TGIF: Book Disappointments

TGIF was a feature at one of my favorite blogs, GReads. It’s a way to recap the week, talk about fun book things, and celebrate the weekend. Each week a bookish question was proposed as a way to get to know fellow bloggers and write about issues we care about.

This week’s topic? Book Disappointments: Have you ever come across a book you were so stoked to read, but it failed miserably in your eyes?

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Laura Wiess’ books have been some of the biggest disappointments for me in the past few years. I read Such a Pretty Girl in middle school and loved it, and have gone on to try some of her other books as well. Leftovers was a huge disappointment for me, and I just hated it. It was written partially in first person and partially in second person, which made it an annoying read. It was not well done at all. I didn’t even finish How it Ends because I really disliked the main character and found her extraordinarily irritating. I haven’t tried another Wiess book since, even though she’s come out with a few more books in the past couple years.

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The Glimpse was another major let down. The premise sounded so cool and unique, but then it wasn’t carried out at all how I thought it would be. I really didn’t like Anna and found her too juvenile for a book with such a serious topic. My biggest problem with the book however, was the fact that it perpetuated negative stereotypes about people with mental illnesses. I was frustrated that I couldn’t tell if Claire Merle was supporting the stereotypes or making fun of them, and I feel like in a book about such a sensitive issue she should have made that clear. By far my biggest disappointment of 2012.

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I almost didn’t read Dying to Know You because I knew it wouldn’t be as good as This is All, one of my all-time favorite books. Sadly, I was correct, and probably won’t read another Aidan Chambers book again to spare myself.

TGIF: Writing Reviews 101 with Mila 2.0

TGIF was a feature at one of my favorite blogs, GReads. It’s a way to recap the week, talk about fun book things, and celebrate the weekend. Each week a bookish question was proposed as a way to get to know fellow bloggers and write about issues we care about.

This week’s topic is Writing Reviews 101: How do you approach review writing?

In general, I write a review immediately after I read, which takes me about 20 minutes. Sometimes I wait a few days if I’m having conflicting feelings about it, and other times I write what I like to think of as a “skeleton review” before I fill it out completely. I’ll use Mila 2.0 as an example:

Title: Mila 2.0
Author: Debra Driza
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Publication Date: March 12, 2013
Pages: 470
Genre: Sci-fi/thriller
Source: Library
Rating: 4/5

Mila was never meant to learn the truth about her identity. She was a girl living with her mother in a small Minnesota town. She was supposed to forget her past—that she was built in a secret computer science lab and programmed to do things real people would never do.

Now she has no choice but to run—from the dangerous operatives who want her terminated because she knows too much and from a mysterious group that wants to capture her alive and unlock her advanced technology. However, what Mila’s becoming is beyond anyone’s imagination, including her own, and it just might save her life.

– loved Mila; quirky and sarcastic

– exciting, fast-paced

– love blend of thriller, sci-fi, and romance

– wished Lucas was a little more involved in story

– liked how Driza handled Mila’s struggles/relationship with “mom”

– really liked Hunter

– Hollander good villain

– why was Mila ever friends with Kaylee?

– Mila’s struggles with being android believable/heart-wrenching

– not sure if ending believable (try for no spoilers!)

and so on…

TGIF: Favorite Book Blogs

Book Blogs That Make You Smile:
Pick 5 book blogs you visit often & think others should, too.

GReads
I absolutely love this blog. I’ve added a lot of books to my TBR list because of this blogger. I always enjoy her reviews. Ginger is pretty much my favorite.

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Hobbitsies
I discovered this blog just this year because they’re hosting the Debut Author Challenge, and I’m certainly glad I did! I love Tara’s reviews. They’re generally pretty short, and she brings things to my attention about particular books that I hadn’t thought of before. A good blogger is a blogger who makes you think. Also, their name is the best.

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iswimforoceans
I followed this blog for about a year until Melissa had to take a hiatus. I was very sad when she stopped blogging, but there are still plenty of posts in her archive I haven’t gotten to yet.

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The Story Siren
This is what I consider the ultimate book blog. She’s pretty much the queen amongst bloggers. Kristi is just the best. Anybody looking to start a book blog should check her out.

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Fiction Folio
I just discovered this blog last week. It seems pretty darn cool. Also, why are all the cool bloggers (FF and Hobbitsies, for example) named Tara? Do I need to change my name or something?

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Happy Friday! 🙂

TGIF: To-Be-Read’s

TGIF was a feature at one of my favorite blogs, GReads. It’s a way to recap the week, talk about fun book things, and celebrate the weekend. Each week a bookish question was proposed as a way to get to know fellow bloggers and write about issues we care about.

To-Be-Read’s: How big is your pile? Which book keeps getting pushed down the stack, but you keep meaning to read it?

From NetGalley and Eidelweiss:

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That Time I Joined the Circus – J. J. Howard
Being Henry David – Cal Armistead
Riptide – Lindsey Scheibe
The Bane – Keary Taylor
Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality – Elizabeth Eulberg
The Nightmare Affair – Mindee Arnett
Diverse Energies – Various authors
If You Could Be Mine – Sara Farizan
Chantress – Amy Butler Greenfield
If You Find Me – Emily Murdoch
The Book of Broken Hearts – Sarah Ockler
Daughters Who Walk This Path – Yejide Kilanko
Andy Squared – Jennifer Lavoie
The Dead and Buried – Kim Harrington
What We Saw At Night – Jacquelyn Mitchard
The Sweetest Dark – Shana Abe
Saving June – Hannah Harrington
You Know What You Have to Do – Bonnie Shimko
Entangled – Nikki Jefford
An Infidel in Paradise – S. J. Laidlaw
Frozen – Mary Casanova
The Shadow Society – Marie Rutkoski

I’ve had Diverse Energies, Andy Squared, What We Saw At Night, Saving June, Frozen, and The Shadow Society on my TBR list for the longest time. I think the problem is for some of them that I wasn’t so interested in them to begin with as I was with other books I requested, and thus keep getting more books from NetGalley that I’m more interested in. Also, I’m waiting to read some of these closer to their release dates.

Purchased/from publisher:

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Pink Smog – Francesca Lia Block
Nerve – Jeanne Ryan
Woman on the Edge of Time – Marge Piercy
The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
Breathe – Sarah Crossan
Forgiven – Janet Fox
Perfect You – Elizabeth Scott
Small Damages – Beth Kephart
You Are My Only – Beth Kephart
After the Kiss – Tera Elan McVoy
Ultraviolet – R. J. Anderson
Fury – Elizabeth Miles
Irises – Francisco X. Stork
The Peculiars – Maureen Doyle
Imaginary Girls – Nova Ren Suma
Before I Fall – Lauren Oliver
The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear – Walter Moers

Not shown:
Homeland – Cory Doctorow
Unravel Me – Tahereh Mafi

Again, my main problem here is that I keep getting more books. Some of these I’ve had a couple years and just never got to, and I struggle with keeping the books on my blog current and reading what I want. I probably don’t really need to worry about this, but I do want to show as many recent books on here as possible. I also really need to read The Peculiars; I requested a printed copy from the publisher last May and still haven’t gotten to it (eek!) and I feel guilty every time I look at it, likely with good reason.

Library:

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Beautiful Music for Ugly Children – Kristen Cronn-Mills
Flutter – Gina Linko
The Wrap-Up List – Steve Arnston
Such a Rush – Jennifer Echols
Override – Heather Anastasiu
What Happens Next – Colleen Clayton

…guess I’d better get readin’!

TGIF: Sequels

TGIF was a feature at one of my favorite blogs, GReads. It’s a way to recap the week, talk about fun book things, and celebrate the weekend. Each week a bookish question was proposed as a way to get to know fellow bloggers and write about issues we care about.

Actually, this post should be called “TGIF: Sequels that are awkwardly published years and years after the first book.”

I chose this topic because as I was browsing Goodreads this week, I noticed that a couple books I read as a kid are coming out with sequels this year. This wouldn’t have been all that odd to me usually, but these sequels have at least five years between them and their predecessors.

For example, “A Certain Slant of Light,” a book that I didn’t think deserved all the hype even when the first book was published, will have a sequel at some point in 2013. Laura Whitcomb published the first book way back in 2005, which was 8 years ago. I mean, does anyone even remember it now who read it in 2005 or really want to read it again so they know what happened? Eight years is an awfully long time between books. Plus, she’s only written one other YA book in between, “The Fetch,” in 2009. I feel like she must have a lot of faith in her readers to write this book now.

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I also saw that Kirby Larson has written a sequel to “Hattie Big Sky,” which was originally published in  2006. That’s a seven-year gap between books. I guess I just think it’s kind of odd that an author would choose to write a sequel to something so many years later. I mean, do people remember these books enough to read the sequels? What made the authors want to return to these characters and stories after so long? Kirby Larson has written a lot more books in between Big Sky and Ever After, so I’m particularly curious what made her decide to go back to Hattie.

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I mean, of course there are other authors who have done this sort of thing before. Just last October, Lois Lowry published the fourth book of the Giver Quartet, nine years after “Messenger.” But then again, that series was much beloved for many years and has become somewhat of a modern classic, and besides that, Lois Lowry is just so awesome that she can pretty much do whatever she wants, in my opinion.

I think I’m just trying to figure out what the point of writing a sequel with a gap of over five years is. Is it the characters? Is it the world of the book? Is it the story? Has the author run out of ideas? This post is not meant to be critical, just pointing out some observations I’ve made, and out of genuine curiosity about the writing process. Thoughts?

TGIF: Books to Television

TGIF was a feature at one of my favorite blogs, GReads. It’s a way to recap the week, talk about fun book things, and celebrate the weekend. Each week a bookish question was proposed as a way to get to know fellow bloggers and write about issues we care about.

Books to Television: Which books would you love to see made in to a TV series? or movie?

I thought this would be a good topic for this week because clearly, 2013 is going to be a big year for young adult books on TV. The CW is releasing the television series of Kiera Cass’ The Selection this spring, and earlier this week Lauren Oliver announced that Emma Roberts will be starring as Lena in the TV series of Delirium.

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Another book series I think would be terrific as a TV show is Lauren Kunze & Rina Onur’s The Ivy. It has the perfect amount of drama, romance, and comedy to entertain a large audience, with crazy characters that’ll keep viewers hooked for many, many seasons.

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I think Lili St. Crow’s Strange Angels could also be a really great television series. It’s got all the stuff that’s really in right now (vampires, werewolves, etc.) with a strong heroine who could actually be a good example to teenage girls, as opposed to those in certain other unnamed vampire movies.

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TGIF: Book Appeal

TGIF was a feature at one of my favorite blogs, GReads. It’s a way to recap the week, talk about fun book things, and celebrate the weekend. Each week a bookish question was proposed as a way to get to know fellow bloggers and write about issues we care about.

This week’s topic is…

Book Appeal: When you’re browsing Goodreads, the library, or another blogger’s reviews, what grabs your attention and makes you want to read something?

Recently, I’ve been taking most of my book recommendations from other bloggers lately, and the thing that really grabs my attention when reading someone else’s review is when they say a book took them by surprise. I love it when I take a chance on a book from a genre I’m not as comfortable in, or a book I don’t have any big expectations for, and ends up completely winning me over.

For the past month or so on Goodreads, I seem more inclined to look at books whose covers haven’t been released yet, although it means they won’t be published for a long while. But, this way I’m only judging the book by the plot, whereas if I look at a book at the library or in Barnes & Noble, I am more inclined to let my feelings about the cover influence whether or not I read the book. I think that even though we may try not to let how a book looks influence whether or not we read it, most people do judge a book by its cover. Cover doesn’t always tell us what’s inside; a great book could be hidden beneath a really embarrassing cover you never want to be seen with, or a crappy book could have beautiful cover art.

But, that all being said, what makes really makes me pick up a book is a unique plot. What I mean by this is a storyline I haven’t seen before, a character from a background that isn’t shown a lot, a book about an issue I’m interested in, and really just anything that’s creative. I love a good story with lyrical writing that packs a punch, so that’s what I look for.