Book Club Pick: Gone Girl

Some of you may know that I am in a fantastic book club with some of my lovely, wine-lovin, bookworm friends.  As with most books clubs, we take turns choosing books and hosting. Sometimes we spend tons of time dissecting the book and other times we spend five minutes talking about it and the rest eating/drinking/having girl time.  I love these ladies for a plethora of reasons–for going to see City of Bones with me so we can cringe at JCB’s hair, for loving the LA Times Festival of Books as much as me, for sharing that intense need to talk about a book immediately after–but one of the things I most appreciate is that they help me expand my horizons. I’m a YA girl by nature (no, really) and I rarely read an Adult fiction unless it’s one I know I’ll love or unless I need to see the movie. But my book club has YA and Adult Fiction fans.  And they have fabulous taste in books.

Over the past couple of years we’ve read books like Nefertiti, The Middle Place, Defending Jacob, The Sky Is Everywhere (guess who picked that), and Unravel Me (um, chapter 62. You know you were thinking the same thing), to name a few.  These have been fabulous books, and while this is normally a YA blog, it seems such a waste not to share the great books I’m discovering because of these awesome ladies.  So each month–unless it’s a book I’ve already reviewed–I’ll share our latest pick and my thoughts with you.

And this month, holy crap, it’s a doozy.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl
On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media–as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents–the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter–but is he really a killer?As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet? (Goodreads)

The Story:

Nick is that guy. He’s handsome, has a gorgeous wife–the works. And he and Amy, his charming wife, are totally in love until gradually, piece by piece, they lose their grip on their marriage. Nick loses his job as a writer in NY, Amy’s job and most of her trust fund soon follow. The two relocate from their brownstone to a cookie cutter mini mansion in Missouri, where Nick grew up. His mother is dying of cancer and his horrendous, verbally abusive father is now in an adult care facility. Nick borrows the last of Amy’s money to open up a bar with his twin sister, Go, to try to start a new life after dragging her to that town, away from her beloved family, friends and city life.

When we meet Nick, he and Amy are preparing the celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary. She’s planned a treasure hunt for him–something she does every year–and he doesn’t have the heart to tell her he doesn’t love her anymore. He goes to work as usual, only to come home hours later to find that the house is in shambles and Amy has gone missing, most likely abducted by an intruder. As the story unravels, more and more clues point to Nick as the perpetrator, and the series of lies he keeps telling the police aren’t helping his case. Meanwhile, we get to know Amy through the diary entries she’s made over the course of her relationship with Nick. It paints a dark picture of their marriage.

And then the second portion of the book comes and you, along with me, go, um, excuse me but WHAT THE HELL????

But that’s all I can tell you because I don’t want to ruin anything.

My Thoughts:

This book was excellent. It was crazy, which I’d heard, but crazy in a different way than I expected. I was waiting for a big DUM DA DUM DUM crazy, a Bruce Willis Has Been Dead The Whole Time And You Never Saw The Signs kind of shocker.  That’s not what happened at all. Part of the craziness is revealed quite early on (at the end of the first third of the book). The rest is just an absolutely brilliantly masterminded story of total insanity. Before that, I was completely sucked into the book. I mean the first pages are of Nick describing his wife’s skull and the contents of her brain. Hello, creepytown, right? And Amy hasn’t even disappeared at that point.  The first portion is all about describing the undoing of this couple, a normal, happy, blissfully in love twosome, whose relationship begins to crumble. If you’re like me, you’ll get enveloped in some of these sweet moments they have and sadly, you’ll enjoy watching it fall apart. And then some serious sh*t goes down.

Amy’s disappearance is a mystery and there are so many moments I wanted to absolutely punch Nick. He makes such bad decisions, he lies, he does stupidly inappropriate things, but I found myself wanting to believe in his innocence, wanting to find that person out there just crazy enough to kidnap his poor, sweet wife and exonerate the anti-hero I found in Nick. And Amy, well, there just aren’t words for her and her sad little diary.

Warning: There are lots of people who love the book but hate the ending. I will admit that I was stumbling, wondering if my Nook was acting up, when I realized there were no more pages. For a little while that ruined it for me. Then, hours later, I had this revelation and I decided the ending was sort of brilliant.

Crush Intensity: 4.5/5 You should read this book. I’m so glad I did. If my book club hadn’t chosen it, I would never have picked it up. It was a great read.

Source: I bought this for my Nook for $4.99. Score!

Top Ten Tuesday- Best/Worst Series Endings

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The
Broke and The Bookish
.toptentuesday
Have you ever done something in your head so many times
that you think you’ve actually done it in real
life? Yeah that’s me today. I thought about this post over and over
while driving the kids to school, while doing laundry and answering
Girl Scout e-mails. But did I actually write in on the computer?
Nah! So, here is the short list (because you don’t think I actually
remember everything I had to say do you? That was days ago!) of the
Best/Worst Series Endings in the History of All Book Series
Endings.

Best:

Forever<br /><br />
Princess

1. Forever Princess by Meg Cabot- Well duh. What a fabulous, happy ending that made me feel so satisfied, so warm and fuzzy, that I probably reread this book at
least four or five times a year.  And yeah, part of it is my insane love for Michael Moscovitz, but the other part is that it really was a great way to end the series. Cabot left me believing that Mia is out there right now, living her life exactly as she was meant to.

Monsters of<br /><br />
Men

2. Monsters of Men byPatrick Ness-

This series started strong and ended beautifully. It
gives me chills remembering it all. I cried and I sat on the edge
of my seat, so moved by the profound bond between Todd and Viola,
and the love that drives them to attempt to overcome the odds.

Deathly Hallows3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling-
I think we can all agree that Rowling is a genius, right? Every
loose end tied up, all details so perfectly laid out from start to
finish. Beautifully, perfectly done.

Where She Went4. Where She Went
by Gayle Forman- Good Lord, bring out the Kleenex. This is a
swoonfest with great emotion, letting us into the heart of Adam,
the guy who just couldn’t let Mia go. This is one of those rare
sequels that surpasses the first book. I read this one over and
over.

We'll Always Have Summer5. We’ll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han- I love
this series and I found it so refreshing to read chapters written
from Conrad’s perspective. He’s always been Belly’s big crush, her
first love, her big heartbreak and in that he’s been everything
from charming to douchy, elusive in every way. Finally getting in
his head, understanding him and his feelings for Belly, the
conflict he faces watching her prepare to marry his brother, was so
satisfying.

The Not So Good
I’m going to guess that most people have the first two:

Breaking Dawn1. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyers- I didn’t hate this book. I loved the
first portion with the wedding and finally, FINALLY the sexy
business. I loved the latter portion (some of it), finally seeing
Bella’s transformation, watching her go from the weakest character
to the strongest. What I hated was Jacob’s portion. Talk about
drawing out the story! It was SO boring (and it doesn’t help that I
hate him). And the ending, while I was happy to see all the loose
ends tied up, it felt rather uneventful after all the buildup. So,
I didn’t hate it, but I felt let down.

Mockingjay2. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins- I liked so many things here. I mean Crazy Peeta alone was worth the price of admission. I loved getting more of my man Gale,
too (and that Collins felt it necessary to point out his obvious
hotness all of the time).  I also loved Finnick’s portion. The
wedding–oh, the wedding–with the cake and the flowers made by Mr.
Real of Fake himself? Loved it. But the very end. That whole scene
where Katniss is “sleeping” and having a Bella-like moment where
she listens to Gale and Peeta talk about her. Ugh! And then, when
she has the chance to kill Snow AND SHE DOESN’T? What the what?
Then she suggests they continue the games in Prim’s honor. Is she
on crack? And finally, the worst to me, watching Gale skulk away
and just disappear. He didn’t have to end up with her, but he
deserved a better ending than that.

Requiem3. Requiem by Lauren Oliver- I
didn’t love this book because it was very slow, but I appreciated
seeing life through Hana’s eyes. The main thing that upset me was
the ending. It was such a non-ending, so elusive. That annoys
me.  If a series is over at least tell me what happens.
Please.

On The Fence
Clockwork PrincessClockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare- This is mildly spoilery, so
you may want to run and hide if you haven’t read it. I thought the
majority of the book was fabulous, heartbreaking at times, but very
well-done and quite satisfying. Then came the Epilogue. I even
loved, sobbed, while reading the first few pages. Then came the
very very end (but it’s not quite an ending is
it? Tessa is immortal, after all). Without spoiling too much, let me
just say this regarding love triangles: characters, in my opinion,
should not have their cake and eat it too. I know Ms. Clare has
defended her position on tumblr and good for her. But to me, as a
reader, to be truly satisfying, protagonists may have to make a
painful choice–one they hopefully won’t regret. I understand
that Tessa’s case is different, as she lives forever, and I wanted
her to be happy. But it would have been nice to see her happy with
someone else. The end.

Happy Tuesday to all!

Top Ten Tuesday- Book Turn Offs

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

TTT3W

This weeks’ TTT is about things that make me want to drop a book like the new Nicholas Sparks. You know how it is. You’re reading along, happy as a clam–or at least, you’re intrigued– and then this thing or event or stupid twist comes along and BAM, ruins everything. Luckily, this doesn’t happen to me very often. Sometimes, after I yell at my book and throw it across the room a couple of times, it listens and becomes far less offensive, so I forgive it and we muddle through. But other times there’s just no saving our relationship.

Like, for example:

baby1. Overuse of the terms of endearment- Most people in a cutesy wootsey lovey dovey relationship will throw out a random term of endearment, but Sweet Pea, can I just tell you how much I hate it when guys and girls literally give up their names to be called Baby, or Catnip or whatnot? I’m serious, Babe, I hate it. Once or twice is okay, but do not abuse the privilege.

Maybe I'm a prude. But I don't need the sexy stuff spelled out for me.

Maybe I’m a prude. But I don’t need the sexy stuff spelled out for me.

2. Super graphic sexy business- Call me a prude, but I find that steamy kissing, or at the most, sex scenes that have a less is more approach, are far hotter than the ones that tell me exactly where he’s putting his you know what. I don’t need to know. I can figure it all out, I swear.

the end3. The Non Ending- Yeah, so I’m cheating here because at this point it’s too late to decide you’re not going to finish the book. But evasive endings drive me BAZONKERS!!!!!  Just tell me what happens already! I’m thinking of Requiem, I’m not gonna lie.

Misery4. Stupid Twists that Ruin all Previous Books- Here’s the thing: I’m not saying every book or series has to have a happy ending, I’m just saying that certain ones are just supposed to. I don’t expect anyone at the end of The Hunger Games series to actually be happy, but in The Harry Potter series, damn straight I want that (and got it, obviously). But when authors do things like this I just have to say, “Sorry, wrong number.” (Also, Helen Fielding, I refuse to accept this, just FYI).

WHAT5. Crazy Business- I’m thinking The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer or Swoon. Everything seems to be moving along okay and then something happens and, hold the phone, you have to do a double take. I don’t mind crazy business that’s actually related to the story, but crazy business that’s there just so you say WHA??? doesn’t work for me.

Bella6. Bella Syndrome- You know how it is. The girls start out okay and then, suddenly, they live and breathe This Guy. They can form no coherent thoughts without This Guy. They mold their whole life around This Guy. I mean, I get that first loves are so powerful and that sometimes there’s a lesson to be learned in that–but I’m talking about the books where girls become sort of a zombie version of themselves and it’s not presented as a weird thing or a thing she needs to work through, It’s presented as a normal part of a healthy relationship. No. Not cool.

cake7. Having You Cake and Eating It Too- Obviously, there are books like Forever Princess, where Mia gets to be a princess, go to college and make out with Michael Moscovitz on a regular basis. These are good things and that’s a perfect ending. I’m not talking about cute books like the ones that are supposed to be happy pappy (like Bridget Jones, I’m just sayin). I’m referring to books that are edgier, where storylines are darker, where there’s loss of life or great things at stake. Stories where the author sets you up for a love triangle where either option seems perfect and painful, then finally, painfully and beautifully makes a choice. And you eat it up and revel in. You mourn for the other guy and swoon for the guy who “won” only to read in the mother-cussing Epilogue that Little Miss I Want It All ultimately got both guys. Oh, if I could unread that. Just the last page or two.

That’s all for me. What about you?

Happy Tuesday!

Prep School Confidential

Prep School Confidential by Kara Taylor

Prep School ConfidentialAnne Dowling practically runs her exclusive academy on New York’s Upper East Side—that is, until she accidentally burns part of it down and gets sent to a prestigious boarding school outside of Boston. Determined to make it back to New York, Anne couldn’t care less about making friends at the preppy Wheatley School. That is, until her roommate Isabella’s body is found in the woods behind the school.

When everyone else is oddly silent, Anne becomes determined to uncover the truth no matter how many rules she has to break to do it. With the help of Isabella’s twin brother Anthony, and a cute classmate named Brent, Anne discovers that Isabella wasn’t quite the innocent nerdy girl she pretended to be. But someone will do anything to stop Anne’s snooping in this fast-paced, unputdownable read—even if it means framing her for Isabella’s murder. (Goodreads)

The Story:

Anne is a little on the naughty naughty side. She gets kicked out of her prep school for basically burning down part of the theater (Mom, Dad, I swear it wasn’t totally her fault). Not really knowing what to do with their kid, her parents send her to a super-prestigious boarding school in Boston. I’m not really seeing the punishment factor there, except that she’s away from home–family and friends–but Anne is an unhappy little camper about this change.

The Wheatley school is almost like a Stepford world. The students are all very perky with their matching headbands and preppy clothes. And the rumors about Anne burning down her school have followed her. The only person who seems genuinely trustworthy is her roommate, Isabella. But someone dislikes Isabella. During the first week of school her body is found in the woods just behind the school–somewhere virtually every student roams.

nancy drew

Now, Anne becomes a sort of Nancy Drew–you know, if Nancy Drew burned down schools and kisses hot guys who smoke–and tries to put together the puzzle of Isabella’s murder. Everyone is a suspect, from Isabella’s twin brother (which means Anne must make out with him immediately), the mean girl down the hall, to the various teachers and faculty who knew Isabella well. Someone at that school knows what happened and it becomes more and more obvious that, in an effort to save the school’s reputation, they’re covering it up.

My Thoughts:

What a fun, fun book!  I could not put this one down. There are so many twists and turns here, so many times I thought I knew whodunnit when in actuality I was waaaay off base (so, what I’m saying is I have no future as a detective). Anne was a strong character who did dangerous, stupid things, but you have to love her for it. I liked her drive to solve Isabella’s murder. Considering she barely knew her, I there was such an intensity in her need to find justice. At the same time, I also really enjoyed the fact that there were questionable things about so many of the characters. Things that made you look twice and wonder if they could be trusted. Taylor did a fabulous job layering the story with questions, and tension. There were many twists, which, in real life probably wouldn’t seem as plausible, but it all fit well in this charming old school and in the world into which Anne has been thrust.

Crush Intensity: 4/5 This had a great pace that kept me turning the pages. As an added bonus, I love stories set in a boarding school. I look forward to reading more from this author.

Thank you to Net Galley and St. Martin’s for sharing an e-galley of Prep School Confidential with me.

Can We Talk?

Goodreads

I am mildly obsessed with Goodreads. I realized this recently when I was in the car, had literally just finished a book before picking up my daughter from school and was driving to my older daughter’s school. So you see the problem, right? I didn’t have a chance–because I was driving–to add that book to my READ list on Goodreads.

It was killing me.

It’s like a sickness. It bothered me until was able to update and sigh with relief. There are other cases when I get crazy excited that I’ve started books which have been on my TO READ list forever because finally. The world needs to know.

And yes, friends, I love to stalk all of you. To read your favorite quotes and get updates about what page you’re on. I want to experience it all with you and like your status and add your books to my TO READS.

But…

I have a pet peeve.

What the what with these people who rate a book that hasn’t come out yet? I’m not speaking about bloggers who legitimately have a copy of the book and have read it.  High fives for the bloggers.  No, I’m talking about the people who do this:

OMG OMG OMG!!!!!!!! APRIL IS TOO FAR AWAY> I ❤ THIS SERIES!!! CANNOT WAIT TO READ THIS BOOK.

And then they give it five stars.

I’m sorry, what?  You haven’t read it but you just gave it five stars?

As a super-nerdy, anal retentive Goodreads girl, I really wish they’d create two separate rating systems. One for actual reviews and one for early buzz. Like an excite-o-meter.

Because I get it. I get that you’re excited (not that you would ever do this). I get that you can’t wait and you need the world to know you love this author/character/series. Hello, I soooo get it.

But back away from the star rating system please.

Any thoughts? Am I crazy? Grumpy? Outside my mind?

(I mean, yes to all, but regarding this issue, what do you think?).

Dead Silence

Dead Silence (The Body Finder #4) by Kimberly Derting

Dead SilenceViolet thought she’d made peace with her unique ability to sense the echoes of the dead and the imprints that cling to their killers…that is until she acquired an imprint of her own. Forced to carry a reminder of the horrible events of her kidnapping, Violet is more determined than ever to lead a normal life. However, the people who run the special investigative team Violet works for have no intention of letting her go.

When someone close to Violet becomes a suspect in a horrific murder, she finds herself pulled into a deadly hunt for a madman with an army of devoted followers. Violet has survived dangerous situations before, but she quickly discovers that protecting those closest to her is far more difficult than protecting herself. (Goodreads)

The Story:

If you have not read the first THREE books in The Body Finder series, let me level with you. You are missing some serious hotness in the form of one Jay Heaton. And, um, some super-awesomeness in our heroine, Violet Ambrose. These books have it all: romance, good storytelling, creepiness. You should definitely read them–just start with book one, please.

For those in the know regarding this series, let’s get to crushing on Jay discussing the latest book.

In Dead Silence, Violet’s two worlds–her “normal life” with her friends and boyfriend and her paranormal life working with Sara and Rafe–converge. Rafe and Gemma enroll at Violet’s school, leading to many, many questions by Chelsea (Vi’s BFF) and to multiple awkward situations and moments of tension considering Rafe has a thing for Vi and Vi loves Jay (but is strangely drawn to Rafe because of this weird connection they have).  Chelsea is onto Violet. She knows she’s always hiding something, always lying. So Violet does something unexpected: she tells Chelsea the truth about her ability, about who she works with, the basics. This concerns Jay, who, as the Most Perfect Best Friend Turned Boyfriend EVER, is always worried about keeping Violet safe.

Now, of course, there’s a murder. (I know. There are a lot of dead people around this girl). This particular murder is gruesome because it involves an entire family. In fact, I had a hard time reading some of the details. At the same time, Derting continues to let us in the killer’s mind throughout the book while keeping his identity under wraps. I love that she does this because it only adds to the suspense and overall creep factor.

One of the big problems comes in when someone Violet knows becomes a suspect. This makes the murders all the more personal to her. And as she goes her normal Nancy Drew journey –complete with bad decisions and unneccessary risks–she puts not only herself, but those she loves, in danger.

My Thoughts:

I had mixed feelings about this one. I love this series. I love Violet and I love Jay. And, as mentioned, I love the tension and suspense as we read the thoughts of the serial killers.

I dislike the fact that Violet–in her mind, at least–jumps back and forth between Rafe and Jay. First, because Jay is awesome and there is no believable way that anyone would choose Rafe over him (did I just piss off the Team Rafe? I’m sorry). I don’t mean to say that Rafe isn’t a good guy, but I feel that Derting has spent so much time portraying Violet and Jay as a couple really in love with a commitment and a bond different from your average high school relationship (though not perfect, of course) that I find it hard to believe that one moment Violet is head over heels for Jay and the next sucked into Rafe and his professions of love (ish) feelings. I have to be honest. That irked me on behalf of Jay (and Violet. Get a grip, girl!)

I also struggle with Violet’s parents, who feel nonexistent at this point. This series and the relationships in it–aside from the paranormal thing–has always felt very authentic to me. Now, we barely see her mom and dad and that just doesn’t seem right. It doesn’t seem like a normal teenager’s life and it doesn’t seem true to the Ambrose family in particular.

Overall, I still enjoyed the book and the tension, but this wasn’t my favorite in the series. I love the characters, and I love Violet’s gift and the way Derting uses Violet’s weaknesses as well as her strengths to make her shine, and fortunately that still rang true.

Crush Intensity: 3.75/5

Source: I checked this one out at the library!

 

Rereads

I’m just curious what your thoughts are on rereads. Lately, I’ve had tons and tons of books to read (not exactly a problem, I realize), but I spent a good portion of this summer reading books I’ve probably read a million times. Why, you ask? Because they make me happy. Sometimes nothing comforts me like stepping into a world I know as well as my own. It’s like coming home, like seeing my closest friends (wow, I sound like a loser. I have real live actual friends, I swear).

Forever PrincessThis summer I went through the entire Princess Diaries series. Shocker, right? You’re bowled over by that statement, I’m sure. I read those books all of the time in random order (and have read the whole series all the way through about 4 times), on a pretty much ongoing basis. But still, I laughed in all the best parts. I giggled at all the inside jokes and I cried during the breakup and Dr. Knutz scenes. And in the end, when I finished the last book I was so, so happy.

Summer I Turned PrettyI also went through Jenny Han’s summer series again. I’ve read the first one a few times but had only read the last two once each. Oh, (clutches heart) I love those books. I can’t even explain it. They just feel so real. I love Conrad. I hate him. I love him again. And again. And I want Jeremiah to be my buddy and teach me to drive like he did Belly (in addition to having real, live friends, I also know how to drive).

the truth about foreverNow, I’m rereading The Truth About Forever. Again, I’ve read this book approximately eleventy times. But is has a hold of my heart. Again. Gotcha!

Where She WentThe Sky is EverywhereI think next up will be Where She Went (le sighs all around) and The Sky is Everywhere (bat bat). Forget the fact that there are at least ten books I have to read and that I still have signed copies of Prodigy and Just One Day sitting on my shelf lonely and unread. These other books are calling me.

Do you have any books like that? Ones you never tire of or are you someone who read a book once and lets it go?

Top Ten Tuesday- Top ________ Settings

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

TTT3WThis week we’re talking about our favorite books set in _____________ setting. That’s right. I get to decide which setting I prefer. I know the suspense is killing you. It’s eating you alive. You can barely stand it.

What could I possibly choose?

Honestly, since I’m such a fan of contemporary settings (and where do we go with that? Boarding school, the beach…that’s all I’ve got), this was tough for me. Then, while driving my kids to school this morning, I had an epiphany. Cue the anger’s choir.

I’ll discuss books set in a mythical/fantasy world. OK, so, maybe it’s not a real epiphany-type epiphany, but I was able to think of several and I rarely discuss fantasy books. So, humor me.

Top Ten YA Books Set in a Fantasy/ Mythical World (But aren’t dystopias)

City of Bones1.  The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare- Well, yeah. I specifically love the first three the most. After that, they get a bit too repetitive, but Jace always reels me back in.

Clockwork Angel2. The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare- Love these, love Will.

Abandon3. The Abandon series by Meg Cabot- Two words: sexy kissing

Shadow and Bone4. The Grisha series by Leigh Bardugo- Such fabulous writing and world building. I love getting immersed in this story.

Shatter Me5. The Shatter Me books by Tahereh Mafi- I love everything about these and I’ve finally gotten over my guilty crush on Warner. Now there’s no guilt; I just love him.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone6. The Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor- So beautifully written, so inventive. Taylor overlaps two stories and two worlds– one that seems like a normal, everyday existence and one that is the stuff crazy dreams and nightmare are made of–seamlessly.

Finnikin of the Rock7. Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta- I have to be honest, even though I’m a die-hard Marchetta fan, this one didn’t sound appealing to me because it’s a fantasy. Holy cow, was I ever wrong! It’s phenomenal, as all her books are.

Knife of Never Letting Go8. The Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness- I’m not really sure if these are dystopic, or science fiction or fantasy or what the what, I just know I LOVE them. Seriously, one of the all-time favorite series.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban9. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling- Was there any doubt?

Entwined 210. Entwined by Heather Dixon- What a fabulous retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. I wish she’d write more books.

Enchanted11. Enchanted by Alethea Kontis- I have such a thing for fairy tales and this book spins a few together quite beautifully while maintaining its own identity. I was smiling the entire time I read it.

lion, witch, wardrobe12. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis- The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is my personal favorite, but it’s neck and neck with The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. These are wonderful stories and while they’re aimed at children, I became completely engrossed in Narnia.

Would you look at this cover? It's freaking creepy.  And perfect.

13. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs- I thought this would be really creepy and it wasn’t. Instead, it was sort of magical.

Ella Enchanted

14. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine- Levine is a fantastic storyteller and Ella is my favorite of her novels thus far (though I have more to read!).

The Lightning Thief15. The Percy Jackson series  by Rick Riordin- So stinking fun, I could read these over and over again.

Yeah, so I went a little over ten. Sorry.

Happy Tuesday!

Psyched

I think it’s so weird that summer is almost over (in our house anyway, where my children start school in early August). I prefer to have everyone home (my hubby is a teacher so he’s home too), hanging out, having Wii competitions, eating ice cream, doing the beach thing, etc. The other thing we love to do? Go to the movies. Popcorn, candy, free air conditioning–I love it all. And I’m super-psyched for a few movies coming out this year:

The Sea of Monsters, August 7

You guys, I love the Percy Jackson series. Those books are so great and I want Percy to be my son. The first movie was cute (not amazing, but fun) and I think the second looks promising. It’s been a while since I’ve picked up this series, so all of the stories and details sort of meld together in my mind. In the case of books to film, I think this comes in handy because then I’m not obsessing over details changed or left out but able to better enjoy the basic story. I’m totally taking my kiddos to this one.

Austenland, August 16 (NY and LA)

Oh, my, Austenland is one of my absolute favorite books. I read it at least once a year, if not more. And now there’s a movie. Suuuuuure, it’s only showing in LA and NY. I mean, it really sucks that I’ll have to get dressed up cute and head to Los Angeles–where I’ll obviously have to have dinner and cocktails somewhere really fabulous with my girlfriends instead of driving thru Chick Fil a in a mad dash to make it to the theater on time. Poor me. I think this one will be an adorable, girly movie.

City of Bones, August 23

So yeah, I’m fairly certain this movie will absolutely BLOW, which is what happens with most beloved books, especially, especially when they have freaky paranormal business going on. But I am still totally going to see this with some of the girls from my book club (my husband is forever grateful they saved him). I think the preview looks good; I like the casting. I mean, could there BE a more perfect Simon? I think not. And Jamie Campbell Bower has such a supremely awesome speaking voice (I have a weird thing with voices. Ask my friends). His voice is so good that I promise to ignore the fact that I don’t understand what’s going on with his hair here. And Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Valentine. HENRY THE FREAKING EIGHTH (Yes, The Tudors is one of my all-time favorite shows). So good, bad or whatever, I’ll be there opening weekend. And if I’m with my book club I will have had a cocktail, maybe two. Look out.

Catching Fire, November 22

OK, so this one is a long way away, but holy crap, do you SEE the display of badassery going on here? And it’s like, only the first third of the book! I’m beyond excited for this one. I can’t wait to see Finnick, to see the arena, to watch it all fall apart is this amazingly spectacular way. This one’s gonna be epic.

There are so many more in production right now that I can’t wait to see clips from (Divergent, anyone?). Or more casting news on films like The Giver, The Book Thief, The Fault in Our Stars, If I Stay. There are so many great (hopefully) YA Adaptations to look forward to!

Top Ten Tuesday- Things That Make Me Not Pick Up a Book

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

TTT3WThis week we’re talking about things that make me run from certain books like a startled fawn.  There are only a few, but man, they are serious business:

 

No Vampires1. Vampires– Now, I liked Twilight, Blue Bloods and The Mortal Instruments (though MI aren’t actually about vampires), but generally I think this genre is sooooooooo annoyingly emo and overdone. And the covers, they are terrible, terrible things.

 

Jacob2.  Wolves– Yeah, pretty much everything I said in number 1, only add this: I despise Jacob Black. The only wolf book I’ve ever loved was Nightshade and even there I still haven’t gotten past the first book.

 

Tinkerbell3. Faeries- OMG, there is nothing I hate more than faeries.  I can’t explain it. Oh, except that the whole idea is LAME!

 

Vampire Academy4. Bitchy Girls- I generally don’t like books with unlikable MC’s. There are times when an anti-hero can be compelling or when that rough exterior is hiding a deeper, kinder person underneath. But generally I just don’t like mean people and I don’t root for them.  And I hate girls like Rose from The Vampire Academy.  Too bitchy, too arrogant, too stupidly annoying.

 

Abuse5. Graphic Abuse- I have a very hard time with any kind of violence or sexual abuse, of course, especially if it’s directed at children and teens. I’m not opposed to it being a part of the back story, but I don’t want details.

 

images6. Any Classics Turned Paranormal- I’m thinking Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer, Pride & Prejudice and Zombies… I’m sure as individual stories they’re fun, but the wave of books it seems to spawn (I once saw Little Vampire Women….no joke) just became too much.

 

7. Just Paranormal Stuff in General- Again, there are paranormal books I enjoy, but generally I don’t want to know if you see ghosts or if you can read someone’s mind or have a cousin who’s a Greek God who now wants to kill you. It’s just not my thing unless it’s extremely well-done (The Body Finder, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, The Percy Jackson Books, and Shift are all excellent choices I loved).

images

I know, it’s not fair. I used this one already but look. They’re SO BAD.

8. Really, REALLY bad covers- I think we’re grading on a curve here since in YA bad covers are pretty much standard. But some, dear me, I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I’m not sure why it’s a prerequisite to have headless people, or worse, sneering emo girls and blooming flowers (thank you, Twilight, for reals) but someone needs to stop this madness. Just a plain cover with words would be fine. I’d take that over the monstrosities that stare out at me from the shelves at B&N.

 

Happy Tuesday!