Thursday, June 27, 2013

Where Am I? 6-27-13

Hey guys, I am so sorry I haven't had too many blog posts lately.  I have been super busy with Driver's Ed and catching up with television shows and hanging out with friends that I haven't had the time to go and update my blog posts.  I meant to do a Top Ten Tuesday, but for some reason I just wasn't as in the mood to do it.  I'll probably put it up sometime tomorrow, as well as maybe another Throwback Thursday.

Also, for some reason, I haven't been reading...I don't know if it's just that I don't feel like it, or I don't feel like the book I'm reading is going to be that interesting but I promise you all that I will read as much as I can from this book before I go to bed.  This is really unusual for me to not have read a book for this amount of time, or not update regularly, but I'm trying my best to make a habit of doing what I should do.

Again, I am very sorry for not posting any new blog posts and I will try to get them up as soon as  I can!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Feature & Follow Friday #3

The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it’ll allow us to show off more new blogs!
If you wish to follow me, I'm on Bloglovin and GFC!  

This Week's Question:

Share your favorite literary quote!

I have soooo many favorite quotes.  But here's one of them that I think a LOT of people will be familiar with.
“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” - Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone)

 How about you?  Link me up!

Book Review: Holes

Holes (Holes, #1)Title/ Author:  Holes by Louis Sachar
Publisher/ Year:  Scholastic, 2000.
How I Read It:  Paperback
Why I Read It:  I bought it from a thrift store at the end of last summer & my friend helped me choose what book I should read next!
Rating: 5 stars out of 5

This is a stand alone novel, which was turned into a movie.  Of course I watched the movie first when I was younger.  Now I've read the book!

Summary from GoodreadsAnd so, Stanley Yelnats seems set to serve an easy sentence, which is only fair because he is as innocent as you or me. But Stanley is not going where he thinks he is. Camp Green Lake is like no other camp anywhere. It is a bizarre, almost otherworldly place that has no lake and nothing that is green. Nor is it a camp, at least not the kind of camp kids look forward to in the summertime. It is a place that once held "the largest lake in Texas," but today it is only a scorching desert wasteland, dotted with countless holes dug by the boys who live at the camp.
The trouble started when Stanley was accused of stealing a pair of shoes donated by basketball great Clyde "Sweetfeet" Livingston to a celebrity auction. In court, the judge doesn't believe Stanley's claim that the shoes fell from the sky onto his head. And yet, that's exactly what happened. Oddly, though, Stanley doesn't blame the judge for falsely convicting him. Instead, he blames the whole misadventure on his "no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather." Thanks to this benighted distant relative, the Yelnats family had been cursed for generations. For Stanley, his current troubles are just a natural part of being a Yelnats.
At Camp Green Lake, the warden makes the boys "build character" by spending all day, every day, digging holes: five feet wide and five feet deep. It doesn't take long for Stanley to realize there's more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the treacherous warden is searching for something, and before long Stanley begins his own search—for the truth.
Fate conspires to resolve it all—the family curse, the mystery of the holes, the drought that destroyed Green Lake, and also, the legend of Kissing Kate Barlow, an infamous outlaw of the Wild West. The great wheel of justice has ground slowly for generations, but now it is about to reveal its verdict.
Quick Summary for those who have not read it yet:
I'm sure most of you have seen the movie already.  The movie lives up to this book.  It was so close to accurate I could have cried.  This book was amazing and for once, there was no romance involved (beside Kate and Sam but those are minor details...).  Almost all the time, I read books with romance and that intrigues me so so much.  I didn't need romance to become intrigued.  Just the overall story did that for me.  I recommend this for those young and old who love books as much as I do.

The Review:
The characters were a great aspect to the story, as well as their backstories.  Stanley is one of those character that didn't have too many friends, and he was big, and he was poor.  When he was wrongfully accused, he was sent to a camp for bad kids.  He became friends with and was a part of a dysfunctional family of other bad kids:  Armpit, X-Ray, Magnet, Zig Zag, Squid, and Zero.  One thing I noticed throughout this book, is that Stanley rarely complained, he didn't cry, and he persevered.  He tried not to cause trouble.  Even when Mr. Sir repeatedly stopped giving him water, he turned the other cheek and always said, "Thank you, Mr. Sir."  Zero is another great character.  He's one of those misunderstood kids that nobody likes.  He's so relatable.  Everyone, but Stanley, treated him like he was nothing and he was too stupid to know anything.  But, he surprised everyone.  He was great at math and he had a great personality.

The best thing about this book was how everything came around full circle, how everything was connected.  It all started with Stanley's great great grandfather who made a deal with Madame Zeroni.  He would carry a pig up the mountain and have it drink water from the spring, and after he would carry Madame Zeroni up the mountain so she may drink.  If he didn't do this, he would be cursed for all eternity.  Ironically, Stanley carried Hector (who happened to be a descendant of Madame Zeroni) up the mountain 110 years later.  The whole story with Kate Barlow and Sam was another thing.  The place they lived 110 years ago would be Camp Greenlake 110 years later.  The boat that Sam died in was the boat that Stanley and Zero took refuge in.  Kate made spiced peaches.  Stanley and Zero were kept alive because of those spiced peaches 110 years later.  Sam grew onions.  Stanley and Zero lived on those onions for a week on top of the mountain.  Kate stole treasure from Stanley's great grandfather. Trout Walker, 20 years after Sam died, looked for the loot.  The Warden, who happens to be a descendant of Trout, created Camp Greenlake in order to find the loot, which belonged to Stanley, in the end, and saved his family and Zero as well.  The funny thing was, the day Sam died, it stopped raining.  The day Stanley got his rightful treasure, left Camp Greenlake, and justice was served, it rained for the first time in 110 years.

This story was brilliant and is a great read for all readers.  Young especially!  It's a great book for those in middle grade who want to get into reading.  I loved this book.

TBT: When I was a Twi-hard...

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Yes, the title is correct.  I used to be a Twi-hard.  But fear not!  I was just a little 7th grader who was excited about the movie coming out and all of my friends were reading the series.  If any of you haven't a clue to what I am talking about, I am talking about the Twilight saga by Stephenie Meyer.

Twilight (Twilight, #1)New Moon (Twilight, #2)
Eclipse (Twilight, #3)Breaking Dawn (Twilight, #4)

Now, I am not a fan of the books & I wonder sometimes why I was ever a fan of the books.  I guess it was the big craze back in Jr. High and everyone was talking about it.  I didn't want to be the odd one out.  To be honest, the only books I actually liked were the first two.  I liked Twilight originally because I thought the idea was unique.  Now, looking back on it, I think it was a mediocre idea.  There wasn't a huge lesson to be learned in there.  It was just a story about a girl who falls in love with a vampire, then falls in love with a werewolf, then becomes a vampire because she gave birth to just didn't make a whole lot of sense to me.  But I will admit that at one point in my life, I was obsessed.  I remember my parents buying the series for me during Christmas and I spent my Jr. High days reading this series.  

The point where I soon realized that this series wasn't "all that" was when I read Breaking Dawn and didn't finish it until a year later.  This was the reason I lost interest in reading as much as I did before.  I was looking at my stats that I kept in my book notebook (contains all the books I have read since 6th grade) and here they are.  In 6th grade (when I sparked) I read 31 books.  In 7th grade (when I read the first 3 books of the series) I read 25 books.  In 8th grade (when I tried to read the last book) I only read 19 books.  Looking back, it shocks me.  My freshman year, I didn't even read a lot.  Only about 27.  But in that 27, I read the Harry Potter series.  Then my sophomore year, I read The Hunger Games series.  Theses books sparked my interest for reading again.

As I said before, there was a time when I enjoyed these books, but now things have changed.  Stephenie Meyer really is a talented writer.  Twilight just gives her a bad rep.  I mean, I recently read The Host and I loved it.  But yeah, I used to be a Twi-hard.  To those of you who love her series, good for you :)  I'm glad you enjoyed it!  Not everyone can be a fan, but really, good for you!

And if any of you were wondering...when I first read the series, I was Team Edward.  Now that I'm older, I'm Team Jacob :)

pssst!  look what I got from the thrift store the other day!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Book Reviews! The Boys Next Door and Endless Summer!

The Boys Next Door (The Boys Next Door, #1)Title/ Author: The Boys Next Door by Jennifer Echols
Publisher/ Year: Simon Pulse, 2007.
How I Read It:  Paperback (in a set with Endless Summer)
Why I Read It:  I read and LOVED The Summer series by Jenny Han and I saw that this story was similar so I gave it a shot.
Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Endless Summer (The Boys Next Door, #1-2)

Title/ Author:  Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols
Publisher/ Year:  Simon Pulse, 2010.
How I Read It:  Paperback (in a set with The Boys Next Door)
Why I Read It:  The Boys Next Door  was a great book & I thought the sequel would be worth it.
Rating:  2 stars out of 5 (IT WASN'T WORTH IT)

These books are the only books in this series by Jennifer Echols.  I got this from my library.  It was a two in one & I couldn't resist.

Summary from Goodreads: Cute, available, and one cabin over....
Lori lives for summertime on the lake. She spends all season wakeboarding, swimming, and hanging with her friends—including the two hotties in the house next door. With the Vader brothers, Lori's always been one of the guys. 
But while Lori and the "baby" brother, Adam, are inseparable friends, she can't deny a secret crush on Sean, the older Vader boy. This year Sean's been paying Lori a lot of attention, and not in a brotherly way.
But just as Lori decides to prove to Sean she's girlfriend material, she realizes that her role as girlfriend to Adam may be even more important. And by trying so hard for the perfect summer romance, she could be going way overboard...

Quick Summary for those who have not read it yet:
The Boys Next Door was such a great read and it made me think about summer and it just felt right.  I didn't really like the characters as much as I would have wanted to because they were super immature and I couldn't relate to them.  But overall, the story was cute and it ended amazingly and I recommend for anyone who loves romance.

Endless Summer on the other hand, I didn't really care for.  TOO MUCH DRAMA AND JEALOUSY AND IT WAS  UNECESSARILY SEXUAL THAT I COULD JUMP OFF A CLIFF. I GET IT. THEY LOVE EACH OTHER.  If you read the first book, I strongly recommend that you not read this book.  It will change your perspectives on the characters and I felt like it was not needed at all.  

The Review:
TBND: It was a cute story.  I liked a lot of things, like the overall plot, and how what I thought was going to happen, didn't happen.  I thought it was going to be like The Summer I Turned Pretty but the books were completely different.  Sure, they were similar, but they had different plots.  To be honest, I didn't like Lori.  She annoyed me throughout the book for the fact that she was just too much for me.  Adam was a great part of this book.  He was the younger brother, had ADHD, and he was in love with Lori.  Lori was only pretending to go out with Adam to make his older brother Sean jealous, but she found herself falling in love with Adam instead.  Adam really cares about Lori and I felt a lot of sympathy towards him.  It's hard to love someone who doesn't love you back (at first).  But I loved the things he did for Lori.  Because Adam has ADHD, he's super impulsive.  That was a unique thing about his character that made him different from a lot of characters I have read, and Lori saw past that and loved him anyway.  It was a cute relationship and I really enjoyed the plot.  It was a page turner and was great if you're into summer love stories :)

ES: Okay, brace yourselves.  I did NOT like this book.  I should have paid attention to the warning at the beginning of the second book where it said, "This book is for all the readers of The Boys Next Door who asked me to write a sequel. I would not and could not have done this without you." I always get a bit iffy about books where the author didn't plan to write a sequel and the fans wanted it. It's like those fans who want Suzanne Collins to write another book for The Hunger Games after Mockingjay. Eh. 

The Boys Next Door had a great ending. When I read Endless Summer, my thought throughout the whole book was that, "This should not have been written." I was content with the characters before, but frankly after reading Endless Summer, I found the characters a lot more annoying. The only characters I could probably cope with were McGillicuddy and Tammy. Otherwise, everyone else just got on my nerves. I wasn't a huge fan of Lori in both books, and I only like Adam in the first book.  In the second book, I know Adam has ADHD, which makes him more impulsive, but I'm sorry, his behavior and impulsiveness was too much for me.  It was overdone.  I love Adam, but the jealousy and sexual stuff was a little much.

One of the only things I liked in this book was that the characters learned maturity and developed that way. I guess I had higher expectations, because before I read this, earlier in they year I read The Summer I Turned Pretty and loved it. When I discovered this was a similar story, I wanted to read it because of how much I loved the Summer Series.

So basically YAY to The Boys Next Door and NAY to Endless Summer.

Monday, June 17, 2013

"You Never Know What You're Gonna Get."

Today, I went to the thrift shop nearby my house.  Usually I look for books.  But today was different.  I couldn't find any books I was willing to read, so I went to the second most interesting part of the thrift store, the CD section.  Most of the time, I find some good CDs by artist that I used to listen to on the radio as a little kid.  For example, I found Radio Disney Jams Volume 5.  There was Hillary Duff, Play, and the Beau Sisters.  I haven't heard these songs in forever.

Then, I spotted something interesting.  There were a bunch of CDs without a case, and there was writing all over them.  I realized, someone else burned these CDs and made a mix of a bunch of different songs.  I was so...taken by them...that I just had to have them.  It was a risk, but I couldn't help myself.  I bought maybe 4 of these CDs, took them home, and listened to them.  It was all a mystery to me.  I didn't know what to expect.  I felt so relieved when the first song came on, and I instantly recognized it.  I knew there would be a whole array of songs that I could listen to on these CDs.

Because I was so excited about the first 4 CDs, I decided to go back to the thrift store and buy a few more. In fact, I bought 6 more.  And I repeated the process, and found myself loving every second.  I loved the idea of not knowing what I was gonna get.


Sorry, I know the lighting is really bad.  But I listened to all of the songs on the CD and I noticed that the mix of songs was SUPER diverse.  Like I'll hear Taylor Swift, Maroon 5, Lil Jon, Soulja Boy, Carrie Underwood, Miley Cyrus, N*SYNC, Fergie, the person who wrote Milkshake, Pussycat Dolls, and basically anything.  It ranged from girly to hip hop/ rap.  

Strangely, I found myself analyzing the whole thing.  "So the person who made these CDs loves music.  They love different styles of music.  They love songs I have NEVER heard of before and a lot that I did like.  And based on what they wrote on the CD, they loved to have fun.  

So, I gave myself an idea.  Throughout the summer, I think it would be a cool idea to search the thrift store for used journals, old CD mixes, or anything that might tell me the story of another person.  I have no clue who these people are, but in someway, I'll find something out about them.  After listening to all of the CDs, I have an idea of what that person was like.  I am very excited to explore.

Hey, life is like a pile of self-burned never know what you're gonna get.   

Top Ten Tuesday #3: My Summer TBR!

Top Ten Tuesday is an weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week participants list their Top Ten choices for a weekly theme. This week's theme is: Top Ten Books At the Top of My Summer TBR List!

A lot of these books have been on my TBR for a long time & I've been dying to read them!  I hope my library has these books available so I can read them!  This really isn't in order.

The Book ThiefUnwind (Unwind, #1)The Red Pyramid (Kane Chronicles, #1)

 1.  The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
2. Unwind by Neal Shusterman
3. The Kane Chronicles series by Rick Riordan

Requiem (Delirium, #3)Siege and Storm (The Grisha, #2)

4. Requiem by Lauren Oliver
5. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Enclave (Razorland, #1)The Selection (The Selection, #1)

6. Enclave by Ann Aguirre
7. The Selection by Kierra Cass

Gone (Gone, #1)Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies, #1)The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking, #1)

8. Gone series by Michael Grant
9. Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
10. Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness

I definitely have my work cut out for me.  I want to see what you guys have on your TBR!  Link me up! :)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Book Review: Shadow and Bone

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)Title/ Author:  Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Publisher/ Year:  Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), 2012.
How I read it:  Hardcover
Why I read it:  It was on my TBR and a few people I know in real life gave it excellent ratings, so I got this from my library.
Rating:  5+ out of 5 stars (NEW FAVORITE)

This is the first book of the Grisha series by Leigh Bardugo.  I have heard so many good things about this book and gave it a go.  I am stil in awe.

Summary from Goodreads: The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.
Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?
The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfill her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.
But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?
Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance.

Quick Review for those who have not read it yet:
OH. MY. GOSH.  This was a super fantastic book and Leigh Bardugo deserves a standing ovation for this piece of work.  It was so amazingly brilliant and unlike anything I have ever read.  I was immediately transported into the world of Ravka and I didn't want to leave.  The plot was great, almost nothing was predictable.  I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.  This masterpiece is recommended to anyone with a functional brain.

The Review:
This book is probably one of the best books I have ever read.  No doubt.  Bardugo took me to a whole new world, so captivating and interesting and I LOVED it.  There were so many things I enjoyed about this book.

First of all, the characters.  The characters in this book were so well thought out.  I absolutely adored Alina.  I was reading this one blog post a while ago about the 3 types of YA female characters:  starts strong and gets stronger, finds hidden strength that she didn't know she had, and starts weak and gets stonger (character development!).  Alina would be categorized under "finds hidden strength she didn't know she had".  I found myself able to relate to her, which initially drew me to her.  She is in love with her best friend that she has known her whole life.  She isn't pretty.  And she tries to make the best out of the situations she is in.  Alina was a wonderful protagonist.  Then there's the Darkling.  My mind was all over the place on this guy.  At first I'm just like, "Wow, he seems really sweet."  Then I found out about his plan all along and thought, "What a sadistic creep."  In my opinion, a book is only as good as its antagonists.  Leigh Bardugo nailed it.  My perspective of the Darkling changed throughout the book.  I felt like I was Alina and her thoughts were my thoughts.  Usually, I could predict what I think the character will be like and form an opinion on them.  But this was not the case.  That's how I felt about Mal as well.  At the beginning, I thought he was an awesome character, although blind to Alina's love for him.  Then as Alina found a strange attraction to the Darkling, I started to drift away from good thoughts about Mal.  Then, when he travels with her to find the stag, I fell in love with him again.  Okay, I lost it when Mal confessed his love for Alina.  That was one of my favorite parts.  I am a very sappy person and I have a soft spot for books that involve best friends becoming lovers.  Mal would do anything to protect Alina and he loves her.  He is brave and strong and just a great overall character.

Second of all, the character development.  The story starts out with Alina and Mal as just "kids", working as a cartographer or as a tracker, swooning over the Grishas, and Mal having fun with his friends Mikhael and Dubrov.  Then near the end of the book, they have matured.  Alina understood the importance of her power as a Sun Summoner and the effect she had on people.  She learned responsibility, leadership, courage, and strength.  When Mal was separated from Alina, he realized that he couldn't live without her and he loved her.  She was the only one for him.  And at the end, Mal tells Alina that Mikhael and Dubrov were killed.  It's like everything they knew was gone.  Their world was turned upside down.  They learned to grow up.  Their struggles enlightened their reality.  This quote really explains it well, "I wanted to throw my arms around him and hug him close.  But I couldn't, not with this new Mal.  Maybe not with the old one either, I admitted to myself.  We weren't children anymore.  The ease of our closeness was a thing of the past."  I love this aspect, and it really made me think.  Experience changes people:  they lose their innocence and are forced to become more mature and knowing.

Third, the connections she made withing the book and lack of predictability.  I have to admit, I could not predict anything in this book.  Well almost, but I can't think of a part where I predicted an event happening.  I was unable to make the connection of the Darkling asking Alina about how good of a tracker that Mal was.  Then later in the book, you realize why the Darkling asked that question.  I had no clue that the Darkling was the bad guy.  I didn't see that coming at all, cause I actually liked the Darkling.  Then, everything made sense and my mind was blown.  What I really loved was the story behind the scar on Alina's palm.  When I first saw the scar mentioned in the beginning, I kept asking questions to myself about whether or not it was important, why she kept rubbing it with her fingers (thumb i think?) all the time?  And at the end of the book, I knew there was something so significant about it.  When the shard of the blue cup dug into her palm when she clung to Mal after one of his long hunting trips, she didn't want to let go, and therefore, a scar was left in it's place.  I love that connection that Leigh put there.  I LOVE IT.  I found myself smiling reading this part.  She treasured that scar, because that was the moment that everything had changed.

I loved this book.  It's a new favorite.  The writing was excellent and Leigh Bardugo is a genius.

Stacking the Shelves #1

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly event hosted on Tynga’s Reviews.  I feel like this is a good way to share what's new (book haul wise) and let you know what I'm planning on reading next!

Library Books

Girls in Pants: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, #3)The Demigod DiariesBoys "R" Us (The Clique, #11)Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise Part 1Endless Summer (The Boys Next Door, #1-2)

Girls in Pants by Ann Brashares READ
The Demigod Diaries by Rick Riordan READ
Boys R Us by Lisi Harrison READ
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo READ
Avatar the Last Airbender:  The Promise Part 1 by  
The Boys Next Door and Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols TBR

Thrift Store


The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Avalon High by Meg Cabot
The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Redwall by Brian Jacques
Specials by Scott Westerfield
Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld
Lockdown  by Alexander Gordon Smith
Shiver  by Maggie Stiefvater

One of the books I would like to mention is my copy of Alice in Wonderland.  Look at the cover.  Look at the pages.  I LOVE the old-fashioned look.  And I'm 10 times more excited to read it, just so I can read using that book.


That's all for my book haul :)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Lets Talk: Darker Books on the YA Market

Let's Talk is a fun weekly meme hosted by Melissa @ i swim for oceans. It's a great way for all of us to discuss different topics concerning books and it's a great way to share our opinions!

What do you think about darker books on the YA market?

I may not agree that some of the material within darker books are appropriate, yet, I think it's important that we have darker books on the YA market.  Sure there's a lot of topics that might be questionable or too dark for some readers, but I think it can be agreeable that some topics should be discussed to help a reader understand the world better.  It allows the reader to think about the book and ask questions.

I'll admit, there are some books that have been a little dark for me, but I'm a generally happy, bubbly, peppy person, who loves a book is light and happy.  But then, there's that side of me that finds the dark topics intriguing.  I've read my fair share of dark books like Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, and even The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare.  I remember when I was buying Clockwork Princess off my kindle, my dad (because it was his amazon account and I was still 16 back then) asked me what the book was about.  Simply put, I said it concerned shadowhunters, angels, demons, light vs. dark, etc.  He told me, isn't that a pretty dark topic to be reading about?  I agreed with him.  But the thing was, I found something intriguing about that kind of subject (although it may have partly been because I have already read the 2 previous books before that), but the concept was different and there was a deeper meaning to the book than just the plot.

Some of my friends earlier last year were not allowed to read The Hunger Games because the idea of 23 children getting murdered in an arena was not something that seemed appropriate for them.  Eventually, they were allowed to read it, and they loved it.  I always have constant discussions about that series with my friends. The dark subject within the book is something that should be talked about.  

I believe, in all darker books, there is a hidden message, or as I described earlier, a deeper meaning.  As I also said before, these topics really make you think!  Which I love.  I love it when I can read a book and afterwards, I'm filled with questions and I'm striving for answers.

I'll admit, a lot of these books are painful to read, because I feel for the characters and through reading I am able to fully captivate the struggles they face and the emotions that come with it.  Through reading books with darker topics, I am challenging myself.  I'm not always that bubbly, peppy, personality.  I love it when books take me out of my comfort zone and take me to another world where I find myself happily surprised.

This was a great discussion topic!  How about you?  What do you think?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Feature & Follow Friday #2

The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it’ll allow us to show off more new blogs!
If you wish to follow me, I'm on Bloglovin and GFC!  

This Week's Question:

Activity: Spine Poetry. Create a line of poetry with your book spines (take a picture). Not feeling creative? Tell us about your favorite poem.

Number the Stars Catching Fire.
Dark Blue, Fading Echoes
Shiver Evermore.

Let me know if you followed me, and link me up to your poem, so I can follow you & check it out :)

TBT: My Bookworm Story

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Before 6th grade, I wasn't really much of a reader.  Sure, I've read Little House in the Big Woods or those various books for book reports, but to be honest, I never really did much reading at all.  It was all about watching TV or watching the movies that were based on book (yes I used to be one of those people and I deeply regret it).  Then in 6th grade, my world was turned upside down.

In 6th grade, there was this competition between all the other 6th grade classes called "Battle of the Books". I thought it was really cool!  You know, I hadn't read too many books, but the list of books seemed really interesting.  It was all Middle Grade.  But of course, I was in Middle Grade after all.  The more books you read from the list, the more prizes you get.  And at the end of the year, there is a competition between the boys and the girls where the librarian asked trivia questions about a certain book, and our goal was to answer which book it was.  We had all year to read these books and we even skipped a couple of periods just to spend time in the library reading.  I think what really pushed me is that there were girls in my class who loved reading and one of them read about 750 words a minute.  This was a time when if you weren't reading, it just wasn't cool at all.  EVERYONE was into this competition.

So, I spent a lot of my time reading so many books, especially those on the list, and later discovered that a few have become some of my favorite books of all time.  I did a couple of book reports on books from the list (this was required!).  I read Warriors:  Into the Wild by Erin Hunter and City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau.  Eventually, I continued on with these series because I became so intrigued and delighted with the stories and they just became a part of me instantly.  

Then I read other books that I have grown to love such as The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall, Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy, and one of the books that has been close to my heart ever since, The Lightning Thief by (Uncle Rick) Rick Riordan.  This was the first time I heard about the series, from a classmate who had written a book report about it, and shared it with the class.  Ever since, I was hooked.  

But the Percy Jackson series was not my favorite series when I was a 6th grader.  It was the beloved Warriors series which I keep even closer to my heart.  This series was the reason I fell in love with books.  Out of the 31 books I had read that year, 13 were from the Warriors series.  

When the competition came, the girls were ready to destroy the boys.  But first, because it was near the end of the year, we celebrated our own Book Day.  You know how when you were younger, you had the A-Z days until the school year was over?  Well we had Book Day.  That was one of the most fun days of my life. We read for a lot of the day, awarded awards to the people who read the most books, and we even had a "play" competition.  We went into groups of 4, and our mission was to act out a scene from one of the books on the list.  My friends and I acted out a scene from the third book of the Warriors series.  Because we were acting as cats, we were on our hands and knees.  And because these cats were well, warriors, we pretend fought :)  Our group won because all the boys approved of our fighting and violence.  Then the competition.  We crushed the boys.  There were three of us girls, including me, that have read the most books and we led our team to victory.  As a prize, we won a book!  Well, we got to pick first.  I got another book from the Warriors series.  It was a good day.

After 6th grade, I continued to read books throughout the years, and now I just finished my junior year of high school.  Since 6th grade, I have read 208 books.  It doesn't seem like a lot for most of you book bloggers out there, but for me, it feels like an accomplishment.  I have made it this far, and I have not stopped, and I never will.  Because of my 6th grade year, books have become my life.  They are a part of me.  I wouldn't have it any other way :)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Book Review: Girls In Pants (The Third Summer of the Sisterhood)

Girls in Pants: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, #3)Title/ Author:  The Second Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares
Year/ Publisher:  Ember, 2006.
How I read it:  Hardcover
Why I read it:  It was on my TBR for a while but never got to it, so I got it from my library.
Rating:  4/5

This is the third book of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares.  To be honest, I wasn't that excited after reading the second book of the series, but it had been a while since I had last read something from Ann, so I thought, "hey, why not?"  So I gave the 3rd book a shot.

Summary from Goodreads:  The Pants first came to us at the perfect moment. That is, when we were splitting up for the first time. It was two summers ago when they first worked their magic, and last summer when they shook up our lives once again. You see, we don’t wear the Pants year-round. We let them rest so they are extra powerful when summer comes. (There was the time this spring when Carmen wore them to her mom’s wedding, but that was a special case.)
Now we’re facing our last summer together. In September we go to college. And it’s not like one of those TV shows where all of us magically turn up at the same college. We’re going to four different colleges in four different cities (but all within four hours of one another—that was our one rule). We’re headed off to start our real lives. 
Tomorrow night at Gilda’s we’ll launch the Pants on their third summer voyage. Tomorrow begins the time of our lives. It’s when we’ll need our Pants the most.

Quick Review for those who have not read it yet:
Well, first off, if you haven't read the first 2 books of the series, WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?  If you finished the second book and aren't sure if you should continue with the series, then definitely read this short little paragraph.  I believe it is worth it to keep reading.  Your reading experience may be different from mine depending on which of the girls' stories is the most intriguing to you.  But I think you should definitely continue.  You won't regret it!

The Review:
I'm going to be very honest.  I didn't know at first how intrigued I would be by this book.  I didn't really enjoy the second book as much but I decided to give this series a shot again.  I was pleasantly surprised.  Though I feel kind of ashamed that for about the majority of the book, I was only concerned with what was happening with Bee.  I really wish that wasn't how it was, but it was.  Out of all the four girls, I think Bee is my favorite, but I love all the girls.  I don't hate any of them or think that their character isn't important.  I just felt like Bee's was more entertaining and suspenseful.  When I read the synopsis and sensed Eric would be back, my heart flipped!  I was hoping for some unanswered questions from the first book to FINALLY be answered!  That was the main reason I began to get so eager with what was going on.

The best part about this book was the character development of all the characters.  I loved Bee's (as I already talked briefly about).  I thought the summers of Carmen, Lena, and Tibby were pretty impacting as well.  I thought their stories were something to be remembered as well!  Tibby found love, vulnerability, and strength.  She was put through a tough time when her sister fell out the window and when Carmen's mother had the baby.  Not to mention, Brian came flooding into her life with arms wide open.  I saw amazing character development in Tibby.  I love the metaphor of her job at the movie theater, where she saw a movie 14 times and it got boring after a while.  Then, when she asked the nurse if it got boring to see the birth of child, she said that it was the same thing, but a different miracle every time or something like that.  I loved that aspect.  I think Tibby learned to let go of worries and learn to be strong when things get rough.

Carmen had a great character development as well.  She learned to take on the role of responsibility.  She kept believing that she wasn't this "Good Carmen" that the boy she started falling for, Win, saw.  She believed her actions were selfish.  She was resenting her mother having a baby.  She hated watching over Valia, but she need to earn money.  But spending more time with Valia, she understood.  Helping Christina with the baby, she understood.  Carmen didn't realize that she was doing these things out of the goodness of her heart in the long run.  She ended up liking Valia.  She ended up going to the college of her dreams after having doubts about leaving home.  She also ended up with a great guy who was just as good as she was; they deserved each other.

Lena's character went from shy to strong.  As much as her father disapproved of her going to art school, she pushed hard so she could get a scholarship.  She lied to her father just so she could go to art classes.  She was able to stand up to him so that she would be able to do what she would with the gift she was given.  Lena was an artist, and she fought for what she loved.  Eventually, her hard work paid off, and she got her father's approval.  Sometimes, you have to fight for what you believe is right, even if it seems impossible.

Bee had a fantastic character development.  Two summers ago, she was a flirty, love stuck 15 year old with a crush on the hot soccer coach.  This summer, she was a composed, love stuck 17 year old with a longing heart for the hot soccer coach she believed she could never have.  She felt herself drawn to him, but knew in her heart, she had to try to be friends with him, which she accomplished.  Eventually, she discovered he felt the same way, and Eric broke up with his girlfriend because it didn't feel right with her.  It felt right with Bridget.  Two summers ago, she was childish with Eric.  This summer, she felt more love from him in a simple embrace.

All the girls learned lessons and learned things about themselves and about others, which makes me believe that this was an amazing book.  If there's anything I love most about good books, it's when there's good character development.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #2: Top Ten Beach Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is an weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each week participants list their Top Ten choices for a weekly theme. This week's theme is: Top Ten Beach Reads!

The way I define a "beach read" is something that can get you in the mood for summer.  Most of the books here remind me of summer in some aspect :)

The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer, #1)  The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)    Christy Miller Collection, Vol. 1 (Christy Miller, #1-3)

1. The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han.  "Summer lovin, had me a blast!"
2. Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan.  Hello?  Summer camp?  Except for demigods?  
3. The Christy Miller series by Robin Jones Gunn.  Hot surfer dudes and 14 year old girls on vacation in California!  YEAH!

Angel's GraceThe Last Song  

4. Angel's Grace by Tracey Baptiste.  Summer in Trinidad with a bit of mystery.  So great!
5. The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks.  Nothing says "beach read" than a summer romance by a beach in North Carolina.

   The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Sisterhood, #1)The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy
6. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares.  Pants are a girl's best friend!
7. The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall.  Read this back in 6th grade & the four girls in this story make the most of their summer and make it one to remember.

The Truth About ForeverStargirl (Stargirl, #1) Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, #1)

8. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen.  A truly beautiful love story.
9. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli.  One word:  magical.
10. Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison.  I feel kinda summer-y whenever I read a story that takes place in England.

What's your top 10?

Book Review: Harken

Harken (Harken, #1)Title/ Author:  Harken by Kaleb Nation
Publisher/ Year: 2013
How I Read It:  Kindle
Why I Read It:  Many of my favorite booktubers recommended the book.
Rating:  3.5 stars out of 5

This is the first book in the Harken series by Kaleb Nation.  I was originally interested in this book due to the fact that many of my favorite booktubers (who I trust very much with recommendations) have read this book and were so captivated by it.  I was captivated as well.

Summary from Goodreads: After surviving an assassination attempt, teenager Michael Asher discovers that he is at the center of a worldwide conspiracy reaching higher than any earthly power. A supernatural organization desperately wants him dead. He doesn't know why. Everyone who might have the answers has already been killed.
Tumbling into a web of international secrets, Michael is forced to fight back and dig up the truth. He begins to question how much of the world is truly as people are led to believe it is. Are there things that humanity is not being told? Who is the puppet master? And how far into the maze can he venture before he is lost forever?

Quick Review for those who have not read it yet:
This book was very captivating and quick paced and was so full of mystery and suspense.  The characters and the plot were very well thought out & Kaleb has really come up with such a great story.  If you like mystery & action, this book is for you.   Yes, this is a YA/ MG novel.  To be honest, when I first started reading it, I thought the concept was awesome, it's just that it was a little hard for me to sit down and keep reading.  Like, after certain chapters when I should have been urging myself to move on because something significant happened, I just didn't get that feeling.  Otherwise, great book & recommended.

The Review:
Michael Asher is a very interesting character with an interesting power.  He has the Glimpse, in which through photographs, and sometimes through direct eye contact, he is able to see the emotions of the person in the picture at that exact moment in time.  His room was full of faces.  Each face had a different emotion, a different story to tell, and it was known as his Great Work.  I LOVED his character.  I thought he was a great protagonist for the book.  The only thing is he didn't think through things and didn't think about how his actions affected others.  He spoke without thinking.  Yet, he was so freaking brave.  When he found out about  the conspiracy against him, he wanted to know more.  When he discovered he had claws and scales, he may have been confused, but of course he wanted to find out more.  This led him to Thad and Callista.

Thad and Callista are Michael's Chosens.  Michael is a Guardian.  Near the beginning of the book, Callista was thought to be dead, until Thad saves his life from the monk and Callista shoots down a plane for him.  Thad and Callista have this amazing connection with Michael and they are sworn to protect him.  I love Thad and Callista's characters.  Thad was brave, strong, and wise.  Callista was strong, strong-willed, and was a killer female lead.  What killed me about these characters was their backstory.  I love it when characters you thought you knew tell their backstory to another character, and immediately, your mind is blown.  The thing with Thad and Sophia killed me.  We don't know what happened to Sophia (though I hope we do by the next book in the series).  Callista lost her entire family to an evil Guardian, Wyck, who is trying to kill Michael.  They both lost everything they love for Michael's sake.  Then when Michael lost his mother, you saw his vulnerability and he finally feels the brunt of what Thad and Callista had felt.  All three of them are strong characters and their personalities balance each other out.

So more about the plot.  My mind was blown when Michael, Thad, and Callista discover that they are reincarnations of a former Guardian and two Chosens who attempted to finish what was started the first time.  When they found out that the Blade was probably the only thing that would give them the power to save the world from these evil Guardians like Wyck.  The dreams each of the characters had led them to each other, and most importantly to the Blade, which was their key to success, but also could have been their downfall if it was in the wrong hands.  This is what made the book so suspenseful!  You didn't know what the character was going to do next.  Michael kept putting himself in danger to save the ones he loved, even if it meant risking his life (which meant risking Thad and Callista's lives as well).

This book also showed the cruelty of society.  Michael couldn't trust anyone.  Usually, you would think the police or people like the monk were on his side, but they were controlled by the greater power that wanted Michael and his friends dead.  When the false headlines went out that Michael was a psychopath that murdered his family and crashed a plane, everything was hitting Michael at full force.  His mother had just been murdered by Wyck, his house was burning down, and he was made to believe that Alli, one of the people he cared about most in the world was gone.  The concept of a society against you was a well thought part of this book.  It made the reader think.

The thing I didn't like about this book was that I couldn't really get into it at the beginning, and I felt like I had to force myself to keep reading.  Also, I found some parts predictable.  I had a huge feeling that Callista was still alive.  I also had a huge feeling that Alli never really died.  I mean there were some parts of the story line that I was unable to predict, but for the most part, I found myself saying, "I totally knew it".  And I gave myself a little smile.

I thought this book was so great and the last chapter made me want to read the next book.  I love Michael and Callista's relationship & I want to see where it will go.  That last sentence killed me.  I also want to know what happened to the rest of the Guardians now that Michael has the Blade.  I am also kinda confused about why in the first place the rest of the Guardians are trying to kill Michael, Thad and Callista.  Maybe I'll get it more in the next book.
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