10.28.2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Scariest Book Covers/Books to Read on Halloween


This week's Top Ten Tuesday on The Broke and the Bookish is Top Ten Scariest Book Covers or Top Ten Books to Read on Halloween. As a new devotee to Top Ten Tuesday, I wasn't around last year for the latter, so I'm going to do some of each.

Top Ten Scariest Book Covers


Great, now I'm not going to be able to look at my blog for a week.


Top Five Books to Read on Halloween

1. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

2. Anything by Stephen King (obvs)

3. Harry Potter by JK Rowling (because it's supernatural and has lots of pumpkin stuff in it - also let's face it, there's really no bad time to read HP.)

4. The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

5. A good murder mystery - either true crime (like Mindhunter by John Douglas - for you TV buffs, Criminal Minds was based on his work) or a fictional thriller (Michael Connelly is a great one).

Okay, now that I'm thoroughly freaked out by my own post, leave me a comment and tell me some of your scary, spooky Halloween faves. Maybe eventually I'll come out of hiding to read them!

10.27.2013

FANGIRL - Rainbow Rowell


Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind? - Goodreads description


------

I've got an admission to make. I've been trying to write this review since the Read-A-Thon... two weeks ago.
*Hangs head* I'm disgusting. Don't even look at me.

It's that old thing where if I really love a book - or an author - writing the review is a gut-wrenching, anxiety-inducing fiasco. No matter what I write, it just doesn't express what I want to say. Then I get frustrated, give up and eat a cookie. Then I come back to it, try to fix it, make it worse, give up, and drink a beer. This cycle continues until I eventually either have a stroke of (relative) genius, or publish whatever I've got in exasperation. I'm going with the latter, so bear with me.

In this case, my sense of being an inadequate reviewer is because Rainbow Rowell's writing deserves more eloquence than I seem to be able to muster. She has a unique talent, even amongst writers. She's able to take something I'd normally have this reaction to:

 You expect me to be excited about this?

And totally draw me into the story, to the point where my house could probably be on fire and I wouldn't notice until the book caught flame. She did it for a social misfit in Eleanor & Park and for FanFic (fan fiction) in Fangirl (and for corporate email monitoring in Attachments, but I haven't read it yet because I'm rationing my Rowell). If her next book was about a garbage collector or a potato, I'd still want to be the first to get my hands on a copy.

Seriously. Don't get in my way.

Cath herself is a character that I can not only relate to, but root for. Her family is appropriately complicated, but her love for both her twin sister, Wren, and father is beautifully sincere. Despite the betrayal of her mother leaving them at a young age, she is able to love, and to do so with all of her heart, even as she knows it could break her.

Rowell has created a wonderful cast of characters in this book. As I read I couldn't help but notice some correlations between the characters in Fangirl and the '90s TV show, Felicity. Cath bears some resemblance to the inexperienced, slightly naive, shy Felicity, while her roommate Reagan reminds me of the aggressive, worldly, spunky Megan. Which is great, because Megan was my favourite character - tough on the outside, but with a soft heart. Fortunately Cath isn't too much like Felicity, other than being inexperienced and overwhelmed by college life, which is good because Felicity annoyed me. Cath... she's sweet. She makes me want to protect her. Which is the same reaction Reagan had, as she took her under her wing saying, "[Y]ou're so helpless sometimes. It's like watching a kitten with its head trapped in a Kleenex box."

Getitoff getitoff getitoff!

There's really not much I can criticize about this book, except a few questionable fashion choices (notably a paisley scarf) and a hair too much discussion of Levi's widow's peak (see what I did there?). Ridiculously minor points. Everything that matters? Perfection.

It's hard to believe that this is only Rowell's third book. She writes with an attention to detail and insight that is impressive. Like Eleanor & Park, I finished this book in a day (this time because it was my Read-A-Thon selection), and I think the intensive immersion augmented my emotional response to her writing.

I just... I can't even.... *hides under the bed*

Oh, the book hangover. Both times, it took a couple of days for me to return to normal as I slowly returned to reality. If you're a fan of E&P, you'll find a lot of the same subtlety in Fangirl - much more than you'd expect from the cover or title. If you haven't read any of Rowell's writing before and aren't sure whether a book called Fangirl is really your thing because you like "serious" writing, let me tell you that to judge this book by its title would be a mistake that would rob you of a great experience.

Want more Rowell? Find her on Twitter: @rainbowrowell

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Book Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Edition: Hardback
Published by: St. Martin's Griffin
Released: September 10, 2013
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Twins, Fanfic, College, Writing
Pages: 434
Date Read: October 12, 2013
Rating: 9/10

10.21.2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Character Names


This week's Top Ten Tuesday on The Broke and the Bookish is Top Ten Character Names I Love (or Unusual Character Names). This is going to be interesting, folks!

1. Thursday Next from The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde 
I haven't read the whole book yet, but this name is one of my faves from literature EVER.

2. Titus Groan from The Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake 
A perfect name for the mopey, grim character it represents.

3. Severus Snape from the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling 
The alitteration is perfect, the "s" sounds evoke the snake associated with his house, and the unpleasantness of the name evokes the prickly character himself. Bravo, Rowling.

4. Nymphadora (or "Tonks") from the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling 
One of my favourite names, and one of my favourite characters.

5. Clary from The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare 
Claire isn't my favourite name, but at least it's a name rather than a type of sage.

6. Catnip.... er.... Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 
Just... not good.

7. Cather and Wren from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell 
I won't give away where these names come from, because it's an amusing part of the story, but I just can't like them. Wren is just not a proper name, and Cather kept making me think of catheter, which is NOT a good association to have.

8. Adrian Mole from The Diary of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend
Not a nice name, per se, but one that suited the character of the pimply, lower class, socially inept teenager perfectly.

9. Anna Madrigal from Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin 
I LOVE this name. I don't know why. Maybe partly because I associate it with the character herself, who is such a lovable one.

10. Renesmee from the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer 
This is the stupidest name I have ever heard. I liked how even in the movie version when they had the scene where Bella suggests this name she seems embarrassed and everyone else in the room is trying (unsuccessfully) not to laugh. Yeah, it's that bad.

Bonus: Boo Radly
Because BOO RADLEY, y'all.

Head over to The Broke and the Bookish to link up!!

10.16.2013

THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING - Robyn Schneider


Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes? - Goodreads


------
Ezra's in a pretty dark place when we meet him. He's lost his girlfriend and his athletic career - not only that, but he has trouble just walking up a flight of stairs. And to add insult to injury (literally), the experience of losing these things made him realize that he had not only lost his popular group of friends, but never really had them in the first place.

By the time summer comes to a close, he's not looking forward to returning to school and finding out whether any of the popular crowd still accept him. Nor is he looking forward to the gawkers who will look at him with unveiled curiosity.

What Ezra doesn't expect is that in finding a place among the outcasts, he is gaining much more than he's losing. He discovers a world that is much more interesting and fulfilling - he regains his childhood friend, a group of witty (if nerdy) friends who actually care about him, and a new girlfriend who challenges him and pushes him beyond his comfort zone in ways that make him fall for her hard.

It's a love story... but it's not just a love story. It's the story of growing up, of moving beyond the limited world of cheerleaders and jocks (and high school itself) and learning to deal with personal tragedy.

There are a lot of reasons why I enjoyed this book. But mostly I enjoyed that it was about real teens, with real voices and real lives. They swear, they drink, they skip class, they have parties and they aren't all virgins. They're not censored, nor are they whitewashed into teens who will be palatable to the parents of teens. And man, was that a nice change.

I also appreciated the secondary characters - some of whom I ended up liking even better than the protagonist. My favourite was Toby, Ezra's childhood best friend and captain of the debate team, who is probably gay but has decided to deal with figuring it out in college. He's witty, can make a good pun and has got some epic one-liners.

**SPOILER ALERT**
The only character I wasn't thrilled with was Cassidy, Ezra's love interest. Though I'm not usually a fan of split-narration, I think in this case we could have benefited from her perspective. Without it, she comes across as moody, high maintenance, cold and, by the end of the book, a bit of a bitch. I tried, but I couldn't bring myself to root for her and Ezra, because I just didn't like her very much. Don't get me wrong, I have sympathy for her situation - it's messy and full of confusing emotions - but I still didn't like how she dealt with it. I also found the situation with her brother a bit predictable - I figured her big mystery was about him pretty early on (though not his involvement with Ezra's situation).

And finally, Cooper. You guys remember my post on Book Turn-Offs? Well one of the items I added at the end was anything bad happening to animals. Well, something bad happens to Ezra's dog, Cooper. It's close to the end of the book - otherwise I would have abandoned it - but it was in there, and very sad. So for those of you who also can't handle anything sad happening to a furry friend, this might not be the book for you. Particularly because there isn't really any point to it.  
**END SPOILER**

As far as Young Adult reading goes, this book is somewhere upwards of the middle of the range. I certainly loved most of the characters, and I really enjoyed reading it. It's pretty easy to get in to, and you'll want to finish it (possibly in one go). It didn't blow my socks off and clear across the room, but that's okay because the weather's getting chilly and I kinda need them.

------

Book Title: The Beginning of Everything (or Severed Heads, Broken Hearts)
Author: Robyn Schneider
Edition: Hardback
Published by: Katherine Tegen
Released: August 27, 2013
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Tragedy, Popularity
Pages: 335
Date Read: October 6-11, 2013
Rating: 7/10

10.15.2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I Was "Forced" to Read


This week's Top Ten Tuesday on The Broke and the Bookish is Top Ten Books I Was "Forced" to Read - by anyone, teachers, parents, friends, review commitments... whatever. In my case it never took a lot to get me to read a book, so "forced" might be too strong a word, but these are books I probably wouldn't have found on my own, and that I felt I needed to read because of someone in my life going on and on about them!

1.To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
It's actually high time I re-read this one, because I'm a bit fuzzy on it. I remember the overall gist of it, though, and I remember the impact it had on me. It was one of those books that I read at a young age and that changed my outlook.

2. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
I started reading this for an English class in high school. And while it was slow going at first, it became one of the most powerful, affecting books I've ever read. Irving has the ability to write with an almost magnetic force. Once you get into one of his books, he subtly shifts the plot into more and more dark, twisted territory - but he does it so gently that you barely notice you're heading further into the woods until you're lost in them.

3. Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby
I read this as a review book. At first I wasn't that into it. But as I got to the end, I decided that I really liked that it was unpredictable, that the characters were the most unlikely of heroes and the overall feel of the story.

4. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
My husband loves this book. He started re-reading it and I decided to give it a try. SO GOOD. Really easy to get into, fast-paced and highly entertaining. 

5. The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
Everyone needs to read this - especially in their teen years. That is all.

6. Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins
I had this kicking around on my bookshelf for ages, but didn't get around to reading this until a friend I lived with in grade 9 became obsessed with Still Life with Woodpecker. Which I also read and loved.
 
7. Travels by Michael Crichton
A high school ex recommended this book to me as one of his favourites. I was skeptical at first, but it quickly became one of my all-time faves.

8. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and all the Jane Austen books
I had a classics phase as a teen. Agnes Grey and Jane Eyre also fall into this category.

9. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
A friend recommended this to me after he read and loved it. I devoured almost the entire thing in one sitting and proceeded to recommend it to everyone I know. It's a magical book that has the ability to make EVERYONE love it.

10. Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach
This was another review book. I am fascinated by the field of sexuality - had sexology been offered as a degree program at any of the universities in my area, I would have majored in it. So this book had a huge appeal to me. Not only is the topic one of my faves, but it's extremely well researched, varied and entertaining.

That's my top ten! This is a great topic, and I wanna know what yours are! Head over and link up or share in the comments below!

10.13.2013

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-A-Thon Report



So as you guys know, I participated in Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon for the first time yesterday. Hundreds of other booklovers joined in, either as readers or cheerleaders, posting and commenting on blogs, Instagram and Twitter.

I expected to enjoy spending a day reading, and challenging myself to get through as many pages as I could. But what I hadn't realized was just how much fun the Read-a-thon community would be!  Cheerleaders from Team Tiger stopped by my blog throughout the day, leaving encouraging comments and quotes (even though I had decided to update via Twitter as it took less time). Dewey's Read-a-thon Twitter account (@readathon) interacted with my Tweets, and fellow readers also replied with encouragement, shared enthusiasm for the book I was reading and even traded cat pictures!

Of course, spending a day reading purposefully, without any guilt, was great. I had anticipated some trouble with drifting focus, distractions and tiredness. But what actually challenged me the most was physical comfort. I had back surgery a few years ago, and I'm definitely not in as good shape as I should be. So sitting for hour upon hour reading was really difficult - and painful - for me. I tried to change positions, chairs, get up and walk around periodically or do a couple of stretches, but still, by the end of the day I was feeling pretty sore.

I also didn't pay too much attention to the suggestions to pick shorter, easier books to read so I'd feel like I was making progress more quickly. While I really enjoyed my chosen book, in retrospect I think that is really good advice, and next Read-a-thon I think I'll choose several shorter books.

Despite these couple of minor issues, I am incredibly glad I participated! I think with more advance notice next time (I only found out about this one 5 hours before it started!) I'll be able to make sure that I've got a good stack of books selected, some yummy reading snacks at hand, and maybe even add in some yoga poses to help stretch me out.

Now, on to my reading!


For my first Read-a-thon, I decided to read a book that has been staring at me temptingly since I finally got m hands on it earlier this week - Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I'm working on a full review, but suffice it to say that even though this was longer and a  bit more intricate than I think the ideal Read-a-thon book would be, I'm still glad I picked it because it was so good.

All told, I probably spent about 8 or 9 hours reading. Having found out about the Read-a-thon so late in the day, I decided to start late, so I didn't get started until about 10:30 AM, took several breaks to make food, watch some TV, and do chores. Basically whenever my back was hurting. I stopped reading at about 2 AM, having finished this book and attempted to read The Cuckoo's Calling, which I'm part way through at the moment. But I got tired, and with today being Thanksgiving here in Canada and entailing some family events that I need to be awake for, I decided not to push through until the end.

I think I did pretty well, and am pleased with having finished Fangirl in one day. The Read-a-thon itself was amazingly well coordinated, the folks who ran it did an excellent job of setting up cheerleaders, engaging with participants, and creating a thoroughly enjoyable event. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for future Read-a-thons, and can't wait to give it another go!

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-A-Thon came up with a survey for participants, so rather than do a whole separate post, I'm adding my answers here!
  1. Which hour was most daunting for you? I didn't do the full 24 hours, but of the time I participated, I'd say first and last. First because I was a bit intimidated, and last because I was so tired!
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? Anything that isn't too long, isn't too involved, and has the kind of plot that really grips you. It could be different depending on the interests of the reader, but things like the Harry Potter books, most good YA lit, thrillers, mysteries or good literary fiction.
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Maybe try to avoid weekends with holidays in as many countries as you can? Wasn't much of a problem for me, but I did see some chatter about people who couldn't participate because it was Thanksgiving weekend in Canada, and family commitments intervened. Other than that, I think it was excellently organized, planned and executed, and am in awe of what you guys accomplished! Oh, one idea that might not be at all practical - for newbie readers, maybe you could help match them up with more experienced readers who could answer questions and make sure to engage with them throughout the day. For me, interacting with people on Twitter really made the whole experience. Having a "Read-a-thon buddy" would make it a really positive experience for those who aren't already involved in the online book community. Just a thought - might be far too difficult to organize!
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? I was a last-minute addition, so I didn't get a chance to engage with pre-event posts and info, and I didn't really do any of the hourly challenges or post updates for cheerleaders to comment on. But from what I can tell, the interaction on Twitter, having a hashtag so I could see what other readers were saying and engage with them all made it feel like a community event, and that made it amazing for me. I tip my hat to the organizers, because I know how much work goes into organizing something on this scale. Having cheerleaders, prizes, guest hosts every hour or few hours and a troupe of bloggers who helped be the face of the event all made it a wonderful event for us book-lovers!
  5. How many books did you read? Because I only found out about the event 5 hours before it started, I hadn't really prepared myself mentally or in terms of time and supplies for a proper 24 hours. So I only got through one book - but even that is a good accomplishment for about 8 or 9 hours of reading - considering it was a longer one!
  6. What were the names of the books you read? I read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell from start to finish, and I dipped in and out of Confessions of a Hater by Caprice Crane, The Cuckoo's Calling by J K Rowling and Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick.
  7. Which book did you enjoy most? Fangirl, hands down!
  8. Which did you enjoy least? Didn't really get into Confessions of a Hater, and The Cuckoo's Calling just wasn't what I was in the mood for.
  9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? I wasn't a cheerleader, but I can tell you they rocked!
  10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? I'll definitely be joining in every chance I get. I'll be a reader, but I did enjoy engaging with others on Twitter, and I think next time I'd try to set aside some time to visit other reader's blogs and leave them some encouragement too!

10.12.2013

24-Hour Read-A-Thon Starting in T-5 Hours!


OMG, you guys, I just found out about this and it made my day. No, it made my whole goddamn week. So here's the story. Dewey's Read-a-thon takes place twice a year, in October and April. On each of the two selected days, hundreds of book bloggers and reading enthusiasts sign up to read for 24 hours straight, all at the same time (you can find start times for different time zones here). During or after the read-a-thon readers post updates to their blogs and/or Twitter feeds saying how it's going, what they're reading, how long they've been reading and how many pages they've read.

The idea is to just read. Read as much as possible, read to the exclusion of distractions and TV, read wherever you're comfortable, read whatever you want. Some readers go hardcore, forgoing showers, errands and social interaction - even reading while eating - and try to go the full 24 hours. Others pop in and out, taking breaks, napping and calling it a day when they get tired. Whatever your personal reading style, there's room for it here.

I'm a late registrant, somehow having missed talk of this until now (nearly midnight and the scheduled start time for my area is 5AM!) so I won't be going hardcore. My plan is to get up when I'm up - hopefully around 8 or 9 - and just read as much as possible for as long as I can, taking breaks as needed. I'll see how it goes and maybe next year I'll try for a hardcore read!

If you want to learn more about the read-a-thon, go here, or to register go here. And don't forget to check out the blogs of participants listed on the registration page, drop some words of encouragement, and spend as much time as you can reading tomorrow!

I'll try to add a post or two here, but if you want to see what I'm up to (and check out other readers), follow me on Twitter (@Backlist_Books) or the hashtag #readathon.

------

I haven't decided yet what I'm going to read, but here are some of the titles on my possibles list:

1. Faceless Killer (Kurt Wallander thriller #1) - Henning Mankell
2. Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell
3. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock - Matthew Quick
4. The Cuckoo's Calling - J.K. Rowling
5. The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow - Rita Leganski
6. Further Tales of the City - Armistead Maupin

If you're joining in, what's in your reading pile? Any books to recommend?

10.11.2013

Book Swap!!!!


My friends Katrin and Martha (along with three other awesome ladies) are hosting an amazing swap - Booktober!

The idea is to swap books with another blogger - you'll be paired up with someone who has similar tastes and will be able to chat with them before the swap so you can find an appropriate book. If you want, you can even throw in one of your faves, too - I'll probably get carried away and include tea and snacks to go with the reading experience! Here are the details:

  • The swap is open to all active bloggers and it is international.
  • The swap opens on the first of October and closes on the 12th (so hurry up and join - you've only got until tomorrow!)
  • Your swap partner will be send out by October 17 and the packages must be in the mail by the end of the month. 
  • Bloggers will be sent their match's email address so they can discuss the books they like best and swap mailing addresses; they can swap new or gently used books.
That's it! Head over to Katrin or Martha's blogs for more details, or go here to sign right up!

10.08.2013

THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE - Leila Sales


Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing. - Goodreads

------

I'm a big believer in judging books by their covers. And while this one appealed to me visually, it didn't really scream my sort of book. For starters, there's the pink and purple... not really my colour scheme. I'm more a black and chrome gal. Then there's the fact that "love" is highlighted... I'm not a cheesy YA romance chick, either. 

But I'd read some favourable reviews - a few that said the book was a pleasant surprise and not at all what you'd expect. So I gave it a try. And they were right - it wasn't what I expected. 

This is a book about a loner. An outcast. A girl who not only has no friends and doesn't fit in at school, but who is mercilessly bullied, made fun of and tormented by... well, pretty much everyone. High school is a baffling place, and for some it is beyond comprehension. Elise Dembowski is one of those who can't get the hang of being a teenager. She doesn't understand what she should say, what she should wear or what she should do. But there's one thing she does understand - music. 

Elise is the daughter of a musician and went to her first concert at 8 months of age. Music, unlike life, is something she not only gets, but that seems to get her. As she becomes part of an underground dance scene that holds the keys to her self-expression and the first real friends she's ever had, she discovers there is something she's good at. Really good at. DJing. And so a whole new life begins for Elise, one where she not only fits in - she rules. 

While some plot points of the book weren't entirely realistic, overall I enjoyed it - but more importantly, I found it evocative. It took me right back to the frustration of being the victim, of being bullied and helpless, knowing that if you go to an adult that'll only make it worse, but that anything you do yourself will also make it worse. This is the reality of bullying and teen cruelty that most adults don't really want to admit - the reality that sometimes, you just have to suck it up and make it to graduation. And sure, it gets better, but that doesn't make it any easier at the time. 

At the end of the day, high school, like life, is full of ups and downs - usually more of the latter. But the ups are magical, the things we learned about ourselves during those years will endure in our outlook on the world for the rest of our lives. And, if we're lucky, we find out who we want to be.

Oh, and the books comes with a suggested soundtrack - so make sure to read the last (2) pages first!
 
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Book Title: This Song Will Save Your Life
Author: Leila Sales
Edition: Hardback
Published by: Farrar Straus Giraux
Released: September 17, 2013
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Outcast, Music, DJ
Pages: 288
Date Read: October 5-8, 2013
Rating: 7/10

10.07.2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Best/Worst Series Enders


This week's Top Ten Tuesday on The Broke and the Bookish is Top Ten Best/Worst Series Enders. As I mentioned a couple of TTTs ago, series aren't really my thing. So this is another challenging one for me - but I'll do my best!

Best:

1. Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien. Obvs.

2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling. Also obvs.

3. The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

4.The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies

There are some series I'm not finished but am enjoying so far: Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin, Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, Adrian Mole series by Sue Townsend, Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake. Does it count if I like it so far??

Worst:

5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I know, I know, this is going to cause an uproar. The storyline was amazing, as were the characters and world she created. But I hated how the endings to all three books were rushed (as you know if you've been reading my blog for awhile) and honestly I didn't feel like the story lines were wrapped up to my satisfaction at the end of the third book.

6. Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris. I didn't actually read all of these, but after what, like 9 or 10 or 11 books? I can't remember, but as far as I got, I started to get bored. The ending might have picked up again, but at the very least the series wasn't consistently good enough for me to even want to finish it. 


That's it - that's all I got! Sorry, guys. I so rarely read serials! Help a girl out - share your faves and least faves in the comments!

10.04.2013

Books on the Web: The Best Reads of September, Bare It for Books, Secret Passage Book Shelves... and MORE!






So much booky goodness on the interwebs this week! Here's some of it:
What cool book-related stuff have you seen on the web this week? Share links in the comments!

10.01.2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Book Turn-Offs


 This week's Top Ten Tuesday on The Broke and the Bookish is all about turn-offs. Top Ten Book Turn-Offs, that is. Only 10? Aw, shucks. Here are some of mine, in no particular order.

1. Grammar/spelling.

The odd mistake is fine, to be expected in fact. I can get past that. God knows, I make plenty. But if there are so many mistakes that it takes me out of the story, I'm out.

2. Repetition.

I don't mind a bit of stylistic repeating of tone or sentence structure - even a preference for certain turns of phrase or words can be okay. But when it gets to a point that I start wondering if the author has actually heard of a thesaurus, then I start getting annoyed. This was one of the (many, many) issues I had with Fifty Shades of Grey.

3. Predictability.

If I can see the plot twist or where the story is going then what's the point in reading it? This Is What Happy Looks Like was like that for me. Even worse when it's a mystery.

4. Writing as if the audience should be very impressed with your cleverness.

I'll be impressed if you, you know, impress me.  But don't come up with some plot that's supposed to be really amazing and write it as if you've just revealed the location of the fountain of youth, the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle and come up with a cure for cancer when all you've done is write a moderately entertaining and somewhat predictable novel. This was my issue with The Da Vinci Code. I would have been more impressed if Brown hadn't written it as if he was blown away by his own cleverness.

5. Impenetrable language.

Long words are fine. A varied vocabulary is great. But when the author is contemporary and clearly throwing obscure words around to show off, I just wanna smack them.

6. Too many characters.

Oh man, War and Peace. The first five pages had more characters (all with apparently the same three names in variation) than all the Harry Potter books combined. My brain can't keep track!

7. Unbelievable characters

Don't decide halfway through a book that you wish you'd written a different character and just start writing that character. Don't make your characters do things that are completely, you know, out of character because you can't figure out another way to get the story to come out right.  

8. On-again, off-again love affairs.

It's bad enough in TV shows, but in books? Puh-lease. Zero fucks.

9. Lazy writing.

The Hunger Games series. **SPOILER** I loved the premise of these books. And for the first half of each of them, they were even decently written. But as it got to the end, it was like the author had a set number of pages and ran out of space for the climax. You know, the part of the book we have been WAITING FOR. Chapter upon chapter of Katniss hunting squirrels in the beginning, and then for the climax of each book she takes a nap. We have to find out what happened in a quick two page re-cap from another character when she wakes up? SERIOUSLY???? So annoyed.

10. Padding.

I get that back in the day authors were paid by the word, so books like Bleak House are stupid long. I don't like it, but I get it. But the Stephen King novels - some of them are heavier than my house. It's just excessive. I mean, don't get me wrong, the guy is a seriously talented writer, and the books are still worth reading, but I feel like he could have cut some of them down a bit. Just a few hundred pages or so.

I'm not going to go back and change mine, cos that would be cheating, but I can't believe I didn't think of the first two in The Broke and the Bookish post! Insta-love and animal cruelty. Both  major turn-offs for me. I can handle people being hurt and killed (my favourite TV show is Criminal Minds) but have a puppy hit by a car and I'm in tears and putting the book back on the shelf (or throwing it out, if it's really bad), no matter how much I want to know what happens. I'm also with them on some of the others - the super-controlling-guy-you're-supposed-to-root-for one and the virgin-as-saint one.

Want to share some of your book turn-offs? Head over to The Broke and the Bookish and link up!

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