Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (4)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted Jill at by Breaking the Spine.

Forgotten Country
by Catherine Chung

Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover
Pages: 304 pages
Release Date: March 1, 2012

More About the Author

On the night Janie waits for her sister, Hannah, to be born, her grandmother tells her a story: Since the Japanese occupation of Korea, their family has lost a daughter in every generation, so Janie is charged with keeping Hannah safe. As time passes, Janie hears more stories, while facts remain unspoken. Her father tells tales about numbers, and in his stories everything works out. In her mother's stories, deer explode in fields, frogs bury their loved ones in the ocean, and girls jump from cliffs and fall like flowers into the sea. Within all these stories are warnings.
Years later, when Hannah inexplicably cuts all ties and disappears, Janie embarks on a mission to find her sister and finally uncover the truth beneath her family's silence. To do so, she must confront their history, the reason for her parents' sudden move to America twenty years earlier, and ultimately her conflicted feelings toward her sister and her own role in the betrayal behind their estrangement.
Weaving Korean folklore within a modern narrative of immigration and identity, "Forgotten Country" is a fierce exploration of the inevitability of loss, the conflict between obligation and freedom, and a family struggling to find its way out of silence and back to one another.

I have a friend who is a good friend of this author. She told me about this book a while ago and I've been excited about it ever since.

Book Trailer

Monday, February 27, 2012

Adaptation Releases: John Carter, The Lorax, Being Flynn, John Carter

Updated: added John Carter

There are a lot of book adaptations being made every year, probably more than we realize. Last year alone there was more than 50 book adaptations, 5 of them were nominated for best picture including Hugo, The Help and The Descendants. As book readers, we like to see how the movie lives up to its book counterpart. However, sometimes we don't realize that these movies were based on book until after their release or after we see them.

I myself like to keep track of the movie adaptations that come out each year. If you are like me, in this new feature I'm going to be spotlighting the book-to-movie adaptations that come out each week every Monday.

This week, we're looking at two movies.

Dr. Seuss' The Lorax 

Based On: The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
Directed by: Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda
Screenplay Written by: Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul
Stars: Danny DeVito, Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, Ed Helms, Rob Riggle, Betty White and Jenny Slate
Release Date: March 2, 2012
A 12-year-old boy searches for the one thing that will enable him to win the affection of the girl of his dreams. To find it he must discover the story of the Lorax, the grumpy yet charming creature who fights to protect his world.

I love Dr. Seuss. His works always give me joy. Unfortunately, no all the adaptations does his work justice. Let's hope this one is one of the good ones. It looks fun if nothing else.


Being Flynn

Based On: Bullshit Night in Suck City by Nick Flynn
Directed by: Paul Weitz
Screenplay Written by: Paul Weitz
Stars: Robert De Niro, Paul Dano, Olivia Thirlby, Julianne
Release Date: March 2, 2012
Working in a Boston homeless shelter, Nick Flynn re-encounters his father, a con man and self-proclaimed poet. Sensing trouble in his own life, Nick wrestles with the notion of reaching out yet again to his dad.

I'm excited for this movie because it's about a writer, and it's about a father-son relationship. Also, you can't go wrong with Robert De Niro.


John Carter

Based On: A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Directed by: Andrew Stanton
Screenplay Written by: Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews and Michael Chabon
Stars: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Willem Dafoe, Thomas Haden Church
Release Date: March 2, 2012

Transplanted to Mars, a Civil War vet discovers a lush planet inhabited by 12-foot tall barbarians. Finding himself a prisoner of these creatures, he escapes, only to encounter a princess who is in desperate need of a savior.

This could turn out really good or really horrible. John Carter is the second work of Burroughs that Disney attempt to recreated. The first one is Tarzan which was released in 1999.

Have you read the books these movies are based on? If you did, what do you think of them?
Which one of these two movies are you most excited for?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

In My Mailbox (4)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren and inspired by Pop Culture Junkie.

Today we have a long haul!

For Review
Thank you NetGalley!

Courtney Crumrin, Volume 1 by Ted Naifeh
Dying to Know You by Aidan Chambers
Facing the Hunchback of Notre Dame by L.L. Samson
Holliday by Nate Bowden
Nevsky by Mario Guevara
Play Ball by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir (Writers)/ Jackie Lewis (Artist)
Ratfist by Doug Tennapel
Solitary by Travis Thrasher
Spontaneous by Joe Harris (Writer)/ Brett Weldele (Artist)
The Avalon Chronicles, Volume 1 by Nunzio DeFilippis & Christina Weir (Writers)/ Emma Vieceli (Artist)
The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry
Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe by Shelley Coriell
Who Is Jake Ellis? Volume 1 by Tonci Zonjic

Out of all of these, I'm really excited for The Peculiars, Dying to Know You and Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe. There are a lot if comics/graphic novels on this list, but what can I say? I love those. I always have

I got those from my cousin. She is so sweet!

Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
Blindness by José Saramago
I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Sisters Red (Fairytale Retellings #1) by Jackson Pearce


1984 by George Orwell
Emily the Strange: The Lost Days (Emily the Strange Novels, #1) by Rob Reger, Jessica Gruner, Buzz Parker (Illustrator)

What did you get this week?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Book vs Movie: Winer's Bone

No Spoilers!

I love film adaptations. I love the idea of books turning into film, even if they don't always turn out the way we want. I love comparing between the two, seeing which one is better, which one worked for me ‘cause I’m a geek like that.

As a reader, it always seems that 90% of the time, the book turns out to be better. Now, I'm saying 90% because there have been proven exceptions in the past, at least in my opinion. Telling the story in another medium could actually help improved upon it. I think sometimes it doesn’t matter if the film is a faithful adaptation as long as it was able to tell a better story. That’s not the case for Winter’s Bone, well not exactly.

When it comes to which version of Winter’s Bone told the better story, I think it’s debatable. The movie was surprisingly a very faithful adaptation of the book. The story is almost identical with few minor changes and the book gives us more detail of course.  The movie has a strong cast and each person portrayed their parts perfectly, close enough to what the book describes.

So if these two versions are so similar, how to decide which one is superior? The usual answer would be the book because the book gives us more. In my case, I choose the movie. If you read my review of the book, you pretty much know how I feel about it. Because the two versions were so similar, I wasn’t a huge fan of the movie either. However, I think the movie was the superior version.

Why? Well, as I said before, it’s debatable. If you like the book, you more than likely would prefer it over the movie. What made the movie better in my eyes is the fact that it gave less detail. As I was reading the book, I remember spotting several things that could’ve been easily cut out and nothing of the main story would be lost. I understand that the author add these details so we’d feel more for the characters and feel the atmosphere of the book, but in my opinion it affected the pacing of the book.

The movie manages to take out these details as well as making us feel for the characters. Though when it comes to the characters, I think the credit here goes to the actors who portray them, especially Jennifer Lawrence.

Winter’s Bone book and movie were very similar, but the movie wins for giving me more with less, if you know what I mean.

What do you think, do you like the book or the movie better?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (3)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted Jill at by Breaking the Spine.

Title: The Book of Blood and Shadow
Author: Robin Wasserman
Publisher: Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers 
Release Date: April 10, 2012

It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up.  When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love.  When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark. But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead.  His girlfriend Adriane, Nora's best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora's sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.
I heard some people compare this book to the The Da Vinci Code. It sounds really intriguing.

What books are you waiting for?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I'd Quickly Save If My House Was Going To Be Abducted By Aliens

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Books I'd Quickly Save If My House Was Going To Be Abducted By Aliens: This is a tough one. I love all my books! I can't image having to pick which one to save. However, anything can happen, so I have to consider the possibility while I can. Personally, I most likely would pick up books I haven’t read yet. I’d go over every section in my book shelf and pick which one I want to read the most, so this list is changeable. Maybe by the time the aliens come, I’d have read all of those.

1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: I’m craving to read this book! I’d need something that holds a lot of emotions. 
 2. Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn: I’m gonna need something inspiring. This book has stories of women that made it despite all the odds.

3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: 10 is not a lot of books. I wouldn’t want to go through them all quickly. It’s better to have something huge. 
 4. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini: Friendship stories. I always long for those, so I can’t imagine not saving this one. I can’t believe I haven’t read this yet! 
 5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë: This is the only book on this list that I have actually read. This one just means a lot to me. If I’m going to save a classic, it’s probably this one. 
 6. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine  : There will be dark times, so I’m gonna need a fairy-tale. 
 7. The Collector by John Fowles: I need at least one suspenseful story. 
 8. Nation by Terry Pratchett: When the aliens come, I’m going to need a story about courage, one that I haven’t read. I think this one is the best pick. 
 9. Beauty: A Retelling of Beauty & the Beast by Robin McKinley: What can I say? I just love fairytales. 
 10. My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher: This book deals with several issues that are not usually discussed in children literature. There’s no way I’m leaving it behind!

What are the books you would rather save?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

In My Mailbox (3)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren and inspired by Pop Culture Junkie.

For Review:
Thank you NetGalley.

Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks

Womanthology: Heroic by Barbara Kesel

Expect my reviews of both of them soon.


Out of It: A Novel by Selma Dabbagh

What did you get this week?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Book Chat: Negative Review and Author/Blogger Relations

Book Chat is a monthly meme created by Misty @ The Book Rat. This month’s topic is about Negative Review and Author/Blogger Relations. You should go and check her video out. Here’s the link. She made a very excellent argument and I do agree with a lot of what she said.

Personally, I think it’s not about being positive or negative about a book. It’s a matter of expressing your own opinion. That’s what makes the book blogging community so wonderful because we all have different opinions about book. I think having different opinions about a book gives the book itself more… color, or life if you will because people can get different things from that book. People will either love it or hate it. There is no such thing as a book everybody loves or everybody hates. I know people that hate Harry Potter, if you can believe it.

For me, when I read reviews about hyped up books, I’d like to see what negative things are being said about it as well as the positive things. I want to see different opinions and takes about a book, so I can read it with a fresh and open mind. I remember hearing about how great Looking for Alaska by John Green was that I built these high expectations that perhaps no human could ever reach. Of course, it didn’t turn out the way I expected and it took me a while before I started building my own perspective on it. It ended up in my 2011 Favorite list, but that doesn’t change the fact that I didn’t read it with an open mind.

I heard authors including John Green say this: “When a book is out there, it’s no longer yours.” People will form their opinions on a book whether the author likes it or not.

When it comes to negative reviews, there are two types that I seem to always come across:

Type 1: "This book was so stupid! Nothing happened the way I wanted. She didn't end up with (insert a guy's name here)."

Type 2: "I say why people like this book, but it wasn't for me. Here are my reasons."

Personally, I prefer type 2. I prefer reviews that can provide an honest feedback on why the reviewer didn’t like the book. I don’t like judging it based on what happens in the story. I also never encourage personal attacks on the author. In the end, this person had done something I couldn’t do, which is writing and publishing a book. I don’t write negative reviews because I like it, but it’s because that’s honestly how I felt. I believe that being honest about a book is a way of showing respect to the author, even it what I have to say isn’t always pleasant.

I’m not an author, but I understand how awful it must be when people bash the work you put your heart and soul into. But as they say, no job is easy. Even if you’re doing your dream job, there’s always going to be a negative side to it. The best of authors struggled to get better at their craft (at least that what they keep saying if you check their videos on Youtube). If it’s something you love, you shouldn't give up no matter what people say. Keep persevering. My teacher says: “you should always try to get better. You’re never too old to learn.”

So yes, I’m pro negative reviews. I think they’re necessary. And if you would look at them with the right attitude, they could turn out to be helpful. When it comes to attackers, honestly just ignore them.

Tell me, how do you feel about negative reviews? Whether you agree or disagree with my rambling, your opinions are always welcome.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Book Review: Monster by Walter Dean Myers

Title: Monster 
Publisher: Amistad Press
Pages: 281
Release Date: May 8, 2001
Reading Group: Young Adult


Young, black, 16-year-old Steve Harmon, an amateur filmmaker, is on trial for the murder of a Harlem drugstore owner. Steve copes by writing a movie script based on his trial. But despite his efforts, reality is blurred until he can no longer tell who he is or what the truth is. Illustrations.


Monster was unfortunately disappointing for me. When I started the book I was really enjoying it. However, as I kept reading, I found myself getting more and more bored with it. By the time I finished it, I felt... indifferent. I'll try my best to explain.

First of all, I want to give props for Walter Dean Myers for taking such a creative approach in writing Monster. I've never read a novel written like this before. We're basically getting exposed to the story through the main character's personal journals and the script he writes as the story goes on. Some may think that it's a lazy approach in writing the story, but I think it made the book fun to read... for a certain amount of time.

While I do appreciate the creative approach, I don't think it works for this particular story. This is a story that mostly takes place in court, so you really need to care about the characters to keep reading. Having most of the story written as a screenplay doesn’t give enough material about the characters or the situation they’re in. You could say that characters shine through their dialogue, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case in Monster.

Like I said, I do appreciate the creative approach, but I think this form of writing made the characters suffer in my eyes. It was really hard for me to get attached to Steve. I really didn't know what to think of him. His personal journals weren't enough for me to get to know him. The side characters in particular don't shine at all, even though there are several of those. As I kept reading the novel, I kept forgetting who is who. I'm not the kind of reader that cares about having a likable character, but I do want characters that are interesting enough for me to keep reading.

When it comes to the story itself, I personally didn't know where it meant to go. I don't think it succeed to delivering its central message, which is about how people see you. I was disappointed because I didn't get a satisfying resolution neither there was a character development in my opinion.
All in all, despite how I feel about Monster, I'd like to try more of this author's work. Keep in mind that I’m in the minority when it comes to this book, so don’t let me stop you from trying it out.

Final Rating: 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Waiting in Wednesday (2)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted Jill at by Breaking the Spine.

Publisher: Walkern Childrens
Release Date: February 28, 2012

Meet Josephine Foster, or Zo Jo as she’s called in the biz. The best pint-sized photographer of them all, Jo doesn’t mind doing what it takes to get that perfect shot, until she’s sent on an undercover assignment to shoot Ned Hartnett—teen superstar and the only celebrity who’s ever been kind to her—at an exclusive rehabilitation retreat in Boston. The money will be enough to pay for Jo’s dream: real photography classes, and maybe even quitting her paparazzi gig for good. Everyone wants to know what Ned’s in for. But Jo certainly doesn’t know what she’s in for: falling in love with Ned was never supposed to be part of her assignment.

Shooting Stars just sounds really cute. I've never read celebrity-related contemporaries before!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books That Broke My Heart a Little

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish. This week is the Top Ten Books That Broke My Heart A Little.

It’s a little hard for me to name just ten books, I’ll try anyway.

1. The Giver by Lois Lowry: this book is one of my favorites for a reason. It did many things to me including breaking my heart.

2. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom: Mitch Albom knows how to make you cry. Just the thought it being a true story breaks my heart.  

3. My Best Friend's Girl by Dorothy Koomson: The relationships between the characters are wonderful. Once you get attached to them, you can't help but feel what they go through. And when you finish the book, it's hard to let go.

4. If I Stay by Gayle Forman: The last few pages always make me tear up. It has one of the most moving scenes I've ever read in a YA contemporary.

5. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins: The conclusion of this wonderful trilogy was as heartbreaking as it was beautiful.

6. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver: If you reached the ending, you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s beautiful and moving.

7. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo: Many passages in this book makes my heart beat. If you want to learn what it means to be strong no matter how small you are, this book is for you.

8. Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult: Even though I know how it would it, it still broke my heart.

9. That Summer by Sarah Dessen: This book effected me personally because of how relatable its protagonist was.

10. The Help by Kathryn Stockett: The suffering the main characters go through makes you cry.

Tell me about the books that broke your heart? 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

In My Mailbox (2)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren and inspired by Pop Culture Junkie.


Uglies (Uglies, #1) by Scott Westerfeld
Pretties (Uglies, #2) by Scott Westerfeld
Specials (Uglies, #3) by Scott Westerfeld
Extras (Uglies, #4) by Scott Westerfeld
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

What did you get this week?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday (1)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted Jill at by Breaking the Spine.

Slide (Slide #1)
by Jill Hathaway
Release Date: March 27,2012

Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth—her sister’s friend Sophie didn’t kill herself. She was murdered. 

Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn’t actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else’s mind and experiences the world through that person’s eyes. She’s slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed “friend” when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie’s slashed body. 

Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can’t bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting off lately, more distant, especially now that she’s been spending more time with Zane. 

Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Books For Non-Readers

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish for those who love doing lists.

If I would recommend something for non-readers, it would be something fun and simple. I'd choose something would appeal to both boys and girls.

1. Harry Potter: With a such fun writing style, and an addictive story line, these books would charm anyone that doesn't like reading that much. Youtube's JeremyJahns is a good example. He doesn't like reading, but he loves these books.

2. Percy Jackson: This series has the same appeal as Harry Potter. I think boys would find this especially charming.

3. The Fault in Our Stars: Or any John Green books really.

4. Ella Enchanted: This is more for girls. I think a retelling is good way to go for non-readers.

5. The Princess Bride: This story is so charming that you can't help but love it.

6. The Mediator: If you want an author with a writing style that's fun and down to earth, Meg Cabot would be a good choice. According to fans, The Mediator series is her best.

7. Uglies: A dystopian series that is as appealing as the Hunger Games. Many people would recommend THG anyway.

8. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: These make me laugh hard. My sister started reading thanks to these books.

9. Hugo: I love the book and the movie. An easy read, great story and outstanding illustrations.

10. The Graveyard Book: Jungle Book, but with ghosts. Who wouldn't be intrigued?

What do you recommend for non-readers? If you have a list of your own, let me know.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Book Review: Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell

Title: Winter's Bone
Author: Daniel Woodrell
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Pages: 224
Source: Gifted
Buy the Book: Amazon


Ree Dolly's father has skipped bail on charges that he ran a crystal meth lab, and the Dollys will lose their house if he doesn't show up for his next court date. With two young brothers depending on her, 16-year-old Ree knows she has to bring her father back, dead or alive. Living in the harsh poverty of the Ozarks, Ree learns quickly that asking questions of the rough Dolly clan can be a fatal mistake. But, as an unsettling revelation lurks, Ree discovers unforeseen depths in herself and in a family network that protects its own at any cost.


Winter's Bone was not a bad book by any means. It's just wasn't my cup of tea. I just didn't enjoy it that much.

The main character Ree was a tough heroine you can easily sympathize and root for. She is the main reason why I kept reading this book. This is one of those stories about a girl who was forced to give up pretty much her life to look after her family. This is a responsibility a girl her age isn’t supposed to take. But Ree does everything she can to look after them, completely neglecting herself and her own needs and desires. 

Although the main character is the shinning aspect of the story, the side character pretty much felt one-dimensional. It’s probably because I didn’t see enough of them that I couldn’t connect with any of them.

I think what turned me off in Winter’s Bone was the writing and the story. Although this book was short, I still feel it could have been shorter. I didn't know what direction this story was meant to go, and I wasn’t satisfied by the conclusion. The book was full of some descriptions that I felt were meant to drag. I rarely skip through a book, but I couldn’t help doing that several times reading this one. Although I didn’t enjoy the writing, I really did enjoy the dialogue. I didn’t feel lost skipping through the book because the dialogue was enough to keep me on track.

All in all, I'm glad I read Winter's Bone. I don't usually read those kinds of books, so it's nice to try something new once in a while. It's just wasn't for me.

Final Rating

Sunday, February 5, 2012

In My Mailbox (1)

In My Mailbox is a weekly post hosted by The Story Siren and inspired by Pop Culture Junkie.

This is my first in my mailbox. I'm so excited! I don't know If I'm gonna do this every Sunday or any other week of the day, but I'll let you know. For now, I'll stick with Sunday.

For Review:

I received this lovely book from NetGalley. A review will be up soon.

Michael Recycle and the Tree Top Cops by Alexandra Colombo


I admit. I got these books because they were cheap. Most of them I haven't even heard of, but I'm interested in reading them. I just don't know when.

Specimen Days by Michael Cunningham
In a Dark House (Kincaid/James #10) by Deborah Crombie
The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
Bad Boy by Peter Robinson
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet by David Mitchell

Unfortunately, no YA or Middle Grade this week. However, I ordered some books so there's a good chance I'm gonna have some of those in the next 2 or 3 weeks.

What did you get this week?

2012 February TBR Pile

Here are the books I'm planning to read in February:

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter
1984 by George Orwell
Lord of the Flies by William Golding

What are you planning to read this month?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Book Review: That Summer by Sarah Dessen

This is a simple story with a heart. As Sarah Dessen's debut novel, That Summer really impressed me. Nothing much happens really, but I was personally touched by this book. It's a simple story about how you see life from the point of you of a teenager. It's the time of your life when you feel that everyone and everything is against you.

As I was reading the book, I was angry at all the side characters, everyone just seemed horrible to Haven, the main character. Throughout the novel, I just wished she would just scream and do something bizarre. I forgot I was reading from the point of view of a teenager. Everyone seemed horrible because that was the way she saw them. At the end of the day, they weren’t that bad. They were just people. However it took me a long time to see that. Because we see everything from Haven’s perspective, the other characters seemed one-dimensional most of the time. We don’t get enough time to see them for how they really are. To me, that was the book’s weakest point.

Haven is a very relatable character. I understood what she was going through. Things just don’t seem the way they are when you look back at them as you get older. Sometimes, when you have nothing in life to look forward to, you look back at the good times of the past so you would have something to hold on to. That’s why Haven kept looking back at that one summer when everything was the way she wanted them to be.

I think this book requires a certain level of patience to read. You have to read all the way through to appreciate the story. Although, I could say the story could’ve been more. I enjoyed it for what it is. The simple execution of the premise shaped a heartfelt story.

All in all, I really enjoyed That Summer, and I can’t wait to read Sarah Dessen’s other books.

Final Rating

Friday, February 3, 2012

Best Books of 2011

I know I’m so late at this, guys! It’s February!

But, I figured I’d do this anyway since doing top ten lists (even though I find it extremely hard). I won’t lie, this list was very hard to put together. I pretty much liked most of the books I’ve read in 2011, but I managed to narrow it down to 7 books. Now the reason why it’s not top ten is because I’d basically list almost half of the books I’ve read in 2011. I don’t think you’re supposed to do that in top ten lists, at least in my opinion.

So enough talking, let’s start:

# 7

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

I read If I Stay in 2010 and I adored it. I adored it even more when I read it a second time. Where She Went, the sequel, was one of the books I anticipated the most in 2011 and it sure didn’t disappoint. It was as touching as gripping as its predecessor. And even though admittedly I prefer If I Stay, I still love this one. Make sure to check Where She Went along with If I Stay if you want if you’re looking for a heartwarming, emotional read.

# 6

Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult

I was worried when I picked up this book. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper which, according to fans, is one of her best if not the best. Therefore, I didn’t know what to expect from A Change of Heart. What was I thinking!?

Of all the books I read in 2011, A Change of Heart was definitely the most surprising. I was hooked from the very first page! This book dealt with many uncomfortable issues and handled them beautifully. I loved the characters and the story. Believe me, this book would’ve been higher on my list if wasn’t for its predictability.

# 5

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

One of the best debut novels I’ve read so far! Before I Fall is beautifully written and beautifully crafted. The story is very-well put together. Although the premise has been done before, this book never felt dull. It had its own take creating a fresh richer experience. The characters felt very real. What I love the most about this book is the writing. Lauren Oliver has a captivating writing style. I was genuinely touched by it. It’s not very often (at least for me) to read a book and say; “I wish I had a voice like that.” I’ll read anything this woman writes.

# 4

Looking for Alaska by John Green

What can I say about John Green that no one has already said? No seriously, I can’t find words. There seems to be nothing I can add.

Without blabbing too much, I really loved this Looking for Alaska. I have to admit, when I finished Looking for Alaska for the first time, I thought it was… ok. If you consider the hype that surrounds John Green, you would normally open his books with super high expectation (perhaps expectations no human can ever reach). Looking for Alaska has grown on me because I kept thinking about it, in fact, I still think about it! I realize that it took me awhile to swallow the awesomeness this book has to offer. John Green has a way with creating characters. All of them are unique and memorable. He talks about ideas you don’t find often in YA books. Just… read his books. That’s all I have to say.

# 3

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

Ahhh, fairy-tales. Who doesn’t love fairy-tales? We all grew up with them. I admit. My love for this book is partly based on nostalgia. I always loved the idea of a fairy-tale. However, the main reason why I love this book is not because it’s a fairy-tale. It’s because this is such a good story. This is not your typical fairy-tale. The prince charming here is a mouse! A mouse! This is a mouse that you’ll adore more than thousand princes in shining armors.

What can I say? To me, everything in this book works. The story, the characters and the emotions. For fairy-tale lovers everywhere, this is the book for you. Kate DiCamillo, you’ve become one of my favorite authors.

# 2

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

I started book one in 2010 but finished most of the series in 2011, so I’m counting it as a 2011 read. And Yes, I count a series as one.

The Hunger Games was my introduction to the dystopian genre, and wow did it blow me away! Thanks to the series, dystopia has become one of my favorite genres. I don’t know what to say about The Hunger Games that hasn’t already been said. These books are special. They really are. You find yourself empty when you finish it because then you ask yourself; “What book can possibly surpass it?” I’m sure I’ll be rereading this wonderful trilogy as the years go by, starting next March actually. If you consider reading it, make sure to have the whole set. That’s all I’m saying. The Hunger Games is a reading experience you won’t forget.

# 1

The Giver by Lois Lowry

I had a HARD time deciding which one between The Giver and The Hunger Games is going to land #1 spot. I finally decided to give in and give it to The Giver. I honestly think that both The Hunger Games and The Giver are equal in terms of quality. Both are excellent and fascinating. I just… liked The Giver a little bit better. If you asked me which novel touched me the most last year, I’d say The Giver. I liked the main character more as well. In my opinion, I found him much more interesting than Katniss. This book is a classic and I’m sure years and years from now, kids will still read it and find it as fascinating as we do now. It certainly earned its spot as my favorite read of 2011.

I hope you liked this list. If you want to do a full review of any of these books, please let me know.