Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I'd Like in My Fictional Family

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Imagine yourself being able to pick who's in your family. Now imagine that you get to pick fictional characters. What a plethora of choices. I love my family, but it is fun to imagine being related to my favorite characters.

The Hubermanns from The Book Thief
Role: Grandparents
How cute would these two be as grandparents? Sure, they're not that old, but Hans is so sweet with Liesel and underneath her tough exterior, Rose is too. I can picture visiting them and having him play the accordion while she cooks. 

Matthew from Anne of Green Gables
Role: Great uncle
MATTHEW! Sweetest old man ever. Of course, when you get Matthew, you get Marilla. Fine by me. 

Mr. and Mrs. Lancaster from The Fault in Our Stars
Role: Parents
One of the best examples of PRESENT parents. Not absent, dead, or dealing with problems of their own. They rock.

Finnick from Catching Fire
Role: Uncle
Let's just forget about how swoon-worthy Finnick is and focus on the fact that he'd make one awesome uncle (or even brother). Plus, I'd get sugar.

Celaena from Throne of Glass
Role: Cousin (source)
She's killer (literally), but is also in touch with her feminine side. We'd have fun hanging out, that's for sure. And Chaol would be a great inclusion to the family as well.

Role: Cousin
Oh, the adventures we'd have. But I want Gil.

Role: Brother
Totally stole this picture from my sister who fan-casted Matt Bomer as Roar (perfect). Another fictional guy I have a crush on, but he'd be an amazing brother. 

Role: Sister
I initially went with Elizabeth, but then thought 1. Mr. Darcy is mine and 2. Mr. Bingley would be a GREAT brother-in-law. Caroline Bingley can go die somewhere.

Jo from Little Women
Role: Sister
Or the whole March family except Amy. But mainly, I think Jo and I would have fun together if we don't clash. 

Liz from Gallagher Girls
Role: Sister (source)
LIZ IS SO CUTE. She'd make an adorable little sister. One that I might feel too over protective of or jealous of her smarts, but adorable nonetheless.

Kat's family/crew from Heist Society
Role: Extended family (source)
I just want all of Kat's family and crew to be in my extended family somewhere. Italian families seem fun. Crazy, but fun.

But no matter how awesome these fictional characters are, I do love my family. 

Who would you like in your fictional family?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Rewind & Review: April 7 - April 20

Hosted by Shae Has Left the Room
Pretty uneventful week regarding books considering that I didn't request any ARCs. I simply haven't had the time, so this recap will be relatively short.

Number of Books I've Read: 3

What I'm Reading Now/Next: 

Previous Blog Posts: 
  • Top Ten Tuesday: 
  • Review: The Hunt by Stacey Kade
  • A Look-Back
  • Top Ten Tuesday: 
  • Wishlist Wednesday #5
  • Review: Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt
*Subject to change

Bookish (and not-so-bookish) Happenings: 
  • I found out I got whitelisted for Harlequin Teen! 
  • I got a part-time job! It's not much, but hey, at least it's something. I'm basically their media guru. 
  • Bad side: I HAD TO CLEAN THE BATHROOM. Now, if you don't follow me on Twitter (which you should fix now), I'll fill you in on why this is a death sentence for me: 1. I hate gross things, 2. This is a male-dominated shop (I'm the only female employee too), 3. THERE WAS A URINAL. The whole bathroom resembled a gas station's restroom. Also, I've continually held my bladder for FOUR HOURS every time I work just so I don't have to go in there. It gives me panic attacks. 
  • But I survived. Barely. A cockroach waited for me afterwards. 
  • Another detail to show you how much this sucked was the conversation before. The guy who was showing me what to clean went to the toilet: "Oh." Me: "What?!" Him: "You don't wanna know." *cries* 
  • The bathroom was the most exciting thing in my week, sadly. Besides the awful ACTs. 
  • I made cookies? 

What's been happening with all of you? Any gross work stories? 

Happy Easter to those who celebrate!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Movie Mania: The Bookish Upcomers and Potentials

Raise your hand if you hate movies.

If you actually raised your hand.
Movies are magical, almost as much as books. For about two hours, I'm entranced by the wonderfully bright screen, as I snack on goodies, and get to be involved in one whole story. So when you combine books and movies TOGETHER, well, you just rocked my socks. that is still a saying. I talked about YA books turning into movies before, but this time I'm just letting you know that HEY, it's happening, in case you didn't notice. Also, I fully realize that I may be missing lots (especially in the optioned section).

Coming Out in 2014: 

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Release date: June 6

EXTREME FANGIRLING MOMENT. If you forgot, I reviewed it here. Also, here's the trailer so we can all sigh together. 

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Release date: August 22

The trailer didn't make me cry like it did others, but I did get goosebumps. 

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Release date: September 19

Er, never read, but here's the trailer

The Giver by Lois Lowry
Release date: August 15

Another one I haven't read, but it does look interesting. The book cover needs work though. Trailer here. 

Mockingjay Part 1 by Suzanne Collins
Release date: November 21

For whatever reason, I didn't realize it was coming out THIS YEAR. 

It's going to happen: 

Mockingjay Part 2 by Suzanne Collins

BRING ON THE TEARS. 

Insurgent and Allegiant by Veronica Roth

I really need to read these last two before they come out. 

Fantastic Beasts by J.K. Rowling

To all you Rowling readers. 

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

Okay, I haven't read this one, but I've heard funny things. 

Optioned: 

Paper Towns by John Green

Love me some TFiOS, but strangely, I haven't read this one yet. 

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

*dances* 

Heist Society by Ally Carter

There's been a false alarm before, but let's just take a moment and rejoice at the fact that it's been optioned by Lions-freaking-gate with Elizabeth Banks as the producer. HELLO, HEAVEN. 

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

I'm in love with her idea of unknown actors, as she stated in this article

Which movies are you excited for? 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Review: THE LAST BEST KISS by Claire LaZebnik

Title: The Last Best Kiss
Author: Claire LaZebnik
Publication date: April 22, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen

Anna Eliot is tired of worrying about what other people think. After all, that was how she lost the only guy she ever really liked, Finn Westbrook.

Now, three years after she broke his heart, the one who got away is back in her life.

All Anna wants is a chance to relive their last kiss again (and again and again). But Finn obviously hasn’t forgotten how she treated him, and he’s made it clear he has no interest in having anything to do with her.

Anna keeps trying to persuade herself that she doesn’t care about Finn either, but even though they’ve both changed since they first met, deep down she knows he’s the guy for her. Now if only she can get him to believe that, too....

With her signature wit and expertly authentic teen voice, Claire LaZebnik (the author of fan favorites Epic Fail and The Trouble with Flirting) once again breathes new life into a perennially popular love story. Fans of Polly Shulman, Maureen Johnson, and, of course, Jane Austen will love this irresistibly funny and romantic tale of first loves and second chances.


Review:

First line: On nights when I'm honest with myself, I can admit that Finn Westbrook was the best thing about my ninth grade year.

I always liked the original Persuasion storyline because there's so much chemistry involved. Girl and boy like each other, girl's family disapproves, girl stupidly listens to family so she breaks things off with boy. Then boy comes back, boy is all "look at me now," flirts with others, and girl is emotionally tormented. Finally, boy and girl share moments, and reunite. Some people might be annoyed at the sound of so much going back and forth, but for me, there's chemistry to make it all come together and sizzling tension. Oh, lovely chemistry. I thought LaZebnik made this her own in quite a few areas, which I appreciated, but there was still sweet chemistry between the two characters.


Anna and Finn became quick friends through her sister's carpooling when they were younger. Because Anna was apart of the popular group (and Finn was most definitely not), they hung out only outside of school. I felt like there was quite a lot of telling and not showing in this beginning part, but strangely, I didn't care. I loved getting to know cute, geeky Finn and insecure Anna. Anna's narration perfectly showed how conflicted she was. She knew that Finn deserved better than how she was treating him, but like most preteen girls, she cared about what her friends would think of her. As we all know, she ends up breaking his heart because of her friends. However, I could clearly see she wasn't all the way in denial. She might make an excuse here and there about keeping him in secret, but she wasn't in denial that it was wrong. That's how you make a character redeemable in my eyes.

Years later, Finn comes back very grown up. Grown up as in hello, hot stuff. Anna's friends (the same ones she broke Finn's heart for) are immediately taken in by him (to their credit, they didn't know Anna had a thing for him) and he joins their group. While he snubs Anna, you just know they still have a spark between them. You can't deny it, Finn, you just can't. Enter the tension. Really, unlike most YA novels, they don't have many "moments," but you can see that the past is still very present between them and that old feelings haven't died.


I liked Finn. I liked Anna. I did NOT like Lily or Lucy. Honestly, I was confused by all the many characters added in, but Lily and Lucy stole the show in this book, mainly in the annoyance department. Both of them had their faults; Lucy with her insane obsession over perfection and Lily with her strangle-worthy way of being "look at me!" While I connected with Anna throughout the book, when it came to her friends, we clearly were not alike. Too. Much. Lily was a hot mess, Lucy was close to being one, and I could have done without all of that.

LaZebnik drew parallels between Anna's sister Molly and Anna's current situation, also making the story her own. While Finn/Lily's subplot wasn't a favorite of mine, Molly's was. She added likability into Anna's twisted family and able to coincidentally show Anna right and wrong in the confusing mess. I do think Anna's father's sublot could've been ditched. That was one point where I felt as if LaZebnik added an element to the story just for the sake of staying close to Persuasion. Also, ew.

I reviewed Epic Fail back in the summer of 2013 and while I really enjoyed that Jane Austen retelling, I'm relieved to say that I think I might like this latest LaZebnik novel a little bit better.

Verdict: A fresh retelling on one of my favorite plots, solidifying my love for Claire LaZebnik.

Note: All quotes are taken from an ARC and may be changed at publication.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Comparison Game

Fun fact: My parents teach a Sunday school class. Get rid of your previous knowledge of a Sunday school class because it's most likely not true, at least when it comes to this one. My parents make it fun. Every child groans at the thought of publicly admitting that their parents make something fun because that gives the parents leverage. But it's true. They teach. They laugh. They joke. They even play 80s music in there sometimes.


Why am I saying this? Well, I thought it was only right to give them credit for today's discussion. Recently, they talked about comparing in class and how it affects our lives. The moral of the story: comparing = no good. That's true for all of life, but I think it's really present in the blogging community.

The common statements I hear from bloggers...
  • are about stats.
  • are about how we should ignore stats.
  • are about ARCs.
  • are about how much they should post. 
  • are about everything they have to do, blogging-wise.

What does every statement have in common? In some way or form, comparison is involved. Most likely, when that statement about stats or ARCs is mentioned, the blogger is comparing themselves to another blogger. "I only have 200 followers and she has 500, WHY?" or "How did she get that July title?" 

But we tend to think that comparing can only go one way. Here's what my parents said, specifically my father, that I think is very, very true: comparison can lead towards inferiority or superiority, which then leads to envy or arrogance.

Think about it. Let it settle. Good? Okay. 

I'm almost always on the inferior side of things. I'll admit it, I get jealous. Most of the time, I really am just joking with people when I say, "Ah, I'm so jealous!" because I'm happy for them. But we're in the honesty zone right now so I'll admit this other fact: sometimes, I panic when I see ARC pictures or see others' higher stats and wonder why I don't have that. Why not me? What am I doing wrong? What are they doing right? Everyone runs along the similar thought process one time or another. It's a horrible path to take and can feel very lonely. 

I've seen several posts of bloggers saying they panic when they can't crank out a post every day (which shows their own inferiority in some way), while I'm over here wondering how I can just write a few each week. Whatever. Their blogs are amazing. They're making me feel stupid/like a failure/worthless/etc.



First of all, that's wrong. They can't make me feel anything. That's another thing my dad has taught me, which is that no one can make me feel anything. I'm in control of my emotions. Oh, they can annoy me. But I can deal with how I react or feel. With that psychology/therapy session out of the way, here's the other thing that's wrong with that. I shouldn't even compare our weaknesses. I'm still thinking in the inferior mindset, but this can quickly go to a superior mindset, which is equally wrong.

Oh, hey, I have that ARC they wanted...I'm so glad I don't have their design...Reviewing problems? Ha! I have all of my reviews written and nothing backlogged...At least I don't have that problem...and on it goes. The superior mindset is just as bad as the inferior. Not more, not less. While inferiority can lead to envy and self-pity, superiority leads to arrogance and pride. It doesn't even matter if you can hide this feeling of superiority, sooner or later it will show, and it won't be pretty. It's a great feeling to pat yourself on the back sometimes because you worked hard. But you shouldn't think badly about another blogger because of it.

As I said, I'm usually on the inferiority side so I actually don't have much to say in the ways of superiority. I won't even try to pretend that I do. I think both sides of comparing should be careful though. "Big bloggers" have to be careful to not lift their heads above "smaller bloggers" because they have more followers, publicist contacts, ARCs, and less time. In the same way, "smaller bloggers" or even just bloggers in general shouldn't compare themselves to other bloggers. It's hard and I don't think this game will ever stop. We're humans. We want what we don't have, and we have our insecurities.


It happens. I won't judge if you won't. All I'm saying is to be aware of this Comparison Game. When you see a picture of the newest ARC, don't panic that you won't get it. Don't worry that you have less followers than the other blogger who has many. Don't be sensitive. When you see another blogger has less posts than you do, don't think that you have a better blog because you post daily. Don't be prideful. Neither trait is attractive.

Which side of comparison do you usually play?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Unique Books I've Read

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
What I love about Top Ten Tuesday is these lists are purely subjective. You can see what people say about a certain genre or certain experience. Some people hate contemporary, others breathe in Sarah Dessen. This week's topic is about the most unique books I've read, whether it's because of a character or how it twists something around. I'm sure a couple of these won't be unique to others, but that's the beauty of this feature. In no particular order:

Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anna Blankman
I've read plenty of retellings, but this was not only refreshing because of its historical spin, but THOSE ANTAGONISTS. They're even creepier because one of them (Hitler) was real. 

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Most girls talk about their love interest's eyes, body, or how lush his hair is. In this, she talks about her obsession with his chin, and his hair is far from perfect. Also, it includes fan fiction and realistic college experiences. 

Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern
A girl with a disability and a boy with OCD. Hello, love.

Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg 
My favorite part of the whole book: the transcripts of present-day Macallan and Levi at the end of each chapter. 

Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot 
There might be other books out there with a diary format, but for me, Princess Diaries is the only one I've read. It can be tiring, but really fun. 

Can we all give Rae Carson and her character Elisa a round of applause? From the start of the book, Elisa is described as fat and weak. But when she starts getting stronger and more exercise, there's no fat shaming and from what I gathered, she still wasn't considered "slim." But she loved her body and rocked it. 

If I Stay by Gayle Forman (ghost-ish)
A girl decides if she should stay with the living or go and be with her parents after death. All the while, she's basically a ghost. I consider that unique.

Shatter Me by Taherah Mafi
The writing style can be annoying has so many crossed-off words like this

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
DRAGONS!

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Many authors either want their characters to be rough, tough, and kicking some booty or somewhat girly and non-athletic. With my dear Celaena, she's a GIRLY assassin. She kills, but she loves her parties and dresses.

Bonus: Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson - SUPER close to finishing so I can't list it officially, but that twist halfway deserves recognition.

What are some books that were unique to you?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Rewind & Review: March 24 - April 6

Hosted by Shae Has Left the Room
Newsflash: life is hard. It really, really is. It resembles Florida weather in a way. One moment, all is fine. Florida can be super sunny and the perfect beach day besides the intolerable heat. Then suddenly, it starts raining. But here's the thing about Florida rain: a lot of the time it rains and still looks perfectly sunny. So unless you hear it, you can glance outside and not even realize it's raining. Then it does go to the cloudy, stormy weather. The next thing you know, you can have a thunderstorm on your hands that rivals a hurricane. Where did that beach weather go? What I'm saying is that life can go from fine to what you think is fine to oh this is bad to DUCK FOR COVER in a terrifying, where's-my-peanut-butter instant. 

"Where's the books?" Yeah, yeah, here you go.

Books I Received: 

Number of Books I've Read: 3

What I'm Reading Now/Next: 

Previous Blog Posts:

Upcoming Blog Posts:*

  • Top Ten Tuesday: Most Unique Books I've Read
  • The Comparison Game
  • Review: The Last Best Kiss by Claire LaZebnik
  • Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Things That I'd Like to Own
  • Waiting on Wednesday #5
  • Review: The Hunt by Stacey Kade
*Subject to change

Bookish (and not-so-bookish) Happenings: 
  • I got the Bloomsbury Kids' 2014 Fall Catalogue! Do you know what that means? Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas, ya'll.
  • I meant to do a review this past weekend...but couldn't find time. Tis life. 
  • But why didn't I do a review? BECAUSE SCHOOL IS EVIL. Save yourselves, kids. 
  • At least I'm doing a read-along with Lauren and Heather. Somewhat. 
  • One of my best friends is reading The Fault in Our Stars (and her sister after). Question: Does it make me a bad friend if I'm betting on if she'll cry? *shrugs* 

My life.
What's happened with ya'll these last two weeks? Do you have any major school projects coming up?