Book Recommendations?

Hello, everyone!  I am in the process of compiling a list of various book recommendations according to genres.  However, I have one section dedicated to my follower’s recommendations, so I need your help.  If you have any recommendations, whether it is an adult thriller, new adult romance, or young adult dystopian, all are accepted!  Of course, you will get credit (I’ll link your blog within the rec, as you deserve it!)  Please send as many as you desire!  I greatly appreciate all of your help!

Happy reading!

Katie 🙂

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Worst Read Wednesday: A Confederacy of Dunces

Well, I apologize for not posting this yesterday; my internet was not working!  Anyway, welcome to Worst Read Wednesday in which I talk about a book that I really did not like or did not fall for its insane hype.  Worst Read Wednesdays are a part of my Daily Post; to learn more about it, click here.

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A Confederacy of Dunces is an American comic masterpiece. John Kennedy Toole’s hero is one Ignatius J. Reilly, “huge, obese, fractious, fastidious, a latter-day Gargantua, a Don Quixote of the French Quarter. His story bursts with wholly original characters, denizens of New Orleans’ lower depths, incredibly true-to-life dialogue, and the zaniest series of high and low comic adventures” (Henry Kisor, Chicago Sun-Times)-Goodreads summary

Last semester, I took a class, American Literature since 1945, and this was one of the books that we had to read.  While I was slightly perturbed by the cover and summary, my professor assured me that this book was exceptional and quite comedic.  However, I found this book to be a complete bore.

Primarily, I found the main character, Ignatius J. Reilly, to be one of the worst in literary history.  First, he is an oversized brat.  He was 30 years-old but still lived and fully depended on his mother’s care; Ignatius could do nothing for himself, which led him to nag and whine about how despicable every other character was in the novel.  Second, he did not develop, even in the slightest, as a character in the novel.  The book began with Ignatius as a brat and ended with him as a brat.  He had no motivation to change or become a better person.  Rather, his obsessions with being superior over others drove the other characters and me absolutely insane.

Additionally, I found that the novel had no purpose.  I could not (and still cannot) appoint any specific rising actions, climax, or resolution in the book.  In general this book was kind of like picking up some insignificant person’s diary and reading 300+ pages of their monotonous life.

I know many people hail A Confederacy of Dunces as a classic and is favored by many, but it just was not for me.

*What are some of your least favorite books?*

Happy reading!

Katie

Currently Reading: Sweet and am 41% into it.

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Book Review: The Book Thief

It’s Tuesday, so that means it is time for another book review!  Tuesday Book Reviews are a part of my Daily Post, to learn more about it, click here.

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A New York Times bestseller for seven years running that’s coming to movie theaters on November 15, 2013, this Printz Honor book by the author of I Am the Messenger is an unforgettable tale about the ability of books to feed the soul.Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.-Goodreads summary

Favorite Quote from the Book (New Segment!):

I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn’t already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race-that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.

MY THOUGHTS:

Judge the Book by its Cover:


For a long time I did not understand the significance of this cover. How is a stack of dominoes relevant to the story? After certain scenes from the book and much thought, I came to the conclusion that the game of dominoes serves as imagery for the overall plot. Think of the game: there’s a succession of domino cubes; with a slight nudge on one, the whole line begins to fall one after another. In my days of physics, my teacher would state Newton’s principle that “Every action has a subsequent action.” Boom. That’s The Book Thief for you. Regardless of how much good readers wish for the characters, World War II is beyond their control. They are forced to become domino pieces in the intricate design created by government, and like the game, they are destined to fall. What an awesome cover design by Zusak and his cover artist!

Things that Made Me Happy:

As an avid lover of historical fiction novels, especially those written about the World War II era, I am certainly displeased at how long it took me to read this book. Regardless, I read it, and I insanely love it.

Overall, the book bestows a variety of meaningful messages to its readers. The powers of love, friendship, family, and words are the most prevalent in this novel, as they are learned by the main character, Liesel Meminger, who is living in Nazi Germany during World War II. Her struggles, failures, and successes are felt by the readers because at some point in our lives, we have all been Liesel-lost, confused, and feeling trapped within limitations. Liesel finds comfort through these hardships in those around her and through reading/stealing books. These people and books leave withstanding impacts on her life, which teach her the importance of the aforementioned themes.

Liesel acquires this understanding within this 500+ pages novel in the most interesting tale that has readers laughing on one page and bawling on the next. Narrated by Death, Liesel’s story unfolds beginning with a timid young girl and ends with a mature knowledgeable woman. Death includes the various people, events, and objects, which impact Liesel. In short this novel is a coming-of-age story (in my opinion it is one of the best). However, Liesel’s character and the narration set this book apart from books with similar “maturation” plot lines. As mentioned, readers have been like Liesel at least once in their lives, feeling the pressures of peers, unwilling to conform to trends, not understanding the world around us, etc. Through Death’s narration, readers embody Liesel. This sets apart The Book Thief from other books.

Simply, this book encourages readers to think: on the surface one could think, “What would I do if I were in Liesel’s circumstance?” However, the more invested one gets in the story, he or she finds himself asking, “How do I respond to situations that call for me to fit a mold?” Moreover, this book transcends its 1930s-1940s plot and is has the ability to be relevant to modern times; to say that this book is a beautifully and artistically creation is an understatement.

I certainly could continue praising this book, but I must encourage you to read it for yourselves!

Things that Made Me Unhappy:

Nothing.

My Rating:

★★★5/5 stars!

Recommendation:

Regardless of your age, genre preferences, etc., I highly encourage EVERYONE to read this book!

Friday Reads (7/19/13)

It feels good to be back and Happy Friday!  Friday Reads is a query that started on Twitter and has become increasingly popular in the book blogging/vlogging community, and I have decided to implement it in my Daily Post.  To learn more about it, click here.

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New York Times bestseller for seven years running that’s coming to movie theaters on November 15, 2013, this Printz Honor book by the author of I Am the Messenger is an unforgettable tale about the ability of books to feed the soul.

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau. 

The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.-Goodreads summary

As someone who is a ravenous fan of historical fiction, especially novels dealing with WWII, I am utterly ashamed that it has taken me so long to read this book.  It has been sitting on my shelf for four years and has been frequently recommended by family and peers.  Finally, I have decided to read it.  Currently, I am 300 pages in the book, which means I’ve finished a little over 50%, and I am truly loving it.  Admittedly, I am not one who wholeheartedly agrees with book hypes, but this book deserves it.  The characters, the plot, and the narration all possess unique attributes and depth, which are incomparable to any historical fiction.  I look forward to finishing this book as I find it to be a fast read, but I will be terribly sad to see the story end.  Of course, that implies that I will be rereading this book countless times in the future!

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She spots the masked man in the dark, lonely parking lot–but too late. Grabbed and drugged, Christina is kidnapped and held for ransom. When her family pays, she thinks her ordeal is over. But then she realizes that her family thinks she planned the kidnapping! How will Christina prove her innocence?-Goodreads summary

Do you ever get in these moods where you need to read a good mystery?  At a young age, I devoured Nancy Drew books and would only read mystery books.  As I have gotten older, my genre preferences have expanded, but mystery novels always hold a soft spot in my heart.  Therefore, I am in need of a mystery.  Browsing my shelf, I found this book and realized it has been sitting on my shelf for many years-probably ten years!  So, it needs to be read!  The premise sounds extremely intriguing, and I definitely like how it was a recipient of the Edgar Award for Best YA Mystery-who doesn’t love Poe?!  This seems like a fairly quick read, and I look forward to satisfying my mystery-craving!

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Witnessing a brutal murder at work is only the beginning of Celia’s problems. The fact that the victim is a vampire only proves to complicate her life even more. The vampires of New England have always had an undetected existence among humans but with the unprovoked death of one of their own, the lust for revenge has begun. Celia’s concerns are magnified when a hunter from Dallas arrives in town. With Jay’s sexy smile and rugged ways, Celia finds herself wanting to spend time with him despite being mysteriously linked to the nest that is threatening to become extinct if Jay gets his way. When four bodies are found drained of blood; Jay teams up with a local bunch to take out all the undead which coincidentally, includes her boyfriend Victor. Celia won’t stand seeing anything happen to Victor but refuses to hurt Jay as well. Confusion, lust, rage and violence intertwine as worlds collide. Celia will soon discover that her neat little existence is not what it seems as her cryptic past and present start to unravel.-Goodreads summary

Recently, I received a digital copy of Sweet for review.  As I need to have it read and reviewed in three weeks, I am hoping to get it started now and be ahead of the game!  I enjoy vampire novels because recently many authors are attempting to branch out of the “vampire stereotype,” so I am looking forward to seeing what kind of vampires Wilkerson creates.

*What books do you plan on reading this weekend?*

Happy reading!

Katie

Currently Reading: The Book Thief and am 54% into it.

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Mention Monday: Wicked Girls

Today is Mention Monday, in which I recommend a book that I really enjoyed.  Mention Mondays are a part of my Daily Post; to learn more about it, click here!

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From Printz Honor winner and Your Own, Sylvia author Stephanie Hemphill comes this fictionalized account of the Salem Witch trials from three of the real young women living in Salem in 1692.

Ann Putnam Jr. is the queen bee. When her father suggests a spate of illnesses in the village is the result of witchcraft, she puts in motion a chain of events that will change Salem forever.

Mercy Lewis is the beautiful servant in Ann’s house who inspires adulation in some and envy in others. With her troubled past, she seizes her only chance at safety.

Margaret Walcott, Ann’s cousin, is desperately in love. She is torn between staying loyal to her friends and pursuing a life with her betrothed.

With new accusations mounting against the men and women of the community, the girls will have to decide: Is it too late to tell the truth?-Goodreads summary

For some reason I have always found  the Salem Witch Trials to be one of the most fascinating moments in US history.  I’m an avid The Crucible fan, so when I saw this book I knew that I absolutely had to read it!  This book is extremely similar to The Crucible  in that it tries to offer a solution to the Salem Witch Trials. I absolutely love historical eerie mysteries that society can’t offer any sort of reasonable explanations (Roanoke Island, crazy insane asylums that nowadays wouldn’t pass health codes, haunted battle grounds, etc.) Anyway, I completely loved how Stephanie Hemphill offered a theory for the Salem Witch Trials. It really encourages people to think.

I’m so happy that she did extensive research before going into writing this book. In her “Author’s Note” she commented how ridiculously hard it was to find information that coincided with other sources because the whole Salem Witch Trials is a complete mystery. Therefore, she wrote about the solid facts and allowed her creativity to be the fillers for what is not known at all.

I loved how she focused on three girls who were pivotal components to the trials. It was great that we saw three different perspectives on what was happening before, during, and after the trials. I especially love how we can see into their thoughts. With The Crucible, it is just straight forward dialogue that follows more of those accused, and we don’t really see much into the plannings and actions taken by the “accuser girls.” Therefore, it was interesting seeing how the girls individually reacted to the situations.

At the end of the book, Stephanie included mini bios on all of the “accuser girls” and those that they accused. So, once the story ends, you get to find out the endings of all the characters—ranging from marriages, recanting their accusations, having “bastard” children (funny coincidence, because one of the first women the girls accused had a child out of wedlock so they claimed this woman was obviously a witch…ironic, huh?!). I studied this in high school, so it was a nice refresher to read about what happened to these characters again!

It is a delightful quick read, as it is told in verse.  It offers such a unique perspective and will have you captivated from the beginning!

*What are some of your book recommendations?  Comment below!*

Happy reading!

Katie

Currently Reading: The End Games and am 7% into it.

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Book Review: The Asylum

Happy Tuesday!  It is time for another book review.  Tuesday Book Reviews are a part of my Daily Post; to learn more about it, click here.

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A brilliant new Gothic thriller from the acclaimed author of The Ghost Writer and The Seance

Confused and disoriented, Georgina Ferrars awakens in a small room in Tregannon House, a private asylum in a remote corner of England. She has no memory of the past few weeks. The doctor, Maynard Straker, tells her that she admitted herself under the name Lucy Ashton the day before, then suffered a seizure. When she insists he has mistaken her for someone else, Dr. Straker sends a telegram to her uncle, who replies that Georgina Ferrars is at home with him in London: “Your patient must be an imposter.”

Suddenly her voluntary confinement becomes involuntary. Who is the woman in her uncle’s house? And what has become of her two most precious possessions, a dragonfly pin left to her by her mother and a writing case containing her journal, the only record of those missing weeks? Georgina’s perilous quest to free herself takes us from a cliffside cottage on the Isle of Wight to the secret passages of Tregannon House and into a web of hidden family ties on which her survival depends.

Another delicious read from the author praised by Ruth Rendell as having “a gift for creating suspense, apparently effortlessly, as if it belongs in the nature of fiction.”-Goodreads summary

*Please note: This is an adult fiction novel with some scenes and language that may not be suitable for minors.  Reader discretion is advised!*

Judge the Book by its Cover:

  • This cover creeps me out.  I’m not quite sure who the picture is supposed to be.  Regardless, her eyes follow me!  Super spooky and makes readers anticipate what is beyond the cover.

Things that Made Me Happy:

  • This book is not told in chapters; rather it is divided into three parts.  Parts I and III, AKA Georgina’s Narrative, were full of suspense and some action.  These parts encouraged me to read and solve the mystery of who was this mysterious impostor.
  • I really liked the real Georgina, particularly the one in Parts I and III, She is incredibly smart and determined to prove her identity.

Things that Made Me Unhappy:

  • Part II was an epic struggle.  It took me days to get through part II.  This section was a combination of letters between two characters and passages from Georgina’s journal prior to her entrance in the asylum.  These letters and journal entries added new characters and too many possible solutions to the mystery.  After awhile, I became disengaged.  They had cried “He/she did it!” too many times for me to really care.  I felt like the author scoured every possible solution, some which I found utterly intriguing, but chose the most obvious, cliche, and boring answer.  It was a major disappointment.
  • Additionally, this book, particularly in Part II, had way too many soap opera moments.  The incest and romances were unnecessary.  As a reader, I felt like Harwood was trying too hard to impress his audience by adding even more shock value to the story.  Rather, he should have relied on an utterly shocking plot, rather than minor shocking details.
  • In part II, the journal entries seemed to overemphasize certain scenes, which clearly pointed to foreshadowing.  This made the ending pretty predictable.  Despite all of the theories he invented, Harwood’s constant foreshadowing allowed me to solve the mystery within 100 pages.  At the same time, these journal entries were vague in other details.  While the real Georgina is attempting to solve her mystery, she innovated these crazy ideas, which she got from reading her journal.  I’d reread these passages and never find where she got her answers.  Very aggravating.  These journal entries could use some work.
  • Lastly, ANYTIME something suspenseful was happening, the character fell and blacked out.  The first time was acceptable, but after five I was done.  Overall, I think this points to Harwood’s attempt to create too much suspense to compensate for the lackluster ending.

My Rating:

★★★ 3/5 stars!

Recommendations:

I’d recommend this book to those who enjoy adult fiction, historical fiction, mysteries, thrillers, and suspense novels.

Friday Reads

Happy Friday!  Woohoo you successfully got through another week!  Friday Reads enables me to share what I plan on reading this weekend.  As I do not post on Sundays, it allows you to be updated and know what I hope to accomplish in my reading endeavors.  Additionally, Friday Reads is a part of my Daily Post; to learn more about it, click here!

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“Still haunted by nightmares of her mother’s death, fifteen-year-old Sienna Jones reluctantly travels to Indonesia with her father’s relief team to help tsunami orphans with their post traumatic stress disorder-something Sienna knows a lot about. Since her mother’s plane went missing over the Indian Ocean three years before, Sienna doesn’t do anything if it involves the ocean or planes, so this trip is a big step forward.

But the last thing she expects is to fall for Deni, a brooding Indonesian boy who lives at the orphanage, and just so happens to be HOT. When Deni hears a rumor that his father may be alive, Sienna doesn’t think twice about running away with him to the epicenter of the disaster. Unfortunately, what they find there could break both their hearts.

A compelling summer romance, Sea marks the arrival of a stunning new voice in YA.” –Goodreads summary

I picked this up from the library a week ago because the summary was extremely compelling.  First, I definitely like how the author implements a “recent” historical event into the story.  I see this as an opportunity for some major character development.  Additionally, I believe it will be thought-provoking to readers as it deals with an extremely difficult tragedy; I slightly am hoping that this will be one of those books that may “change my life!”  Lastly, I am pleased that this author has included some romance in the book.  Having the protagonist dealing with the effects of the tsunami will probably be difficult to read; therefore,the romance will be a nice relief-at least, I hope!

As of now, I have only read the prologue.  I cannot give much of an opinion about the book as I feel it has not had sufficient time to receive any sort of judgments.  However, I look forward to reading this book!  Look for a review in the future!

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“In an alternate London where magical creatures are preserved in a museum, two teens find themselves caught in a web of intrigue, deception, and danger.

Vespa Nyx wants nothing more than to spend the rest of her life cataloging Unnatural creatures in her father’s museum, but as she gets older, the requirement to become a lady and find a husband is looming large. Syrus Reed’s Tinker family has always served and revered the Unnaturals from afar, but when his family is captured to be refinery slaves, he finds that his fate may be bound up with Vespa’s—and with the Unnaturals.

As the danger grows, Vespa and Syrus find themselves in a tightening web of deception and intrigue. At stake may be the fate of New London—and the world”-Goodreads summary

l probably won’t finish The Unnaturalists this weekend, but I’m hoping to attempt it.  Again, I got this book from the library and was very intrigued by its summary.  I love historical fiction books, and I love that there will be some Steampunk elements in this novel-I mean look at that cover; it looks so Steampunky!  

Other than the excitement of the plot and cover, I really do not have many expectations for this book.  I just hope its an enjoyable read!  I plan on reviewing this book in the future as well.

*What books do you plan on reading this weekend?  Comment below, and you may be featured in the next Friday Reads!*