Back to School Countdown, Book(s) #3
A Great and Terrible Beauty
The Sweet Far Thing
by Libba Bray
Now THESE books are amazing... I would highly recommend them to anyone, even someone who takes one look at them and thinks, "Oh, that's just not my thing." One of my best friends had that same attitude, and she ended up loving them.
Anyways, these books really do have everything. From the very first chapter (or is it the prologue?) of the first book, you are pulled into the suspense and mystery that is Gemma Doyle's life. After her mom mysteriously dies, Gemma is sent to Spence Academy. (Yay for an actual school!) Which, in typical suspenseful fashion, brings about all sorts of exciting happenings. Not only is there a mysterious Indian boy (yay!), drama at school (not so yay!) and magical realms, these books are completely jam-packed with excitement and intrigue.
They're good. Just read them. I suck at summaries, so I probably did them no justice in that above paragraph. But still, take my advice. They are really really good.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Reviewed by Chelsie at 4:57 PM
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Question: What do you get when you take . . .
1 overachieving girl + 1 insanely cute guy + 1 massive fine + 1 scheme involving a little dishonesty and a whole lot of cash?
I've always been the good girl—working seriously long hours at my family's restaurant and getting straight As. And Camden King was always just that hot, popular guy I'd pass in the halls, whose ego was probably much bigger than his brain. I didn't think there'd ever be a reason for us to actually, like, interact.
Then again, I never thought I'd mess up so badly that my family might lose our entire restaurant if I didn't come up with a ton of money, and fast. So that's where Camden comes in—he and his evil/genius plan to do kids' homework for cash.
I know cheating's wrong, but it's better than being dead, right? Which is what I'd be if my parents knew about what happened. I never expected things to spin so far out of control. Or that I'd be such a sucker for Camden's lopsided grin. Or that falling apart could be the best thing that ever happened to me.
Answer: The time of my life.
This book was extremely good. I wasn't sure what I was expecting, but it wasn't this... I knew it'd be funny, but that was basically the extent of my knowledge.
I was extremely pleased to see that this book had even more going for it than hilarity.
Let's start with the main character. Maya was extremely believable, extremely flawed, and extremely real. She's the type of person I could probably meet walking down the street, or in a bookstore, or just anywhere. She's someone I could imagine having a conversation with. Which just makes her so easy to relate to.
And then there's the plot. What a crazy, wild scheme that Maya comes up with! And Cherry Cheva found a way to make it believable! I couldn't imagine something like this happening in my school, and yet somehow reading this book it seemed entirely plausible.
Finally, you have the ending. Semi-cheesy, but still entirely perfect for this book. Things didn't necessarily end how I expected them to, but that's only because I wasn't sure what to expect. This book was so crazy and fun, I never knew what would happen.
I am really really looking forward to reading Cherry's next book.
The only bad thing I can think of was the cheesiness. Because, I'll admit, there was a lot of cheese. But for this book, it just worked. So I'm not going to complain.
Reviewed by Chelsie at 6:12 PM
Back to School Countdown, Book(s) #4
I'd Tell You I Love You, But then I'd Have to Kill You
Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy
by Ally Carter
Ah, what a fantastic series.
Completely original and different, the Gallagher Girls novels are amazing. What other books can you read about secret boarding schools for spies? I know I haven't heard of any... and if you have, please let me know some titles and I'll put them on my wish list. Because any books like these are ones I'm sure to like.
Now, besides the creative and unique idea behind it, what did I like about these novels? Well, for starters they are full of hilarious, laugh-out-loud moments. Apart from that, the characters were spies but still believable (which I imagine is no easy feat, to make a group of spy girls into real human beings) and the books were addictive and impossible to put down.
Reviewed by Chelsie at 4:07 PM
Friday, August 29, 2008
Back to School Countdown, Book(s) #5
the Private novels
by Kate Brian
For probably the first time on this list, I have used the word "school" correctly. Because this is all what these novels are about: school.
Or, more specifically, Easton Academy, which is a prestigious school that main character Reed Brennan has a hard time fitting in at. Everyone there is rich, smart, glamorous... everything Reed wants to be.
And more than anything, she wants to a Billings girl. She wants to be a member of the elite group of Easton. And she's willing to do anything to get there.
I loved these novels... they are a step above the A-List and Gossip Girl, and there's also a touch of mystery and suspense, which just adds to the intrigue. For me, these are major guilty pleasure novels... they aren't the deepest, most insightful, or best-written novels ever, but there is definitely something about them that just screams addictive.
The series, in order:
Revelation (September 16)
Plus, an upcoming Prequel.
It doesn't look like this series is ending anytime soon =D
Reviewed by Chelsie at 3:55 PM
Since starting Teen Tuesday, I have found myself thinking about it a lot. I wouldn't call it quite an obsession, but it's definitely something I think about on a daily basis.
Mostly, though, I find myself wanting to post. All the time. For instance, right now it's Friday and I am drafting my next Teen Tuesday post in my head. I can see it now, a short description of what I've been reading (which is hardly exciting, especially this week) and then a huge list of all the books I have left to read, along with the word: HELP!
Because with school starting, and cheerleading, and all sorts of other stuff going on, I have so much to read. And very little time to read it. It's been like this a lot, especially since I went on a huge book shopping spree back in July.
So many books, so little time. That's something I know every reviewer, or even every reader, has said at least once. And then there are also days where I look at my stack of books and just wish for something to pull at me and make me want to read it.
That has happened a couple times. The book Exit Here by Jason Myers, for instance, has been calling at me ever since I first picked it up. For some reason, just the book cover (so simple) and the back of the book, and even just the size and feel of the book, make me want to just devour it.
And then Ivy by Julie Hearn has such an amazing cover, and that is honestly enough to make me want to read it. I don't even think I know anything else about it, besides that the cover is beautiful and the pages smell pretty.
Of course, there's also the one that should be calling me that isn't: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. I have heard nothing but good things about this book, and I've had it on my shelf since I bought it in January (eight months, people!) and I still have yet to read it. I've wanted to, yes, but I just can't bring myself to do it.
There are a couple reasons why, though. Part of it is because with books I own, I take my time reading them. There's no deadline, and with Thirteen Reasons Why it wasn't a book given to me to review, so I feel no pressure (other than that of the self-inflicted sort) to finish it soon.
I also hear that it's something that I could just fly through, and finish it in a night. Those types of books are some of my favorite kinds, but the problem is, I don't have a whole lot of time to read. My days are chopped up, and I read a little here, a little there. With a book like Thirteen Reasons Why, I have a feeling that I will be sucked in and forced to read it, and forget about everything else. I want to wait for a day where it just feels right, where I have nothing better to do than to sit on my bed with the radio playing 95.5 (or possibly my new Theory of a Deadman CD) and just absorb myself in it.
Now the above mentioned books are only a small part of the pile of books I have cluttering this desk. *sigh* Ah, the pressures of reading. But it's such a rewarding hobby.
Reviewed by Chelsie at 1:24 PM
Thursday, August 28, 2008
"My mother had four daughters by four different men."
There's only one way Shelby and her sisters can describe their mother: She's a sexpot. Helen Kimura collects men (and loans, spending money, and gifts of all kinds) from all over the country. Sure, she's not your typical role model, but she's also not just a pretty face and nail polish. She is confident and brave; she lives life on her own terms, and her four daughters simply adore her. These girls have been raised outside the traditional boundaries. They know how to take the back exit. They know how to dodge crazed lovers in highway car chases. They do not, however, know how to function without one another.
Then suddenly they must. A late-night phone call unexpectedly shreds the family apart, catapulting the girls across the country to live with their respective fathers. But these strong-willed sisters are, like their mother, determined to live life on their own terms, and what they do to pull their family back together is nothing short of beautiful.
At turns wickedly funny and insistently thought-provoking, Outside Beauty showcases Cynthia Kadohata's unerring ability to explore the bonds that bind.
I really like the concept of this book. The thought that four girls, who are technically only half-sisters but who consider themselves to be sisters, was really interesting to read about. It's not something you think about, really, or expect to see in a book, but here it is.
The characters in this book were all unique; each sister had their own personality, and their mother was by far the most fascinating person out of them all. I find myself wanting to know more about her past, and how she came to be how she is. I am also interested in her future, and what happened after the last page.
I really disliked the pacing of this book. It seemed almost rushed, and too much time passed by too quickly. It seemed like the author relied more on feelings and relationships than on details and descriptions, which fit some parts of the books but ruined other parts.
It was mostly the lack of details that ruined this book for me. I understand the message, and I completely respect the idea behind it all, but it seemed like there was too much missing out of the story for me to really feel like it ended.
Overall, though, it wasn't bad. I'd just say it wasn't great, either.
Reviewed by Chelsie at 6:03 PM
Back to School Countdown, Book(s) #6
Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment
Maximum Ride: School's Out-Forever
Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports
by James Patterson
Once again in this list, I stretched my definition of "school."
While technically not a school as we think of it, there is definitely some sort of school in these novels.
And that "school" is technically a science lab, the one that turned Max and her family into genetically enhanced birds. Which, when you put it like that, sounds like a creepy science-fiction novel that you would never read in a thousand years (which is kind of what I was thinking when I first picked up the first book).
However, the similarity between these kids and birds ends with the wings and abilities to fly. Apart from the wings and some other special abilities, these kids are just normal people, shunned from the rest of the world because of their mutations, and trying to escape the Erasers (who are also special science projects, although these are evil) who want to take them back to the School and use them as lab rats.
Now, I really should stop with the summarizing, because I'm really not good at it. The point is, these novels are fast-paced, interesting, and fun. They're not really your typical young adult fantasy novels, which is exactly why they appealed to me.
Just give 'em a try. It won't hurt anything.
Reviewed by Chelsie at 3:44 PM
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Back to School Countdown, Book #7
by Meg Cabot
Making number 7 on the list is a book by one of my absolute favorite authors ever, Meg Cabot. But there's definitely a big difference between Avalon High and the Princess Diaries. Because while there are no fat cats and tiaras in this novel, Meg managed to entertain me all the same.
This wasn't my favorite of hers, but I love the mix between fluffy romance and nail-biting suspense, and also the interesting take on history and King Arthur.
So where does the school come in? Well, in the title: Avalon High School is where Ellie (the main character) starts to go to school, in the beginning of the novel. The school is where she first starts to realize a strange pattern between some of the students, and the similarities between her friends and people she knows only from her history books.
So, all in all, this book was cute and fun, and definitely something to read if you want reassurance that your shcool is, in fact, normal.
Reviewed by Chelsie at 3:31 PM
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
One girl. Two guys. Who says three's a crowd? When Mandy takes an unusual summer job-in construction-she has to prove she's just one of the guys. But she gets more than she bargains for being the only girl on the job. The mixture of hot guys, sunscreen, raw wood and testosterone proves to be an elixir she can't protect her heart from. Brooding Boston and flirty AJ find themselves looking at Mandy as more than just a girl who holds a hammer. Mandy soon finds herself not only lost in a whirlwind of a male-dominated world, but also the center of an inadvertently "constructed" love triangle. Mandy must choose between two guys who want her heart. But what's a girl to do when she wants them both?
My Abnormal Review:
This book was cute. There really isn't a whole lot else I could say about it, besides cute. My first impression of the book was bad, bad, bad, because the cover was so terrible and did the worst job of getting readers to take a second glance. I took one look at it and I instantly hated it, and wished that I could find some way to get rid of the cover and replace it with something better. It probably would have gotten me to read it much faster.
Cover aside, it wasn't a bad book. Fun, lighthearted, and cute. A good summer read, but there wasn't much else there. The author tried to sound insightful, but with the subject matter of the book, it still didn't do much to make it more than a fun beach read.
Nailed really wasn't anything special. I wouldn't go around recommending it to anybody, but if you're thinking about reading it I'll say go ahead.
Reviewed by Chelsie at 5:50 PM
So, it's almost that time again. School time!
Now, I realize that there are some of you who may already be back in school. But this is just a fun list of books that relate to school, or are about schools. These are basically all the school-related books I've read (well, the completely relevant ones), and I'll be counting down to my absolute favorite, which will be posted on September 2nd, which is my first day of school. (Eeek!)
Feel free to share your favorites, give me recommendations on what you think are good books relating to school, and try and guess what my #1 book is going to be =D
Back to School Countdown, Book # 8
by Mariah Fredericks
While not all about one particular school, like many on this list are, this book relates to a very important part of any high-schoolers life: The SATs.
Well, as I was reading this, I was starting to get stressed about the SATs just like Max, Daisy, Leo, and Jane were. The whole thought of such a huge important test is terrifying, and even though I was only in 8th grade when I read this, I was realizing how very important the SATs are, and how they can bring people closer together, or rip them apart.
This book, which I read a little less than three years ago, has something about it that makes it memorable, and definitely a good pick for someone who's trying to get over their own school stress and live through a group of people who have definitely got enough stress of their own.
Reviewed by Chelsie at 3:12 PM
Sunday, August 24, 2008
The return of Violet, the not-so- confident model…
Violet Greenfield knows she’s supposed to be a super-confident nineteen-year-old because she’s done runway shows in New York and internationally. But now that she’s finally headed to college, she’s afraid she’ll turn back into that girl who blended into the walls in high school. Vassar is just two hours away from New York City––her friends in fashion think she’s crazy to stop modeling now. And her old friend Roger is there...but things have been weird ever since they kissed. The real question is if she’s not going to be “Violet on the Runway” anymore...who is she?
My Abnormal Review:
I really really really like this series. I find it hard to write reviews on series books, though, because once you get into the series its hard to find things to say that are new. This is one of those series that is just consistently good. The story is good and funny. I love Violet as a character, simply because she's not the stereotypical model. And I was also extremely glad that there was some character progression going on. The third book didn't just go in a circle back to how it was before... things changed, Violet changed, her surroundings changed. And it was a refreshing change.
This is a good series. Definitely worth my time, and probably worth yours too.
Don't forget to comment on this review to get an extra entry in my Violet in Private contest =D
Reviewed by Chelsie at 5:35 PM
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Extremely lazy and tired.
My week has been too busy, and I've had a hard time sleeping lately. So I just can't post the reviews I want to right now.
Tomorrow I have stuff going on all day. I have an appointment in the morning, then I have to help my mom study for this math test she's taking (proof that what you learn in high school is unimportant, because the simplest things I've known since like fourth grade, she has no idea), and then I have cheerleading practice (I'm wondering what ya'll are thinking about me being a cheerleader? hmm...) and after cheerleading I fully intend on going shopping with my friend Justinne, and then going to stay with her for the night.
So I won't be back online for real until Friday afternoon.
*sigh* I need a break from the computer anyways.
Anyways, when I get back expect a review of both Nailed by Jennifer Laurens and Violet in Private.
And in the meantime, some non-book-related videos that I happen to like a lot. Watch if you'd like, or not... whichever. Just thought I'd put them here =D I also happen to think they are hilarious and awesome.
Hank and John Green are awesome, and I'll admit I recently (um, in June) became addicted to the videos, but even so I still plan on watching every one of them.
Ha. Ha. My brother showed me this, actually... and I actually downloaded this song...
This just amuses the hell out of me.
Now this is just hilarious, especially the cheesy music =P
Reviewed by Chelsie at 11:50 PM
Monday, August 18, 2008
*Teen Tuesday is the day we set aside for teen book lovers to visit with each other to find out what's being read in the world of young adult literature. You can comment whether you are a participant or not. Visit all the posters at teentuesday.blogspot.com*
In the past week, I have read two books.
At least, I think it's two. Now I'm wondering when I finished Violet in Private...
Okay, now that I have reminded myself of what I posted about last week, I realized I read more than I expected.
First I finished What the Storyteller Brings, which picked up tremendously towards the end. There won't be an official review on my blog, but if you would like to read my review it's posted on amazon, right here. It'll be easy to find, it's the most recent review (as of this blog post) and it's got my name on it. =D
After that (literally the very same day) I started and finished Violet in Private, which was absolutely freaking amazing and I can't wait for the next book. It seems like the books just keep getting better as they go! At first I was a little iffy, wondering if I'd enjoy the series, but now I know I love it, and I am really extremely excited to read more!
I would definitely recommend this series. Even if you don't think it's your thing, the books are definitely worth trying. Expect a review of it on my blog sometime either tomorrow or Wednesday. Which means that everyone who entered in my contest gets their last opportunity for extra entries =D
And after that, I took a break from my important to-be-reviewed books and read a smaller, younger book called Locomotion. It's by Jacqueline Woodson, and I picked it up at the library because I was looking for something short, and different. It's written in poems, and it was actually a very good book. Once again, I'm not going to have an official review on my blog, but eventually I might get to posting a small, simple review on Amazon. The book was nothing spectacular, but it was certainly interesting and extremely quick, so if you wanna read something quick and easy then I'd say go for it.
After that, I took a very short break from reading, and started up again with my copy of Nailed by Jennifer Laurens (to be released on September 22). After reading the first fifty pages or so slowly, I really got into it. There were some passages that I really loved, because they relate to my current guy situation (which is pretty sticky, if I do say so myself, but that's not something I should get into on Teen Tuesday... =P) so well. I am planning on posting those passages on my personal blog, Almost Available, even though I don't expect anyone to read them. I just want to keep them in my head...
So, as for the book itself, I don't need a long period of reflection to understand how I felt about it. I finished it about 45 minutes ago now, and my feelings are like this: it was cute, it was fun, it was interesting. Worth the read, but nothing extremely spectacular. A good time-waster with a happily-ever-after.
And now that concludes my reading week. I'd say it's been pretty successful... and I thought I only read two books =P Now I'm onto either Unbelievable by Sara Shepard or The Midnight Twins by Jacquelyn Mitchard. Not sure which yet. Any suggestions?
Reviewed by Chelsie at 11:58 PM
Saturday, August 16, 2008
My blog layout.
Bear with me if you happen to stop by in the middle of it and there's nothing left... I'll fix it.
Okay, I changed it. I know the other one was prettier, but it got frustrating with just one sidebar. I wanted to make it simpler.
Reviewed by Chelsie at 6:58 PM
I first heard about this event over at Shooting Stars Mag, and so I just had to sign up and share. It's such a great idea, and after reading what was said about book bloggers I was completely flattered, even though it was aimed at book bloggers as a whole, and not just me. I felt like it could be me, with how accurate it was.
Anyways, click here to go to the original post. Or, read on and you'll see the original post:
Book Bloggers: You work hard. You read books, you write reviews, you maintain relationships with your readers, publicists, and authors. You are constantly running to the post office to mail your giveaways and participating in carnivals to help boost traffic. You sometimes want to faint when you see the size of your TBR pile, but faithfully you read. And you do it because you love it. Book blogging is for most a hobby. But it's a hobby that takes a lot of work and time. It's a labor of love.
I've been blogging for three years but only really got into book blogging in the last year. I have found, without a doubt, that book bloggers are the kindest, most open minded, and supportive group of bloggers on the internet. With book blogging, it's about community and a love for the written word.
The Readers: We love you! You don't have a blog, but you read our reviews and share your thoughts with us. You enter our giveaways and click on our Amazon associates link. We do this for you and appreciate your readership. We hope you'll join in the fun and festivities of BBAW! (we'll have a special contest just for you!)
Book Blogger Appreciation Week: Acknowledging the hard work of book bloggers and their growing impact on book marketing and their essential contribution to book buzz in general, I am excited to announce the first Book Blogger Appreciation Week. Think of it as a retreat for book bloggers and a chance for us to totally nerd out over books together. And of course, shower each other with love and appreciation.
Register: In order to experience the maximum impact of the week, I invite you to register your participation (just like a retreat)!
To register, just send an email to bookbloggerappreciationweekATgmailDOTcom with your blog url and what you consider your niche...i.e, general book blog, classics blog, personal blog with a healthy dose of books, YA books blog, etc. Then, add one of the two buttons at the bottom of this post to your sidebar. If you are a reader (no blog) just send an email announcing your plans to follow along.
Why bother? If you register, you will be added to a book blog directory which will exist long after this week is over. Additionally, you will receive one raffle entry into the daily giveaways during BBAW here at My Friend Amy.
Awards: Oh yes, there will be awards. The Oscars of Book Blogging. :) Nominations start next week.
Spread the Word: If you are excited about this idea like I am and the other book bloggers who are helping, please consider writing a post on your blog announcing this event and inviting other book bloggers and readers to join.
Help Wanted: If you have a talent for designing buttons (like those below) and would like to donate some of your time and skill to me, please email me personally at mypalamyATgmailDOTcom
So there you have it, the original post.
Personally, I love the idea... but I've already said that. Just go to the blog, register, etc. It'll be fun.
Reviewed by Chelsie at 12:21 PM
Friday, August 15, 2008
Author: Melissa Walker
I was going to get out of the modeling business for good.
But now I'm having trouble sticking with my decision. After all, if it wasn't for modeling, I might still be the invisible wallflower. Hot guys like Paulo wouldn't be interested in me. And I'd never have seen Brazil or Spain-and now France! On the other hand...
I also wouldn't have to choose between my best friend from home and my agent's shrill demands. Or anguish over my body the way only runway models do. Not to mention all this trouble I'm getting into for speaking out in the press about eating disorders.
Maybe the life of an international model isn't for me. But if I quit for good, I might always wonder...What if?
I only liked the first Violet book... and I didn't feel like it was my cup of tea. However, I knew I wanted to read the second. And, with the release of Violet in Private, I figured what better time to read them.
I am SO glad I didn't give up after the first book. The sequel was much better... while the first book was good, the second was great. I really liked the characters, and the story was a much easier one to get into, while still relating to the first book in all the ways that mattered. And then, of course, with the addictive story line, I finished the book in one night, and the somewhat cliffhanger ending left me wanting more, more, more!
Eek. Hard to say, really, what I didn't like about it. Because there really isn't anything bad about it... Nothing at all. I think I just got annoyed at the characters, and the Wow Factor (eek, quoting Simon Cowell... it sucks to be me) wasn't there for me. It was good, but nothing bounced out at me for being great, except for an addictive plot and some awesome characters.
But now... Violet in Private, here I come!
Don't forget to comment on this post to receive an extra entry into my Violet in Private contest!
Reviewed by Chelsie at 8:52 PM
Thursday, August 14, 2008
From the top, you can see everything…except yourself.
When Casey McCloy steps into the elegant Bramford building, she’s overwhelmed. Fresh from the Midwest, she’s moved to New York’s Upper East Side to live with her grandmother and attend the prestigious Meadowlark Academy. Here all that matters is who you know. The girl to know is Madison Macallister: popular, pretty, platinumblond. She’s not just Casey’s new classmate and neighbor; she’s an icon. So Casey aims to get in with Madison and her gorgeous gal-pals from the start. As the reigning queen of coolness, Madison is capable of destroying reputations with one welltimed whisper. Better to be on her good side.
But after a city-haute makeover from her new frenemy Madison, Casey is wearing the right clothes, saying the right things, and meeting the right people—including Drew, the boy-about-town who Madison thinks belongs to her and her alone.
This was an extremely quick read, which makes it automatically at least semi-good in my book. Another good thing is that yes, it is different from your typical ritzy, fashion-obsessed Gossip Girl novel. But it still is a novel about the upper-class, it just has a bit more depth to it than Those Other Novels.
But now I have to say, there was nothing notable or exciting about the book. I wasn't blow away, even a little. It was cute, it was fun, it was good. But it wasn't something that I remember well now, a couple weeks after finishing it.
But this is the hard thing about the book, and also the reason why I can't do my typical Good/Bad review for it. There was nothing good about it, but there was nothing bad, either. It was sort of neutral for me. I don't regret reading it, but I wouldn't necessarily want to own it or read it again.
I have read many good reviews for this book, which is why I'm telling you all that you should still read it. My only suggestion would be to check it out from the library or find a cheap way to get it, rather than buying it new from a bookstore.
However, I'm still glad to say that I'll be reading the sequel when it comes out.
Reviewed by Chelsie at 8:33 PM
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
This is an idea I had for something different to do with my blog... I wanted something sort of like a guest review, but I decided to spice it up and make it more than your traditional review... so I made it into an interview instead. An Inte(Re)view.
So I talked to my good friend Megan, and she agreed to do an Inte(Re)view with me all about The Book Thief. Feel free to visit her blog here.
So, without further ado, here is our Inte(Re)view!
Chelsie: Thanks for being my first Inte(Re)viewee.
Megan: Sure! You know it is my pleasure. Can't shut me up about books, as you well know.
Chelsie: Of course. Now to start off, mind telling everyone what I'm interviewing you about?
Chelsie: Which, as a lot of us should know, is pretty popular and comes highly recommended, would you say so?
Megan: Yes, I was just looking at several blog reviews since reading it. I have heard nothing but good things about it from everyone I mentioned I was reading it to. Most of the blog reviews were very positive, doting it as the best book they had read all year (granted there has been quite a time frame since the book as been published.)
Chelsie: Yeah, as far as I'm aware it's been around since 2005. [[Correcting myself: 2006?]] So, thinking about the fact that it comes highly recommended, what would you say if I told you I started it a couple years ago and never made it to the halfway mark?
Megan: Well I read this book as part of an online book club as my blog readers and Teen Tuesday members know. The neat thing about this book club is that it has a podcast that goes along with it. I just finished listening to it and one of the book club members felt like it was very slow starting. I have actually heard this in a lot of different places. The interesting aspect for me was that it grabbed me right from the beginning.
Chelsie: Well I know different books affect readers in different ways. Which is what makes reading such a fun hobby. So, all in all, would you recommend it to me to try again?
Megan: Yes. Some people love this book so much they would recommend it to strangers on the street. But I am not one of those people. I really liked it, but I wouldn't recommend it unless someone asked me specifically about it. I really like The Book Thief's slice of life take on Nazi Germany. It is just a simple story about a girl.
Chelsie: So what would you say you particularly liked about it? What captivated you the most?
Megan: The concept of Death as narrator is really interesting. The problem is it isn't explicitly stated who is narrating, you think you know but it is far into the book before it is confirmed for you. I think it would have been more impactful knowing from the beginning. There was something I really liked about when he was talking and the way he talked about the colors in the world that really grabbed me. Some people cared more about the other narrative, the one of the little girl. But the voice of Death, wanting to hear it again, really pulled me through the story.
Oh, and I am just calling Death the stereotypical he, there is a very purposeful sexlessness to the narrator.
Chelsie: That does sound like an interesting concept. From what I remember of the beginning, I was extremely confused about who was talking (which may or may not be one of the reasons I didn't finish) and so I agree that knowing that Death is narrating at the beginning would be interesting, and probably less confusing. So, on the subject as Death as a narrator, in a New York Times review it's making me think that he's almost sympathetic. Is this something you knew from the beginning, or something that you gradually began to learn, just as you gradually found out about who the narrator actually was?
Megan: From the beginning Death creates an intentional detachment from the humans. That is part of the reason he focuses on the colors. But as you move through the story you do see and feel it impacting him a little bit. The tones get a little warmer.
Here is the first line of the book:
"First the colors. Then the humans. That's usually how I see things. Or at least how I try."
Chelsie: So basically, having Death as a narrator is almost like getting a narrator who has no emotional attachment, where if one of the other characters had been the narrator through the whole thing, it would have been a completely different type of book. Am I somewhat right about that?
Megan: Oh yes it would have been a completely different kind of book, but when the narrative of the little girl was going it was a very different voice than that of Death, it was also not her own, but it had that light detachment of looking at stranger through a window.
Chelsie: And one last question on the subject of Death, just to make things simpler: Do you think that having Death as a narrator was a wise choice on the author's part? Or do you think it would have been better had he taken a different approach to the story telling? Basically, did it enhance the book or hinder it?
Megan: It was definitely a wise choice for the book and it enhanced it in so many ways. We all learn in school the horrors of the holocaust, but there was just something about this book that we really impactful.
Chelsie: So it's definitely not light reading.
Megan: No, on the podcast there was some discussion on the appropriate age level for this book. Even though it is classified as young adult the narrative is not traditional. Some feel strongly that the style of the book limits it to upper teens only. But I think it is more about the individual reader and the experience. Some schools have it as required reading for middle school. I can honestly tell you that there were times when I was reading it that I was flat out bored, but if I was reading it for school I would have felt like it was an excellent choice.
Chelsie: So did it meet or exceed your expectations? And how does this book compare to other books, movies, TV shows, etc. that have similar topics?
Megan: I was lucky in that I didn't have any or many expectations. I didn't know what the book was about beforehand. Just the mild impression it had something to do with Nazis. I loved the book at the beginning and only liked it at the end. Most people had the opposite reaction.
This book was very impactful regarding the topic. I like how it was about every day people living their life and not a story about some of the more dramatic aspects of Nazis that are commonly written about.
I have been thinking particularly about other young adult books I have personally read regarding this subject matter. Each one can be impactful in different ways. Night for me was completely horrifying and it still haunts me. Alan and Naomi was one of the first books I ever read about the impact of Nazis. The Book Thief is a cross section of the whole experience, hinting on each of the aspects these other books focus on primarily.
If you are only going to read one book on the holocaust, yes, it should probably be this one. But I feel it also makes a splendid companion to other books on the same subject matter.
Chelsie: Are there any other similar books you've read that you would recommend to fans of The Book Thief, or any to just recommend, period?
Megan: For younger readers Number the Stars by Lois Lowry is really good
For a bit of a lighter take on the matter I would recommend Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene (particularly popular with reluctant readers, though I have not identified why)
and then of course the two I mentioned above, I am really excited because Alan and Naomi has been out of print for some years, but it looks like they just re-released it last year
it is by Myron Levoy, and I don't honestly remember it that well but I read it in 6th grade and I know it really impacted me
Night by Elie Wiesel is the one I have read the most recently besides The Book Thief, but it is very intense, you are really forced to stare reality in the face
Chelsie: So, back to The Book Thief, could you give us a rating on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best?
Megan: Oh, maybe about a 7. I really liked it, but I was bored near the end and though I know I would enjoy rereading it, get more depth from it, I am not particularly interested in doing so. But don't let my unenthusiam deter you from reading it. In part I was on a time crunch and HAD to finish it.
Chelsie: And now that I'm running out of relevant questions, do you have anything you'd like to add?
Megan: Yes, I would like to share another quote from the book.
Part of the reason why I liked the voice of Death so much is that I really liked the way he/the writer found unique ways of describing things. In the following quote you can feel the occupation of Death and also the sympathy. This is from page 175 in the hardcover edition.
"I shoveled up his soul with the rest of them and we drifted away. The horizon was the color of milk, cold and fresh. Poured out among the bodies."
Chelsie: Now that is certainly interesting
Thank you for participating, Megan!
Megan: Thanks for having me a part of this. It has been really fun to share my experiences about reading this book. I hope people enjoy reading my answers as much as I enjoyed coming up with them.
There you have it, my very first (and hopefully not last) Inte(Re)view.
Please let me know if this is a good idea, or if it's absolutely suck-tastic.
Also, if you like the idea and are interested in being Inte(Re)viewed, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
PS. This is me hoping and praying and begging that this posts okay the first time... I really don't want to have to re-do it...
Reviewed by Chelsie at 7:24 PM
Monday, August 11, 2008
Liv is having a contest to win one of three prize packs, which is pretty dang awesome to me.
And definitely too good for the sidebar =P
Reviewed by Chelsie at 6:58 PM
Saturday, August 9, 2008
So my lovely friend Megan tagged me for this, and I love these things so much so here I go.
What was I doing 10 years ago?
Ten years ago would make me five going on six. At that point in time I was always playing with my childhood love, JJ, who conveniently lived right down the street from me.
What are five things on my to-do list today?
1. Write reviews. Oh, joy.
2. Take a look at the Seven Steps for Getting to Know Yourself.
3. Make a list of books for this thing I want to do.
4. Read Violet in Private.
5. Watch Project Runway
Snacks I enjoy:
Places I've lived:
Things I would do if I was a billionaire:
- go to an expensive store in the mall and buy clothes... that AREN'T in the back of the store on clearance.
- buy books.
- buy a house for myself to live in for college.
- and speaking of college, maybe GO to college.
- donate. charities, maybe? but definitely a donation to go to my town library, to get a new building and to have a larger budget. and then I'll save the polar bears, or something.
Reviewed by Chelsie at 7:06 PM
Eddy knows how to play the game.
He is, after all, the writer, director, and cameraman—the mastermind, really—behind the hit online TV show Riot Grrl 16. When it wins a contest to be aired on MTV (and it obviously will—have you seen the competition?), he'll be famous.
Then there's the game of love. Eddy knows all the tricks, and his favorite girls are the ones with the fishnets and cherry lipstick and legs up to there. The ones who know he doesn't make any promises. The ones who are cool with it.
But as graduation looms, everything and everyone starts deviating from Eddy's master script. Never in a million years did he expect to be facing off again with the unapproachable, perfect Lucinda Dulko. For once in his life, he's not in control—and to be with Lucinda, he's willing to get swept up in the game. But what happens to a player when the rules suddenly change?
Can Eddy find a way to win it all?
Or will he get played?
This book was hilarious. I loved Eddy's sarcasm, and the funny approach on things serious and realistic. The characters were different and unique, which is always fun, and the story was something different as well. How often do you come across a book about a player, from the player's point of view? It doesn't happen all that often, in fact I think this is the first I've ever read. The story was definitely interesting, the writing didn't sound funny coming from a female writer, and I was entertained from beginning to end.
The conclusion of this book left something to desire. I thought it could have been tied up much more nicely... I was left with one burning question, and it really bothers me that I have to guess. Other than that, it was a very good book. Maybe not one of my absolute favorites, but I am extremely glad that I had the opportunity to review it, and I would definitely recommend it.
Reviewed by Chelsie at 6:20 PM
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
So, today is the official release date of Violet in Private by Melissa Walker!!So, to celebrate the release of the third book in the Violet series (preceded by Violet on the Runway— see my review here— and Violet by Design—expect a review in the next couple days, no later than one or two weeks) I am having a contest!
What will you win?
A signed copy of Violet in Private!
How do you enter?
Simply comment on this post, or send an email to email@example.com with "Violet in Private Contest" (or something of that nature) in the subject line.
How to get extra entries?
.::Comment on my review of Violet on the Runway, you get one entry::.
.::Comment on my upcoming reviews of Violet by Design and Violet in Private, you get one entry each::.
.::Post a link on your blog/sidebar/MySpace bulletin/etc. Anything simple will be worth one entry, but if you do something creative, I might give you more (This is all at my discretion)::.
I'm going to make the deadline August 30th at 8:00 PM, since that day is my Sweet 16 =D And I'd also rather have this contest over with before school starts.
So, everyone, get entering!
Also, if you want a shot at winning something a bit sooner than August 30th, then shoot on over to Hope's blog and enter there... the deadline is Thursday at Midnight!
Reviewed by Chelsie at 7:53 PM
*Teen Tuesday is the day we set aside for teen book lovers to visit with each other to find out what's being read in the world of young adult literature. You can comment whether you are a participant or not. Visit all the posters at teentuesday.blogspot.com*
Posting on Monday morning, right before leaving to go to driver's ed and to work and then to a friend's house...
I won't have time to post tomorrow. And I have some things to share.
My reading week has been decent. I read and finished The Elite (which reminds me that I have to get a review up). I am also reading a book called What the Storyteller Brings by Robyn Demby. For a book with very little (if any) professional editing, I am actually thinking it was written very well.
Visit my post at www.teentuesday.blogspot.com to read more.
Reviewed by Chelsie at 7:42 PM
Monday, August 4, 2008
Big mouth. Big heart.
Big wedding. Big problems.
It's the wedding of the century!
Things are looking up at last for Lizzie Nichols. She has a career she loves in the field of her choice (wedding gown restoration), and the love of her life, Jean-Luc, has finally proposed. Life's become a dizzying whirl of wedding gown fittings—not necessarily her own—as Lizzie prepares for her dream wedding at her fiancé's château in the south of France.
But the dream soon becomes a nightmare as the best man—whom Lizzie might once have accidentally slept with . . . no, really, just slept—announces his total lack of support for the couple, a sentiment the maid of honor happens to second; Lizzie's Midwestern family can't understand why she doesn't want to have her wedding in the family backyard; her future, oh-so-proper French in-laws seem to be slowly trying to lure the groom away from medical school and back into investment banking; and Lizzie finds herself wondering if her Prince Charming really is as charming as she once believed.
Is Lizzie really ready to embrace her new role as wife and mistress of Château Mirac? Or is she destined to fall into another man's arms . . . and into the trap of becoming a Bad Girl instead?
Meg Cabot is hilariously funny... but that's nothing new with this novel. The third Queen of Babble novel is just as hilarious as the first two, and also just as easy of a read. Lizzie's character has always made me laugh, simply because she creates so many problems for herself. But Meg Cabot's voice in the novel is apparent, as is the fact that there will be a happy ending. This book was just cute and fun, an excellent beach/summer read.
Uh-oh, here we go. I'll admit it, I liked this book. But I'm also not afraid to admit that it had it's flaws. Compared to the first two books, I thought this one was not nearly as good as it could have been. It was funny, but not as laugh-out-loud-hilarious as I expected. And the outcome was so obvious from the beginning, and while I was reading I was sort of hoping for another unexpected ending like in the second book, simply because I wanted to be proved wrong.
I was disappointed, though, that the book was so predictable. I'd still recommend the series, but this book was a bit disappointing.
Reviewed by Chelsie at 1:25 PM
Sunday, August 3, 2008
So, a couple nights ago I went to a party. As did many many people who, like me, are obsessed (or even mildly interested, like some people I know) with the Twilight Saga.
And at midnight yesterday morning I finally got my hands on a copy of Breaking Dawn. And I started reading shortly thereafter.
And so I have been avoiding the blogosphere (or just the whole internet-sphere) since I started reading Breaking Dawn, worried that I would come across spoilers. Because I knew it was inevitable.
I also knew that I wanted to finish the book asap.
But back to the spoiler thing. Maybe I wasn't so much worried about huge, spoiler-filled posts like this one (warning: DO NOT read unless you're done, or have no intention of reading. Trust me on this one), but more worried about small comments that give just enough away to make me nervous.
(picture note: I look so ridiculously happy. and I hate when pictures are taken from the side. especially at 12:30 in the morning. but oh well.)
But, since I finished Breaking Dawn this afternoon, I have no qualms about reading as many spoilers as I can. And now here I am making the exact same type of post I would have wanted to avoid five or six hours ago.
Now that I'm finished, I've made a decision, and after reading this post I realized I'm not the only person who's made this same decision: I'm not going to post an official review of Breaking Dawn. It would be too weird, and I'm pretty sure my one review won't make anyone more willing to read it. As far as I know, everyone will either read it or they won't, and there really isn't much of an inbetween. There are huge, crazy fans of the series, and there are people who sort of don't give a hoot, or who never got past the first 20 pages of Twilight.
So, here's what I'm gonna say: I liked the book. It wasn't nearly as good as the first three, but it was good. Entertaining. Unexpected. Nothing spectacular, but enough happened to keep me on my toes. And I'll agree with pretty much everyone else and say it was kind of far-fetched and ridiculous. But I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing.
I'd give it a four. Point five. Ish.
But now I wanna read the whole series again. I'm not ready for this to be the end...
Speaking of ending, about a year ago another series I love ended this same way... Last year, I may not have gone to any Harry Potter release parties, but I was so conveniently in Wal Mart that Saturday, where there were stacks and stacks of the book displayed, and so I bought one.
And now, a year later, I am stuck bringing up the ultimate book-lovers question...
Reviewed by Chelsie at 7:44 PM
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Catherine Ryan Hyde, bestselling author of Pay It Forward, returns with a provocative tour de force on first love—a modern-day rendering of West Side Story born on a New York City subway car and nurtured under the windmills of the Mojave Desert.
The subway doors open and close, and in one moment Sebastian’s and Maria’s lives are changed forever. Rendered in Catherine Ryan Hyde’s stirring and evocative prose, CHASING WINDMILLS is a poignant love story that will leave you yearning for a subway ride that is a fraction as enchanting.
Letting go becomes the purest expression of love in this extraordinary novel by the bestselling author of Pay It Forward, Catherine Ryan Hyde.
Both Sebastian and Maria live in a world ruled by fear. Sebastian, a lonely seventeen-year-old, is suffocating under his dominant father’s control. In the ten years since his mother passed away, his father has kept him “safe” by barely allowing him out of their apartment. Sebastian’s secret late-night subway rides are rare acts of rebellion. another is a concealed friendship with his neighbor Delilah, who encourages him to question his father’s version of reality. Soon it becomes unclear whether even his mother’s death was a lie.
Maria, a young mother of two, is trying to keep peace at home despite her boyfriend’s abuse. When she loses her job, she avoids telling him by riding the subways during her usual late-night shift. She knows her sister, Stella, is right: She needs to “live in the truth” and let the chips fall where they may. But she still hasn’t been able to bring herself to do it. And soon he will expect her paycheck to arrive.
When Sebastian and Maria wind up on the same train, their eyes meet across the subway car, and these two strangers find a connection that neither can explain or ignore. Together they dream of a new future, agreeing to run away and find Sebastian’s grandmother in the Mojave Desert. But Maria doesn’t know Sebastian is only seventeen. And Sebastian doesn’t know Maria has children until the moment they leave. Ultimately, Maria brings one child, her daughter. Can she really leave her little boy behind? And, if not, what will it cost her to face her furious jilted abuser?
In this tremendously moving novel, Catherine Ryan Hyde shows us how two people trapped by life’s circumstances can break free and find a place in the world where love is genuine and selfless.
From the very first sentence, I found myself intrigued by both Sebastian and Maria's characters. They are both so troubled with their lives, and I can't help but sympathize and care for them. This was also an amazingly well-written book. It was jam-packed with sentences and phrases that, if I tweaked a few words here and there, I could apply them directly to my life. I adore books that are easy to relate to, and this was definitely one of them. Catherine has delved deeper into a world that I don't think about, and brought to the surface a story of two lovers who would do anything to be together, and to get away from the life they have.
This book was truly amazing, and Catherine Ryan Hyde is an amazing writer. This is definitely my favorite of hers so far, and I fully intend on reading some more of her books in the near future.
I'll admit, there was one miniature problem I had. I didn't like the way that Sebastian's and Maria's chapters didn't even out, and sometimes I felt that there was more to be said. But all of this is just my personal preference, and maybe I'm just nit-picking, because the book was amazing. Go read it, now!
Reviewed by Chelsie at 1:11 PM
Friday, August 1, 2008
As I prepare to go to the Breaking Dawn release party at B&N tonight (EEEK!), and while I'm waiting for my friend Justinne to get done with her nap so she can help me with my hair, I thought I'd post a blog.
1. On a business-related note, I have to mention that the huge-great-amazing-awesome-wonderful giveaway that I'm a part of has been extended to August 22nd. So if you haven't entered yet, you really should!
2. This is something I think everyone is saying (and I think I'm saying it repeatedly), but I cannot wait to get Breaking Dawn.
3. This coming week or two weeks, there will be a lot of excitement in my blog (hopefully). There is a contest coming up that I am extremely excited about, and I'm going to try out a new feature. So be sure to check back over the next couple weeks.
4. Speaking of contests, I'd really like to have more of them... That's a thought for the future.
5. And another thought, how about that amazing thing known as Google Reader?
Reviewed by Chelsie at 5:17 PM