Tag Archives: lauren oliver

The Book Chat {Vol 6}

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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!

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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? 

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The YA challenge & some recent YA reads

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In January when I blogged about my 2012 Goals, I briefly mentioned I wanted to take part in something called the YA Challenge, and try to read 40 teen-lit books this year. In January and February I had a lot of trouble getting into books and finishing them at my usual quick speed, but since coming home from Florida I’ve been doing SO much better. I’m getting out of my reading rut and I’m excited to get back on track to read not only 40 YA novels, but hit my goal of 60 for the year. Time to catch up!

So far, I’ve read 6 YA books, one of which got a full review last month. I thought it would be fun to take some time to write about a few of the other ones I’ve read because you guys? They’ve been AMAZING. All of them. I have high hopes for the rest of the teen novels I plan on reading this year & can’t wait to share them with you all.

1. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

In Book One of the Chaos Walking series, readers are introduced to young Todd & his very peculiar life in Prentisstown. In Todd’s world, women have died from disease & men can hear all of each other’s thoughts through something they simply call NOISE. Todd is just one month away from being the last boy to become a ‘man’ in his town, but when his guardians force him out of the house for fear of his life, Todd learns that the world he’s grown up in is not all that it seems.

It took me a good chunk of this book to really get into it, but by the second half of the book I was rooting for Todd, his faithful dog Manchee and his new found companion that he meets along the way. Todd goes on a life changing adventure and I was there with him right up to the explosive ending that left me wanting to read Book Two ASAP! The major downside for me was how LONG the book was and how long it took me to get really interested, but I do understand that Ness was setting up his characters for the rest of his trilogy. I’ve heard amazing things about it, so I’m anxious to pick up The Ask and the Answer soon and see where Todd goes next!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

2. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

In Oliver’s second book following the acclaimed ‘Delirium‘, readers are reunited with heroine Lena, who has just escaped into the Wilds on her own. Lena must not only learn to survive in a new place without Alex, who she lost at the border of her city, but she has to reinvent herself & decide which side she is on. You follow her adventures as she joins a group of teenagers who also live freely and as they infiltrate New York City in the hopes of figuring out how to break apart a government that has taken away peoples’ freedom by taking away their ability to love.

I think that in all of the series I’ve read and followed, this is the second time that I adore the second book even MORE than the first. The last time this happened is when I read Catching fire almost 3 years ago- and that book is still one of my top 5 all time favorite novels EVER. Pandemonium started off pretty good, but it quickly became one of those books that I was frantically reading to find out what happens. I was on the edge of my seat right up until the ending when it basically exploded with crazyness. I legitimately do not know what I’m going to do while I wait for the final book in this trilogy in a year. I finished Pandemonium last week and have still thought about it every single day. What an ending!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

3. Wither by Lauren DeStefano

The first book in the Chemical Garden trilogy gets you from page one. In a world where genetic engineering has cut women’s life span at 20 years and men’s at 25, young girls are constantly kidnapped and forced into polygamous weddings to have children, continue the population, and hope that a future generation will be able to find an antidote. Rhine is a sixteen year old girl who is kidnapped from her home where she lives with her twin brother & forced into marriage to the incredibly wealthy Linden Ashby. You follow her adventure with her two sister wives Jenna & Cecily, as well as her nightmarish father-in-law Vaughn as she attempts to survive in this new world.

I can’t believe it took me this long to pick up Wither. From Chapter One I was COMPLETELY in love with this book. I actually heard lots of mixed reviews about it but honestly? It was, in one word, unputdownable. Yes, I made that word up just for Wither. All of the characters are beautifully written and Rhine’s world is so incredibly believable, it’s almost haunting to think of a future existing like this one. I can’t recommend this book enough, especially if you love good dystopian novels. I plan on reading book two, Fever, by next week!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

What great books have you read recently? Any good YA to recommend?!

The Best Books of 2011

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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

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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. **

Summer Reading List

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I’ve been reading a LOT of blogs lately about what people are reading and about how people are constantly looking for book recommendations. I’ve been told I have pretty good taste in books so I thought I would:

a)share a list of my top 10 favorites that I’ve read recently (you can look them up and maybe enjoy them as much as me if you haven’t already)

and

b) Write a list of the top 10 books on my shelf that are waiting to be read.

I do read a lot of YA fiction, but I promise I only read the best of the best. My friends that I’ve forced into reading some of my favorites can vouch for me here. Feel free to share any recommendations with me, I am always looking for new books!

Top 10 Current Favorites

1. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (First book in the Mortal Instruments series)
Type of book: YA fiction, Fantasy, Vampire/Werewolf, Romance.

2. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (First book in the Percy Jackson & The Olympians series)
Type of book: YA fiction, fantasy, Greek Mythology, humor, GOOD FOR ANY AGE.

3. Room by Emma Donoghue
Type of book: Adult fiction, Real Life, Award Winner, Bestseller

4. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Type of book: Adult fiction, Historical Fiction, Bestseller, Book-turned-movie(coming out in August!)

5. Divergent by Veronica Roth
Type of book: YA fiction, Dystopian, Bestseller, AMAZING, If you liked Hunger Games you’ll ADORE this.

6. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Type of book: YA fiction, Dystopian, Bestseller, Book-turned-movie, If you haven’t read this yet you’re truly missing out!

7. Sarah’s Key by Tatiana De Rosnay
Type of Book: Adult fiction, Historical Fiction, Sad, Emotional, Bestseller, Book-turned-movie (Sometime this summer!)

8. An Abudance of Katherine’s by John Green
Type of Book: YA fiction, Real life stories, Humour, Amazingness, Just read it.

9. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Type of Book: YA Fiction, Dystopian, If you love Hunger Games/Fantasy YA you’ll love this one.

10. I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak
Type of Book: YA Fiction, Real life stories, Humour, SO GOOD ALSO PLEASE READ THE BOOK THIEF. Thank you.

These are really just the first 10 that come to mind that I’ve read within the last two years, but I’m always up for giving more suggestions if you need!

Top 10 Can’t-Wait-To-Read

1. Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares
Type of Book: Adult fiction, Continuation of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series (AWW.)

2. Blood Red Road by Moira Young
Type of Book: YA Fiction, Dystopian, Book with lots of buzz, If you like HG/Divergent/Delirium apparently you will love this

3. Talking to Girls About Duran Duran by Rob Sheffield
Type of Book: Biogoraphy, Music

4. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Type of Book: Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction, Bestseller, Why haven’t I read this yet?

5. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
Type  of Book: Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Awesomeness (apparently!)

6. Mystic River by Dennis Lehane
Type of Book: Adult Fiction, Mystery, Recommended by a friend

7. Matched by Ally Condie
Type of Book: YA Fiction, Dystopian, Mixed reviews but mostly good stuff

8. Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult
Type of Book: Adult Fiction, Real life stories, Court cases/Law stuff

9. Little Princes by Conor Grennan
Type of Book: Biography, Around the world, Bestseller, Book with lots of buzz

10. The Cardturner by Louis Sachar
Type of Book: YA Fiction, Real life stories, I basically just love Louis Sachar (Holes? Anyone?)

So those are the top books on my shelves these days!  I’ve got a ton of others that I wanted to share, but maybe I’ll keep them for another post. What are you reading this summer? What have you read that you absolutely loved? Any that were on my list?

Photo courtesy of this awesome post about home libraries. I want! 

Goodbye April, Hello May!

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In April I set a bunch of really attainable goals for myself & I’m proud that I achieved quite a few.

My biggest goal of the month was to stay focused on school and I know that regardless of the fact that I failed a class, I did my best with the time that was given to me. I should have started to study earlier for my very last exam (I had two weeks to study for it but I took a week off) but I honestly needed a bit of me-time after 2 back to back exams.

In between studying and trying to have a bit of a social life, I managed to cross off a couple things on my 101 list. I managed to NOT buy any new clothes for 3 whole months, which is really crazy for me. I love buying myself little gifts quite regularly and I was losing my mind slowly. The only downside to that was that I spent 100$ the week that my 3 months was over. Maybe not the best way to show self restraint, but it’s all stuff I can bring with me to Greece which is good. I WILL need to shop a bit for that trip anyway!

Despite spending a lot of time studying, I also managed to read almost 4 books.

1. Abundance of Katherine’s by John Green: I finished this one from last month and loved it. I’m still totally in love with this author and highly recommend his books!
2. Will Grayson Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan: See above comment. I was seriously on a roll with his novels!
3. City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare: It took me a little bit longer than I wanted to finish this book, but in the end it was really good. I immediately got into it (it’s the 4th in a series that I just love) but I felt like the middle dragged on a bit. That being said, I still can’t wait for the next one… I can’t believe I have to wait a year! Check out the Mortal Instruments series, they’re all awesome.
4. Delirium by Lauren Oliver: I literally just finished this one about a day ago and it was really great. It’s a dystopian YA novel about a girl who lives in the US where love is a disease that can be cured on your 18th birthday. What a cool idea for a book!

I did NOT however start eating better. I’m really disappointed that I didn’t, but honestly University makes it so difficult to focus on anything but the goal of getting through exams alive. I can’t believe I’m adding another course or two to my load next year (hopefully).

I also didn’t watch any movies this month and I didn’t watch very much TV either. In March my downfall was sitting in front of my computer marathon watching shows but I showed an intense amount of self restraint here. I just kept up with a few shows here and there, but literally stayed so focused on school which was the biggest goal.

Finally, I realized that blogging every day during exams is basically impossible. I only hit 22 posts in April out of 30. I actually haven’t hit the right amount of posts any month of the semester, which means I’m quite behind my 365 post goal of the year. I’m not quite sure yet how to catch up to this, and I know that when I go to Greece this summer I won’t really be able to blog either (certainly not every day). I need to start coming to terms with the fact that posting every day as a goal was just a great way to get my post count up in general. In 2010 I posted 166 times in 12 months; in 2011 I’m already up to 106 posts in just 4 months.

My biggest achievement of April wasn’t just about school though; it was about getting my motivation back from March. I was so down from winter and overall blah-ness and I didn’t want that to carry over to April. I think I successfully found ways to stay happy and focused. Although a few of my smaller goals weren’t achieved, I told myself originally that it was okay if I didn’t, as long as I prioritized my life more, which I know I did 100%. I’m excited to have more time to myself as of May to start accomplishing more goals, enjoying summer, blogging more often (hopefully hitting the right numbers each month) and of course passing Calculus this time around.

I have so many great things planned for the summer that I can hardly wait!

How was your month of April?