Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (38)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Top Ten Characters Who Remind Me Of Myself Or Someone I Know In Real Life
AKA The Most Challenging List Yet
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. 

1. Anna from Anna and the French Kiss
I definitely wouldn't say Anna and I are exactly alike, but I think we share a lot of the same characteristics. Not to mention, I loved it when she went off on her dad's writing because she sounded exactly like I do when I rant about stuff like that!
Anna and the French Kiss

2. Sara from When it Happens
We spell our names the same, we're both workaholics, our favorite ice cream is mint chocolate chip, we love John Mayer, and we both dream about living in New York. (Or in my case, a city in general.) So yes, I felt we had a decent amount in common. 
When It Happens
3. Daniel in The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
My older brother and I have a bigger age gap than Mara and Daniel, but he still reminds me of my brother in that he's always looking out for her. And he teases her a decent amount, too, but that's what brothers do. (:
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1)
4. Steph from How to Be Popular
Unfortunately, Steph reminds me a little of my middle-school self. I definitely wanted to be popular. I think most kids do at some point in their lives. Luckily, I had a revelation much like Steph's and was able to overcome that. 
How to Be Popular
5. Angela, Zoe, and Maddie from ttyl
Again, back to the middle school days! Back then I had two close friends and we fancied ourselves a lot like the protagonists. In hindsight, I don't know how true that is, but it was fun all the same.
ttyl (Internet Girls, #1)
6. Viola from Viola in Reel Life
When I read this, I remember relating to her because she had a passion. Even though mine is more with books than with video cameras, it still struck a chord.
Viola in Reel Life (Viola, #1)
7. Miles from Looking for Alaska
Despite the whole gender-difference, I really connected with Miles. He's maybe a little awkward, trying to find meaning in life, and he's got a good (if a bit crazy) set of friends. 
Looking for Alaska

That's all I can come up with! Most characters display traits that I relate to certain friends and family members, but none are exact copies, so this is the best I can do. (And while I may be able to come up with a few more, I don't want to insult anybody. (;)

Who's on your list? Leave a link! 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Book Review: I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

Monday, June 25, 2012
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Series: Jasper Dent #1
Source: Won from Figment- Thank you!
I Hunt Killers
Jasper Dent didn't have what's considered to be a "normal" childhood. Instead, he was taught everything about killing from the world's most renowned serial killer... the guy otherwise known as his dad. Years later, his dad is in jail but there appears to be another serial killer threatening his hometown and Jazz is determined to stop him.

I Hunt Killers is completely, if morbidly, fascinating. I'm not going to lie, I find serial killers interesting in a disturbing, frightening sort of way, so this book was right up my alley. Lyga lets the reader see right into the mind of a sociopath, which is a wacked-out place to be, to put it plainly.

Jasper is a great narrator. He's utterly torn up inside from his more than unique upbringing, and his struggle to prove that he is not his father makes him a sympathetic character. Not to say that Jasper doesn't have his issues. I think it shows how skilled Lyga is as a writer that even when Jazz is thinking like a serial killer, the reader still feels empathy for him.

I was happily surprised by how much I loved his best friend, Howie, and his girlfriend, Connie. Howie is quirky and fun and his humor made me roll my eyes a few times (in a good way). Connie on the other hand is sassy, confident, and really cool. She does her best to keep Jazz in line, doesn't let him whine, and is all around awesome. 

Mystery and suspense are both present, along with a decent amount of blood. Some points had me turning pages as fast as I could. And the ending... there is a cliffhanger. I wasn't aware that this is the first in a series when I read it, but I am anxiously awaiting more of Jasper Dent's story!
*5 stars*
A Quote from the Book: “Jazz hadn't given her many details of exactly what life in the Dent house had been like, but he'd told her enough that she knew it wasn't hearts and flowers. Well, except for the occasional heart cut from a chest. And the kind of flowers you send to funerals.” 
Do you like a lot of gore in books, or are you more of the squeamish type?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

In My Mailbox (38)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren to share what books you've bought/borrowed/received in the past week!

I'm more than happy with this week's haul! So many books I'm excited about!

From the Library:
Wanderlove by Kristin Hubbard
Die for Me by Amy Plum
Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (So I can participate in the Nerdfighter Summer Book Club, of course!)
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Grimm's Fairy Tales

In the Mail:
The Temptation by Alisa Valdes (Thank you, We Heart YA!)
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfruend (Won from HarperTeen's awesome website Epic Reads- Thank you!)

What did you get this week? 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (37)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Top Ten Books on my Summer TBR List
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. 

1. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
Beauty Queens
2. Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

3. Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

4. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Insurgent (Divergent, #2)
5. Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson

6. Jersey Angel by Beth Ann Bauman
Jersey Angel
7. Mastiff by Tamora Pierce

8. Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti
Keep Holding On
9. For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

10. Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
The Forest of Hands and Teeth (The Forest of Hands and Teeth, #1)
What will you be reading this summer?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Book Review: 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

Monday, June 18, 2012
Genre: Science Fiction (Horror)
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Series: Standalone
Website: http://172hoursonthemoon.com/
Source: Won from Figment- Thanks!
172 Hours on the Moon
NASA is in need of funds, so in an extreme publicity stunt to get sponsors, they decide to send three teenagers to the moon. The lottery is worldwide, and the three winners- Mia, Antoine, and Midori- are very different. All of them, though, are hoping to get something out of this trip. However, NASA seems to be holding back important information. The moon may not be so safe and they may all be endangered. In fact, they'll be lucky if they get back to Earth at all.

What did I just read?

That's pretty much what I'm thinking about this book. Some words to describe it are terrifying, disturbing, and utterly mind-boggling. Just, what?

172 Hours starts out a little slow. Some of it is, I think, that there's a lot of build up, plus the book has been translated, which may have taken away from the writing. It's all pretty straightforward in the beginning, too. It's a lot of character-building, and there are a lot of random warnings about not going to the moon. In hindsight, it doesn't really make sense that those are just thrown in there, except for the suspense factor. The characters are okay. I didn't feel a particular connection to any of them, but I enjoyed the many perspectives and loved Sander (Mia's younger brother) and Mr. Himmelfarb.

The second half, though, I was absolutely scared out of my mind. At one point, I had to put the book down before I started again. I mean, yeah, I'm pretty much a scaredy-pants (even though that usually doesn't stop me from reading horror stories), but this stuff is CREEPY. And a lot of the story ties in with actual history, which makes it simultaneously cooler and more frightening.

I just feel the end lacked sufficient explanation. I have nothing against authors leaving stories open to interpretation, but this just feels too open. The reader does get a theory of what the moon could be and why all the stuff that happens on there happens (that's a terrible sentence, I know, but I'm trying not to include spoilers), but I was hoping for a little more than speculation. 172 Hours has the potential to be so much deeper, to leave the reader thinking about what he/she just read, instead of trying to unravel it.

Not to say that it's a bad book, because it's not. I found it fascinating and engrossing, despite its flaws. And there was one part where I even got a little choked up. It's just lacking the why and the how.

One last thing: When I was little, like every other kid, I wanted to go to the moon. And, even though I'm definitely never becoming an astronaut anyways, after reading this book I am more than content to stay on Earth. Seriously.
*3 stars*
Do you love horror stories or do you hide under the covers? Sound off! 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

In My Mailbox (37)

Sunday, June 17, 2012
IMM is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren to share what books you've bought/borrowed/received in the past week!

Oh, well, um, this is awkward.
I don't have anything this week,  but I'm expecting a few things in the mail. 

If you want a few books, though, check out my blogoversary bash giveaways:

What did you get this week?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Blogoversary Bash Giveaway (#3)

Saturday, June 16, 2012
This is it, guys! The last giveaway of the blogoversary bash! (: Make sure to check out the other two. You could win Destined and/or A Confusion of Princes.

Until I Die (Revenants, #2)
Win an ARC of Until I Die by Amy Plum!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Unfortunately, this is open only to those in the US. Sorry international followers!  

Blogoversary Bash Giveaway (#2)

Because it's my first blogoversary, I'm hosting three giveaways today! Don't forget to check out the first one- you could win a copy of Destined by Aprilynne Pike!

A Confusion of Princes
Win an ARC of A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Unfortunately, this is open only to those in the US. Sorry international followers! 
Good luck!

Blogoversary Bash Giveaway (#1)

Well, I just happened to have a few copies of this book, soooo to commemorate my blog's first birthday, I'm hosting a giveaway! Yay! This is just the first of THREE giveaways today, so make sure to check back. (:

Destined (Wings, #4)
Win n ARC of Destined by Aprilynne Pike
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Unfortunately, this is open only to those in the US. Sorry international followers!
Crossing my fingers for you guys (:

A Year in Review

My first year as a book blogger has been so incredibly rewarding. I still feel like a clueless newbie most of the time, but I've learned a lot and it's been absolutely amazing.

Since I started blogging back in 2011, my blog has had nearly 8000 page views . To put this into perspective, my blog got a grand total of 57 pageviews in the first month. Now I typically get over 1,000. It didn't help that I didn't even know a YA Book Blogging community existed- I just started book blogging because I loved books.

I have interviewed 3 authors (Robin Palmer, Stacey Jay, and Lia Habel) and I'm hoping to interview a lot more, especially over the summer when I have more time. This is one of the more incredible parts to me because I didn't even know regular people could talk to authors, other than fan emails, until some time in July-August 2011.

My top five most popular posts:
1. Author Interview: Robin Palmer
2. JGW: Cover Shots: Paper Towns (7)
3. Book Review: Geek Charming by Robin Palmer
4. Busting the Newbie Blues! (:
5. In My Mailbox (17)

My top five most popular book reviews:
1. Geek Charming by Robin Palmer
2. Killer Pizza by Greg Taylor
3. Stolen by Lucy Christopher
4. Reckless by Cornelia Funke
5. Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce

The best part about blogging, though, is the fantastic community that exists. I've discovered that there are people- teens- out there who love books just as much as I do!

I still have a lot to learn, there's no doubt about that, but I'm so glad I started blogging and I can't wait to improve in the upcoming year. (:

Stay tuned for a  blogoversary giveaway coming later TODAY! (:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (36)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Top Ten Summer Reads
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. 
I changed the theme a little bit from beach reads to summer reads.

1. Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson
It takes place in the middle of the sea during the summer= perfect summer read.

2. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares
Each book takes place during the summer, plus there's romance and friendship and girly goodness, which makes for a great beach read, in my opinion.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, #1)
3. How to Ruin a Summer Vacation by Simone Elkeles
Again, the time of year it takes place is very fitting, and this one is great because it takes place in Israel! (:

4. Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle
Set just as summer is ending, it's the story of sisters as they grow up and try to find themselves. 
Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks
5. Viola in the Spotlight by Adriana Trigiani
The sequel to Viola in Reel Life, Viola is back in NYC for the summer and is trying to navigate internships, friendships, and many other difficulties. And it's in NYC.

6. Dramarama by E. Lockhart
It's set at a theatre camp. You know this is going to be interesting.
7. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
Ginny goes on an adventure across Europe that ends up being crazier than she expected.

8. The Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan
Camp Half-Blood is a little different from most camps, but it's definitely the story of an unforgettable summer.

9. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
You didn't really think a John Green book wasn't going to get on this list, did you?

10. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
A must read any time of the year, really.
The Great Gatsby

What books would you suggest to someone to read over the summer?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Book Review: Flip by Martyn Bedford

Monday, June 11, 2012
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Series: Stand alone
Source: Random Buzzers
One day Alex is a kind of nerdy, chess-and-clarinet-playing, fourteen year-old boy. And then he wakes up as Philip "Flip" Garamond, a boy the same age as him, but who plays cricket and basketball, instead. Six months seem to have gone by, but Alex has no recollection of them, or any idea why he's suddenly someone else.

The body-switching plot has been used in YA countless times, but Flip is so unique that it stands out from all the rest. There's just the right amount of suspense and the plot moves along well. Overall, Flip is a really great read.

Alex made for a fantastic narrator- I really like when YA protagonists are male for some reason, and I know some other book bloggers have said the same. Even through his more troubling times, he has a very admirable sense of self and a great sense of humor. I have to say, though, for a fourteen-year-old, Alex is really mature. I know some guys years older than Alex who aren't that mature!

All of the other characters are just as well done. Teri (Flip's sister) is delightfully sarcastic and Cherry is smart, musical, and kind. Rob is definitely the most interesting character because he's the most messed up. As another PE (psyche evacuee) he's gone through a lot, and he's not as flippant as he wants to appear.

Flip is easy to read, but while it may seem like a fairly simple story on the surface, there are a lot of underlying themes going on. It gives the novel such depth and will leave you thinking long after you reach the back cover.
*4.5 stars*
Other Body-Switching Stories: Airhead by Meg Cabot, Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay, Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers
If you could switch bodies with anyone, who would you choose?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

In My Mailbox (36)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren to share what books you've bought/borrowed/received in the past week!

From the Library:
The Selection (The Selection, #1)
The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Key to the Golden Firebird
The Key to the Golden Firebird by Maureen Johnson

I had to get a Maureen Johnson book. It's something of a tradition that I read one every summer.
What did you get this week?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (35)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Top Ten Characters I Would Name My Future Kids After
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. 

1. Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen)
I've always said that if I ever have a daughter someday, I would name her after my favorite Austen character. (:

2. Jo March (Little Women by Louisa May Alcott)
I wouldn't name her Josephine, just Jo. (It's a double reference because I'd be naming her after Jo March and Jo Rowling (:)

3. Gemma Doyle (A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray)
It's not just the character, but the sound of the name. It has a kind of magical sound to it, doesn't it?

4. Thomas (The Maze Runner by James Dashner)
I really like the name Thomas for some reason.

5. James Potter (Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling)
This isn't just because James is great, but also because there's no way I'm naming any child of mine Remus, despite my love for Lupin.

6. Audrey Cuttler (Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway)
7. Victoria (Audrey, Wait!)
They're such FANTASTIC characters and I think any child should feel honored to have them as their fictional namesakes.

8. Peter Pan (Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie)
Ever since I was little, I've been in love with the story of Peter Pan.

9. Meg Murry (A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle)
It was the book that made me fall in love with fantasy/science fiction! 

10. Henry (The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner)
I fell in love with these books when I was little and Henry really stood out to me as a character, even at the age of seven. (:

What characters would you name your kids after?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Book Review: Underworld by Meg Cabot

Monday, June 4, 2012
If you haven't read Abandon, this review may contain spoilers. You have been warned.
Genre: Paranormal (Mythology)
Publisher: Point
Series: Abandon #2
Website: http://megcabot.com/abandon/underworld/
Source: Library
Underworld (Abandon Trilogy #2)
Pierce is now safe in the Undeworld with John... or as safe as she can be, considering she's being hunted down by Furies. Unfortunately, her family is still in danger and she's determined to rescue them. To further complicate things, John seems to be keeping secrets and their relationship is anything but easy. But then again, no one said that being queen of the Underworld was going to be simple.

I understand that Pierce has been through a lot lately. She's had a near-death experience, Furies are trying to kill her (and one of those Furies is her grandma), her parents divorced, and her relationship with John is complicated. But I couldn't help being so annoyed with her throughout Underworld. I realize that John is dreamy and super masculine, but that's no excuse for Pierce just following him around like a doting puppy. There are more than a few instances where John lies to her, and instead of getting angry, or demanding the truth, or standing up for herself, Pierce just lets it go. If Pierce and John are going to live in the Underworld together for the rest of eternity, she needs to make it clear that she has more say than him over the direction her life takes. I mean, just because John was born in the 19th century doesn't mean that this isn't the 21st century. Pierce shouldn't need John's permission to leave the Underworld or need to tell him when she's going to the bathroom.

Don't get me wrong. I like Pierce. I liked her a lot in Abandon and she's definitely still caring and kind, with a certain snarky side. I just really hope she gets her chutzpah back in Awaken, the third book in the trilogy.

That said, I did enjoy Underworld. John (despite some issues) is seriously attractive and I like the new characters that are introduced. (Henry, especially.) The plot was maybe a bit slow, but I liked where it went and the insight on John's past was interesting. And when it wasn't making the feminist in me shake her fist, I did enjoy the romance between John and Pierce. Naturally, my favorite part of the book is how everything relates to the original tale of Hades and Persephone- Meg Cabot really makes the story her own! The history of the setting really adds to this, and I love the descriptions of the Underworld and Isla Huesos. Not to mention, Meg Cabot's writing is so addictive- I tore through Underworld in under 24 hours!

The ending is pretty intense- with a funny Kayla moment- and a cliffhanger! I really want to see how this all turns out!
*3.5 stars*
What's your favorite Greek myth? 
Other Myth Retellings: The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series by Michael Scott, Nobody's Princess by Esther Friesner

Sunday, June 3, 2012

In My Mailbox (35)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

IMM is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren to share what books you've bought/borrowed/received in the past week!

From the Library:

Underworld (Abandon Trilogy, #2) 
Underworld by Meg Cabot

In the Mail:
Zero by Tom Leveen
From Random Buzzers- thank you!

Destined (Wings, #4) Until I Die (Revenants, #2) A Confusion of Princes
Destined by Aprilynne Pike (ARC), Until I Die by Amy Plum (ARC), A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix (ARC)
From Harper Teen- thank you!

What did you get this week?

Friday, June 1, 2012

Summer Reading Challenge: The List

Friday, June 1, 2012
Since I haven't had much success with the DAC yet (I've only read 3/12 books so far... oops!), I decided I'd try the Summer Reading Challenge hosted by the Book Labryinth, One a Day Y.A., and The Crazy Bookworm. I'm not giving up on DAC by any means, but this reading challenge seemed fun and a little easier.

So, without further ado, my list:

1. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
2. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
3. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
4. The Enchantress by Michael Scott
5. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
6. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
7. Everwild by Neal Shusterman
8. The Key to the Golden Firebird by Maureen Johnson
9. Wicked Jealous by Robin Palmer
10. The Floating Islands by Rachel Neumeier
11. Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne
12. Chime by Franny Billingsley
13. Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen
14. Wanderlove by Kristin Hubbard
15. Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry
16. The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman
17. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
18. 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad
19. A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix
20. Die for Me by Amy Plum
21. Piratica III by Tanith Lee
22. Mastiff by Tamora Pierce
23. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
24. Ingenue by Jillian Larkin
25. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

My Goal: To read 10 books off of this list
I figure 10 books isn't too binding, so I can still meet my goal while still being able to freely choose what I read this summer.

Let me know if you're doing this challenge!