Saturday, December 27, 2014

Most Anticipated Books of 2015

It's almost 2015 already. You know what that means... tons of new books to come! I haven't been watching for new releases too much, but here are a few I've heard about that I can't wait to read.

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver (March 10, 2015)--A girl goes missing and her sister goes looking for her. The disappearance happened on the girl's birthday, though, and it coincided with some other strange disappearance... I'm not quite sure what's going on there, but it's Lauren Oliver (Delirium, Before I Fall, Panic), so I'm excited.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Oh, Gender Norms.

Yay for girl characters in YA. I love this trend of fantastic females on the shelves of the young adult sections of bookstores and libraries. But I think I'd love it more if it was a trend of fantastic characters, period.

Okay, fine, maybe male characters aren't getting all this hype because they already had their chance to shine, but share the spotlight, Katniss.

I mean, the problem I have with this is that everyone seems to be so scared that we'll set bad examples for girls if they can't read about a girl who manages to form a revolution, save the world, and still have perfect hair, but no one seems scared that this also sends a message to boys. It says: Girls are powerful and they'll run the world (thanks, Beyoncé), and you won't.

(Not to mention that this picture of females is extremely hard to live up to. We can't all be superwomen. But that's another topic.)

Shouldn't we be going for equality, not just girl-power? Sure, having Prince Charming save Cinderella doesn't help girls' self-esteem. But having Tris save virtually every male character in Divergent can't be good for boys' self-esteem, either.

I've found that stories told from dual perspectives (a la Legend or Dash and Lily's Book of Dares) can help this issue. There's a greater chance of giving each character a fair chance at being powerful. But can books written from one character's perspective ever do the same? There are some fine examples, of course, but I'm hoping for more. What do you think? Is this even an issue, and will it be resolved?

(Sorry for the late and then short post. It's the holidays, though. Have a fantastic holiday and a wonderful New Year.)

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Best of 2014, Part Two

Last week, I started my "Best of 2014" list (Just a note: the books on that list were not necessarily published in 2014. They were the "Best of My 2014". This installment of the list is going to be all 2014 books). This week, I'm continuing it with the Best Realistic Fiction from 2014.

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson--Hayley and her dad, Andy, move from town to town, trying to settle down as he struggles with PTSD from his time in Iraq. This book was really tough to read at times, because it made me ache for Hayley and Andy. But the emotional moments were interspersed with cute, funny moments between Hayley and her friends. I could not put this book down.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Best of 2014, Part One

I was going to just make one "Best of 2014" list, but I couldn't narrow it down. So during the month of December, I'll be breaking down my favorite books into different categories. Let's start with Best New Author--my favorite books I read by an author I'd never read before (In no particular order).

The Originals by Cat Patrick
Three clones try to live their own lives. My introduction to the science-fiction young adult wonder that is Cat Patrick.

Saturday, November 29, 2014


The holidays are coming. We've had Halloween and Thanksgiving, and now it's almost December... Time for carols and eggnog and decorating houses and traveling to visit family.

In those travels, you--like me--might find yourself sitting for a long period of time, whether that's in a plane, train, or automobile. As I've found out recently, in this situation, it's good to have a book that you can't put down. If you put it down, you end up staring out the window and doing a lot of nothing. If you've got a page-turner, the hours until your fabulous holiday vacation fly by.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

I'm Thankful For...

It's almost Thanksgiving. And you know what that means...

Pumpkin pie. I'm so thankful for pumpkin pie.

In all honesty though, I am very, very thankful for books. I mentioned last week that when I'm stressed, I go straight to books. I don't know what I'd do if that wasn't an option. There's just something about taking a break from whatever else might be going on in your life and reading.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Bit of Light Reading

Okay, I know. It's November. Where has the year gone?

If you're in school, you're probably in the midst of projects and papers and tests and are finals really in a month?? If you're an adult, you've probably got Thanksgiving plans to make and leaves to rake and, um, SNOW TO SHOVEL. Plus other adult stuff, like voting and taxes and etc.

Whatever it is that's stressing you out--and don't deny it, I know you're stressed--reading will help. Whenever I'm super stressed, I do what is probably the worst thing for me to do: I ignore my obligations and I escape into a favorite book. Here are a few of the books I like to escape with.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Book Sales

Yesterday I went to a book sale. I had to ask myself why I keep going to these, since it's not like I need any more books, and it's not like I don't have other ways to spend my money... but I figured out why (other than the fact that while I don't need more books, I certainly want more). I love book sales because it's all about the hunt. You go in, not knowing what you're going to find, but you know you need to find it. And when you do, you grab it off the shelf and pump your fist in the air in triumph (well, not really, unless you want people to give you weird looks).

So here's what you do, if you're going to go to a book sale (your mileage may vary, depending on where you are/whose book sale it is).

Saturday, November 1, 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014

November is NaNoWriMo--National Novel Writing Month. It's a month where aspiring--and even already successful--authors attempt to write a novel in a month. The goal is 50,000 words, at a rate of almost 1,700 words per day.

I've participated in NaNoWriMo only once, so far. Of course, I'd like to do it every year, but November is such a busy month! I don't have time.

That's what I said last year. And the year before. But I've realized that if you really love doing something, you should make time for it. So I'm going to attempt NaNoWriMo again. I probably won't write daily, but I'll try to make up the losses on the weekends. Because I only decided this today (November 1), I'm already behind. I have no plans for my story. I have no character names picked out. I don't even know if we have coffee in the house.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

On Meeting Authors

I've met a few authors so far in my life. I say "so far" because I hope to meet SO many more. One of the things about being an avid reader is having a multitude of authors you want to meet. I pretty much just want to meet every author who wrote anything on my bookshelf.

A few years ago, Kristin Cashore came to a college in my area to read from her book, Graceling, and talk about writing. I had never read Graceling (gasp!) but I went anyway. And I really liked what I heard of it that day, and I liked what I learned about Kristin Cashore--she's so intellectual and sophisticated!--and so I went home with signed copies of Graceling and its sequel, Fire. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Year (So Far) In Books

This morning, I finished Sara Shepard's The Perfectionists. I've been writing down the books that I read all year, so when I went to log this book... I realized it was the 150th book I've read this year. 150 books! So I looked back at some of those 150 books. And I was surprised to find that I remember why/where/when I read a lot of these.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Books Make Me Cry

I think there are two types of people in this world: those who cry while reading books and those who don't (Of course, there are people who don't read books at all, but let's not talk about them now. That's another story). I fall into the first category. I don't cry at every single book I read, but if it's sad, or full of any emotion really, I'll break out the tissues.

I don't particularly like watching sad movies. I'll watch them, and I'll like them more often than not, but I don't usually pick a movie to watch by asking, "Which one will make me bawl?" I don't even listen to sad music a lot (it does happen, though). However, if I see a book about a girl whose dad is sick and she has to move away from all her friends and she gets cyber-bullied and her dog also dies, I'll probably read it.

(I'm going to try to keep spoilers out of this post, but be warned, they might sneak in. Spoilers are like that, you know.)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

All the Genres

Until recently, I was strictly a young adult reader (except for the occasional classic or the children's books when I was... a child). But this summer, I've really gotten into a lot of different genres. I've especially come to love graphic novels, and there are some fantastic adult books that I've found, and I just got a book of essays from the library... I'm so happy that I read a variety of books now. And I know that I have so many other things to read. The options are endless and intimidating, but also really exciting.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Bookshelf, Part One

Last week, I wanted to do a couple posts about my bookshelves, but then I got tired of having so many books on my floor, and I <gasp> put them away. Only I didn't have enough room for them all on the shelves where they should have been (I used to have my shelves organized by genre, then alphabetically). So now it's kind of a jumble. And I can't talk about the bookshelves in parts like I had thought, so I'm going randomly. This shelf is a mix of young adult fantasy/science fiction/adult science fiction/young adult contemporary. See how unorganized it gets?

Don't worry, I won't write about every book, and I won't write paragraphs about every book. Although I could.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Books to Movies

Yesterday, I heard (or read, I guess) that Universal Studios optioned the film rights for Let It Snow, a short story collection by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle. So I decided it was the perfect time to talk about book to movie adaptations.

At the beginning of the summer this year, I went to see The Fault in Our Stars and I enjoyed it. Then there was the announcement about Paper Towns being made into a movie and I was pretty excited. And now... I have some issues.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Bad Timing

This post is inspired partly by a video that Booktuber Katytastic made and that I now can't find. This would be so much better if I could post that video, but Katytastic posts many, many videos, and I don't have time to re-watch all of them. But I wish I did.

The gist of Kat's video is that sometimes, books get published in the wrong time. Her example was The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black, published in 2013, after the Twilight/vampire craze was pretty much played out. Because of this, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown didn't get the hype it deserved--I read this book over the summer, and I completely agree. This book should have been huge.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Endless TBR Pile

I don't have many secrets. But there is one thing that I don't try to advertise. It fills me with shame. My To Be Read pile.

It's not like I've tried to put off reading these books. It's just that there's this terrible and beautiful thing in the book world: new books. So every time I say to myself, "That's it! Today, I'm going to read The Hobbit!" I end up going to the library and checking out the latest teen contemporaries.

Current TBR: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith, Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson, High Fidelity by Nick Hornby, Exile by Kevin Emerson, Blonde Ops by Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, Six Feet Over It by Jennifer Longo and Blind Spot for Boys by Justina Chen. See what I mean?
And then there's those books that I own, the ones I have read so many times I could recite in my sleep, the ones I could guess just by a description of the cover (Ceramic frog. The Boyfriend List, by E. Lockhart). I keep re-reading those. They're like comfort food. When I get home at the end of a day of tests and homework and dealing with school, I don't want to start a new book. I want to dive back into the world of Cath and Levi, where I know exactly what will happen.

All of this, and I still haven't read The Hobbit.