Thursday, January 31, 2013

Paper Towns.

Paper Towns
by: John Green

Paper Towns

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.

I thought this was a brilliant book about the reality of human beings both constantly being misimagined and constantly misimagining others.

Smart and Funny Hero: CHECK
Quentin Jacobsen is funny, quirky, and completely obsessed with Margo Roth Spiegelman. As John Green describes it, Margo is Quentin's "Manic Pixie Dream-girl". Especially after Margo disappears, Quentin cannot go for very long without thinking about Margo and what she's doing or thinking. He is also a great friend to Ben and Radar. They all had their different obsessions (Ben's was "honey-bunnies", Radar's was omnictionary, and Quentin's was, of course, Margo Roth Spiegelman). But they told each other to shut up when they each needed it. The whole point of the book is that Quentin realizes that Margo is not the person he has been imagining her as. He realizes that he doesn't know who she is when she's not being the Margo Roth Spiegelman that people believe her to be. The fact is that no one knows that Margo. She doesn't even who that Margo is.

Interesting and Unique Heroine: CHECK
Margo was both interesting and unique and yet wholly familiar. Anyone reading this book knows what it is like to be misimagined even by those who know you the best. We might not realize that is what we're feeling, but it is. We have to reconcile ourselves to the fact that no one can know the inner workings of our minds perfectly and we cannot know their minds. We have to find a way to accept this without thinking of ourselves as only what others observe. We cannot begin to think of ourselves as paper people. That is the journey that Margo Roth Spiegelman has to take in this book. She had to leave to discover who she was outside of how others see her and her crazy antics.

Extraordinary Supporting Characters: CHECK
Radar: He cracked me up. I wish there had been more of him, but I know that the story isn't about him. I thought his relationship with Angela was adorable (the tiny bit of it that we got to see).
Ben: Annoying. He was so annoying. But, I liked his friendship with Q. I know that Quentin needed a friend to make him less serious. Ben and Q are basically opposites. That's why they worked so well together.
The Roadtrip: Oh gosh, THE ROADTRIP. I was basically dying of laughter through all the roadtrip scenes. They were brilliantly written, because while the inner musings of Q about our ideas of people didn't stop, the humor got amped up to ten. I can definitely see John's humor in the dialogue he writes between Radar, Ben, and Quentin.

Unique Setting and Purposeful Theme: CHECK
I love the whole idea that this book was written about. That we can never truly understand or be other people. The idea that we all too often forget to see other people as just as real and human and fallible as we ourselves are. Other people make mistakes and have faults and live 24 hours each day, just like we do. John addresses this idea from all perspectives in all different ways, over and over again. This book also discusses the idea of leaving. How leaving can be terrifying until you do actually leave and then it's liberating.

Excellent Plot and Speed: 1/2 CHECK
The plot was fantastic. The mystery felt real to the reader as well as Quentin. You get led through a number of ideas of what might have happened to Margo. The great thing is all of the possibilities that are given lead Q closer to realizing that the person he thought Margo was might not be the true Margo Roth Spiegelman. With each step closer to Margo we learn more about who Quentin Jacobsen is. My problem with this book (and almost every other contemporary that I've ever read) is that I often have a problem with the pacing. I sometimes feel like they are not actually going anywhere. There are long stretches of the same things happening again and again and it often throws me off. However, this is more of a particular taste problem and not anything wrong with the book.

So this was a fantastic and beautiful book. It makes its point clearly and it holds to the truth of reality.

"What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person."

"The town was paper, but the memories were not."

"It is so hard to leave-until you leave. And then it is the easiest...thing in the world."

“If you don't imagine, nothing ever happens at all.”

When did we see each other face-to-face? Not until you saw into my cracks and I saw into yours. Before that, we were just looking at ideas of each other, like looking at your window shade but never seeing inside. But once the vessel cracks, the light can get in. The light can get out.”

“It is easy to forget how full the world is of people, full to bursting, and each of them imaginable and consistently misimagined.”

"...all the houses that were built to fall apart. All those paper people living in their paper houses, burning the future to stay warm."

"Maybe its like you said before, all of us being cracked open. Like each of us starts out as a watertight vessel. And then things happen - these people leave us, or don’t love us, or don’t get us, or we don’t get them, and we lose and fail and hurt one another. And the vessel starts to crack in places."

“And I wanted to tell her that the pleasure for me wasn't planning or doing or leaving; the pleasure was in seeing our strings cross and separate and then come back together.”

"You will go to the paper towns and you will never come back."

“Isn't it also that on some fundamental level we find it difficult to understand that other people are human beings in the same way that we are? We idealize them as gods or dismiss them as animals.”

“Margo always loved mysteries. And in everything that came afterward, I could never stop thinking that maybe she loved mysteries so much that she became one.”

"If you choose the strings, then you’re imagining a world in which you can become irreparably broken. If you choose the grass, you’re saying that we are all infinitely interconnected, that we can use these root systems not only to understand one another but to become one another. The metaphors have implications."

“Nothing really mattered that much, not the good things and not the bad ones. We were in the business of mutual amusement, and we were reasonably prosperous.”

“This was the first time in my life that so many things would never happen again.”

“Imagining isn't perfect. You can't get all the way inside someone else...But imagining being someone else, or the world being something else, is the only way in."

"I don't know how I look, but I know how I feel: Young. Goofy. Infinite.”

“I kept waiting for that loneliness and nervousness to make me want to go back. But it never did.”

“The fundamental mistake I had always made - and that she had, in fairness, always led me to make - was this: Margo was not a miracle. She was not an adventure. She was not a fine and precious thing. She was a girl.”

“A Margo for each of us--and each more mirror than window.”

"How can you seperate those things though? The people are the place is the people.”

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Last Olympian.

The Last Olympian
by: Rick Riordan
The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #5)

All year the half-bloods have been preparing for battle against the Titans, knowing the odds of a victory are grim. Kronos’s army is stronger than ever, and with every god and half-blood he recruits, the evil Titan’s power only grows. While the Olympians struggle to contain the rampaging monster Typhon, Kronos begins his advance on New York City, where Mount Olympus stands virtually unguarded. Now it’s up to Percy Jackson and an army of young demigods to stop the Lord of Time.

A fantastic and thrilling conclusion to one of my new favorite series. These books are full of humor and fantastic action. these are beautifully written books that everyone should read.

Amazing and Heroic Hero: CHECK
oh Percy, you went from being an awkward twelve-year old misfit to being an awkward, butt-kicking hero. How the times have changed. In this book Percy learns that being the person to save the world is not more important than the world being saved. He learns to yield when the time is right, to put the decision (and the knife...) into other people's hands when the time calls for it. He has been told for the past four years that he was the demi-god of the prophecy, and while he is a big part of the prophecy, he's not the only part of it. He directed the half-blood troups well and held Manhattan for as long as they could. I was so proud of him when he gave up the chance to be immortal so that he could stay with Annabeth and the other campers. He is officially one of my favorite male characters of all time.

Brave and Smart Heroine: CHECK
I still love Annabeth. She can be prideful and jealous (but, then again, if some girl was trying to take Percy away from me, I'd be pretty jealous too...). But she always had good intentions and she was always incredibly brave. In the end, she saved the world just as much as Percy did. Her insistence that Luke was in there somewhere and that he could be an ally for them, even then. I was also a little overly excited when she got hired as the architect of new Olympus. She definitely deserves it.

Extraordinary Supporting Characters: CHECK
Beckendorf: The book started out on a note of heartbreak. I loved Beckendorf. and this line, oh my goodness, this line just killed my heart.
                      "Beckendorf was supposed to go to college in the fall. He had a girlfriend,
                            lots of friends, his whole life ahead of him. He couldn't be gone."

Silena: I dislike her, but I like her. She was a traitor, but she was also a girlfriend and a friend. She seemed like a sweet person and a good person. She simply got a little confused and misled by Kronos' magic. She meant no harm and she died a hero. I was so glad that Percy made the decision not to make her betrayal public, because he knew she didn't deserve the disgrace. She was, after all, the one who led the Ares children into the battle with the Drakon.
Blackjack: Because of Blackjack I really want a pegasus that is as hilarious as him. He showed up when he was needed with a fabulously sassy comment. My mythological wishlist now includes both an Ophiotaurus and a Pegasus.
The Stoll Brothers: They are hilarious (granted sometimes they made jokes at highly inappropriate times, but it was all in good fun.) I guess, they provided comic relief when the battles got intense.
May Castellan: Yet again Riordan gives you a completely unlikable character (Luke) and make you realize why you should have cut them some more slack... His mom was literally crazy. Yet you felt bad for her too, she thought she could handle the responsiblity and literally no one knew about Hades' curse.
Kronos: We all know that he is a convincing and well-written villain. However, almost every single time someone called him the "Lord of Time", I, of course, thought of The Doctor. But, that's beside the point. It must be awful to face a villain that you cannot kill, but who can kill you all too easily.
Clarisse: She gained even more depth in this book for her friendship with Silena and her relationship with her boyfriend (who put up with her surprisingly well). I loved when she completely took down everyone and everything (with the blessing of Ares, of course).
Nico: I am so glad he sorted everything out in this book. He found the answers he was looking for about his mom and didn't let her or Bianca's sacrifice go in vain. He stood up to his father and showed Percy how to be invincible. He was the reason that they were finally able to hold off the army of Kronos, because he was the one who convinced Hades to fight.
Ethan Nakamura: Another character that you felt bad for. He was just trying earn his mother some praise, despite her status as a minor god. He didn't live to see the time when he finally succeeded, but the point is that he did succeed. He earned the children of minor gods their spots at Camp Half-Blood.
Grover: He did it. He not only spread the word about Pan, but he earned himself a spot on the Council of Cloven Elders as a Lord of the Wild. go Grover!
Hestia: Okay, so I am changing my vote for my favorite goddess. Hestia is officially my favorite goddess. She was thought to be completely unimportant, but she was the Last Olympian. She was so often overlooked, yet she wasn't resentful about it. She was content to sit by her hearth as long as there was peace around her.
Tyson: I just really love him. I honestly can't see him as a big cyclops general fighting in wars and such, but it sure made him happy. So I'm okay with it.
Thalia: I didn't realize how much I missed her in the last book until she showed up again with all her Hunters. She got even tougher during her time as a Hunter, which I didn't realize was possible. 
Hades: Not only did we learn about Nico and Bianca's mom in this book. We learned exactly why Hades hated that his brothers broke the pact not to have anymore half-blood children. He hated Percy and Thalia, because while he lost Maria and had to hide away Nico and Bianca because of the prophecy, Zeus and Poseidon had kids despite the prophecy. Even after Zeus tried to kill Hades kids to prevent the prophecy, he went off and had a kid of his own who just as easily could fulfill the prophecy.

Excellent Plot and Unique Setting: CHECK
Another perfectly paced book with an intricate and compelling plot. Some authors are terrible at writing battle scenes, However, Rick Riordan found a way to write 2/3 of a book as a continuous battle and yet keep it very interesting. He writes a battle just clearly enough so that the reader can know what's going on and just clever enough to keep it funny.

Page Turners and Plot Twists: CHECK
Yet again the prophecy is clearly fulfilled, but in a way that didn't even occur to you as reading it. You read these books assuming that Percy is going to end up the hero. Then you read this one and he's not the hero, but you're okay with that. I mean, obviously these books are all enthralling. The evidence of that is that I read them within the time frame of 4 days and I did not even feel bad about withdrawing from society during that time. I just wanted to keep reading. That is how you know you're reading truly great plot-driven books, you just can't put it down.


"Percy, be careful! Do not let monsters kill you dead."

"It's hard to enjoy practical jokes when your whole life feels like one."

"She looked like someone who enjoyed sticking her fingers in electrical sockets."

"Sometimes the hardest power to master is the power of yielding."

"You're the greatest heroes of this millenium," I told them. "It doesn't matter how many monsters come at you. Fight bravely, and we will win." I raised Riptide and shouted, "FOR OLYMPUS"

"But these were New York river gods. I figured their instinct would be to get in my face."

"If I know anything, I know that you must walk your own path, even though it tears my heart."

"Because Hope survives best at the hearth."

"It's just...I've got a lot of life left to live. I'd hate to peak in my sophomore year."

"I remembered what she'd told me in New York, about building something permanent, and I thought-just maybe-we were off to a good start."

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Battle of the Labyrinth.

The Battle of the Labyrinth
by: Rick Riordan
The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #4)

When demonic cheerleaders invade his high school, Percy Jackson hurries to Camp Half Blood, from whence he and his demigod friends set out on a quest through the Labyrinth, while the war between the Olympians and the evil Titan lord Kronos draws near.

Gosh, another fantastic book in the series. Meeting more gods and goddesses, setting things up for a giant war, and navigating an impossible maze. All those together are the ingredients for an incredible story. And I might add that this book has my favorite cover of the series so far, because it's just so detail-oriented. Like in the maze portion of the picture you can see the Golden Gate Bridge and the Empire State Building.
Brave and Smart Hero: CHECK
Percy just gets more and more awesome with each book. In this book he's helping all his friends, beating up a ton of monsters, and saving Camp Half-Blood . Anyone can do all of those things at once has got to be crazy awesome. His friendship with Annabeth gets a bit awkward and rocky in this one, but I have hope that they'll come through this series together.

Wise and Brave Heroine: CHECK
Despite her worrying that she wouldn't be smart of brave enough to get through leading her own quest, she does quite well. Even wiser than going it alone, she takes help when it's offered because she knows that this is something she can't do on her own. I loved when she faced the Sphinx and Hera and how as Percy said, "she wasn't going to accept an easy answer, even if it got her in serious trouble." I respected her for demanding a challenge for herself to test her mettle. I just really like her. She isn't perfect, she's often prideful and a bit snappy, but she is a good person and a great character.

Extraordinary Supporting Characters: CHECK
Nico: I think Nico is the equivalent to Draco Malfoy in this series. He doesn't want to be evil or traitorous or angry or confused, but that's the hand that he was dealt. Because of his father, he was not welcome on Olympus or Camp Half-Blood and was, therefore, forced to walk alone and face his own anger and confusion on his own. That led him to some seriously bad counsel, in the form of King Midas. However, in the end he made the best option out of those offered to him and honored his sister's memory.
Eurytion: I know he was a VERY minor character, but I liked him a lot. He was the hillbilly of the monster world. He just wanted to have some peace to care for his monsterous animals.
Hera: If I hate anything more than I hate just plain evil characters, it is hypocritical characters. (and of course, when I say hate, I mean I love reading them, I just hate them).They are just so holier-than-thou about everything and they know it. Yet they continue to claim their own innocence. I truly sorry for Hephaestus for having a mother like Hera. I mean, she just kind of threw him off a mountain because he was ugly. And yet she claims her love of her family is most important to her. I think that if any of the goddesses needs a good slap, it's her.
Hephaestus: I really didn't want to meet him after all of the times he was mentioned in the other books and how mean he seemed. But now I completely understand.
Daedalus: In some strange way, I liked him. Yes, he purposefully caused his nephew's death and was altogether a horrible person. But I think his time in the maze (at least the time that led him to becoming Quintus) changed him in a good way. He realized his mistake in cheating death and finally found his way to fighting on the right side.
Kronos: Oh gosh. He's fully formed, people! He's coming back to life in the next book and I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen.
Rachel Elizabeth Dare: I'm not sure how I feel or think about her yet. I definitely think she's a pretty good person and I know that it's awesome how she can see through The Mist. But, I also know that she's accidentally messing things up in Percy and Annabeth's friendship, which I don't like. I have a feeling that she'll be important in the next book too, but we'll see what happens.
Grover: I'm just really proud of him for finding Pan and being brave when telling the other satyrs what they needed to do in the future. And I kind of love that he has a girlfriend now.
Juniper: She seems like a really sweet...nymph. I approve of her for Grover.
Dionysus: After hearing his story about his wife in the last one and about his sons in this one, I'm starting to feel bad for him. I don't like his attitude toward half-bloods any more or anything, but I think I like him a little better. He has more depth than I gave him credit for. I've found that Rick is very good at introducing you to a character that you don't think you could possibly ever feel sorry for, and then he slowly shows you why the reality of their life made them how they are. And then soon you find yourself feeling so sorry for them. In other words, he is not just good at writing characters with depth, he is also good at giving them new depth with every page.

Original Setting and Unique Plot: CHECK
Basically I have the exact same thing to say as I did in my review of all the other books in this series. Rick Riordan is awesome at coming up with believable and epic plots that are always progressing. I also loved how he worked the Labyrinth mythology into the modern America. As with all the other mythological aspects of the stories, they fit into the plot and the culture so perfectly that you wouldn't be surprised were it true.

Plot Twists and Page-Turners: CHECK
So much action. The amount of incredible monster-fighting scenes just keeps increasing with each book. We meet so many new creatures that have to be fought. Also, you would think that the twists would be obvious when presented with a prophecy explaining exactly how the quest is going to go before they set out on it. But, the twists keep you guessing until the very end. You guess or assume that the prophecy is saying that one person is going to die, but it ends up being another.


"Nothing caps off the perfect morning like a long taxi ride with an angry girl."

"If you've never been charged by an enthusiastic Cyclops wearing a flowered apron and rubber cleaning gloves, I'm telling you, it'll wake you up quick."

"I'm talking about justice," the ghost said. "Vengeance."
"Those are not the same thing."

"She smiled for the first time in days, and that made it all worthwhile."

"Getting something and having the wits to use it...those are two different things."

"Annabeth glared at me like she was going to punch me. And then she did something that surprised me even more. She kissed me."

"You deal with mythological stuff for a few years, you learn that paradises are usually places where you get killed."

"A real artist must be good at many things."

"I nodded, looking at Rachel with respect "You hit the Lord of the Titans in the eye with a blue plastic hairbrush."

"But I give you this news: when the time comes, you will not be ruled by fear."

"Genius does not excuse evil, Percy."

"But remember, boy, that a kind act can sometimes be as powerful as a sword."

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Titan's Curse.

The Titan's Curse
by: Rick Riordan

The Titan's Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #3)

When the goddess Artemis goes missing, she is believed to have been kidnapped. And now it's up to Percy and his friends to find out what happened. Who is powerful enough to kidnap a goddess? They must find Artemis before the winter solstice, when her influence on the Olympian Council could swing an important vote on the war with the titans. Not only that, but first Percy will have to solve the mystery of a rare monster that Artemis was hunting when she disappeared—a monster rumored to be so powerful it could destroy Olympus forever

Another stellar addition to this series. I honestly enjoyed The Sea of Monsters more than this one, but this was still a fantastic book. Really, truly fantastic. I am again left questioning why I didn't read these sooner, although I appreciate them probably more now than I would have had I read them earlier.

Wonderful and Brave Hero: CHECK
I have said it in my reviews of the other two books, but I just really, really love Percy. He is truly a hero and a really brave, despite being only fourteen. He just gets cooler and cooler as he learns more about the mythology aspect of things.

Intelligent and Kick-Butt Heroine: CHECK
Thalia: I did not like Thalia at first, I thought she was conceited and mean. I found out that she was, in fact, both of those things. But she was also brave, loyal, and funny. I respected her choice to join the hunters and let the prophecy fall to Percy, as I think it was supposed to. Thalia wavered when confronted with the choice of overthrowing Olympus. That was her biggest problem. She was too close to Luke and too angry at her father. While Percy was sort of close to Luke and also sort of angry with his dad, the difference Percy would never choose to overthrow the gods. Also, I missed Annabeth. a lot.

Extraordinary Supporting Characters: CHECK
Grover: I still just love him. He's my favorite little satyr and a hilarious one at that.
Zoe Nightshade: I also disliked her, but I worked up to appreciating her in the end. She was brave and strong and she has been through a lot (with Hercules and her dad and her sisters and whatnot). And I love how loyal she was to Artemis, even to the end.
Artemis and Aphrodite: I was super excited to finally meet some goddesses. Up until this book we'd really only heard about various gods, which is fun, don't get me wrong, but only part of the story. Anyway, they both obviously stand on the exact opposite sides of the spectrum (Artemis with her hatred of all men and Aphrodite with her overestimation of how important romantic love is). I tended to side more with Artemis, because she was all in favor of women fighting their own battles. However, I will admit that guys might serve some purpose, sometimes...I guess (only joking, obviously they're important). Artemis took it too far, but at least she didn't depend on tragedy to get by, like Aphrodite.
Apollos: I loved meeting Apollos. oh wait, "I feel a haiku coming on..."
                                                                    Apollos is cool
                                                           and he's really quite helpful
                                                                hope we meet again

The General (Atlas) and Dr. Thorn: creeps. Dr. Thorn is a wannabe and Atlas is awful at escaping and fighting... and succeeding. Although, going in to this book I thought "The Titan's Curse" meant Kronos, so that was a fun plot twist.
Bianca: Not my favorite character, but she redeemed herself by saving the others. I felt so bad for Nico when she decided to join the hunters. I know it would be hard to have to parent your little brother for your entire life, but her choice was very selfish. She thought only of her own freedom and not of the danger and risk for Nico.
Nico: I felt so very bad for him. He was such an innocent little kid without parents who found out that he was a demigod at the same time and almost immediately his sister runs off for immortality and doesn't quite make it back. So he does what any ten year old would do, he projects his anger on the person that he believed was to blame for everything that had happened.
Bessie (Ophiotaurus): Oh, I love Bessie! He was so adorable. I had no idea he was going to be so important either. Considering he had the power to take down Olympus and whatnot. I can't wait to see more of Bessie in the future. (Can someone buy me a cow-serpent...please?).

Original Setting and Unique Plot: CHECK
I applaud Rick Riordan for coming up with new quests and adventures to send his characters on with every book. Every quest is completely different and yet they're all working toward the end conflict of the series. That is one of the amazing things about these books, Rick doesn't just come up with different plots for each book. He weaves all of the plots together into one complete and epic story. He places each of the characters in the exact right spot to continue the trek to completing the series and yet keeps the story arc of each book completely interesting on its own. And he finds a way to resolve different things in each book, even while leaving plenty of things unresolved for the next book

Plot Twists and Page Turners: CHECK
Yes, most definitely. That is another one of the great things about these books, the action never stops for a second. You think, "oh, look! Percy and the rest are finally going to get to rest for a few seconds..." and then BANG. more monsters. But, even more amazing than that is the fact that the never-ending action never, ever gets boring.


"It was bad enough I had to depend on my mom to drive me to my battles."

"...before they go astray...Grow up. Become smitten with boys. Become silly, preoccupied, insecure. Forget themselves."

"Then he raised his hands in a stop everything gesture. "I feel a haiku coming on...

                                                    Green grass breaks through snow.
                                                       Artemis pleads for my help.
                                                                    I am so cool."

"Glad you're back. I hate it when pretty girls turn into trees."

"I thought the sun was a big fiery ball of gas!"
"Apollo chuckled and ruffled Nico's hair. "That rumor probably got started because Artemis used to call me a big fiery ball of gas."

"Sometimes mortals can be more horrible than monsters."

"You might as well as an artist to explain his art, or ask a poet to explain his poem. It defeats the purpose. The meaning is only clear through the search."

"The current that takes one by surprise. And before you know it, you have been swept out to sea."

"She really was beautiful. And not just because of she had a pretty face or anything. She believed in love so much, it was impossible not to feel giddy when she talked about it."

"Exquisitely painful, isn't it? Not being sure who you love and who loves you? Oh, you kids! It's so cute I'm going to cry."

"I looked at Thalia and Zoe, and I decided it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world to die fighting with friends like this."

"A brave man," Artemis said with grudging approval."

"Let the world honor you, my Huntress...Live forever in the stars."

"Even the bravest can fall."

"You do not know when it is time to cut your losses. To save a friend, you would sacrifice the world."

"The most dangerous flaws are those which are good in moderation...Evil is easy to fight. Lack of wisdom...that is very hard indeed."

Friday, January 25, 2013

Top 12 of 2012

Top Books of 2012
This is also late, but here is the list of all the books that I read and loved in 2012. Keep in mind this is just a list in random order. I'm not good at picking my favorites of things, and never have been. It just feels mean to all the equally awesome books that I read. So these were all incredibly written books by extremely talented authors and I am so glad that I had the chance to read them.

1. Insurgent
    by: Veronica Roth
2. The Fault in our Stars
    by: John Green
3. Unwholly
    by: Neal Shusterman
4. Legend
    by: Marie Lu
5. Pandemonium
    by: Lauren Oliver
6. Anna and the French Kiss
    by: Stephanie Perkins
7. The Death Cure
    by: James Dashner
8. Wild Orchid
    by: Cameron Dokey
9. Prized
    by: Caragh O'Brien
10. Birthmarked
    by: Caragh O'Brien
11. Throne of Glass
    by: Sarah J. Maas
12. Crewel
    by: Gennifer Albin

A Great Year for Bookworms

So, I know this is about 26 days late, BUT here is the list of book-related things that I am stoked about coming in 2013.

-Prodigy by: Marie Lu----January 29th
I've had this book pre-ordered since the beginning of January and it officially comes out in 3 days. I have already heard so many fantastic things about this book from all of the ARC readers. I absolutely loved the first book Legend and I cannot wait to read more about Day and June.
Update: 5 stars. Reviewed.

-Requiem by: Lauren Oliver----March 5th
I am so very excited about the release of this book. I loved Delirium. I loved Pandemonium even more than Delirium (not a regular occurence in the history of second books in trilogies). So I'm sure the Requiem will find a way to top both of them and bring the story to an exciting and satisfying end. Also, there is the whole Alex or Julian thing to deal with (and for the record, it should definitely be Julian) and I kind of really need to figure out how that all plays out. Because yet again... THE CLIFFHANGER. (Sometimes I think that authors are these creatures that feed off of the fear and anxiety that cliffhangers produce in their readers...but then I realize I'm just being paranoid... or am I?). Also this release includes the release of Delirium Stories, a collection of all three short stories from other character's perspectives that she released in between each book.
Update: 5 stars. Reviewed.

-The Host Movie----March 29th
Although, I'm not sure I like the way they are going with the trailer (focusing WAY too much on the romance aspect of it...) I'm still looking forward to it. I'm also worried that people are going to assume that it's exactly like Twilight, because it's written by Stephanie Meyer. I thought it was much deeper and that it asked a lot of meaningful questions about life, humanity, and what it means to love (not just romantic love, but familial love, and friendship). Judging by how horrible the Twilight movies were (even if they were based off of equally horrible books) I don't know if they'll do it justice. I'm holding out hope, but only barely. I might start reviewing movies that have been adapted from books, beginning when this movie comes out. We'll see.
Update: 3.5/5 stars. Reviewed.

-Divergent Filming----April
Yes. The movie is actually happening. They even have a Tris already. Shailene Woodley is cast to play Beatrice Prior. I don't know much about her, but I'm hoping she can pull it off. (She is admittedly not how I pictured Tris at all, but the acting is much more important. If she can do that well then I have no objection.) This, of course, means that we will be hearing about all the other casting decisions very soon. And I just need to know who they cast as some of my favorites... (*cough*FOUR*cough*).
Update: Veronica Roth said on her blog that filming has officially started in Chicago! And we have most of the casting including Four (Theo James), Tris (Shailene Woodley), etc.
Updated Update: They wrapped up filming as of the 16th.

-The Elite by: Kiera Cass----April 23th
I loved The Selection. It was a light fun read with the promise of a deeper story as the series progresses. I love Prince Maxim and while I'm not quite sure about America yet, I think she has potential (as soon as she ditches Aspen). I really want to know more about the rebels and the story of how the country got the way it did.
Update: 3.5/5 stars. Reviewed.

-The Son of Sobek---May 7th
I am patiently waiting to buy my own copy of The Serpent's Shadow until it comes out in paperback JUST so I can read Rick Riordan's short story cross-over between The Kane Chronicles and the Percy Jackson crew. I am beyond excited for this!
Update: 5/5 stars. Reviewed.

-Siege and Storm by: Leigh Bardugo----June 4th
This might be one of my most anticipated books of this year. Shadow and Bone is one of the best fantasy books that I have ever read. The world was so well developed, as were the characters. And judging by the cover that just got released for this book, this book is going to be even better than Shadow and Bone. The saddest thing is that this book happens to come out right before my competition season, so I most likely will not get to read it until mid-July.
Update: 5/5 stars. Reviewed.
-Crown of Midnight by: Sarah J. Maas---August 27th
REALLY excited for this one! I loved Throne of Glass and thought that it was a great beginning to what I'm sure will be a fantastic and interesting addition to the Young Adult Fantasy genre. I'm just really pumped for more Chaol...I kind of love him.
Update: 5/5 stars. Reviewed.

-Deception by: C.J. Redwine---August 27th
I just realized that this comes out on the same day as Crown of Midnight. WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?!? anyway, I'm really excited for this book ( I'm pretty sure I've said that about every book on this list, but it's still true). Defiance was a great read and I am looking forward to more time inside Logan and Rachel's minds.
Deception (Defiance, #2)
-The Bitter Kingdom by: Rae Carson---August 27th
I absolutely loved The Girl of Fire and Thorns and The Crown of Embers!  The world-building was great, Elisa is one of the best female leads I've read and I can't WAIT to see where this story goes. Also the cover is gorgeous!
Update: 5/5 stars. Reviewed.

-The Transfer by: Veronica Roth---September 3rd
This is the first of four short stories about Four from the Divergent series. They are being all being released between September 3rd and February 11th. Then on February 11th they are going to be sold all together in printed book form. This is especially important because Veronica announced at Comic Con that the third book, Allegiant, is going to be told from both Tris' and Four's POV (point of view). The other three are The Initiate, The Son, and The Traitor.
Update: 4/5 stars.

-The Lord of Opium by: Nancy Farmer---September 3rd
I just finished reading The House of the Scorpion (the first book of this series) and loved it! I'm excited to see Matt, Fidelito, and Chacho again and find out what Matt does with the land of Opium. I'm glad I didn't hear about (or read) this book in 2006 when it came out, because that's a good long wait!
The Lord of Opium

-Isla and the Happily Ever After by: Stephanie Perkins----September 17th
I loved Anna and the French Kiss. If you haven't read the book, I know what you're probably thinking, "that book sounds like horribly written chick-lit. But, you have to trust me on this, that book is amazing, fantastic, and completely wonderful. I've even reviewed on this blog, so go read my review of it if there is any doubt in your mind. I have also read Lola and the Boy Next Door (also reviewed) and didn't love it as much, but it was still beautifully written. So that leads me to believe that the final companion book to the series will be just as wonderful. It doesn't have a cover yet and there is no decided release date, but it is supposed to be sometime in 2013 (probably later in the year) and I am excited.
Update: This isn't actually going to be released until 2014. Stephanie Perkins struggles with depression and has been coming out of a tough year, so she needs another year to really perfect the book. I am so excited for this book and if another year gives her time to truly enjoy the writing process then I'm all for it.

-House of Hades by: Rick Riordan----October 8th
Again, I know that I'm pretty far behind on this series (or, I guess, technically the series before this series...), but if the two I've read are any indication, I just know that I'll love it. Update: I have now read all of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series AND the Heroes of Olympus series books that are out and I am DYING for House of Hades. That cliff-hanger was a absolute killer. I tear up just thinking about it!
Update: 5/5 stars. Read and Reviewed.

-The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two by: Catherynne M. Valente---October 8th
I absolutely love these books. The first two are full of whimsy and adventure mixed in with a whole lot of gorgeous writing. Confession time: I will definitely be reading House of Hades before this as they come out on the same day and the cliffhanger for Mark of Athena kills. BUT, as soon as I finish House of Hades I WILL be devouring this book.

Update: 5/5 stars.

The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two (Fairyland, #3)

-Unsouled by: Neal Shusterman----October 15th
I am absolutely and completely excited about this one. Unwind and Unwholly were all fantastic and bone-chilling books and I cannot wait to see where Neal takes the third one. I know for a fact that there is surely going to be more action, more awesome fight scenes, and more Lev, Connor, and Risa. Most likely he'll throw in some strange surprises and even more excellent world-building, simply because that's just what he does.
Update: 5/5 stars. Reviewed.
UnSouled (Unwind, #3)

-Allegiant ("Detergent")----October 22nd
I have waited so long for this book's arrival and there is still so much waiting to be done. It's been about a year since I read Divergent and half a year since I read Insurgent. AND THE CLIFFHANGER. I have full trust in Veronica Roth as an author and I know that this book will be a fantastic end to the trilogy. AND WE HAVE A COVER.
Update: They announced that it is going to be both from Tris' and Four's perspectives!  WHATWHAT? THIS IS SO EXCITING.
Update: CRYING. 5/5 stars. Reviewed.

Allegiant (Divergent, #3)

-Altered by: Gennifer Albin---October 29th
I don't think anyone was sure that there was going to be another book in this series, but boy, am I glad that there is going to be. Especially after that cliff-hanger. I just need to know what the strange alien-light-things were. I NEED to. Annnnd this is another book on this list coming out in October. that makes four. So that's going to be fun.
Update: I was so excited to see this cover (stupidly thinking that the publisher would be smart enough to keep the gorgeous cover style they used for Crewel, but as we know they often change the covers we love best). This one is just horrible and so trope-y(that's officially a word now). But I'm still really excited to read this book.
Altered (Crewel World, #2)

-Champion by: Marie Lu---November 5th
Can I just say that Marie Lu is a beast? She writes books SO quickly (and by writes I mean writes, edits, and publishes)! Prodigy just came out this January and now just a ten short months later Champion is coming out. That's incredible! That aside, I am so pumped for this book and a little bit more than scared. That ending was...well, it was rough. But, I can see this series going even more places in the next book.
Update: CRYING. 5/5 stars. Reviewed.

Champion (Legend, #3)

-Cold Spell by: Jackson Pearce---November 5th
This is the fourth companion novel in Jackson Pearce's Fairytale Retelling series. I've read Sisters Red and really enjoyed it and I've read Sweetly and LOVED it. I'm about to read Fathomless and I'm really excited about it. So, this book is very anticipated. Also, after reading Winter's Child earlier this year I am now a fan of The Snow Queen fairy tale (which is what this is a retelling of) so that's even more exciting!
Update: 5/5 stars. Reviewed.

Cold Spell (Fairytale Retellings, #4)
-Catching Fire Movie----November 20th
Last March me and my geeky friends had way too much fun showing up at our local midnight showing in full costume (I was Effie, and went around telling people that it was going to be a "Big, big, big day!" in my best capitol accent. It was a blast.). We are hopefully doing the same thing for Catching Fire and I know that it'll be just as amazing (how could it not be with Sam Claflin and Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson).
Update: ONE BILLION STARS. Reviewed.
Rebel Spring--- December 3rd 2013
I am just really looking forward to continuing this awesome YA fantasy series. The cover looks epic, just like I hope the book will be. I don't actually know if it comes out in December because Goodreads doesn't have the date yet, but I've heard that that's probably when it is coming out, so I put it down anyway. Update: I found the date of release on Amazon and it is, in fact, in December. I am definitely excited for this!
Rebel Spring (Falling Kingdoms #2)
The Initiate---December 17th 2013
The second of four novellas about Four from Divergent.

and I'm sure that their are more books being released as stand-alone books or starting new excellent series that I haven't even heard of yet. All in all 2013 is looking like a great year for bookworms.

**the things in bold are the ones that I've already read or watched or experienced**

The Sea of Monsters.

The Sea of Monsters
by: Rick Riordan

The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #2)

Percy sets out to retrieve the Golden Fleece before his summer camp is destroyed, surpassing the first book's drama and setting the stage for more thrills to come

I enjoyed this even more than the first one! Oh gosh... so much mythical-ness (totally a word, right? ;) ) and so much action. And a whole lot of laugh out loud moments! (Grover's wedding, guinea pigs, and party ponies, to name a few...)
Brave and Smart Hero: CHECK
Percy is just amazing. He's only 13 and yet he's totally kick-butt, wielding Riptide like a boss. And he so sweet to Tyson and Annabeth and even Clarisse (kind of). I just can't handle how amazing and heroic he is (not even "for a thirteen year old", but for anybody). Well, I'm done gushing... for now. I just know that Percy is earning his well-deserved spot on my list of favorite characters.

Brave and Intelligent Heroine: CHECK
As I said in my review of The Lightning Thief, Annabeth is super kick-butt. She's incredibly smart and courageous. And I loved how she chose to listen to the sirens to gain wisdom, even though she knew it would be dangerous. It showed just how truly she is a daughter of Athena.

Extraordinary Supporting Characters: CHECK
Tyson: You can't not fall in love with tyson. He's a loveable lug of a guy and absolutely hilarious. like,

""Powdered donuts," Tyson said earnestly. "I will look for powdered donuts in the wilderness." He headed outside and started calling, "Here, donuts!"

When I read that, I completely laughed out loud. But, he wasn't just funny. He saved everyone's butts around a thousand times. and never even asked for a thank you. So of course, it made me really happy when Percy proudly announced that Tyson was his little brother and Annabeth said that he was the one who deserved the glory.

Clarisse: I disliked her just as much in this book, because she wasn't just rude. Most of the time she was downright stupid (like screaming out at Polyphemos and single-handedly getting the ship sunk.) But, I did feel quite sorry for her, because how awful would it be to have Ares as a dad. And I even admired her for continuing so bravely on the quest even when she thought the oracle had promised her failure.
Grover: wedding dress. falsetto voice. veil. (that's all I have to say. let your imagination run wild.)
Hermes: Finally we meet a god (other than Poseidon) that I actually like and strangely it happened to be Luke's dad. He was really down to earth and he seemed nice, if only a bit manipulative. and his snakes were points for that.
Polyphemos: I loved everything with him, because he's in an old myth that I have actually read (I read the Odyssey freshman year). I appreciated how well Rick Riordan worked the original story into this one (such as with "Nobody" and everything with that.)
Chiron: His family = so flipping hilarious. I just loved their name (I mean, come on. The Party Ponies. So great.) And I had a lot of fun imagining Luke getting punched in the face with a punching glove arrow.
Luke: Rick Riordan knows how to write a convincing villain, because I completely hate him. HATE HIM. And I am disgusting with how he could so easily betray Thalia.. you know, the girl who gave her LIFE for him. I know he thought she would side with him, but that is simply justification on his part.
Kronos: He's barely ever talked and yet he terrifies me. I want to send that sarcophagus right back into Tartarus.
Tantalus: He's basically a total creep. But, when Percy said this I'll admit I fistpumped.

"...I told Tantalus to go chase a doughnut, which didn't help his mood."

The humor in these books is always exactly on point.

Unique Setting and Original Plot: CHECK
Rick Riordan is a complete genius. He finds a way to perfectly weave the myths and all of their nuances into his story and yet modernize them. (For example, Hermes' phone, Circe's nickname and guinea pigs, and Polyphemos and "Nobody") He is just an incredibly smart and thoughtful writer.

Excellent Plot: CHECK
Action and pacing are both crucial in a book like this. Luckily, Rick happens to be an expert of both. Seriously, he found the perfect way to tell his story and he told it that way. I can't get enough of being inside Percy's head and hearing all his hilarious thoughts.

and can we talk about the ending for a second? WHAT? I am now sort of glad that I waited this long to read them, because I can (and will) just go to the library tomorrow to pick up the third and fourth ones. I feel so bad for all those poor souls who read them while they were coming out and had to wait for it. If you are one of those people and you are reading this now, I can only tell you that I am so, SO sorry for all the pain inflicted by this cliffhanger. I only have to wait until tomorrow and it's still horrible.


"Laistry-I can't even say that. What would you call them in English?" She thought about it for a moment. "Canadians," she decided."

"He was too innocent to understand how much they were making fun of him, how cruel people were."

"...if there's one thing I've learned over the eons, it's that you can't give up on your family, no matter how tempting they make it..."

"I knew what direction we needed to go. I knew we were exactly one hundred thirteen nautical miles west by northwest of our destination. But that didn't make me feel any less lost."

"Well, surely you're not happy the way you are! My goodness, there's not a single person who is."

"How could music cause so many lives to veer off course? I mean, sure, there were some Top Forty songs that made me want to take a fiery nosedive, but still..."

"Don't you ever feel like, what if the world really is messed up? What if we could do it all over again from scratch? No more war. Nobody homeless. No more summer reading homework."

"Heroes embody that struggle. You fight the battles humanity must win, every generation, in order to stay human."

"Families are messy. Immortal families are eternally messy. Sometimes the best we can do is to remind each other that we're related, for better or worse...and try to keep the maiming and killing to a minimum."

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Winter's Child.

Winter's Child
by: Cameron Dokey
Winter's Child: A Retelling of "The Snow Queen"

Free-spirited Grace and serious Kai are the best of friends. They grew up together listening to magical tales spun by Kai's grandmother and sharing in each other's secrets. But when they turn sixteen and Kai declares his love for Grace, everything changes. Grace yearns for freedom and slowly begins to push Kai - and their friendship - away.

Twas really good. One of my favorites in the Once Upon a Time series that I've read so far.

Smart and Interesting Heroines: CHECK
Grace: I'll admit, I didn't really like her until the end, but she added to the story in some interesting ways. It became her journey to recognizing and overcoming her fear and other flaws and to realize all the things that she had to be grateful for. I was also especially fascinated at reading about her from Kai's perspective.
Deirdre (Hope): I really enjoyed her journey from sorrow to hope. She was independent and strong, but also sort of shy when it came to being around other people. I thought she was rather perfect for Kai, because he liked to ask questions and learn about how things work. And she wasn't annoyed at being asked a lot of questions and genuinely cared when he explained what he learned about things work to her.

Brave and Strong Hero: CHECK
I really liked Kai.I thought his perspective was interesting to read, because I know some people who seem to be very similar to him. He was intelligent and curious. But if I had to describe him in one word, it would be steady. It was often commented on that his voice never wavered. That it was steady and quiet and genuine.

Extraordinary Supporting Characters: NOPE
You never really meet anyone other than Hope, Grace, and Kai. You meet Johannes and Oma and Petra, but I didn't feel like I knew anything about them. They were continued mysteries in the story.

Unique Setting and Original Plot: CHECK
It might have seemed newer to me because I'd never even heard of the fairytale it was based off of (The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson). I really liked how the story moved along and the land where it was set. The cold and the wind were amazing devices with which Cameron Dokey made you feel different and interesting things.

Excellent Plot: CHECK
I really loved the pacing of the plot. It was fast enough to keep it interesting, but slow enough to aw you to reflect on what happened.

All in all this was a great story.


"Then there are the tales that shout; stories that can shake the rooftops with their wonder..."

"Pick any time of the day or night and somewhere, everywhere, stories are being told. They overlap and flow across one another, then pull away again just as waves do upon a shore. It is this knack that stories have of rubbing up against one another that makes the world an interesting place, a place of greater possibility that it would be if we told our tales alone."

"Love cannot thrive simply by being offered."

""Unharmed." It's a nice word, isn't it? A comforting word, though not quite all-encompassing. "Unharmed" is not the same as "unchanged" after all."

"How I wish your mirror could show you the coldness of your heart. I wish that it could show what lies beneath your beauty. I wish it could expose your flaws."

"Except that love is rarely simple, even when you think it is. Or maybe I should say that love is rarely simple in the way you think it is."

"But it is the fact that a plant can do these two things at once, anchoring itself to the earth even as it reaches for the sky, that makes it strong."

"I was giving serious consideration to the physics that allowed me to walk, even though I'd just managed to put both feet in my mouth."

"I'm good at mending broken things, though I never expected to mend a broken heart."

"These were the days when the journey ceased to be a burden, when I celebrated to fact that each and every step brought me closer to the horizon."

"You have such good eyes, Kai...Don't waste what they can see."

"For even as the winter carries within it the seeds of spring, her heart had nourished, as all hearts must, the strong yet fragile seeds of hope."