Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July Reading Recap

July was a great month for vacation, and also some really interesting books. I read:

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
A darker, more sinister sequel to The Raven Boys. I didn't love it quite as much as the original, but it still kept me up late reading.

Audrey, Wait by Robin Benway
A fairy-tale story of a girl who becomes insta-famous after her musician ex-boyfriend writes a hit song about her. It was cute.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Thought provoking adult contemporary about life and death and love and making your own choices. I think this would make for a great discussion book.

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
Surprisingly touching story about second chances, that made me want to go out and do everything I've ever thought I couldn't. My new favorite Sarah Dessen book.

Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike
The Ghost and The Goth series meets The Scarlet Pimpernel. A little more content than I've come to expect from her books, but it was a very fun read.

Tomorrow starts Utah Book Month! I am very excited to feature a local author and blogger, among other things. It's going to be great!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Top 10 Tuesday: Good Beginnings & Endings

Come play along at The Broke and the Bookish! Today's Top 10 Tuesday topic is
favorite beginnings and endings

A list, so as to avoid spoilers. I really am trying to be better about it.


Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta: I had no idea what was going on, but I was sucked in
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: broke tradition and did not start out with Harry at the Dursley's
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes: I did not think that was how the book would start out, at all
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: So much personality
The Boyfriend List by e. lockhart: It made me laugh, very hard


Basically, all of these had the same effect on me, which was "Noooooooooo!" or "What?!"

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
The Raven Boys (and The Dream Thieves) by Maggie Stiefvater
The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Variant by Robison Wells

Thursday, July 25, 2013

On Spoilers

Lately I've been thinking about how I do reviews, and the balance between talking about specific things from a book and giving too much away. And so, dear readers, I would love your thoughts.

But first, a story. **This story will completely spoil the movie The Sixth Sense, just so you know.** I'll post a little end of spoiler comment at the end of the story, if you're not familiar with plot of The Sixth Sense, but someday hope to be.

Once upon a time I was in high school, and The Sixth Sense had just come out. I was talking to one of my friends, and he said "Wasn't it crazy when you find out he was dead the whole time!" And I said "Jerk!"
Not really. I said "I haven't seen that yet." But I thought "jerk!"

Fast forward a couple years and I'm flipping channels with a college friend. And the last maybe 15 minutes of The Sixth Sense was on. And she said "I love this movie. Have you seen it?"
And I said, "No, but I know he's dead."
So we watch.

(But, here's the deal. The only thing I really knew about The Sixth Sense was from the trailer, featuring a little boy who said "I see dead people." I did not think Bruce Willis was especially important. So, when my spoilery friend said "he" was dead, I did not think he was talking about Bruce Willis.)

So we're watching, and it becomes apparent that Bruce Willis' character is dead.
And I say, "Wait, he's dead, too?"
Friend: What?
Me: Bruce Willis. He's also dead?
Friend: You said you knew how this ended.
Me: Yeah, the little boy is dead. That's why he sees dead people, right?
Friend: *sigh*

And that is how The Sixth Sense was actually spoiled for me.
**End of SPOILERS**

As reviewers, I think most of us agree that giving away the big reveal of a book is a no-no. At least, doing it without tagging/hiding the spoiler. But what about hinting at it, or talking about something that won't make sense until you get into the book? Even my spoilery friend technically didn't give away enough information to actually spoil the twist for me.

What about hinting at specific scenes or chapters? Saying something like "I laughed so hard at the scene on the boat!" Or "Chapter 11 was so good." What about using quotes from the book in reviews? Do you feel like that gives too much away, especially for an author with a very known writing style?

I'm not really sure how I stand on this. I think when I review books that have been around awhile/everyone has read, I'm far less careful about bringing up specifics from the book. But for brand new books I'm reluctant to do basically any of the things I've asked about.

How do you guys feel? How do you balance being detailed or specific in your reviews without being all spoilery-like?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Read This: Abandon

Abandon (Possession #3)
by Elana Johnson

The Short Story
Vi, Jag, Zenn, and friends are back in the final installment to save their friends, stop a scarily-advanced army, and take down the Thinkers. At least, that's what everyone claims they want to do.
A very interesting end to an enjoyable, plot driven series.

Come for the....
end of the series! One thing I've loved about all three books is Johnson's willingness to do anything to/with her characters. So often there's no real sense of suspense in a book because you know the author won't really kill that person off/give a victory to the bad guy/go (wherever) with the story. But not Elana Johnson. None of her characters are safe and I absolutely love that.

Abandon was pretty intense from start to finish. Nearly everyone from the previous two books is with the Resistance. At least, on the surface. There's lots of cool tech, and hoverboarding, and maybe a little much angst. I loved that half the chapters were from Zenn's point of view, because I thought he was one of the most interesting characters in the series. I loved being in his head. And I think Elana's writing got better and better as the series went on. The suspenseful plot, interesting gadgets, and nice twists and turns make this a series I can easily recommend.

Don't Think About This Too Hard

  • It was hard to believe the characters were supposed to be 16/17. (Who would follow a 16 year old rebel?) 
  • I would have liked a little more character growth, especially earlier in the book.

The Big Three:
Language: some mild swearing throughout
Sex and Stuff: not an issue
Violence: people being injured and killed, some described, but not gory

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Dream Thieves Playlist

I didn't do a lot of reading on vacation, but I did (re)read The Dream Thieves with my husband. And since it's still too far away from publication to review, I thought I'd do something different and create a playlist, based off of things from the book that stuck out to me.
If you click on the "show" button, a quote from the book will pop up. They're not really spoilery, maybe 7 & 9.

1. Dave Matthews Band - Stay (Wasting Time)
For a moment this good time would never end
magic was real, magic was real, magic was real.

2. Natalie Merchant - Jealousy
Oooh, ooh, jealousy
For a brief moment, he imagined life as Gansey must live it.

3. Rihanna - Shut Up and Drive
You've got the keys, shut up and drive
This is what it felt like to be happy.

4. Bobby Boris Pickett - Monster Mash
I was working in the lab late one night
When my eyes beheld an eerie sight

What were you dreaming about?

5. Brian Hyland - Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini
1, 2, 3, 4
Tell the people what she wore

6. Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us
He was a striking version of himself, a dangerous version of himself, standing there . . . with a homemade bomb in hand.

7. Louis Armstrong - A Kiss to Build a Dream On
Give me your lips for just a moment
And my imagination will make that moment live 

Give me what you alone can give
A kiss to build a dream on
That was super nice.

8. Good Charlotte - Life Styles of the Rich and the Famous
If money is such a problem
You got so many problems
Think I could solve them 

Who are these people, Adam thought, to think they know anything about the rest of the world?

9. Fiona Apple - Never Is a Promise
Never is a promise
And you can't afford to lie
From 3 different scenes:
You thought - it was never gonna be you and me.
That's what you said. It's never gonna be me.
And now we never speak of it again.

10. Everclear - Santa Monica
Watch the world die
would you stop if you knew it was destroying the world?

11. Katy Perry - Firework
Boom, boom, boom
Are you coming to Fourth? Are you coming? Are you coming?

12. The Kinks - Wonderboy 
Night is as dark as you feel it ought to be

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Back from Vacation

For the last little while I was on the very green, very humid, but very awesome East Coast visiting family. It was great. I went to a beach where there are wild horses that will eat you bite, which possibly reminded me of a book I read once.

Wild horse, walking through the rinse-off area
my niece, my oldest, my husband, me, the ocean!
My baby and my nephew, who are about a month apart

It was so incredibly green there.
My nephew, niece, oldest, me, and the baby. Also, the Capitol.

We went to the Smithsonian. All the museums are free, did you know?

Code Name Verity-ish
it's hard to take a good picture
yep, still hard
we'll just call this good enough
Now that I'm home I'll be back to my regularly scheduled blogging. What are you doing this fine summer?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

June Reading Recap

Happy (almost) July 4th! June was a busy, busy month that included lots of reading and slightly less unpacking. I read:

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson.
It's high fantasy. And it's really good.

The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson.
The sequel to Fire and Thorns, which was just as good.

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund.
Sci-fy retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion. Made me want to read Persuasion before making a judgement on it.

Peace, Love, & Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle.
Cute, younger YA about sisters.

Abandon by Elana Johnson.
A great ending to the Possession trilogy. Review to come.

For book club we read Every Day by David Levithan.
It was not my favorite book (it felt very agenda-y to me) but it was definitely good for discussion. Karen liked it more, and her review is here.

July is shaping up to be a great reading month. I've managed to acquire The Bitter Kingdom (the last book in the Fire and Thorns series) from Edelweiss, and The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater from a twitter giveaway. I may have already finished it. I may actually be rereading it right now. I may have problems when it comes to that series.

What are you doing for July?