Tag Archives: james dashner

The Book Chat {Vol 6}

Standard

Linking up over at Sweet Green Tangerine for The Book Chat!

Today’s question: Let’s talk about endings…. Sad/Happy/Cliffhangers/Quotes

I’ve been really excited to answer this question because, let’s face it, who doesn’t have a favorite ending, or an ending that literally left your jaw hanging open and had you thinking about it for 2 straight weeks? Because I have.

Here are a few of my all-time favorites:

Favorite ending to a series

1. The Death Cure by James Dashner 
I was SO happy with the way he ended his trilogy. It made all three books even BETTER!

2. Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows
As much as I was disappointed in JK Rowling for a long time for “selling out” I don’t think I could have handled a NON happy ending. I needed her to end the series off the way she did.

Favorite ending in contemporary fiction

1.Looking for Alaska by John Green 
This book has one of the most memorable endings for me- in fact, I don’t remember how any of his other books end except this one. I like that the end is hopeful, beautiful, and doesn’t give anything away about the rest of the book. It’s just so freaking perfect!

2. I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
Another all time favorite of mine; although I don’t remember the exact details I know that I loved the way this story wrapped up. Heck, this entire book was amazing!

Favorite cliffhanger(s)

Can I make a list? I’m going to make a list.
1. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
2. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
3. Wither by Lauren DeStefano
4. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
5. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness 

All of the above make me want to read the next in the series RIGHT THIS MINUTE. I felt the same way about Catching Fire, so let’s hope the next book in all the other series don’t disappoint as much as Mockingjay did. Also, number five on this list surprised even me because it took me a LONG time to enjoy that book. The ending was worth the whole thing though, I want to pick up book two soon!

—–

Overall, I think it’s really difficult for author’s to end a book off the RIGHT way. When they get it right, I’m always ecstatic, and it makes me love their book a LOT more. I am not easily impressed with endings– I am actually very judgmental of them, and had to go through my entire Goodreads to get this list. I know there are a BUNCH more books I really enjoyed the endings to, but these are some that have really stood out for me in the last couple years, although most of these were much more recent.

I think especially when it comes to writing a series, an author has to know exactly what kind of cliffhanger is GOOD and what kind is NOT. There has to be a balance between details in one book and in the next, and the books should be easily distinguishable one from the other. I hate when a book ends REALLY well only to get extremely disappointed by the next one in a series. Likewise, I hate enjoying a book the whole way through and being upset by the very end. One particular author that I loved for a long time was Dean Koontz, but I quickly began to realize that he ruined all his greatest novels because of his crap endings (sorry Dean, it’s the truth! The Husband? Remember that one? Disappointing.)

What are some of your favorite and least favorite book endings? 

The Book Chat {Vol 4}

Standard

Thursdays are quickly becoming my favorite blogging day of the week because that means it’s time to link up over at Sweet Green Tangerine and talk books!

Today’s question: What is your favorite dystopian novel?

If you’re a big reader (or if you haven’t been living under a rock for the last year, really) you’ll know that dystopian novels are the new *thing*. Working in a bookstore I can tell you that most releases lately are new dystopian stories, and they all look AMAZING. If you’re not sure what the heck dystopia even means, it’s basically an imaginary place or time where the conditions of life are very poor or generally quite unpleasant. Think Hunger Games.

I’ve been reading dystopian novels since I was a teenager. The first one I ever read was The Giver but at the time I had NO idea that it was anything but a great book. In the last 3-4 years I’ve read a handful of AMAZING dystopian stories. It started about 3 and a half years ago with Hunger Games when it first came out, and since then I’ve basically been inhaling dystopian books left, right, and center. That sounded a lot weirder than I meant. Anyway.

To answer the question, I have a lot of favorites. But I wanted to talk a bit more about a book I brought up earlier this week, because it deserves some recognition!

The Maze Runner starts off with a teenage boy called Thomas who wakes up in an elevator that’s going up. As he comes to, he realizes he has no memories of his past or present. All he remembers is his name. When the elevator doors open, he is greeted by dozens of other boys who tell him that they’re in a maze, and none of them have ANY idea why. Some have been there for a year, and since the beginning they’ve been looking for a way out. Just after Thomas’ arrival, a girl comes out of the elevator- the first ever. And then things get REAL CRAZY.

I read this book when it first came out in October 2009 and have been a huge fan of the series ever since, waiting the full year for the next in the trilogy. Dashner recently ended his series with The Death Cure (which WAS AMAZING) and even more recently announced that he wrote a prequel called ‘The Kill Order’ which comes out this summer. The idea behind this dystopian trilogy is very end-of-the-world, slightly post-apocalypse style, but it just *works* so well. Not only are they well written, but there aren’t any ridiculously cheesy love stories. Everything that happens in Thomas’ life is for a reason.

The one thing that was tough to get used to in the first book was the language. The boys in the maze use weird words instead of swearing, and at first I was super thrown off, but after the first few chapters I completely forgot about it. I think I could have read the books without the weird words throughout, but one way or another it didn’t make it worse for me.

I highly recommend this series if you like dystopian, adventure, mystery, slightly gory but extremely action packed books. I often show this book to teenage boys because it works SO well for their age, but there are tons of older people that have read and loved them too. I’m the perfect example! So go read it, right now!🙂

What are your favorite dystopian reads? Which ones are a MUST for me to read?!

The Best Books of 2011

Standard

As 2012 gets closer, I thought it would be fun to look back at some of my favorite things of the year. In the next few days I’m going to look at the best of 2011- I’m excited to see what kind of things you can all add to my lists! Oh and if you’re wondering, that is the current state of my ‘to-read’ bookshelf. I have an illness, you guys. A book-buying ILLNESS.

Today I’m going to look back at my top ten favorite reads of 2011. I tried as much as possible to keep these in 2011 because I read way too many good books this year, but I have to say that my absolute favorites of 2011 were not written this year. I’m also going to look at a few books that DID come out this year that I’m still excited to actually start reading but haven’t had the chance to yet.

So here we go.

The Top Ten

#10 Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares
Released: June 2011
Publisher: Random House

Why: I LOVED the entire Sisterhood series growing up, and after re-reading them in the early summer I fell right into the story of this one. I was back in love with the four girls, and I am back in love with Ann Brashares’ writing. She has matured so much as a writer, and although that book DEVASTATED me it was beautiful at the same time.

#9 The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Released: April 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group

Why: It took me a little while to get into this one, but as soon as I did I just couldn’t put it down. I was completely in love with the characters and the story. Immediate classic.

#8 Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Released: February 2011
Publisher: Harpercollins

Why: When I first heard about the story line behind this book (love as a disease) I was intrigued. The book did not let me down in the least and I can’t WAIT for book two!

#7 Divergent by Veronica Roth
Released: May 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins

Why: I was completely captivated by this book from start to finish. Love the dystopian aspect to this book, it reminds me of all my favorite parts of every other dystopian novel I love.

#6 Room by Emma Donoghue
Released: June 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins

Why: I don’t usually pursue a book that doesn’t immediately attract my attention, and this one took a good 25-30% of the story before I realized how good it actually was. It was one of those books that I read while I ate, while I got ready to go out, and basically any free moment I had until it was done.

#5 Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson
Released: April 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins

Why: I read the first book in this series soon after coming home from Greece, and this book brought me right back to Europe and everything I loved about it. I immediately picked up the second book and was so happy with the way the story turned out! I was really glad to hear that there was a second book because I definitely didn’t have enough after ’13 Little Blue Envelopes’

#4 The Death Cure by James Dashner
Released: October 2011
Publisher: Random House

Why: If you haven’t read The Maze Runner (book one in the trilogy) then you SHOULD BE. One of my favorite YA series right now. This was an amazing ending to it. There were some points that I felt the book was a little bit too apocalyptic, but the ending? Wow. Just, wow.

#3 My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares
Released: June 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group

Why: I’m not a huge fan of romance novel, but this one? I am in LOVE with this love story. Once again, Ann Brashares writes a beautiful, believable and fantastical story that had me literally ignoring my friends during the last hundred or so pages. LOVE. Can’t wait for book two!

#2 Looking for Alaska by John Green
Released: September 2008
Publisher: Pengruin Group

Why: I went through a crazy John Green phase at the beginning of the year, but Looking for Alaska was the first book I read by him and has remained my favorite. I love the way he writes, and I love the quirky behaviors that each of his characters has.

#1 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Released: September 2007
Publisher: Random House

Why: This book was just amazing. One of the bigger novels I’ve ever read, but probably changed my life. I need to re-read this in the New Year. And if you haven’t read it? It is the most beautifully written story from World War II that I have ever read. Ever.

On the ‘To-Read’ Shelf’ Published in 2011

#6 The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

#5 The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

#4 Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (paperback)

#3 The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

#2 Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick

#1 Matched by Ally Condie

Most Anticipated Reads in 2012 (so far)

#5 Insurgent by Veronica Roth

#4 City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

#3 Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

#2 The Kill Order by James Dashner

#1 The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I’ve come to an important conclusion. 2011 was the year that I realized how much I adore young adult literature. Seriously, I read SO much more of it now than I read adult books, and as I browsed the upcoming adult books, there are almost none that interested me. Ha! I mean, I have a few of my favorite adult authors, but otherwise I read the bestsellers and just teen books.

What were your favorites of the year? What about your most anticipated? Which books did I miss this year? 

Another post on books

Standard

My taste in books ranges over just about every topic. I mean, there are a few exceptions but in general I’m willing to give any author a chance. Most of my current favorite writers are actually because a friend (or a customer at work) recommended a book to me. If you’re not an avid reader and you don’t know where to start, don’t be shy to take someone’s advice. If they feel strongly enough about a book, you may fall in love with it too. And if you are an avid reader, then still take recommendations! Like I said, some of my favorites were not my own discovery whatsoever.

I thought I might talk a little bit about my top 5 favorite YA authors (which I’ve probably rambled on about already) and in another post I’ll write about my top 5 favorite adult authors. Sometimes I fall even more in love with a particular writer after reading up about him or her. Putting a face and a whole life to a name makes a world of a difference sometimes. Anyway, it was hard enough to narrow this down, so I strongly recommend you give them all a look-up if you aren’t already a fan!

Top 5 YA authors

1. Markus Zusak

 Books:

1. The Book Thief
2. I Am The Messenger
3. The Underdog
4. Fighting Ruben Wolfe (sequel to The Underdog)
5. Getting the Girl (sequel to Fighting Ruben Wolfe)

-I’ve read 1, 2 and 5. I actually had no idea that Getting the Girl was the third in a series and I wasn’t lost or anything, it was just a really sweet coming of age book about love and acceptance.

-My favorites are by far I Am The Messenger & The Book Thief. I think they tie as favorites, because they honestly both changed my life and the way I perceived books in the YA section. They’ve both won numerous awards and I can’t recommend either one enough, regardless of what your reading taste is. Check them out on Goodreads here and here.

-Both of those books are also in my top 10 current favorites. Truly amazing reads, and I can honestly say that I think Markus Zusak is one of the best writers in YA fiction right now. Oh! Also do go follow him on Twitter.

2. J.K Rowling

 Books:

1. The Harry Potter series 1-7
2. Tales of Beedle the Bard
3. Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them
4. Quidditch Through the Ages
5. An 800 word Harry Potter Prequel 

– As if J.K Rowling needs any kind of introduction. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you most certainly know that this amazing woman has dedicated the last 20 years of her life to the series that millions around the world love.

– Her books changed my life, which I wrote about recently here

3. John Green

 Books:

1. Looking for Alaska
2. An Abundance of Katherines
3. Paper Towns
4. Zombicorns (online novella)
5. Let it Snow (co-written with Lauren Myracle & Maureen Johnson)
6. [currently writing] The Fault in our Stars

– You mean you haven’t heard enough about him here and here?

– Everything he writes I want to copy down somewhere to remember another day. I’m constantly favoriting (yes I know that’s not a real word) his quotes on Goodreads & I’ve helped convert so many new fans that it makes me feel really proud, and I can’t tell you why.

– Everything this author does for his fans makes me love his books more. He’s actually going to sign every single pre-ordered copy of his new book. That’s like, hundreds of thousands. How legit is that?

– I’m trying to fill up all the space next to his picture so I’m going to keep rambling. John Green’s books may be one of the reasons that I fell back in love with beautiful literature. I don’t know how else to describe it.

– My favorites are 1, 2, 3 but in no particular order. They’re all awesome!

4. Suzanne Collins

 Books:

1. Gregor the Overlander 1-5 (The Underland Chronicles)
2. The Hunger Games
3. Catching Fire
4. Mockingjay

– Suzanne Collins was the first teen author to renew my love for YA fiction 3 years ago. I used to read it obsessively when I was at the age for it, but then I moved on to adult books when I thought the time was right. Reading The Hunger Games changed the way I perceived teen books again and I was able to discover what an amazing world it can be. A lot of people are super embarrassed when they’re “too old” to be shopping in the younger sections, but it’s honestly AMAZING the books you can find in there.

– Catching Fire is in my top 10 favorite books of all time.

– I cannot WAIT for The Hunger Games movie to come out next year.

– If you haven’t read these yet, I don’t care WHAT you read, you will love this book. I think I’ve met two people who haven’t liked it… Out of probably close to a thousand (not an exaggeration, I’ve been selling the book for 3 straight years)!

5. Ann Brashares

 Books:

1. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Summer 1-4)
2. The Summer of You and Me
3. My Name is Memory
4. 3 Willows
5. Sisterhood Everlasting

– I’ve blogged about her books recently because I just re-read all four Sisterhood books as well as the brand new one (which I forgot to book review) but I can honestly say that those books changed my life entirely. Re-reading them did NOTHING to change that for me, it only renewed my love for these books even more.

– I did not like (and did not even finish reading) The Summer of You & Me as well as 3 Willows. She’s the only author that I’m allowing in this feature to have books that I didn’t like because I so sincerely love everything else she wrote. I have ‘My Name is Memory’ on my bookshelf now and I’ve heard only good things. Also, her books are not all YA, but I still consider her as a YA author above all.

– I’m going to write a review of Sisterhood Everlasting I think, but that was one of the most beautifully written books I’ve read this year. I cried so much reading it, I can’t even begin to tell you. It was so good.

These authors are probably some of the most famous in their field right now, so I may not be teaching you anything new. In that case, I’d like to just mention a few authors that are slowly making their mark in YA fiction (or that already have but just didn’t make the Top 5 cut) and I can’t wait to see what else they come out with: Veronica Roth, Lauren Oliver, Kenneth Oppel [LOVE him. His new book is on my nightstand right now!], Rick Riordan, James Dashner and Jeff Kinney– who I’m way too old to read (seriously!) but can’t help but enjoy his sense of humor anyway.

I think that just about covers it for now, who are some of your favorite authors? Have I introduced you to anyone new that you’ll be reading? I’d love to know! 

** I say the word honestly way too much. Wow. **