Saturday, June 30, 2012

June 2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge Wrapup and Giveaway

I cannot believe how fast the month of June has come and gone! Hope you all are making some progress on the challenge! This has been my most productive month so far for this challenge! School's out and I've been able to stay up all night reading if I wanted to! Here's what I finished (reviews of all except TAOJF to come):

  • If you haven't read Simone Elkeles' Perfect Chemistry novels, YOU ARE MISSING OUT! The best love stories I've read in so long. I finished all three in under 36 hours.

The wrapup challenge for June is a sentence writing challenge. You'll need to create a creative sentence using one word from each of the lists I've provided below.
The theme: camping. Usually at this time I'm floating the river and pitching a tent with good friends.

*You can add words in between the choices, but make sure you keep them in order!

List 1                           List 2                          List 3  
tent                              hole                            bear
raft                               cold                            eagle
canteen                       limp                            raccoon
fire wood                     moonlight                   squirrel
cooler                          Dr. Pepper                 puppy
thermos                       bathroom                   snake
sleeping bag                small                          fish

Here's my sentence:
I ended up sticking my sleeping bag on the germ-filled bathroom floor in fear that the raccoon from hell would reappear to nibble our toes.

What can you win? Your choice of a book from The Book Depository, $12 or less.

  • You must be signed up for the 2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge. Click here to sign up.
  • Participating in the mini-challenge will get you two extra entries. Leave your sentence in the comments section.
  • You cannot link up reviews you've linked from previous months.
  • You must paste the URL of your review in the Rafflecopter form AND the Mr. Linky's Widget box.
  • Did you write more than one review this month? Each review, up to seven, can be linked up separately, which also gives you additional entries.
  • Open internationally as long as The Book Depository ships to you.
  • You can enter until 12:01 a.m. on July 31st.
To fill out the linky, under "Your name" put Title Author (Your blog name)
Ex: The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson (FansofFiction)

Good luck on the mini-challenge and have fun reading each other's reviews:) I know comments are always appreciated!
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Tuesday, June 26, 2012

    Review: The List

    "An intense look at the rules of high school attraction -- and the price that's paid for them.

    It happens every year. A list is posted, and one girl from each grade is chosen as the prettiest, and another is chosen as the ugliest. Nobody knows who makes the list. It almost doesn't matter. The damage is done the minute it goes up.

    This is the story of eight girls, freshman to senior, "pretty" and "ugly." And it's also the story of how we see ourselves, and how other people see us, and the tangled connection of the two."


    • Publisher: Push (Scholastic)
    • Release date: April 1, 2012
    • Page count: 332
    • Would appeal to: Fans of Mean Girls
    Favorite Quotes:
    "Sarah's steps are comically laborious-- flat-footed trudges, punctuated by tortured sighs, the toes of her sneakers dragging across the linoleum floor."

    "With that, the potential for a little summer fling, a chance to try out love with a boy for a few weeks, turned into a bigger, more exciting possibility."

    "Fern dabs at her mouth with a paper napkin and then lets the wad of thin paper drop onto her plate, where it blooms red with the juices from her steak."

    "It is as if the night, an amazing memory that she could have looked back on forever, has already been ripped out of her diary."

    Everyone who is or has been a teen will find something to relate to in this book. The premise is actually genius because it investigates the cruel hierarcy of every high school I know of. In the story, a list comes out each year, the prettiest and ugliest girl of each grade named and plastered around campus. I've never actually seen this happen at school, but judgments happen on a daily basis. This is an excellent example of how one person's (or a group's) opinions can change someone's reputation in a heartbeat.

    All the girls have different situations. You have a not-so-smart beauty, a muscular swimmer trying to hold on to her first love, a pretty girl with a heart of ice, a home schooled girl rising in the ranks, a punk with attitude, a girl with a harmful secret, someone who's been on the list all four years, and then the shoo-in for homecoming queen. No matter how much each person thinks she's got her act together, the list creates complications, even for the prettiest ones.

    At first I thought I'd get confused with following eight different stories. I kept my thumb at the page with the list and flipped back a few times. But the stories were so unique that by the second time I read each, I had them straight in my head.

    I was so immersed in each girl's drama that I forgot to guess who was responsible for making the list. It was a nice surprise. And this book has one of the best endings I've seen in a long time. It was like the cherry on top of a peanut butter hot fudge sundae and will stick with me as a perfect, clever resolution.

    Written with an effortlessly mature voice but still cutting to the core of serious social issues, Siobhan Vivian's The List kept me interested from start to finish. This would be a great mandatory read for 9th or 10th grade as part of an anti-bullying campaign.

    Friday, June 15, 2012

    Review: The Adoration of Jenna Fox

    "Who is Jenna Fox? Seventeen-year-old Jenna has been told that is her name. She has just awoken from a coma, they tell her, and she is still recovering from a terrible accident in which she was involved a year ago. But what happened before that? Jenna doesn't remember her life. Or does she? And are the memories really hers?

    This fascinating novel represents a stunning new direction for acclaimed author Mary Pearson. Set in a near future America, it takes readers on an unforgettable journey through questions of bio-medical ethics and the nature of humanity. Mary Pearson's vividly drawn characters and masterful writing soar to a new level of sophistication." -Goodreads

    • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
    • Release date: April 29, 2008
    • Page count: 265
    • Unique elements: Gray pages contain almost verse format of protagonist's thoughts, subheadings rather than chapters
    • Would appeal to: Anyone named Jenna (I mean, that's why I picked it up!), futuristic thinkers, those who enjoy unraveling a mystery

    Favorite Quotes:
    "Mother says the Cotswold cottage we live in needs lots of restoration...One restoration is not that different from another, she says. Fixing me and the Cotswold are her new careers."

    "There is something about her eyes. Eyes don't breathe. I know that much. But hers look breathless."

    "A choir of pink-cheeked boys lift their voices as a priest seems to pull the music from their throats with the urging of his hands...It feels like it is shaking something inside of me, something that aches."

    "I don't care if the mustard goes down well or not...She knew she couldn't stop me, and the little click of power that ran through me did go down well."

    "I slide my arms around his back and hold him, strumming the knots of the spine and the blade of his shoulder, weighing the events that have made us both who we are now."

    "She holds her arms out to me, and I slip through space like a feather on a current of wind, effortlessly carried by the force that is Claire."

    "There are no keys flying through the air. No hot glimpses of a night that still escapes me but has changed me forever...But fresh words that somehow crawl through my scalp until I feel I may be mad."

    So I tried to narrow down these quotes more, but I couldn't. Mary E. Pearson impressed me with the way she builds a sentence.

    Although I had high hopes for the novel, I was disappointed.

    The premise is intriguing. Girl loses her memory after being in a coma for a year. Suspicious acting parents and a sudden move from Boston before Jenna wakes up. No one answers questions, and  grandma seems pissed she even woke up.

    I think a lot of my disappointment was because I figured out the plot pretty early on. That's not to say there wasn't at least one surprise along the way. And the plotting for this, how it's revealed in bits as Jenna realizes things, must have been a lengthy process. I feel if the author would have given a few less hints early on, the startling realization about what happened to Jenna would have been more impactful.

    Something though, kept me turning the pages. I read the majority of the book on a cruise and an airplane, and I wished for the feeling that made me want to run out and buy The Fox Chronicles, book #2, but it just wasn't there. If anyone's read the second book, let me know what you thought!

    As far as characters go, I found Jenna's mom Claire annoying and overbearing (but who wouldn't be upon almost losing a daughter?). I liked Jenna's grandmother towards the middle of the book but it was hard at first since she was so cold to Jenna. However, when the secret is revealed, you understand why Lily is this way. The school Jenna attends has a good variety of characters. I appreciated the spot-on descriptions of Dane having empty eyes, as he is a little creepy. It was interesting how Jenna noticed facial expressions so well after she woke up. It reminds me of the TV show Lie to Me. A pair of eyes and a mouth can give away the tiniest of details if you know what to look for. Jenna didn't have to try at it, she just had intuition.

    The other bit I liked was how Jenna looked up the definitions of simple words right after her coma. It gives off the sense of beginning all over. It also reminds us how many definitions one word can have (or that the English language is crazy confusing!). I did enjoy the ending (the last three pages) and thought it rounded out the novel. I can see how another book could be easily written, but this could also be a stand alone.

    The science aspects were believable even though I had to move on without understanding all of it (not a science person!). This is a scary portrait of what our future could hold as far as science and medicine are concerned.

    If you do pick up this book, read the interview with the author at the end. It will give you a lot of insight as to why she wrote the story.