Update: Want to read list

It has been a while since Tiffany and I even touched or mentioned this blog.  We’ve both been swamped by school, and college applications and just life.  But since break has started, I’m going to get back to reading and hopefully reviewing.  So this is my list of want to reads.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbary, Alison Anderson
Summary taken from Washington Post review:
Renée Michel is the dumpy, nondescript, 54-year-old concierge of a small and exclusive Paris apartment building. Its handful of tenants include a celebrated restaurant critic, high government officials and members of the old nobility. Every day these residents pass by the loge of Madame Michel and, unless they want something from her, scarcely notice that she is alive. As it happens, Renée Michel prefers it that way. There is far more to her than meets the eye.

Paloma Josse also lives in the building. Acutely intelligent, introspective and philosophical, this 12-year-old views the world as absurd and records her observations about it in her journal. She despises her coddled existence, her older sister Colombe (who is studying at the École normale supérieure), and her well-to-do parents, especially her plant-obsessed mother. After careful consideration of what life is like, Paloma has secretly decided to kill herself on her 13th birthday.

I really want to read this because it has good reviews, and the characters and plot really intrigue me.  And as 17 year old girl, turning 18 soon I just like reading books that could potentially give me perspective or a new outlook on life or philosophy anything of the sort.  And this book seems like it would delve into the deeper aspects of the things that I don’t normally get to see.  But I don’t know how I’m going to get a hold of this book, there are like 54 holds on this from the library, and I don’t have a job yet to pay for it.

Anahita’s Woven Riddle by Meghan Nuttall Sayres

Summary taken from Amazon: Teenager Anahita, a nomad living in early-20th-century Persia, has been promised to the khan, or chief, of her tribe. This man, whose three previous wives have mysteriously died, is considerably older than she is, and she wants nothing to do with him. She convinces her father to let her choose her own husband by having potential mates solve a riddle that she has woven into her wedding carpet. Doing so goes against Muslim principles and causes controversy within the tribe, and trouble for them, as the khan exacts his revenge by taking away their migratory and water rights. Despite these circumstances, Anahita’s father agrees to continue with the competition. The main contenders-the khan, a schoolteacher, a shepherd, and a prince-all play an important role in Anahita’s life. She finds it difficult to go through with the contest, only knowing whom she does not want to marry, but an unexpected twist forces her to choose. This is an engrossing story that weaves in Persian culture, history, and surroundings, and portrays the life of a unique young woman and her quest for love. A Farsi glossary and a brief history of the time period are included.

-The reviews I’ve read for this book are really good.  And it has everything in a book that I like, culture, intelligence, a girl trying to empower herself, love, and riddles.  But apparently the author studied Iranian culture for 10 years before writing this book and is able to write about their culture in a beautiful way that will embrace its readers.  And that really appeals to me.

Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols

Summary taken from readerrabbit.blogspot.com: All Meg has ever wanted is to escape from her backwater hometown. Away from certain memories, away from her parents who seem to want to suffocate her in their dull lives…away from everything. And it looks like she’s getting her wish, it’s almost spring break and she’s going on a trip to Miami and see the beach.

But then, Meg and a few friends end up on a bridge where, a few years ago, some kids died. They’re caught by a cop, John After, who’s only 19 years old and was one of the top students of his year…Meg can’t imagine why he would choose to remain tied down in the tiny town and work as a cop. But John is connected, strangely, to the bridge and Meg and her friends’ stunt provokes him to want to teach them a memorable lesson.

Meg is assigned to join John After during his night shifts for a week, to learn about the law and the importance of it.

Only, Meg isn’t one to be complacent and she pushes to find out exactly what promoted John to remain bound to the small town that she’s so determined to escape from. And he fights back, and stretches her boundaries in an attempt to figure out exactly why Meg refuses to remain in the small Alabama town that has shaped both of their lives so much.

And that’s my list.  Until then, happy holidays!

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December 21, 2009 at 12:18 pm 1 comment

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

shiverGreatness: 4/5 stars

Summary (taken from the book):

the cold.
Grace has spent years watching the wolves in the woods behind her house.  One yellow-eyed wolf— her wolf— watches back.  He feels deeply familiar to her, but she doesn’t know why.

the heat.
Sam has lived two lives.  As a wolf, he keeps the silent company of the girl he loves.  And then, for  short time each year, he is human, never daring to talk to Grace… until now.

the shiver.
For Grace and Sam, love has always been kept at a distance.  But once it’s spoken, it cannot be denied.  Sam must fight to stay human— and Grace must fight to keep him— even if it means taking on the scars of the past, the fragility of the present, and the impossibility of the future.

Review:
Maggie Stiefvater, author of Lament, writes a beautiful novel in Shiver.  The novel is told in two perspectives equally, levelheaded and stoic Grace and kindhearted werewolf Sam.  The alternating perspsectives gives the reader a full and intimate understanding of the two main characters.  And the prose is just breathtaking, with allusions to various poetry such as Rilke’s and Sam’s song lyrics to bolster the feeling of immense love and loss in this novel.

Shiver is not so much about romance as it is about love, and fighting to keep it.  Do not read this book if you are expecting a clone of Twilight, or a book documenting the courtship and falling in love of the two main characters.  Sam and Grace have already fallen in love, and are in love throughout the entire book.  Also, I usually try to stay away from romance/paranormal books but Maggie Stiefvater creates a fantasy that weaves seamlessly into reality.  You can almost believe that there are humans that turn into wolves each winter.

Shiver isn’t a perfect book however.  I felt there were issues that needed to be confronted and dealt with, such as Grace’s relationship with her inattentive parents, or Grace’s drifting friendship.  But I think that Stiefvater may deal with that later along with some unanswered questions in Shiver with her sequel, Linger, coming out the fall of 2010.  And maybe the supporting characters will have stronger roles in the next novel as well.  All in all, Shiver is beautifully written and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a love story.
  And check out the book trailer, made by the author herself! It’s really cool, I couldn’t stop watching it when I first saw it.  The music, feel and look of it is completely beautiful and really makes you excited to read the book.

http://www.bordersmedia.com/features/audio/shiver.asp?cmpid=AF_20090706_REW

And while you’re at it check out this song that Stiefvater had written inspired by a scene from Shiver.  One of the things that really made me excited for this book, was the musical and artistic talent of the author.  So enjoy!

-Jane

August 5, 2009 at 2:41 pm 1 comment

Anne of Green Gables (a classic)

Anne of Green Gables (series) by L.M. Montgomery

Anne of Green Gables (series) by L.M. Montgomery

Hello there ambitious readers! Today I have a treat for you–Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. I won’t have a review up yet until later, so I’ll just take this chance to recommend this awesome book series. I love, love, LOVE Anne of Green Gables. I read this when I was in 5th or 6th grade and have watched the movies over 10 times. Although this isn’t a typical YA novel that you’d go gaga over, I promise you that Anne, Avonlea (the town), and Prince Edward Island will win your heart over. Don’t let her age (11 yrs old) throw you back! Like all classics, this series is good for any age. Besides, as the series depicts Anne’s life from when she was first adopted until she has her own kids. I would recommend this book for anyone who is into classics, a strong female character, and a talkative red-head who’ll make you laugh your heart out. And of course there’s always a boy, Gilbert, who you’ll just fall in love with as well.

Summary, courtesy of Amazon.com:

When Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert of Green Gables, Prince Edward Island, send for a boy orphan to help them out at the farm, they are in no way prepared for the error that will change their lives. The mistake takes the shape of Anne Shirley, a redheaded 11-year-old girl who can talk anyone under the table. Fortunately, her sunny nature and quirky imagination quickly win over her reluctant foster parents. Anne’s feisty spirit soon draws many friends–and much trouble–her way. Not a day goes by without some melodramatic new episode in the tragicomedy of her life. Early on, Anne declares her eternal antipathy for Gilbert Blythe, a classmate who commits the ultimate sin of mocking her hair color. Later, she accidentally dyes that same cursed hair green. Another time, in her haste to impress a new neighbor, she bakes a cake with liniment instead of vanilla. Lucy Maud Montgomery’s series of books about Anne have remained classics since the early 20th century. Her portrayal of this feminine yet independent spirit has given generations of girls a strong female role model, while offering a taste of another, milder time in history.

If you like Anne of Green Gables, I suggest L.M. Montgomery’s other books: The Blue Castle, At the Altar, Pat of Silver Bush, etc.

Also try: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

So go check these out! They are seriously my favorite classics of all time! They’re made of awesomeness 🙂

Happy reading ! I’ll come with a review soon, and probably some other posts about Anne of Green Gables.

Tiffany

July 28, 2009 at 8:45 pm Leave a comment

Book Cover comparison— Evermore and North of Beautiful

evermoreEvermore by Alyson N.
Summary from the back cover:  After a horrible accident claims the lives of her family, sixteen y ear old Ever Bloom can see people’s auras, hear their thoughts, and know someone’s entire life story by touching them.  Going out of her way to avoid human contact and su ppress her abilities, she has been branded a freak at her new high school— but everything changes when she meets Damen Auguste.

Damen is Gorgeous, exotic, and wealthy.  he’s the only one who can silence the noise and random energy in her head— wielding a magic so intense, it’s as though he can peer straight into her soul.  As Ever is drawn deeper into his enticing world of secrets and mystery, she’s left with more questions than answers.  And she has no idea just who he really is— or what he is.  The only thing she knows to be true is that she’s falling deeply and helplessly in love with him.north of beautiful

North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley
Summary from the front flap:  As he continued to stare, I wanted to point to my cheek and remind him.  But you were the one who wanted this, remember?  You’re the one who asked— and I repeat— Why not fix your face?

It’s hard not to notice Terra Cooper.

She’s tall, blond and has an enviable body.  But with one turn of her cheek, all people notice is her unmistakably “flawed” face.  Terra secretly plans to leave her small, stifling town in the Northwest and escape to an East Coast college, but gets pushed off-course by her controlling father.  When an unexpected collision puts Terra directly in Jacob’s path, the handsome but quirky Goth boy immediately challenges her assumptions about herself and her life, and she is forced in yet another direction.  With her carefully laid plans disrupted, will Terra be able to find her true path?

Both ya books, same models on the covers, but completely different stories.  I find the North of Beautiful cover much prettier and more beautiful.  But either one would catch my eye at a book store.  Both books sound awesome though, one day I hope Tiffany and I will get to these books and review them.  Until then, I’m off reading AP lit books and other ya novels of course!

-Jane

edit:

saythewordJust saw this one.  It’s the same girl right?  She’s everywhere!  I want to be on a book cover hahaha.

That would make an interesting story…  A girl who is used popularly for young adult novels, and her peers seeing her face as the characters in the books.

July 25, 2009 at 1:54 pm 1 comment

Along For the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Jane and I’s beloved author does not fail to please us with her 9th book.alongfortheride

How many awesome stars does this book deserve?

Tiffany: 5/5 stars !

Jane: 5/5 stars

What did you think of the setting and plot?

Tiffany: The setting is awesome. I think it’s partially why the book is so awesome. As for the plot, it’s pretty typical—girl goes away for summer and discovers herself. But that doesn’t stop me from reading it! Even though the plot wasn’t as original, Dessen adds in her own style to mix it up.

Jane: Setting makes anyone who reads this book jealous.  It makes me want to go run away to a beach area neighborhood and meet all of those new and interesting people.  It’s the same setting as in Keeping the Moon, so you might see some other beloved Sarah Dessen characters.  The plot wasn’t totally unique but it is an original story with a touching plot.  And this book is not a romance book, it is a book about really being true to yourself and learning how to do that- romance just slipped in as a bonus.

What type of book is this?

Tiffany: This book is definitely a beachy, summery-love book. But I think it’s just the type of book that makes you want to know more about the characters.

Jane: A book for and about teenagers with depth and intellect.  It’s lighthearted, with ups and downs as it follows Auden on her path to self discovery.

How are the characters in the book?

Tiffany: They’re all just awesome (yes, I love the word awesome). The girls aren’t annoying chicks, and the guys aren’t the type to make you gag or disgusted. I think they’re all pretty unique and relatable. The beauty of the book is that they all have different personalities! Dessen provides us a good variety of teens. It just sucks that the guy characters aren’t that realistic since they’re all good and perfect boys.

Jane:  Characters are realistic and not overly exaggerated/crazy/quirky as some young adult authors tend to make their teenage characters.  There are no “bad guys” or definitive antagonists in the story, only people with their flaws and defining characteristics.  And they’re really interesting.

How did you like the writing style?

Tiffany: It was pretty simple and not full of complex words. Dessen uses a casual tone to help make the reader feel like s/he is a part of the novel, which is pretty cool. I like her style because it’s simple, yet you can still spot all those great writing techniques and structure. Everything flows well.

Jane: Loved it.  It has this rhythm that keeps the story interesting and you’ll just want to keep reading.  I also just like Sarah Dessen’s writing style in general.  She doesn’t make her teenage characters speak in some weird slang that I can’t understand.  The way she writes you can imagine everything in your mind like a movie screening in your brain.

Who would you recommend this book to?

Tiffany: All the people in the world. I’d actually recommend all of Sarah Dessen’s book to everyone on the planet, but that just won’t work L But I think all girls who are in search of themselves or just plain girls who want to read a good book should read this book. It’s very relaxing and refreshing. Girls who are romantics should definitely read this book! It’s made of awesomeness.

Jane: Any teenager wanting a temporary escape from the pressures and stress of dull school life.  Anyone who wants to read a good story with a good moral.  Anyone who just wants to turn off the television and crack open a book.  Any closeted idealists or hopeless romantics (open is good too!).  Anyone… yeah.  Basically anyone.  I wouldn’t recommend this to cranky people who don’t believe in the existence of love, or in the optimism of life though.  This is a fairly optimistic book, that’ll just make you happy. (Tiffany agrees!)

July 9, 2009 at 3:10 pm 1 comment

Take Me There by Susane Colasanti

Hey all, it’s Jane here.  I’m just going to post up a quick book review on Take Me There.  I just picked it up from the library today and finished it a couple of hours ago.  I really don’t know if that says more about the book or about me, but I’ll just get straight to the review.

takemethereGreatness: 4/5 stars

Summary

Set in fast paced New York, Rhiannon, Nicole and James are three friends attending the same high school.   The book is told in alternating perspectives between the three, following a common story line, but also differs for each person.  Rhiannon can’t get over her ex-boyfriend, Steve, who just seemed to dump her for no reason.  She spends nights in her bed sulking and waiting for him to call her.   Nicole dresses “wild” in combat boots and fishnets but she’s just a normal girl who dumped the perfect boyfriend, Danny.  She also can’t help crushing on her handsome math teacher.  And James is Rhiannon’s best friend who has to deal with this friendship and what might grow from it.  “Will their desire to take a mean girl down a notch bring these three friends what they want… and more?”

Review

Susane Colasanti, the author of When It Happens, creates three completely realistic and relatable characters in Take Me There.  Although, the characters have their own flaws and imperfections it doesn’t stop them from being any less real to the reader.   The alternating perspectives are placed strategically throughout the book to create suspense and mini cliff hangers for the next part.  But the changing perspectives, gives this book a unique dynamic and is told very differently that it doesn’t feel like a broken record reading the same things.  It did confuse me at times but Colasanti did a good job of writing the book in different viewpoints.   Colasanti is able to capture the young teenage spirit and all the angst present in a nonexaggerated way.  And the slang present is used subtly and not as an alien jargon posing as teenage dialogue.  The book reads quickly, and I recommend it to any teenager looking for a semi-light hearted book, it has heavier aspect such as elements of physical and sexual abuse.  But don’t freak out.  Overall, it’s pretty lighthearted.

July 9, 2009 at 12:01 am 1 comment

Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria Stolarz

deadly little secret
Greatness:  4/5 stars

Summary:

16-year-old Camelia leads a pretty ordinary life.  She goes to school, hangs out with her best friends, Kimmie and Wes, and works part-time at the pottery store.   But everything changes when Camelia is pushed out of the path of a speeding car by a mysterious boy, thereby saving her life.  Since then, she hasn’t been able to get the boy or his touch out of her mind.   Things get even weirder when she swears the new transfer student who is rumored to have killed his ex-girlfriend, Ben, is the guy who saved her even though he stubbornly states that it’s not him.  Tensions start to rise as Camelia finds herself being watched by someone as she starts to receive photos of herself and threatening phone calls.  She must, with the help of Ben, deal with the danger of her stalker— before her time is up.

Review:

Deadly Little Secret is the first of the Touch series by Laurie Faria Stolarz.  Stolarz writes a suspenseful  novel  for the readers, and the secrets she webs into the plot keep the readers entranced in finding what is to happen to Camelia.  There is never a dry spell in all of the 252 pages of the book, each chapter reads quickly with the witty dialogue of the characters.

The novel is reminiscent of another well known young adult vampire novel, Twilight, in how Camelia and Ben first meet and their growing relationship.  However, it can stand its own as the plots and characters differ significantly.  And Stolarz weaves in the perspective of the unknown stalker after every chapter in Camelia’s perspective giving the novel a darker and more dangerous feel from the beginning.

Stolarz’s characters are witty and entertaining and give an extra punch to keep the interest in everyday conversation.  Camelia is a relatable and likeable heroine, the readers will be able to understand her perspective and feel her fear seeping through the pages.  I recommend this to young adult readers interested in chilling thrillers without any of the blood and gore.  You’ll pick up the book and not be able to set it down.

July 3, 2009 at 11:26 pm Leave a comment

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