Sunday, August 26, 2012

In My Mailbox (#17)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren where bloggers can share the books they've received over the week (for review, from the library, bought, traded for, etc.).

Checked out from the library (Just reviewed The Fault In Our Stars...excellent!):

From NetGalley (can't wait to read this one because Stiefvater's writing is magical!):

From a student (who said he enjoyed it more than the Harry Potter series!):
What amazing books did you get this week!? I haven't been keeping up with the new releases like I should, so I can't wait to find out what's new and amazing...

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Review: The Fault In Our Stars

  • Publisher: Dutton Books
  • Release Date: Jan. 10, 2012
  • Page Count: 336
  • Would Appeal To: Fans of My Sister's Keeper, Anyone who appreciates magnificent writing/simple but brilliant insights
Favorite Quotes: (Narrowed down from 13, had to omit certain sigh-worthy dialogue scenes to keep the element of surprise for future readers...Also, if you really want to read this, you might skip a few of these quotes so you can be just as truly satisfied as I was.)
"Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book. And then there are books like An Imperial Affliction, which you can't tell people about, books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like a betrayal."
"He played me a couple songs he liked by a band called The Hectic Glow, and they were good songs, but because I didn't know them already, they weren't as good to me as they were to him."
"And then the line was quiet but not dead. I almost felt like he was there in my room with me, but in a way it was better, like I was not in my room and he was not in his, but instead we were together in some invisible and tenuous third space that could only be visited on the phone."
"...rumbling with each inhalation and whirring as I exhaled. I kept thinking that it sounded like a dragon breathing in time with me, like I had this pet dragon who was cuddled up next to me and cared enough about me to time his breaths to mine."
"'Do you realize how rare it is to come across a hot girl who creates an adjectival version of the word pedophile? You are so busy being you that you have no idea how utterly unprecedented you are.'"
"The car was packed by six fifteen, whereupon Mom insisted that we eat breakfast with Dad, although I had a moral opposition to eating before dawn on the grounds that I was not a nineteenth-century Russian peasant fortifying myself for a day in the fields."
"The weird thing about houses is that they almost always look like nothing is happening inside of them, even though they contain most of our lives. I wondered if that was sort of the point of architecture."
Story: Hazel Grace Lancaster has terminal cancer. Her lungs continually drown themselves with fluid and she is forced to walk around with a tank of oxygen to help her breathe. One fated Support Group session, Augustus Waters has come to support his friend Isaac. Augustus, a rather up front, witty, and intelligent guy, finds out Hazel's favorite book-- An Imperial Affliction. Soon both teens become entralled with finding answers to a novel that had a very open ending. Video games, a park, and a heartbroken blind friend all swirl together to create a tale of romance, where the sick kids know better than anyone that life's not fair.
Why You Must Read This:
1. It's JOHN GREEN people! I'm about to dive into An Abundance of Katherine, Looking for Alaska, and then Paper Towns because he is just that incredible (and I'm awfully mad at myself for not yet reading any of his other work). His writing is the kind of fluid that makes you forget you're not a character in the story. He gets it. And by it, I mean EVERYTHING. (See first two quotes above.)
2. The dialogue. Holy crap. By the end of the first chapter, Augustus has already said some unabashed things to Hazel. You'll wonder why you didn't have a relationship like this in high school where everyone can be up front and playful and super smart sounding because they really are intelligent. Also, Hazel always answers in questions, like she's not quite sure. It showed me a lot about her personality. And she talks with a few "likes" thrown in, which were really quite perfect and not annoying in the Valley girl way.
3. Hazel and Augustus. Usually I like the boy more than the girl. Or the girl more than the boy. Not both equally. This story was different. They were meant to be, with their kind of philosophical thoughts and conversations. They've had lots of time to really ponder since they've both been in and out of the hospital. They're super deep with huge vocabularies but still teenager-y. For example, they both still fight with their parents and Hazel, especially, hates being hovered over.
4. I haven't read book by many guy authors, and this one uses a female POV, but I seriously couldn't tell. Mostly, Hazel just wants to be normal, not a side effect of dying. She accepts her lot even though she doesn't always like it. But don't we all just want to be normal? You'll be able to relate to more than one thing in this story. I've never thought about Cancer Perks and how adults act weird around kids who are obviously sick. I couldn't imagine walking around with a cannula stuck up my nose, but here's a person who is different, and her friends are different, which allows her to really see what people are like, their motivations, their responses, and their fears. Another part of John Green really getting it.
5. I cried. I never used to cry reading books, and only really good, emotional writing brings that out in me. I also loved that Hazel's dad is a crier. Her parents are awesome. 
6. The plot. What reader doesn't want to read a book about a character who obsesses over her favorite book? Oh my gosh, I can relate. It's brilliant, really. The fact that Augustus is really into a book that she's introduced him to only makes him more lovable.
What Bugged Me:
1. Um, NOTHING. This is strange for me to have nothing to nit pick about, but...he flippin' nailed this whole story.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Review: Pushing the Limits

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: July 31, 2012
Page Count: 384
Will Appeal To: Romance lovers, anyone interested in psychology
Favorite Quotes:
  • "If she grasped anything, it would be me. My thumb worked its way between her fingers and her sleeve and released her death grip on the material. I wrapped my fingers around Echo's fragile hand. Touching Echo felt like home."
  • "'I loved her, Echo. She was that someone that tilted my universe.'"
  • "The worst type of crying wasn't the kind everyone could see-- the wailing on street corners, the tearing at clothes. No, the worst kind happened when your soul wept and no matter what you did, there was no way to comfort it. A section withered and became a scar on the part of your soul that survived. For people like me and Echo, our souls contained more scar tissue than life."
Boy and girl are seeing same school social worker. Noah is trying to gain custody of his brothers and must turn around his bad boy act so a judge will grant him said custody. Echo has become a social pariah after an incident years prior that resulted in raised white and red scars up the lengths of her arms. Everyone thinks she tried to commit suicide or cut herself. She knows her bipolar mother had something to do with it, but her brain has repressed the memories. Both broken souls, the two work on finding out what's in their files, which should ultimately lead to answers and then happiness. Along the way, they find out that each of them needs the other in more ways than one. 
Why You Must Read This:
1. The dual points of view add such dimension to the story. Yes, the boy/girl switcheroo has been super popular as of late, but I'm not tired of it, especially not with characters like this. I wouldn't have minded if it was all in Noah's POV; however, Echo's story is so important, and one of her discoveries in the book made me tear up. One emotional ride. I felt what the characters felt as they learned new information.  
2. Characters are believable! Grace is a minor character, but that girl in school who's so concerned with her image that she has "public friends" and "private friends." Loved this element of realism. Noah is wonderful to watch as he changes from I-could-care-less-that-I'm-getting-high to a guy who's falling hard and fast for a girl who is complicated. He's a good guy at heart but a product of the foster system. And Mrs. Collins-- what a wonderful adult influence in both their lives. Love that she shows up in sweats and band t-shirts occasionally! Every single character has flaws.
3. Sexual tension. The need for Noah to control himself literally seeped through the pages!

4. Katie McGarry seriously understands how a teen's mind works. I became fully absorbed in both narratives and remembered how hard high school was and how unaccepting people can be. I could relate to so many parts of the story.
5. I felt a true sense of satisfaction at the end (except that I wanted it to go on longer!).
Things That Bugged Me:
1. Couldn't get on board with Noah calling Echo "baby." Just couldn't imagine him saying it after getting to know his character, but this is a super minor thing that I'm sure others disagree on. I wish it was a different pet name!
2. Echo had an awful lot of "pterodactyls" flying in her stomach. The first time I thought it was a cool metaphor. The third time I was sick of seeing it, but I do realize that certain people have a thing they say or think constantly.
3. I didn't mark many favorite quotes. The writing is super smooth and relatable but I wanted a few more things to really stick with me.
AND...with such minor flaws, how can you not pick up this book that everyone's already raving about? I CANNOT WAIT TO READ BETH'S STORY: DARE YOU TO.
Also, at the end of the book, there's a really cool playlist where McGarry reveals what songs she used for kiss scenes, which ones she used to get into character for Noah, Echo, and what shaped the novel as a whole.
*Copy of novel provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Winners of Giveaways!

Animated Smiley Face Pictures, Images and Photos Congratulations are in order for the winners of our giveaways!

Kulsuma @ Sunshine and Stardust for winning a Book Depository book for the 2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge, June Wrap-Up


Shay @ 365 Books a Year for winning an autographed copy of Don't Expect Magic from our 400 Follower Giveaway.

Ladies, you have 48 hours to claim your prizes before I choose alternate winners.

Happy Friday everyone!

Book reviews to come:
Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff