Sunday, August 28, 2011

Review: A Map of the Known World

"Cora Bradley dreams of escape. Ever since her reckless older brother, Nate, died in a car crash, Cora has felt suffocated by her small town and high school. She seeks solace in drawing beautiful maps, envisioning herself in exotic locales. When Cora begins to fall for Damian, the handsome, brooding boy who was in the car with Nate the night he died, she uncovers her brother's secret artistic life and realizes she had more in common with him than she ever imagined. With stunning lyricism, Sandell weaves a tale of one girl's journey through the redemptive powers of art, friendship, and love."

  • Publisher: Scholastic Press
  • Release date: April 15, 2009
  • Page count: 272
  • Would appeal to: Artists, those who are grieving, those who want a serious contemporary read, Fans of Twenty Boy Summer
Favorite Quotes:

"If a sigh had a shape, a taste, a color, it would be a salty yellow triangle."

"They both look as though they have been broken into a thousand pieces and never properly mended. My mother's face is sewn too tight, while my father's face has become fuzzy in outline, like a cloud, with all of these little particles loosely holding on, floating, floating."

"Helena puts her arm around my shoulder and draws me into an embrace. Even though she's older, she's shorter than I am and slight, and so it feels like being hugged by a fairy, and in her sea-colored blue dress of ilmy organza with iridescent beads sewn onto it, she looks like she could be a water nymph."

"Freak. The way the mouth puckers, like it's filled with revulsion or loathing, to form the f, the disgust that gets spit out with the final hard k. I roll the shape of the word around in my mouth, and my eyes narrow with the long e."

"Nate, where did you go?...Is his soul floating around the house? Is he haunting Julie? Did he go to heaven? Does someone who puts the principal's office placard on a stall in the boy's bathroom have a place in heaven?"

I like the premise, though it's not wholly original; brother dies in car crash and family tries to put back the pieces. Lisa Ann Sandell does an excellent job painting a broken family from the point of view of the only surviving child. I did have great sympathy for Cora because her family was so focused on their own bouts of grief that they didn't really acknowledge hers, especially her father. I came close to tears at a point where Cora's mom breaks down.

At times in the middle, this read a little slow for me. Life isn't all action; I understand that much. You also have a lot of time to think when everyone's ignoring you and you go to the park or a field by yourself.

I do like how art played a large part in the story. Cora likes to draw maps of places she's never been and also figures out a way to honor Nate with a map. It was sad that her brother was an excellent artist, and she never knew.

Damian, Nate's best friend, was the brooding outcast of the story. Loved his character. He had a white father and African American mother, so he was mixed (a nice change from some of the characters I've been reading about). I also love the character Helena, the artist. I'm glad there is a junior reaching out to a freshman in the story (Helena to Cora).

Another underlying storyline is how people change. Rachel and Cora are best friends at the start. She wants a different experience out of high school; Rachel wants to party and focus on boys, whereas Cora is just trying to take life one day at a time. I found their relationship to breathe a sense of truth.

Also, I enjoyed the descriptions of how Nate used to act with Cora- the perfect picture of a protective older brother.

Several words were repeated close together. The word "dolt," Cora's term for dork, was used several times in the early chapters. The word "bleed" to describe colors blending was used a lot, and "wistful" was used four times to describe someone's gaze or look. Then within two pages, the word "hope" was used seven times. I had to mark it for the simple fact that it bugged me. At times, the similes also seemed very contrived, like the author was trying to hard to paint beautiful descriptions.

I enjoyed the message and the overall attempt to rebuild a family. A little romance is also splashed in, which is always fun for a freshman, since he or she is so young and often experiencing a kiss for the first time. Great descriptions of how the kiss makes the character feel!


Friday, August 26, 2011

100 Followers Giveaway @ Oops I Read That Book

Yes, I've done quite a few posts about giveaways lately.

But they count for extra entries. When you really want to win a free book, you'll go to any lengths.

Even if that means advertising the heck out of the giveaway.

Even if that means losing a little sleep to post about it.

Even if that means then you have to sleep on the couch so you won't wake up your husband after a whole week of him tossing and turning because of a toothache. He has finally fallen into the deep abyss of dreamland...

Maybe I exaggerated a little on that last one. I'm hoping he sleeps well tonight. And if he was sleeping, I would still sneak in. But now he's playing video games now. Plus he saw the dentist today (after 3 years!). His teeth are cavaties. Some people have all the luck.

Back to the main point, as I want to win some awesome reading materials because I devour books like a kid devours veggies (in a parent's perfect world, of course).

Feast your eyes on these amazing titles:

The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer, #1)
Vicious Little Darlings - Vicious Little Darlings by Katherine Easer
One Day
Delirium (Delirium, #1)
Divergent (Divergent, #1)
Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush, #1) - Hush, Hush ( Hush, Hush #1) By Becca Fitzpatrick
Lola and the Boy Next Door
Possession (Possession, #1)
Blood Red Road (Dustlands, #1)
A Long, Long Sleep
The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1) -
Ten Things We Did
Epic Fail
Vicious Little Darlings
Spellbound - Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz
Siren (Siren, #1) - Siren ( Siren #1) By Tricia Rayburn
Speak - Speak By Laurie Halse Anderson
Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna Dressed in Blood, #1)
The Iron King (Iron Fey, #1)
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Beastly - Beastly by Alex Flinn
Sea Change - Sea Change By Aimee Friedman 
Fury (Fury, #1) - Fury (The Fury Trilogy #1) by Elizabeth Miles - Book Review
Shatter Me

Contest is open internationally, so hurry on over to Oops I Read That Book. The deadline to enter is Oct. 30, so I guess you don't have to hurry, but maybe do it before you forget!

Follow Me Friday + Book Blogger Hop (#2)

Friday has come around again, and with it my second weekend after school's started back. My sophomores are sweet, but I'm pretty tired after my first six days of waking up at 5:30.

So it's 10:15 and I've had dinner with the in-laws, who are visiting. It's only right that I complete my memes before bed!

Follow Me Friday is hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read. To participate, bloggers answer a question that deals with reading. Then we look at others' responses and meet a few new faces in the blogger universe. Every week they each feature a blog and this week they are Samantha @ Caught in the Pages and Jeni Elyse. Check out their sites! 

The question for this Friday:
In books like the Sookie Stackhouse (True Blood) series the paranormal creature in question "comes out of the closet" and makes itself known to the world. Which mythical creature do you wish would come out of the closet, for real?

I have to say, I'm all about the pegasus. I think that would be cool, and I wouldn't mind catching some air on a night ride toward the ocean. Then I could dip my feet in the sandy water on the beach (under a full moon, of course). Oklahoma has lakes. Red dirt changing my bathing suit to brown is not my idea of a good time. Plus, sand feels so much better in your toes when it's lining a real ocean.

Book Blogger Hop

Jen @ Crazy for Books hosts a weekly meme that encourages other bloggers to explore book blogs.

Her question:
Do you have pets?
No. Our apartment doesn't allow them. I know my husband will beg me for a puppy when we move. I've never had a dog or cat though because my brothers were allegeric to fur. All I had was a gold fish a second grade friend bought to our door in a bowl when he was literally about to leave for the airport (a move). What was I supposed to do, say no? We adopted Kingy and he lived for two years! Then we had to move and gave him to our friends who owned a pond. He froze in the winter time. All I kept thinking was, "But we kept him alive for two whole years..." Down the drain:(

If you'd like to join these lovely blog hops, please check rules here.

Signing off for now (after checking out a few new blogs, of course). I hope your weekend is fun. I just found I'm going to Tops and Blue tomorrow- only the best Air Force singing/dancing/musical instrument talent around. Then next Saturday is Shakespeare in the Park's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Yay!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday #2- Perfect and As I Wake

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine because we're always anticipating the release of a beautiful story. The first one makes me squeal inside!
The sequel to Impulse! That was the first Hopkins' book I read:) Also the second verse book I read.

"Everyone has something, someone, somewhere else that they’d rather be. For four high-school seniors, their goals of perfection are just as different as the paths they take to get there.
Cara’s parents’ unrealistic expectations have already sent her twin brother Conner spiraling toward suicide. For her, perfect means rejecting their ideals to take a chance on a new kind of love. Kendra covets the perfect face and body—no matter what surgeries and drugs she needs to get there. To score his perfect home run—on the field and off—Sean will sacrifice more than he can ever win back. And Andre realizes that to follow his heart and achieve his perfect performance, he’ll be living a life his ancestors would never have understood.
Everyone wants to be perfect, but when perfection loses its meaning, how far will you go? What would you give up to be perfect?"

Excuse me?! *Spoiler to Impulse*

I thought Conner died! That's how the book ended...him jumping off the high, high rocks.

I heart Elizabeth Scott books! Thoroughly enjoyed Something, Maybe.

And look. At this. Cover.

"Ava is welcomed home from the hospital by a doting mother, lively friends, and a crush finally beginning to show interest. There's only one problem: Ava can't remember any of them - and can't shake the eerie feeling that she's not who they say she is.

Ava struggles to break through her amnesiac haze as she goes through the motions of high-school life, but the memories that surface take place in a very different world, where Ava and familiar-faced friends are under constant scrutiny and no one can be trusted. Ava doesn't know what to make of these visions, or of the boy who is at the center of them all, until he reappears in her life and offers answers . . . but only in exchange for her trust."


What can't you wait to get your hands on when it comes out?

Giveaway: Missy's Read's & Reviews 1000 Followers

There are six different prize packs of six books each to celebrate Missy's 1000 followers status! She is being mighty generous. Here are the names of the packs:
1: The Beach Bum Prize Pack
2: Bitten & Smitten Prize Pack
3: Boys, Boys, Boys Prize Pack
4: Everything In Between Prize Pack
5: Surprise Prize Pack
6: Ultimate Follower Prize Pack- ARCs included

So there you have it! Click here to see all the titles included. Sept. 4 is the deadline. Good luck!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Inspired by Words: Tahereh Mafi on Getting Published

If you are a writer, you NEED to read this blog post by Tahereh Mafi, a 23 year old writer who's debut novel, Shatter Me, will be published on November 15th of this year. It's all about rejection and hitting it big.  Oh my gosh, the way she uses words- it's no wonder she has a trilogy on the way.
Here's a sample from the post:
"we need 26 letters to change the world.

so we write. we write every day, we fight every day, we think and scheme and dream a little dream every day. manuscripts pile up in the kitchen sink, run-on sentences dangle around our necks. we plant purple prose in our gardens and snip the adverbs only to thread them in our hair. we write with no guarantees, no certainties, no promises of what might come and we do it anyway."
I nearly got goosebumps reading her prose. And this is only a glimpse.
This gives me hope, that little spark of light before the wick burns down and vanishes.
People say you need to write 72 drafts before you'll get it published.
They say your first novel should go on a shelf, as most never make it into print.
This is basically a letter that says screw rejection and count on yourself. Your persistance. Your hard work. Your greatest fantasy.

You can be a writer. Here's proof.

Giveaway at Parajunkee's View

Congrats, Parajunkee, on a two year blogaversary:)

Parajunkee's 2 Year Blogiversary Giveaway

Here is the cake she would have baked herself if she was an expert baker. I think the theme matches her blog well:

So, we all know you want to hear about the they are! First place gets a choice of three, second, a choice of two.
I don't know about you, but I'm interested in Between and Frost. A lot of them are ARCs, so enter today by clicking here.
Good luck to all who enter. One day, maybe I'll be doing the giveaways; but until then, I'll be happy to win one.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday Musings: Help for New Bloggers

The second day of school was today (we started on a Friday, oddly enough), and I should be grading papers. It's too early to do that, I realize this, but they took away our student aides this year:( Yes, teachers survived without aides before. This is just one of those nice things you forget to enjoy until it's taken away.

Instead of grading papers, I've spent the evening making blog changes. I don't consider this wasted time, even though I could have possibly spent it doing something a tad more productive:)

I found out how to do most things through Google, but I know there are some newbee book bloggers out there like me. Here are a few helpful links! Thanks to Sheree from Beckoned by Books for her help and also Parajunkee's View for having a Book Blogging 101 tutorial.

Here are some sites you might find useful!

The Shabby Blog girls are amazing. Their tutorials are easy to use. With a four minute tutorial about how to create a blog header, I was using with ease. To upload your header, click your blog's Design tab and edit header, upload the picture, and then click "Instead of Title and Description" under "Placement." Make sure to keep the title of your blog at the top so other users can find it when searching.

Besides a header, Shabby Blogs show you how to add pages, make a disappearing navigatation bar, add post dividers, a custom signature, and get a code for your button. I also created my ratings sytem in fotoflexer by searching Google for the a background (in my case, "blue square"), saving it on my computer, then uploading it to the site. When the background appears, click "Load another photo" and upload a rating icon you've searched for and saved (I used a butterfly). The icon automatically appears on your background. Hold shift and click the corner to resize and keep the original dimensions. You can duplicate the image (like the butterfly) as many times as you want in the layers tab, then go to "Decorate" and add text. Make sure to go to "Layers," and "Select All" when you're finished and Merge the images together. From here you can save your new rating system! is great for uploading backdrops you've found on Google and creating a button. Then you can upload that to, resize, and grap your html code to stick in a gadget. is a great place (free!) to create a signature for the bottom of your blogposts.

I hope this was helpful! I'll add more if I figure it out. If you any tips, tricks, or awesome websites, please leave comments! We love comments:)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

LC's Adventures in Library Land- Awesome Giveaway!

LC's 500
If you are a book addict like me, there is nothing quite like receiving a FREE book! Your fingers tingle as you open the cover to get lost in an adventure for hours at a time. Well how do I experience this thrill, you ask? Simple. Enter an awesome giveaway. I present you with one such opportunity.
To celebrate 500 followers, LC is giving away two books to a first place winner and one each to a second and third place winner! The selection for winners is really cool...check it out:

Everything's randomly selected and you just have to fill out an entry form.
Last day to enter is August 31st, so hurry over to LC's Adventures in Library Land!

In My Mailbox #1

This is my first time doing this meme hosted by The Story Siren, so I'm excited:) The weekly post was created to let others know what books you've just stumbled across, whether they've been mailed to you, you won them, or checked them out from your library.
Mine are both library picks this week. Since school started, I returned the 20 I checked out over the summer (teachers don't have a due date!) and picked out two more. Both with similar covers:

A Map of the Known World was recommended to me. I'm on page 55. Cara's brother Nate died in a car crash before his senior year of high school. Her life has completely changed. Now she's entering hs as a freshman and everyone treats her like the girl with the dead brother. She draws maps to escape reality. Damian, Nate's friend who was in the car crash but walked away unharmed, suddenly takes an interest in her. I'm interested to see how Cara and Damian connect. They're in the same advanced art class.  

I haven't started But I Love Him yet, but ever since I read Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler, I've been fascinated with sea glass. It would be really cool to find a piece. This is about a girl who loses herself in a controlling and abusive relationship. I've known girls like this and always wonder how they get in so deep they can't escape.

What's in your mailbox? 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My First Blog Award- Are you kidding?! :)

This definitely puts a smile on my face today! Here I am, worrying slightly about teaching the first day of school tomorrow, and boom: I log into my blog and get a surprise. Thank you so much to Nicole at The Reader's Antidote. She is so thoughtful for passing on the blogger love! The Liebster Blog Award gets passed on to five lucky blogs that have under 200 followers. A great way to share others' blogs with the community:) And now I get to pick my Top 5 blogs you should be following- woo hoo! 

If I listed you here, congrats! Here's how you can pass on this award to other bloggers:

1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.

2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.

3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.

4. Have faith that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.

5. And most of all - have bloggity-blog fun

Again, thank you so so much Nicole! I love followers and hope they love my blog:) I also enjoy being able to pass a little love's always nice to do kind things for other people. I do reading recs in my English classes but definitely didn't realize other people would listen (or read what I have to say). Let's face it...blogging is fun, and it's always great to know others appreciate what you're spending time doing.
- Jenna

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Crossed

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly post hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine.

"The hotly awaited second book in the dystopian Matched trilogy
In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.
Cassia's quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander - who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia's heart - change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever." -Amazon
Release date: November 1
If you haven't read Matched yet, you're missing out! Ally Condie's words flow on the page, her characters are interesting, and the dystopian plot is one I hadn't heard of before. I've fallen in love with Ky, so I can't wait for this second book. When the characters start to act out against a strict society, you know crazy things will happen!
What books are you anticipating?

Review: Gimme a Call

"A new life is just a phone call away!
Devi's life isn't turning out at all like she wanted. She wasted the past three years going out with Bryan—cute, adorable, break-your-heart Bryan. Devi let her friendships fade, blew off studying, didn't join any clubs . . . and now that Bryan has broken up with her, she has nothing left.
Not even her stupid cell phone—she dropped it in the mall fountain. Now it only calls one number . . . hers. At age fourteen, three years ago!
Once Devi gets over the shock—and convinces her younger self that she isn't some wacko—she realizes that she's been given an awesome gift. She can tell herself all the right things to do . . . because she's already done all the wrong ones! Who better to take advice from than your future self?
Except . . .what if getting what you think you want changes everything?"

-Good Reads


  • Publisher: Delacorte Books
  • Release date: April 27, 2010
  • Page count: 301 paperback/320 harcover
  • Unique elements: Each chapter told from alternating views- Senior self then freshman self
  • Would appeal to: Anyone who likes a cool concept, really
Favorite Quotes:
"If you kiss a boy and he doesn't remember, did it really happen? If it didn't happen, why do the memories still hurt?"

"'I guess that means you don't want to come outside with me and enjoy the gorgeous day? I have my very own bench that I'd be happy to introduce you to.'" (Bryan)

"'Oh, don't worry,' he says. 'I'm not doing that badly in American history. In fact, I don't even have Fungas.' 'Really? So why did you sign up for tutoring?' 'I wanted to spend time with the tutor.'"

"What if Bryan doesn't cheat on me this time?...I swallow hard. Yeah, I know, every Lifetime movie would tell me otherwise."

"Just because a relationship ends, it doesn't mean it's not worth having."

This may be my last review in a while since I start teaching school on Friday! Yikes! Anyway, it was a fun read. I'm glad we don't have professional development until 12:30 today because I got to sleep in after staying up to finish it.

The concept is quirky and cute. What would you tell your younger self if your older self had already experienced her own decisions/mistakes? It's pretty cool when the two versions of Devi figure it out soon as freshman Devi does (or even thinks) a new plan, it usually happens and immediately impacts senior Devi's life. I love that her college acceptance letter pinned to her bulletin board keeps changing. It shows where younger Devi's at as far as academics go.

It all begins because Devi knows she's wasted her entire high school life on Bryan. She tells "frosh" everything to do to avoid dating Bryan and the things that will help her get into a good college. But when her friends change (sometimes for the worse) and Bryan doesn't even remember his connection with Devi and the time they dated, senior Devi begins to wonder: is it all worth changing?

The catch of it all is that even though freshman Devi changes parts of their life, senior Devi is stuck with the old memories. She remembers what no one around her does. It's even pretty weird when one minute her mom is asking about Bryan, the next, she has no recollection of who he is.

But all good things come to an end, and senior Devi's cell is on low battery. Will it die before the two versions of herself can create the ultimate life?

I hated the fact that senior Devi always turned statements into a question by adding "no?" onto the end. Like We could do that later, no? I made that one up, but it happened a lot. It makes sense when freshman Devi finds out why, but it was a little annoying. I appreciated the author making up terms that all the friends used, like "fabo" or Devi's "That's so dimples." Not phrases I've heard from teens, but it just illustrates the fact that they have their own expressions.

I liked the message that every action has a consequence. The people who gave reviews of the book said it was so wonderful and laugh out loud crazy. I didn't laugh as much as I thought I would. In fact, it was pretty slow until the last third of the book. I loved the ending though. I will read Mlynowski's book Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have). It looks great.

So, in the end, amazing concept, good characters, but needed a faster pace for me at the beginning.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Review: Going Too Far

"All Meg has ever wanted is to get away. Away from high school. Away from her backwater town. Away from her parents who seem determined to keep her imprisoned in their dead-end lives. But one crazy evening involving a dare and forbidden railroad tracks, she goes way too far...and almost doesn't make it back.
John made a choice to stay. To enforce the rules. To serve and protect. He has nothing but contempt for what he sees as childish rebellion, and he wants to teach Meg a lesson she won't soon forget. But Meg pushes him to the limit by questioning everything he learned at the police academy. And when he pushes back, demanding to know why she won't be tied down, they will drive each other to the edge -- and over...."
-Good Reads

  • Publisher: Pocket Books/MTV Books
  • Release date: March 17, 2009
  • Page count: 245
  • Would appeal to: Fans of Sarah Dessen
Favorite Quotes:

"The cop put his fists on his hips and cocked his head to one side. There probably was a line drawing of him like this in the dictionary, illustrating the word skepticism."

"However, I did have blue hair, which was like walking around with a Sims arrow over my head."

"John held me with the dark look. Part of me wanted to embrace the dark look, chase it wherever it went, on the off chance I could convert it to my side."

"He was wearing cologne again...I hoped the two of us together didn't smell too overpowering to other people, like we were trying to attract water buffalo."

"My knee radiated heat...I thought dumb things: I will never wash my knee again. I will never wash these jeans again. I will cut the knee out of these jeans and sew a pillow to sleep on every night, just to have a molecule of him in bed with me."

"He stroked absently while he finished talking on the phone, as if setting my blood on fire were the most natural thing in the world."

Six quotes! I know, getting to be a bit lengthy, but I found so many lines by Jennifer Echols that made me laugh out loud. I can honestly say this book sounds so much like a teen's perspective I forgot it was written by an adult!

In 2010, this book was nominated by Romance Writers of America for Best YA Romance!!! That should tell you a lot. The combination of witty dialogue between the two main characters kept me turning pages furiously. It all was so natural and funny.

I don't like an easy romance, so this was many misunderstandings between Meg and John. She truly can handle herself. Something happened in both their pasts that shaped their characters...Meg's came as a surprise to me more than John's "big" changing event from the past.

John is so swoon worthy! Don't get me MUST find out for yourself!

John's best friends are funny and Will is charming. I loved the scenes where John, Will, Skip, and Rashad all interacted together and with Meg. I appreciated all the current references the author slips in, including Skip doing impersonations of Arnold Schwartzenegger.

This book makes me think that if maybe I had the sassy, bold attitude of Meg when I was seventeen, my life could have been more exciting! I will be making a bookstore/library run soon to check out other books by Echols. I like the author even more after reading she fought for the cover image to be changed not once, but twice (they kept getting Meg's eye color wrong)! Fun, quick read full of sexual tension.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Follow Me Friday

Thanks to Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read for hosting this weekly meme, Follow My Book Blog Friday, so book reviewers can hop to each other's blogs.

How have your reading habits changed since you were a teen? or If you are still a teen what new genres are you in love with currently?

I actually read more now then I did when I was a teen. I loved books but didn't have as much time or desire to read them. It helps that I teach English. I'm fueled by not only my love for YA but also by the desire to recommend books to my sophomores so they see the value in it. Life's not all about TV:)

Back in high school, I mostly did required reading for school- so, a lot of classics. In early high school, when I wasn't trying to finish Jane Eyre or A Handmaid's Tale before before school started (both required reading list options), I read Sweet Valley High (though only a few of the college years), Nancy Drew books, and anything by Lurlene McDaniel (always tragic, but beautiful love stories!) I also liked Caroline B. Cooney. I also remember a lot of Babysitter's Club if we go back farther.

I used to read contemporary YA, and now I read that and more dystopian YA. Also some religious adult fiction when I need a change.
Thanks to Crazy for Books for hosting another book hop!

“Let’s talk crazy book titles! Highlight one or two (or as many as you like!) titles in your personal collection that have the most interesting titles! If you can’t find any, feel free to find one on the internet!”

Craziest titles in my personal library:
Blessed are the Bored in Spirit
God of Beer
How to Ditch Your Fairy

The first I bought at Salvation Army...still haven't read yet. It's actually a book for Catholics who are searching for their meaning, so I guess it's not too crazy, I just thought it was a funny pun on one of the beatitudes. The second I've had since high school, probably read it once upon a time. The third I just bought at Barnes & Noble, but still haven't read it. The idea of having a personal fairy follow you around made me laugh.

*Thanks in advance to anyone who follows me. Since I'm new to the blogging scene, I'd love recommendations on how to improve my blog or tips on how to hold contests/giveaways.

Review: Stolen

"Sixteen year old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back? The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, reflecting on those strange and disturbing months in the outback. Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don't exist - almost."
-Good Reads

  • Publisher: Chicken House Ltd.
  • Release date: May 4, 2009
  • Page count: 299
  • Unique elements: Written in the form of a letter, no chapters
  • Would appeal to: Anyone interested in psychology, fans of The Lovely Bones
Favorite Quotes:

"[The stars] were like a hundred thousand tiny candles, sending out hope. Watching them made me think that everything might be OK."

"You held your injured hands out in front of you like a small child might. Blood wept from the gash over your knuckles and ran over your wrist...Then you looked up, really turned those big blue eyes on me."

"London chattered like a monkey at night. The desert, on the other hand, slitered around me like a snake. Soft and silent and deadly...and quiet enough to keep my eyes wide open, always."

"But the pale sun was on your skin, making it glow. The light made everything glow that morning. It seeped into the landscape and made the sand sparkle like popping candy."

What can I say about this? WOW.

Lucy Christopher wrote this book as part of her doctoral program. I hated when I had to leave for school and put it down. The writing style is urgent, tense, since it's a letter from Gemma to her kidnapper. It's silly how fast Gemma falls for the older man in the airport, but I could see it happening in real life. And when you're taken from Bangkok, who would look for you in Australia?

What's more alarming is when Gemma finds out this man has been watching her for years, planning the day he would steal her away. It's just her and him in the desert. And a camel they catch. The car is a stick shift (which means I'd never be able to escape). But with all the supplies and the structures he built out of wood (a house and some outbuildings), it seems he thought of everything they'd ever need.

Can you really force someone to love you?

Gemma discovers Ty is a lot more than he first seems...he has a broken past. He tells magical stories. He seems as honest as a kidnapper ever could be. And he has really blue eyes.

Descriptions in this book get an A+.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Write It Out Wednesday: Revisions

I'm sick today but still revising my manuscript of Accepting Ellie. It's not my most favorite process in the first place. I just want to magically arrive at this incredible end product. I'm the type of person who gets an idea in her head and wants it to be done in as few steps as possible. Unfortunately, life doesn't always work like this.

An author's blog said revising was her favorite part of the writing process because in going over a second and third and fourth time, you discover the true meaning of your work, or the pot at the end of the rainbow.

Right now I can't get to the end of my rainbow. Usually it's in sight, but not today. Maybe it has something to do with the crazy thunderstorm we had last night?

I increased 30 chapters to 36, current word count about 73,700. I know I'll need to do some major cutting when this revision is complete. I am excited for what's to come, but I know as soon as school starts, this project will have to go on the back burner.

Thank goodness for encouraging critique groups!

Also, an advanatage to teaching sophomores is that they're part of my target audience. I'll probably bounce ideas off them this year. Put anonymous paragraphs up and have them edit and make suggestions.

What's your least favorite part of the writing process? How do you motivate yourself to work through it?

Review: Divergent

Beatrice "Tris" Prior has reached the fateful age of sixteen, the stage at which teenagers in Veronica Roth's dystopian Chicago must select which of five factions to join for life. Each faction represents a virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. To the surprise of herself and her selfless Abnegation family, she chooses Dauntless, the path of courage. Her choice exposes her to the demanding, violent initiation rites of this group, but it also threatens to expose a personal secret that could place in mortal danger. Veronica Roth's young adult Divergent trilogy launches with a captivating adventure about love and loyalty playing out under most extreme circumstances.
-Good Reads

  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • Release date: May 1, 2011
  • Page count: 487
  • Unique elements: 5 factions idea (maybe not totally unique)
  • Would appeal to: Hunger Games fans, Matched fans
Favorite Quotes:

"A pale ring of sunlight burns into the clouds like the end of a lit cigarette."

"Eric smiles, and in the blue light, his smile looks wicked, like it was cut into his face with a knife."

"'And Molly...she's the kind of person who fries ants with a magnifying glass just to watch them flail around.'"

"His touch is light, sensitive. A heavy, warm feeling, like spilling honey, fills my body, slowing my thoughts."

Now I see what all the hype was about.

This book has been selling out at bookstores. It was on the NY Times Best Sellers List for 11 weeks in a row.

As far as world building goes, this dystopian one is pretty solidly put together.

The romance is wonderful and almost made me do a happy dance! Veronica Roth really thought about her characters' interactions, how each touch means something. Just enough sexual tension sprinkled throughout to make you long for the main couple's next interaction. I love when the girl can never tell that the guy has a crush on her and misinterprets all his signals because isn't that how we are as teens?

This might be the first book I read straight through to the finish (with normal disruptions like grocery shopping) in one day in a very long time.

It's very similar to The Hunger Games...strong female lead who's considered weak, must go through lots of training. At least one person there to protect her, but she still has to make major split-second decisions on her own. Death lurks around every corner.

Not all happy endings for the characters, which I appreciate, as it more closely reflects real life.

I like that at first I thought I knew who Tris's crush would be, then I picked someone else, then I knew for sure.

I totally guessed a secret from Tris's mom's past before they revealed it, as well as the secret identity of her initiation leader Four. It was nice that the author dropped subtle hints in the text along the way.

I did like the ending...sets it up perfectly for two more books to follow. Can't wait for the next one (she wrote the first draft in eleven weeks!) Also, movie rights have been sold!

If you are a fan of figurative language, Roth's similes are pretty amazing.

I also liked the names of each faction and that the reason for each faction wasn't revealed until the Choosing Ceremony.

Great read. I couldn't put it down. I would recommend to anybody. Still, I'd give it about a 4.5 out of 5 stars. If I hadn't read The Hunger Games first and seen quite a few similar ideas, I would definitely have said 5 stars.