Sunday, August 31, 2014

Making Up For Monday: Does size matter?

It's time for Making Up For Monday!

This week's question:
What is the longest book you have ever read? Was is worth the length?

I decided to list the top two longest books I have ever read because my response to them was very different.

1. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas at 1,276 page:

This book is long and the language is complex.  There are even points in the book where he just starts talking in French, without giving you a translation. The book took me FOREVER to read, BUT it was totally worth it!  The book was amazing and captivating.  The characters have incredible depth and complexity.  Its a brilliant book and I loved it!

2. It by Stephen King at 1,090 pages:

I had never read Stephen King before this book and was eager to be thrilled and terrified. Instead I was appalled and disgusted. I hated this book for one scene. That scene totally and completely destroyed anything good I thought about the book.  It was towards the end and I nearly quit reading right then and there. I will never read him again.  I just couldn't handle it.

What about you?  What is your biggest conquest and was it worth it?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Lord of the Flies: 4 Stars

Lord of the Flies 

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Lord of the Flies is one of those books that I always meant to read, but since it wasn't required in high school, I hadn't. But I added the book to my Classics List so I would finally read it.

I didn't know what to expect from the book, but when I picked it up from the library, two of my sisters saw it and both asked why I was torturing myself with this terrible book. I thought maybe I made a big mistake and that maybe I should skip it. But I read it anyway and was very glad I did. 

The book takes place during a war. After an attack on the city, an evacuation takes place and all the boys from the local schools are put on a plane.  But when the plane crashes on a deserted island, the boys soon realize they are without adult supervision or immediate rescue. It's up to them to save themselves.

Ralph is the first boy to step up and take charge with a young chubby kid they call Piggy by his side. Ralph's first priority is to get a fire going on the top of a hill so they have a constant smoke signal going so all passing ships can see it. Then he works on shelters and food. It doesn't take long before the boys are getting hungry and realize that hunting is more difficult than they expected. Also, several of the young boys claim that they have witnessed a giant beast in the forest and are scared. 

A young boy named Jack decides he will make a better leader.  He convinces the boys to abandon the fire and smoke signal and all together they go hunting to catch a boar. Once they have eaten, he gains confidence in his leading abilities, and when Ralph fights back, Jack leads against Ralph, promising safety from the beast.  And this is when all hell breaks loose. 

Golding does a phenomenal job of describing young boys without any direction and the desire to have power. You have Ralph who understands that food, shelter and safety are important, but since being rescued is the end goal, puts a smoke signal as the number one priority.  Then you have Jack, who abandons all other endeavors to tackle whatever task the majority grumbles about most. Without rules, there is no one to keep them in line, or prevent them from taking things too far. 

The imagery of Ralph on the beach on the beginning of the book and again at the end of the book shows the end of innocence. The dramatic change you see in Ralph is amazing and thought provoking. It made me think a lot about my own life. Do I side with the person that has my best interest at heart or the person who has my interest for that moment? Do I prioritize my life based on what others view as important or based on what I really want in the long run?

This is a book I can see myself reading again because it was so thought-provoking.

Rating: PG

Recommended for those who enjoy: dystopian, action, adventure, and thought-provoking books. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Top Ten Books I Really Want To Read But Don't Own Yet Because They Hasn't Been Released

For this week's edition of Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish), the topic was: Top Ten Books I Really Want To Read But Don't Own Yet.  I decided to go a little more specific by adding the condition that the book hasn't been released yet.

So, here we go!

1. Blood of my Blood by Barry Lyga: Release Date: September 9, 2014

This is the third and final book to the I Hunt Killers trilogy. I have only read the first book, but I decided to hold off on reading the second book until the third was released (I am not a patient  person sometimes).

2. The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan: Release date: October 7, 2014

This is the final in the Heroes of Olympus series. I have heard one of the seven will die.  I hope its not Leo!
 3. Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris: Release date: October 14, 2014

This seems strange so therefore I am intrigued!

4. Gray Mountain by John Grisham: Release date: October 21, 2014

I love his books!
 5. Veronica Mars: Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham: Release date: October 28, 2014

This is one of my new favorite series! I am hoping for more Logan in this book.

6. The next book by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.  It hasn't even been announced yet. But I love his writing.  Even when the book isn't great, his words are gorgeous!

7. The next book by Mary Roach. I can't wait to see what topic she tackles next! She's so funny and her books are very informative.

8. The next Dexter book by Jeff Lindsay...if there is one.  Is the series over?  Does anyone know?

9. The next book by Matthew Quick that has yet to be announced. His books are hit or miss, and the last two have been my least favorite, but I am hoping for the best!

10. Davis McCullough is writing a book about the Wright brothers that is currently untitled and has an expected release date of May 5th 2015. I learn so much when reading his books!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Making Up For Monday: Author Love


It's time for Making Up For Monday!

This week's question:
Which author have you read the most books from?

This question gets a bit tricky due to series. If you are talking just books, JK Rowling, Jeff Lindsay and Rick Riordan will be pretty close to the top of my charts because each of them has a lengthy series that I have read. But if you were to count a series as just one book, then the lists would include writers who write quite a few stand alone books, including Mary Roach,Carlos Ruiz Zafon, and Matthew Quick. This makes finding the #1 author I have read fairly easy.

Mr. John Grisham

I am not typically a fan of formula writers who spit books out every year with one typical element in common, but I make the exception for Grisham.  He is an excellent writer with captivating stories and engaging characters. I rarely want to put his books down and always find myself entertained.

What about you? Which author gets your love?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #5): 3 Stars

The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

This is the final book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympian series. The fight against Kronos has reached the final battle. Annabeth, Grover, and Percy must now face Luke, a task Annabeth is heart broken over. But with all the gods busy trying to keep the world in order, Mount Olympus is vacant and it's up to Percy to save it. It doesn't help that Mount Olympus is in the Empire State Building in New York; the same New York Percy's mother and step father are in. He must succeed, or all is lost.

I love the way Riordan's mind works. This entire series is based on a prophecy; a prophecy everyone assumes is about Percy. Percy is the hero afterall.  He's Camp Half Blood's golden boy. But what if they are wrong?

Riordan always keeps me guessing and never stops surprising me. I love that. I find some children's books far too predictable, but not his. His books are funny, engaging, and entertaining.

That being said, sometimes the teenage angst is too much for me. While it's true that teenagers are emotional and not always logical, it doesn't mean it doesn't drive me crazy.

Rating: PG

Recommended for those that enjoys: children's books, action, adventure, mythology, and humor.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Top Ten Books People Have Been Telling You That You MUST Read

In this week's rendition of Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and The Bookish), the theme is: Top Ten Books People Have Been Telling You That You MUST Read (whether because they think it's a "you" book or it's just been generally recommended so often).

I often ask for recommendations and have received quite a few.  I have read some and I have quite a few on my list that still need to be read.

Here's the top ten:

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand:  This one is HUGE but has been recommended to be a couple times.  I have full intentions of reading it someday.

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie: I have promised my husband I would read this for years, but haven't yet.  As a worry wart, he'd prefer I find an alternative to worrying.

Portrait of a Killer by Patricia Cornwell: I love reading about serial killers and supposedly Cornwell makes a pretty good case at who Jack the Ripper really was in real life.

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace: Another huge book that has been recommended that I haven't tackled yet.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman: I can't tell you how many times this book has been recommended to me. I will read it eventually.

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver: This has been recommended a few times as well, but due to the heavy theme of the book, I haven't tackled it yet.

The Hound of Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: I have yet to read any of his books and supposedly this is a great one to start with.

The Pretenders by Lisi Harrison:  My 14-year-old niece has been begging me to read this, but I am not much for YA books, and this is pretty young.

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan:  The Heroes of Olympus series has been highly recommended to me and I have read all the book, except this one....because it hasn't been released yet!  Ha ha ha!

Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham: This is the second in the Veronica Mars series and has already been recommended to me, but I haven't read it yet, because it too has yet to be released.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Making Up For Monday: Negative Reviews

It's time for Making Up For Monday!

This week's question:
How do you feel about giving negative reviews?

I don't know about anyone else, but I hate giving bad reviews.  No matter how you dice it, someone worked very hard on the book you are reading. They spent hours, days, months, and sometimes years working on that. They poured their heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears into it.  As a writer, I find that my writing is incredibly personal and part of me.  If someone were to write negatively about it, it would be hard not to take it personal. This is perhaps the number one reason I have never attempted to publish anything.  I can not handle rejection.

But as a reviewer, it is necessary to be honest with all my reviews.  So, as a result, there are more than a few books that get negative reviews.  But to counter my guilt, I have started adding a recommendation at the bottom of each review. Just because I didn't like the book, doesn't mean someone else won't enjoy it. Each person has their own personal taste and lives.  Sometimes books that no one else seem to like, speak to me because they relate to my life and how I feel at that time. Others I don't understand at all, but others who have had similar experiences as the characters totally love it.

What about you?  Do you ever feel a, little bad giving a bad review?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Can You Keep a Secret?: 3 Stars

Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella

My love affair with Sophie Kinsella's books continues with Can You Keep a Secret? Her books are NOTHING like anything else I read, but I love her books.  They are fun and humorous and a great  read after heavier reads because they are so light and simple. 

In this particular book, Emma Corrigan has just made her first solo company presentation and it went terrible!  Now she is on her way home and is in a horrible, whoa-is-me mood. While nursing her wounds, she boards the plane home, a trip she is not looking forward to since she is terrified of flying. After hitting horrific turbulence, Emma confesses ALL of her secrets to the man next to her.  And wouldn't you know it, he is the OWNER of her company.  Whoops! 

Filled with adorable missteps and silly misunderstandings, this book is another chick lit book like all her others. They are like chick flicks for books. It's not my favorite of the books of hers I have read and it's rather predictable, but it was a fun read. 

I did really like that her roommate's name was Lissy.  That's my sister's name and it's not a common nickname for Melissa.  It's usually Missy or Mel. 

Rating: PG-13

Recommended for those who enjoy: chick lit, love stories, female leads, and humor.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Peter Pan: 4 Stars

Peter Pan 

Peter Pan by JM Barrie 

I thought today would be a good day to review Peter Pan because when I think of Peter Pan, I often think of Robin Williams and his portrayal of Peter in the movie Hook. I remember watching that movie over and over as a child and it helps explain why Robin Williams was my favorite actor as a child (that and because he was the Genie!) His charisma and humor will be greatly missed.

Like I am sure most of you know, Peter Pan is about a little orphan boy who ran away to Neverland where he never grew up. He would occasionally sneak back to the real world to hear stories outside the Darling home. But one day, Peter lost his shadow. Desperate to get it back, Peter returned to the home with the help of Tinkerbell, a fairy. Lucky for Peter, Mr. Darling had decided to tie up Nana, the kid's dog, outside. Peter was able to get into the home easily, but not quietly. He accidentally woke up Wendy, who helped him reattach his shadow. Soon John and Michael were awake and the three decided to join Peter in Neverland. 

Neverland wasn't just a home for Peter, but a home for many young boys called the Lost Boys. But the Lost Boys weren't the only inhabitants. There were mermaids, Indians, pirates, and fairies! The adventure begins when the pirate captain, Captain Hook, sees an opportunity to finally capture his arch nemesis Peter Pan, thanks to a jealous Tinkerbell.

The story was cute and fun, just like I had imagined it would be. I really enjoyed the imagery that Barrie was able to convey in the book. I highly recommend this for young and old alike.

Rating: G

Recommended for those who enjoy: children's books, pirates, adventure, action, and humor.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Top Ten Books I'm Not Sure I Want To Read

For this week's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, the theme is: Top Ten Books I'm Not Sure I Want To Read (books you may have bought but aren't sure if you are into it anymore, books you wanted to read but heard mixed things about, hyped books you aren't sure about --- basically any book that has you going, "TO READ OR NOT TO READ?"

This is a topic I can definitely relate to since I find myself debating books often. The majority of the reason I debate not reading books I am interested in is the fear that I won't understand it.

1. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand:  Can you imagine reading a large book like this and then not getting it? 

2. Fight Club by Chuck Palahnuik: As a once-Portland resident, I feel like I HAVE to like Palahniuk, since he's a local celebrity.  But what if I read it and don't like it?

3. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace: Yet another book I am afraid I won't understand.

4. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas: I read and ADORED The Count of Monte Cristo, but that book was a labor of love.  It took me almost a year to finish it. Not only was it really really long, but the language was advanced and occasionally in a different language.

5. World War Z by Max Brooks: I have yet to read a zombie book and I am worried that I won't like the genre on this particular medium.  Maybe zombies are just for movies?

6. The Princess Bride By William Goldman: I LOVE this movie!  It's hilarious!  But what if I don't like the book?

7. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo: I have been to see this musical about seven times.  I love it!  But, again, what if I don't like the book?

8. Wicked by Gregory Maguire:  Like with Les Miserables, I love this musical. What if I don't like the book?

9. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell: This is another one that I am afraid I won't understand.

10. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shiver:  I really want to like this book.  It seems fascinating.  But I am afraid I won't.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Making up For Monday: Most Recommended

It's time for Making Up For Monday!

This week's question:
What books would you recommend most?

Today is my birthday, so I decided to pick a topic that let me talk about my favorite books (rather than think about the fact that my 20's are officially behind me).

There are a few books that I find myself recommending all the time (and am slightly disappointed when I discover that someone took me up on the recommendation and didn't like it). 

1. Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick:  If you are a regular reader of this blog, mentioning this book does not surprise you.  I read this over a year ago and I STILL love it.  Its one of those books that struck me to my core.
The Silver Linings Playbook

2. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon: College really killed my reading ability. When 99.9% of the reading you do is a textbook, reading for fun really doesn't seem, well, fun. This book revived my passion for reading that had been dormant for YEARS.

The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books,  #1)

3. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee: Hands down my favorite book EVER! I met a book store owner who told me that if I loved the book so much, I could try buying as many different copies as I could find and collect them.  I have been obsessed with the idea ever since. 

To Kill a Mockingbird

What do you recommend?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line: 4 Stars

Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham

The TV show Veronica Mars is one of my favorites of all time. Veronica (played by Kristen Bell) has such spunk and sass, while still being vulnerable and sweet.

Veronica Mars Movie Gets Its Kickstarter Funding: What Should Happen? image
Then there was Logan; the brutty bad boy with a soft spot for the sassy girl.  ***swoon*** Yeah, I have a soft spot for this guy.  He won me over long before he won Veronica over. (Puka shells and all!)

The first season was beyond brilliant/amazing and I couldn't get enough of it!  The second season was pretty great, although it wasn't nearly as good as the first.  The third season was very disappointing...and then it ended....crappily. (Ok, so crappily isn't a word, but if you saw the show, you know it's the perfect way to describe it.)

So when they announced that through Kickstarter they had funded a movie, I was beyond excited and took the opportunity to re-watch the entire series (adding a couple of sisters to my obsession).

The movie was excellent and righted all the wrongs in season three.  And there was this....

Anyhow, the movie ended and I thought "Sad more Veronica Mars".  And then, like some miracle blessing, they decided to start a book series!  This was one world/group of characters I was not ready to let go of, and thanks to Rob Thomas, I don't have to!

The book picks up right where the movie left off and didn't miss a beat. Veronica is now a private detective in Neptune...again. When a young girl goes missing during spring break, she is hired to find her and save the tourist industry. But this is easier said then done when another girl goes missing, and this time, it's a little more personal.

I loved this book! Seriously, it was awesome and didn't miss a beat. The characters we knew and loved from the series were in the book and were the same as we remember them. The author doesn't change the past at all and even brings up several plot points from the TV series and movie in the book, since they play a role in Veronica's life now. Excellent job!

I will note that this book is probably best read by fans of the show and movie. If you have seen neither, you may get a little lost/bored/not nearly as excited as me.

Rating: PG

Recommended for those who enjoy mysteries, sassy female protagonists, and humor.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Top Ten Books I'd Give To Readers Who Have Never Read Adult Fiction Novels

For this week's Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and The Bookish), the topic was Top Ten Books I'd Give To Readers Who Have Never Read X (examples: New Adult novels, historical fiction, a certain author, books about a certain topic, etc).

I chose to go with Adult Fiction Novels. I have found that the majority of readers I have come across in recent years are YA readers.This was surprising to me since I hadn't read a young adult book since I was a young adult. I have read a few since that time and even enjoyed some. But, at the end of the day, I still prefer adult novels. So I have compiled a list that is diverse and filled with great books.  I feel like everyone can find at least one book on this list that they will enjoy.

So, if you are reluctant to try adult fiction novels, take a look at my list, find one that interests you, and give it a read!

1. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon: Set in war torn Barcelona, this book follows the adventures of a young boy who loves books. His father introduces him to a book sanctuary called The Cemetery of Forgotten Books. He picks out a book and falls in love with it. But when he goes to find more by the same author, he discovers a mystery and danger! 

 2. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides: As if being a teenager isn't rough enough, what if you discover as a teenager that you have been raised as the wrong gender? This book follows the life of Cal and his/her family through a troubling time.

3. The Last Juror by John Grisham: After purchasing a small town newspaper, Willie Traynor becomes friends with many people in town, including Miss Callie, an elderly black woman who ends up on the murder trial jury against one of the infamous Padgitt boys.

 4. The Road by Cormac McCarthy: This book takes place post-world disaster.  A father and son are on the road, trying to survive. The father is always trying to protect the son, but at the same time knows he must prepare his son...just in case.

5. The Help by Kathryn Stockett: The South has not always been a place of equality. But when a young girl decides to write an article based on the maids, she discovers that they are not always happy with the world they are living in.

6. A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan: The grass isn't always greener on the other side. This book follows the lives of many people including a successful record producer. Sometimes their lives seem glamorous and fabulous, and other times, not so much.

 7. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn:  When his wife goes missing, everyone looks to Nick, believing the cheating husband killed his wife. But the truth is far more complex...and evil!

 8. I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella: If you like chick flicks, then this book is right up your alley. Poppy is getting married and couldn't be happier.  But when she loses her phone AND engagement ring, she panics.  A girl dumps her phone in the trash, and Poppy seizes the opportunity, stealing the phone and giving the number out to the hotel in case the ring is found. Little does she know that the phone belongs to the PA of a successful business man, and she must now act as his PA or give up the phone. It's a fun story that kept me laughing!

9. Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick: Pat has some problems. After spending some time in a psychiatric facility, Pat is trying to adjust back into normal life and find a way to win his wife back. But that is easier said then done.

 10. Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler: Schizophrenic girls always get a bad rep. This story is based on actual letters, journal entries, and more from Zelda and those close to her.  It paints the story of the girl's life from meeting F. Scott until her death. 

So there you have it, ten adult fiction novels!  Which one will you try?