Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books That Have Stuck With Me

Top Ten Tuesday, as always, is hosted by Broke and Bookish.This week's topic is a freebie, so I chose the Top Ten Books That Have Stuck With Me. I think these sort of lists are fascinating, as they help you see not only what kind of books people like but what kind of books stick with people. Because it can be hard to explain why a books resonates with you, I'm just going to simply list them, and then we can talk about how great they are in the comments. Let's get started!

1.Paper Towns by John Green
2.Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison
3. The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald
4.The Little Prince by Antoine de Sainte-Exupery 
5. The Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth
6.The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
7.Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
8. The Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
9. The Harry Potter series by J.K.Rowling
10. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

What books have stuck with you after you read them? Leave them in the comments. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Voyage Visit: Graphic Novels/Manga

On Wednesday, I went to my regular library and got some books. I browsed my usual sections, young adult and adult fiction. Then I decided to look at graphic novels and manga because it was conveniently located next to the new arrivals.

A little back story, when I was fourteen, I really liked manga. We did not have a section at this library at the time, so I had to go to a different library and check out stacks upon stacks of it at a time. However, I eventually grew out of this obsession and started reading other books. So when graphic novels started becoming more popular over the past few years, I didn't pay much attention, since I had already had a phase with manga and just had a little, "been there, done that" attitude. What I didn't realize is how graphic novels and manga are different.  

The difference between between graphic novels and manga is the way the book is formatted and, I would argue, the style of the art. A graphic novel is formatted like a typical American book, left to right and the art is not in the Japanese style. Manga, however, is formatted in the Japanese format, from right to left. It can take some getting used to, but I find that it's really easy to pickup on.

In terms of recommendations, I haven't read any graphic novels.Right now, I have Beautiful Creatures, Amulet: The Stonekeeper, and Jane Eyre. As you can see, I haven't really delved into graphic novels outside of ones based on books. For manga, I've read most of Fruits Basket, which I enjoyed. I've recently started the Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon series, which I've also been enjoying. I'm currently trying to acquire the second volume. Once I've finished some of these series, I may review them here.

Do you have any suggestions for graphic novels or manga I should read? Leave them in the comments! 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West Book Review

Cover photo from Goodreads
Title: The Distance Between Us
Author: Kasie West
Published: July 2, 2013 by HarperTeen

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

I simply adored this book! It was a fun contemporary read that helped me get in the mood for summer reading! Definitely a bright spot.

I loved Caymen and her sarcasm.She was an incredibly easy character to relate to, especially her worries about her mother. The main guy, Xander, was also a very good character, showing his complexities. He was really sweet and thoughtful, and that's what won me over about him. All of the characters were very clear personalities. As for the plot, it was fairly stereotypical, which isn't necessarily bad. It was nice to read something and know exactly where its going to go. The ending was a little cheesy, but again, that's expected.

Overall, this was not a complex of a book. I would definitely recommend it to people who are looking for a cutesy romance read for summer, one that you can . If you're looking for something a little more complex, I would recommend starting with Pivot Point instead, as it is a lot more complicated.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books About Friendship

Top Ten Tuesday, as always, is hosted by Broke and Bookish. I haven't done one of these since December, so excuse me if I'm a little rusty. Today, I will be listing my top ten books about friendship,in no particular order. Since I'm having trouble thinking of ten books where friendship is the central theme, I've decided to do "Top Ten Book Friendships". 

1. Lizzy and Charlotte in Pride and Prejudice
Oh, these two! I love their friendship so much! They are very supportive of one another. They weather quite a bit together, and at the end of the novel they are still fantastic friends.

2. The Sailor Scouts in Sailor Moon
When it comes to friendship, there is nothing quite like the sailor scouts. They set aside all of their differences and work together to save the world. 

3. Anything by Ally Carter
Ally Carter's books are phenomenal. In both her Gallagher Girls series and her Heist Society series, there are fantastic friendships. 

4. Colin and Hassan in An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Colin gets dumped and what does Hassan do? Takes him on a road trip to cheer him up. If that's not friendship, I don't know what is. 

5. Radar, Ben, and Q in Paper Towns by John Green
What can I say, I love John Green's books. Ben, Radar, and Q all good friends, so much so that they travel across the country together. They also accept each other faults, which is important. 

6. Nancy, Bess, and George in the Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene
These three are  a dynamic trio in solving crimes. Their personalities compliment each other nicely. 

7. Harry, Ron and Hermione in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Here is another dynamic trio that compliments each other nicely. I always loved Hermione, but all three of them were fantastic friends, sticking by each other through thick and thin. 

8. Pam, Elizabeth, and Alice in the Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Yet another trio! I seem to really like them. This trio features three girls coming of age dealing with everything you could possibly imagine, and they stick together through it all. 

9. Cath and Reagan in Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
This pair of roommates, though an unlikely pair, really work well together as friends. Reagan helps Cath and Cath helps Reagan. 

10. Gigi, Bea, and Neerja in Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer
I was surprised how much I loved this book. I think a lot of what sold it for me was these three ladies' fantastic friendship. 

What are some of your favorite book friendships? Let me know in the comments. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Bout of Books Wrap-Up

Hey, everyone!

The Bout of Books readathon was this past week.If you want to know more about the readathon, check out their blog .

This Bout of Books was definitely more successful than my first. Last year, I didn't even finish a book! This year, I read three books, started three books, and read a total of 1,194 pages, almost double over what I typically read a week. 

As far as following my TBR, I started Allegiant right away on Monday and finished it on Tuesday. On Wednesday, I went to the library and got a lot of books, rediscovering graphic novels/manga along the way. That night, I read Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon: Short Stories 1, which I had picked up from the library. I also started The Bell Jar and read a short story from Too Much Happiness. I then proceeded to not read a lot on Thursday or Friday, making some progress. Then I started The Distance Between Us last night. 

While I am pleased with my progress and enjoyed participating in the readathon, I don't think I'm going to be doing a lot of them in the future. I've discovered that while Allegiant was a good choice and The Distance Between Us was probably a good choice, The Bell Jar and Too Much Happiness were not the best choices. It's not that they were bad choices; they were just heavy reading material. I'm about halfway through The Bell Jar and do intend to finish it, but it's just not the best book for a readathon. Short stories also are difficult because I often like to sit and read the same book for an extended period of time, and I struggle to go that with short stories. However, I plan to make my way through both of these books. 

Overall, I do think Bout of Books was very successful. I met my goal by reading more than I usually do in a week. I got through one of the books on my TBR and started the other three. 

Did you participate on Bout of Books? Did you meet your goals?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Allegiant by Veronica Roth Review

Photo from Goodreads
Title: Allegiant
Author: Veronica Roth
Published:October 22, 2013 by Katherine Tegen Books

What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?

Review in one word: Wow. Phenomenal. 

I absolutely loved this book. I'm not even sure where to start with this review. Let's just look at all the things I liked. 

One thing I have found rare in the books I have read is a couple that fights and stays together. I find this to be very refreshing, as usually the scenario would be to fight, get back together, stay happy forever. Roth made their relationship feel like a real relationship, not just glamorous and happy. Through the trials and tribulations, they choose to be with each other.

I'm going to try really hard not to spoil the ending, so I'm going to be really vague in this next section. The way I saw people reacting to the ending led me to believe what happened would happen. And while I was hoping I was wrong and was sad, the ending was executed beautifully and I applaud Roth for her writing. 

As for things I didn't like, some of the characters introduced in this book where a little stagnant. David seemed like a stereotypical corrupt leader, and Nita seemed like the usual pretty rebel. It also felt like it was just one big incident after another at times, which is understandable for the tumultuous time these characters are going through. But at times in the first half it felt like we were just moving from one major plot point to the other.  

One thing I have found really refreshing about this series as a whole is that it deals with the complexities of human nature. I mean, the characters choose based on which aspect of human nature they most value. There are many beautiful ideas  throughout this book about love, grief, and bravery. Basically, everything that makes us human is found in this book, which I think is why I like it so much. 

Overall, I would highly recommend this series to anyone who is interested in dystopians, young adult literature, or the complexities of human nature. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Bout of Books 10.0 Sign-up & Goals

Hey, everyone!

So I'm finally done with the semester! It's been rough, but I've made it! Anyway, I thought the best way to kick of the summer would be to attempt the Bout of Books read-a-thon again! Here is the official blurb from the Bout of Books Blog:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 12th and runs through Sunday, May 18th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 10 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

As some of you may remember, last year I failed epically at Bout of Books. I don't think I even I finished a book during that week. This year, despite all the reading I have done for classes, I really am looking forward to reading some over the summer. My game plan to counteract all of the reading I've done recently for school is to not ready any books from now until Monday when the read-a-thon starts. I think that giving my brain some time off is much needed and will help prevent burnout. Plus, I'm going to busy this weekend with packing to move out of my apartment, graduation on Saturday, and Mother's Day.

As for the week of the read-a-thon, I have an job interview on Monday, plan to still be moving out Tuesday and Thursday, and a BBQ on Wednesday. So I will busy but not as busy as I generally am during the semester. In order to see whether or not I read my usual amount of books, I did a little guessing as to how much I read during the semester. I figure I read roughly 100 pages a day (probably less, but this is a nice even number). This is roughly equivalent to 500 pages a week, divided between two books; since we usually don't finish books, I'll be based off page count. So if I read more than 500 pages, I'll consider myself successful. 

Here are the books I have lined up for this. Note: I may deviate from these if I desire, but I think this encompasses most of what I'm looking forward to reading now that school is out.

#1 Allegiant by Veronica Roth
I got this book over Christmas break, and I have been so excited to read it yet have not had the time to properly devote to it. This seems like the time. I've been fortunate in avoiding spoilers so far, so hopefully I will be able to until I finish it.

#2 The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
I bought this book over the summer and just haven't had the time to read it since then. I've only read Pivot Point by her, so I'm excited to read more of her work.

#3 The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
I read some of Plath's poetry in my Modern British Poetry class last fall and loved it, so I thought I would enjoy her novel. I'm really looking forward to seeing how it is different from her poetry.

#4 Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro 
My professors keep bring up Alice Munro in class and how fantastic she is, plus one of my fiance's family members mention her as well. So when I went to Half-Priced Books and this was the only book they had by her, I thought I should pick it up and see if I like her.

I'm really excited to be blogging/reading again and am hoping Bout of Books goes well this year.