Monday, January 27, 2014

A to Z Blogging Challenge: Book Review Style

So a few days ago Laura posted about how she's going to be doing the A to Z blogging challenge, except instead of just random blog posts she's going to be posting 26 book reviews. It actually sounds like a cool idea, so I'm going to join her. (Although, it's in April, so things could happen between now and then).

(You can skip the following ramble about book reviews).

I think it's a cool idea. I think I need to do more book reviews, and I think one of the most important things about reading and the online book community is supporting authors. I can't afford to buy every single book that comes my way, but sharing about books I've read leads to more books being bought down the road. It's so important to share book recommendations with people!

However, because of that, I tend to shy away from negative reviews. Actually I usually only post reviews of books that I have fallen in love with, because books I love I just want everyone to read and love as much as I do. But that's not always the case - I'm sure even if I just like or even dislike a book, just by me talking about it they'll pick it up. But if I hate it... I'll just... omit some truth. :)

tl;dr Book reviews are good and I should do more of them so I'm going to!

Laura is reading 26 different books with titles that start with each letter of the alphabet. I'm going to do the same, although not in the allocated time because, to be honest, I just don't feel like putting that much pressure on myself!

So here is my list (I stole some off Laura's list, and some are my own TBR). Recommendations would be awesome!:

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
Blackbird by Chuck Wendig
Corked by Kathryn Borel
Doll Bones by Holly Black
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Fragments by Dan Wells
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Stanford
Ink by Amanda Sun
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
K
Listening for Lions by Gloria Whelan
Mind Games by Kiersten White
Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook
OCD Love Story by Cory Ann Haydu
Prodigy by Marie Lu
Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta
Raven Boys, The by Maggie Stiefvater
Small Damages by Beth Kephart
Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
Vicious by VE Schwab
Wool by Hugh Howey
Xenocide by Orson Scott Card
Year of Biblical Womanhood, A by Rachel Held Evans
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig

I'd love to do a range of genres with this, so recommend anything! And everything's subject to change.

See you in April! (For this, anyway, hopefully I'll get around to posting before that!)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Review of All the Books I Read in 2013

Happy New Year! This is the time of year when I try to make up for not posting book reviews all year and stuff them all into one post. Read through for all of my 2013 book recommendations!! You can also read back to my 2011 and 2012 review for even MORE books to read. I introduced some new lists this year, and got rid of the new releases (too much work to look up which books came out this year... I know, I'm lazy).

 
Best Books of 2013
 
Codename Verity by Elizabeth Wein - Such a clever, awesome book. Completely catches you off guard halfway through. Also FRIENDSHIP STORY. I am always asking for straight-up friendship stories, and that's what this is. And I got this, and Elizabeth Wein's second book ROSE UNDER FIRE for Christmas!! Yay!!
 
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver - One of my favourite things is when a book makes you think really hard, and this one did. It was so awesome how the author got her point across. The characters and the way they were used was so fascinating. I definitely need to read this book again, because I know missed tons of stuff.
 
 
 
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman - This is a book about humans and dragons who live alongside each other, the dragons taking the form of humans so they can interact. It addresses discrimination, the characters are awesome, and the style of writing is similar to Megan Whalen Turner's. Such good writing. If you enjoy MWT or fantasy for that matter, read it!
 
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta - I don't think I can have a "Best of" list without Melina Marchetta on it. I actually put off reading Finnikin for a while, just because I didn't feel like reading fantasy for a while. Such a mistake. It was so amazing. MM never fails at creating awesome characters. But what impressed me is the completely fleshed out world that she'd created for Finnikin (and the sequels).
 
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell - Best contemp I've read in a while. It didn't play on high school stereotypes, and the characters and situations were awesome and real. Rainbow Rowell definitely deserves to be the next big thing.
 
 
 
The First Third by Will Kostakis - A brilliant story about a Greek family. This also has stuff I'm always on the lookout for: diversity, family stories, focus on more than romance. Clever writing, and best of all, awesome characters and character development. You can find the review I did of it here.
 
Rereads
 
The Fault in Our Stars - Not quite as good the second time around. I am now way less forgiving of the existence of the Van Houten character.
 
Jerk, California by Jonathan Friesen - I feel like this book would appeal to readers of John Green and basically any contemporary author. I wish he was more popular. Also, JERK is a very interesting look into a young teenage boy living with Tourette's.
 
 
 
Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta - This book is everything that I ever want in YA. Good characters, focus on friendship, no high school stereotypes, family. These characters are my favourite. I could spend a hundred books with the characters in this book. I love how MM can make you (and Francesca) love a character with one well places line. Ugh. So good. (If you think I'm ever going to stop talking about Melina Marchetta, you can leave now...:D)
 
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins - How many times will I read these? Who knows? But Suzanne Collins remains a genius.
 
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins - I know lots of people don't like Mockingjay, but I love it. Suzanne Collins doesn't hold back for the sake of making her readers happy. I think what happens to the characters in Mockingjay is the logical next step to what happened in Catching Fire. There's an interview that TIME.com did with Suzanne Collins where she said that she wanted to write a book for every age group about war, and I think she did it brilliantly, which I think is exactly why Mockingjay is so horrible.
 
Harry Potter - I think I reread these every year. I always find new stuff. (Like when Snape is teaching Legilimens to Harry and he's saying how it protects you against Voldemort, and then I realized that that's part of the reason why Snape can be a double agent!! Of course!!)
 
Books I Bought in 2013
 
Rush by Jonathan Friesen - Awesome, quick, entertaining read with an interesting concept. I bought it because I couldn't find it in the library and I loved JERK, CALIFORNIA.
 
Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
 
 
 
The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress - Couldn't find it in the library, read the first page and seemed interesting. I've actually had this on my TBR for a while, can't wait to read it!
 
The Know-It-All by A.J. Jacobs - Found it in the markdown section at McNally Robinson, and A.J. Jacobs is absolutely hilarious. This book is a memoir about him trying to read the entire encyclopedia. If you like quirky, nerdy, awkward narrators that aren't ashamed, read it! (Also if you like learning interesting facts).
 
Allegiant by Veronica Roth - Of course I bought it. It was good, but I thought it didn't really deal with anything interesting. The ending was the only interesting thing, and I totally knew that was going to happen. I would've loved if Veronica Roth had dealt more with the issue kind of brought up in Divergent, about wanting to be the characteristics celebrated by all four factions not just striving to be one characteristic. But, subjectivity.
 
And some more recommendations
 
Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King - I liked Please Ignore Vera Dietz, so I read this one. I wasn't disappointed; A.S. King does characters wonderfully.
 
 
 
Legend by Marie Lu - I'm almost done with dystopian, but this one was actually good.  I actually want to read the sequel (another thing I thought I was done with).
 
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson - Awesome fantasy with a good female lead, and a diverse setting for a fantasy which I found really fascinating. The concept was unique, as was the focus on religion. I love it!
 
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi - There was so much hype around this book, and then lots of controversy over the writing style, so going in I had no idea what to think. I actually enjoyed it, thought the writing style quite refreshing, and thought it made sense. I think it's slightly convenient that the one person that can touch Juliette just happens to be a handsome boy her age, though.
 
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern  - A very cool, mysterious circus book. It took me a bit to get into it, but it actually turned out to be very interesting. Read my full review here.
 
 
There you go! A year's worth of book reviews. Now you can go out and buy some books with all the money you got for Christmas. :) Also what were some of YOUR favourite books that you read in 2013?
 
 


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