Tuesday, 30 April 2013

April Wrap Up


So, remember last month when I made this really ambitious list of books to read??

1) Dead to the World - Charlaine Harris
2) Be Careful What You Wish For - Alexandra Potter
3) Shadow Kiss - Richelle Mead
4) Glory In Death - J.D. Robb
5) Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Laini Taylor
6) Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs
7) One For the Money - Janet Evanovich

Well, I real ALMOST all of them!! The only one I haven't yet is Shadow Kiss, but I'm about 1/3 of the way thought it!! How awesome is that?! I'm feeling a lot better about how much I was sucking at my challenges. I mean, I'm still not really where I should be, but I'm doing much better. I'm going to be crazy and choose 7 more books to read for May too. I don't think I will get these all done, because school starts again May 6th, and I am also spends crazy amounts of time studying for a big national exam I'm writing June 12th. But hey, I can be ambitious right? So, the 7 books I plan to read in May are:

1) I am Number Four - Pitticus Lore (for the Paranormal Reading challenge and the A-Z Book Challenge)
2) Shatter Me - Tahereh Mafi (for the Monthly Key Word Challenge and the A-Z Book Challenge)
3) Dead as a Doornail (Sookie Stackhouse #5) - Charlaine Harris (for the Sookie Stackhouse Reading Challenge)
4) Night Circus - Erin Morgenstern (this isn't on any of my lists, but I want to read it!)
5) The Maze Runner - James Dashner (for the 2013 TBR Pile Challenge)
6) Rise of the Evening Star (Fablehaven #2) - Brandon Mull (for the A-Z Book Challenge and the 2013 Sequel Challenge)
7) The Guernsey Literacy and Potato Peel Society - Annie Barrows (for the 2013 TBR Pile Challenge)

So, I guess I better request some of these at the library because I don't think I have them all! Here's to hoping I can get to all of them. I only have 17/75 read for my Goodreads challenge, and I am apparently 10% or 7 books behind!

Monday, 22 April 2013

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1)

Goodreads Summary: For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again. Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

Why I Read This Book: I had set this book as my January read for the 2013 Monthly Key Word Challenge. Plus, it had been on my TBR list for a long time!

Review: I found this book was only just okay for the first 3/4 of it, but after that it really does get a lot better. I think the next one will be really good. I finished this in January and now its near the end of March, so I don't remember it all that well, but I do remember really liking it. I also loved that it was printed in blue ink!


Monday, 15 April 2013

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Life of Pi

Goodreads Summary: Life of Pi is a masterful and utterly original novel that is at once the story of a young castaway who faces immeasurable hardships on the high seas, and a meditation on religion, faith, art and life that is as witty as it is profound. Using the threads of all of our best stories, Yann Martel has woven a glorious spiritual adventure that makes us question what it means to be alive, and to believe.

Growing up in Pondicherry, India, Piscine Molitor Patel - known as Pi - has a rich life. Bookish by nature, young Pi acquires a broad knowledge of not only the great religious texts but of all literature, and has a great curiosity about how the world works. His family runs the local zoo, and he spends many of his days among goats, hippos, swans, and bears, developing his own theories about the nature of animals and how human nature conforms to it. Pi’s family life is quite happy, even though his brother picks on him and his parents aren’t quite sure how to accept his decision to simultaneously embrace and practise three religions - Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam.

But despite the lush and nurturing variety of Pi’s world, there are broad political changes afoot in India, and when Pi is sixteen, his parents decide that the family needs to escape to a better life. Choosing to move to Canada, they close the zoo, pack their belongings, and board a Japanese cargo ship called the Tsimtsum. Travelling with them are many of their animals, bound for zoos in North America. However, they have only just begun their journey when the ship sinks, taking the dreams of the Patel family down with it. Only Pi survives, cast adrift in a lifeboat with the unlikeliest oftravelling companions: a zebra, an orang-utan, a hyena, and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.

Thus begins Pi Patel’s epic, 227-day voyage across the Pacific, and the powerful story of faith and survival at the heart of Life of Pi. Worn and scared, oscillating between hope and despair, Pi is witness to the playing out of the food chain, quite aware of his new position within it. When only the tiger is left of the seafaring menagerie, Pi realizes that his survival depends on his ability to assert his own will, and sets upon a grand and ordered scheme to keep from being Richard Parker’s next meal.

As Yann Martel has said in one interview, “The theme of this novel can be summarized in three lines. Life is a story. You can choose your story. And a story with an imaginative overlay is the better story.” And for Martel, the greatest imaginative overlay is religion. “God is a shorthand for anything that is beyond the material - any greater pattern of meaning.” In Life of Pi, the question of stories, and of what stories to believe, is front and center from the beginning, when the author tells us how he was led to Pi Patel and to this novel: in an Indian coffee house, a gentleman told him, “I have a story that will make you believe in God.” And as this novel comes to its brilliant conclusion, Pi shows us that the story with the imaginative overlay is also the story that contains the most truth.
Why I Read This Book: I have been meaning to read this book for ages, it was actually on my 2012 TBR Reading Challenge list and I never got to it, so it got put on my 2013 TBR Reading Challenge list as well. I finally picked it up as I knew I was going to want to see the movie coming out.

Review: Whew, what can I say about this book that that lengthy summary doesn't? This was such a fantastic book! It was a bit slow getting through part one, as I was like "what is even going on?!" But when you get to Part Two you just can't put it down! I see what the hype is about with this book, and I can't wait to see the movie!


Monday, 8 April 2013

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

The Casual Vacancy

My first book of 2013! Yay!!

Goodreads Summary: A BIG NOVEL ABOUT A SMALL TOWN ...

When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils ... Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?
Why I Read This Book: I'm not sure its possible at this point for J.K. Rowling to write a book that I won't read, however this was very generously gifted to me, and I read it right away. This wasn't on any of my official reading lists, but as it was published in Sept 2012 it does fit the parameters for the 2013 TBR Reading Challenge.

Review: This was a great book, but it's definitely different than Rowling's Harry Potter series. The book has really good character development, but it doesn't have much action. I think that this type of book isn't for everyone, and some of her fans may feel let down. I was not one of them, I enjoyed the small-town politics story, and the going-ons of everyday people after strange events. Younger Rowling fans shouldn't read this, but her NA and adult will probably like it. Its definitely on my favorites list, as the book does really make you think about things. Without spoiling things, it really is a great read.


Monday, 1 April 2013

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

The Truth About Forever

Goodreads Summary: A long, hot summer...

That's what Macy has to look forward to while her boyfriend, Jason, is away at Brain Camp. Days will be spent at a boring job in the library, evenings will be filled with vocabulary drills for the SATs, and spare time will be passed with her mother, the two of them sharing a silent grief at the traumatic loss of Macy's father.

But sometimes unexpected things can happen—things such as the catering job at Wish, with its fun-loving, chaotic crew. Or her sister's project of renovating the neglected beach house, awakening long-buried memories. Things such as meeting Wes, a boy with a past, a taste for Truth-telling, and an amazing artistic talent, the kind of boy who could turn any girl's world upside down. As Macy ventures out of her shell, she begins to wonder, Is it really better to be safe than sorry?
Why I Read This Book: This is my second Dessen book, and I liked the first one, so hey, why not?

Review: I really liked this book. Sarah Dessen is a great contemporary teen writer. One on the best. She is so good at implanting warm fuzzies over young love. I loved the characters in this book, and even though its been awhile since I read this one, I can still recall that I liked it a good bit. Definitely recommend for all contemporary lovers.