Follow Friday and Book Blogger Hop (6)

Follow Friday will be updated here when it pops up later, so this week starts with Book Blogger Hop from Crazy for Books!

Book Blogger Hop

“In honor of Banned Books Week, what is your favorite “banned or frequently challenged book”?”

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. According to the ALA website: A parent had complained that the book has a “high volume of racially offensive derogatory language and misinformation on Native Americans. In addition to the inaccurate imagery, and stereotype views, the text lacks literary value which is relevant to today’s contemporary multicultural society."

Does it contain racial slurs? Yes, and the book was originally published in the thirties; racial slurs and comments in books that are deplorable today were perfectly normal in an older era, though that is no reason to ban a book. Any teens reading this, assuming that they are mature enough to read the book, should recognize that much.

Also, what is this about lacking value in today's society? I'm pretty sure that the person who made the complaint has never read one page of any edition of Brave New World ever published, ever. Between test-tube babies, a disregard for those who reject technology/ live "off the grid", recreational drug use, and little to no concern within society regarding one-night stands, Brave New World is an eerie portrait of the twenty-first century (at least, the Western world), and definitely a book that changed my life when I read it. 

Ahoy! NaNoWriMo Approaches!

(Picture from The Booksmith)

What does Water for Elephants, The Night Circus (pictured above), and dozens of other books all have in common? They had their humble origins as rough copies from NaNoWriMo.

This Saturday, October first, marks the date where the NaNoWriMo website reboots itself, letting members new and old alike come in and set up their pages before the fun, challenging, totally off-the-wall awesome event that is National Novel Writing Month.

If you have never heard of it, National Novel Writing Month is an event spanning all 31 days of November where a participant writes a 50,000 word novel (or rather, novella, but it is generally agreed in NaNoWriMo that "novel" is a cooler word.) That breaks down to around 1667 words a day to make the deadline, unless you are like me and blow through 10,000 in the final weekend.

I'm writing about it for two reasons:
1) I first learned of it a few years (four, to be precise) ago on a blog, and am now using my blogging abilities to spread the word further
2) The book bloggosphere has been up in arms with love for The Night Circus recently, and today it was revealed to me that not only has it hit the New York Times bestseller list, but it started when Erin Morgenstern decided to sit down and takes the challenge that thousands of other people just like you take every November

Needless to say, it isn't easy. But then again, most of the worthwhile things in life ever are. And you only need one thing to start: that tiny spark in the back of your mind that says "Yes, I can do this."


The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer book trailer

The book trailer for The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin, which will be released next week on the 27th, has just been released and honestly it is one of my favorite book trailers. It plays out more like the preview for a movie or a show than a book, and there's no doubt that it's release to the public will be the talk of the year (or at least what's left of it.)

You can read my review of Unbecoming here, and you can watch the trailer below. The song is "Black Dog" by Kelli Schaefer:


Follow Friday and Book Blogger Hop (5?)

I'm losing count, my days have been so busy recently D;

First is Follow Friday, from Allison Can Read and Parajunkee:

Q. Do you have a favorite series that you read over and over again? Tell us a bit about it and why you keep on revisiting it?

The only novel series that I constantly go back to is the Artemis Fowl series, which for many reasons I continue to mention here on Follow Friday. In my eyes, the series has a great plot, awesomely snarky humor, characters that I've grown to love/ loved since the first page, and is long enough to be satisfactory without feeling ripped off (final book, #8, is scheduled for next year.) I know that many times it's humor is seen as childish (and rightly so), and that the books are in both the childrens' room and YA section of my public library, but I swear I will go and see the movie even if I am forty when it comes out. 
Also, I put the graphic novel on a display stand in the childrens' graphic novel section while I was working last week, and had a happy-dance moment when I came in this week to find it gone. Another soul converted!

Next (as usual) is Book Blogger Hop, hosted by Crazy for Books!

Book Blogger Hop

“As a blog reader, what information (besides the book review) do you like to see in other bloggers’ reviews of books? (For example – Author bio, social media links, book synopsis from Amazon/Goodreads or one written by the blogger, page count, ISBN number, link to purchase, etc.)”
I'm actually not that picky about it. I like seeing the publication date (and subsequently forget to put them in my own reviews), and the Goodreads link for the book. I'm on GR a lot, so I like to be able to click on a link at the bottom of an interesting review and be taken to the page so I can mark it to be read. Personally, I find author bio to be a bit unnecessary in a book review, and I'd rather those go on a separate post (about new and upcoming author posts, NYT bestseller posts, etc.)
As for which synopsis that I like, for a while I would write them on my own but recently switched to writing down the ones from the inside/ back cover of the books. That's obviously easier on my part, and I can then devote more time to writing the review itself. I see a lot of other book bloggers do it too.


Insurgent (Veronica Roth) cover revealed!

Mark your calender for May of 2012, because Veronica Roth has recently released the (very beautiful) cover for her next book, Insurgent, and I am spazzing out at the beauty of it.

They kept the set-up the same, with the symbol in the middle against the cityscape, but changed the color scheme to a darker, rather ominous green. If I'm being completely honest I like this cover more than the first one. I also like that they added the train, since it was such a big symbol in the first book, and it is finally getting the love it deserves.

You can send her some love herself on her blog, and you can read my review of the first book, Divergent, here.


Follow Friday and Book Blogger Hop 4

Hello! If you are new here I am Emily, and this is my fourth Book Blogger Hop and Follow Friday! Huzzah!

First up is Follow Friday by Parajunkee and Allison Can Read:


Q. It's that pesky magic book fairy again! She has another wish: What imaginary book world would you like to make a reality?
I really like fantasy series, and would love nothing more than to be able to trek out on my own magical, world-saving adventure. Something along the lines of The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan or The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (both of which I will get through some day!)
Pulling inspiration from 

Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Crazy for Books. This week's question is:

Book Blogger Hop

As a book blogger, how do you introduce yourself in your profile?
The first thing that I try to do is not to be misleading; everything in my profile is the truth, and the last thing that I want from people who read my profile is for them to think that I'm something that I'm not. 
Second, alongside the average such as name and the fact that I'm a student, is a few non-book-related things that I like to do. Obviously I read, and I figured that those who stumble across this blog would think as much, but I want people to see that I have other passions too. I've had people comment before on my love of geocaching and LEGO Star Wars, and it makes me happy to know that I have more in common with my readers than just reading and blogging.

And... That's it for this week! See you next Friday!


TGIF (last minute!)

I know that Friday's almost over, but I've seen the TGIF meme from GReads around on other book blogs so often that this week I cracked and decided to participate. It will be posted with my other two Friday memes, Follow Friday and Book Blogger Hop, starting next week. Until then, welcome and enjoy!

Books to Television: Which books would you love 
to see made in to a TV series? or movie?

I have come to terms with the fact that there will, most likely, never, ever been a series of Artemis Fowl movies. I'm dead serious here, I've picked up old copies of the first/ second books only to find contest advertisements for being an extra in the movie. It's been "in the works" for years now, and we don't have so much as a leading actor. If the ball got rolling earlier I would've had no doubts that the movies would have come in a series, kind of like Harry Potter did, but it's been ten years since Artemis first graced us with his presence... Still crossing my fingers though!

Luna by Julie Anne Peters is in a similar position, though with no movie talk as far as I know. It's such a heartbreaking story, about a teenage girl and her transgender (male-to-female) sister. I think, if put in the right hands, it would make a beautiful and successful movie that would finally get some transgender characters onto the big screen as more than just last-minute attempts at equality or comic relief.

In other, more hopeful news, Divergent by Veronica Roth has had its rights bought by Summit, and I have hopes that we might get some movie news in the upcoming year! 


Follow Friday and Book Blogger Hop (3)

 It's Friday! (Friday, gotta get down- okay, I'll stop) so that means two new memes for this week! For starters, sorry if I don't comment/ follow you as quikcly as I can, I have school tomorrow, but I promise to get back to you as soon as I could! Thanks for visiting!

First up, Follow Friday, hosted by Allison Can Read and Parajunkee.

Q. Have you ever wanted a villain to win at the end of a story? If so, which one?
I know, I know, I need to stop talking about Dystopian Societies sooner or later, but this question is just too perfect to pass up! I love stories like 1984 and Brave New World; the older dystopians. In those, the negative/ evil/ bad society often wins, and quite frankly that's how I think it should be (more often than not.) When it comes to modern, teen dystopians, it seems like in the end the dystopian part of society is always crushed, no matter how little the protagonist/ their band of merry rebels does. Not every rebellion is met with change, and it takes a lot more to fall a corrupt government than a lot of current books would have us believe (but Libya knows all too well.)

EDIT: Okay, a little attachment because I didn't feel that my earlier answer was clear enough. I don't root for villains because I like evil deeds, or smile when people are hurt. I like to see villains succeed, at least sometimes, because I think it makes a story more realistic. Good doesn't always come out on top in real life, so why should it in books? I think books need to have at least a realistic element to be relatable and believable.

And now onto this week's Book Blogger Hop, hosted by Crazy for books.

Book Blogger Hop
“Many of us primarily read one genre of books, with others sprinkled in. If authors stopped writing that genre, what genre would you start reading? Or would you give up reading completely if you couldn’t read that genre anymore?”
I've wanted to dabble in fantasy for a while, and it's been a while since I had. No, I probably wouldn't give up reading, I'm sure that I'd find something to read. After all, I always have whatever that "others sprinkled in" constitutes, right? :)

See you next Friday!


New job!!!

I started my first (paying) job today, as a page at the public library! Basically, I'm a book monkey: I shelve books, find books, pick up books, push carts around with books on them, etc. I worked for four hours today (and after the first day of school, too!), mostly by shelving books, and there are a few things that I learned should you ever find yourself in one of these mystical places:
-If you question, even for a moment, where a book should go on the shelf, find a cart to put it on. It's been incredibly frustrating trying to find the proper place for a book when everything else around it is out of order because some people just stick in it the last place they thought they saw it. If you do, or actually try to shelve it correctly, you get a high five :)
-Not even the call number system is perfect. I had been looking for a copy of The Iron King a few months ago, and was sad to find that is was listed as "missing" in our catalog. So, I requested it from another library. Anyway, guess what I found in with the adult fiction just because it didn't have a YA sticker on it?
-Mysteries are VERY POPULAR. The newest ones are separate from the rest of the new books.
-I'm seventeen, but even my feet and knees were aching by the end of my shift from having to bend down and put books away every few minutes.

Overall, it's fun to have a job and a paycheck, especially from a place that I've been visiting since I was little. Ooh! And the best thing is that while putting things away I get a good look at all different kinds of books, including our new copy of Plugged by Eoin Colfer! *faints*

I've known for a few months that Colfer had been writing an adult novel after years (over ten, to be precise) of dabbling in children's and young adult fiction while penning the bestselling Artemis Fowl series (my favorite) but I had no idea that it had been published (not that that's strange. I had taken a hiatus from AF for a while and didn't even know the seventh book came out until after I stepped into Border's one day.) I stored it away in my bag to check out later, and I'm really excited! After I finish the seventh AF book, that is.

The tagline reads, "You loved Artemis Fowl... It's time to grow up." *swoon*

More tales from Libraryville are soon to come!


Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Mara Dyer would tell you what happened to her that night in the abandoned asylum. That night when she lost three of her friends in a horrible accident that left her mind scarred and her confidence shaken. She’d tell you, if that night weren’t completely wiped from her memory. Picking up and moving to Florida to escape the past, Mara’s hallucinations and nightmares continue to escalate. At the same time, she is growing closer to a boy she didn’t think that she could fall in love with, a boy who can help her find the truth within herself; the truth of what happened that night.
There’s a lot to say about The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. The book starts out rather promising, and I found myself delightfully spooked   by Mara’s paranormal events and haunting hallucinations. Those alone made the book stand out against other YA books of its kind. I also love the creepiness factor. Mara’s periods of hallucinations and flashback dreams to “that night,” give The Unbecoming a haunting feel that helps put the reader in Mara’s shoes, and really emphasizes her PTSD. Sadly though, these fade over time as Noah Shaw, Mara’s love interest, becomes the primary focus of Mara’s life.
Noah is are downright unrealistic. He is popular, hot, has gotten with every girl in school (but wouldn’t DARE try to have sex with Mara), is hot, filthy rich, is hot, and lives in a mansion that is compared to the Taj Mahal. But wait, he lost his mother when he was little and is neglected by his father. That gives him some humanity to his godliness, right? Wrong, because he speaks French and Spanish, is hot, has a British accent, is hot, gets perfect grades, but doesn’t need to take notes in class or bring his books because he has “a good memory.” Did I mention he’s hot, or as Mara’s describes, “inhumanly beautiful”? Get Edward Cullen on the phone, because someone may have out-perfected him.
Hodkin’s work is peppered with some gems of lines that made me chuckle, and a few that made me shiver, but is average overall. She does get an A+ for a Trogdor reference, though (don’t ask). Still, I wanted to finish the book as soon as possible, and not in a good way.
The ending is perhaps the most disappointing moment of the novel. There is very little build-up, or climax, and anything that contributes to the ending scenes is lost amongst the four hundred and fifty pages of this book. Had the ending been a bit more urgent and put-together, and the story itself more concise, it would have been perfect. It definitely opens up the opportunity for a sequel, though.
In all fairness, fans of steamy (abstinent) romance, paranormal activities, and the occasional sassy line will undoubtedly rave about this book (and they have). However, if you are as tired of the “normal girl falls for steamy boy in a paranormal setting” dog-and-pony show that much of YA literature has become, you might want to pass this one up.

(Amazon - Goodreads - Figment)


Dystopian August comes to an end...

Yes, now being September it appears that Dystopian August has come to an end... The wrap up post can be found here, and I am very pleased to announce that I have won the prize pack!

Pictured Above: w00t
Not Pictured Above: An ARC of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, also won

Whether or not Dystopian February 2012 is on depends on her writing, but I would certainly like it to happen again! I'm assuming everyone who participated would as well, not to mention that they'll have plenty to review with all of the new releases of late 2011/ early 2012 fast approaching!

Zombie chicken salute, and here's to next year! But until then, please appreciate this flowchart from Erin Bowman, which pretty much sums up what is/ isn't a Dystopian society:

A larger version can be seen here, and happy September, everybody! Now to get back to all of those books you had to put off to make room for your dystopian picks :)


Teens Top Ten!

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) is looking for votes to pick the top ten teen books! The list seems to be a mix of late 2010- early 2011 titles, and a mix of bestsellers and lesser known titles (but maybe I've just been living in a box...)

The voting is for teens only, so go and vote if you're young enough or do your part to spread the word! I jumped up to vote only to find that the only book on the list that I had read was Mockingjay and, well, I didn't exactly think it was the best book (if you saw my last Book Hop/ Follow Friday.)

Voting ends September 16th, and the winners will be announced during Teen Read Week, October 16th-22nd.


Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

What if you knew exactly when your would die? Thanks to modern science, every newborn has become a ticking genetic time bomb- males only live to age twenty-five, and females only to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.
When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one perupose: to escape- to find her twin brother and go home.
But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiemtns. Withthe help of Gabriel, a servant she is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.
(Description from inside cover)

I know that this isn't a science book, but the lack of such really upset me. I mean, somehow the entire world got bombed, polar ice caps melted, and the United States is still around? New York City, Florida, and cities in California are mentioned, but wouldn't even be there if what is described in the book is true. And also, how is it that people die at age 20-25, but young teenagers are not only expected to have healthy pregnancies and babies, but actually do (well, except for the die at 20-25 thing)? A little more clarification on those things would've been nice.

A lot of Rhine's beliefs in this book are presented as truths, but she has a horrible time convincing me of things. I didn't believe her when she said her husband was the one who kidnapped her and killed girls, even when she did for most of the book. I don't believe her when she says she fell in love with this one boy who she barely seems to know. I don't believe her when she says being free is ideal, because all of her flashbacks of her past life and brother seem pretty negative. All of these make her come off as very naive, despite her mature voice.

The ending was also a bit... confusing. If Whither was a stand-alone book, and not in a series, I would have totally bought it and it would've been great. It wrapped up so nicely. But knowing that there's a sequel just confuses me, and I hope the next book doesn't feel stretched or forced.

I really like the cover, as to many of those who read Whither, but I feel alone in the fact that I don't "get" it. Yeah, I see the birdcage and the wedding ring, that much is clear. It's more with the fact that the chill girl on the cover looks more like a model for an Alexander McQueen photoshoot than a child desperate to escape. Nope, she's just taking a snooze. No urgency here.

I really enjoyed Destefano's writing style though, and she has a lot of beautiful, vivid imagery in here. Her words painted a clear picture to me, for the most part, of Rhine's world. The language is very poetic and lovely.

All in all, it is very much like The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, though Wither has a bit more angst to it's shock factor.

(Amazon - Goodreads)

Feature & Follow Friday and Book Blogger Hop (3)

I'll be participating in Book Blogger Hop and Feature & Follow Friday once again! Welcome, and feel free to leave a comment! And I hope that you're joining in the fun!

Feature & Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read:

First question:

If you could change the ending to any book (or series), which book would you choose? Why and to what?


In case you didn't catch my warning up above, The Hunger Games. I wouldn't say I hated the ending, but I severely disliked it, and not because of Prim's fate. First, I disliked how quickly it went. After Katniss shoots Coin (why do I want to keep calling her "Acorn," again?) there basically is no ending. Katniss walks around in a daze, and we really don't see what happens to the world. I mean, no riots in the Capitol? District 2? And what happened to Haymitch? Quite frankly, he was my favorite character. I reread the last part we see him and I THINK there's an allusion to him dying, but then again maybe he just left ("Haymitch drinks until the liquor runs out, and then raises geese until the next train arrives. Fortunately, the geese can take pretty good care of themselves."- page 387) And Gale too, what about him? Honestly, if any epilogue were to be written, I want to hear about Panem one hundred years later, to see if things really did change for the better. After all, I'm pretty sure they didn't host another Hunger Games after Katniss's last, but it isn't explicitly stated, and who knows, maybe things got so bad again that the Hunger Games returned, or something worse took their place.

END HUNGER GAMES SPOILERS. (P.S. That was the first time I've cracked open Mockingjay since I finished it on, like, the second of January. It still smells like it's new...)

And now, onto the Book Blogger Hop, hosted by Crazy for Books:

Book Blogger Hop

“What are you most looking forward to this fall/autumn season – A particular book release? Halloween? The leaves changing color? Cooler temperatures? A vacation? (If your next season is other than fall/autumn, tell us about it and what you are most looking forward to in your part of the world!)”

Three Things:
1) National Novel Writing Month (Nov. 1st)
2) The release of Legend by Marie Lu (Nov. 29)
3) The start of my SENIOR YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL!!! (Sept. 7)

Again, I welcome all newcomers!

Great Graphics #2: Bride's Story by Kaoru Mori

Acclaimed creator Kaoru Mori (Emma, Shirley) brings the nineteenth-century Silk Road to lavish life, chronicling the story of Amir Halgal, a young woman from a nomadic tribe betrothed to a twelve-year-old boy eight years her junior. Coping with cultural differences, blossoming feelings for her new husband, and expectations from both her adopted and birth families, Amir strives to find her role as she settles into a new life and a new home in a society quick to define that role for her.
Crafted in painstaking detail, Ms. Mori's pen breathes life into the scenery and architecture of the period in this heartwarming slice-of-life tale that is at once both wholly exotic, yet familiar and accessible through the everyday lives of the rich characters she has created.
(Description from inside cover)

Let me start by saying that "crafted in painstaking detail," is perhaps the understatement of the year. The scenery, clothing... everything contains so much detail that your eye can't simply gloss over the page; you have to stop and take some time to view every last line, mark, and shade that has been made. In short, it is fantastic. I'm also familiar with Emma and Shirley, which are both set in Victorian England, and though they both contain their fair share of wonderful detail, neither is anything like the creative and colorful patterns of central Asia.

Rather than a continuous story like Emma, Bride's Story is split into a couple short stories, two of which are strung together by Amir's old clans desire to have her returned. These small stories give the larger piece a nice flow, and in no way does it feel choppy. Amir herself is also wonderful for a main character, and I really enjoyed watching her character develop throughout the tales. She's a bit quirky due to her "outside-ness" in her new tribe, that only adds to my love for her.

I know that, from the description, a few people may be uncomfortable with the large age difference between Amir, 20, and her husband, Karluk, 12. There's really very little to worry about: the two, in one scene at night, share a kiss in the semi-dark that is more cute and familiar than romantic or sexy. There is also a scene where the two sleep naked together, though that stems only from Amir's insistence that you will be too cold if you sleep clothed in a yurt (a type of housing) rather than nude, and the scene itself is not sexual. Other than that, their relationship is much more like that of an older sister/ younger brother than anything like a husband and wife.

All in all, this book comes highly recommended, and I look forward for the second one, if nothing for the art that my hands and eyes ache just looking at.

The book is unrated, and I personally would rate it PG-13 (for three panels of topless nudity and... almost violence? Then again, your mileage may vary.)
(Amazon - Goodreads)