Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Recommend the Most

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the awesome peeps over at The Broke and the Bookish , where they suggest lists of all sorts of things to share and we come together to broaden our bookish surroundings!

TTT3W

Of course, as many of you other bookish people, I have many more than just 10 to recommend, but I was able to contain myself. Though if you happen to be looking for a recommendation on a genre that isn’t on my list, feel free to ask away!  I am constantly in the mood for different types of books (this explains my need to read 2-3 books at the same time) so I’ll be listing a few different genres here in no particular order, for others like myself that like to look for a slightly specific book recommendation.

IF I Stay by Gayle Forman & The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Tear Jerkers: So for anyone who takes me up on these two, you should also buy it along with a box of tissues. I would recommend these to anyone in the mood for heavy hitters.  They deal with love and loss on different levels, that my heart both hurts and smiles just thinking about them.(You can also check out my review for If I Stay)

Divergent by Veronica Roth

For someone looking for a real good dystopian, I would definitely point them in this direction, so much action with real solid characters. But most of you probably know this already…

Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

This one made me feel, angry, sad, and happy sometimes all at the same time while laughing!  Yes, it is possible to feel them all at the same time, if you doubt me, pick this one up and see for yourself =).

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

One of the most beautiful worlds I have ever been transported into is located right on the pages of this book.  This place is so beautifully vivid that I still find myself wishing that I could live in The Night Circus.

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

A light, sweet book that I would recommend to anyone that wants a contemporary romance YA quick-read.  I could be biased, because I practically grew up in San Francisco, and my boyfriend currently goes to Berkeley, and my favorite holiday is Halloween, but still, it’s an awesome book! 😉

Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk

If you saw my last TTT, you saw that Mr. Palahniuk’s books were also on that list, because I love his eccentric stories.  This was actually the first book of his that made me fall in love with his way of story telling.  As with most of his stuff, it is at times unnerving, funny, and makes you think odd things about yourself.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas & Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Who doesn’t love a book where the MC is a girl that can kick-ass and hold her own in a world dominated by men!?(<- if you don’t, come talk to me, we’ll fix that ;)) These next two are great, action-packed, adventure/fantasy novels that I would recommend to both gals and guys alike.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

I wanted to recommend the entire Inheritance Cycle, but I’m only ¾ done with it… I will to get on that!  But seriously great high fantasy stuff right here, with unexpected twists and turns!  This is the only one on this list with not much romance, but with all of the other aspects of the story, it’s really not necessary!

Hopefully I was able to help you find something that you may like! Let me know what’s on your TTT list if you have one! If you don’t have your own list,  are there any I suggested that you may add to your TBR pile?!

Review: Unremembered by Jessica Brody

unremembered

Publication Date: March 2013

Genre: Young Adult; Science Fiction

Source: Bought from my Library Book Store

Rating: 2/5 (though all of my reviews are honest, this is my first brutally-honest review, because of this it was hard to write this review without any spoilers, so beware…)

Synopsis:  “When Freedom Airlines flight 121 went down over the Pacific Ocean, no one ever expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe.
Even more strange is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories period. No one knows how she survived. No one knows why she wasn’t on the passenger manifest. And no one can explain why her DNA and fingerprints can’t be found in a single database in the world.
Crippled by a world she doesn’t know, plagued by abilities she doesn’t understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can’t remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. But with every clue only comes more questions. And she’s running out of time to answer them.
Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who have been making her forget?
From popular young adult author Jessica Brody comes a compelling and suspenseful new sci-fi series, set in a world where science knows no boundaries, memories are manipulated, and true love can never be forgotten.” (from Goodreads)

The Breakdown:*Sorry, spoilers below*

The Good:  Certain aspects of the future that Brody creates seem very possible a couple hundred years from now, in which scientists can remove certain memories and replace them with others that have been completely fabricated.  There have been medicines available for years now that target different areas of the brain, as well as surgeries that can be done on the brain as well for various issues that someone may have.  If all of these are accessible now, just imagine the possibilities for the future… it’s scary!

There were some awesome concepts thrown into this one.  I would love to be able to save my memories on a USB drive(then I could replay them to my boyfriend when we get into arguments, so I can say “look, you did say/do *whatever thing I want to use against him* lol).  This would be the best recording invention since Dave Chappelle’s Home Stenographer: http://www.comedycentral.com/video-clips/go8cre/chappelle-s-show-home-stenographer :P.

The Bad:  I didn’t find myself caring about the characters much at all.  Throughout the book we really don’t see much of Sera’s(the MC) personality besides the fact that she is persistent and can get very snippy sometimes.  Many of the characters were one dimensional.  Half way through this could have been a DNFer for me, because I didn’t care about what would happen to the characters, but I really, really wanted to like this book, so I trudged through it, hoping that I would like them more the farther along I went, but that didn’t work out too well for me.

The romance between Zen and Sera weren’t believable for me either.  How can you possibly fall in love with someone when you have no idea who they are the next day, seriously Sera? & Zen, he practically had to teach her about things that were so basic in his life.  Maybe this is just me, but I cannot imagine falling for someone when I have to explain mundane things to them every 5 minutes whenever I’m trying to have a conversation with them.  I really could go on and on about how this just doesn’t seem like a plausible relationship, but I just assumed Zen to be a horney teenage boy and Sera the clueless/beautiful/model-esque type girl.  It was an instalove for them, and that just didn’t work for me.  I really wanted a story that was more than just: I LOVE YOU! We MUST find a way to be together at any cost… (yeah, I did a lot of eye-rolling)

While I do like science fiction, I am extremely iffy when it comes to time travel, and I NEED to know when I am getting into it, so I can mentally prepare myself for the inevitable confusion!!! And the synopsis FAILED to inform me of this bit.  But I may be the only one with this issue, cause looking on Goodreads it does seem like a lot of people are liking this surprise, so I could just be biased.

Although the time travel was a surprise for me, a lot of the other story plots were not.  3/4 of the way through I could already predict what was going to happen, just like those Hallmark movies :/…

Final Thoughts: Unremembered was really not what I was expecting, and not in the good sense of the expression…  The concept of the story and the future that Sera lives in are a great idea, but I think they could have been carried out with more depth and vividness.  With all that being said, I won’t be picking up the rest of the series.

Muse with me: What was your very first memory?  If you could only hold on to one memory for the rest of your life what would it be?  If you’ve read this one, do you agree/disagree with my review?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I HAD To Buy…But Are Still Sitting On My Shelf Unread

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the awesome peeps over at The Broke and the Bookish , where they suggest lists of all sorts of things to share and we come together to broaden our bookish surroundings(BTW, you can vote for them for best meme, just follow the link on their page)!

TTT3W

Here they are at a glance(but continue on for a little more detail=))

TTT1

So I have wayyyyy more than 10, but I will restrain myself!  There may be a bit of a trend with books here, cause I got a lot of them as gifts(but I still HAD to HAVE them), both because my friends are THE BEST, and because we use this thing called Elfster for our Kris Kringle exchanges, that shows what you want, and many of these titles are it! I’m gonna start from the bottom of the stack, cause I’m feeling a little backwards today=)

The Diviners by Libba Bray

This is 1/2 books on this list from my amazing friend Aiza, that I received for Christmas.  I’ve heard so many great things about Libba Bray and have been wanting to get to this, but it’s such a big brick of a book that it’s hard to carry around with me, and I take BART practically everyday and my purse and lunch bag are big enough as is.  But I will find a way!

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

This gem was part of a bundle my boyfriend gave me for Christmas as well (How he remembers almost everything I say IN PASSING, I will never know) But I love creepy stories, and every time I saw the cover of this it would give me the chills, and after I read the synopsis, I wanted it even more!

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

I got super lucky when I found this and bought it at my local library(even though I do this all the time, it’s still a strange concept to me, lol).  There are so many good reviews for Gillian Flynn in general, and I like to have a good dark story every now and then, so I HAD to pick this one up.

The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley

OK, so on top of seeing a LOT of adds for this everywhere, I found a signed copy of it at Target(of all places…) and yet again, I HAD to get it.  I have to be in a particular mood to read tragic stories such as this one, so it might be a while before I read the darn thing…

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo & The Girl who Played with Fire by Steig Larsson

*note:I’m lumping these two together since they are part of a series, so technically I am within the TTT realm =)*The first installment of this series I got from my friend Steve for Christmas two years ago!  That’s right, my poor, poor, beautiful book has been sitting on the shelf for much too long! The second installment my boyfriend gave to me along with the DVD, cause I really liked the movie.  That’s why they’re not matching… But a few of my friends raved about the series, and like I said, they usually know what I like, so even if I didn’t get them as gifts, I would have gone out and grabbed em’!

The Secret Life of Germs by Philip M. Tierno Jr.

Until now, I don’t think that I have ever told anyone that my favorite subject in college was Microbiology.  Yes, I am a bit of a nerd.  When Borders was closing down, I hit the shelves, and saw this and clutched it tightly at a distance(if that is possible), because I am a germ-o-phobe!

The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories-volume 2 by HitRecord

Book 2/2 given to me by the awesome Aiza! I know there is no excuse to not have read this already, cause it’s such a quick read… Yet, there it is sitting on my shelf.  I LOVED volume 1(also from Aiza, do you see a trend here…) It’s amazing how something so small can hold a gigantic amount of beauty, so that makes this yet another HAD to HAVE!

Pygmy by Chuck Palahniuk

Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk

Rant by Chuck Palahniuk

Do you see that bundle all wrapped up pretty with my name on it?! You should have seen it on Christmas Day 2 years ago, my friend Jessica is one of the most creative when it comes to the wrapping of gifts, and this was definitely no exception! But let’s get back to the books… I know when it comes to Mr. Palahniuk most people either hate him or love him, and I am part of the latter.  One of my goals is to real all of his books, and I think I’m a little over half way through with them, so I must get going on these!

Ohh myyyy, if you think this is a whopper of a list, you should see the rest of my shelf =(… But what’s on your list, let me know or link it to me! And if you have any suggestions on which of these should be bumped up on my TBR pile just holler it out =)!

In My Mailbox #1

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by The Story Siren where we share all of the books we’ve picked up recently.

mailbox1-300x277

These past two weeks have been awesome hauls for me, although none of these were literally in my mailbox…

imm

If you’ve read or reviewed any of these already, let me know what you thought, or drop me a link =) What books did YOU get this time around?!

Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Publication Date: 2009

Genre: Young Adult

Source: Bought at Target

Synopsis:  “In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck…

A sophisticated, layered, and heart-achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make, and the ultimate choice Mia commands.” (from Goodreads)

 

Ohhhh…  I absolutely adored this book! I actually read If I Stay before I started this blog, but its presence has been taking up residence in the back of my head ever since, so I figured I should talk my heart out on ze bloog.

The Breakdown:

Mrs. Forman does not hesitate to start off with a BANG, or in this case a CRASH!  This novel tore me apart, filled me with all kinds of “FEEEEELINGS”, then put me back together again.

The way the story is laid out is perfect, like a beautifully played song, it has a gripping melody and flow to it.  Forman is able to weave us back and forth from Mia’s present and past flawlessly, which only made me love it even more.  I am used to stories being told in chronological order and slowly learning about characters and having time to understand and get to know them, that initially I was worried that I wouldn’t care about them at all because of the funky backwards storytelling, but it is truly pulled off perfectly here (this is the best way I can explain it without spoiling its awesomeness!).  Even though the story is sad(I teared-up a few times), it is balanced with memories of great love and hope.

The characters are all so vibrant, their stories had me wishing I knew them in the real world, especially Mia’s witty parents. Though I may be biased here, I loved how she even included quirks of the different nurses, and how things ran in the hospital, it was realistic to me (this is coming from someone that graduated nursing school last year) and I think my nursing friends would agree.

Of my readings so far this year, If I Stay is definitely at the top of my favorites list, and I don’t think it’s going to be bumped down anytime soon.  Although I was disappointed in it’s sequel, Where She Went (review soon to come), this story is still a wonderful piece of art!

Muse with me: Hopefully you get the chance to check it out and let me know what you think =).  If you have read it already, who would make YOU stay?

Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Image

Synopsis: “By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children. When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape–before her time runs out?Together with one of Linden’s servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?”(from Goodreads)

The Breakdown:

Wow, did I pick a slightly difficult first book to review…

Wither is definitely one of the oddest/creepiest YA books I’ve ever read (and I know I don’t have much blogging cred to go by but trust me when I say that I have read my fair share of YA =))but I still had a great time going through Rhine’s journey, and I would definitely recommend this to others, but not without a few very small reservations.

Initially once I got into Wither I didn’t think that I would like it.  I mean it’s the 21st century and this story is supposed to be set in a dystopian future where girls are being scouted as brides, and none of them are physically fighting back, and everyone else is ok with it?  I was getting the feeling of a 1920’s China fused with the movie Taken, if you haven’t seen it it’s about a girl who get’s kidnapped by slave traders and is in the process of being sold to creeps that want virgins, and all the while this is happening her Dad is kicking major ass to try and find her, but I digress.  The plot took me some getting used to, but I was eventually sucked right into Rhine’s eerie little world.

I think what really brought me into the story were the complexities of the relationships and the descriptions of different aspects of the world that DeStefano builds.  The relationships between the characters are so far from any that we would find in everyday life: sister-wives, young husband-wife that were pretty much forced to marry, servants and masters, daughters-in-law and a father-in-law (who kidnapped them), and twins, but DeStefano finds a way for us (or me at least) to believe in each of them even at it’s most twisted (pg. 206 if you have the hardback copy, lol, I thought that scene was messed up in so many ways).  Each character has their distinct voice and drive. I especially love Rhine’s voice here: (Spoiler alert!: skip down to next paragraph to shield your see globes) “I smile charmingly, blush like his teasing makes me feel like a happy little daughter-in-law.  I want him to get blown away.  I want him to stand alone in the kitchen while knives and pans spin around in the hurricane winds and plates smash at his feet.  And then I want for the roof to be ripped away, and for him to be pulled up, getting smaller and smaller until he’s nothing.”(pg. 154) Her cool chick factor went up about 10 points after I read that!

The descriptions of certain parts of this world were so beautiful.  I think I love sweets way too much to not share this example of the detail and eloquence DeStefano has throughout Wither: “The dessert table is set up like a cityscape.  There’s a bio-dome cake that’s already been cut into.   There’s a wobbly gelatin swimming pool with chocolate chip concrete, a chocolate fountain.  Frosting flowers have been swiped, mutilated, and it’s like Dorothy’s Oz after someone has bitten into it.”(pg. 216)  I know it was probably not her intent, but after I read that, I really had the urge to go to a big party and raid the desserts! But there are very vivid virtual aspects to this world that I really enjoyed as well, and I love the dash of Gatsby she adds into the novel.

After my initial shock, I really did enjoy this book and maybe you will too! And  I look forward to picking up Fever and Sever soon.  And just throwing this out there, if this trilogy ever makes it to the big screen, one of the songs on the soundtrack HAS to be Now by Paramore (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G133kjKy91U) Every time I hear this I think of Rhine’s journey “…there’s a time and a place to die, but this ain’t it…”

Muse with me: What did you think of my very first review?!?! If you’ve read it, let me know what you thought! Agree? Disagree?

The Book Community

I’ve always been on the periphery of the book community, more specifically of the YA variety (though my readings extend to ANYTHING that have words beautifully strung together), and enjoying what everyone has to say and seeing what new book-ey things are out there for me to grab a hold of and chokeslam! I’m really a nonviolent person, but my passion for books does tend to make me a little aggressive… though this is besides the point, lol.=)  What I really want to get at is that I’ve thought it over and over again, and found that I want to be an active participant with others that love books as much as I do and to maybe get a chance introduce others to this amazing book world.  I was really hesitant because my initial thought was “Who the heck would care about what I have to say, when there are already a ton of brilliant people out there who have shared their thoughts on (whatever wonderful thing it may be)”, but that’s not how it goes at all, it’s an ongoing conversation about book-ey things that we love, and sometimes things that we don’t love so much.  I figured I just may have some cool things to contribute to and share with this awesome group of people, and hopefully they have cool things to throw right back at me =) So here I go, diving in the deep end, anyone want to dive with me!

 

Muse with me: 1)If you don’t have a blog(yet)or vlog or any public forum on which to share all those magnificent ideas floating around in your beautiful head, what’s holding you back?  If you do have a blog (link it to me!), what do you look for in fellow bloggers?