Saturday, March 31, 2012

30 Day Book Challenge Master Pooooost!

I hope you enjoyed reading this series as much as I enjoyed writing it.  It got me thinking a lot about the books I've been reading and also about the books I'd like to read.  It reminded me that I really need to blog more.  I actually like blogging, and I'd like to keep this sort of thing up.  No more one post a month.  At least, I hope not.

Below is my whole list, with links to the entry.  You know, in case you missed it, or in case you're looking for the 30 Day Book Challenge list.

Day 01- Best book you read last year
The Hunger Games
Day 02- A book that you've read more than 3 times
Anna and the French Kiss
Day 03- Your favorite series
The Infernal Devices
Day 04- Favorite book of your favorite series
Clockwork Prince
Day 05- A book that makes you happy
Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Day 06- A book that makes you sad
If I Stay
Day 07- Most underrated book
Wanderlove
Day 08- Most overrated book
Shiver
Day 09- A book you thought you wouldn't like but ended up loving
Across the Universe
Day 10- Favorite classic book
The Secret Garden
Day 11- A book you hated
The Trylle series
Day 12- A book you used to love but don't anymore
Twilight
Day 13- Your favorite writer
Meg Cabot (plus honorable mentions)
Day 14- Favorite book of your favorite writer
Forever Princess
Day 15- Favorite male character
Cricket Bell from Lola and the Boy Next Door
Day 16- Favorite female character
Hermione Granger
Day 17- Favorite quote (from your favorite book)
"And in that moment, I swear we were infinite."
Day 18- A book that disappointed you
Carrier of the Mark
Day 19- Favorite book turned into a movie
Pride and Prejudice
Day 20- Favorite romance book
The Sky is Everywhere
Day 21- Favorite book from your childhood
Tuck Everlasting
Day 22- Favorite book you own
The Fault in Our Stars
Day 23- A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven't
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Day 24- A book you wish more people would've read
Shatter Me
Day 25- A character who you can relate to the most
Lily from Dash and Lily's Book of Dares
Day 26- A book that changed your opinion about something
Born Wicked
Day 27- The most surprising plot twist or ending
Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Day 28- Favorite title
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Day 29- A book that everyone hated but you liked
Breaking Dawn
Day 30- Your favorite book(s) of all time
Harry Potter and the Awesome Series of Books

Friday, March 30, 2012

Day 30 – Your favorite book(s) of all time

I don't think this should come as a surprise.  I have said all of this before.  There is only one thing left to say.
image from Expecto Patronum
After all this time?
Always.

Day 29 – A book everyone hated but you liked

SO THIS WAS TOTALLY DUE YESTERDAY.
But I (obviously) didn't do it.
Why?  There are a few reasons.  One, I felt turrible, and I couldn't even think about looking at a computer screen for longer than I needed.  I'm actually in the middle of creating what I think is a Great Idea For A Book, and I would have loved to start outlining\drafting it up, but instead, I took a wicked long nap.  Like... wicked long.  As in I went to bed at about 9 pm (and that's being generous with my guess as to what time I really fell asleep).

The other reason I didn't write this yesterday?  There was this article in the NY Times (that I refuse to link to because I don't think it should receive more traffic) that said adults should only read books for adults and stop reading books written for and about teenagers.  It was poorly researched (as in the author panned The Hunger Games while admitting to not reading it nor will he ever read it because it's a "children's book") and openly snobby.

Sadly, though, it kind of worked as in I felt a little ashamed that I was about to defend this book.  BUT, whatever, I dealt with that, I've moved on, and now I'm here to defend myself for actually liking a book that I feel all of my YA Mafia friends will mock me about for a long, long time.

breaking dawn Pictures, Images and Photos

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

First things first: I am not stating that I think this is a particularly great book.  In fact, I think it's the giant sore thumb of the entire Twilight "saga."  The first three novels fit together as a nice little trilogy with just a few strings left unresolved.  Those threads could have been resolved without going into this story, but I do understand it.  I would have left at least one Big Bad besides the Volturri to deal with in this one, but that's just me.

I've started and restarted this paragraph way too many times now, so I'm aware of how much I've overthinking this.  BUT, I'm also realizing that what I like about this book isn't the book itself, but more of the concept of it.  How Bella Swan goes from this wholly awkward weakling to a fully formed awesome vampire who can do awesome things and needs to do said awesome things in order to keep her family from being slaughtered by a group of really, really old guys.  I like the concept of Jacob & Bella being so drawn to one another because of the imprint in her DNA.  I like the concept of the Volturri wanting Edward and Alice and Bella, so they create a reason to come after them before they actually have a reason to come after them.

The problem is in the execution of these concepts.

HOWEVER, I'm here to talk about why I like this book rather than dislike it.  I think I give more credit to the concept than most because, again, this novel really falls short in the execution part of things.  When I first read these, my sister-in-law said that she felt this was the only book of the series that felt like a grown woman speaking rather than a teenager, and I see that, definitely.  Bella may be an "old soul," but she loses all bit of teenager in this story.

Ugh, I'm still not defending this, am I?

Alright, fine.  I can't.  I just like it.  I don't know why.  I like it more now that the movie made me laugh to the point of stomach hurt.  I REALLY like the fact that the second movie will give Lee Pace some work (OMG EYEBROWS).  I so get the reasons why people do not like this.  I'm just not one of those people.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Day 28 – Favorite title

I've apparently been going through something of a mental crisis, where I'm like WAAAAAAAH WHY IS LIFE LIKE THIS one minute and then OMG I KNOW THE FUNNIEST PEOPLE EVER the next.  So my post-challenge blog entries should all be REALLY GREAT... and NOT AT ALL CRAZY.

Just, you know, something to look forward to.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer Pictures, Images and Photos

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

This was a book I was dying to get my hands on for months and month prior to its release.  I read a very small excerpt, and it intrigued me so.  However, before I even read that little excerpt, I knew I wanted to read this just because of the title.

I just love the sound of the words together.  The name Mara Dyer is so... mysterious.  And the use of "unbecoming."  That's not a word that comes up in everyday conversation, and, for me, it brings up such lovely imagery.  I think it works perfectly with the cover (one of my favorites!!) as well as the actual plot.  Sometimes, I think titles reach too much to sound cool rather than be relative to the plot.  This one does both, and that's why I like it!

Only 2 more challenge days left!  I think I'll post a wrap up blog on Saturday, in case you don't feel like clicking through every day.  Though you should.  Because I'm hilarious!  And incredibly modest!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Day 27 – The most surprising plot twist or ending

I think I'm in a post-Hunger Games depression, where we have to wait, like, A YEAR AND A HALF for Catching Fire to come out, and it just seems so... far.  November 22, 2013?  I will be 32 by then!  THIRTY.TWO.

Perhaps I've revealed too much...

Book challenge?
Book challenge.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone Pictures, Images and Photos

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

I've had an extremely hard time explaining this book to people, and I know I'm not alone.  I didn't read it for a few months after it was released, even though I heard ALL KINDS OF GOODNESS about it, like everyone was just flipping their sh!t over it.  The strange thing was, I couldn't find a decent plot description anywhere.  It was usually something like, there's this girl Karou and she's got blue hair and she runs errands for this chimera and OMG READ THIS BOOK.

Which... what?

So I decided to read it.  And now, when I describe it to people, I say almost that exact same thing verbatim.


I say that this had the most surprising plot twist because, really, I didn't see it coming.  Honestly, I didn't see the last third of the book coming until it was already happening and I was like... what on Earth am I reading?  When you start, the initial story reads like it belongs in a supernatural category.  You know there's something not totally normal about what's going on, especially with the chimera involved, but whatever, it's written so exquisitely well that you cannot stop even if you tried.

And then, the craziness starts, and we go from kind of supernatural to FULL ON HIGH FANTASY, which isn't my kind of scene.  Yet... you're already in it to win it by then, and also that exquisitely delectable writing that cannot be ignored...

Sooner than you can wish upon a tooth, you are knee-deep in one of the most otherworldly and beautiful stories ever imagined, and nothing but wild horses could drag you away.  So, thanks, Laini, for turning me into so much of a raving lunatic that, when I tried to explain this book to The Hubs, he stopped me and (very sweetly) said, "Hon, I love you, but I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about anymore."

Monday, March 26, 2012

"Katniss makes me as sad as I am hopeful for her."

So my buddy Miguel (subsequently known as "Migs") has been following all of my Hunger Games coverage (aka he is my friend IRL), and he went to see the movie this weekend, which he thoroughly enjoyed.  Migs had always told me that The Hunger Games reminded him of one of his favorite books, Battle Royale.  This afternoon, we met for lunch and decided to trade favorite books.  I have his copy of Battle Royale burning a proverbial hole in my purse, while he had the day available for diving into Panem.  He texted me just now to let me know he'd finished Part 1, and he gave me a short review thus far.

After I read it, my heart swelled with pride to consider him my friend.  He nailed exactly why this story resonates with so many people, and personally, I'm super glad my book is in such worthy hands.

"Katniss makes me as sad as I am hopeful for her.  Her unending suspicion and defensiveness, while entirely understandable, are really upsetting.  I enjoy the plainspoken way she expresses herself, though.  I personally have never been a fan of overly flowery writing from the first person, especially when used to describe dire situations such as this.  But overall, I feel bad for her and the circumstances that led her to be the socially naive, awkward, angry, sullen survivor that she is.  I sure hope she wins!  Go, Girl On Fire, go!"


You guys, I heart my friends.

Day 26 – A book that changed your opinion about something

I'm pretty much having a very Garfield-y reaction to today and thus I'm feeling very angry with the being awake and functioning like a normal person and having conversations and such.  This should really be a great entry, huh?

Actually, it will, because I'm talking about a book that I enjoyed so much!!

Born Wicked Pictures, Images and Photos

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

This story has lots of things that I like- witches and strong female leads and hot boys who read and seriously great writing.  There is also the added bonus of being written by someone I know, which somehow makes me more impressed.  Like, how am I allowed to be friends with such talented people?  And so MANY talented people?  Lucky me!

So what did Born Wicked do to change my opinion about something?  Well... it takes place in the late 1890's, technically making it historical fiction.  And me?  I'm not a big fan of historical fiction.  Not at all.  Even Meg Cabot couldn't get me to enjoy it, which is really saying something.  There's absolutely nothing wrong with it; it's just not usually my cup of tea.

However, if more historical fiction were written like this, I might read a lot more of them.  This is the good stuff, people.  Also, with the War on Women that seems to be happening as of late, this novel has become eerily relevant.  Even Jess thinks so!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Day 25 – A character who you can relate to the most

Saw Hunger Games for the second time last night, and of course I still loved it.  There's a part near the end of the film that I can't stop thinking about because I adore the ever-loving crap out of it, though I won't say what it is for fear of spoilers.  Either way, I'm already thinking about seeing it for a third time.

And so my craziness is the topic of the day.  Here's the character I can relate to the most.


Lily from Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
(image courtesy of thenerdylioness.tumblr.com)

I try not to hide the fact that I am weird.  Most of the time, I let my weirdness out into the world without too much fanfare, because I am who I am and I can't do much about it at this point.  I talk too much and I feel awkward in all social situations even when I'm among friends and I overshare, and even if none of these things are actually happening anywhere but in my head, the fact of the matter is that those thoughts are always running through my head.  I'm not saying this so people will tell me I'm not awkward or weird or any of those things; I'm stating what I feel to be true.

This is why I relate so much to Lily.  She is written to be a sort of Manic Pixie Dream Girl, but I think there's more to her than that.  Something about her resonated with me as I read her words.  The kicker for me was the last line of her Worst Christmas Ever story: "It was the Christmas I realized I was the weird girl."

I have had a lot of revelations like that.

Unlike Lily, I didn't go through any of that kind of bullying, nor was I picked last for teams or anything like that.  I always had friends who liked me for me, and I usually didn't have a problem making friends when I was growing up.  (No, the self-fulfilling, self-aware awkwardness didn't start until I was much older.)  I'm often just the oddball of the group.  I've gotten kind of used to it, though I do wonder if I will ever reach a day when I say something I think is funny/interesting/true and the people I'm talking to won't all look down at the floor in uncomfortable silence.  (As Hassan would say to Colin in An Abundance of Katherines, "Kafir, not interesting.")

However, I admire Lily so much for being herself and understanding so much about herself at such a young age.  I wish I could do that.  I wish I could dance openly, freely, carelessly in a crowd of strangers while experiencing a klezmer band for the first time.  I wish I could rock a pair of majorette boots.  I wish I could finally come to terms with all those awkward feelings and finally learn to entirely embrace the crazy inside.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Day 24 – A book that you wish more people would’ve read

I'm having a really excellent Saturday, and I hope you are too!  I've got plans to go see The Hunger Games a second time with many members of the DC YA Mafia, and I just finished watching a ridiculously adorable movie that I've wanted to see for YEARS called Little Manhattan.  Yes, it stars Josh Hutcherson, but he's all of about 11 years old.  If you're looking to watch one of the sweetest romantic comedies ever, you should check this out.  I think more people should see this movie.

Just like I think more people should read this book!!

Shatter Me Pictures, Images and Photos
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Now, a lot of people have read this book, but why do I wish more people have read this?  Simply because I love this book SO HARD.  This was actually a huge factor in my becoming a member of the Wastepaper Prose team.  This book came out last October, but there were advanced copies showing up for months before.  I follow Tahereh on Twitter, and she's gut-bustingly hilarious and enormously sweet.  I had heard a bazillion great things about her debut novel, that it had all the best mix of all the best things that I like in books, and I was all grabby hands looking for it.  Susan saw my pleas on Twitter to find it, and she very graciously offered to lend me her copy back in August.  I told her I'd write a review of it, if she wanted.  And the rest is blogger history!

Why do I love this book?  It really does have all the best thing that I like in books.  It's a little bit dystopian, a little bit romance (mucho caliente romance!), a little bit X-men... it's perfect for me.  Plus, the writing is amazing!!  It's very original, and I've never read anything quite like it since.  Tahereh will be in the area next month, so I get to meet her in person and everything!  I hope she doesn't mind a big ole bag o' crazy, because that's what I'll be!

If you're looking for a good book to read post Hunger Games, this is a great pick!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Day 23 – A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t

I wrote three substantial blog entries yesterday.  That means I totally fulfilled my 2012 Resolution to blog more.  One of those entries has had 50 views, and you'd think I was JK Rowling or something.  In other news, I can't believe I'm almost done with this challenge.  It's been super fun.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Pictures, Images and Photos

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

I've essentially been reading this book for about 2 years.  I bought it because... well, come on.  If you can't figure out why I'd want to read this, then we gots a lot more we need to discuss.  So, yeah, bought it, started it on a lunch break, left it in my desk drawer.  I've had an influx of books since then, and every time I'd finish one, another would arrive either due to it being a new book that I'd been waiting on or a swapped book I'd just gotten in the mail or I started reviewing with Susan, and so on.  This has now become just another book on my shelf, waiting to be discovered.  Maybe I'll take it with me on the Big International Trip I'm taking in May.  Long flights = lots of down time = There Will Be Reading.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

My (non-spoilery) thoughts about The Hunger Games aka Why I Love the Movies

I'm having an incredibly hard time organizing my thoughts about the movie adaptation of The Hunger Games.  This isn't because I don't know how I feel about it, because I certainly know that.  In fact, I can tell you: I think this was one of the best book adaptations I've had the pleasure of seeing in a long time.  As someone who studied film adaptations before, I think it's very interesting to see how directors interpret certain books, especially a book of the magnitude of The Hunger Games.  The fans are rabid (I should know; I'm one of the rabid), and they don't want their very beloved characters to be shown incorrectly.

From what I saw at the screening last night, Gary Ross did an excellent job translating a first person narrative into a well-paced, well-acted, well-written piece of cinema.  He did a couple of things I wasn't excited about, but for every complaint, I have about a hundred moments I loved, so it more than balances out for me.  The new parts were actually some of the things I loved the most, and I'm so glad they were included.  Jennifer Lawrence was more incredible than I ever could have imagined (and I imagined she'd be perfect), and Josh Hutcherson was simply my perfect Peeta.  I'm so, so pleased and so proud to call myself a fan.  If I feel like this, I can only imagine how Suzanne Collins feels.

What my issue is in writing this "review" is something that I've seen all over the internet in the past day or so, and it pertains to the incredibly lovely experience I had last night.  I am a fan of the movies.  I love the movie-going experience, which is weird for me to say because I sort of hate crowds and the general public.  However, the theater experience can really help shape an opinion of a movie, and it can cause you to tip one way or the other regarding even the most frivolous film.  For example, my parents went to see one of my favorite films The Empire Strikes Back in the theater in 1980 when it was released (please note: I'm not saying that Empire is frivolous, but this is one of the best examples I have so bear with me).  They remember this event not just because they loved seeing one of the greatest sequels of all time as it was meant to be seen, but also because a member of the audience brought his young son with him, and he needlessly explained to his son what was happening during every scene.  The most memorable explanation came when it was decided to shut the base doors for the night on Hoth even though Luke and Han had not yet returned from their mission.  Chewy moaned a mournful Wookiee noise for his BPFF (best pilot friend forever), and the man said to his son, "Chewbacca is sad because his friend is stuck out in the cold."  32 years later, my parents still say, "Chewbacca is sad," whenever they see this particular scene.

To me, this silly tale of Wookiee woe means that the experience at the movie theater sticks with you, and it shapes your opinion of the film.  Last night at the screening, my experience is entirely what it should have been: personal to me yet perfectly shared.  We all laughed together, we all cried together (according to the sniffles I heard as I helplessly swiped my hand across my tear-and-mascara-stained cheeks).  During tense scenes, we gasped and cheered and applauded and shrieked as one unit.  I did not feel a bit of awkwardness when I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I pressed my hand to my mouth to stifle sobs because the girls next to me were also clinging to each other in solidarity.  No matter where we came from or what we were going home to, at that moment we were together in the audience, sharing this night and this moment.

That makes for one hell of a movie, in my opinion.

So, my point, and I swear I have one, is this: I do not want to put anything out into the ether that might take that experience away from you.  More than anything, I want you to have exactly what I did.  I want you to witness the agony of the arena for yourself, take the journey with Katniss Everdeen in your own way.  How I feel about the movie doesn't matter, especially if it influences you to form an opinion without getting the chance to see it for yourself.

Feel free to let me know what you think of the film once you have a chance to see it, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

Day 22 – Favorite book you own

First, be prepared for my take on The Hunger Games movie, which will be entirely spoiler-free.  Also, today is my dad's birthday, so Happy Birthday to the nerdiest guy I know!  Third and finally, this was probably the easiest choice I've had thus far.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

That picture above is my actual copy, along with the ticket from the Tour de Nerdfighting event I attended in Bethesda, MD just days after this was released.  The event is why this book is my favorite book I own.  I'm fairly new to Nerdfighteria, and this book is part of the reason I joined that world.  I kept hearing all this buzz about it, and I'd heard John Green's name bandied about so many times in my YA community, so I decided to see what the fuss was about.  I read his debut novel Looking for Alaska, and it blew me away.  Then I started in on the vlogbrothers videos, and that, as they say, is history.

So why is this the favorite book I own?  First, the sticker of the front!  It's a signed copy.  If you go back through some older vlogbrothers videos, you'll see that John signed every copy of the first printing of TFiOS, and I got one of those J-Scribbles!
Isn't it pretty??  It's silver, which is one of my favorite colors of Sharpie, and it's slightly rare as far as TFiOS J-Scribble colors go.  When I picked up the book from Politics & Prose, they originally gave me an unsigned one, figuring I'd get it signed at the event later that week.  However, after seeing the Signing Madness John went through, I wanted a piece of his hard work.

But I still went to the signing.  And this happened:
Not only did I get it personalized to me, but I got it Hanklerfished too!!  I had a fun little chat with both  Green brothers, telling them how Hubs had texted me to send me best wishes for a fun signing and that he hoped I got "a Hankfish."  The Brothers Green and I agreed that, while there's no such thing as a Hankfish, the sentiment was very sweet.  I have a few pictures of the signing itself, but they are all either a- at home or b- blurry or c- look like John Green just saw The Ring.  Later, I'll add in the awesome one Sasha got me actually mid-conversation with them!!  (FYI, if you want to have an awesome line-waiting experience, you need peeps like Sarah Enni and Sash by your side!)

Hank, I'll see you on Friday.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Day 21 – Favorite book from your childhood

I already talked about this back in December, but here's a few more reasons why this book resonates with me.

Tuck Everlasting Pictures, Images and Photos

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

It's just really good.

Oh, you want more than that?  Okay.  It's really really good.

Seriously, this story enchanted me as a child, which is a weird thing to say about a book that tackles the subject of immortality and the consequences it brings.  That's something you never think of at that age.  You say you'd like to live forever... but what does "living forever" actually mean?  The Tucks know, and it's not so simple.  Things never are.  Like I said, I do love the bittersweet.

Also, I grew up in a house filled with comic books and sci-fi movies, but I always tended to read more "contemporary" books rather than fantasy books with supernatural elements (until Fear Street, that is).  I always thought Tuck Everlasting had the best mix of fantasy elements while still being grounded in a real environment.

Lastly, I just adore the title.  I'm really into words (um, duh), and I especially love the sounds and combinations of sounds of certain words.  Everlasting... it conjures the imagery before you even crack the spine.  Love.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Day 20 – Favorite romance book

There are many levels to my book choice today, but the romance aspect is definitely a major, major point of excellence.  Major.



The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

For the love of all that is holy, this book is incredible.  I recently wrote a review for it (that hasn't been posted yet) but the first note I wrote on it was: "I could read this book over and over for the rest of my life and never tire of it."  Every bit of that is true.  I wish I could go back in time and read it again for the first time.  The reading experience for this is unmatched.  It's like your heart is going to burst with every page, and the mystery is the emotion behind the heart-splosion.  Will it be from epic sadness?  Overwhelming love?  The gorgeous, graceful, delectable, eat-it-with-a-spoon writing?  How about ALL OF THOSE THINGS combined?

As far as the romance in this novel goes, let me just say that it is INTENSE.  Lennie is just barely coping with her sister's tragic and extremely sudden death when she meets the incomparable Joe Fontaine.  Joe and his Magnificent Eyelashes are a force to be reckoned with, and Lennie can't only hope to contain herself whenever Joe's around.  Unfortunately, Lennie chooses to cope with her sister's death by sharing many, shall we say, make-y-out-y moments with her sister's boyfriend Toby.  She has confusing, all-encompassing, wildly crazy feelings for both of them, but not in the same way.

In fact, that's a big reason why I think this book is so incredible.  It touches on an aspect of grief that often gets swept under the rug.  Everyone deals with grief in different ways.  Some of those ways are kind of inappropriate, but it's what that person needs to make themselves feel better, to help them get through the day.  This isn't to say that that makes it okay; it's just explaining why they're doing what they're doing.  So, even though I kept wanting to scream at Lennie, "STOP KISSING TOBY!  JOE IS RIGHT OUTSIDE!  HE IS WAY HOTTER AND WAY MORE AWESOME!" (and occasionally I did yell at the book in this manner), I can understand why she's acting the way she is.

Though she obviously should be with Joe "Bat.Bat.Bat" Fontaine.

This book makes my heart ache in the very best way.  Everyone should read it.  And then read it again.

Side note: Lennie plays clarinet, and she's really, really good.  Amazing that I would love that aspect of her, isn't it?

(sigh... some days, I actually miss it...)

Monday, March 19, 2012

HOLY CRAP.

I won advanced screening tickets to see The Hunger Games on Wednesday!

Basically, I feel like this:











The moral of this story is this: if you enter enough contests for advanced screening tickets of The Hunger Games, eventually you will win.
edit: Thanks to Erin Bowman for accurately supplying the gif of my feelings when I couldn't process them or function or think of anything but EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

Day 19 – Favorite book turned into a movie

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single Jessica in possession of a sadness, must be in want of a viewing of this movie.

Pride and Prejudice Pictures, Images and Photos

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

I love this movie more than should really be allowed.  I love the score, I love the cast, I love the cinematography, I love the directing.  It has bewitched me, body and soul, and I love, I love, I love it.  I tend to watch this movie whenever I am sad, I am sick, I have nothing to do, I need inspiration... pretty much whenever my brain needs a break.

Jane Austen is a staple for any lady who reads, but this one in particular is a romantic favorite.  As much as I love Mr. Darcy, though, what really keeps me coming back to this is Elizabeth Bennet.  There's no one quite like her.  She's not afraid to speak her mind, even when it will come back to bite her in the ass.  I can sympathize with that, as I also have a hard time holding my tongue, especially in situations where people are being idiots.  She's a modern woman in a time when those kinds of opinions weren't valued, and I will always admire that.  Apparently, so will Mr. Darcy, even if it's against his better judgement.

My personal favorite scene is the first proposal in the rain.  It's a verbal sparring match for the ages.  I wish I could think that fast, react that way, speak words that sound perfect as they assail your ears.  Oh me.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Day 18 – A book that disappointed you

I went into this in my review of this book on Wastepaper Prose, but I'm certain I'll be a bit more ranty here.  This is your ranty warning.

The Carrier of the Mark Pictures, Images and Photos

Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

Gosh, I was expecting a lot from this one.  The publishing story for this book is one that is out of the ordinary.  The author posted this on a site called Inkpop (which is now merged with Figment), and it's essentially an online creative writing community where you can post your stories and get feedback.  This was posted there, and it was selected from all the stories to be published.  This sort of made it the Golden Ticket of YA books, and a ton of people were really excited for this just because of that publishing story alone.  From what I had read about it, the book took place in Ireland- which YAY I love Ireland- and it had supernatural elements, romantic elements, and all the signs that I would enjoy it.

And oh I so did not.

Earlier in the challenge, I discussed how it's uncool to like Twilight these days.  Well, this is one of those reasons.  Twilight brought about the need to create the genre "teen paranormal romance."  Which always makes me giggle.  I read a lot of "teen paranormal romance" but it always sounds so lame-y to say out loud.  Anyway, the author of this pretty much took every aspect of the "teen paranormal romance" and put it in her book.  In a non-well-written way.  To the point where it reads like bad Twilight fan fiction.  It's almost the exact same plot to Twilight with names changed and not-as-good writing and some weird elemental aspects added in.  The whole plot frustrated me so much that all I could do was complain to Jack about it, to which he replied, "Why are you reading Captain Planet?"

I love that boy.

Anyway, I feel this had so much potential that was just so wasted.  Ugh.  And the cover is so pretty!!  Blergh you, Irish Twilight.  You're like the book version of a B-movie.

Day 17 – Favorite quote (from your favorite book)

so when you sleep in until almost 10:30 am and then it's St. Patrick's Day and you forget to do anything other than eat corned beef and drink cider and wear your Guinness shirt, you also forget to update your blog.  Nerts.  This is the first entry that has been late in this challenge, so I'm still feeling pretty good.  Or maybe that's the cider talking.

Anyway, today's choice is kind of strange, because it says that I'm supposed to pick my favorite quote from my favorite book... but that's sort of impossible.  I have 400 favorite books, depending on the day.  Harry Potter is usually where I end up, just because it's my favorite series, but I'm trying to use non-HP for most of this.  So, I decided to choose my favorite quote from an amazing book that has always stuck with me.



"And in that moment, I swear we were infinite."
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
image courtesy of I'll Be Your Hiding Place on tumblr

Great googily moogily, doesn't this quote encompass adolescence in the best and worst way?  I love it so much.  It's the book quote equivalent of the song "We Are Young" by fun.  It's just a little slice of perfection in the middle of this book that's a little piece of perfection that subtly and wonderfully blows you away.  It's been years since I last read it, but I've carried it with me since.  I'm terribly excited for the movie (and not just because Emma Watson is in it!).

And now I kind of want this as a tattoo...

ALSO, in honor of St. Patrick's Day, here's one of my favorite songs!  It's written by an Irish man, sung by a different Irish man.  For some reason, it feels like a fitting song to include in this post as well.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Day 16 – Favorite female character

I recently bought 3 prints from Nan Lawson.  Her work is my favorite, and she also has really excellent taste because she tends to illustrate all of my favorite characters.  The reason I bought those specific prints is so I could frame them and hang them somewhere in my house that would constantly inspire me to think of my favorite strong female characters and inspire me to write and read and basically get things done.  First is Elizabeth Bennet, and I will speak more about her at a later date.  Second is Katniss Everdeen, and I spoke about her on Day 01.

In the third spot in the frame sits this girl.


Hermione Granger
(image courtesy of featherofthephoenix.tumblr.com)

Reasons Why Hermione is an Excellent Role Model
-She's brilliant.  And by brilliant, I mean she's the smartest person that you've ever met.  She thinks of things you haven't even thought of before.  Her brain works in a way that can't be understood by Muggles; thus, she's a witch.
-She doesn't realize just how brilliant she is.  This makes her more brilliant in my eyes.  She doesn't get cocky or conceited about her brains.  They are simply who she is.
-She stands up for what she believes in.  S.P.E.W.  Telling Harry when she thinks he's right and when he's not.  Going with Harry and Ron in the search for the horcruxes, even though that means leaving school.
-She doesn't lay down and die when she doesn't have a man.  I know that the relationships are not the same, but Hermione had been in love with Ron for many years at the point in Deathly Hallows when he leaves the group.  He and Hermione had been flirting around each other for years, and by this point, it was clear to everyone that they had feelings for each other.  So, it's no surprise when Ron asks Hermione to leave with him.  But, since Hermione stands up for what she believes in (this time, it's the mission), she stays behind.  She begs Ron not to leave, but he does anyway.  What does she do?  Does she stare off into space for months at a time?  Or does she mourn his loss, cry her tears, and keep moving toward the goal?  (Full disclosure: I've been through a terrible break-up where I lost months without realizing they were passing, so I know how it feels.  But also?  I didn't have a life-or-death mission to save the world to complete, and my behavior during that time isn't something I'd want anyone to use as a model ever.)

Hermione is amazing.  She proves that time and time again over the seven years we are lucky enough to spend with her.  She inspires me by being brave and loyal, honest and true.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Day 15 – Favorite male character

Of course, I have more than one (HELLO, don't you know me??)  However, like with the authors, I'll only write a little extra about one.  So, first: I mentioned Michael Moscovitz yesterday, and he's definitely one of them, because he's a real boy written like a real boy.  And he'll show you his Blueside.  My second one is the incomparable Boy With The Bread, Peeta Mellark.  Oh, my #PeetaPocket.
I'm not going to say anything about that except... I love tumblr.  (All credit to that goes to lilliansblog.)

Okay, for real now, here's my pick and why.


Cricket Bell from Lola & The Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
*as imagined by Simini Blocker

I've never been one of those girls that goes for the bad boys (I did once, not quite realizing that he was one, and let's just say it didn't end well).  I never really wanted to date the boy you needed to change or fix.  Frankly, I'm awesome, and I should be treated awesome.  When I am treated awesome, I respond by treating you awesome in return.  Win-win, as they say.

HOWever, I've found that I'm the complete exception to this rule, and it was especially evident when I was a teenager.  While other girls at my school were going after jerky dudes who didn't even know they existed, I was always the one chasing after the musicians, the theater geeks, the smart guys... essentially, the nerdy guys.  And Cricket Bell is just about as nerdy as they come.  He is the epitome of all the things I love best about nerdy guys.  He's sweet and charming, he cares about people and isn't afraid to show it, he's awkward and tall and has crazy hair and... I just love him.

Cricket is sort of an anomaly in modern YA, where he's presented from the beginning as already in like with the main character, rather than assuming they don't like each other and will have tons of ridiculous conflict together over and over until finally he says, "Oh wait, this girl is kinda amazing, I should stop being mean to her."  And then the girl says, "Well, I know you've been mean to me for a long time, but I know it was really because you lurved me!"  (Yes, this is a GINORMOUS generalization, but whatever.)  Cricket's just like, "Yep.  Like you!  Let's go out!"  And when he finds out Lola has a boyfriend who's kind of a dillhole, he says that while he desperately wants to be with her, he'd rather she BE HAPPY and he will LET HER GO if the dillhole is really what she wants.  But he's also willing to fight for her, to wait for her to realize that he's the much, much, MUCH better choice.  He stands up for her, understands her, sees that she's not perfect in the larger sense of the word but that she just might be perfect for him.  Some argue that being sensitive isn't manly, but I disagree.  I know I always be saying this but to me, there's nothing more bad-ass than being yourself.  You don't have to punch some guy to prove that you're strong.

So when Cricket leaps back into the scene just in the nick of time, I'm basically just a big ball of swoony swoons until the very last page.

That's why I love this boy, because he understands what true love is.  It's wanting the one you love to be happy, regardless of your own happiness.  And that's why the sensitive/nerdy guys of the world- the Cricket Bells, the Peeta Mellarks, the Michael Moscovitzs, the The Hubs Jacks- will always have my heart.  I don't want to chase.  I want to be truly loved.  Thankfully, I am.

<3

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Day 14 – Favorite book of your favorite writer

I said I'd talk more about Princess Mia today, so... heeeeeere we go!





















Forever Princess by Meg Cabot

As I said in the last entry, I devoured the entire Princess Diaries series as fast as I possibly could back in the summer of 2010.  I hadn't read any of Meg's YA works at that point, and I was very impressed with these.  The gist of the series is this: Mia Thermopolis has always been one to refer to herself as "average."  Sure, she's got her distinct qualities- her height, her combat boots, her vegetarianism, her backpack covered in Greenpeace patches- but she's just Mia, living in a loft with her never-married artist mother and her best cat Fat Louie.  Then her father drops a bomb on her: she's actually the Princess of Genovia, the country where her father was born and still lives.  The Diaries chronicle her high school years as she struggles through princess lessons with her cartoonishly awesome Grandmere, Algebra and the headaches it creates, her mother's dates with her Algebra teacher, and her enormous crush on her best friend's brother.  Each of the 10 books (plus the occasional "half" books) detail a certain big event or important moment in Mia's life.

I adore Mia, in so many ways.  She is so very authentic, and so very hilarious.  She is just a heroine I can support because, despite being a princess, she's also uniquely her!  She sounds like a real teenager.  My favorite is when she and Lilly (her BFF) do one of their infamous lists, from their favorite movies (which always includes something from Lifetime) to the boys they think are the cutest (which are almost all fictional characters) to the most kick-ass ladies (Buffy Summers makes the cut!).  And Mia and Michael?  Oh, that's a love story for the ages.

I chose the last book in the series, Forever Princess, as my favorite for many reasons.  First, it's a fantastic conclusion to an already fantastic story.  Secondly, Michael Moscovitz returns from his long trip to Japan all extra genius-y and gorgeous and somehow even awesomer than before.  Third and finally, the writing is perfection.  Granted, I feel the entire series must be read to full appreciate how perfect the writing is in book 10, but I still think it's great.  The reader has spent years with Mia, experiencing her voice, going through this journey with her, becoming her friend.  This book starts 2 years after book 9, and Mia is more mature and just a little bit different.  She's older, yes, but the way she writes is a bit... off.  You can tell it's almost like a show, like she's trying to hide her nerdy self under her new, matured persona.  Yet, as the story goes on, little pieces of the old Mia start to peak out, and it is like a breath of fresh air.  The style itself is so subtle, but I think it's really a showcase of Meg Cabot's talent.  It was one of the best endings I could have imagined for Princess Mia.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Day 13 – Your favorite writer

I have many!  MANY.  Here they are.

J.k Rowling Pictures, Images and Photos
JK Rowling, aka The Queen
I love her so much, I often refer to her as Jo, since JK is her pen name. AND I'M A NUTCASE.

John Heart Pictures, Images and Photos
John Green
Love you too, buddy.  It's an honor and a privilege to have my heart broken by you.





















Stephanie Perkins (image from her website stephanieperkins.com)
Girl is so talented, it physically hurts me but in that good way that inspires you and makes you feel all the emotions and I'm not crazy I swear.

But the winner winner chicken dinner is

Meg 2 Pictures, Images and Photos

Meg Cabot aka The Princess!!

I have been a Meg Cabot mega-fan for years, since The Boy Next Door, which is not YA.  I read all of Meg's adult books as fast as I could and as soon as they were released.  She is definitely one of my pre-order-without-question authors.  A few years ago, armed with a library card and a Paperback Swap account, I decided to read her most famous YA series, The Princess Diaries.  Just when I thought I couldn't love the woman any more than I already did... she went and created one of my favorite male characters in YA literature, Michael Moscovitz.

What I love about Meg Cabot's writing is that it's so down-to-Earth.  She writes in a very universal way, but it's still so good.  It's lyrical and sweet, hysterical and honest.  She does an amazing job establishing a voice for her characters, especially Mia (who I will rave about tomorrow!).  I love simple, attainable, delightful writing, and Meg writes just like that, every time.  I'm never disappointed.

Also, Ms. Cabot?  If I ever get the chance to meet you, I apologize in advance for the extreme amount of fangirling I will do.  Squealing, stuttering, telling an awkward story that has no relevance to the topic at hand- yeah, it's all happening.  Sorry, Meg.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Day 12 – A book you used to love but don’t anymore

Well, this should be fun.



Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (this image was intentionally chosen over the actual cover)

Let me first state that I actually still like the Twilight series.  It's basically my secret shame at this point, but there you have it.  I don't really feel like I'm allowed to openly like it anymore, though.  It seems like the uncool thing to do.  While I agree with so many arguments against this book (Bella is a terrible role model, the writing isn't great, Edward Cullen is a creepy stalker, Jacob Black's wig was atrocious), I cannot not like Twilight.  And here's why:

If it weren't for Twilight, I would not be reading any of the amazing books I've had the pleasure of reading these past few years.

When I first began these books, I was right in the middle of my Harry Potter readathons.  I didn't read anything else but that.  My (almost!) sister-in-law lent me the books, and I tore through them in a matter of days.  But something about the first book always stuck with me.  Reading it was like an awakening that I didn't know I needed.  There's a much longer version of this story that I won't really go into fully, but the gist is that becoming an adult is hard, and it's been hard on me personally because I tend to live inside my head a lot and internalize things too much and make myself batty-bat crazy.  I don't feel that a ton of people truly understand me, and I'm kind of weird, and it makes me withdraw and become a person that I don't always recognize.  So, while I was reading Twilight for the first time, I was reminded of my teenage self.  A girl who wore her weirdness proudly, who flaunted it out into the world much like those purple polyester pants she loved so much.  A girl who didn't really care whether people thought she was being odd or awkward or anything else besides herself, because to that girl, nothing was more honest than being yourself.  I came to realize that I really, really missed that girl.  And I didn't know why I felt I needed to change.  I'm me; deal with it.

AND THEN, the movies happened.  One fell swoop and a spider monkey later, Twilight went from being my blessed awakening to the eternal YA whipping boy.  Now that I'm much deeper into the YA world, I've found tons and tons of books that exceed how I felt about Twilight and that completely support my opinion that there's nothing more bad-ass than being yourself, but I still feel a bit of sadness when I think about what happened to this series.  Oh, Dead Diggory.  Oh, Kristen Stewart's One Expression.  Oh, Jasper's Phil Spector hair. How you've broken my sweet sweet heart.

(That broken heart didn't stop me from buying all the movies on DVD, though!  What has two thumbs, a funny voice, and loves cheesy awful movies?  Jessica BS!  Thank you, Dr. Kelso.)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Day 11 – A book you hated

I was really looking forward to writing this one, but I seem to have caught some awful virus and I feel like poo on toast, so the wit might be lacking.  Much like it was in this book.

Switched Pictures, Images and Photos

The Trylle Series by Amanda Hocking

Amanda Hocking is famous for being a self-made millionaire because she self-published a bunch of books.  They were all about 99 cents on e-readers, and they were all lendable, so word of mouth helped her out.  My friend Clone was reading this series, and she kept texting me her frustrations.  That's when I knew I had to read this.  I'm a fan of cheesy movies & cheesy TV so I thought maybe it would be along those lines.

Turns out, no.

So much of this made me very, very angry.  There were parts I liked, but as a whole, do not want.  It took me ages to read the first book because I mentally edited it after every sentence.  The writing did improve over the course of the series, though.  I just couldn't get into it at all.  And then, just when it seemed alright, she added a character for no dang reason except for... you know, I don't even know why.  I will never understand.  It didn't make a lick of sense to me.

Also, this book is about trolls.  Trolls who get rich by stealing people's money.  All I could think of was this ridiculous game I used to play called Trolls on Treasure Island that I adored despite its terribleness.  I mention this redonk game to illustrate 2 points: 1- my tastes aren't always to be trusted and 2- I have the ability to like trolls.

Amanda Hocking continues to write and publish, and more power to her.  Obviously, people enjoy this series because she's made a ton of money from it.  Also obviously, I am not one of those people.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Day 10 – Favorite classic book

Since YA is a relatively modern phrase, I'm going with my favorite classic of children's literature.  Also, I know the image included is from the movie adaptation of this book, and I'm totes fine with that.  Watch the movie before you judge.  It stars Dame Maggie Smith; therefore, it's amazing.

The Secret Garden Pictures, Images and Photos

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

I talked before on this blog about the books that influenced me as a child, and this one definitely made the list.  This was one of the first books I chose to read on my own that wasn't assigned through school and that wasn't BSC or Sweet Valley Twins.  I owned a copy (can't even remember when/where it came from), and one random day, I looked through my bookcase, saw this, and just started reading.

I adore the main three characters of this for different reasons.  I love Mary Lennox because a- her name is perfection and b- she goes through a transformation that's insanely awesome.  She starts as the brattiest brat in Bratonia, and by the end, she's like one with the garden, all zen and magic.  I love Colin for part of those same reasons but also because he doesn't immediately change.  Colin is sort of awful, but he works his awful like no one I've ever seen.  And finally, I love Dickon because he seriously is awesome.  Unfortunately, I cannot think of a good way to express my love for him without it turning into a That's What She Said joke, but... I've always wanted my very own Dickon (snicker snicker).

The garden itself always appeal to me- a private, beautiful place to play games with your friend and just enjoy life as it happens.  I've never really been an outdoorsy kind of girl, but this story showed me the kind of outdoors that existed outside of my own neighborhood.  I grew up in the more urban area of my district, whereas a lot of my friends were from the more rural side, and I consider myself to be more of a city girl than anything else.  However, ever since I read The Secret Garden all those years ago, if I had the chance to live in a manor house in England that's surrounded by lush gardens and is preferably moor-adjacent, I'd hop a plane in an instant.  Luckily, I married a man who'd go along with this plan just as quickly.

This book is already on my Kindle because, since it's a classic, it's free!  I haven't read it in many years, so I'm hoping I'll get the chance to read it again soon.  So many books, so little time.  Ah, the life of an habitual reader...

Friday, March 9, 2012

Day 09 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving

Friday, Friday, Day 09 of the Challenge on Friday.  Oh, sorry, I think I lost my mind for a second.  Moving on... Today's choice is a book you thought you wouldn't like but ended up loving.

Across the Universe by Beth Revis Pictures, Images and Photos

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

I held off on reading this book for a long time because (as the title of this entry says) I didn't think I would like it.  It wasn't because I thought that it wouldn't be a good read or anything, and I heard so many great reviews, but I'm not really a reading-sci-fi kind of gal.  I can watch the sci-fi, but I've never been one to read it, mostly because the only sci-fi I'd attempted was too much aka what Roman DeBeers would refer to as hard sci-fi (p.s. that link has some "salty" language, just FYI, and also I MISS PARTY DOWN!).  And that kind of book is usually just not my thing.  However, in all those great reviews, I kept hearing that this was a sci-fi murder mystery.  Part of that appealed to me, but I had a mental block up to the rest of it.

Then I went to the Breathless Reads event in Bethesda, where I got to meet Beth Revis.  After hearing her speak about this book and her inspirations and seeing firsthand just how awesome she is, I ignored that mental block and finally picked up Across the Universe (just in time for Beth to sign it for me too!).  It was the first book I read after the BR event, and I couldn't/didn't want to put it down.  It is sci-fi, but it's also very good.  I really shouldn't have pigeon-holed it as something I didn't like before I really gave it a chance.  There's a lot more to it than that.  I shouldn't get bogged down in genre, classifications, blah blah blah.  Frankly, as long as the writing is good, most other issues can be overcome.  And Beth Revis?  She is an excellent writer.

I hope my lesson from this book sticks with me.  I shouldn't always believe the hype (or ignore the hype).  I should make the decision for myself.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Day 08 – Most overrated book

There was no debate for me when it came to choose my book for today.  None at all.  This will probably be my easiest decision of the entire challenge.

Shiver cover by Stiefvater Pictures, Images and Photos

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

This book is all over the YA section, along with its sequels Linger and Forever.  So many readers are completely gaga over it.  They love the wonderfully rich story, the lyrical writing, the intense romantic connection between Sam and Grace.  Plus, Maggie is a VA girl, like me.  I didn't expect to be utterly blown away by this when I started it, but I did expect to like it.  And I didn't.

I didn't connect with the characters.  I thought the writing was good but ill-fitting with the story and what I interpreted to be the voices of the characters.  I thought the wolf mythology was interesting enough but also, meh.  Honestly, I didn't feel a thing when I read this.  I could see where the emotions were and where I should have been affected, but mostly I just wanted it to be over.  I guess I can see why it's so popular, and I do think it's better than some of the books I've read in the past, but it didn't inspire an overwhelming need to know what happened to the characters.  Even if I don't particularly like a book, I usually still read the sequels, just to have the knowledge of where the story went.  For this one, I didn't really care.  Hence, in my opinion, overrated.

Maybe one day I'll read it again and be able to see what all the hubbub is about.  Until then, I've found that you don't have to go to Europe in order to just be whelmed.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Day 07 – Most underrated book

It's kind of insane for me to say that this book is underrated considering it doesn't come out until next Tuesday, but I DON'T CARE.  It's amazing, and it needs more press!  Even if that press is my ranty rant blog!  Plus, this is my list!  MY LIST. 

wanderlove Pictures, Images and Photos

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

I first became aware of Kirsten after seeing a link to a blog post she wrote last June.  I thought it was very interesting as a relative newcomer to the YA scene at the time, and I did a little more research on Kirsten.  After I became an official reviewer at Wastepaper Prose, I looked through some books on Netgalley and found that an advanced copy of Kirsten's second book Wanderlove was available.  So, I got it, and I read it.  Immediately.  Without stopping.  I couldn't put it down.  I loved it, absolutely.  (You can read my official review here.)

And now we're 6 days the release, and I am just so excited.  I want everyone to read this.  It's an amazingly written story of self-discovery, and it makes me desperate to travel.  (Hey Amber- this book is definitely for you!)  Hopefully, it will not stay underrated for long.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Day 06 – A book that makes you sad

Tough, tough choice.  I'm kind of an emo chick (duh) because I often enjoy things that make the average person sad.  I like the bittersweet parts of life, and I often find solace in talking about the tough, awkward things no one likes to talk about.  Anyway, I ended up choosing a book that, while it did make me sad, it also blew me away.





















If I Stay by Gayle Foreman

Haunting, gorgeous, dramatic, realistic, and not an easy read.  I definitely loved this book, but oh how it made my heart hurt!  We get the story from Mia's point of view, but with the interesting twist that it's sort of an out-of-body experience immediately following a horrific car accident that claims her parents and puts her little brother's life in jeopardy as well.  This is Mia's struggle to survive, to decide if she wants to stay in this life or pass on.  Much of it is in flashback form, describing her relationship with her boyfriend Adam and the differences they faced as being parts of different crowds.  Their relationship reminds me a bit of Say Anything..., especially in the different crowds part.  Adam has a Lloyd Dobler-esque way about him, and Mia is very Diane Court with a cello.

I also tend to personalize things way too much, so If I Stay gets me because I start to think, "What if this happened to me?  What would I do?  How would I go on?" and then the tears start rolling.  And basically anytime Adam is in the hospital, I'm on the verge of a meltdown.  However, though it's very sad, it also contains a lot of hope.  An excellent read.

There is a sequel to this that I haven't read yet (because I am the WORST!) and it's called Where She Went. It comes out in paperback in April, so I'll be sure to pick it up.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Day 05 – A book that makes you happy

Tough choice, as I tend to be a mega-fangirl flail monster whenever a book makes me happy.  I have rambled, I have raved, I have spewed nonsense words at The Hubs when describing a particularly good book.  However, I chose this book because, immediately after reading the last word, I couldn't stop grinning. And not a regular grin, but one of those ear-to-ear numbers.





















Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan

Reasons this book makes me happy:
*The authors.  John Green & David Levithan are the best dudes in YA.  You know I love John Green like it's my job (which, if it was my job, I'd be Employee of the Month ALL OF THE MONTHS), and I'm a huge fan of David Levithan's collaboration novels.  Their writing styles complement each other in the best ways, though (duh) I like John's chapters more.
*Tiny Cooper.  There's nothing about Tiny that doesn't make me smile.  Just saying his name makes me smile.  Because it's hilarious.
*The ending.  My friend Matt once described the movie Little Miss Sunshine to me like this: "so it keeps getting sadder and sadder and just when you think it can't get any worse, it suddenly explodes into a giant ball of HAPPY like a roller coaster going up a hill and HAPPYYYYYY!" (which is the sound of him singing).  Now, the giant ball of happy roller coaster is the perfect way to describe the ending of WG, WG.  I feel it's impossible to read it without an enormous smile.  I may have cried and clapped while reading it.  I hope you do too!

In non-book challenge news, I saw Gaelic Storm last night, and it was really fun.  Here's a video of their song,  "The Night I Punched Russell Crowe."  It's a pretty good representation of what their shows are like- a lot of nonsense and a lot of fun.  I hope this story is true.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Day 04 – Favorite book of your favorite series

Alright, this is going to be short and sweet because a- I've already reviewed this book and b- it's been a long (but fun!) weekend, and this lady needs her sleep, yo.  So, without further ado:

my pics Pictures, Images and Photos

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

In the last entry, I mentioned how I'd already raved about this book over at Wastepaper Prose back in December, so you should go check that out to hear a more in-depth and coherent opinion about how much I love this.  Here's my rambly version: YO, THIS BOOK IS GOOD.  I love the plot, I love the world, and I really, really, REALLY love the characters.  This is full of laughter and tears and bittersweetness to the max.  Definitely my kind of book.  We'll see if this gets dethroned when Clockwork Princess is released, but it would really take a lot.

Fun fact: this was one of my first ARCs I ever received that wasn't being lent to me.  I devoured it over the Thanksgiving holiday, and I actually loved it so much I carried it all over my in-laws' house.  It went room to room with me during the weekend, like my imaginary friend or something, because I couldn't beat to put it down.  It's also really hard to explain this kind of book to someone who does read this kind of book.  Or so I found out.  I also found that my in-laws' house has a ton of really great reading nooks.

Alright, love you guys, but I'm sleepy!  See you all tomorrow for Day 05!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Day 03 – Your favorite series

Clearly, anyone reading this knows the true answer to this is Harry Potter.  However, I wanted to branch out in this challenge and discuss some of the other great books I've had the pleasure of reading.  It didn't take me long at all to come to a decision here.

The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
*image courtesy of The Readables


(Mild spoilers follow)
What's almost scandalous about this choice is that only 2 books from this series have been published and that Cassie has another (more popular) series with more books to its name.  While I appreciate The Mortal Instruments series for being my gateway into the Shadowhunter world, I am ever so smitten with these.  I already raved about Clockwork Prince (the second book in the series), but I think both it and the first book Clockwork Angel are fantastic and do not get the attention they deserve.  What I enjoy most are the characters- more specifically Tessa, Will, and Jem.  The relationships are so complicated, everyone's keeping secrets, everyone's suffering in silence, but it's all written in a way that complements them rather than makes them seem like bad people.  Even Will, the one that would be considered the "bad boy" of the parabatai pair, has a completely legitimate reason behind his inner ugliness (because the boy certainly doesn't have any outer ugliness) that is heart-breaking.  Everything is life-or-death-serious, and it's awesome.  This is the way a love triangle should be written: Team Everybody FTW.

The other aspect of this series that I love is that it takes place in 1878 in London, one of my favorite cities.  Cassie has mentioned that Tessa appears at the end of the third Mortal Instruments book which is in 2007, and the reader already knows that Tessa is some kind of warlock and thus is immortal (thus showing up alive and well in 2007 when you know she is 16 in 1878).  And Will and Jem are not immortal.  Jem definitely isn't, as he's dying.  So my question is, how can this series end happily?  Answer: it CAN'T.  With every word I read, I think about how much of a DOWNER it's going to be when it ends, and you know I LOVE a good downer!  No, really, I do.  I'm morose and kind of morbid and a wee bit bittersweet as well.  Hi, I'm Jessica, it's nice to meet you.

Either way, I'll have my answer in 2013 (WHY MUST I WAIT SO LONG?!?!) when I read Clockwork Princess.  Until then, I'll continue to push my theories of Team Everybody and dream of a day when people truly believe that demon pox is real.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Day 02 – A book that you’ve read more than 3 times

I am, by nature, a repeater.  If I really like something, I want to experience it again and again.  A delicious meal, a fantastic movie, my new favorite song, a book written so well it makes my heart ache...  However, in the world of YA bloggers, I've found that I am somewhat of an anomaly.  Because we have reviews to write and followers to entertain, it tends to be a world of read, review, post, read, review, post, etc.  Before my reviewer days, though, I was quite the avid rereader.  My record, of course, was with the Harry Potter series, which I essentially read for seven years.  Whoa, hold on... I just blew my own mind by realizing that I stopped the constant rereading after I reached the most magical of numbers.

Remember that part in the last post about 30 days to make fun of myself?  Why don't I just show the book cover, eh?



Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

I had been hearing all sorts of amazing things about this book for a while before I actually decided to believe the hype and read this.  I am so glad I did, because this book is one of my forever favorites, and I find I'm always telling people to read it.  Everyone should know Anna & everyone should know √Čtienne St. Clair.  On my very first read of Anna, the moment I reached the end, a heavy sadness spread over my heart.  I wasn't read to part with these characters.  So, I went back to the beginning and read it again.  And again.  By the time Stephanie released her second book last September (which I will be mentioning later in this Challenge), I'd read Anna no less than (again, magical!) 7 times.

I've already said this, but I think everyone should read this.  It's first love at its best.  Hilarious and sweet, agonizing and real.  Also, Paris.  Cinema.  Girl Scout cookies.  Macarons.  British accents.  French punk.  Canadian flags.  Anna confused.  And some of the most amazing words I've ever read.  These are just a few of the reasons I continue to come back to Anna and the French Kiss.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

30 Day Book Challenge Day 01- Best Book You Read Last Year (& #200!)

And welcome to my 200th entry.  Check it out!  It only took me, like, five years to get here!  LOOK AT IT.

In all seriousness, thanks for reading.  I'm glad you enjoy my ramblings, and I hope you continue to enjoy them.  If you really enjoy them and want to hear more of my ramblings as well as the rambling of other awesomely talented ladies, see also Wastepaper Prose and Good Morning, Good Morning.

NOW!  Last March, I participated in the 30 Day Song Challenge, and I thought it was super fun.  So, I figured I'd try another challenge for March 2012, hoping it will spring me back into a more regular blogging schedule (she said hopefully).  Since you know I am an active reader and book reviewer for a blog followed by at least 1000 people! (as she plugs Wastepaper Prose one more time), I thought I'd do the 30 Day Book Challenge.  I decided to make this a 30 Day YA Book Challenge because, well, that's what I predominantly read.

HERE ARE MY OWN PREDETERMINED RULES:
-No using the same book/series twice unless absolutely necessary (so only 1 mention of Harry Potter).
-Authors can be used more than once.
-Only YA books.
-One post a day!

So... 30 Days, (presumably) 30 Books, 30 ways to make fun of myself.

Day 01- Best book you read last year
Last year was a banner year at the BS house for books.  It's when I started reading much more  consistently.  Also, I was pretty bad about keeping track of what I read and when I read it (I keep a spreadsheet now... seriously).  However, one book clearly stands out among the rest.  Let's say all the books I read last year met in a battle to the death, this one would be the winner.  I think you know where I'm going with this.

the hunger games Pictures, Images and Photos

Not only one of the best YA books in recent years, not only one of the best YA books ever, but simply one of the best books ever.  Period.  No genre needed.  Suzanne Collins can write face-meltingly well.  She created one of the most bad-ass female characters in the history of bad-ass female characters.  More than that, though, Katniss Everdeen is realistically multifaceted.  Sure, she can run you through with an arrow from hundreds of yards away, but she also has a genuine heart.  She's smart and occasionally funny and strong and and and... Katniss is the poo, so take a big whiff.  Oh yeah, and the story is amazing to boot.  This is my go-to book whenever I'm asked for recommendations for someone who doesn't read YA or someone who claims that YA isn't written as well as "real books."  Yeah, this is an instant classic.

23 MORE DAYS!!
the hunger games Pictures, Images and Photos