Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Pick-Me-Up

Monday Pick-Me-Up is a weekly post intended to get everyone over their Monday Blues by sharing quotes I thought were funny in the books I read the previous week.

This week I'm doing this a little differently. I have quotes from Vampire Academy and The Mortal Instrutments, even though I've read both of them a while back. If you haven't read either of these series you should do so immediately! They are great!

"My muscles informed me they did not want to go through any more exercise today. So I suggest that maybe he should let me off this time. He laughed, and I'm pretty sure it was at me...not with me.
"Why is that funny?"
"Oh," he said, his smile dropping. "You were serious."
"Of course I was! Look, I've technically been awake for two days. Why do we have to start this training now? Let me go to bed." I whined. "It's just one hour."

"How do you feel right now?"
"I hurt like hell."
"You'll feel worse tomorrow."
"So, better get a jump on it while you still feel...not as bad."
"What kind of logic is that?" I retorted."

-Vampire Academy

"I figured all your classes were stuff like Slaughter 101 and Beheading for Beginners."
Jace flipped a page. "Very funny, Fray."
-City of Bones

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Hot Topic Thursday- Paranormal Romance Books- Is any reading better than none?

z Pictures, Images and Photos

I spoke briefly in My Week in a Nutshell post about a comment I read about Paranormal Romance novels being the reason that other countries are ahead of us. My stance on this is “That’s absurd!” for starters. In this post, I’m going to go into more detail about why I think it’s absurd and why I believe that any reading is better than no reading.

I started reading at a young age, in the beginning I read Goosebumps and Fear Street. I moved on to the Hardy Boys and Sweet Valley High. In middle school, I began reading John Grisham and Nicholas Sparks. After middle school though, I just stopped. When high school hit I just didn’t have the time for reading. There were boys and parties, school work, homework, and after school practices. I didn’t have time to sleep let alone read (anything other than the assigned reading anyway). During the summer months, I did find to read, usually while laying out at the beach, but not like I had when I was younger. Then, I watched Twilight and knew I had to read the books. I devoured all four of them in five days and suddenly my love for reading was back with a vengeance. I began reading any Young Adult novel I could get my hands on. Now, two years later I’m still reading Young Adult fiction and I LOVE it. So you can understand why I might be a little offended when someone says something about my favorite genre.
As I’ve said before, I’m a firm believer in that any reading is better than no reading. Here’s why. I believe that ALL good books teach us something. If you put a book down and haven’t taken anything away from it then in my opinion it’s not a good book. Books are suppose to help us grow, teach us new things, give us a different perspective, show us something. That’s why I read. That’s why I love reading. And that’s why I believe that any reading is better than none. Name a good book (one that I’ve read) and I’ll tell you what I learned from it.
There are so many different things that books can teach us. It doesn’t necessarily have to be scientific or historical. It can be something as simple as teaching someone the importance of picking good friends or showing someone how to deal with high school or letting someone know that there is someone out there going through the same things you are and that they can get through it.
Another reason is that reading gives us an escape. When reading, you are allowed to escape your problems and instead live in someone else’s, at least for a time being. Some would argue that the same idea applies to television and movies and that’s true to an extent. The different between reading and watching movies is that reading grows your imagination. Reading is a collaboration of your mind and imagination and the writers. You have to take the words and descriptions a writer gives you and turn it into a world, a real world inside your mind.  I think a lot of people fail to emphasis the importance of this. The imagination is where our dreams begin. Those with no imagination, lack dreams and those that lack dreams, lack true meaning.
These reasons are of course in addition to the obvious ones of increased comprehension, the retention of new words and phrases, and any other historical or mythical facts learned from the book.
Since I’ve began reading Young Adult literature I have read a fair amount of Paranormal Romance and I would have to say that the good Paranormal Romance that I’ve read have taught me something.  Just because what one person likes isn’t what you like doesn’t mean there isn’t something to be learned from it. You have to find what you like and what makes you happy. And if what makes you happy is reading Paranormal Romance, well, there are worse things to be read…

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Eighth Grade Bites Review

Eighth Grade Bites (The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, #1)

Goodreads Description

Junior high really sucks for thirteen-year-old Vladimir Tod. Bullies harass him, the principal is dogging him, and the girl he likes prefers his best friend. Oh, and Vlad has a secret: his mother was human, but his father was a vampire. With no idea of the extent of his powers, Vlad struggles daily with his blood cravings and his enlarged fangs. When a substitute teacher begins to question him a little too closely, Vlad worries that his cover is about to be blown. But then he faces a much bigger problem: he's being hunted by a vampire killer.

My Thoughts

I bought these books because I saw that Heather Brewer was doing a signing close to where I live. Since not that many authors tour nearby, I decided to buy the books and go to her signing. I had seen the books around but they had never really interested me because the books start off when the main characters are still in middle school. I had the same hestitaion with Harry Potter and Percy Jackson and I ended up enjoying them, (though I enjoyed the later books more) so I decided to give the books a chance.

I started Eighth Grade Bites before the signing but didn't finish it. Before I get into my review of Eighth Grade Bites, I would like to start out by saying what a wonderful person Heather Brewer is. I really enjoyed meeting her and I thought the speech she gave was amazing. She talked about her teenage years and how she was picked on and bullied throughout middle and high school. She also told us how she got into writing and offered great insight about the writing process and getting published. There were a lot of young readers there that asked the same question multiple times (just in a different way) and she always answered kindly and patiently. Bottom line: She is super awesome and if you ever have the opportunity to meet her you definitely should.

Now, for the review.

Eighth Grade Bites has the makings to be a great series. However, the first book just didn't really do it for me. Don't get me wrong it's not a bad book by any means and I'm sure the intended audience would LOVE it but for me as an older reader I just couldn't really get into it.

The story and suspense of the novel was good. My problems had more to do with the age and immaturity of the characters. I was disinterested in the whole Vlad/Meredith/Henry situation. However, I do think that the situation would be much more relateable to readers closer to the characters' age.

I did enjoy Brewer's take on vampires. There's still a lot to learn about her world of vampires though and I'm looking forward to seeing where she takes it.

Like I said earlier, the storyline and suspense was good. I can definitely see the storyline and the characters growing and it turning out to be a great series. I have the other four books in the series and I plan to continue it.

Overall, I recommend this book to younger readers or older readers that are willing to overlook the immaturity in the characters.

Grade: C +
Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday Pick-Me-Up

Monday Pick-Me-Up is a weekly post intended to get everyone over their Monday Blues by sharing quotes I thought were funny in the books I read the previous week.
I just finished Eighth Grade Bites by Heather Brewer last night so that's where my quotes this week are coming from. I should have my review of Eighth Grade Bites up tomorrow.

“Nothing could convince Aunt Nelly to let Vlad stay home for the duration of the school year, which just goes to prove that parents and guardians don't care if they're sending you to face bloodthirsty monsters, so long as you get a B in English.”

“Because teachers, no matter how kind, no matter how friendly, are sadistic and evil to the core.”

“Whoever had decided that school should start so early in the morning and last all day long needed to be hunted down and forced to watch hours of educational televison without the aid of caffine.”

Friday, October 14, 2011

My Week in a Nutshell

My Week in a Nutshell is a weekly post I do on Friday or Saturday (depending on how busy I am) where I discuss what I’ve read this week and any other book related thoughts I have.
What I’ve Read this Week
Lately, I’ve been in a reading slump. I haven’t been reading a whole lot, which is definitely out of the norm for me. I’ve just been busy with other things and haven’t found a book that has really grabbed my attention.
That being said, I have been reading off and on Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan. It is a good book, just not one that I can’t put down. It tells the story of three young adult’s life during and post 9/11.
Thoughts this Week
I read a post this week on one of my friend’s facebook page that really bothered me. Basically, what it said was that he had went into a bookstore recently and that there was a whole section of Paranormal Romance (I’m assuming it was YA) and that was the reason other countries were ahead of us.
The statement really bothered me but I refrained from saying anything rude but instead just commented saying that I disagreed and that any reading was better than no reading and that kids/teens should be allowed to read whatever interested them. Others commented on the post agreeing more with him and what they said bothered me even more. It took a lot of effort but in the end I left it at that and didn’t reply further (which I think was a good call because I tend to get a little hot-headed when someone comes after my books)
However, since this is in fact my blog and place for me to express MY opinions I am going to be doing just that. I’m not going to go into great detail today but I think next Thursday I am going to have a Hot Topic Thursday post about Paranormal Romance books and whether reading them is hurting or helping the minds of young readers. Let me know your thoughts in the comments and I may incorporate them in my post! Thanks!
And that’s my week in a nut shell. Let me know what you think in the comments!
Thursday, October 13, 2011

Review Paranormalcy

Paranormalcy (Paranormalcy, #1)

Goodreads Description
Weird as it is working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, Evie’s always thought of herself as normal. Sure, her best friend is a mermaid, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she's falling for a shape-shifter, and she's the only person who can see through paranormals' glamours, but still. Normal.

Only now paranormals are dying, and Evie's dreams are filled with haunting voices and mysterious prophecies. She soon realizes that there may be a link between her abilities and the sudden rash of deaths. Not only that, but she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.
My Thoughts
I read Paranormalcy at the same time I was reading Anna and the French Kiss and I have to say that I saw some similarities in them. Not in genre or storyline (one is paranormal and one is contemporary) but in style and sense of humor. I can definitely see how the two are critique partners.
Just like in Anna and the French Kiss, Paranormalcy is cute and witty and has a great quirky narrator. Evie is so funny. The things she does and says are just hilarious. She’s such a girly girl but she isn’t. She loves pink and boots, yet she can total kick paranormal butt. And of course, my favorite thing about her though is her pink taser. Who doesn’t love a pink taser?  I mean, seriously.
The one thing I wasn’t totally crazy about was the love triangle. Honestly, I just wasn’t really feeling either of the guys and definitely wasn’t swooning over them. Out of the two I think I liked Reth the best. I guess I do prefer the bad guys or maybe it was just the fact that I never could really figure out what was going on with him.
Overall, Paranormalcy is great read, especially if you are looking for some laughs!
Grade: A
Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Review Anna and the French Kiss

Anna and the French Kiss

Goodreads Description:
Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near - misses end with the French kiss Anna - and readers - have long awaited?

My Thoughts:
Anna and the French Kiss is a cute, witty, and just altogether fun book. I didn’t really have any idea what the book was about, all I knew what that EVERYONE was raving about it. I had heard so many great things about this book that I was worried that it wasn’t going to live up to my expectations. Luckily, the book lived up to all of the hype.
I loved Anna. She was completely believable. The things she did, said, and thought are all things typical of a girl her age.  I also loved her entourage of friends. They all had such a great relationship and were all people I would love to hang out with.
The setting could not have been better. I mean, it’s Paris! The one thing I didn’t get about Anna was why she didn’t want to go to Paris to school. I get that it would be scary moving to another country, but again, it’s Paris.
Overall, the book is a wonderful story with even more wonderful characters. When I finished it I was wishing that my parents had sent me to a boarding school in Paris.

Grade: A
Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Pick-Me-Up (I'm Back!!)

Monday Pick-Me-Up is a weekly post intended to get everyone over their Monday Blues by sharing quotes I thought were funny in the books I read the previous week. 

Okay, I'm back. Hopefully, for good this time! This week's Monday Pick-Me-Up comes from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephenie Perkins. Enjoy!

“I mean, really. Who sends their kid to boarding school? It's so Hogwarts. Only mine doesn't have cute boy wizards or magic candy or flying lessons.”

"School of America in Paris" he explains. "SOAP".
Nice. My father sent me here to be cleansed.”

“Most people in Atlanta don't have an accent. It's pretty urban. A lot of people speak gangsta, though," I add jokingly.
"Fo' shiz," he replies in his polite English accent.
I spurt orangey-red soup across the table. St. Clair gives a surprised ha-HA kind of laugh, and I'm laughing too, the painful kind like abdominal crunches. He hands me a napkin to wipe my chin. "Fo'. Shiz." He repeats it solemnly.
Cough cough. "Please don't ever stop saying that. It's too-" I gasp. "Much."
"You oughtn't to have said that. Now I shall have to save it for special occasions."
"My birthday is in February." Cough choke wheeze. "Please don't forget.”

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