Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: My 10 Favorite YA Books

I thought it was time (beyond) for me to do another TTT with The Broke & The Bookish ladies, so this week is as good as any! :) We all know I love me some young adult books, but I'm going to attempt to narrow it down to the very best of the best. And I'm just going to skip Harry Potter, because obviously it would be #1 lol. In no particular order, here we go!

1. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak -I didn't get a chance to see this movie in the theaters and that makes me so sad. I think this book is destined to become a classic for future generations.

2. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell -it has been a very long time since a book has felt like "me" in such a strong sense as this one. If you pin every Tom Hiddleston meme you can find or quote Troop Beverly Hills at least once a day or fantasize about which Hogwarts house you would get sorted into, then this is the book for you. Fangirls, rejoice! We have found our leader and her name is Rainbow!! ;) (Or if you have a tendency to be over-dramatic...)

3. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher -if you were one of the "popular" kids in high school, you won't "get" this book. You'll wonder what the big deal is or why the girl was so selfish or why she singled out these kids for causing her pain. But if you were/are on the outskirts or just feel like you are, then this book will make you take an honest look at things.

4. Anna & The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins -this is just the ultimate contemporary romance for me. Period. The End.

5. Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson -I didn't expect to love this book as much as I did. At first, you think it's just going to be a typical summer romance, but it grows into much more than that.

6. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson -I still haven't gotten that old spark of creativity back that I felt when I first read this book. Maybe I need to go reread it soon. I still think it's an odd reaction to have to this book, but it just made me want to be a better person. I've got an awesome project planned for this summer that I think will help with that. (More details in May probably, sorry for the teaser!!)

7. Gone series by Michael Grant -my 14 year old sister wouldn't start this series because it's not in 3rd person or something like that. (It's been too long since I've had to remember narrative tenses.) She's such a weirdo, that is the strangest reason to not read a story I've ever heard! Please don't be like her, if you've never read this! It is an amazingly intricate and gripping story of a town where everyone over the age of 14 suddenly disappears one day. And it just keeps getting crazier and more interesting until the very last book.

8. Morganville Vampire series by Rachel Caine -another awesome YA series, this one for those who got swept away in the vampire craze, but don't want to read Twilight again. What happens when the vamps run the town and they aren't fluffy bunnies? (Except their slippers lol.)

9. The Outsiders by SE Hinton -I had to include at least one classic, right? This one came teen approved by the above sister and it's amazing how much it still stands up after 40+ years.

10.I couldn't come up with a 10th book, so I'm going to ask you for your favorite young adult book. My list is a lot of newer books (on purpose), what am I missing from the last few years? What's your favorite YA classic? Talk to me, people! :)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Review: "Mary Anne Misses Logan: The Baby-Sitters Club #46"

 Mary Anne Misses Logan: The Baby-Sitters Club #46 by Ann M Martin
4 out of 5 stars

Sometimes I get really passionate about a BSC book while I'm reading it. Like in the first book when everything comes together for the first time or when Mimi died or when the girls somehow win a lottery and they all go to California and stay with Dawn's dad. This book made me passionate, for good reasons and bad.

Let's start with the cover. It's cute right? The girls are roller skating, their outfits are all there: Mary Anne's mom jeans, Kristy's sweater + turtleneck (isn't that hot??), Claudia's totally dibbly vest + fedora, Dawn's "Cali Casual". There's only one problem: this scene DOES NOT HAPPEN IN THE BOOK. What?? This is the first time that has happened and it is super annoying. Also, the tagline "Nothing beats your friends" has nothing to do with the story. This isn't about Mary Anne hanging out with her friends. I don't think they even get together, besides meetings, except for one lunch time. Which is a nice opening for Disgusting School Lunches by Kristin Thomas.

Kristy always brings her own lunch - and then makes disgusting remarks about the hot meal.
"Look. Lookit that brown thing," she said, pointing to a blob on Claud's plate. "You know what that could be? It could be something that just, like, *fell into* the pot while the cooks were stirring...what is that stuff?"
"It's beef bur-gig-non," replied Claud.
"Bur-gig-non?!" exclaimed Dawn, laughing. "That's *bourguignon*. You pronounce it the French way."
"How would you know?" said Claud. "You don't eat meat."

Gross. Okay, back to the story. Stoneybrook Middle School is doing another ridiculous school-wide assignment (do they ever do any *actual* learning, like SAT vocab words or something?). All the 8th graders will be grouped up in 4's and assigned a living author to research and report on. Which is pretty cool, actually. But Mary Anne is freaked out about having to work with possible strangers or even worse, Cokie Mason or Alan Gray. And even though she misses Logan terribly, she doesn't even consider that she might have to work with her ex-boyfriend.

I missed Logan. I had been missing him for some time. And the missing hurt. Logan and I used to be so close that we were almost part of each other. Sometimes I knew what he was thinking; we didn't even need to talk.

Dawn and my friends are the best - they're people with whom I hope I'll be friends for the rest of my life. [Don't count on it.] But Logan is a boy, so my relationship with him is different from my relationship with my parents or my friends. (I should hope so)

So you know where this is going, right? Mary Anne gets paired up with Pete Black, Miranda Shillaber (never heard of her...this is where my BSC character spreadsheet would come in handy), and ...Logan Bruno. Mary Anne freaks. She can't even focus on the fact that she gets one of her favorite authors, Megan Rinehart. I think it's funny that they used a fictional author for the actual project, because they mention several real authors at the beginning of the book. Oh well, I guess they couldn't get Judy Blume's consent or something. (BTW, you should totally follow her on Twitter! She's pretty awesome.) Okay, while MA is busy making awkward eye contact with Logan, Miranda is shooting daggers at Pete because one time in 7th grade, he snapped her bra and it fell off and was totally embarrassing hah! So this group is going to work out great, right? Wrong!

As they're all sitting there, trying to figure things out, their English teacher comes by and asks if anyone would like to switch with Cokie Mason, because she just looooves Megan Rinehart. Miranda jumps for the chance and now Mary Anne's worst nightmare has come true. Cokie doesn't care about the project, she's just out to sink her claws into Logan, now that he's available. Not only is Cokie a mega skank, but she's not all that bright either. Because Cokie can't even remember Megan's name, let alone actually read any of her books. The project is off to a great start.

Let's switch over to the baby-sitting in this book for a minute, shall we? We only get one family in the whole book, but nearly all of the girls baby-sit for them. The Kormans have moved into the Delaney's old McMansion and they have 3 kids: Bill, Melody, and baby Skylar. The two older kids aren't crazy about their new house and freak out over every little sound it makes, including the toilet. They build it up into their heads until they're convinced there actually is a Toilet Monster and the BSCers spend the whole book trying to help them get over it. (Instead of, you know, talking to the parents.) For once, they don't totally succeed and the book ends with the kids still kind of scared.

Okay, back to the school project. Logan seems to fall for Cokie's little Miss Awesome act (or her cleavage, I'm not sure which) and actually goes out with her several times. Gag me with a spoon. They spend so much time going on dates that they put their project in jeopardy. Which is a big deal to MA & Pete, especially after they find out that Rinehart and two of the other authors are actually going to come to their school and listen to their presentations. Like, whoa. I would be freaking out too. MA & Pete decide that they'll just have to do Cokie & Logan's parts of the paper too, but they won't do their presentation, so basically the latter two will look like fools in front of everyone. MA is totally cool with Cokie being made a fool but not so sure about Logan, because she thinks she might still be in love with him. Yuck. Well, Logan pulls it off at the very last second and gets with Mary Anne to go over their project and he tells her that he misses her too. And he wants to take her out to dinner after their presentation and maybe talk some more. Ugh, do not want! The presentation goes well, Cokie makes a fool of herself, Mary Anne doesn't throw her shoe at anyone, and they get to meet Rinehart. And let's end with a special What Stacey Was Wearing...

[Stacey] always knows what's the newest in fashion, and she puts together these chic outfits like paisley-print leggings; a huge, long shirt; short, black, lace-up boots; and a ton of silver jewelry. She might top off the look with a black fedora. Stacey is also allowed to wear makeup, plus she'll do wild things like paint a tiny heart on each of her fingernails.

And an extra special what Mary Anne wore on her date with Logan. I did two versions of this one, an expectation of what you think this outfit is going to be after reading the description and what the reality probably is lol.

"What do you think of this outfit?" I held up an over-sized blue top and a pair of red tights. [Note: tights, not leggings!]
"I think your father won't let you out of the house in it." [Dawn]
"Yes, he will. When I bought it, he said, 'Mary Anne, that's much too revealing,' and I said, 'It's not nearly as revealing as a bathing suit,' and he said, 'That's true,' so I got to keep it." (Whoa, go sassy MA!!)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Books Book Haul

Alright y'all, I'm back with the second half of my book buying frenzy. (Graphic Novels here) This is a pretty eclectic mix, even for me! And...I forgot about my eBooks, so I'm going to add them in here too. But let's start with the physical books: all but 2 were bought at HPB.

First up is Travels With Charley, to save up for my Summer of Steinbeck part 3. :) I didn't realize this was an autobiography of sorts, so that should be an interesting read! I also (re)bought the first Wayside School book and am reading it right now. I'm going to do a (hopefully) fun different thing for my review of this series soon.

Backward Compatible by Sarah Daltry & Pete Clark was one that I won on Goodreads and I'm super excited to read it! "A YA gamer geek romantic comedy in the vein of Scott Pilgrim and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist.  WARNING: There is no sex in this book. Your Kindle or other device will remain at a pleasant room temperature. At no point will your panties drop. Your significant other will be allowed to snore in peace as you read." Sounds fun right? And the authors even signed the inside and a matching bookmark for me! :)

I finally got the 4th Bloodlines book, The Fiery Heart. I am really looking forward to it, the series has really picked up for me and I almost like it more than Vampire Academy right now. I think it all has to do with Adrian, I just love him so much more than Dimitri. (I know, blasphemy!) And last, 2 impulse buys...The Meanest Doll in the World, part of a super cute series by Ann M Martin and my first reviews on my blog! It was in the clearance section, so I had to snatch it up. The Very Picture of You was on my to-buy list, although I don't remember why (don't you hate that?), but it was cheap so I bought it.

And here's my Kindle eBooks I've gotten in the last month or so...all were $3.00 or less!

Haunted by Eileen Maksym -a good Twitter friend asked me to read this and review it for her friend, so I'm ready to be spooked! :)

The Boys of Summer #1 by CJ Duggan -I've been wanting this one since last summer and I think it might fit the Summer Romance Formula, so I will probably save it for hot temps and sunshine in July!

Wives & Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell -after reading North & South, I really wanted to try another of Gaskell's books and this one looked good.

The Moment Before by Suzy Vitello -another Summer Romance? Maybe with a dark twist?

The Girl with the Cat Tattoo by Theresa Weir -I just heard of this book the other day and I can't remember where now, but how cute is that cover?!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Book Haul: Graphic Novels Version

Okay, I've gone a little book buying crazy since my last haul post. That darn tax refund lol. Oh well, I always seem to stock up on lots of books in the spring so this will last me a good ways thru summer at least. Hopefully. This is a mixture of Amazon and Half Price Books and I thought I'd split it up, since there are so many. So today, I'm sharing the graphic novels and in a few days, I'll share the rest of the books!

First up is the sequel to Vampire Academy, Frostbite. This has been on the back burner for a while, but I'm in a graphic novel mood lately (obviously), so I decided to go ahead and get it. I'm excited to see how Adrian is portrayed.

I like to get more than one volume at a time in series that I'm reading, just so it feels like the story progresses some and I'm impatient. So I picked up 3&4 of Chew and Morning Glories. Tony Chu (Chew) is a Cibopathic detective, which means he solves crimes by taking a bite of the dead people. Gross but good so far.

I am super excited about Locke & Key #5 by Joe Hill. This is an amazing series and I highly recommend it! The final arc, #6, just came out last month and the only thing I'm annoyed about is that I didn't start buying these in hardbound, because now I have to wait forever-ever to get the paperback of the last one. I know, I'm so anal about that.

And finally, I happened upon a graphic novel adaptation of Dorian Gray at HPB this weekend. I didn't know there was such a thing, but since that was my classic for February, I figured it was kismet or something. ;) I'm going to try to read it sometime this week probably.

I'm pretty sure you will be seeing more graphic novel hauls from me throughout the year, because I came across this fantastic blog, Comics & Cola, who provided a list of the 20 most anticipated novels for 2014. And I want at least 15 of them! Have you picked up any graphic novels lately? What's on your to-buy list? Anything I absolutely must try? You can click on my "graphic novel" tag below if you need more suggestions! :)