Monday, January 30, 2012

Delurk Day!

The other day on Suey's blog she had a delurk day post, which I thought was a great idea. The idea is to have a post where anyone who stops by the blog can say hi. I know I stop by a lot more blogs than I comment on, and I figure that's true of other people and my blog, too.

So I'm copying Suey's idea and posting a few questions. You can answer all/none/just say hi/whatever you want. Happy Monday!

1. Have you ever had bangs? Did they work for you?
2. Besides books/reading, what's one of your interests?
3. What's something that's going good (or bad) for you right now?
4.What's your favorite seasonal candy?
5. Do you have a blog that I can visit?

My answers in the comments. Thanks for stopping by Read This Instead.

** Oh, also, this week's Hunger Games read along post will be on Friday instead of Wednesday. **

Friday, January 27, 2012

TGIF: Buy or Borrow?

Ginger at GReads! hosts TGIF each Friday. The question this week is:

Buy or Borrow: Where do your books that you read come from? The bookstore? The library? Do you prefer to own a book, or have it on loan?

Basically all of my books come from the very fabulous Provo City Library. They have so many books, and get a lot of them on their release day. (Right now I've got The Ruby in the Smoke, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, Past Perfect, The Beginning of After, and The Day Before all from the library. Makes me a happy girl) :)

The Provo Library
I usually don't reread books, so I don't have a big desire to own them. It costs money, starts to really take up space, and gets heavy to move. Although I do own all but the 4th Harry Potter and all of The Hunger Games, so I make exceptions here and there.

How about you? 

This week at Read This Instead:
5 stars for The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Hunger Games reread-along

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Hunger Games Read-Along, Chapters 4-6

Sorry this post is late in going up! Everyone in my house is sick today, so.... We should have gotten our flu shots this season. Anyone else a big believer in flu shots?

Anyway, on to Chapters 4, 5, and 6.

We see a lot more of Haymitch, Effie, and Cinna in these chapters. Which one is your favorite?
If it's for all three books, Haymitch is my favorite. But for this part of The Hunger Games, it's Cinna. He's the only one of the three who seems to understand and want to help Katniss.

Katniss thinks the Capital people have so much time to focus on beauty and entertainment because they don't have to worry about food. Do you think that's accurate?
I suppose you have to spend your free time on something. I think that's true for a lot of the people in the Capital (or the modern US, if that's what the Capital represents). It's certainly easier to have time to focus on entertainment or how you/others look when you don't have to worry about where your next meal is coming from, or washing your extravagant clothes by hand.

Katniss wonders if the Avox girl will "enjoy watching [her] die." Why do you think she assumes that?
I think Katniss assumes the girl is either vengeful, or as blood thirsty as everybody else. I think Katniss sees the Capital people as all one way. 

Thanks to for
the picture

This better (not) be in the movie. (any scenes you would especially like/dislike seeing in the film)
I was so not expecting to see them waxing Katniss' legs in the movie, but the trailer shot that idea down. I know Katniss is hairy in the books, and I appreciated that about her, but I'd rather not see that brought to life.

Anything else that stuck out to you in the chapters?
If I had to choose between either being naked on live TV, or wearing a (hopefully flame-retardant) awesome black jumpsuit, I'd go with the jumpsuit. They're both the sort of things bad dreams are made of, but no nakey for me.

What did you think of chapters 4-6? Leave your thoughts in the comments, or if you posted on your blog leave a link & I'll stop by.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Read This: The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green

The Short Story
Hazel has cancer and knows she'll die from it eventually. When her parents encourage her to join a cancer kids' support group, she meets Augustus Waters. Although she initially wants to stay distant from everyone, her relationship with Augustus changes the way she looks at the time she's got. This will probably win my "best book of 2012" award.

Come for the....
characters. This type of story could easily devolve into a Nicholas Sparks-like, sappy cheesefest, but it doesn't. (That's not to say it didn't make me cry, multiple times) I read somewhere that John Green said he wanted people to feel "all the things" reading the book, and I think that happens because of Hazel. She knows she's going to die, and that makes her fairly cynical. I was occasionally annoyed with her patronizing eye rolls toward anyone who had more religious beliefs about life/death/suffering, but eventually decided it was interesting to see how she approached the time she was sure she had. I liked that she worried about hurting the people around her when she died. I liked that she hated the pity she felt she got, but then turned around and pitied other people despite that. I liked her character growth. Most of all I liked how complex she was, even when I wanted to argue with her.

Other reviews will have lots to say about Augustus, and his impact on Hazel and the story. I liked Augustus, and how he tried to make sense of his experiences. But I'll focus on Hazel's parents instead. They were incredibly realistic as the people who know their primary responsibility is to keep their kid from death (you know, by feeding/clothing/caring for/taking to the doctor/etc), that most parents are able to manage that, and that they are going to fail. There's a great moment where Hazel's dad tells her he's proud of her, and she wonders "for what?" There's another moment where Hazel's mom just wants to take a bath. The parents were so honest and I was especially happy with the way their story went.

Stay for the
title, and the quote it's taken from; Peter Van Houten, who I still intend to look up and see if he's based on anyone; the author's forward, which would discourage that.

Don't Think About This Too Hard
  • Hazel and Augustus both have a hard time sounding like teenagers throughout the book. Hazel also doesn't always sound like a girl. They both sound like they were written by a 30-something male, but that's probably because they were.
  • If you have stronger religious beliefs, the occasional mocking may bother you. 

The Big Three:
Language: somewhat regular profanity, including one f-word
Sex and Stuff: some, but nothing described
Violence: not an issue

Friday, January 20, 2012

Follow Friday, Adventure Edition

Parajunkee and Alison Can Read host Follow Friday. You can play along here This week's question is:

Q: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to get your hands on any particular book?

This one is easy! When Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out my husband and I really wanted to do something for it. Our local bookstore held a big party, complete with face painting, "potions" demonstrations, fortune telling, etc. But they kick everyone out around 10:30 to line up outside for their books. And people get kind of hungry in that hour and a half wait.
Yeah, we look rough. It was like 3 in the morning.
So we decided to dress up as the snack trolley. We got a wagon and filled it with goodies and pop and went around with that. It was fun to talk to all the people waiting in line and get their predictions on how the book would end. (A car did drive by and yell "Dumbledore dies at the end!" which made everyone laugh. Guess he didn't realize he was a couple years too late with his spoiler)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Hunger Games Read-Along, Chapters 1-3

Welcome to the first week of The Hunger Games read-along!

Were you surprised Prim and Peeta were picked in the reaping?
Completely (the first time). It's totally set up in a way that makes it seem like only people from the Seam will be picked. I thought it would be Katniss and Gale. Which would have made for a totally different book (although not necessarily a bad one).

What did you think of Katniss' goodbye to her mom/Prim, Madge, and Gale? Did you expect them to be more emotional? 
Yes, but I think that's just her character. I did think it was funny this time around that Katniss is so sure her mom and sister couldn't make it without her if she were to run off. But then as soon as she leaves for the Games she already has detailed instructions for how they can get by without her. She sort of has basically the same conversion with Gale, except the roles are reversed.

Peeta's parents aren't especially important in the rest of the series, but they do get some attention in the first couple chapters. What do you think they add to the story?
The whole burned bread scene is pretty important in the series, but otherwise I'm not sure. The mom is ridiculously mean - she's probably the meanest person Katniss directly interacts with in District 12. The dad is so opposite that I wonder how they ended up together. Maybe Peeta developed his way with words from trying not to make his mom mad?

This better (not) be in the movie:
Everything the trailer has shown from this part of the book looks amazing! My only thought is that I hope they don't try too hard to make Katniss "Disney-ized" by taking out some of the rougher parts of her personality. She's a flawed character, but still likeable.

Anything else that stuck out to you in the chapters?
The first time I heard this story was actually from the audio book, and I was sure Gale was a girl. It led to a lot of confusion in the first chapter.

What did you think of the first few chapters? You can answer in the comments, or if you posted on your blog leave the link and I'll come check it out. You can see the next couple weeks' worth of questions here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Read This: The Future of Us

The Future of Us
by Carolyn Mackler and Jay Asher

The Short Story
It's 1996, and Emma just got her first computer. She and former best friend Josh pop in an AOL CD and find themselves on something called Facebook in 2011. A quick, fun, nostalgic read.

Come for the....
trip back in time. This is a great book for people old enough to remember life back in 1996. I'm not as old as the characters ('96 was the end of 8th grade/beginning of high school for me) but I remember what it was like when my family got a computer, and the ubiquitous AOL CDs in the mail. Or when dial up was the only internet option. (and the noises it made!) When Seinfeld and Friends had new episodes (and ruled Thursday nights). And this book takes you right back to that time. I think it is targeted specifically for the adults who read YA, and loses a lot of its charm if you didn't live through the 90's.

I probably wouldn't have enjoyed Future quite as much if not for the 90's aspect, but I did really like seeing how Josh and Emma handled learning things about their futures. Emma especially goes to all kinds of lengths trying to mastermind the kind of future she thinks will make her happy. It was funny to watch their little choices changing things 15 years later (although maybe a little unrealistic to think that every choice they made now had a significant impact on the future). But overall it was a fun premise that made me think about whether or not I'd want to know my future. (I wouldn't)

Stay for the
critique of Facebook (and Twitter) and how people post so many mundane things - "why would anybody write this stuff on the internet for everyone to read?"

Don't Think About This Too Hard
  • Josh and Emma both learn things about other people's futures that they don't do much with. One plot line in particular is left completely unresolved.
  • Emma bases a lot of her perception of her future happiness on either her romantic relationships or her job. I would have liked it if there were more to her future than that.

The Big Three:
Language: some occasional profanity
Sex and Stuff: some kissing
Violence: not an issue

Friday, January 13, 2012

TGIF and Week in Review

Ginger at GReads hosts TGIF. Her question this week is: 

2012 Must Reads: Which books are at the top of your list 
to be read this year (new or old releases)?
I did a similar post recently, but I've read a few of those already. So, time for a new list.
Some oldies I haven't gotten to yet:
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (I know, I know, it's shameful I haven't read it yet)
The Curse Workers series by Holly Black
Blood Red Road by Moira Young
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (I want to reread it before the movie comes out)

The 2012 releases:
The Last Echo by Kimberly Derting
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (I actually just finished but want to read it again)

This week at Read This Instead:
I'll be hosting a Hunger Games reread-along! You can see the details here.

Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Hunger Games Reread-Along

Next Wednesday kicks off my Hunger Games reread-along! Each week until the movie comes out I'll read 3 chapters and then post some discussion questions. I put the schedule and the first questions up at my Hunger Games Reread-Along tab if you want to follow along. Since it's a reread-along, there will be spoilers for The Hunger Games (and possibly the whole series). I'll try to have the questions up a week or two in advance, because who actually needs 9 weeks to read The Hunger Games?

If you're interested in hosting a week on your blog, or have ideas for discussion questions let me know!

Here are the questions for chapters 1-3:

1. Were you surprised Prim and Peeta were picked in the reaping?

2. What did you think of Katniss' goodbye to her mom/Prim, Madge, and Gale? Did you expect them to be more emotional?

3. Peeta's parents aren't especially important in the rest of the series, but they do get some attention in the first couple chapters. What do you think they add to the story?

4. This better (not) be in the movie. (any scenes you would especially like/dislike seeing in the film)

5. Anything else that stuck out to you in the chapters?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I Wish Would Write Another Book

Did anyone else have a hard time coming up with 10? Or, realize that author actually *had* written more books than you were aware of? No, just me?

Anyway, here are some authors I wish had written more books.

  • Jane Austen I haven't read all of her books, but I really enjoy them now that I'm not forced to read them in high school. I've even read Mansfield Park (although it's not my favorite of hers)
  • David McPhail He wrote my most favorite children's book of all time, Great Cat. I used to make up stories based on the pictures before I knew how to read. Turns out he's actually written/illustrated a whole bunch of other children's books. Who knew?
  • Natalie Standiford Ok, I thought How to Say Goodbye in Robot was one of her only books. Not even close. Although some of her books look like they're on the sillier end, I've added a bunch to my TBR.
  • Jandy Nelson I loved The Sky is Everywhere. As far as I know, that's all she's written. 
  • Suzanne Collins Mockingjay hasn't even been out two whole years yet, but I wonder if she'll write another series. Or if I'll love it as much.
  • JK Rowling Like Suzanne Collins, I wonder if she'll publish more books, or if there's just too much pressure after all the success of Harry Potter.
Who would you like to see another book from?

The Broke and the Bookish hosts Top Ten Tuesdays. You can play along here.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Read This: Clockwork Prince

Clockwork Prince
by Cassandra Clare

The Short Story
The second book in the Infernal Devices trilogy (Clockwork Angel is the first). Not as violent or sweary as Clare's other series. I really enjoyed reading it, but had a few problems as I thought about it after the fact.

Come for the....
twists and turns. At an early point in the book, I felt like I had a lot of it figured out. I've read some books from Cassandra Clare's TMI series, and thought I was familiar with some of her preferred plot lines and issues: a story told in multiple points of view, an angsty male lead who annoys me, behavior or ideas that would rock the boat socially. In fact, at one point I thought that the multiple points of view gave too much away. But all my preconceived ideas kept me from noticing what was really going on in the story, and it was a lot of fun to be surprised! I honestly love a book that catches me off guard.

One (non-spoilery) example of that was with how the characters were portrayed. I was not a fan of Will in Clockwork Angel. He came across as the sort of jerky, angsty character who had "issues" that somehow were supposed to make him likeable. I'm sick of that type of character in YA. But I did a 180 reading the story, and now like Will much more. Unfortunately I also went into the book with a high opinion of another character and came out with a completely different one. He ended the story much like Peeta in the first Hunger Games book - nice and good intentioned but very clueless. That was a little disappointing.

Stay for the
back stories (which may remind you a little of Harry Potter 6), the relative lack of violence, the final book in the series, Clockwork Princess, out sometime at the end of the year.

Don't Think About This Too Hard
  • For a book with Jem on the cover, he didn't feel as big a part of the story as I would have expected. I don't think there are any parts from his point of view. Also, some of his actions seemed out of character (to me) near the end of the story.
  • Cassandra Clare just has a wordy style. I don't think this book needs to be the nearly 500 pages that it is, but I think that's just her way.

The Big Three:
Language: I don't remember this being much of an issue
Sex and Stuff: a few bits of very descriptive kissing
Violence: a scene or two with violence, but no gore

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Looking Forward to 2012

There are so many great books coming out this year, but these are my top books that I'm really looking forward to:

Matched #3
Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2
Clockwork Princess
The Fault in Our Stars
Isla and the Happily Ever After

There are still a few books from 2011 I need to read, like:
Blood Red Road
The Night Circus
The Scorpio Races
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

And then, there's the big thing of early 2012 that I'm really looking forward to:

Along with that, I'll be starting a Hunger Games re-read along near the end of January. Hopefully they'll be some fun discussion (Would Rue have lived longer if she hadn't teamed up with Katniss?). Or, at least some fan-girling. I'll post the reading schedule and the discussion questions in a week or so, in case you'd like to participate.

Happy bookish New Year!