Tag Archives: the book chat

The Book Chat {Vol 11}

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Thursdays, as always, are Book Chat days hosted by Jessica over at Sweet Green Tangerine. Head over and link up!

Today’s question: Who are your favorite male characters? Least favorites? 

In my last few book reviews, I’ve mentioned how important male characters are to me. Especially in YA (I say especially because I realize that they’re catering to younger people) I look for strong male characters that have real depth to them- not just really good looks.

In fact, most of my favorite male characters recently have been the ones that are more than just those really gorgeous characters that the less-than-perfect girls fall for and win over. I don’t think I could ever narrow it down to just ONE. To be honest even narrowing it down at all seems tough. I’ve loved quite a few of male characters… But here are a few that have stood out for me over time:

1) Max from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (See also: Hans Hubermann)

When I first started reading The Book Thief I just wasn’t sure what to make of it. The characters, the POV and the overall story started off by confusing me. The minute Max was introduced to the story, though, I truly began to fall in love with this book. He is one of my favorite parts of the whole novel. Him and Hans are two of the most memorable male characters in all my reading history, to be honest. But Max? I have a special place in my heart for that character.

2) Augustus Waters from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green 

See also: Miles, Colin and Quentin from various John Green novels (Alaska/Katherines/Paper Towns)

John Green is one of my favorite authors, so it’s really no surprise that just about ALL his male characters are in my favorites. This may sound somewhat biased, but the reason I really love his writing is because his lead male characters (most of his books are from their point of view) have so many fun quirks and I just love discovering more about them throughout their stories.

Augustus Waters is definitely his most unique character. I loved meeting and learning about him. I must say though that runner up is  Colin from Abundance of Katherine’s. That character doesn’t get nearly enough love and he is SO damn awesome. Love his anagram skills!

3) Kai from Cinder by Marissa Meyer

The entire time I was reading Cinder I couldn’t believe how awesome Kai was. I can’t stress how much I love this book enough, and he is a huge reason why. He not only sounds freaking adorable, but there is SO much to his character that makes me wish he was a real person so we could meet.

4) Thomas from The Maze Runner trilogy by James Dashner  (& his crew!) 

I really need to re-read these books because I don’t remember Thomas nearly well enough. But considering the entire trilogy is told from his perspective AND he’s got the whole memory-loss thing, he’s a very well thought out male character. You learn so much about him throughout the three books, I grew extremely fond of him by the end. Don’t even get me started on Minho, Frypan, Newt and the rest of the guys in these books!

5) Etienne St. Clair from Anna & The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

St. Clair makes it on the list because I was basically in love with him during this book. Is that weird? Oh well. At first I was all “Ummm St.Clair you’ve got a girlfriend, chill out” but then his mysterious act is all unveiled and it was love. YAY Anna! I’m such a sucker for good stories like this one.

Honorable mentions: Ed Kennedy from I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak, Harry/Ron/Weasley twins from Harry Potter by JK Rowling (these deserve more than an honorable mention to me but since I always talk HP I tried to keep it to a minimum here), and Marcus Flutie from the Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty.

Least favorites are a bit tougher because I generally won’t even finish a book if I’m not enjoying it (AKA not even KIND OF relating to characters). Plus, I feel kind of mean dissing authors’ writing with least favorites. Basically I’ll be nice & just leave you with all the male characters I’ve loved most. There are several more, but these are definitely the ones that have stood out the most to me, especially in recent years.

Who are your favorite and least favorite male characters? 

The Book Chat {Vol 10}

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The Book Chat is hosted weekly by Jessica over at Sweet Green Tangerine. Go link up!

Today’s question: What are you favorite childhood books?

I was a bit of a strange reader as a kid. To be honest, I don’t remember reading picture books with my mom when I was very young, but I do have vivid memories of my father taking me to the library and looking at stories for a few hours. I don’t remember ever having a favorite though as I never owned any of them- I think I liked just going and looking at everything the library had to offer.

As I got a bit older he would also often bring me (strangely enough) to the place where I now work. It’s been open for about 15 years now, which was just a few years before he passed away. When the store was first built there was a huge castle in the kids’ department with computers to play games on. I loved going and playing with the other children, looking at the thousands of books, and every once in a while I was treated to a new chapter book! Those are my fondest memories as a child, which may kind of explain my fondness for where I work now. It’s changed a LOT (and expanded somewhat) since then, but it’s always felt like I came around full circle when I started working in the place that I practically grew up in.

I started remembering the books I read when I was around 7 or so. Other than buying them with my dad, my mom would often give me two dollars to run across the street to the Dollar Store to pick up the newest edition of The Babysitter’s Club by Ann M. Martin. It kind of feels like every girl my age read those; I’m sad I don’t remember much about them other than the cheesy 90’s covers, but I constantly recommend them at work to girls who were the same age as me!

After those books, I read a lot of random Scholastic titles; Animorphs, Amazing Days of Abby Hayes, Goosebumps, Fear Street and other various chapter books that I was allowed to buy at book fairs or through the Scholastic flyers at school. I’m not even sure I can begin to explain my love for Scholastic. Even today? One of my top picks all the time for customers. I’m just going to throw this out into the Universe- I would TOTALLY work for Scholastic. 🙂

Other than Harry Potter, I started reading a series around the age of 9 called the California Diaries. They were also by Ann M. Martin actually (I think this was her series right after Babysitter’s Club?) although not many people remember them besides me!I still have a few of those and I can’t even tell you how many times I read them. Over and over again. Unfortunately they’re way out of print now, but I’m fairly convinced I’d still totally love them if they came back out. They all followed a group of friends who had to keep journals in school. Each of the friends had their own series of books (Dawn had a few, then Amalia, Ducky, Sunny, and Maggie) and at some point in their journals they meet and all their lives start to become intertwined. I loved it. I remember their individual stories SURPRISINGLY well- they each battled their own important real life situations, and even as a kid I could appreciate how scary the world could be for other people.

I think it was right around then that Harry Potter came out and, well, the rest is history! 

I feel like I kind of went on a little tangent with this Book Chat, but I suppose that’s what it’s all about? Little tidbits about my reading life and how it shaped me as a person! As an adult, I buy books in excess. I think I like making up for the fact that money was so tight as a child and receiving a new book was a REAL treat. I still have a ton of those first chapter books and keep them in a safe place- I just wish I’d kept those cheesy Babysitter’s Club books! Those covers are so priceless.

What are some of your childhood favorites?

The Book Chat {Vol 9}

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Thursdays are Book Chat days! You can link up on Jessica’s blog Sweet Green Tangerine 🙂

Today’s question: Choose a book and make a playlist for it! 

I should probably start off by saying that this is such a Jess question it made me laugh out loud. I know that she LOVES making playlists to go with her books, and I love seeing what she comes up with when she does it. (Remember her guest post while I was in Florida?)

I am ashamed to admit that as a book lover AND music addict, making a playlist to go with books is not something I’m very good at. Although to be fair, I’ve never tried. Usually when I’m reading, I turn on my ‘Faves’ playlist. It’s constantly refreshed (like, daily) with whatever songs I’m listening to on repeat.

So today, I’ve decided to share with you a good book & some good music. They don’t necessarily go TOGETHER but it’ll give you a little peak into what I’ve been reading and listening to all at once! I actually finished this book just yesterday, so I thought today’s post would be a great reason to do a little book review & share some of the songs I listened to repeatedly while I read it.

The Book

Book: The Truth About Forever

Author: Sarah Dessen

Type: YA Contemporary Fiction

Release Date: May 11th 2004

Publisher:  Penguin Group

This was my very first dip into the world of Sarah Dessen and I must admit I quite enjoyed it! The story revolves around Macy, a young girl who lost her father suddenly to a heart attack a year and a half earlier. Since then, she has mastered the art of seeming perfect. Her looks, her behavior, her grades, even her boyfriend.

But when the perfect boyfriend leaves for the summer, sticks Macy with his extremely boring job at the library, & breaks up with her, Macy finds herself looking for something more to life. She comes across a job at WISH, a catering company owned by the wonderful, chaotic, imperfect Delia.

With Delia & her crew, Macy begins to truly grieve for her loss and realize that being perfect is not only unnecessary, but not possible. With the help of Wes, the gorgeous boy who works for Wish and becomes Macy’s best friend, she learns that there is more to life than perfect grades and a desk job that makes her unhappy. She is in control of her forever, and with Wes Macy begins to see that she can be happy once again.

Truth About Forever is a story about loss, love, truths, and a great coming of age novel for girls at any age.

The Short Review

I would normally make this a bit longer, but since this is like a three-in-one post I’ll try and keep it short and sweet! Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I think Dessen has a great style of writing & she gives each of her characters a depth that I had almost forgotten could exist- it’s been a while since I’ve read a story who’s characters felt so incredibly REAL to me. 

I’ll be honest, this book was a bit tough for me to read. Not only because the first 100-150 pages are a bit slow going, but the topic itself. I’ve gone through losing my father & I connected with Macy on A LOT of levels. We’ve had completely different lives of course, but being inside her head and reading things that felt so real to me too was not easy. It was, however, wonderful. This book definitely made me cry. 

Other than the slow start, the only thing that I wasn’t crazy about in this book was the slow plot development. The “climax” of the novel wasn’t until MUCH further in the story, and that made it hard to want to continuously follow along. I wish there had been more development between Wes & Macy, but that’s just my romantic side wanting to read more about them- not a fault on Dessen’s part at all. I actually really like that the focus was so much on Macy and her grieving process.

I would definitely read more Sarah Dessen, so let me know which are your favorites so I know what to pick up next!

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The Playlist

Here are a few songs I obsessively listened to these last few days while I made my way through this book:

Hold On by the Alabama Shakes — This is currently my favorite song. SO GOOD. The whole album! Thanks Jess 🙂
Give Me Love by Ed Sheeran — You should be listening to this guy. What a talent.
Called Out in the Dark by Snow Patrol— I love this music video!
From Finner by Of Monsters and Men— My ongoing love affair with OMAM continues
Body Work by Morgan Page (feat. Tegan & Sara)— Thank you random radio station for this. Love!

What are you reading & listening to these days?!

The Book Chat {Vol 8}

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The Book Chat is hosted every Thursday by Jessica from Sweet Green Tangerine. Head over and link up!

Today’s question: What are some of your best vacation reads?

I’m a big reader on vacation. I actually make an effort to read more on vacation than at any other time, simply because it is the most relaxing thing I can do, and often the hobby that gets put on a back burner when I have too much other work to do. But on vacation? All bets are off.

I also have terrible luck with books on vacation. In the past, I’ve brought a ton of books with me and been very disappointed because I didn’t enjoy them as much as I would have liked. It almost feels like a curse at this point; I have all this time to read so I try and bring a diverse selection of books, and then I think to myself “why didn’t you just stick with what you knew you’d like?!”

When I have stuck to my gut, I’ve read some fantastic novels. Here are the top 5 books I’ve loved and read on vacation: 

#5- The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. This was my most recent vacation read, when I went to Florida. Honestly? If it weren’t for vacation I’m not sure how long it would have taken me to finish! I was reading it on my Kindle and it was taking me forever. All I needed was a good 5 hour plane ride, and I was completely immersed in the story. Now I can’t wait to read the last two in this dystopian trilogy!

PS: This book just got a director to be made into a movie. Charlie Kaufman will be directing Knife of Never Letting Go & I predict great things for it. 

#4- Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. If it weren’t for all the hours I spent at the beach in Europe, I may have never picked up this book. But with all the free time from learning, it seemed my brain missed it. I needed this good, thoughtful book to get my brain working again! It was a fascinating read and I couldn’t believe how immersed I was in Gladwell’s work while on a BEACH. I talked to all my friends about it while I read it, it was just so cool.

#3- My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares. One of my guilty pleasures in reading is epic love stories. This one was no different. I brought it to Greece with me and proceeded to force my 3 other friends to read it when I was done. I just love Ann Brashares!

#2- Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty. As if I haven’t talked about this book a million times already, but I brought this one to Cuba with me and couldn’t believe what a gem it was! I laughed like a crazy person on the beach, came home, and bought the rest of the series. So good!

#1- The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. I brought this book with me to Mexico and could not put it down. Although it’s much younger reading, it was the perfect mix of funny and adventure. I proceeded to reading the entire series when I came home! Probably one of the best vacation read choices I’ve ever made.

What are some of your most successful vacation/beach reads?! 

The Book Chat {Vol 7}

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After two weeks away, I missed you, book chat! Now that school is over, I am so happy to get to talk books again every Thursday. Book chats are hosted by the lovely Jessica over at Sweet Green Tangerine, you can link up too!

Today’s question: What is your favorite friendship in a book? 

My immediate answer to this has something to do with Harry Potter. But since you all expected that, I’m going to try and impress you with a BRAND NEW answer and introduce you to a new friendship that I loved!

The truth is that there are many friendships in books I love. In true cheesy manner, I think it’s one of the best parts of any good book I read. Since I feel like I constantly write about the same rotation of books, I thought I’d bring in my most recent favorite friendship about a book I finished TWO DAYS AGO.

But it was just that good.

I’m talking about Anna and St.Clair from the adorably sweet book Anna and the French Kiss! 

Since I really want to review this book soon, I’m going to try not to talk so much about the book itself & just focus on the friendship between the two main characters.

Basically, Anna meets Etienne St.Clair when she moves to Paris for school for a year. He’s by no means a “perfect” boy and she is nothing like the “perfect” beautiful girls that so often show up in romance novels. They’re both quirky, extremely well written characters that you get to know incredibly well throughout the book. And although they clearly have crushes on each other, they become inseparable best friends before anything else.

I think that’s just my favorite part. Anna is thrown into a world that she’s completely unfamiliar with, and St.Clair helps her navigate through a culture that is completely foreign to her. He gets her thoughtful gifts, he is ALWAYS there to listen to her, and she for him. It’s one of those stories between two people where you just clearly know something more will happen, but reading about just their friendship is half the fun!

And just because I can’t help myself, here are a few other book friendships that just make my heart all warm and fuzzy:

The four girls from the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I don’t think anything will beat Tibby/Bridget/Carmen/Lena for me. They will forever be one of my favorites!

Ron/Harry/Hermione from Harry Potter. I mean, come on. I just love them.

Simon and Clary from the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. They might be one of my favorite platonic boy/girl friendships!

What are some of your favorite platonic/non-platonic book friendships?

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!

—–

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. 5}

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As always, Thursdays are book chat days! You can link up over at Sweet Green Tangerine today & join the good book chat times we’ve been having for the last month.

Today’s question: What is the funniest book or character you’ve read?

This one was a bit tough for me because I LOVE reading funny books so I kind of have a lot of choices. I think I read an equal amount of serious characters VS more funny ones, but I couldn’t decide which ones characterized as actually FUNNY rather than just humorous for me to read. If that makes any sense.

Anyways. Since this is meant to be a more fun, lighthearted book chat, I thought I’d share my FIVE  favorites! These are all books that I enjoyed reading because they were either written funny/quirky or because the main character was that way.

The Shopaholic Series by Sophie Kinsella

Growing up, I read these religiously. Now? They’re definitely more of a guilty pleasure. They’ve been re-read a couple times, too, because Becky Bloomwood happens to be one of my favorite guilty pleasure characters.

This is actually one of the few books that I adored that I never even bothered to see the movie of… I just realized that! But honestly, I’ve loved almost everything Sophie Kinsella has written. She’s always had a knack to make me laugh with her British humor- I love British humor!

The Jessica Darling Series by Megan McCafferty

I’ve written about these before so I won’t dwell on them too much, but I loved the first book, Sloppy Firsts, almost immediately because of the humor. Jessica Darling is such a quirky character from the get-go I couldn’t help but totally relate to her and laugh at the ridiculous things she does… Mostly because it’s what I’d be doing in her situation too!

Abundance of Katherines by John Green

I don’t know if this book was meant to be funny or not, but it REALLY was to me. It’s not secret that John Green is one of my favorite authors (ever) and I absolutely loved this more lighthearted novel of his. Not only is the main character, Colin, totally awesome in his own quirky way, but his best friend Hassan is equally as hilarious. I love the way this book was written with footnotes and I love the plot behind the book, which is totally hilarious in it’s own way.

Plot: Colin has a special type of girl he dates. Girls named Katherine, spelled specifically in that exact way. Exactly 19 Katherine’s have broken up with him and he is on a mission to find out why on earth he gets broken up with so much. He is also a child prodigy and can anagram anything you give him. 

Anything written by Maureen Johnson

Can I just preface this by saying that I adore Maureen Johnson? Not only is she hilarious in her writing, but her books have such awesome plots and ideas. I think 13 Little Blue Envelopes has become one of my favorite books because it is so perfectly balanced between sad and hilarious. I’ve breezed through every single MJ book I’ve ever read because they’re so fun and yet so intriguing at the same time. I highly recommend any of her novels. I haven’t read them all, but I definitely plan on picking a couple more up when I get the chance.

The Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan

This is a bit of a younger series of books (9-12 years old) but I can’t tell you how much I loved it anyway. I wasn’t sure at first if I’d like it or not, but it is SO funny and so educational all wrapped into one. I just have the last book in the series to read and I have no idea why I’ve been putting it off for so long! Anything RR is a guaranteed good read, but I’ve just really grown attached to Percy over the last 4 books. He’s one hilariously well written kid. 🙂

*As a side note, I think Percy Jackson was one of my LEAST FAVORITE book-to-movie adaptations… EVER. They ruined this book in the movie. I was so disappointed. READ THE BOOK!

I don’t think there’s anything better than kicking back with a funny book. Any time I’ve been in a reading rut, it’s books like these that have pulled me right out of it and reminded me why I love reading SO much.

What are your favorite funny reads? Your favorite funny/quirky characters? I love recommendations!