Month: March 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books Recently Added to the TBR

50ab0-toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday, participating book bloggers blog about their top ten lists.


As I’ve talked about before in previous Top Ten Tuesdays, a huge problem that many bibliophiles face is the ever-expanding TBR list.

I’d say that about 50% of the stuff I do on the internet is directly related to books in some way. About 5% of it is probably spent on Goodreads, constantly browsing through the “Related Books” and “Recommended Books” section of the site. As a result, the books on my TBR grow exponentially greater than the books I actually finish reading do. I try to fix the problem by annually purging the list of titles that I know I’ll never finish, but it doesn’t actually help.

So I just looked at my Goodreads shelves and found the 10 books that I’ve added the most recently that I can realistically see myself reading sometime in the future. Of course that’s just wistful thinking because god knows when I’ll actually have time to read 600+ books. (more…)

[ARC Review] Throw Like a Woman – Susan Petrone

Throw Like a Woman

Author: Susan Petrone

Series: None

Publication Date: March 24th, 2015

Publisher: The Story Plant

Number of Pages: 336

Genres: Women’s Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Sports, Adult

Source: Received from publisher

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


Summary

Forty years old, divorced, with two sons on the verge of adolescence and an ex-husband who considers visitation to be optional, Brenda Haversham isn’t having a whole lot of fun. She’s also no longer qualified for the work she loves, so she’s working in a cubicle instead while trying to make ends meet.

Brenda is short on money, short on connection with her kids, and short on any kind of social life. The only thing Brenda has in abundance is her anger. And that turns out to be her greatest asset.

When she was a kid, Brenda’s father taught her how to throw a good fastball. That wasn’t of much use to a girl, but it is enough to astound onlookers at a “test your speed” pitching cage before a Cleveland Indians game. The more Brenda pictures her ex-husband’s face on the other end, the harder she throws. And when someone tapes her performance and puts it up online, Brenda becomes an Internet sensation – and then more than that.

Soon, the Indians come calling and Brenda finds her life taking a turn in a new direction. She finds herself standing on the mound as the first woman player in Major League history – and dealing with everything that comes with it. The money is great and the endorsement deals are even better. The fury of “traditionalists,” not so much. And the conflicting emotions of her teammates are even harder to manage.

Meanwhile, Brenda’s home life is evolving faster than she can keep up, redefining her role as a mother, a friend, and even a lover.

As the season winds down Brenda will find out if she has what it takes to be a winner – at both baseball and life.

A funny, poignant, and endearing debut from a writer of rare warmth and humanity, FASTBALL is a 95-mile-an-hour heater of a novel. (more…)

Top Ten Tuesday: Books From My Childhood

50ab0-toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday, participating book bloggers blog about their top ten lists.


I’m going to slightly twist the prompt because I’m still in highschool. Instead, I’m going to make it include the most memorable and important books and authors from my elementary school years. These are going to be the books that shaped me as a reader. These books are what made me really begin to realize what genres I liked to read.

Clearly, some of these books aren’t going to be appropriate for a teenager to read but that’s okay. I still look back on some of them with fond memories.
Below, I have included the books that were most important to me. I could name so many other authors and books that I enjoyed reading. There’s Jerry Spinelli, Andrew Clements, the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, Junie B. Jones, just to name a few. But none of them really made me who I am as a reader today as much as these books did.
Also, this post is a monster. It’s gigantic and filled with my nostalgic childhood stories. Approach with caution. (more…)

[Preview Review] Saint Anything – Sarah Dessen

SNEAK PEEK: Saint Anything

Author: Sarah Dessen

Series: None

Publication Date: May 5th, 2015

Publisher: Viking Juvenile

Number of Pages: Sample – 35; Book – 448

Genre: Contemporary, YA, Romance

Source: Netgalley

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


Summary

Peyton, Sydney’s charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion’s share of their parents’ attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton’s increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

The uber-popular Sarah Dessen explores her signature themes of family, self-discovery, and change in her twelfth novel, sure to delight her legions of fans.

(more…)

[ARC Review] My Best Everything – Sarah Tomp

My Best Everything

Author: Sarah Tomp

Series: None

Publication Date: March 3rd, 2015

Publisher: Little Brown Books

Number of Pages: 400

Genre: Contemporary, YA

Source: Netgalley

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


Summary

You say it was all meant to be. You and me. The way we met. Our secrets in the woods. Even the way it all exploded. It was simply a matter of fate.

Maybe if you were here to tell me again, to explain it one more time, then maybe I wouldn’t feel so uncertain. But I’m going back to the beginning on my own. To see what happened and why.

Luisa “Lulu” Mendez has just finished her final year of high school in a small Virginia town, determined to move on and leave her job at the local junkyard behind. So when her father loses her college tuition money, Lulu needs a new ticket out.

Desperate for funds, she cooks up the (definitely illegal) plan to make and sell moonshine with her friends, Roni and Bucky. Quickly realizing they’re out of their depth, Lulu turns to Mason: a local boy who’s always seemed like a dead end. As Mason guides Lulu through the secret world of moonshine, it looks like her plan might actually work. But can she leave town before she loses everything – including her heart?

The summer walks the line between toxic and intoxicating. My Best Everything is Lulu’s letter to Mason – though is it an apology, a good-bye, or a love letter?

(more…)

Final Words: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

This is the last post of the 10 in this ongoing series about Gone Girl. I hope it wasn’t too annoying to all of you guys and I’m sorry if you were accidentally spoiled. But if you liked it, comment below and tell me what part of the project you enjoyed reading!

I’m glad that I picked Gone Girl as a a book for my book project. There was a lot of depth and great use of literary devices that were fun to analyze. I loved the writing and use of the unreliable narrator. And like I said before, it appealed to my love of crime novels.

I think that some of my favorite band’s songs matched up really well with some of the book’s themes, especially the ones relating to toxic love. Halestorm is one of my favorite bands of all time. The lead singer, Lzzy Hale, has a fantastic voice and the band has a really tough sound that I adore.

Their song, “Mz. Hyde” matches PERFECTLY with Amy’s personality.

Lyrics here: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/halestorm/mzhyde.html

First of all, I’d like to address that Amy was a highly unreliable narrator. We are initially given the idea that she is the fun-loving, naive wife. She’s optimistic and cheerful. She doesn’t push her husband and he doesn’t expect her to. Then the second half of the novel begins. Her personality is revealed to be so much scarier than she really is. Along with Nick, we learn that Amy is a scary psychopath that really doesn’t feel any remorse. She wants revenge and she wants it bad.

But this two-faced character isn’t what made me think that this song was good for her personality.

These lyrics fit fantastically with her personality:

I can be the bitch,
I can play the whore,
Or your fairytale princess who could ask for more.
A touch of wicked,
A pinch of risqué,
Good girl gone bad, my poison is your remedy

During the novel, Amy talks about how she always puts on personas. She can play the “cool girl”. She can be the loving, doting girl. She talks about how she would love to use the “tough, abused girl” persona during her hideaway. I can completely imagine Amy singing this song in warning to Nick. It’s literally the perfect song for her.

Okay I need to go back to wrapping this project up.

Gone Girl was a super fun book to read. I can see myself rereading it a few years from now (not any time soon because I just did an entire project on it). The movie was pretty good in comparison to the multitude of other book to adaptations that have flopped. The characters were great and the plot was interesting.

If you want to read the posts from this project, they’re all linked below with short recaps!

Before I started to read the book, I talked about what I expected from the book, hype, and things my friends told me.

When  I got about 42% into the book, I blogged about my first impressions and predictions.

When  I finished, I felt a little disappointed and gave an idea of what I felt about the end.

Then I reviewed the book.

Yay movies! I watched the movie adaption and reviewed it.

I noticed that there was a lot of irony used in the book, so I talked about the uses.

I talked a little bit about the difficulty and use of dual perspectives.

I analyzed and compared all the ugly relationships that Amy had.

And finally, although this book had a lot of themes, I talked about why I think feminism is NOT one of them.

That’s all! Hope you liked reading about Gone Girl!

Romance Analysis: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

In Gone Girl, we are told repeatedly that Amy had a lot of admirers that were overly obsessive.

There’s Tommy O’Hare, the guy that she briefly dated before officially getting together with Nick.

There’s Desi Collings, her highschool ex that stalked her.

And of course, there’s Nick Dunne, the husband accused of murder.

In all three instances of romance, we learn something about Amy and how she treats men. (more…)

Dual Perspective: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl is written from two perspectives – Amy Elliot Dunne and Nick Dunne. The entire book is written in first-person point-of-view but we are given two different timeframs

In Nick’s chapters, everything is in the present. We’re learning about the details and clues of Amy’s disappearance as he finds it. We learn about his side of the issue and all the little details of their marriage.

In Amy’s chapters, everything in part 1 is technically set in the past. They are excerpts of Amy’s diary. They are written in different tenses, depending on what she is talking about. They generally detail the details of their relationship from her point-of-view. Part 2 and 3 are set in the present and tell about what Amy has done during her disappearance.

The great thing about this book was the the dual perspective was really easy to read. In a lot of books, each person’s personality and speech pattern is exactly the same. They often wash together into a large collection of opinions that are hard to associate with any single character. It makes it hard to remember what perspective the chapter is in which of course, makes the book hard to enjoy (I’m looking at you Blood of Olympus). In Gone Girl, we get two distinct voices. It’s easy to differentiate between the characters and their opinions. Not wishy-washy or puzzling. Clear, distinct, and easy to read.

I thought the use of the dual perspective was very clever. The entire novel exaggerates the possible repercussions of toxic marriages. With two perspectives, we are able to see the opinions of both sides of the marriage. We learn about Amy and why she, as the wife, began to feel bitter about the marriage. We learn about Nick and his reasons for having a mistress.

With two perspectives, the use of dramatic irony was highly effective. Marriage is built on trust and understanding. Lack of it will result in some serious problems, some of which may eventually result in a situation just as bad as the one in Gone Girl. Okay most people probably aren’t psychopaths but bitter feelings will definitely arise. By using dual perspectives, we learn more about how each person felt about trusting the other person. We get a heightened sense of emotion for each character.

In this case, we kind of just don’t want them to kill each other.

This is why you should talk to your significant others. So you don’t end up bitter and angry.

What do you think about the use of dual perspectives in Gone Girl?

[ARC Review] Seeker – Arwen Elys Dayton

Seeker (Seeker, #1)

Author: Arwen Elys Dayton

Series: Seeker #1

Publication Date: February 10th, 2015

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Number of Pages: 448

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Romance

Source: Netgalley

Links: Goodreads | Amazon


Summary

Quin Kincaid has been put through years of brutal training for what she thinks is the noble purpose of becoming a revered ‘Seeker’.

Only when it’s too late does she discover she will be using her new-found knowledge and training to become an assassin. Quin’s new role will take her around the globe, from a remote estate in Scotland to a bustling, futuristic Hong Kong where the past she thought she had escaped will finally catch up with her. (more…)