Thursday, July 24, 2014

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson Book Review

Photo&Summary from Goodreads
Title: Second Chance Summer
Author: Morgan Matson
Published: May 8th, 2012 by Simon & Schuster

Plot Summary:
Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.

As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love.

So I was at the library by my work, looking for Since You've Been Gone. They didn't have it, but they did have Second Chance Summer. I thought it might be fun to read some of her earlier book. Plus this looked like a fun summer read.

I was right, but I was also wrong. I enjoyed this book, it was a fun summer read, but it also wrecked me. I cried and I don't usually cry at books. I just related to the main character so much that I could easily put myself in her situation. It also didn't help that I had just hung out with my dad as well when I got to the ending.

However, that was what really drew me in at the end of the book. At the beginning of the book, I was reading for the mystery of what she did to make all of these people mad at her. While that was revealed and I can understand where those people were coming from, I felt Taylor built it up a lot more in her head.

I simply loved all of the characters. Like I said, Taylor was very easy to relate to. I also really liked Warren and their whole family dynamic. All of the characters were people I would want to hang out with, which is rare in books I read. While the romance wasn't too romancy, I felt it fit well within the book. It didn't overwhelm what the book was really about.

Overall, this book sold me on Morgan Matson. It was utterly fantastic. I would definitely recommend it for people who enjoy contemporary but don't want to just read romance. I will definitely be reading the rest of her work. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten (Six!) Characters I Would Want on a Desert Island with Me

Top Ten Tuesday, as always, is brought to us by the Broke and the Bookish.This week's topic is "Top Ten Characters I Would on a Desert Island with Me." I decided that my goal of having all these characters with me would to get off of the desert island.

1. Molly Murphy from City of Darkness and Light
Despite the problems I had with this book, Molly was not one of them. She would be very resourceful and help solve the mystery of how we got to the deserted island and how we would get off.

2. Nancy Drew from the Nancy Drew series
Same reason as above. Two heads are better than one. And afterwards, we could open a detective agency.

3. Addie from Pivot Point
While Addie would have great difficulty adjusting to deserted island life (so different from the Compound or Texas), she could always Search if needed to determine the best course of action.

4. Percy from the Percy Jackson series
Percy could help us build a raft and then sail it. With the help of his father Poseidon, we would be out of their in no time.

5. Annabeth from the Percy Jackson series
Annabeth is actually my favorite character from this series, and naturally if I'm going to bring her boyfriend, I might as well bring her. Plus, as a daughter of Athena, she would be very useful as well.

6. Katniss from The Hunger Games
I don't think we'll make it off of the island right away. Therefore, Katniss will be here to help us hunt and cook and just generally survive.

I'm probably forgetting someone who would be incredibly helpful but I think this team of six and I could do it!

Who would you take with you to a desert island? Let me know in the comments. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Real Live Boyfriends by E. Lockhart Review

Photo from Goodreads
Title: Real Live Boyfriends
Author: E. Lockhart
Published: December 28th, 2010 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Plot Summary:
She’s lost most of her friends. She’s lost her true love more than once. She’s lost her grandmother, her job, her reputation, and possibly her mind. But she’s never lost her sense of humor. The Ruby Oliver books are the record of her survival.

It's no secret that I absolutely love the Ruby Oliver series. She is probably one of the most relatable characters I have come across this year. In this novel, she is in her senior year and preparing college applications while still dealing with high school drama and the like. 

Her growth throughout this series has been phenomenal. I think of the character in the beginning of the series and the character in this book and they are remarkably different. I think this series accurately portrays the type of growth teens go through throughout their later high school years. When I look back at my life, sophomore year Fiona and senior year Fiona are so different. Ruby and her friends are the same way. 

In terms of the plot of this book, it's pretty similar to the other books. Ruby dealing with whatever life throws at her. I will say this one is a little more intense in what she deals with than high school drama. It's a really enjoyable story. I would definitely recommend this series if you enjoy contemporary young adult with funny interesting characters. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten (or Seven) TV Shows

Top Ten Tuesday, as always, is brought to use by The Broke and the Bookish. Today, we diverge from bookish topics to other types of stories. This topic is timed perfectly because I have been watching a lot of TV recently. Let's get started!

1. Warehouse 13
I love this show so much! It combines everything I love: sci-fi, history, humor. I'm on the fourth season right now and it's killing me not to watch it all. It's the show my fiance and I watch together so I feel bad watching it without him. Hopefully, we'll finish the season soon!

2. The Mindy Project
This is a show I just finished. I started watching it on Hulu then signed up for a free trial of Hulu+, in which I proceeded to binge watch both seasons. This show is so hilarious and I cannot wait until the next season.

3. Gilmore Girls
If I had to choose one show that had a profound influence on me as a youth, it would be this show. I started watching it when it started running on ABC Family and became obsessed. I own all of the seasons (this was pre-Netflix days, although it's STILL not on Netflix.) I'm actually planning on rewatching it soon.

4. Friends
This is another show that had a profound influence on me. One summer, I decided I was going to watch Friends every time it was on in order to see most of the episodes. And I did. My sophomore year of college, I would watch it in bed on Nick at Nite until I fell asleep  (or until George Lopez came on).

5. Parks and Rec
I enjoy the small town feel of this show, plus I admire Leslie Knope's ambition and determination.

6. Psych
I have been watching this show forever and it is absolutely hilarious! I haven't seen the last season yet, but I'm really excited about it!

7. How I Met Your Mother
After seeing the series finale, I have a lot of mixed feelings about this show. I went through a phase where I really liked it, but now with some distance, I think it's okay but not super fantastic! I put it on the list though, because at one time I really liked it.

Do we share any favorite tv shows? Do you have any recommendations? Let me know in the comments. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Split Second by Kasie West Book Review

Photo from Goodreads
Title: Split Second
Author: Kasie West
Published: February 11, 2014 by HarperTeen

Plot Summary:
Life can change in a split second.

Addie hardly recognizes her life since her parents divorced. Her boyfriend used her. Her best friend betrayed her. She can’t believe this is the future she chose. On top of that, her ability is acting up. She’s always been able to Search the future when presented with a choice. Now she can manipulate and slow down time, too . . . but not without a price.

When Addie’s dad invites her to spend her winter break with him, she jumps at the chance to escape into the Norm world of Dallas, Texas. There she meets the handsome and achingly familiar Trevor. He’s a virtual stranger to her, so why does her heart do a funny flip every time she sees him? But after witnessing secrets that were supposed to stay hidden, Trevor quickly seems more suspicious of Addie than interested in her. And she has an inexplicable desire to change that.

Meanwhile, her best friend, Laila, has a secret of her own: she can restore Addie’s memories . . . once she learns how. But there are powerful people who don’t want to see this happen. Desperate, Laila tries to manipulate Connor, a brooding bad boy from school—but he seems to be the only boy in the Compound immune to her charms. And the only one who can help her.

As Addie and Laila frantically attempt to retrieve the lost memories, Addie must piece together a world she thought she knew before she loses the love she nearly forgot . . . and a future that could change everything

As someone who loved Pivot Point and loves Kasie West's writing, I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of Split Second. 

Dual perspectives doesn't always work; often the two perspectives sound the same to the point where the reader is confused on who is who. However, Laila and Addie are so different that it is impossible to be confused on who is who. Their stories are vastly different and come together perfectly. 

The Compound became a lot more fleshed out to me throughout this book. Also, seeing part of the book through Laila's perspective allowed me to better understand her and like her more. Duke also returned in this book, but  I think I like him less than I did previously. I still loved Addie and Trevor and loved seeing more of them. Connor was also a fantastic edition!  The love stories intertwined perfectly and the ending kept me reading. I don't know if there is a third book in the works but I would not be surprised in the slightest. There is still enough information left open that it was would be easy to write a third book. If there isn't though, the ending to this book would still be a good ending to the series. That's what I love about these books; they feel like they could be standalones but they are also connected for a series. 

If you liked Pivot Point or enjoy West's writing, I would definitely recommend Split Second. It has a little paranormalcy without having to learn a new universe. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Blogging Confessions

Top Ten Tuesday, as always, is brought to us by the Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is blogging confessions. I'm really surprised I actually have ten on this list; when I first saw the topic, I thought I would be lucky to have three. After researching this topic thoroughly, I think I have a list that is confession worthy. Note: Some of these are about books, some of them about blogging, and some of them are about book blogging.

1. I prefer library books over buying books.
If there is a book I'm unsure if I'll like or if I don't think I'll want to read it again, I would much rather use the library than buy the book. Buying books is expensive and I can't afford to buy every book I want to read. Which is why libraries are the best. I seriously don't understand why more book bloggers don't use them.

2. I prefer used over new.
When I do buy books, I much prefer to buy used over new books. Why? For one, it's less expensive, which allows me to buy more books withe the money I have allotted. Also, if I bought a new book, I'd want to keep it in pristine condition. Otherwise, I'd feel like I "ruined" it. For my sanity, it's just easier for me to buy used.

3. I write in books.
Gasp, the horror! I know. But it's an occupational hazard. If you don't bookmark a quote with a sticky, you'll never find it. Sometimes, if you sticky it but don't put some sort of indication of what exactly it is you're saving, you'll never find it. This is another reason I never buy new.

Book Blogging
4. Sometimes I don't feel like reading
This is a thing that happens. I read in spurts; I'll finish three books in a shorter amount of time, then I'll take a break and do something else. Sometimes I feel I don't read enough in comparison to other bloggers, but I have to remind myself it's okay not to spend every waking minute reading.

5. I get tired of YA
Don't get me wrong, I still love YA, just not like I used to. It was all I read when I originally started this venture. I've learned to accept that I'm not going to read every YA novel I come across on other blogs or even most. I'm learning to discern what I think I would actually read and focusing on that.

6. I feel like I'm not very creative.
I don't have a lot of interesting ideas lined up in the future for this blog. In fact, I'm struggling to come up with ideas. (So if you have types of posts you'd like to see, let me know in the comments!) This is difficult for me because I used to consider myself a creative individual.

7. My blog design frustrates me!
 I'm constantly unhappy with the theme and layout of my blog. Constantly. It's not exactly what I want, but I have no idea how to get exactly what I want. But until I either buckle down and learn how to design or cave and pay someone to design it for me, this will be my state. If it feels like I change the layout a lot, this is why.

8. I wish I was able post consistently. 
Every time I create a posting schedule, it never works out. I've been working on one from now until the end of the month and hope it will actually work out. It only gets worse when I go back to school. It always feels like I have zero time to work on my blog.

9. I wish I was more confident to share my blog with people I know. 
I could not tell you why this is such an issue for me. It took a lot for me to start sharing my posts on Twitter. While I had a blog twitter for awhile, it just was not being used when I was actually blogging. So I caved and started using my regular Twitter.

10. I have no idea when my blogaversary is.
Couldn't tell you. Which is sad because then we can't have celebrations.

What are some of your blogging confessions? Let me know in the comments.

Monday, July 7, 2014

June in Review

Me after seeing The Fault in Our Stars opening weekend.

To me, June always flies by. Always. In contrast, July seems to last a lifetime. However, this year, it seems especially true. We were two-thirds of the way through June before I even realized we were past the first week. I did not accomplish as much as I hoped I would have, I'm hoping to make up for that in July.

Books I Read in June:
We Were Liars by E. Lockart
Split Second by Kasie West
Real Live Boyfriends by E Lockhart

This reading month was not as fantastic as the previous month. I would like to think that's due to the two weeks I worked two jobs and did not have time for anything else, but really I just didn't feel like reading a lot this month.

Life Things That Happened in June:
1. Had the two jobs, felt exhausted all of the time with no time for fun, finally quit the job I hated and felt relieved.
2. Went on short camping trip with fiance's family. Fun!
3. My friend Katie came to visit from New York! I missed her so much and it was fantastic to see her!
4. I finally started on the road to planning my wedding. It's turning out to be quite a bit more than I expected.

Songs I Loved in June:
1. "I Wanna Get Better" Bleachers
To be fair, I've loved this song since my friend Kayla introduced me to it. However, I started to love this song even more this summer.
2. "Dangerous" Big Data
I heard this song one day and I was like, "I like this song. I like driving to this song."
3. "Boom Clap" Charli XCX
Featured in The Fault in Our Stars movie, I fell in love with this song slowly then all at once. Hah, but seriously, this song is so upbeat and catchy. I find myself singing and dancing to it all of the time.

Movies/TV Shows I Saw in June:
1. The Mindy Project
I started watching this at my fiance's apartment one night and loved it. I then proceeded to sign up for a free trial of Hulu+ to watch it.
2. X-Men
I'm just going to cover the whole series. I finally jumped aboard the X-Men train at the end of May and have caught up to see the new movie. I don't know how I went so long without watching anything from this series. So good.

What did you read this past month? Or listen to or watch? Let me know in the comments; I am always looking for recommendations.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Classic Books/ Classics I Want to Read

Top Ten Tuesday, as always, is brought to us by The Broke and the Bookish. Today's topic is "Classic" Books. Classic is in quotation because it means different things to different people. For the purpose of today's list, it will mean books traditionally included in the literary cannon. Let's get started!

Top Five Classic Books
1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
P&P was the first "classic" I ever read and really helped me to broaden my horizons in reading. Because I finished it, previously daunting books were now nothing. If I could read Austen, I could read anything.

2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
While I read this a lot later than #1, it is probably my most reread book. Twice in high school and twice in college so far. It definitely has to stood up to every reread I have done. Simply amazing. Sadly, I have yet to read any of Fitzgerald's other work yet.

3. Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
I realize I talked about this book last week, but it really resonated with me. It's a very interesting book from the 1950s and I highly recommend it.

4. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
This book really surprised me when I read it. I came to it with zero expectations and was absolutely amazed it. I read this book in the fall of 2012 and I still think about it to this day. It's really weird, and I really enjoy it.

5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
I can't say I've been wowed by this book like I can the previous two, but I find it to be a very important book.

Top Five Classics I Want to Read
1. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
I just watched a review of this and would love to read it. It's on the top of the list because that review convinced me I should read it. Link here. (Also, if you are not subscribed to this girl, you should be. She's amazing.)

2. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
I feel like everyone in my major has read this book but me. I actually have a copy sitting patiently on my TBR shelf, so hopefully I'll get to it soon.

3.A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
I've been wanting to read this forever, but I've never gotten around to it. Now that I've read some other Dickens, I think I should be able to conquer this no problem.

4. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Remember when I said I hadn't read any other Fitzgerald?  I definitely want to change that.

5. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Though I love Fitzgerald, I've only read a little of Hemingway and didn't care for him. Before I write him off completely, I think I should at least read one novel by him.

What are some of your favorite classics? What are classics I should definitely read? Let me know in the comments.