Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Fat Girl by Marilyn Sachs

Jeff Lyons can’t stand Ellen de Luca, the fat girl in his ceramics class. She’s huge, clumsy, can’t throw a pot to save her life, and stares at Jeff all the time. But he’s a "nice guy" and feels terrible when Ellen overhears his hurtful remarks about her. The "crumbs of kindness" he tosses her way soon turn into advice on weight loss, college, clothes, hair . . . and, to everyone’s surprise, good-looking Jeff actually dumps his pretty girlfriend to be with the fat girl! Re-creating Ellen is a labor of love, Jeff thinks. But as her pounds melt away, Jeff resents the happy, independent young woman he has unleashed. Where is the gratitude for all he’s done for her?

With this darkly ironic take on the classic Pygmalion tale, Marilyn Sachs offers young readers a candid portrayal of what happens when the intoxicating thrill of control is confused with love. (From Goodreads)

While visiting the local thrift store, I came across The Fat Girl by Marilyn Sachs, and snatched it up. I had never heard of the book, but after reading the synopsis, I was intrigued by the concepts of power being confused with love.

Cover: The hands appear to be those of a male as he is creating on a potters wheel. The main character Jeff is introduced as he is trying to transfer into a pottery class. The cover picture can represent the actual pots that Jeff creates, but it also how Jeff thinks he is the creator of who Ellen, the fat girl, has become.

Favorite Line/Quote/Scene: My favorite scene is when Ellen appears before Jeff in her white prom dress. After Jeff has told her what to wear, how to fix hair and make-up, Ellen enters the room in the dress she picked out looking like a girl her age, not a young girl playing dress-up in women's wear. I love this scene, because it is when Ellen begins to stand-up for herself. Jeff has been so manipulative in their relationship and she's ready to put an end to it.

The Fat Girl wasn't what I expected it to be. I had a difficult time understanding Jeff and his motivation. For about the first third of the book, he kept referring to Ellen as "The Fat Girl", even to her face because he couldn't remember her name. He had gone to school with Ellen for years and even had classes with her, how could he not know her name? His inner monologues were consumed with so much disgust for Ellen but I wasn't convinced as to why he was so revolted by her. In an attempt to establish some reasons for his contempt for Ellen, we get a glimpse of Jeff's home life. Jeff's relationship with his mother was conflicted because she was so unhappy and every conversation resulted in a fight.  This lack of power or control and rejection he felt from his mother was transferred into the relationship between Jeff and Ellen. He began to tell her what she should eat, how to exercise, what she should wear, and who should she be friends with.

I think the biggest problem I had with the story was that Jeff actions were so matter of fact. There could have been more character development to help better understand why Jeff choose Ellen to control.  I thought it was easy to understand why Ellen was easily persuaded by Jeff since she had always been the outcast and was craving attention from anyone, no matter how destructive it was.

Random: When I was reading the book, I kept singing Jewel's Fat Boy to myself. The song has always evoked a strong emotion in me because of the story of a boy who doesn't feel comfortable in his own skin, but he puts on a front to hide how sad he really is. I was hoping that this book would have created the same effect. Not so much.

Not So Random: There were times, while reading, that I thought the book was in some sort of a time-warp. The book was published by Flux in 2007, but there were references to Ellen joining Weight Watchers and perming her hair, and the mentioning of Jeff's dad going to prom in 1958 which seemed odd to me. It was only after reading the Afterward that I learned that The Fat Girl was originally published in 1984.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (5)

This is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Grab your read. Open to a random page. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and the author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers. 

From Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan (page 16)

     Even though they tell me to sleep. I watch the news all night.
     I don't want to know anything, and I want to know it all.

Fall Catch-Up Read-a-Thon Wrap Up

I started this read-a-thon with a lot of momentum. I read three books in the first four days and then slowed down a bit. I think my hold-up was selecting the fourth book. I had originally wanted to read The Fat Girl by Marilyn Sachs (read), Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian (read), Losing Faith by Denise Jaden, One Lonely Degree by c.k. kelly martin, Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan, and Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick(read). But . . . . I also have was tempted to read Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. I took it off my shelf a few weeks ago but put it back for one reason or another. I was hesitant to read it during the read-a-thon because I knew that it would take me a couple of days and I didn't want to use my remaining time to read just one book. So instead of starting a new book, any book, I didn't read anything at all for almost 2 whole days. I couldn't make a decision, so I didn't make a decision at all. Who would have thought that choosing a book to read could be so stressful. (It is moments like these that I realize just how lame I am.) Anyway, I ended up reading Mockingjay and I am so glad that I did. I've been swept in the story of Katniss, Peeta, Gale and the Hunger Games this past month and I was anxious to find out how it would end. I was not disappointed!

In the end, I read four books and a total of 1140 pages.

Thanks to The True Book Addict for hosting. I can't wait until the next read-a-thon.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

In My Mailbox (6)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme run by The Story Siren which explores the books that have been delivered to our mailbox or doorstep or directly into our hot little hands.

Crash Test Love by Ted Michael
Fallout by Ellen Hopkins
John Belushi is Dead by Kathy Charles 

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The week was a pretty good week for me. In addition to getting the new cd of my favorite band, I also got these great books. I want to say a special thank you to Jessica at I Read to Relax for giving me her ARC of The Maze Runner. All I had to do was ask!

What did you get?

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Friday Five (6)

The Friday Five is inspired by Sarah Dessen's blog on LiveJournal. I've been following this blog the longest and love how she recaps her week with the Friday Five, now called The Five.

Here, I recap my week with connections to books I am reading, have read, want to read and other random musings.

1. Maroon 5's new album Hands All Over was released this week. I got it on Tuesday and it has been on replay ever since. There is a beautiful cover of Alicia Key's If I Ain't Got You. I could go on and on and on about, but to simply sum it up, It makes me happy.

2. This week I have been participating in a Read-a-Thon. I want to read 4-6 books, but thought I would be too distracted with all of the new shows premiering this week, but that hasn't happened. I've read three books and haven't watched any tv. Thank you DVR.

3. Currently Reading: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, I was going to read this a couple of weeks ago, but didn't. I've been skimming through some of my favorite blogs because I'm afraid that I'm going to come across some spoilers and I don't want to do that any more. It's time to find out what happens.

4. Soon to leave the shelf: Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan

5. Random Rambling: Because I can't get enough of Adam

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick

“You think he’s yours but he’s not, I thought. You think he’s yours but really he’s mine.”

When Holly loses her virginity to Paul, a guy she barely knows, she assumes their encounter is a one-night stand. After all, Paul is too popular to even be speaking to Holly, and he happens to have a long-term girlfriend, Saskia. But ever since Holly’s mom died six months ago, Holly has been numb to the world, and she’s getting desperate to feel something, anything—so when Paul keeps pursuing her, Holly relents. Paul’s kisses are a welcome diversion, and it’s nice to feel like the kind of girl that a guy like Paul would choose.

But things aren’t so simple with Saskia around. Paul’s real girlfriend is willowy and perfect… and nothing like Holly. To make matters worse, she and Holly are becoming friends. Suddenly the consequences of Holly’s choices are all too real, and Holly stands to lose more than she ever realized she had.(from Goodreads)

I found Nothing Like You on a whim. I was on vacation on my birthday and my husband was having trouble trying to decide what to give me. Of course in my mind I'm thinking, Really? You don't know? Books, it's always books. I don't ask for too much. So we went to the local Borders, and I found Nothing Like You, in hard cover. I wasn't sold on it immediately because, yes, I do judge a book by it's cover, so I kept looking. About two shelves down, there was a paperback cover that caught my attention, and lucky me, it turned out to be the same book!

Cover: I am drawn to covers like this one and I will pick it up every time. They remind me of summertime, of being young and carefree. I like the softness of the lighting, the delicate dress and the fact that she is barefoot. The cover on the hard back doesn't even compare. 

Favorite Line/Quote/Scene: Said by Nils to Holly after calling Paul's girlfriend the Anti-Holly, "That's a good thing, Hols. She's plain spaghetti." He looked at me lovingly. "No sauce." (page 17) After reading that, I knew Nils was going to be awesome and I was going to develop a book-crush on him. And that is exactly what happened. 

 I loved Holly and my heart broke for her over and over again. Even though she was sneaking around with a guy who has a girlfriend, she wasn't unlikable. She was a good friend to Nils, putting up his girlfriends of week. She was a good daughter to her father Jeff who was still grieving the loss of his wife. She wasn't sneaking around with her best friend's boyfriend. And once she did become friends with Paul's girlfriend, she did try to break it off with him. Maybe a little too late, but still she wanted to do the right thing.

There was a time when I feared the book may go down the cliched "promiscuous girl's gotta learn a lesson" route. When Holly kept getting nauseous when thinking about telling Saskia or Saskia finding out or anyone finding out (for that matter) about her and Paul, I was afraid that the nausea was really caused by a pregnancy. And then when the random mention of the Agnes of God movie, my heart sank, yep, she's going to end up pregnant. But she wasn't, and everyone did find out about her and Paul. And then my heart broke again.

I liked the short quick chapters, but this book went by too fast for me. I was left wanting just a little bit more. Lauren Strasnick's next book is Her and Me and You. It is not a follow-up to Nothing Like You, but I do hope there is one in the future.

Update - Fall Catch-Up Read-a-Thon

So, I am half-way through the Fall Catch-Up Read-a-Thon and I am so glad I committed to do this. I've read The Fat Girl by Marilyn Sachs, Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian, and Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick. I didn't intend it to be this way, but there are some similar underlying themes in these three books. I plan to post reviews on all of them, so check back soon.
Three books in four days, not too shabby. Now, what to read next?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fall Catch Up Read-a-Thon

I am very excited to participate in my very first Read-a-Thon hosted by The True Book Addict I know with all of the new fall line-up of tv shows, I might get a little distracted from my reading so this is just what I need. I hope to read around four to six books this week to put a small dent, or even a chip, in my TBR pile. Some of the books I plan to read are:

The Fat Girl by Marilyn Sachs
Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian
Losing Faith by Denise Jaden
One Lonely Degree by c.k. kelly martin
Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan
Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick

The Read-a-Thon starts today and ends Sunday evening. Anyone can join! If you do, post a comment so I can see how you're doing too! Happy Reading!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

In My Mailbox (5)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme run by The Story Siren which explores the books that have been delivered to our mailbox or doorstep or directly into our hot little hands.

Not That Kind of Girl  by Siobhan Vivian
Losing Faith by Denise Jaden

This week I tried to limit my purchases because of the many books I got last week, but that thought went out the window when I saw that Not That Kind of Girl was selected as Forever Young Adult's Book Club pick for September. I had to get it to dish with them in the caf, and if I buy one book, I might as well buy two!

What did you get this week?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Review: A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley

A Little Wanting Song
by Cath Crowley
Publication Date: June 8, 2010
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Pages: 272
Source: Library
Purchase Amazon / Indiebound

(From Goodreads)

A summer of friendship, romance, and songs in major chords. . .

CHARLIE DUSKIN loves music, and she knows she's good at it. But she only sings when she's alone, on the moonlit porch or in the back room at Old Gus's Secondhand Record and CD Store. Charlie's mom and grandmother have both died, and this summer she's visiting her grandpa in the country, surrounded by ghosts and grieving family, and serving burgers to the local kids at the milk bar. She's got her iPod, her guitar, and all her recording equipment, but she wants more: A friend. A dad who notices her. The chance to show Dave Robbie that she's not entirely unspectacular.

ROSE BUTLER lives next door to Charlie's grandfather and spends her days watching cars pass on the freeway and hanging out with her troublemaker boyfriend. She loves Luke but can't wait to leave their small country town. And she's figured out a way: she's won a scholarship to a science school in the city, and now she has to convince her parents to let her go. This is where Charlie comes in. Charlie, who lives in the city, and whom Rose has ignored for years. Charlie, who just might be Rose's ticket out.

My Thoughts

A Little Wanting Song had been reviewed recently on several blogs I read, and I put it on my Wish List to possibly read some day. But I was convinced, without a doubt, that I needed to read this book after reading a thoughtful review on Persnickety Snark. I was so happy when I found it a the library, but now, having finished it, I think it is a book that I will want to have a copy for my very own.

Cover: The girl pictured pulls you in like she is looking right at you and she has something to tell you. Even though she appears somewhat guarded, with her hair covering her eye and her shoulder shrugged, you want to find out she has to say. The decorative splatters and flowery curly-cues represent the perspectives of Rose and Charlie, but I wish that two girls were featured on the cover.

Favorite Line/Quote/Scene: Charlie is in Rose's room for the first time and is looking around seeing there is more to Rose than she had thought. Rose confesses, "I've never been to the ocean. I want to go there. Go to the city. Go somewhere that leads places." Charlie knows the same desperation that Rose feels and she tells her that she will go someday. Rose asks her, "How do you know?" (Charlie) I look at her poster and think about it. "Because you want to." (page 79) I love this scene and what they say to each other because they are both opening up themselves to a new friendship that they both have been afraid to even considering having.

I don't think I can adequately express how much I love this book. A Little Wanting Song is one of those books that is going to stay with me for a long time. The confusion of familial dynamics and the desire to want something more for yourself is something that will resonate with many readers as it did with me. There were so many moments that caught my breath, where I held my breath and that took my breath away. And there where moments when the book was laugh out loud funny. Charlie and Rose both are have distinct voices, and I wanted the best for both of them all along the way. There were times when Rose didn't have the best motives for her friendship with Charlie, but she never was the Mean Girl that Charlie thought she was.

Of all of the books about summer that I read this summer, A Little Wanting Song was the best one to end it with.


Friday, September 17, 2010

The Friday Five (5)

The Friday Five is inspired by Sarah Dessen's blog on LiveJournal. I've been following this blog the longest and love how she recaps her week with the Friday Five, now called The Five.

Here, I recap my week with connections to books I am reading, have read, want to read and other random musings.

1. My To Be Read List is becoming never ending. I know right now I have a minimum list of at least 75 books, and these are ones that I have already purchased. This doesn't even include the books that I have checked out of the library and returned, unread, before I was charged late fees. This week I have a new book to add to the list (wish list, that is) After reading Persnickety Snark's review, I know Friend is Not a Verb is not a book I want to overlook.

2. So . . . I'm still trying to get a handle on blogging and following of other blogs. Sometimes when I sign up to follow a blog using Google Friend Connect, my user name Actin' Up with books appears and other times, my real name appears. I can't figure out to have only my blog user name to appear. I feel pretty lame, but if anyone knows what to do to fix this, please let me know. Again . . . feeling pretty lame. 

3. Currently Reading: a little wanting song by Cath Crowley - I am loving this book. It is the second book in a row that I have read where the chapters alternate between the perspectives of the two main characters. Review coming soon.

4. Soon to leave the shelf: Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian - I am gearing up to dish in the caf at Forever Young Adult for the FYABC I can't wait!

5. Random Rambling: I want to share some love for one of my favorite musicians, Toby Lightman. I'm currently listening to her Let Go cd, So Natural to Love is constantly on replay. You can check out her songs in their entirety here Enjoy!

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Review: Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

by Wendelin Van Draanen
Publication Date: May 13, 2003
Published by Ember
Pages: 212
Source: Library
Purchase Amazon / Indiebound

 (from Goodreads)

Juli Baker devoutly believes in three things: the sanctity of trees (especially her beloved sycamore), the wholesomeness of the eggs she collects from her backyard flock of chickens, and that someday she will kiss Bryce Loski. Ever since she saw Bryce's baby blues back in second grade, Juli has been smitten. Unfortunately, Bryce has never felt the same. Frankly, he thinks Juli Baker is a little weird--after all, what kind of freak raises chickens and sits in trees for fun? Then, in eighth grade, everything changes. Bryce begins to see that Juli's unusual interests and pride in her family are, well, kind of cool. And Juli starts to think that maybe Bryce's brilliant blue eyes are as empty as the rest of Bryce seems to be. After all, what kind of jerk doesn't care about other people's feelings about chickens and trees? 

My Thoughts

Flipped is one of those books in the bookstores that I have passed over for years, but have never had that much desire to pick up and read. This changed when I found out that the book was made into a movie that I thought would be great to take my nieces and nephew to see. Most often I like to read the book before I see the movie, so I was happy to find the book at a local library.

Cover:  The simplistic cover of the flipped chick does not make me want to hurry up and grab the book to check out what it is about. This is what sparked my initial reluctance. Yeah, it's cute, but it doesn't really tell me anything. The cover that has been released for the movie definitely would have drawn me to it.

Even though the image doesn't stay true to Bryce and Juli's story, it is stunning and is what I imagined Juli saw as she looked out from her treasured sycamore tree.

Favorite Line/Quote/Scene:  This book is filled with lots of memorable moments, but I think one of my favorites is when Bryce is snooping around Juli's backyard with his friend Garrett trying to see if she has a rooster. Bryce is so terrified to speak to Juli that he won't even ask her a simple question like if she has a rooster. Instead, he goes on a not-so-stealth mission to find a rooster with "big feathers and rubbery red stuff."  
I really loved this book and wished that I would have read it sooner. Juli and Bryce, with all of their misunderstandings and differences, are likable characters and I was always left wondering if Bryce would ever warm to Juli's honesty and intensity. Juli's relationships with those around her were very touching and reading about them brought me to tears on more that one occasion. The alternating voices of Juli and Bryce from chapter to chapter demonstrated that, while people may be having a shared experience, their interpretation and emotion during that experience can be completely different. 

I hope that I can encourage my nieces and nephew to read the book too, and I can't wait to see the movie! 

Teaser Tuesday (4)

This is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Grab your read. Open to a random page. Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and the author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers. 

From a little wanting song by Cath Crowley (page 27)
He nodded and started the car and I thought about me and him. Words floated in my head like they do when I'm getting an idea for a song. Words like smoke and rain.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

In My Mailbox (4)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme run by The Story Siren which explores the books that have been delivered to our mailbox or doorstep or directly into our hot little hands.
Remember Me by Christopher Pike

Used (but in a Good Way)
Undercover by Beth Kephart
The Taker by J.M. Steele
The Fat Girl by Marilyn Sachs
Kerosene by Chris Wooding
Rx by Tracy Lynn
Give a Boy a Gun by Todd Strasser
How I Changed My Life by Todd Strasser

I feel like I hit the jackpot this week with all of the books that I found at 2 local thrift stores: Used but in a Good Way (my label, not the name of the stores). My TBR list just keep getting longer and longer, but I couldn't pass them up!

What did you get?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt

Finally, Levi Katznelson’s older brother, Boaz, has returned. Boaz was a high school star who had it all and gave it up to serve in a war Levi can’t understand. Things have been on hold since Boaz left. With the help of his two best friends Levi has fumbled his way through high school, weary of his role as little brother to the hero.
But when Boaz walks through the front door after his tour of duty is over, Levi knows there’s something wrong. Boaz is home, safe. But Levi knows that his brother is not the same.
Maybe things will never return to normal. Then Boaz leaves again, and this time Levi follows him, determined to understand who his brother was, who he has become, and how to bring him home again.
Award-winning author Dana Reinhardt introduces readers to Levi, who has never known what he believes, and whose journey reveals truths only a brother knows. (from Goodreads)

I'd joined Random Buzzers and having recently read Harmless by Dana Reinhardt, I was excited to learn that she was one of the featured authors for the month of August. To be eligible for a drawing to receive an ARC of The Things a Brother Knows,  I submitted a question to Dana about her writing process. I was thrilled to find that I was 1 of the 25 selected to receive a copy of the book.

Cover: The cover appears to be pretty simple with the silhouette of two guys side-by-side with the guy on the right slightly in motion on uneven ground. The guys in silhouette could be Boaz and Levi, but I think they could also represent any guys, any brothers. Although stars are not represented, the stripes appear as though they are a part of the American flag with what would be the white stripes, stained.

Favorite Line/Quote/Scene: "He's allowed me to be here. I don't want to do anything that might disturb the magic of the words: Suit yourself" (page 160) Levi has been trying to have some sort of connection with Boaz ever since he has returned from war. Here, Levi realizes that sometimes just being with his brother has to be enough and to not push the issue. Some questions aren't ready to be answered.

The Things a Brother Knows in one of the first books that I have read about a soldier returning from war and the impact that his leaving then returning has on a family dynamic. While this story is not a new one, Reinhardt addresses the conflict both delicately and with humor from the perspective of the soldier's younger brother, Levi. Boaz's decision to enlist in the Marines, when he has the choice to go to any college that he wants, leaves Levi confused and disconnected from the brother he has always known. He wonders how Boaz can defend something that Levi himself isn't even sure he has an opinion about. While the book reveals a soldier's experience during wartime and the toll it takes on his life when he returns home, it is Levi's journey to understand his brother and himself that makes The Things a Brother Knows worth reading.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Friday Five (4)

The Friday Five is inspired by Sarah Dessen's blog on LiveJournal. I've been following this blog the longest and love how she recaps her week with the Friday Five, now called The Five.

Here, I recap my week with connections to books I am reading, have read, want to read and other random musings.

1. This Labor Day weekend, I got to spend a few days at the lake. I visited with some friends and their families. It was a nice surprise, when pulling up to the boat dock, to see everyone reading and relaxing in the sun. I knew I was hanging out with the right crowd. During the holiday I was able to finish Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins and was given several book recommendations. One that I may have to add to by TBR list is The Tortilla Curtain by T. C. Boyle. While this book is not something that I would typically read right now, I was intrigued by the topic.

2. This week I received a "One Lovely Blog Award" from Kelly at The Bookscape Report It's cool to know that others are checking out your blog. Since my blog is fairly new, I appreciate the compliment! I'll make sure to pay it forward.

3. Currently Reading: The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt - I am really enjoying this book. For a small taste, check out this week's Teaser Tuesday. Review coming soon!

4. Soon to leave the shelf: a little wanting song by Cath Crowley 

5. Random Rambling: I've been watching The Secret Life of the American Teenager from the very beginning of the series. Amy, Ricky, Ben and Adrienne, along with the sarcastic wit for Ashley, have kept me pretty entertained, but I must say I am getting a little tired of all of the sex talk. Every conversation has to do with having or not having sex, the consequences of having sex or not having sex, or wanting to have sex, and it is getting a little tiresome. I'm not convinced that sex is all teenagers have to talk about. Please, Secret Life, give me more.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (3)

This is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading
  • Grab your read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title and the author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers.

From: The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt (page 42)

"Don't Look so guilt-sticken, Levi," Pearl says. "It's totally normal to lust after your brother's girlfriend. It's textbook, really. And when she's got a pair like Christina Crowley, who could blame you?"

Saturday, September 4, 2010

In My Mailbox (3)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme run by The Story Siren which explores the books that have been delivered to our mailbox or doorstep or directly into our hot little hands.

For Review: The Things a Brother Knows by Dana  Reinhardt

Purchased:  If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Library:  a little wanting song by Cath Crowley

I checked out If I Stay from the library and read it a few months ago. I knew then that I would by it for my personal collection at some point, but I held off for a little while. In the past few weeks there has been so much buzz (and a Teaser Tour) about the follow-up novel, Where She Went, I just couldn't wait any longer. 

What did you get?

Review: Absolutely Maybe By Lisa Yee

Absolutely Maybe
by Lisa Yee
Publication Date: February 1, 2009
Published by Arthur L. Levine Books
Pages 288
Source: Library
Purchase Amazon Indiebound

(from Goodreads)
Meet Maybelline Mary Katherine Mary Ann Chestnut, named for two Miss Americas and her mother Chessy's favorite brand of mascara.
Chessy teaches the students in her charm school her Seven Select Rules for Young Ladies, but she won't tell Maybe who her real father is - or protect her from her latest scuzzball boyfriend.
So Maybe hitches a ride to California with her friends Hollywood and Thammasat Tantipinichwong Schneider (aka Ted) - and what she finds there is funny, sad, true, and inspiring... vintage Lisa Yee

My Thoughts

I came across this book on a Goodreads Giveaway. I didn't win the contest, but I put it in my wishlist notebook so I wouldn't forget about it. Then, when I saw it was on the New Arrivals shelf at my local library, I grabbed it up.

Cover: I am a sucker for bright, red hair and love that about the girl on the cover. It makes me think of Angela on MSCL, "It's not red, it's Crimson Glow." Maybe would say, "It's not red, it's Jamaica Kool-Aid." The girl depicted fits the description of Maybe in the novel, but I questioned the size of the girl pictured. Maybe sees herself as more fleshy and she always dresses herself in a "Men's Beefy Hanes T-Shirt (XL)", but as you read more about the story, the girl pictured makes sense. The Hollywood star is misleading because it implies that Maybe is going to Hollywood for fame when that is not the case at all.

Favorite Line/Quote/Scene: Said by Willow to Maybe, "I hate the Santa Anas and so does Sammy, but they're coming and there's nothing we can do to stop them." After hearing this, Maybe spends the next 4 hours cleaning the house from top to bottom and finished right before the housekeeper shows up.

I really liked reading Absolutely Maybe because you could see Maybe's independence develop throughout the novel. At the beginning of the book, Maybe's individuality is misunderstood by her mother and by the people of her community with the exception of her two friends, Ted and Hollywood. When a terrible confrontation between Maybe and her mother results in Maybe running off with her friends for the summer, you think that she will have a summer filled with adventures while searching for her father. But Ted and Hollywood have their own agendas, leaving Maybe to search for her father and find her own way to survive the summer and her future.

While some parts of the book were more believable than others (like all of the good fortune that fell upon Ted, I mean, come on, really?), I did like the book. And I am still curious what, if anything , will happen between Maybe and Hollywood.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Friday Five (3)

The Friday Five comes from Sarah Dessen's blog on LiveJournal. I've been following this blog the longest and love how she recaps her week with the Friday Five, now called The Five.

Here, I will recap my week with connections to books I am reading, have read, want to read and other random musings.

1. Where are the Reviews? When I first started this blog I thought that I would be able to crank out review after review because of all of the books that I have read. But that didn’t quite happen. I am so new to the world of blogging and excited to find this arena for books that I have been spending so much time looking at other blogs and not doing too much with my own. So I am saying it here and right now – more reviews are on the way.

2.   A friend loaned my Eat, Pray, Love at least 2 and a half years ago. And I must admit, I haven’t even read the first page. Once I found out the movie was coming out, I thought I definitely was going to read the book before seeing the movie. I prefer to read the book before watching the movie whenever possible, but now that the movie is out (and may not be in the theaters much longer), I decided that I am not going to read the book at all and I’ll just watch the movie. It probably is a great book, but I just can’t give it the attention it deserves right now. I guess I should give my friend her book back.

3. I am currently reading Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. I fell in live with The Hunger Games and rushed out to get the other two books of the Trilogy. While I rushed out to get them, I’ve been a little slower in actually reading it. I’ve had the book since Saturday and I am only on chapter 3. Yep, just chapter 3, I guess all of the time reading blogs is taking time from reading books too.

4. Soon to leave the shelf  I am taking a small trip for the holiday weekend, so at least two books will be leaving the shelf: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, Forget You by Jennifer Echols; I’ve read three of her books this summer and just can’t get enough!

5. Random Rambling: I just finished listening to Carol Burnett’s This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection on audiobook. I love Carol Burnett and wish that her variety show was still on (at least on reruns). Just thought I’d put that out there.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Top 100 YA reads: Which ones have you read?

Over the past few weeks, Persnickety Snark has been announcing the Top 100 YA reads. I was always excited to see books on the list that I have read! Today on Book Couture I saw this posting and thought it was a great idea to see how my reading choices pair up. 

From Book Couture:

Top 100 YA reads: Which ones have you read?

The Top 100 YA reads of 2010 is a list collated by the wonderful Adele at Persnickety Snark, and the full list can be found here. Thank you Adele and everyone else who helped make the list, for taking the time and effort put into making it a success!

From Adele's page:
"Voting took place over five weeks at the end of April and throughout May. 

735 people shared their top ten choices of the best YA titles. The participants come from across the globe ...and 80% were female. "

The ones listed in blue bold are ones I have read.
The books listed in  purple italics are books on my TBR list.
The books listed in fuchsia bold are books read since since 9/1 - originally posted.

Top 100 YA novels of 2010:
1. The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
2. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s (Sorceror’s) Stone – J.K. Rowling
3. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
4. Speak – Laurie Halse Anderson
5. Northern Lights (The Golden Compass)- Philip Pullman
6. The Truth About Forever – Sarah Dessen
7. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
8. The Outsiders – S.E. Hinton
9. Twilight – Stephenie Meyer
10. This Lullaby – Sarah Dessen
11. Looking for Alaska – John Green
12. Just Listen – Sarah Dessen
13. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling
14. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
15. City of Bones – Cassandra Clare
16. On the (Jellicoe Road) – Melina Marchetta
17. The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
18. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J.K. Rowling
19. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
20. Along for the Ride – Sarah Dessen
21. Shiver – Maggie Stiefvater
22. Vampire Academy – Richelle Mead
23. Graceling – Kristin Cashore
24. Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher
25. Sloppy Firsts – Megan McCafferty
26. The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien
27. Alanna: The First Adventure – Tamora Pierce
28. Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card
29. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – J.K. Rowling
30. Uglies – Scott Westerfeld
31. A Great and Terrible Beauty – Libba Bray
32. Tomorrow, When the War Began – John Marsden
33. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks – E. Lockhart
34. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
35. The Westing Game – Ellen Raskin
36. Paper Towns – John Green
37. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J.K. Rowling
38. Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins
39. A Tree Grows In Brooklyn – Betty Smith
40. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian – Sherman Alexie
41. Lock and Key – Sarah Dessen
42. The Amber Spyglass – Philip Pullman
43. Evernight – Claudia Gray
44. Sabriel – Garth Nix
45. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – J.K. Rowling
46. Beautiful Creatures – Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl
47. Forever – Judy Blume
48. I Capture the Castle – Dodie Smith
49. Ella Enchanted – Gail Carson Levine
50. The Princess Diaries – Meg Cabot
51. Stargirl – Jerry Spinelli
52. Howl’s Moving Castle – Diana Wynne Jones
53. The Dark is Rising – Susan Cooper
54. Hush, Hush – Becca Fitzpatrick
55. Saving Francesca – Melina Marchetta
56. Second Helpings – Megan McCafferty
57. Dreamland – Sarah Dessen
58. Eclipse – Stephenie Meyer
59. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist – Rachel Cohn, David Levithan
60. Fire – Kristin Cashore
61. The Chocolate War – Robert Cormier
62. Weetzie Bat – Francesca Lia Block
63. The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank
64. Looking for Alibrandi – Melina Marchetta
65. How I Live Now – Meg Rosoff
66. City of Glass – Cassandra Clare
67. Keeping the Moon – Sarah Dessen
68. Breaking Dawn – Stephenie Meyer
69. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging – Louise Rennison 
70. If I Stay – Gayle Forman
71. The King of Attolia – Megan Whalen Turner
72. Wintergirls – Laurie Halse Anderson
73. Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast – Robin McKinley
74. The Blue Sword – Robin McKinley
75. Feed – M.T. Anderson
76. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants – Ann Brashares
77. Go Ask Alice – Anonymous
78. Wicked Lovely – Melissa Marr
79. Lord of the Flies – William Golding
80. Someone Like You – Sarah Dessen
81. The Forest of Hands and Teeth – Carrie Ryan
82. Jacob Have I Loved – Katherine Paterson
83. The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness
84. Poison Study – Maria V. Snyder
85. Shadow Kiss – Richelle Mead
86. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle – Avi
87. An Abundance of Katherines – John Green
88. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
89. A Ring of Endless Light – Madeleine L’Engle
90. Glass Houses – Rachel Caine
91. The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party – M.T. Anderson
92. Walk Two Moons – Sharon Creech
93. Whale Talk – Chris Crutcher
94. Perfect Chemistry – Simone Elkeles
95. Going Too Far – Jennifer Echols
96. The Last Song – Nicholas Sparks
97. Before I Fall – Lauren Oliver
98. Hatchet – Gary Paulsen
99. The Pigman – Paul Zindel
100. The Hero and the Crown – Robin McKinley
While it would be nice to think that I will read all of these books some day, but really, that's not going to happen. My to be read list is already way too long.

Which books have you read?


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