Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Book: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Published by St. Martin's Press; 2013
461 pages
Format: Large Print
Genre: Contemporary YA
I got this book from the library.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery

Synopsis via Goodreads: Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they're off to university and Wren's decided she doesn't want to be one half of a pair any more - she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It's not so easy for Cath. She's horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she's experienced in real life. Without Wren Cath is completely on her own and totally outside her comfort zone. She's got a surly room-mate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words ...And she can't stop worrying about her dad, who's loving and fragile and has never really been alone. Now Cath has to decide whether she's ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she's realizing that there's more to learn about love than she ever thought possible ...

My Thoughts:

For awhile I have been hearing great things about Rainbow Rowell’s writing but hadn’t read anything by her. (Confession: I have Eleanor & Park on my kindle, but like most books on my kindle, it will sit there for months* while I acquire and read physical books). When we got Fangirl at the library, I thought I would give it a shot.

It took me almost a month to read Fangirl in it’s entirety because the only format we had was Large Print. While some love and/or need the Large Print format, it is very difficult for me to read. I find it challenging and can only read a few pages at a time. If there are also specialized fonts like anything in bold or italics, it’s almost impossible for me to read LP. Furthermore, I always feel like the author is shouting at me, or something.

I am glad I stuck it out because I LOVED this book. Plus, it was about twins, and being a twin myself, it was all the more personal to me. Being someone who didn’t really get the appeal of fanfiction, I found Wren’s scenes of writing about Simon and Baz quite interesting, (HP and Draco, anyone?) and I felt like I got a little bit of insight on that would, though I still am unlikely to read fanfiction. (Sorry, EL James**)

Back to the twins, I loved that there was a lot of emphasis on Cather and Wren being different people, and Wren wanting to be seen as an individual. (That’s all twins really want). But at the same time, there is that special twin bond that will always be there. Good on you, Rainbow Rowell. You made the twin in me very happy.

I am pretty sure that my favorite character was Reagan. She was snarky, and complicated, but a really good friend underneath it all. Levi was a close second. I loved that he was a nice guy, but still had some faults. Bonus points, for being described as always smelling of coffee.

I need to talk about the humor. It is fantastic. I laughed out loud a time or two. My favorite line has to do with a reference to Flowers In The Attic. (Disclaimer: I have never read Flowers in the Attic, but I know enough about it to appreciate the joke. Also, Ew.)

I found the ending to be quite satisfying. I even sighed from happiness as I closed the book. That is the mark of a good story right there. Perhaps when I have less physical books out from work, I will get to Eleanor & Park soon...ish.

*Or possibly years. I only read my Kindle in bed at night when I am too lazy to get up and turn on/off the light.

**Not actually sorry. Not in the slightest.




Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sunday Sundries September 7, 2014

This week has been a very interesting week. I’m thrilled that it’s September, but part of me can’t believe that it’s already September.

This week was a bit up and down. The animal shelter that I volunteer at had a parvo outbreak and will be closed for the next few weeks while they deal with treating the dogs and pups. I’m hoping for the best, but I’m worried about my furry friends. I love that they are a wonderful no kill shelter and that until this week, never turned away a stray or lost pet. But this week really brought home the importance of the spay/neuter debate as strays without prior medical care can have contagious and potentially fatal diseases. No dog deserves to suffer like that. *Steps off soapbox*

On a happier animal note, at least one of the deer that visits our apple tree has returned. With twin fawns!! They are so cute! Earlier this week we had noticed that there were a lot of apples on the ground. We’d had some heavy rain storms but none so powerful that fresh apples should be knocked off. Mom thought it was the crazy squirrel. (Apparently we have one of those, too). I thought deer or turkeys. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a turkey try to balance in an apple tree. I’ve seen crows fight over the apples on the ground, but I’m not sure if crows are strong enough to knock them from the tree. My house is like Wild Kingdom sometimes. Yesterday we got our answer. At first we just saw the fawns, and one was prancing all over the yard. The momma was hiding on the other side of the tree and all we could see were her legs, until they left through the brush. I always worry about our deer and turkey visitors when hunting season rolls around, so I’m always happy when they return.

This week I have been watching an insane amount of Doctor Who. I rewatched season 7 and the specials to get a refresher for the kickoff of season 8. When Matt Smith’s episodes first aired, I wasn’t a huge fan of his Doctor. (David Tennant will always be my Doctor). Now that I’ve rewatched them, I’ve decided that even though I adore Amy, Rory, and River as companions, I don’t really care for what the Doctor was like during those episodes. But I grew to care for his portrayal of the Doctor more when Clara was his companion. He seemed more focused and caring, but still a madman with a box, instead of just a madman with a box, and an odd choice of hipster fashion.

I’ve watched the first three episodes of season 8 and I love Peter Capaldi already. He’s dark but still a bit silly, and he has a more snarky sense of humor which always appeals to me. 12 may give 10 a run for his money.

I also got into watching The Great British Bake Off. I’ve heard about it for a long time, but never seen it and didn’t really know what it was. So I thought I’d watch an episode just so I’d know. I honestly thought I wouldn’t care for it. But you guys, the show is awesome. I can’t decide if it’s legit awesome or at times so bad that it’s awesome. But I’m hooked either way. I hope Martha wins.

One the blog this week I posted my August Wrap-up/September TBR and my review of (Don’t You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn.

I finished reading The Elite by Kiera Cass and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I started reading Bel Canto by Ann Pratchett, but DNF’d after about 70 pages. I didn’t like any of the characters, and the book would have been an unpleasant struggle.

I’m currently 20 pages into Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton, and just about ⅔ done The One by Kiera Cass.

Now that I’ve sufficiently rambled, I’m off to drink tea and finish The One.

Happy Sunday!!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Review: (Don't You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn

Book: (Don't You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn
Published by HarperTeen; June 2014
336 pages
Format ARC (ebook)
Genres: Young Adult/Sci Fi/Dystopia
I got this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

aadfda

Synopsis via Goodreads: Welcome to Gardnerville.
A place where no one gets sick. And no one ever dies.
Except...
There’s a price to pay for paradise. Every fourth year, the strange power that fuels the town exacts its payment by infecting teens with deadly urges. In a normal year in Gardnerville, teens might stop talking to their best friends. In a fourth year, they’d kill them.
Four years ago, Skylar’s sister, Piper, was locked away after leading sixteen of her classmates to a watery grave. Since then, Skylar has lived in a numb haze, struggling to forget her past and dull the pain of losing her sister. But the secrets and memories Piper left behind keep taunting Skylar—whispering that the only way to get her sister back is to stop Gardnerville’s murderous cycle once and for all.



Ever close a book after the last page and think, “What the eff did I just read?” That in a nutshell sums up my experience of finishing this book. I kind of still feel lost.

The synopsis sounded awesome, but I felt that at times, I was reading a completely different book than described. I spent a good four hours reading chaos. Sky being an unreliable narrator didn’t help.

I never really got a good sense of who Sky was as a character and how she connected to anyone other than her missing sister Piper, and her volatile relationship with her Great-Grandmother. Sky just seemed vacant and lost, thought that could have been intentional given Sky’s penchant for Forget Me Not’s.

One thing that really annoyed me was that there is so much emphasis on Sky being a Gardner and how as the founder’s of the town, Gardner’s are above everyone else, and not really held accountable for their actions. Yet the de facto mayor of this creepy town is not a Gardner. He is a newcomer and quite young. Why was everyone listening to this guy? It made absolutely no sense to me and every time there was a scene with him, I just found myself being irritated.

The ending also had me so confused. What happened to all the loose ends? Is there a sequel coming? Is this a stand alone? Does anyone have answers?

I know that there are probably a lot of fans of this book, but all in all, it just wasn’t for me. I don’t know if it was too mystical, too ambiguous, or just not my thing. I can say, that it held my interest enough that I read the book all the way through rather than giving up part way and that is something at least.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Monthly TBR - September 2014 and RIP IX


Happy September!!

I for one am thrilled that September is here and that fall weather is on it's way. I hate summer. Heat...gross.
Before I get to what I want to read for September I am going to recap what I read in August. August was an awesome reading month, mostly thanks to BOUTOFBOOKS! I got so much reading done that week, it was a little insane. I also read a novel in prose, some graphic novels, and Shakespeare. Quick reads for the win!

In August I read the following:

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
The Selection by Kiera Cass
Richard II by Shakespeare
Henry IV part 1 by Shakespeare
Henry IV part 2 by Shakespeare
Henry V by Shakespeare
Tease by Amanda Marciel
Wicked Games by Sean Olin
Regards from Serbia by Aleksandar Zograf (Graphic novel)
Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeliene Kuderick
Safe Area Gorazde by Joe Sacco (Graphic novel)
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Marzi by Marzena Sowa (Graphic novel)
Legend by Marie Lu

In September my goal is to read all the books I currently have out from the library, my two book club picks for the month, and the two holds I have, if they come in. (All listed below)

Out from the library:
The Elite by Kiera Cass (currently reading)
The One by Kiera Cass
Ink by Amanda Sun
Rain by Amanda Sun
Bel Canto by Ann Pratchett (currently reading)
Hard Choices by Hilary Clinton*

Book Club Picks for September:
The Book Thief by Makus Zusak (currently reading/rereading for the 4th+) for the library's book to film group
Obisidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout for The Little Book Club**

Holds:
Death Comes to Pemberly by PD James
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

*I doubt I will finish Hard Choices in Sept. Bios/non fiction take me ages and this beast is 600 pages.
** The Little Book Club was created by one of my favorite booktubers, Little Book Owl, you can find more info about her youtube channel here, or the Little Book Club here. (There's also a video that goes along with the info, just FYI).

And if that wasn't enough...RIP IX!!!




For those of you who are unfamiliar with RIP, it stands for Readers Imbibing Peril. It runs from September 1st to October 31st, and you read and/or watch creepy things. (Horror, Mystery, Suspense, Gothic, etc.) The genres are varied and quite broad. It's no pressure, and if you're like me, you probably read/watch creepy things to get into the Halloween/fall spirit anyway, right?
There are two rules though:
1. Have fun reading and watching
2. Share that fun with others.
All the details are on the homepage/sign up found here. So sporadically you will see little updates from me here as I read and watch some great things.

There are also different levels to RIP and I chose to participate in Peril the 1st - Read 4 books that fit in with the theme, as well as Peril on the Screen.



For books, I have a couple Poe retellings, so I will probably pair those with the original stories, as well as a couple graphic novels: Anya's Ghost and the second volume of Neil Gaiman's Sandman. But who knows what I will pick up between now and Halloween.



For Peril on the Screen, I have a few favorites that I look forward to watching each year. The Others, The Crow, Hocus Pocus, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and I'm always watching Doctor Who.

Do you have favorite films/reads for Halloween time?

If you've made it to the end of this long rambling post, congrats. You are awesome, and I wish I could give you a cookie, and some tea.  Especially if you now feel like this:



Happy Reading!

-Jenn

Monday, August 18, 2014

#BoutofBooks 11.0 Master Post



Bout of Books time!! Bout of Books Time!! I am so happy. I just love this readathon. If you don't know what Bout of Books is, here is some info from their site.

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 11 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team


This is the master post, so all my updates will be posted here throughout the week. Check back for my progress! :)

TBR
I was having such a hard time deciding what to put on my TBR, so I just made a stack of all the things that were pulling at me. I know I won't get to all of them, but that's okay. My main goal is to read 3 books and/or 900 pages. In the past, I've aimed high and not met my goals, so this time I'm aiming low.

Graphic Novels:
Marzi by Marzena Sowa, Illustrated by Sylvain Savoia
Safe Area Gorazde by Joe Sacco

Audiobooks:
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Notes From the Underground by Dostoevsky

Books:
Elite by Kiera Cass
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
Ink by Amanda Sun (reread)
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (reread)
The Ocean At The End of The Lane by Neil Gaiman (reread)
The One by Kiera Cass (Sequel to Elite)
Rain by Amanda Sun (Sequel to Ink)
Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeleine Kuderick
A Hollow Dream: End of Autumn by Andrew Van Wey
Legend by Marie Lu
Henry VI Part 2 by William Shakespeare

Updates:

8/18
Books I've read today: 2
Total books read: 2
Pages read today: 464
Total pages read: 464
Things I learned on Twitter: ARC party during tomorrow's epic reads #teatime!
Books read from: Kiss Of Broken Glass, Safe Area Gorazde

8/19
Books I've read today: 2
Total books read: 4
Pages read today: 608
Total pages read: 1,072
Things I learned on Twitter: Neil Gaiman has seen the first episode of Doctor Who with Peter Capaldi as the Doctor. So jealous.
Books read from: Audiobook of Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Henry VI part II

8/20
Books I've read today: 0
Total books read: 4
Pages read today: 110
Total pages read: 1,182
Things I learned on Twitter: That what happens in a twitter chat, stays in a twitter chat...mostly
Books read from: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

8/21
Books I've read today: 0
Total books read: 4
Pages read today: 0
Total pages read: 1,182
Things I learned on Twitter: Kind of avoided Twitter today but "flailing not failing" seems good
Books read from: None today

8/22
Books I've read today: 1
Total books read: 5
Pages read today: 229
Total pages read: 1,411
Things I learned on Twitter: Sarah Dessen has a new book coming out next year! Woo!
Books read from: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

8/23
Books I've read today: 0
Total books read: 5
Pages read today: 77
Total pages read: 1,488
Things I learned on Twitter: Neil Gaiman did the ice bucket challenge in his underwear!
Books read from: Legend by Marie Lu

8/24
Books I've read today: 1
Total books read: 6
Pages read today: 228
Total pages read: 1,716
Things I learned on Twitter: Neil Gaiman has a new short story collection coming out in February.
Books read from: Legend by Marie Lu

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Review Briton and the Dane: Timeline by Mary Ann Bernal

Book- The Briton and the Dane: Timeline by Mary Ann Bernal
Self-published; January 2014
218 pages
Format: Paperback
Genres: Vikings/Anglo-Saxon/9th Century/historical fiction/adventure
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis via Barnes and Noble: Dr. Gwyneth Franger, a renowned expert in early medieval England, is set upon learning the truth about the death of Lord Erik, the last descendant of the powerful House of Wareham. Her quest becomes an obsession, a condition that began with the discovery of a portrait of the tall and valiant warrior. Digesting troves of mildewed scrolls and source documentation only enhances her belief that Lord Erik was brutally assassinated by a cabal of traitors in the pay of William the Bastard, shortly before the onslaught of the Norman Invasion.
On an archeological dig in Southern England, Dr. Franger finds herself transported back to the Dark Ages and at the side of the noble Lord Erik who commands an army of elite Saxon warriors. Witnessing the unrest firsthand, Gwyneth senses that her instincts had been right all along, and she is determined to learn the identities of the treacherous blackguards hiding in the shadows, villains who may well be posing as Lord Erik's friends and counselors.
Gwyneth knows it is wrong to stop the assassins, but isn't sure she can find the strength to walk away and watch her beloved Erik die. Will she intervene, change the course of history and wipe out an entire timeline to save the man she loves?

My Thoughts:
I have been a huge fan of the Briton and the Dane series for such a long time. I have loved each and every book in the series, and Timeline did not disappoint. Having loved these characters from the get-go, I was ecstatic to have a chance to read another story featuring one of my favorites: Gwyneth.

I loved the time travel aspect the most, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers. It was just awesome! I love that there is a love story, an adventure story, and a history story all mixed into one. It’s like getting more than one book, and I never got bored, or felt that the story was going slow, or felt like I had to skip ahead to get to a more interesting part. (Guilty of doing that now and again.)

Timeline really drew me in. I could empathize with the characters and I felt what they were feeling. At times, I couldn’t read a page fast enough, I had to know how things were going to work out immediately. I didn’t feel like I was just a reader, I felt like I was in this world, and I love when that happens.

I cannot recommend The Briton and the Dane series enough. If you haven’t read the series, I hope that you do, and if you’re already a fan of the series, don’t miss Timeline!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sunday Sundries: Allergies...Boo!

I am a bit under the weather due to allergies today, which is a bit of a pain. I could do without all this feeling like crap. But it's almost fall. So there's that.

Yesterday I had orientation to be a volunteer at the local animal shelter with my friend/library co-worker Alexis. I am so excited!! I haven't signed up for any shifts yet, but I can't wait. I'm pretty sure I'll alternate between doing cat care shifts and dog walking. I love both cats and dogs. I fell in love with most of the kittens there, and a few of the adult cats, as well as an older terrier/big dog mix. He looks like a gentleman personified into a dog. He's adorable. So I can't wait to start there.

We are finally done all the summer reading programs at the library. I had a bought of depression during all of this so it was a bit of a challenge as well. I loved all the kids and they are excellent readers and had such a blast this year. But it was kind of sad that I had to deal with a bought of depression during my favorite time of the year at work. I've pulled out of it and am feeling better, finally.

I've been reading up a storm lately and wanted to share what I've read in the last week.

  • We Were Liars by e. lockhart
  • The Selection by Kiera Cass
  • Richard II by Shakespeare
  • Henry IV pt 1 by Shakespeare
  • The Tryant's Daughter by J.C. Careleson (Read most of this but ultimately a DNF, so still counting it)

    Currently listening to audiobook of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Liani Taylor.
    Currently rereading Frostbite by Richelle Mead (planning to start Bloodlines soon).
    Currently reading Tease by Amanda Maciel
Boutofbooks is coming up soon. The 18th, I believe. I'm trying to decide what I'd like to read. I am dying to read the other two novels in The Selection series. I picked them up at the library, but I'm unsure if I want to start them as soon as I finish my current reads or wait to the readathon. 

I'm having similar feeling about the small stack of graphic novels I have out from the library, my hold on the book Legend by Marie Lu might be in by then, too. Or I could also read some books that I own, that I haven't read yet. Decisions, decisions.

I bought a few books this week and I am so excited! (They may also end up in the #boutofbooks pile).
I bought (on sale!!!):
Entwined by Heather Dixon
Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol
Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffen

I am trying to make it to September without buying any more books, but I have my eyes on several, so I'm not sure I will make it. Then I thought that if I get them from The Book Depository, by the time they arrive, it will be in September most likely. That counts right?

I've got my eyes on:
The Selection Stories: The Prince and the Guard by Kiera Cass
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake*
The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
Night School: Resistance by CJ Daughtery
Burial Rights by Hannah Kent

*I'm dying for the edition with the red/crimson text. Does anyone know if it's just the hardback, or the paperback as well?

I hope you are all having a good week. What are you all reading? Anyone made a #boutofbooks tbr yet?