Monday, August 29, 2011

MIA

Just wanted to let you guys know I'll probably be MIA for most of this week. My little guy broke his leg on Saturday, so life around here is going to be upside down for a little while.


While I take a break from blogging, enjoy The Hunger Games mini-snippet (again).

Get More: 2011 VMA, Music

Friday, August 26, 2011

Blog Hops

Book Blogger Hop

This week's Book Blogger Hop question is:

“Non-book-related this week!! Do you have pets?”

Ha, ha, ha, ha. No. I'm not much of a pet person, mostly because I have a toddler to take care of, and he's hard enough to feed, walk, and potty train. :) I'm also terrified of dogs. Like, I'll walk a different way if I see a dog out that isn't on a leash. (I got bit up pretty badly by a pit bull when I was 9, but I wasn't a big fan even before that)

This week's TGIF question is: 


Book Associations: 
Which genre, authors, or particular books do you think people associate with your reading style?

I know what I would want the answer to be... YA contemporary and dystopian for genres, and The Hunger Games for book. Because I love that book far more than I should. Did you know the trailer for the movie is coming out Sunday on MTV? Look at this second-long sneak peak.


But I also talk about Sweethearts by Sara Zarr and Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta a lot.



What book do you think people associate with you? Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Read This: Possession

Possession
by Elana Johnson

The Short Story 
I think the less you know going into this book, the better. Don't bother with what's written on the back cover, either - I don't think it does the reader any favors. I went into the book after having read Jenny's review, which said Possession was "like a cool dream." That's all you need to know. If you liked The Maze Runner, and are cool with not knowing what is going on all the time, give this book a look. A book hasn't stuck with me this long after finishing it in quite some time.
5/5

Come for the...
questions. About 50 pages into Possession I was ready to write it off as another Matched meets Uglies type of dystopian book. "Big bad plots out nearly every aspect of your life with hoverboards" kind of deal. But by the end of the book I was convinced Possession deserves a prominent spot in YA fiction. Why? Spoiler, spoiler, spoiler, spoiler.

It's hard to review this one because I don't want to give anything away. I will say that it made me think. I would love to do this book for a book club/discussion group sometime because I had so many questions. Who has the moral high ground in this story? How much of it are we supposed to believe or sympathize with? Are we really supposed to "buy" the relationships presented in the book? I'll put my spoilery thoughts in the comments.

Stay for the
hoverboards, technology, special powers, and the ending.

Don't think about this too hard
  • I gave this book five stars because it stuck with me and made me think, not because it was perfect. The main characters all have a level of immaturity in their speech, actions, and relationships. Which gets kind of annoying. (Who calls anyone babe? Besides that pig from the movie Babe?) These YA teens act like teens, not 30 year olds.
  • A lot of people have noted the lack of world-building and explanation of what was going on. If that is something that bothers you in a story, it will bother you with this book, too. I don't really care that much about world-building, so I was fine with it.

The Big Three
Language: a few mild, awkwardly placed swear words
Sex and Stuff: some kissing and longing, but nothing descriptive
Violence: fighting and blood, but not graphic

Monday, August 22, 2011

Thoughts on Boys, Reading, & Boy Books

Over the weekend the New York Times published an article on boys and reading. To me, the gist was that teenage boys aren't really reading, and that is in part because there aren't really books targeted at them.

Well, some people voiced their frustration with the article. They took it differently than I did. I felt the main idea from this counter-post was that boys should learn to see themselves in books with female characters.

And then I read this post on Novel Novice, and this is exactly why I like her blog. And I felt like her main point was: the goal is to get boys to read, and if marketing books specifically to boys gets them to read, that isn't a bad thing.

Since I read a bunch of boy books this summer, I feel like I'm obviously an expert in this area. (please note my sarcasm) I've got to agree with Novel Novice, that the goal is to get boys to read. And I don't think the current YA market is targeting reluctant male readers.

Like, not at all.

So my two cents:
1. Books written by men, and targeted at boys, are very different from books written by women. And I'm devoting a ginormous post to the differences I noted, just by reading a few boy books.

2. I think one of the best ways to get a reluctant reader into reading is to give them a book where they can see themselves in the story. Whether that's by identifying with the character, or being interested in the conflict, or enjoying the subject matter, something has to speak to you.

I wasn't a reader until that happened for me. And it's so great to read a book that feels like your favorite pjs and shoes that have molded to your feet. I'd never found that in a book until I felt like I was reading about me. And then I read a whole bunch of other books and found myself in a dozen different characters. And then I could branch out and see bits and pieces of myself in characters or situations that were nothing like me.

So, if we want boys to read, we should give them a chance to read about stuff that matters to them. That's specifically for them. Of course it's great to have readers (of any gender/race/orientation/etc) identify with characters who are seemingly an "other," but that's not where to start. I think all readers need to learn to find themselves in books like them, so that they can learn to identify the similarities
in characters and stories that are not.

Thoughts? Do you prefer reading about characters that you think are like you?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

And the Supernaturally Winner Is...

Ash!

Congratulations. I've sent out an email and if I don't hear from her in 48 hours I'll pick a new winner. Thanks everyone for entering!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Hoppy TGIF!

Today's the LAST DAY to enter my giveaway of Supernaturally by Kiersten White. Enter here.

Book Blogger Hop
This week's book blogger hop question is:

“What’s the LONGEST book you’ve ever read?” 

Off the top of my head, I think it's Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. According to goodreads it's 870 pages.  It's funny because this one is probably my least favorite of the Harry Potter books, but it's the longest! I think it may be one of the shortest of the movies, though. What's your longest read?


 


The TGIF question is:
The Reviews We Don't Write: 
Have you ever read a book and not wanted to review it? Are some books too personal that we want to keep our thoughts our own? 

I actually only review a fraction of the books I read, for a variety of reasons. (You can see the full list of what I've read here)  One is because I always want reading to be fun, and sometimes I just want to read a book without thinking about what I'll say in a review. The Wings series has been like that for me. They're just fun, silly books. Maybe if I thought about them too hard I would like them less?

I also don't review lesser-known books that I didn't like. Negative reviews aren't very fun for me to write. The only reason I give negative reviews to better known books (Graceling, Wither, The Perks of Being a Wallflower) is so that people can get a feel for what I like and don't like, and see if it's similar to their tastes.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Third Sentence Thursday

Third Sentence ThursdayThird Sentence Thursday is a weekly meme which likes to wander around in the forest!

1) Take the book you are reading and post the third sentence
2) Review this sentence anyway you want (funny and silly reviews encouraged)
3) Post a link to your sentence here



My pick is Supernaturally by Kiersten White (which I'm giving away here. Ends tomorrow!)


 "My hand twitched at my side, reaching for the pink Taser I knew wasn't there." 

Uh oh, sounds like Evie's got some problems! Probably boy problems. Obviously she'll need the blue Taser for this.

What are you reading now?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Boy Books

One of the bad things about only posting Monday/Wednesday/Friday is that I miss out on a lot of the fun Tuesday/Thursday post idea. So, bonus post today!

Also, don't forget to enter to win Supernaturally (open until Friday 8/19) here.

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is a freebie. So I wanted to list the 10 books I picked out for the 10 (book) Boy Summer. Basically, they're YA books written by men, with males as the main character. (Listed in the order I read them, not ranked) Links go to my review, or goodreads if I haven't reviewed the book yet.



1. The Scorch Trials by James Dashner. More twists and turns than the first book. 
2. The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan. Started out a little slow, but then got un-put-downable.
3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. Didn't work for me, but they're making a movie out of it.
4. Bruiser by Neal Shusterman. Like nothing else I've read in YA, and I loved it.
5. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. This was crazy, and good, and crazy some more.
6. Paper Towns by John Green. I wasn't expecting to like this, but it was one of the most honest YA books I've read this year.
7. Mexican WhiteBoy by Matt de la Peña. There's a lot of baseball.
8. Happyface by Stephen Emond. This has pictures. Lots of funny pictures.
9. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher. I just finished this last night, and it was a lot more intense than I was expecting.
10. Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi. This is the only one I haven't read yet, but it's a Printz Award winner, so I'm hoping to like it!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Skip These

I hate to do reviews for books I didn't like, but I wanted to mention all 10 of the books I've read for the 10 (book) Boy Summer.


The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I picked it up because it's being made into a movie starring Hermione and Percy Jackson, so I figured it would be good. Or at least interesting. Not so much. It didn't work for me because I didn't like anyone in the story. I felt so bad for Charlie, but I didn't relate to him. And I got frustrated with nearly every other character using him or trying to take advantage of him in some way.
I had a couple problems with the writing, too. I think the author was going for an authentic 15 year old boy voice, but would occasionally have lines that seemed to scream "look how profound I am!" ("I feel infinite" didn't work for me) And the inclusion of nearly every controversial social issue felt like too much to be believable. It kept taking me out of the story.

Mexican WhiteBoy. I think I picked this one up because someone recommend the author? Maybe? Even after I finished this book I wasn't really sure what it was about. I was expecting issues of race, or fitting in, or identity. And those ideas are in there, sort of. Danny doesn't feel like he fits in with his white mom or white school, but he doesn't feel like he totally fits in with his dad's Spanglish speaking family. And that's as far as those issues are explored.
I wish the author had done more with them. Instead there's a lot of baseball. And a few twists that felt like they were just reinforcing stereotypes. And then the book ends. As for content, there's a fair amount of swearing in both English and Spanish. There are also some very violent scenes.

 
Ultimately I can't recommend either book. I'm not sure who the target audiences would be for these books, but it isn't me.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Blog Hopping

I'm giving away a signed copy of Supernaturally by Kiersten White here.

Book Blogger Hop
This week's blog hop question is:


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!


My library highlighted a few a while back, and one that I ended up reading was The Boy Book: A Study of Habits and Behaviors, Plus Techniques for Taming Them by e. lockhart. Most people just call it The Boy Book, but I think the full title really adds something. This book (series) is hilarious.

Another one that I heard about from a blogging friend is The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender. I don't really like cake, but I wouldn't think to describe it like that!






This week's Follow Friday question is:

Q. How has 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 wasn't much of a reader at all. I really disliked most books I was assigned to read in high school. (remember all those awesome books that came out in the late 90's? Me neither) So I'd say the biggest difference is that I didn't like to read back then, and I do now. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Supernaturally Giveaway! - CLOSED

When Kiersten White came to town last week, she signed a copy of Supernaturally for me. And I'd like to share the love, because this was a good book. (My review here) Want it?

How to win:
Since one of the things Evie deals with in Supernaturally is the boring-ness of a normal life, leave a comment with something fun you've done lately (or hope to do) Also, leave an email address so I can contact you if you win.

Want extra entries?
+1 Follow Read This Instead via GFC & leave your follower name in your comment (I know GFC is down right now, but you can click on the follow link at the top of the page)
+1 Follow @kathyreadsthis on Twitter & leave your twitter name in your comment
+1 Tweet "I want to win a signed copy of Supernaturally from @kathyreadsthis http://bit.ly/nMSLzX" & leave a direct link in your comment


The boring details:
US only
Must be 13 to enter. If under 18, have parent's permission
One entry/person - don't enter several times with different emails
Giveaway ends Friday, August 19 at 11:59 MDT

Monday, August 8, 2011

Read This: Supernaturally

Supernaturally
by Kiersten White

The Short Story 
Evie has basically everything she's ever wanted: a normal life, freedom from IPCA, a great boyfriend, and even a locker. But the thing about having a normal life is that sometimes it's boring. Especially if you've spent most of your life being one of the most skilled paranormal trackers ever. Evie's become a fish out of water, trying to wade through P.E. and a boring, messy job. So it makes sense that she starts to look for more interesting things to spend her time on, even if they aren't the best idea. Not as good as the original, but still a fun, fast read.
4/5

Come for the...
story you don't usually get to read about. I don't know that I've ever seen a character have to work out, and be a little disappointed with, having what they've always wanted. But I think it's a very common occurrence; you work hard in high school to get into college. And then college is actually even more hard work. Or you finish college and get a job, only to find that working full time is kind of crappy. Most books/series end with the "happily what I wanted ever after," so it was refreshing to see a book that tackles what happens after.

And, while I could relate to the situation, I still got frustrated at times with Evie. Even she pointed out that she shouldn't whine after getting exactly what she thought she wanted. I think it annoyed me because I do the same thing! Some of Evie's choices were exceptionally stupid, like lying to nearly everyone. But White's humor and quick pace kept me from ever getting too bogged down.

Stay for the
chapter titles, again; the unicorn; vampire/Twilight jabs; the lack of formulaic tropes (like a love triangle); the final book in the series, Endlessly

Don't think about this too hard
  • I occasionally wanted to yell various things at Evie, like "Maybe try to figure out who you'd like to be" or "Being someone's girlfriend isn't much of an identity" Sometimes Evie got frustrating. 
  • The ending didn't quite work for me. And that's really all I'll say about it.

The Big Three
Language: the bleeps continue
Sex and Stuff: not an issue
Violence: not an issue

Friday, August 5, 2011

It's Friday!

The hops this week have some fun questions!

Both Follow Friday & TGIF have basically the same question, which is:

Q. Talk about the book that most changed or influenced your life (was it a book that turned you from an average to avid reader, did it help you deal with a particularly difficult situation, does it bring you comfort every time you read it?). 


Taking it Personal: Which books have effected you on a personal level and lingered in your mind long after you closed the pages?

I just answered these when I was a featured blogger at The Book Base. Here were my answers.



I actually wasn’t a big reader growing up. I really liked the Choose Your Own Adventure books, especially The Secret of 13. I also really liked a short story called End of the Game by Julio Cortazar, although I forgot about it until I read his short stories again in college.

But the book that converted me to reading was The Hunger Games. I had to read a lot of things for school that I didn’t like or couldn’t relate to. THG was the first series that reminded me reading could be fun, with characters that thought or acted like I would. And now I’m hooked.


Book Blogger Hop
This week's Blogger Hop question is:

“What is the one ARC you would love to get your hands on right now?”

That's an easy one. Lola and The Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. I've seen a few reviews and everyone seems to like it even more than Anna and The French Kiss. And I really liked Anna. I can't wait to read it!

What would you like to read? Happy Friday! 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

That Time Kiersten White Came to the Library

Yep, that step stool was for her.
Last night Kiersten White did a signing at the Provo Library. And it was fun. Here are some pictures and a few things I learned.

I've been saying Evie's name wrong in my head. I thought it was E-V. No. It's Ehh-V. I guess that makes a better nickname for Evelyn, but I don't think I'll make the mental adjustment.

Also, you know how Kiersten White pronounces the word incarnate? In-car-knit. I say In-car-nate. And now I wonder if hook-ed on p-honics just never work-ed for me.

Reading from the book.
On the stool.
After the Paranormalcy books are out, Kiersten is working on a book about the daughter of unemployed Egyptian gods, named Isadora. And she wrote a different book in nine days, involving psychics and stun guns. And probably kissing. I think they both had kissing.

On the Supernaturally cover, Evie is striking a pose with her hand on her neck. And I thought it would be relevant to the plot. It's not, guys. It's just a model pose.





If you missed Kiersten White at the Provo Library last night, she'll be at The King's English in Salt Lake on Saturday. And if you can't go to that, stop by next week when I'll be giving away a signed copy of Supernaturally.

These girls totally went all out.
So, how do you pronounce incarnate?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Read This: Paper Towns

Paper Towns
by John Green

The Short Story  
Growing up, Quentin spent a lot of time with his eccentric, go-getting next door neighbor Margo. But as they got older they grew apart. Now Margo is the uber-cool, mythic, living legend of their high school, and Quentin is just a regular guy. One night Margo shows up at his room and asks him to help with a night of pranks. And then she disappears. Quentin has to decide if he should go looking for the girl he knew and loved, and if she's actually there to be found. Good book that would have been amazing with cleaner content.
4/5

Come for the...
truly authentic teenage boy. I started the 10 (book) boy summer hoping to read something different from what I normally read. (Which would be contemporary or dystopian books written by women with female main characters.) The boys in those books are certainly interesting and swoony, but not wholly realistic. Not surprisingly, men write teenage boys more like the teenage boys I knew in high school. And Quentin is no exception. He and his friends make crude comments. They aren't the coolest kids. They're interested in college and video games and not being completely embarrassed by their parents. They pee in bottles and throw them out of windows on a road trip. Basically, they're boys.

But the thing that set Paper Towns apart for me was the portrayal of girls in the book. If Sarah Dessen and others write about the boys we wish we knew, men write about the girls they hope exist. Girls who are as smart as they are hot as they are affectionate. This was one of my big problems with Green's Looking for Alaska. I never knew any girls like Alaska, and I don't think Miles ever really knew her, either. She was always more of a thing or idea, never really a person. I was afraid Margo would be Alaska 2.0, but, without giving anything away, I will say I was very pleasantly surprised. Paper Towns has a great message about the way we look at people, and what it means to know someone.

Stay for the
road trip, the world's largest collection of black Santas, the paper towns, and the mystery.

Don't think about this too hard
  • Remember how I said this book had authentic teenage boys? That also means it has authentic teenage boy crudeness and swearing. One of the reasons I disliked Looking for Alaska so much was the content. This book wasn't as objectionable content-wise, but it's still crude and profane.

The Big Three
Language: heavy profanity, including several f-words
Sex and Stuff: crude jokes and conversations
Violence: two kids find a man who killed himself