Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday (3)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Top Ten Books I Want to Reread

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and Bookish. This list has been accumulating a while, but there are so many new, fantastic books coming out that I don't have time to read the old ones!

1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
With the movie coming out, I want to remember every detail so I know exactly when they get something wrong.

2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
I love this book, but I read it four years ago! I think it's high time I read it again.

3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky 
I think I read this too early, and while I enjoyed it, I didn't fully appreciate it. Now that I'm a little older, I feel I will.

4. Papertowns by John Green
This is one of my all time favorite books and I could read it over and over again!

5. The Giver by Lois Lowry
It's been a while.

6. Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan
I don't know if it's just me, but I can't remember any of the details from this series.

7. Eragon by Christopher Paolini (all three)
The fourth one is coming out in November and I need a refresher.

8. Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle
I was about seven when I read this, and while I remember LOVING it, I can't remember the actual plot.

9. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
This is one of my favorite series. Why can't I read myself into a book?!

10. Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
This is the only book I haven't liked by Ms. Anderson, and I'm willing to give it another go.

What books do you want to reread/have reread? Leave the link to your list!

Monday, September 26, 2011


Monday, September 26, 2011

It's that time of year: Banned Book Week! From September 24th- October 1st, it's all about the poor novels that have been censored, burned, taken away, etc., etc. I think it's fantastic that these neglected books get the chance to be recognized for what they are (at least, for the most part): wonderful, insightful reads.

Censorship has always been a passionate subject for me, especially when pertaining to YA lit. When you're a teenager, it's your time to form your own opinions and thoughts, and you can't do that if half of the ideas out there are hidden from you. It seems people have this constant fear that if teens find out the world they live in can be a dark and scary place, they'll implode or something. But it's reading about these subjects that can save them from reaching that breaking point, that can teach them lessons, and help them grow. I know that if you're reading this, you understand this already.

So, in honor of BBW, I made a little list of some of the challenged/censored books that have touched my life. Here they are, in no particular order...

1. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson: It doesn't matter whether you've gone through what Melinda went through or not. Almost anyone can relate to this book. Ms. Anderson herself is a strong advocate of intellectual freedom and I strongly advise you to check out her website!

2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: It's a tale about overcoming racism and social divides. It's simply wrong to ban a book like this one.

3. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger: Do I even have to explain what makes this amazing?

4. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling: It's a book about growing up, facing your fears, and living with the past, set in a school for witches and wizards. Challenged due to religious reasons, it seems people have forgotten that it was marked under fiction.

5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: This book is violent, no doubt about it, but I think what really scares people is what it reveals about human nature.

What banned books have you read or will be reading? Have they affected your life in any way?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Book Review: Killer Pizza by Greg Taylor

Thursday, September 22, 2011
Genre: Fantasy (Supernatural)
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Source: Gift from my brother
Rating: 4.5 stars

Killer Pizza

Yes, you read the title correctly. And no, this isn't a joke. I really read a book called Killer Pizza and I really felt it worthy of 4.5 stars.

The story starts when Toby, a 14-year-old boy who dreams of being a professional chef (but whose only experience is watching the Food Network) gets a job at a new pizza joint in town: "Killer Pizza". He and his two coworkers, the focused, friendly Annabel and the slightly bullheaded, loyal Strobe, are all excited to get to work in the kitchen. They never suspect that there's another side to their job: fighting monsters. You see, Killer Pizza is just a front for a monster-hunting organization, and monsters called guttara have taken over Toby's town. He, Annabel, and Strobe have to fight these fearsome creatures before it's too late.

To say the least, that's an interesting premise, and I was skeptical when starting it. I mean, who wouldn't be? I quickly discovered, however, that Taylor's writing style is fresh and funny, if a little heavy on exclamation points. (He's primarily a screenwriter, though, which explains that.) The three main characters are exceptionally done, the Alpha guttara is perfectly creepy, and everything just works. It's a fast read, that you'll probably finish in a day or two, and I am going to get the sequel as soon as possible. My only complaint is that Toby, Annabel, and Strobe, 3 rookie Monster Fighters, keep on being left home alone and unguarded. (Like, really? Wouldn't it make more sense to have the most vulnerable and highly targeted members protected a little better?) That's typical to stories like this, though, so I let that be. And R.L. Stine endorsed it, so  you know it has to be good.

Just give it a go. Even if you're a serious doubter like I was, you'll end up loving it. 

You'll like this if you liked: Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan
Have you ever read a book and had it surprise you? What was it?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday (2)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011
The Top Ten Books That I Feel Everyone Has Read... But Me.

This is a meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish. This list was easy, because I have this thing where I won't read a book simply because it's popular. I don't mean to do it, it's a totally subconscious thing, and I don't know why I have such an aversion to hyped-up books. I'm working on it, though, and most of this list is in my TBR pile.

1. Fallen by Lauren Kate
Now that I know what it's about, though, I can't wait to get my hands on it!

2. Delirium by Lauren Oliver 
I just got this from the library, though!

3. The Vampire Diaries by LJ Smith
Never intend to read this. Ever. I'm sure it's great, but I never want to read a vampire book ever again.

4. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. 
I've heard good things, so there's a very good chance I'll read this.

5. Across the Universe by Beth Revis 
Another one I got from the library yesterday!

6. Shiver Maggie Stiefvater 
I won't read this for the same reason I won't read Vampire Diaries: Both werewolves and vampires have been forever ruined for me by Stephenie Meyer.

7. Divergent by Veronica Roth 
Wasn't at my library. ):

8. The Luxe Series by Anna Godbersen 
I've been meaning to, but haven't quite gotten around to it...

9. Holes by Louis Sachar 
I tried this *years* ago and remember being bored within the first few pages. Maybe I'll try it again.

10. Anything by Tamora Pierce. 
Cue the gasps! But like I mentioned in an earlier blog post, I just got one of her books from Borders and am planning to start it ASAP.

What popular books have you yet to read? Have you read any of the books on this list? 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Five Sites Every Young Bibliophile Should See

Monday, September 19, 2011
(These are listed in no particular order.)

1. Huffington Post Books Section
-Why it's Great: Whether you get the newspaper itself, read it online, or check it via iPhone app, this Books section is one of the best. (At least, I think it is, but I honestly haven't read that many.) It has a mix of stuff, from writing tips to a list of the best last words of writers, with new articles coming out frequently.
-Warning: There are days where new articles come out every 5 minutes, and then dry spells where days will go by without any updates. This isn't necessarily an issue, unless you anticipate the articles as much as I do!
2. InkPop
-Why it's Great :It's a site where teen writers can share their work and move up in the ranks as an author, editor, or trendsetter. If your writing gets onto enough pick lists to make it into the top 5, a Harper Collins editor will read it and critique it. Who knows, if it's good enough, you might just get a publishing deal. (:
-Warning: Some people are dead set on getting into the top 5, so beware of spammers. It can be hard to remember that you're on there because you love writing, not recognition.
3. Random Buzzers:
-Why it's Great: This is probably one of my favorite websites *ever*. Not only is this a place where you can talk to other young adult readers about your favorite series and have questions answered by actual Random House authors, but you can do so while earning "Buzz Bucks". Get enough, and you can get a book (or a lot of books) for free. And there's giveaways every week. How awesome is that?
-Warning: Nothing. I love, love, love this site!!

4. The "ThisIsTeen" Facebook Page
-Why it's Great: The actual site is pretty cool, too, but the reason the Facebook page is so awesome is it's YA Book Matchmaker. Pick six things you like, your gender, your age, and voila! A list with books that suit your interests!
-Warning: All the books, I believe, are published by Scholastic (since Scholastic runs the site, this makes sense), so that's the selection you're limited to. Still, it was accurate every time I used it and Scholastic has some great books!
5. EpicReads:
-Why it's Great: Contests, chances to connect with YA authors, sneak peeks!
-Warning: It doesn't exist. It *is* coming soon, so in the mean time, check out their cool Facebook page! Currently, they have polls and discussions on awesome books and a chance to win books!

P.S. Also check out readit1st.com, a site by Hank Green (with a newsletter written by John)!
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What are your favorite websites? Comment below! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Book Review: All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin

Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Genre: Science Fiction (Dystopia)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Website: http://us.macmillan.com/allthesethingsivedone, http://www.memoirsofa.com/
Source: Library
Rating: 4.8 stars

All These Things I've Done

In the year 2083, where coffee and chocolate are illegal, water is rationed, and New York City is only a shadow of what it once was, Anya Balanchine is a sixteen year old adult. Daughter of an infamous Mafia boss and consequently orphaned at the age of nine, she has had to grow up fast. Her sister, Natty, is only twelve, and her brother, while significantly older, is mentally impaired. Furthermore, the grandmother who has watched over them is dying. All of this, though, was simply part of a day to day routine for Anya, included with going to school and chatting with her best friend, Scarlet. That all changes when someone close to her is poisoned by her own family's contraband chocolate and she is the one accused. 

Gabrielle Zevin created (another) fantastic story, with a strong, witty protagonist and a lovable cast of supporting characters. Her version of dystopia is made all the more unique and chilling by its resemblances to our present world. It's far too easy to imagine the outcome she depicts. However, while the setting may be dark, it's offset by a lightness in Anya's narrating, a sort of sardonic narrative. (And also, I must mention that I absolutely fell in love with Win. *Swoons a little*) Zevin's writing is as addictive as banned coffee, and I tore through this novel in less than a day. The sequel can't come fast enough; I can't wait to see what will happen to this strange, dangerous, and oddly heartwarming family. 

Other Books By This Author: Elsewhere, Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac 

Monday, September 12, 2011

We'll Miss You, Borders!

Monday, September 12, 2011
Today I went to Borders for the last time. It was incredibly sad and strange, seeing row upon row of empty bookcases and price tags on everything from tables to magazine racks. They were even selling the knifes they used in their cafe for 25 cents each. Personally, I wanted one of those floor-to-ceiling shelves and a ladder that slides across it, but the ladder alone was six hundred bucks. (How awesome would that be, though? It would be like that scene in Disney's Beauty and the Beast!) Everything was 70% off or more, which was like a dream. I only wish that dream hadn't come true because they're going out of business.

The place was full of people, the busiest I've seen it in a while. Despite the fact that a lot of people had already come in and bought stuff, however, the YA section still had a decent selection. I got two books: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, a book I've already read but never had my own copy of and Terrier by Tamora Pierce, which is actually my first Pierce novel. It's about time I read one of her books, and I've only heard good things, so I'm very excited to start this. Of course, I considered getting a bunch of other books, too, but since I wasn't the one paying for them, I went with those. It was hard, though! Books that were usually $20 were only $5 and some were down to $2. (!)

Still, like I said, there was just a melancholy about the barrenness of it all. I'm truly upset because I have a lot of memories at Borders. One time I even met an author there and we talked about our writing and books and it was one of my favorite days. Now someone has even bought the table that we sat at! Also, Borders didn't have a whole three shelves dedicated to paranormal romance (I like that genre, but three shelves? There are other types of books.). And a major part of me feels terrible for the workers. The woman at the checkout today had only been hired a week before they announced bankruptcy and all the other workers are out of jobs, as well. It's unfair and unfortunate, and my heart goes out to them.

I'm going to add something completely unrelated to Borders just to lighten the mood: I GOT INTO POTTERMORE. I'm not bragging, but I've been waiting for weeks, checking my email obsessively, and it's amazing. (Or it was, up until a few minutes ago when it crashed.) My wand is Yew, 14 1/2 in., with unicorn hair. Once I can get back on, I'll get sorted into a house. (Crossing my fingers for Ravenclaw!)

What did you buy from Borders these last few days? How do you feel about it closing? 

Did you get into Pottermore? What house are you in/wand do you have?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday (1)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Top Ten Sequels I'm Dying to Read

Okay, so I know I said I would be posting every Monday. And I am, I swear! But I think I'm also going to be doing Top Ten Tuesday every other week or so, which is a meme hosted by Broke and Bookish. Each week, they post a new topic and it's up to us book bloggers to make a list. Let me know what you think.

1. Romeo Redeemed by Stacey Jay
    Sequel to Juliet Immortal
    No cover yet, but if it's anything like the first, it'll be great! 
            The cover of The Enchantress
    Publication Date: Unknown

2. Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
    Number 4 of the Inheritance Cycle
    Product Details
    Publication Date: November 8, 2011

3. Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter
    Number 5 of the Gallagher Girls series
    Publication Date: March 20, 2012

4. A Want So Wicked by Suzanne Young
   Sequel to A Need So Beautiful
            The cover of The Enchantress
    Publication Date: July 2012

5. The Enchantress by Michael Scott
    Number 6 of The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series
            The cover of The Enchantress
6. Ingenue by Jillian Larkin
    Sequel to Vixen
    Publication Date: August 9, 2011

7. Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares
    Number 5 in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series
            Sisterhood Everlasting (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, #5)
    Publication Date: June 14, 2011

8. The Death Cure by James Dashner
    Number 3 in The Maze Runner trilogy
    Publication Date: October 11, 2011

9. Wings #4 by Aprilynne Pike
            The cover of The Enchantress
      Publication Date: April 28, 2012

10. Underworld by Meg Cabot
      Sequel to Abandon
       Publication Date: 2012

Monday, September 5, 2011

"Summer's lease hath all too short a date." (Will Shakespeare)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Labor Day!

I know you're probably really busy, what with getting ready to go back to school/work, having last minute BBQs, and dashing to the beach one last time. It's stressful, it's crazy, and the only thing that keeps me sane this time of the year (and until summer comes again) is escaping into a book. I read anytime and everywhere, including, but not limited to, on the bus, in between classes, in the bathtub, at meals, etc.

(You know, rereading that sentence, I realized that made me sound incredibly antisocial. I do have friends, I swear! Real ones, too!)

To make time for the things I love, I have to grab it whenever I can. I mean, I actually like school a lot, but it takes up time when I could be writing. But I'm taking Creative Writing as my elective in the spring and I'm very, very excited about that. And when I have play rehearsal, I can bring a book backstage while I'm waiting for my cue. I just have to be careful not to become too immersed in the story and then realize that I was supposed to be on stage fifteen minutes ago. (Seventh grade, Beauty and the Beast, that happened.) Also, I'm on my school's newspaper staff and part of our literary magazine, so I get to write there, too. Oh, and while I do those things, I get to make friends with the same interests.

The point is, just because life is hectic, doesn't mean you have to give up you time. You just have to be creative and budget what little time you have. Which is why I'm no longer going to posting so sporadically. Rather, to make sure I keep up with blogging (because I do really love doing this), I'm setting aside Mondays as my blogging day. That's a tentative schedule, because I'm not sure what my schedule looks like yet, but whether it's Tuesdays, Thursdays, or Urgdays, I'm going to post once a week on a certain day.

What do you do to fit in what you love? What are the strangest places you've ever read?

Till next Monday! xoxoxo