Saturday, 30 June 2012

June Wrap Up - 2012 Reading Challenge

Wow! We are half way there! I just reviewed the official challenge list I posted (here) when I first signed up for this challenge, and out of 40 I still have 28 to read... not quite halfway :S

BUT... I have made progress in many other areas of my TBR list, and in fact June appears to be my best month yet! So, without further adieu, the books I read this month for the challenge:
The Debutante DivorceeFifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, #1)Good GirlsClub Dead (Sookie Stackhouse, #3)The Perks of Being a WallflowerCity of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)

Seven challenge books! Amazing! It's hard to believe that Fifty Shades of Grey wasn't written this year based on all the hype, but it wasn't. Not sure about the sequels to it... No hurry to read them, so no matter.

Anyway, I have been having a great month reading. There are two other books which I have also finished however haven't posted about yet, and that is The Millenuim Trilogy by Steig Larsson and Bumped by Megan McCaffery. They will have to be included in July.

Included in this month's wrap up was to include a sentence about camping from the following words:

List 1                           List 2                          List 3   
tent                              hole                            bear
raft                               cold                            eagle
canteen                       limp                            raccoon
fire wood                     moonlight                   squirrel
cooler                          Dr. Pepper                 puppy
thermos                       bathroom                   snake
sleeping bag                small                          fish

I think we get extra points for creativity! So, here is mine:

Before the camping trip, I filled my canteen with spiked Dr. Pepper in case I needed to scare off any rabid raccoon's.

I don't know if that makes any sense, but we'll go with it! Hope everyone had a great June and is making the most out of summer so far!

Happy Reading!

Thursday, 28 June 2012

City of Bones - Cassandra Clare

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)Goodreads Summary: When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder -- much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing -- not even a smear of blood -- to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . . 

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare's ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.

Why I Read This Book: I was a big fan of the book Clockwork Angel, also by Clare, and set in the same 'world' in a different time period. I am intertwining these two series' by reading them in this order:

Clockwork Angel (The Inferal Devices)
City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments)
City of Ashes (TMI)
Clockwork Prince (TID)
City of Glass (TMI)
City of Fallen Angels (TMI)
Clockwork Princess (TID)
City of Lost Souls (TMI)
City of Heavenly Fire (TMI)

She claims it doesn't matter what order you read them, so after I stressed for awhile, I settled on this order based on absolutely no rhyme or reason. Since there are 6 books in one series, and 3 in another I thought this was an epic reading plan.

Review: I really loved this book. The Shadowhunters world is one of my favorites. After reading Clockwork Angel, I knew a lot of the things that Jace teaches Clary from when Will taught Tessa, but it was awesome to read again, as you pick up things you missed last time. I loved the story, it was really engaging, and I can't wait to read the next book. There was ONE thing that did get a little bit on my nerves though... Clare does not need to use so many similes to describe the runes scars. I've got it, they are there, all Shadowhunter have them. I no longer need to know that they were like lace, or like a random pattern of snowflakes, or... if you read these books, you get the idea. No more similes! You do not need to mention them on the same person over and over. A new person, sure. It can help identify that they are a Shadowhunter without just saying "they are a shadowhunter" but, seriously, I have a pretty good grasp on the imagery the scars hold. Otherwise, awesome book, I would recommend it to anyone into paranormal stuff or magic too. These books are fantastic.


Wednesday, 20 June 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Goodreads Summary: Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion marks the stunning debut of a provocative voice in contemporary fiction: The Perks of Being a Wallflower. This is the story of what it’s like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie's letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting coming-of-age story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.

Why I Read This Book: This had been on my TBR list forever, but with a movie coming out that I really want to see, it gave me that extra push to actually go out and get it.

Review: I loved this book. It was fantastic. At first, I was a little confused by it, as all the characters seem to be introduced at the same time, and I was like "how will I ever remember all these people?!" but that quickly sorted itself out. I can easily see how someone could read this book and think there was nothing really special about it at all. It is just a guy who is a little weird writing about what happens to him in some letters. You do really need to peel back a layer to "get it" I think. As the book suggests, you need to "participate" in the story to feel how I think you should about this. If you haven't gone to high school, I wouldn't recommend this to you at all. Or if you went to a stuffy high school, but if you are a relatively normal person, who had a relatively normal teenage experience, and you "get it" you will love this book.


Monday, 18 June 2012

Club Dead (Southern Vampire #3) by Charlaine Harris

Club Dead (Sookie Stackhouse, #3)

Goodreads Summary: Things between cocktail waitress Sookie and her vampire boyfriend Bill seem to be going excellently (apart from the small matter of him being undead) until he leaves town for a while. A long while. Bill's sinister boss Eric has an idea of where to find him, whisking her off to Jackson, Mississippi to mingle with the under-underworld at Club Dead. When she finally catches up with the errant vampire, he is in big trouble and caught in an act of serious betrayal. This raises serious doubts as to whether she should save him or start sharpening a few stakes of her own.

Why I Read This Book: Because I am working through this series.

Review: This was my favorite Sookie Stackhouse novel so far. I think the downfall of this series up to now was that I also watch True Blood, and suffice it to say, I like the show more. However, it has been awhile since I watched the shows that correspond to the story of this book, so I think that made me like it a bit more, because I wasn't really comparing the two, I was just enjoying the book. And I did like it, I like Alcide in this book, and Eric too. Bill was MIA for most of the book, as with the book you only get what Sookie is up to as it's told in the first person. I'm really glad I gave this series another shot, as I was almost ready to give up on them. Now I;m looking forward to reading the next one!


Friday, 15 June 2012

Good Girls by Laura Ruby

Good Girls

Goodreads Summary: Audrey Porter is a "good girl": a good student, a great daughter, an amazing friend. She's also the last person anyone expects to be hanging out with Luke DeSalvio, the hottest guy at Audrey's school. But Luke is a liar, a player, a dream, and Audrey knows it. She dumps him at her friend's Halloween party with no intention of looking back, but not before giving him one last goodbye gift... 
The next Monday, messages begin popping up on people's phones and email inboxes. Somebody has taken a picture of her and Luke together and soon everyone knows, including her teachers, her mum and her dad… Now she must discover strength she never knew he had, find friends where she didn't think she would, and learn that life goes on – no matter how different it is to how you think it's going to be.

Why I Read This Book: One of my friends started reading this on Goodreads, and I added it to my TBR list without too much though. Since I am now trying to clean that list up, I got the ebook of this for super cheap, and... well, that's pretty much all there was!

Review: I liked this book, probably even a little bit more than I expected to. The topic wasn't overly heavy, but I could really connect with the way that Audrey felt about having the whole school talking about you. It happens, or you see it happen, in high school all the time. The author did a really good job of making you really feel for Audrey, all I wanted for her was good things, I really felt like she was my friend. Which to me signals fabulous writing! If I had a daughter in high school, I would definitely give her this book to read. Audrey, and her group of friends, are honest, decent girls, who yes, have made mistakes while growing up, but everyone does, and this book shows that you know what, you will survive, and learn, and grow even when you screw up.

Rating: I gave it 3.5 on Goodreads, and I think that if this book was more age appropriate for me, I would have rated it even higher. Here, after I have had a little more time to reflect I think it deserves 4, so:

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, #1)

Goodreads Summary: When literature student Anastasia Steele is drafted to interview the successful young entrepreneur Christian Grey for her campus magazine, she finds him attractive, enigmatic and intimidating. Convinced their meeting went badly, she tries to put Grey out of her mind - until he happens to turn up at the out-of-town hardware store where she works part-time.  

The unworldly, innocent Ana is shocked to realize she wants this man, and when he warns her to keep her distance it only makes her more desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her - but on his own terms. 

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey's singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success – his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving adoptive family – Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a passionate, physical and daring affair, Ana learns more about her own dark desires, as well as the Christian Grey hidden away from public scrutiny.

Can their relationship transcend physical passion? Will Ana find it in herself to submit to the self-indulgent Master? And if she does, will she still love what she finds?

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever

Why I Read This Book: I might as well just be honest, I had to see what the hell all the hype was about.

Review: Apart from all the BDSM, I think I could write a better book. Don't get me wrong, the sexy parts are pretty sexy, but the story line in pretty poorly written. When I found out this was originally Twilight fan-fic I was very surprised, as this just doesn't fit the Twilight story at all, unless you consider that Ana always bites her lip like Bella. Which is probably one of the most annoying things about Twilight.

I do however like that this book received the hype that it did, not because it was deserved, but because it represents something for women that would have previously been too taboo to have published and spoken about on the news.

All I can really say is that James has a pretty wild imagination, or a very wild recreational side! I will finish the series, but really, I don't think I would recommend them to anyone unless they wanted some sexy time alone, cause it will at least do that much for you!


Monday, 11 June 2012

The Debutante Divorcee by Plum Sykes

The Debutante Divorcee
Goodreads Summary: A major national media event when published in hardcover, this delicious follow-up to Bergdorf Blondes was an immediate New York Timesbestseller and confirmed Plum Sykes status as a literary superstar.

Sylvie Mortimer has just married and is blissfully happy with The Divine New Husband, Hunter. Sylvie s new friend, Lauren Blount, is very rich, very young, very thin, very pretty -- and very, very divorced. The most reckless and glamorous of Manhattan s Debutante Divorcee set, Lauren captivates Sylvie, the group s token newlywed. But while Lauren sets out on a morality-lite, orgasm-heavy Make Out Challenge, Sylvie discovers her marriage isn t exactly an Eternity ad -- especially when the city s most notorious Husband Huntress zeros in on her spouse.
The Debutante Divorcee delivers all the wit and charm that madeBergdorf Blondes a smash hit. This juicy new tale delighted Sykes many fans in hardcover and will continue to earn her new ones in this dazzling, chic paperback edition.
Plum Sykes was born in London and educated at Oxford. She is a contributing editor for American Vogue, where she writes on fashion, society, and Hollywood. She has also written for Vanity Fair. Her first book, Bergdorf Blondes, was a New York Times bestseller in hardcover and paperback.

Why I Read This Book: I picked this book up from Amazon when it was on sale because I had read, and liked, Bergdorf Blondes.

Review: This book wasn't great compared to Bergdorf Blondes. I remember BB's being a lot funnier, and this book just seemed like one massive name drop for designer wear and NYC hot spots. It got a little annoying. Overall, it was still a good story, I liked the main character, as she represented someone a little more down to earth in a society full of ridiculousness. It was Bushnell esque chick lit, and if you take it for what it is, it's a decent book.


Saturday, 9 June 2012

Modelland by Tyra Banks

Goodreads Summary: No one gets in without being asked. And with her untamable hair, large forehead, and gawky body, Tookie De La Crème isn’t expecting an invitation. Modelland—the exclusive, mysterious place on top of the mountain—never dares to make an appearance in her dreams. 

But someone has plans for Tookie. Before she can blink her mismatched eyes, Tookie finds herself in the very place every girl in the world obsesses about. And three unlikely girls have joined her.

Only seven extraordinary young women become Intoxibellas each year. Famous. Worshipped. Magical. What happens to those who don’t make it? Well, no one really speaks of that. Some things are better left unsaid.

Thrown into a world where she doesn’t seem to belong, Tookie glimpses a future that could be hers—if she survives the beastly Catwalk Corridor and terrifying Thigh-High Boot Camp. Or could it? Dark rumors like silken threads swirl around the question of why Tookie and her new friends were selected . . . and the shadows around Modelland hide sinister secrets.

Are you ready? Modelland is waiting for you. . . .

Why I Read This Book: I initially added this to my TBR list because I thought the cover was pretty, and since I like the show America's Next Top Model, I just figured this would be decent. I'm not even sure I noticed it was actually written by Tyra, that's how little thought I put into it. One day at the bookstore, I just bought it.

Review: I'm still surprised I actually went there with this book. Take a minute and actually read that synopsis. I will give Tyra credit though, this is one of the most creative books I have ever read. But, it was not always creative in a good way. Much of the book dragged on, and when things finally started happen that made the book half enjoyable, it was so off the wall ridiculous that that also took away from the story. The book isn't BAD per se, but it definitely isn't good. It needed to have the language cleaned up a lot, and someone needed to tell Tyra when her ideas just didn't work. The editor was probably a little too much of a pushover in my opinion.


Thursday, 7 June 2012

May Wrap Up - 2012 TBR Reading Challenge

Again, I am a tad late getting my monthly wrap up post done, but only by a week, so that's not too bad. I did a lot more reading in May than I accomplished in April, so I'm happy about that. I also finished quite a few books this past week that I will post about during June, so that will make it into the next wrap up. We have been having some dreary weather, so I have felt much more like reading than writing, so I guess that's why I'm a little late. The books I read this month that counted toward the challenge are:

  • The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
  • Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
  • Chasing Harry Winston by Lauren Weisberger
The Iron King (The Iron Fey, #1) 

I also read one book that doesn't count, because it's been released this year, and that is: Hana by Lauren Oliver. I have a few more which I have read but either didn't get them posted about during May, or haven't posted about them yet, so June should be a good month on the blog too!

For this month's challenge, we are looking for a cover that is pretty much a train wreck. The worst cover I could come up with was this one:
Sisterhood Everlasting (The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, #5)

I have a serious hate for this cover. The previous Travelling Pants covers have been good (if you don't count the movie related ones) and this one is stupid. The cover says basically nothing about the book. You wouldn't even know this is a book about more than one main character. There is nothing poorly photoshopped and nothing ugly about this cover, but I HATE it. I don't know what I would have done differently, but this book was sort of an epic conclusion to a series that a lot of people liked, and they shouldn't have botched the cover of the last book like this.

Happy Reading, and enjoy your start to summer!

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

Sloppy Firsts (Jessica Darling, #1)

Goodreads Summary: “My parents suck ass. Banning me from the phone and restricting my computer privileges are the most tyrannical parental gestures I can think of. Don’t they realize that Hope’s the only one who keeps me sane? . . . I don’t see how things could get any worse.”

When her best friend, Hope Weaver, moves away from Pineville, New Jersey, hyperobservant sixteen-year-old Jessica Darling is devastated. A fish out of water at school and a stranger at home, Jessica feels more lost than ever now that the only person with whom she could really communicate has gone. How is she supposed to deal with the boy- and shopping-crazy girls at school, her dad’s obsession with her track meets, her mother salivating over big sister Bethany’s lavish wedding, and her nonexistent love life?

A fresh, funny, utterly compelling fiction debut by first-time novelist Megan McCafferty, Sloppy Firsts is an insightful, true-to-life look at Jessica’s predicament as she embarks on another year of teenage torment--from the dark days of Hope’s departure through her months as a type-A personality turned insomniac to her completely mixed-up feelings about Marcus Flutie, the intelligent and mysterious “Dreg” who works his way into her heart. Like a John Hughes for the twenty-first century, Megan McCafferty taps into the inherent humor and drama of the teen experience. This poignant, hilarious novel is sure to appeal to readers who are still going through it, as well as those who are grateful that they don’t have to go back and grow up all over again.

Why I Read This Book: If I am being completely honest, I read this book because my name is Jessica, and I am illogically drawn to books with characters that have my name.

Rating: I thought this book was great. I read it while I was on vacation and driving in the car. It was short and sweet, and I though Jessica Darling was a great main. Two major beefs with this book - 1) Some characters (who I like) seem to drop off. I guess this makes sense as they sort of drop from Jessica's life, but I wanted to know what happened to them. 2) Since this is journal style writing, if my trip to see my BFF that I've been obsessing over got cancelled, I would go on for days in my journal about how depressing it was, and it just seemed that it wasn't a big deal. Anyway, these are easily overlooked, and I though the book was pretty good for a contemporary teen fix.