TGIF- What to read…what to read

TGIF is hosted by Ginger at G Reads.  This week we’re discussing how I decide what to read next.

Oh I’d love to tell you I have this wonderfully organized system, where everything just perfectly falls into place—but no. I basically have a stack of books on my nightstand.  They can be books I’ve purchased, books loaned to me by friends or taken from the library, and books from publishers.  I try to read borrowed books first and then books from publishers, depending on the due date of the borrowed book and the publication date of the ARC, but there’s not really a science to it.  This is why the books I purchase take FOREVER to get read, no matter how long I’ve owned them. Also, this is why I haven’t read so many books I claim to be gagging for (like, hello, Insurgent. I’m on the waiting list for the library, but with about 15 books on my table right now, I have no business buying it).

Sometimes I think I have it all worked out. Then I take my kids to the library and come home with five books I’ve suddenly decided I’m dying to read. That throws everything off too.

Oh well! Happy Friday to you!

PS. For those of you who don’t know, Ginger at G Reads is putting TGIF on hiatus for a while.  While I won’t be doing TGIF, I’ll try to think of something fun to do.  Maybe I’ll read the books on my night stand?  Ha ha.

TGIF- August 10

TGIF is hosted by Ginger at GReads.

This week we’re talking about books we had reservations about and then loved.  Lordy, I could be here all day. Sometimes it takes some serious convincing to get me to read a book, which is why I’m so thankful to the people who run the blogs I love because those are the bookworms I truly trust. Those are the people who’ve gotten me to read some of my favorite books.

Take for example, The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. I mean, I think you’ve seen me blather on and on about this series like a crazy person. If I could adopt this book and raise it as one of my own children I’d totally do it. But man, when I read the premise I was like, REALLY?  You can hear all the thoughts of the men?  And the MCs are kids? I mean isn’t there any kissing?????  But after reading the opinions bloggers at Forever Young Adult and after chatting about it via our blogs and Twitter with Capillya at That Cover Girl, they convinced me to JUST GO FOR IT! And I’m so very glad I did.

Or consider If I Stay by Gayle Forman. I mean a book about a girl whose family dies in a car accident? And she’s sort of hovering between life and death?  You guys, I like books with princesses and kissing. I do not want to cry. But after being convinced through too many reviews to count, I finally picked this one up from the library a couple of years ago (totally determined to dislike it) and I was completely swept up in Mia’s life, in her family, her love life and yes, in her tragedy.  And I loved every minute of it. I totally cried my eyes out but it has become one of my favorite books.
And the same goes for The Fault in Our Stars. Were it not for my friends at Gone Pecan and Teen Lit Rocks, I definitely would not have picked this one up. And it’s ridiculous because I love me some John Green. But I also love not being sad.  After reading this one I can truly say that although there were many sad moments the end result was beautiful and uplifting.
And speaking of Teen Lit Rocks, do you know that she convinced me to read Finnikin of the Rocka book I now adore, a book that I thought was so romantic at times that it compelled me to send a highly inappropriate sext to my husband, only to later realize in horror that I’d accidentally sent it to one of my girlfriends instead (yes, this is my life). Anyhoo, although I love Melina Marchetta I’d initially avoided this book because it was a Fantasy. I don’t usually enjoy that genre but boy was I wrong.

And finally, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater  I’ve never been a fan of the Shiver books. They just don’t do it for me. So when the publisher asked me to read this book, assuring me it was a total departure for Maggie, I was a bit wary. And of course,  I loved this book.  It was completely different and more fantastic than I could have ever imagined.
It’s so good to be wrong.

Happy Friday!

TGIF- July 27

TGIF is hosted by the awesome Ginger at GReads. This week’s topic is  Christmas in July (which I also celebrate with my kids only our celebration involves cranked up AC, homemade sugar cookies and icing, and oodles of Christmas movies).

As far as my book-related Christmas in July, here’s what I’m wishing for as of now:

Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone– This one doesn’t come out until October but I have been dying to read it ever since I first read about it last year. It’s being called a YA version of The Time Traveler’s Wife (only my favs book ever!). October can’t get here soon enough.

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor- This is the sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone and I’m pretty much willing to ignore everyone in my life for a full day so that I can be completely swept away by this book.  I seriously can’t wait. I can’t.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green– This will sound lame, because I’ve already read this book (the review is coming as soon as I’m able to put my adoration into words). But I got it from the library and after reading it I now realize that I need it on my bookshelf. I need to be able to flip through those pages and love on it all over again anytime I choose. Also, I need a copy that I can loan out over and over so that more people can understand the mega-awesomeness of Augustus, Hazel and John Green.

There are a few more I can’t (but will) wait for: Prodigy by Marie Lu (Legend #2) due out in January (here’s a link to the first chapter), Unravel Me (Shatter Me#2) by Tahereh Mafi due February 2013, Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare (Infernal Devices #3) due out March 2013. And does anyone have an exact date on Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins? I need that sort of adorableness in my life always.

Happy Friday!

TGIF- Comfort Books

TGIF is hosted by Ginger at GReads.  This week is a subject I love: Comfort Books.

Do you have books that you read over and over again when you need a smile or a cry or a good swoon?  I have books like that. It doesn’t matter how any times I read them, they bring me such comfort.  Sometimes old books (as in ones we’ve read so often we can recite them) are better than new ones. They’re like old friends.

When I need a smile, I always grab a Princess Diaries book. I’ve read the whole series many times, but I gravitate toward Forever PrincessPrincess in Love and The Princess Present. Still, I’ve been known to reread the whole series at once when I need a larger supply of smiles.  It’s like a big hug.

Another go-to happy book for me is Austenland by Shannon Hale. Anything that 1) references Jane Austen characters and 2)pokes lighthearted fun at Austenites is for me.  The concept here (a girl who stays at a super-secret resort which recreates Austen life, characters and fantasies that star the patrons? Hello, I’m there) is fun and the humor, the writing and the characters are completely charming.  And Mr. Nobley (the book’s Darcy)? Swoon City, baby.

Finally, a book that never ever fails to make me happy is The Truth About Forever.  It has it all: humor, friendships, Armageddon experts (ha ha), romance and one of the most swoonworthy boys ever created.

Happy Friday!

TGIF- June 29th

TGIF is hosted by Ginger at GReads.  This week we get to talk about our three favorite reads of 2012…so far.  Three.

Only three.

Oh, questions like these are so hard. I mean, how do you compare a romance to a dystopian? Or a funny book to an issue book? They’re all so different and so good in different ways.  THE AGONY OF MAKING A CHOICE!

I’ll give it a go, but we all know I’m going to cheat and list extra books. Can we just agree to that?  Good.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.  You guys, her writing is phenomenal. It’s beautiful and funny and poetic.  It crushed me at times and made me cry and other times it made me giggle and reread sections over and over because they were so clever.  And the romance was stunning. The story was magical. The settings were incredible. And Karou, our heroine, was the best main character I’d read in quite a while.  I loved this book from start to finish.

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta-What’s ridiculous is that I’ve loved every single Marchetta book and yet I wasn’t super-psyched to read Finnikin because it was a Fantasy (not usually my first choice). Holy cow, how could I have been so lame?  It was beautiful and amazing like all of her other books.  The characters were fantastic and the settings were so good. Everything about it was excellent. It’s a book I’d happily read again and again.

When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle Oh, this book broke my heart into a thousand pieces. It’s a retelling of Romeo & Juliet told from Rosaline’s perspective (Romeo’s original love).  I thought it was such a fresh take on the story.  The characters and the dialogue were so authentic and…I keep saying this…but I was blown away by Serle’s ability to make me root against Romeo & Juliet AND to make me hope against hope for a different outcome to a story that I already knew had a tragic ending.  I loved this one. Loved it.

And here’s where I’ll cheat just a teensy bit:  Other books I’ve loved this year have been Pandemonium (Lauren Oliver), Shatter Me (Tahereh Mafi), Monsters of Men (Patrick Ness). And that barely scratches the surface!

Happy Friday!

TGIF June 15- MVB

TGIF is hosted by Ginger at GReads.

This week’s question is: From your personal collection of books, which one hold the most value to you?

Well, I can’t narrow it down to one because, I’m sorry, but some things are just not possible. Do you have one favorite movie or type of dessert? One favorote ride at Disneyland? I think not. Books are even bigger than those things!

First, my copy of To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee is very special because a) it’s an amazing book and b) my husband searched high and low for this baby–unbeknownst to me–and had great difficulty finding it because apparently it was out of print at the time.  It makes me love it (and him all the more.

Then, of course, I’d have to include an old hard copy version of The Secret Garden because my extremely awesome, mega reader grandma (fond of  Danielle Steel and many a sexy bodice ripper) bought it for me when I was in high school, telling me I had to read it because it was her absolute favorite book.

The huge fangirl in me would also have to hold on to my copy of Forever Princess because, you guys, it’s signed by Meg Cabot.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know! She’s not on the West Coast very often (boo hoo), but my daughter, Chloe, and I had the chance to meet her, to spazz about Michael Moscovitz (OK, so maybe that was just me) and to get her to sign our books. It was awesome!

And I could never part with Goodnight Moon, because me sweet little Carissa scribbled in it when she was a toddler. Now she sees it and acts like she has no idea who could’ve done such a thing, but we both know.

That’s all for now. Happy Friday!

TGIF June 8- Dream Cast

TGIF is hosted by the one and only Ginger at GReads.

This week’s question is: If you could use existing characters from some of your favorite books to create a new story, who would be in it?

First of all, um hello, dream topic here.  Thinking about all of my favorite crushes characters makes my head spin (in a good way). I’m going to try not to unleash too much crazy here. It’s gonna be hard, but I’ll hold back.

My story would obviously have to be funny and smart (because despite appearances to the contrary, I like to believe I’m both of these things. Whether or not it’s true is up for debate, but I like to think I am, just like I like to think I’m super-cool. A girl can dream). Anyhoo, funny and smart means my girl Frankie Landau Banks would be there, front and center. Yeah, dog.   And Mia Thermopolis, because outside of Algebra, she is very bright and unintentionally funny.  Mia is my soul sister all the way.  I think I’d include Mia from If I Stay/Where She Went because I love her.  I admire her strength and, I’m not gonna lie, I wish I had an ounce of her musical ability.

And if were going to have Mia there, we definitely need Adam.  The laws of swoon forbid me to separate them.  And I think Jace Wayland (or whatever his name is now) should be there too, ahem, you know, for good measure.  While we’re at it, let’s include Taylor Markham and Jonah effing Griggs, because I think they’d team up nicely with Frankie where pranks and things are concerned.

I feel like I’m forgetting someone….hmm…oh maybe the light of my literary life MICHAEL MOSCOVITZ FAKE MAN OF MY DREAMS.

And I have no idea what this story would be about, but I really don’t care as long as Michael is in it.  There would be kissing (obvs) and music (Shooting Star and perhaps a Skinner Box reunion? Hells yes), shirtlessness (I think Jace could cover this one single-handedly), perhaps a road trip (because I love those) and definitely awesomeness (Frankie’s got it in the bag, baby).

Happy Friday!

TGIF- May 25th

TGIF is hosted by Ginger at GReads.

The question this week is: What are some of the worst book covers, but hold some of the best stories inside?

Oh, I know. In the YA genre they are aplenty.  I’ll just list a couple that really stick out in my mind.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

The expression on her face, the scarf, the hands…it looks so cheesy.  It’s a book I would have been embarrassed to buy had I not known better (OK, I was still embarrassed).  But between those covers is so much humor (really. I laughed out loud so many times), such sweetness and romance and swoon. And there is Anna—who is a fabulous main character— and her gigantic crush on St. Clair, who has a certain endearing charm about him. And there’s Paris, you guys. Paris.  I love this book.

Anything by Sarah Dessen

Sigh. I feel so bad always ragging on the covers of Sarah Dessen books, but they’re bad.  They have mostly headless people and even though they try to convey what the book is about, they come off looking like something I want to hide behind another book. And the reason I always, always talk about these books is because Dessen is a fantastic author. Her words are beautiful, her stories are good, her heroines are strong and she writes perfectly imperfect swoony boys.  She is a YA goddess, but you’d never know that by looking at legs and iPods.

The Mortal Instruments books by Cassandra Clare

Over the years I’ve become so used to these covers that I sometimes forget that at first glance they can be kind of horrifying.  Now, I’m totally into seeing the characters and how they’re envisioned, but back when I first saw these books I was completely distracted by Jace’s nipples.  I mean, I’m not saying he looks baaad, but I don’t need that much detail. And I don’t mind shirtlessness (esp. in the case of Jace) but, I don’t know…maybe it’s that they’re just right there, front and center saying “Look at me!’.  Whatever it is, these books are so excellent. I love this series , but whenever I recommend them to someone they ask if it’s the books with the nipple  guy.  Just sayin.

Happy Friday!

TGIF- May 18

TGIF is hosted by Ginger at GReads.  This week’s question is : Why did you become a book blogger?

The main answer seems pretty simple:  Because I’m a nerd of ginormous proportions.  And a place where I can talk about books, spazz about swoon and dissect every nuance of a story in as much or a little detail as I choose–that, as my friend Maggie would say, is Nerdvana!

There were always friend to discuss books with.  The problem for me was that very few of my friends read YA.  They’d pick up a popular one like Twilight, but no one I knew personally was totally seeped into the genre in the same way I was.  When I found that I was trying to blab to random people at the library and bookstore about the books they were picking up, I figured my need to discuss it all was getting a teensy bit out of hand (sadly, this is still a problem for me. Blogging hasn’t changed that).   Vee, who loves YA but still actually makes an effort to read some Adult fic, was fielding e-mails from me left and right (thank God for her) and having conversations with me about who our favorite literary heroes were (we made lists. With commentary, you guys) and was trying to help me figure out who in the world is the best actor to play Michael Moscovitz in The Princess Diaries movie in my head.  It was serious business.

And that’s when it happened. I started putting together a blog. I wasn’t even sure I was going to really do it. I just needed to write down (or type out) how awesome Taylor and Jonah from Jellicoe Road are. I needed everyone to know that The Truth About Forever makes me smile and laugh and swoon every time I read it.  And I needed to say that there’s a reason I like YA more than most of the fiction written for women my age.

So, I worked on this blog solo for about 5 months without making it live, without actually publishing any posts. I was still a little nervous about nerding out in such an “out there” way.  And then Vee wanted to get involved (and she still is, though her commitments keep her from participating very often now) and then, in November of 2010,  it just felt like the right time.

Now, two years from when I started typing on WordPress and loading images and telling myself I’d probably be the only one to ever read it, here’s the blog. I’m still making a dork out of myself, I’ve made tons of new friends, read some amazing books and am having so much fun. And, to my great satisfaction, pretty much everyone who reads this blog knows how much I love Michael Moscovitz Fake Man of My Dreams (second only to my husband, of course, who is, thankfully real, and truly my dream guy despite the fact that he refuses to read Harry Potter). That makes me smile almost as much as it does when someone tells me how much they love a book I’ve told them about or when someone wants to dissect the awesomeness of Frankie Landau Banks.  So, even though I don’t get paid to do this, this is one of the best jobs ever!

Thanks to everyone who has supported this blog.  We couldn’t do it without you!

Happy Friday!

TGIF- Supporting Characters

TGIF is hosted by Ginger at GReads.

This week’s question is: Who are you favorite supporting characters?  Seriously, we could be here all day. Best friends sometimes make the story for me.  Think of Hermione and Ron (Harry Potter), or Bert and Kristy and Monica (donneven) from The Truth About Forever? Or all of Frankie’s buddies in Saving Francesca? I love all of them!

For me, I think my favorite will always be Tina Hakim Baba from The Princess Diaries series.  Tina knows where it’s at.  She loves Mia and encourages her–even when Mia does stupid things like the sexy dance– and she always helps her makes sense out of all the crazy.  I know that Lilly is supposed to be Mia’s BFF, but Tina is far more loyal and non-judgemental. Also, hello, she takes much of her advice from romance novels! You don’t get much brainier than that.  I’ve found it interesting over the years to reread the books and realize that if you play close attention, Tina is usually right about every assumption she makes. I want her for my bestie.

You guys, I thought this picture was hilarious. Do you remember this scene from Princess in Love? Mia is trying to buy a secret admirer card for Michael so that she can once and for all let him know how she feels about him (secretly):

Actually, Ho’s didn’t really have what I wanted.  I wanted a card that was blank inside, with a picture on the front that was sophisticated but not too sexy. But the only blank cards they has a Ho’s (that weren’t plastered with pictures of kittens) were ones with photos of fruit being dipped into chocolate sauce.

I tried to choose a non-phallic fruit, but even the strawberry I got is kind of sexier that I would have liked. I don’t know what’s sexy about fruit with chocolate sauce dripping off it, but Tina was like, “Whoa,” when she saw it.

 

Cracks me up every time. Happy Friday!