitive and tender-hearted Sylvie pursues the mystery, moving closer to the knowledge of what occurred that night, as she comes to terms with her family's past and uncovers secrets that have haunted them for years.
I enjoyed this a lot, but I couldn't help but consider some of the messages in the book. I can't mention most of them because I don't want to give any spoilers, so I'll try to stick to general ideas.

I felt that a lot of mistakes were made by the parents that you see through Sylvie's flashbacks. Sylvie's sister Rose is supposed to be taking care of her but is doing a terrible job; She's too selfish to care for anyone but herself (though she doesn't exactly do a great job of that either). But most of Rose's issues go back to how she is raised and the choices her parents (mostly her father) made.

Sylvie goes looking for answers about her parents because it is her testimony that will play a big part in the conviction of who the police think killed her parents. What she finds out will forever change what she thought she knew about them, but she also finds out a lot about herself along the way.

Help for the Haunted is a great story and I didn't want to put the book down- full of mystery and wonderfully written.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.
I loved this book! It's been on my "to read" list since it came out and I finally was able to borrow a copy from a friend. I spent most of the book trying to figure out (as did Marco and Celia) what "the game" is and how a winner will be determined. There is just something about this book that I found beautiful. There is so much beauty in the things created by Celia and Marco. There is beauty in the circus itself. And the magic is beautiful. Of course there was ugliness, too, but that mainly lies with Celia's father... I think Celia's father is a horrible man.

This wasn't a traditional "love story". They spend so much of the book doing things for each other (indirectly) and so little time together. It made me a somewhat sad to see them being in love from a distance, but that does more to show that they really do feel that way and it isn't something that will pass. It is a beautiful, touching and magical (literally and figuratively) story.

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Published September 3, 2013
by Little, Brown Books

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.
When I first read the description I wasn't sure what to expect when it just said "monsters" but I wasn't surprised when it turned out to be vampires. They're everywhere these days. The idea of a "Coldtown" was new though. The idea is that once a town is showing signs of infection they get blocked off and everyone living there, even if they aren't infected, are stuck inside. Bounty hunters catch vampires and bring them to the towns where they can either collect money or a marker. Markers allow someone on the inside who isn't infected to get out.

It was entertaining and I'll be honest that, yes, it is another story with an attractive looking vampire and all that stuff. If don't like that kind of thing this probably isn't for you, but if you can still appreciate a good YA vampire story, this is a pretty good one. You can pre-order a sample of the book for Kindle for free from Amazon that has the first 68 pages.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 30!

Day 30 - An Author that you will read whatever they put out
John Green

I'm somewhat picky about what I choose to spend the time reading, but I have never been disappointed by a John Green book. All of them are thoughtful and touching and funny. It shows the thoughtful and smart (yet somewhat stupid as teenagers-and adults- can be) side of teens rather than the selfish, boy crazy ones that I read about so much in YA novels. The Fault in Our Stars (get the hardcover from Amazon right now for $6!) is my favorite so if you haven't read it yet I'd recommend it!

Neil Gaiman also does great work. I especially love his YA novels, such as Coraline and The Graveyard Book. He also has great novels for us older folk (non-teenaged), like Stardust.

Thanks for checking out the 30 Day Book Challenge! Now I can get back to my normal schedule and read more books!

Click here to view the full 30 Day Book Challenge list

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 29

Day 29- An Author that you completely avoid/hate won't read
E.L. James

No offense to her, but I refuse to read anything that is basically Twilight Fan Fiction. It goes against everything I believe in literature wise. However, my cousin read it and you can read her review here. I feel a bit snobby when I put it that way but I just can't help it!

What about you? Whose work do you avoid like the plague?

Click here to view the full challenge list

Monday, July 29, 2013

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 28

Day 28- Favorite quotes

Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.
 This is one of my favorite quotes from LOTR!

Speech from Nora Roberts' Circle Trilogy (Book 3), Valley of Silence
“It’s not for them you come here to this bitter valley, knowing your blood may spill on its ground. It’s for all humankind you come here. For all humankind you stand here. You are the chosen. You are the blessed. All the worlds and every heart that beats in them is your heart now, your world now. We, the chosen, are one world, one heart, one purpose."
Her cloak snapped in the wind as the stallion pranced, and the dying sun glinted on the gold of her crown, the steel of her sword. “We will not fail this night. We cannot fail this night. For when one of us falls, there will be another to lift the sword, the lance, to fight with stake and fist the pestilence that threatens humanity and all it is. And if that next of us should fall, there will come another and another, and still more for we are the world here, and the enemy has never known the like of us."
They're going into battle and this is the speech she gives to inspire them. This is only the first part of her speech, but I didn't want to put the whole thing on here even though I love it all. They are great books!

Shakespeare's Hamlet
Doubt thou the stars are fire,
Doubt that the sun doth move,
Doubt truth to be a liar,
But never doubt I love."
Even though he was incorrect about the sun moving, the sentiment is still nice.

What is your favorite quote from a book?

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 27

Day 27- A book you have wanted to read but haven't
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

I feel like I should have read more classics by now, but I can't bring myself to do it. My husband has a copy of Catcher in the Rye that I started to read but just never finished more than a chapter of. I am slightly ashamed at the small number of classics that I've read, but every day it seems like my "to read" list gets longer so I rarely go back to read the classics on my list. Maybe some day I'll make it a priority!

View the full challenge list

Saturday, July 27, 2013

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 26

Day 26- A Book you wish would be written

Give my a Harry Potter book 8!  I think Hank Green probably said it best in his song about HP: Book 8.
I want to know what other adventures Harry has! I want to know about their weddings, when their kids were born, and about their jobs. I WANT TO KNOW MORE!

Sorry this post was so short, but I have a wedding to go to today and a life to live. But if you want to see more of the book challenge click here for the full list!

Friday, July 26, 2013

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 25

Day 25- Favorite Autobiographical/Biographical book
Steve and Me by Terri Irwin

When Terri Raines was twenty-seven years old, she took a vacation that changed her life. Leaving behind her wildlife rescue work in Oregon, Terri traveled to Australia, and there, at a small wildlife park, she met and fell in love with a tall, blond force of nature named Steve Irwin. They were married in less than a year, and Terri eagerly joined in Steve's conservation work. The footage filmed on their crocodile-trapping honeymoon became the first episode of The Crocodile Hunter, and together, Steve and Terri began to change the world.
In Steve and Me, Terri recounts the unforgettable adventures they shared -- wrangling venomous snakes, saving deadly crocodiles from poachers, swimming among humpback whales. A uniquely gifted naturalist, Steve was first and foremost a wildlife warrior dedicated to rescuing endangered animals -- especially his beloved crocs -- and educating everyone he could reach about the importance of conservation. In the hit TV shows that continue to be broadcast worldwide, Steve's enthusiasm lives on, bringing little-known and often-feared species to light as he reveals and revels in the wonders of our planet.
With grace, wit, and candor, Terri Irwin portrays her husband as he really was -- a devoted family man, a fervently dedicated environmentalist, a modest bloke who spoke to millions on behalf of those who could not speak for themselves. Steve and Me is a nonstop adventure, a real-life love story, and a fitting tribute to a man adored by all those whose lives he touched, written by the woman who knew and loved him best of all.
I loved The Crocodile Hunter and was really sad when Steve Irwin died. OK, "really sad" is an understatement. I was crushed, you guys. I had a ridiculous love for The Crocodile Hunter- I even paid to see the movie in an actual theater. That's dedication. Her story was very well written and touching. Her stories really told (in the way she talks about Steve) how much she loved him and what a kind man he was. Also, it was good to get to know her a little better since I was always so focused on what Steve was doing rather than Terri. If you were ever a fan of The Crocodile Hunter I would recommend this book.

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 24

Day 24- Favorite comic/graphic novels
The Walking Dead

This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who reads my blog, but I love The Walking Dead comics (as referenced to here and here... and many other places). They are dark and gritty and awesome... and full of angst and drama. And zombie murder. And a lot of death.

But I also love Scott Pilgrim because it is funny. The Umbrella Academy is also a weird/entertaining read. And Comixology is great because you can get comics digitally (or possibly for free) if, like me, there are no comic book stores anywhere near you. I just started getting into comic books about a year ago (hard to find here), so I don't feel like I've read much yet, but I'm interested in finding more. Next I'll probably read Watchmen- hoping to start that soon.

Are you familiar at all with comics? What do you think I should check out? I need more!

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 23

Day 23- Favorite Romance Novel
Kiss of the Highlander by Karen Marie Moning

I'm not much of a "romance" kind of person at least as far as reading goes. I typically prefer adventure and mystery. But sometimes you just need a little loving, too. In that case I go for more of a historical/science fiction/fantasy type novel... because I am not normal. But I don't read for normal, I read for fun! I love the Highlander series because: 1) They're super hot Scottish guys and 2) They're from the past so they're big, buff, masculine men who still have chivalry and appreciation for the ladies.

I picked Kiss of the Highlander as my "favorite" because it was the first book of the series I read and made me fall in love with it. There is romance, time travel, Druid magic spells, some pretty funny scenes that made me laugh out loud and, most importantly in "romance novels", some great sex.

I'm curious as to other people's favorite romance novels. Do you go for the traditional romance novels with the shirtless man and beautiful woman on the cover with the dress too scandalous for that time period? Or do you go for another type of romance? Let me know in the comments!

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 22

Day 22- Favorite Series
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

I know these are YA books but I just love everything about the Harry Potter series. There are some people who don't understand the magic part of it and think that Harry Potter involves some kind of devil worship because "witchcraft" is evil or whatever. But when you read the story it's so much more than that.

This series is about overcoming obstacles and good winning over evil. It's about a boy who, despite the neglect he gets from his Aunt and Uncle, is still capable of so much love and forgiveness. He was put in a situation where he could have given up but instead he chose to rise up and fight for what he thought was right. This boy's parents loved him so much that they died trying to protect him (especially his mother) and the love they had for him shaped his life.

Not only that, but as I mentioned in my post about favorite female character, there is an equality between the male and female characters. It's a great thing for kids to read about. Men and women in these books are evenly matched because magic doesn't require muscle and there is no gender bias. It's the knowledge and experience that really counts.

Harry Potter, you complete me.

View the full book challenge

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Fury by Alexander Gordon Smith

Published July 23, 2013 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
*I received an ARC to review*

From the creator of the Escape from Furnace series, a ferocious epic of supernatural terror, perfect for Stephen King fans

Imagine if one day, without warning, the entire human race turns against you, if every person you know, every person you meet becomes a bloodthirsty, mindless savage . . . That’s the horrifying reality for Cal, Brick, and Daisy. Friends, family, even moms and dads, are out to get them. Their world has the Fury. It will not rest until they are dead.

In Alexander Gordon Smith’s adrenaline-fueled saga, Cal and the others must uncover the truth about what is happening before it destroys them all. But survival comes at a cost. In their search for answers, what they discover will launch them into battle with an enemy of unimaginable power.
This was the weirdest book I have read in quite some time. Plus it was really long so it was kind of like a Stephen King book for the YA genre? I don't know how else to explain it. There was something going on constantly, some really freaky stuff happens and there is a lot of death. Really... like, apocalyptic things happen. The book is based in England and mostly centers around a group of kids who, much to their surprise, have to run for their lives because everyone they come in contact with tries to kill them.

I spent most of the book trying to figure out what was going on. Because of the length of the ARC (the published book is 688 pages) I found it difficult to read sometimes. But like I said before so much happens that you want to pick it back up again to find out how it ends. It's the first time I read anything by Alexander Gordon Smith but I think I might check out some of his other stuff. I've heard a little bit about his Furnace series so that might be going on my "to read" list.

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 21

Day 21- A guilty pleasure book
Sookie Stackhouse Series by Charlaine Harris

I like these books mostly for the hot sex Sookie has... I may or may not be ashamed to admit that. I'm not quite sure which one it is yet. I couldn't pick which one would be a favorite because so much happens! There are far too many good looking men for Sookie to handle. Then there's the whole Team Eric, Team Bill, Team Sam, etc. debate that is never ending. But what did recently end was the series! In May the final Sookie book, Dead Ever After, was released. So if you like a series filled with mystery, murder, vampires, shifters, werewolves, other mythical creatures, and hot, hot sex (and don't mind a little cheese) these are great books to read.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 20

Day 20-A Book that makes you laugh

I first read and reviewed this book in the fall of 2012. This is what I said about it then and I still agree:
Jenny Lawson is hilariously damaged. I don't know how else to describe it. She shares a lot of stories from her childhood and how growing up with a father that brought home animals (alive or dead) has given her an appreciation for taxidermy (hence the stuffed mouse on the cover).

A good portion of the chapters come straight from her blog so I was a little disappointed that it wasn't all new to me. I didn't exactly mind re-reading old blog posts because they are still funny the second time around, but for $12 (kindle) I was expecting new material that I couldn't find for free on the interwebs. Even with that, I still enjoyed her (mostly true) memoir. I had moments where I laughed out loud and made my husband look at me like I'd lost my mind. That's how you know a book is funny... people look at you strange when you're reading it.
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Saturday, July 20, 2013

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 19

Day 19- Favorite Female Character
The Women of Harry Potter

For this I couldn't pick just one character. In the Harry Potter series there are so many strong, smart women: Hermione, Ginny, Luna, Mrs. Weasley, Lily Potter, Tonks, even the "bad" women like Bellatrix Lestrange are highly skilled.

Rowling does an amazing job writing women in the world she created with Harry Potter. I like when she talks about how in the world of magic men and women are equal because magic doesn't require muscle or strength; magic requires knowledge. And because of that I think characters like Hermione become the heroes because of what they can do with their minds. Thanks for the great characters, J.K.!

Who is your favorite female character(s)? Comment and let me know what you think!

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Friday, July 19, 2013

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 18

Day 18- Favorite Male Character
Bilbo Baggins

There is just something I love about Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit. I think because of his bravery- getting beyond being the scared Hobbit and doing what needs to be done. Also, his selflessness and kindness. That's the type of person I want to be.

View the full challenge

Thursday, July 18, 2013

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 17

Day 17- Book turned movie and completely desecrated

There are many examples of "I love the book but the movie was terrible!" but this one is just so awful it makes me cringe. 1) They changed the character from a guy in his 30's to a teenager, 2) They made a good guy the bad guy, and 3) It's a terrible 80's movie with Corey Haim. What's even worse is that they made 3 sequels after this one and all were straight to VHS. Nothing says "good quality entertainment" like skipping the theater all together.

When you change the idea of a book that much, it should no longer have any connection to the book. It's atrocious. I feel bad that Koontz even had his name connected with this monstrosity. It makes me a little furious because the book was so good! I want to kill it with fire.

There are so many books turned movies out there to hate. I'm curious, which one makes you want to destroy its existence?

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 16

Day 16- Favorite book turned movie

This was such a hard choice for me because next to books, movies and the internet are tied for my favorite sources of entertainment. I have so many: The Hobbit, Harry Potter, Jaws, and Practical Magic, but my favorite movie that is also a book is Jurassic Park (which you can get from Amazon right now for $4.99... just saying)... because dinosaurs! And partially because I thought that the movie was better than the book.

Usually the books are better, but in this case (possibly due to my extreme love of the movie) I felt the opposite. So it's OK that I love the movie so much! I did my part and have experienced both, but I didn't like a lot of the characters. But, that's not necessarily the author's fault. Crichton did his job and wrote this really cool story about genetically engineered dinosaurs and I thank him for that. Thank you for the dinosaurs!

What is your favorite book turned movie?

Check out the full challenge list

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 15

We're half way through the challenge! Yay!

Day 15- Favorite classic book
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

I already mentioned The Hobbit as my favorite book so I don't want to mention it again, but Fahrenheit 451 is a good second pick for favorite classic. In case you don't already know what this is about, Bradbury writes about a society where books are illegal to own and houses no longer burn... books do. I read the book last year for the first time.

This society is kind of put off by independent thought and the TV is the main source of entertainment. No longer limited to a small television, these take up entire walls and can interact somewhat with the viewer. As far as size goes, we basically have that with large screens and projectors today. Guy Montag (the main character) is a fireman, whose job is to burn any books that are found. His problems start when he decides to bring a book home instead of burning it. Once he reads it he starts thinking differently and wants to find more books to read.

I was a bit taken aback by the concept of books being an illegal thing. They basically believe free thought is achieved through reading... and I don't totally disagree with that part, but they believe free thought is a bad thing and that it causes the problems in the world. An interesting thing to think about and can make people talk about the importance of literature.

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Monday, July 15, 2013

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 14

Day 14- Book that should be on HS/college required reading list

I had a lot of ideas for books that I could choose for this. Next to 1984 I would probably pick Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I liked 1984 because it showed (at least to me) the importance of independent thought and the need to keep governments from taking total control over its people.

Yes, there were some parts that dragged on a bit, but for the most part you see a world that is strictly regulated and where the government controls everything and regularly spies on the people. I think that a book used to educate should be a source for topics of conversation and this book has plenty.

What would you recommend? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 13

Day 13- Favorite childhood book

I didn't really have a favorite book as a kid. I was too busy spending 95% of my time outside or playing with friends. Plus, Harry Potter didn't exist yet when I was a kid so my "good reading" was R.L. Stine. Not the best, but I liked it. Even those "choose your own adventure" Goosebumps books. I don't remember ever being scared when I read them, I just remember them being fun to read.

Did you know that R.L. Stine still writes books? Yeah, I didn't either. Actually, he just released A Midsummer Night's Scream this month. Yup, that's a thing.

Check out the full 30 Day Challenge

Saturday, July 13, 2013

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 12

Day 12- A book you wish you could live in
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
by J.K. Rowling

I want to live in this book particularly because stuff hasn't gotten scary yet. Even by Harry's second year there's something going around petrifying people (and the occasional ghost and cat). It may have been scary for Harry, but Hogwarts students were pretty oblivious to anything happening in the first book.

I want a wand and magic and to go to Hogwarts! Plus there's flying brooms (probably the most uncomfortable mode of transportation) and food magically delivered to the table.

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Friday, July 12, 2013

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 11

Day 11- The Book that made you fall in love with reading
Blue Moon Rising by Simon R. Green

This book, with it's Prince, Princess, dragon, unicorn and nightmare monster things was what got me really interested in reading. It has action, adventure, humor and some scary moments that had me a little bit terrified. I'd read other books before but this was the first one I read that I didn't want to put down.

Rupert didn't especially want to be a prince. And he certainly never asked to be the second son of a royal line that really didn't need a spare. So he was sent out to slay a dragon and prove himself-a quest straight out of legend. But he also discovered the kinds of things legends tend to leave out, as well as the usual demons, goblins, the dreaded Night Witch-and even worse terrors hidden in the shadows of Darkwood.  Rupert did find a fiery dragon-and a beautiful princess to rescue. But the dragon turned out to be a better friend than anyone back at the castle, and with the evil of Darkwood spreading, Rupert was going to need all the friends he could get.
If you haven't read this book yet and you like this genre, I highly recommend it. The only problem I've had is finding it. If you have a kindle (or kindle app) it is available from for $11.04, which is kind of a weird price considering it was first published in 1989 (last published in 2005). The actual book is closer to $14. Hopefully you can find a cheaper copy somewhere else but that was where I found it!

I have my friend Jess to thank for my interest in reading. Her love of books is what got me started! She is also responsible for the first novel I ever read. I blame her for my book collecting habit.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 10

Day 10- The first novel you remember reading
 The Trench by Steve Alten

I don't remember much about this book other than the fact that it was about a guy trying to track down a Megalodon shark that escaped from a big tank. But I remember it as being the first novel I read that wasn't for kids. I think the reason I remember it at all is because there may have been a sex scene? I'm a bit unsure about it but I think there was. It was a bit of a shock for me at the time. My friend Jess let me borrow it, but she may have just threw it at me and told me to read it. It was a long time ago, I can't recall. Either way it got me started reading something other than Goosebumps and Babysitter's Club. Thanks, Jess!

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 9

Day 9- A Book you’ve read more than once
 HP7 by JK Rowling

I'm not ashamed to say that I have a lot of love for the Harry Potter series. This means that I have seen the movies and read the books multiple times. Out of all of the Potter books, I have read the last one the most. The story is just so good. Magic and good vs evil! Plus you've got loads of smart, strong characters in the series (particularly the examples of Hermione, Professor McGonagall, Dumbledore and many others). I just love everything about it.

I have also read The Hobbit multiple times just because I love it so much. How about you? Any books you have read more than once?

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 8

Day 8- An unpopular book you believe should be a Best-Seller
 The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway
I reviewed this book back in April when it came out and I wish it got more notice than it has. It looks at time travel a bit differently and I like the main characters.

The main female character frustrates me a little bit by trying to figure things out on her own, which leads to confusion on her part. But I mostly like her because even though she's scared and confused, she is still able to figure a lot of things out on her own. And her relationship isn't what defines her; I liked that part in particular. I've gotten so sick of the "Twilight female" that can't do anything without a man. She is her own person and so is he- they can stand alone but also do good together. I hope more stories are written that way.

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Monday, July 8, 2013

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 7

Day 7- A book that's hard to read
The Stand by Stephen King

Now when I say "hard to read" I don't mean that the language made it difficult. I mean that the length of the book made it feel like it was going to take forever to get through. Reading it on my kindle also made it seem longer because I didn't have the pages to go by to gauge length. Sorry,Kindle, but percentages don't do it for me. King has some other books that I liked but were so long I thought I'd never make it through them. Salem's Lot was one and I'm still struggling to make it though 11/22/63.

I think that when books are longer there tend to be parts that lull and get boring. It's usually during those parts that I put the book down and find it difficult to pick them back up again. Even if the book is good it's the long boring parts that make me want to quit reading. Anyone else have that problem? I feel like it can't just be me!

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Sunday, July 7, 2013

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 6

Day 6- A Book that makes you cry
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I reviewed this book back when it came out in January of 2012. This is a book about a teenage girl with cancer so obviously there will be tears but not for the reasons you might think. Hazel is a 16 year old girl who, despite having cancer, would also like to live a normal life.We sometimes forget that people who have cancer are not defined by their disease because it dominates so much of their life.

A great read, even with the crying. Because there's a part in the book where I said "Nooooooo!" and it got kind of sad from there. Just a warning.

To view the full challenge list, click here.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 5

Day 5- A Non-fiction book that you actually enjoyed
 Winterdance: The Fine Madness
of Running the Iditarod by Gary Paulsen
Paulsen and his team of dogs endured snowstorms, frostbite, dogfights, moose attacks, sleeplessness, and hallucinations in the relentless push to go on. Map and color photographs.
I read this book mostly because my husband suggested it and he rarely reads anything other than magazines, so I figured that if he liked it I probably would too. I typically don't read non-fiction, but I liked this book more than I thought I would. Mostly because there were some very funny things that happened to him while he was training his dogs. His training methods were trail and error... with extra error.

A good read if you are interested in sled dogs or want to learn more about the Iditarod. Gary Paulsen is one of my favorite writers and I wasn't disappointed with this book even though it wasn't my usual type of read.

To view the full challenge list click here

Friday, July 5, 2013

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 4

Day 4- Favorite Sci-Fi
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.

Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker's Guide ("A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have") and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox--the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod's girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years.
I think the thing I liked most about this book was the humor. Some Sci-Fi books are just weird, making it hard for me to read. This one combines weird with funny... and apparently that's my thing.

There are parts so weird that you kind of have to laugh at it or you'll shake your head and put the book down to never look at it again. But it fits my sense of humor so I didn't have a problem laughing, even though some head shaking was included. A good read and a classic (or should be considered one if it isn't)!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 3

Day 3- A Book that completely surprised you (bad/good)
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I liked this book a lot. I wasn't sure what to expect when I found out it was narrated by death. I was a little skeptical and put off reading it because of that. I shouldn't have. It's touching and made me appreciate books more by seeing how much a kid finds comfort in them during an extremely scary time during World War II.

P.S. Happy 4th of July!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 2

Day 2- Least Favorite Book
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

This was my least favorite for a few reasons.

1) The characters were all horrible people
2) The movie was better and more lighthearted. Though, to be fair, if I hadn't seen the movie first I might have liked it more. Not actually liked it, but maybe disliked it less.
3) Sally basically neglects her children while she wallows and then wonders why her kids are so awful.

And if you've ever seen the movie you see that Gary has a little more of a role. In this he just cries... a lot. And then leaves. The writing was good for what it was, but I loved the movie too much for me to like the book.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 1

Day 1- Your Favorite Book
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

There is just something about this book that I love. Whenever I have kids and they get old enough, I'm going  to read this to them, so hopefully they'll like it. Otherwise I'd be really disappointed. I've blogged about this back in 2011, before it was made into a movie.The first time I read this was for a World Mythology class in college (2004 I think) and I've read it 2 or 3 times more since then.

For those of you who haven't read this yet, you should. There are hobbits, dwarves, trolls, some elves, giant spiders, a wizard, a dragon and MORE! It's the prequel to Lord of the Rings and is the best of the books in my opinion.

Monday, July 1, 2013

30 Day Book Challenge

To try something different, I'm doing a 30 Day Book Challenge that I found through the blog Book Snobbery, though I did change some questions to fit me better. July will be filled with books galore!

Day 01-Your favorite book
Day 02-Least favorite book
Day 03-A Book that completely surprised you (bad/good)
Day 04- Favorite Sci-Fi
Day 05- A Non-fiction book that you actually enjoyed
Day 06- A Book that makes you cry
Day 07- A Book that’s hard to read
Day 08- An unpopular book you believe should be a Best-Seller
Day 09- A Book you’ve read more than once
Day 10- The first novel  you remember reading
Day 11- The Book that made you fall in love with reading
Day 12- A book you wish you could live in
Day 13- Favorite childhood book
Day 14- Book that should be on HS/college required reading list
Day 15- Favorite classic book
Day 16- Favorite book turned movie
Day 17- Book turned movie and completely desecrated
Day 18- Favorite Male Character
Day 19- Favorite Female Character
Day 20- A Book that makes you laugh
Day 21- A guilty pleasure book
Day 22- Favorite Series
Day 23- Favorite Romance Novel
Day 24- Favorite comic/graphic novels
Day 25- Favorite Autobiographical/Biographical book
Day 26- A Book you wish would be written
Day 27- A book you have wanted to read but haven't
Day 28- Favorite quotes
Day 29- An Author that you completely avoid/hate won't read
Day 30 - An Author that you will read whatever they put out

Monday, June 24, 2013

Alice in Zombieland (White Rabbit Chronicles #1) by Gena Showalter

She won’t rest until she’s sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.

Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that’s all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone.

Her father was right. The monsters are real….

To avenge her family, Ali must learn to fight the undead. To survive, she must learn to trust the baddest of the bad boys, Cole Holland. But Cole has secrets of his own, and if Ali isn’t careful, those secrets might just prove to be more dangerous than the zombies….

I wish I could go back and do a thousand things differently.
I'd tell my sister no.
I'd never beg my mother to talk to my dad.
I'd zip my lips and swallow those hateful words.
Or, barring all of that, I'd hug my sister, my mom and my dad one last time.
I'd tell them I love them.
I wish... Yeah, I wish.
I'm a little disappointed by this book. Mostly because the title is misleading for 2 reasons. 1) It really doesn't have anything to do with Alice in Wonderland except for the name Alice and a cloud shaped like a white rabbit and 2) They're not real zombies. They want to eat your soul, not your flesh. They're more like evil spirits than zombies.... Sombies. Oh, and only some people can see them. Another fun twist. They're spirits so you can only fight them in spirit form, but if your spirit is injured it shows up on your body. Am I the only one who thinks this is unfair?

As I was reading I thought it would have been better if the characters were adults. I know it's a YA book, but why are teenagers doing all of the work? On top of the fighting something not that many people can see, they still have to go to school and get in trouble. Also, it made me feel pervy having a crush on fictional High School characters with douchey nicknames like "Bronx" and "Frosty." I did think it was entertaining anyway and it was a quick read, but for the most part I felt like it was underdeveloped and the writing could have been improved. Just because it's a book for teenagers doesn't mean that it needs to be cheesy at all.

I guess I was hoping and looking for something with more meaning when it may not have been meant to have it. I don't know... maybe I'm outgrowing certain types of YA novels? I shudder at the thought. This is only the first book in the series so I'm hoping the next one will be better. Through the Zombie Glass (White Rabbit Chronicles #2) comes out on September 24, 2013.