Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday- Back To School College Edition

Top Ten Tuesday is a really cool original feature/weekly meme created over at The Broke and The Bookish. Each week they post a new Top Ten List that bloggers join in on answering... and today (August 30th) I'm one of them :)

Today's Topic

Top Ten Back to School Books (College Edition)

  • The college I went to had a rule that all Liberal Studies classes had to include a novel as part of it's curriculum.  I decided to make my own recommendations on books that would go with general classes that everybody takes en-route to a college degree.

The Cuckoo's Egg by Clifford Stoll
  • A super interesting book about tracking down a hacker.  I loved that this made hearing about boring computer terminology and language interesting.

Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel 
She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb
  • A memoir about living with depression and a fictional story of a woman dealing with trauma and psychological issues.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
  • Station Eleven is for Theater since it's about a post-apoc Shakespeare troop, and I'll Give You the Sun is all about the Art.

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
  • An Abundance of Katherines seems like a fun way to read about Math.  Phantom Tollbooth is a classic children's book that looks at Math in a backwards way.

The Martian by Andy Weir
  • The m/c is a Botanist/Astronaut stuck on Mars and there is a TON of technical science in this book.

Shrapnel in the Heart by Laura Palmer
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  • Shrapnel in the Heart is a book of letters that people left at the Vietnam Memorial & their stories after the author tracked them down.  It's a beautiful/heartbreaking look at a war that isn't often studied in History classes.  Slaughterhouse-Five covers WWII in an unconventional way.

Third and Indiana by Steve Lopez
Smashed by Koren Zailckas
  • Third and Indiana covers drugs and gangs and Smashed looks at binge-drinking.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  • This graphic novel is an eye-opening look at women's rights, taking a stand, Middle Eastern culture, and should be read by everyone.

  • Also, here's a few books everyone should read before they move on campus.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  • I feel like anyone who moves to college without a set friend-group could relate to Cath's struggle to find her place.

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
  • I'm going to rec this just because human understanding is a life lesson that is relevant anytime, but especially before going out into the adult world for the first time.

Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
  • Because PRANKS!  You gotta play some pranks if you're about to live the dorm life.

What back to school books did you put on your list?

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Monday, August 29, 2016

My Fave Underrated Movies--From the 2000's

A while ago I wrote a post about my favorite underrated 80's movies, and I followed it up with a post on my favorite underrated 90's movies.  I love being nostalgic so much that I decided to now share with you my favorite movies from the 2000's decade (mostly the early part of it).

So here you have it--- My favorite movies from the years where low-rise flared jeans, body glitter, tube tops, trucker hats, velour tracksuits, and Abercrombie & Fitch were the bomb.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Get Even (Don't Get Mad #1) by Gretchen McNeil-- Can't Believe I Waited So Long To Read!

Margot, Kitty, Olivia, and Bree are DGM.  DGM (or Don't Get Mad) is their own super-secret group that has been avenging wrongs at Bishop DuMaine prep school for the past 2 years.  Father Uberti is desperate to find and stop this group, but the thing is-- the 4 girls aren't even friends.  They don't travel in the same social circles or have the same classes, in fact, the don't even talk unless it's to plan a prank.

Their newest target is a skeezy new boy who taped himself taking advantage of a drunk girl.  But when he winds up dead, all signs point to DGM as responsible.  Also, the girls are now getting anonymous letters that expose carefully guarded secrets.  How will they clear their name without revealing who they are?

I have no idea why it took me this long to read this book!!  Maybe it's because I read Ten and was like MEH.  Well, thank you ARC August!  This is much improved over Ten.  I mean, it isn't my favorite book I've ever read, but I love books like this!!  It's a little Pretty Little Liars, a little Prep School Confidential.   It's a mystery that's not taking itself too seriously.  It's drama without being too much.

My favorite part about this book was that these 4 girls aren't friends.  Some of them don't even like each other, but for the greater good, they come together to publicly humiliate bullies.  I found the concept (while a tad unbelievable) incredibly interesting.  As for the characters--  Kitty is the leader and class VP, Margot is the loner and smart computer girl, Bree is the bad-ass and senator's daughter, and Olivia is the actress and popular girl.  They all bring something different to the table and it works... except when they start to turn on each other.

There are a lot of characters in this book.  Bree has a bestie named John (who is also main suspect), there's the popular crew, the theater crew, a weird boy named Ed the Head, a new kid named Logan, teachers, parents, suspects, targets, a volleyball team.  Several times I had to flip back and figure out who certain characters were (also the names Kitty and Margot weirdly get mixed up in my brain, so there was that).

This book was pure fun and entertainment.  I need books like this every now and again and I feel like there's been a void in my life ever since I gave up reading the PLL series.  Because of that I had a great time reading this & flew through it pretty fast.  I really wanted to KNOW!!  But sighhhh, I guess I have to read the 2nd book, Get Dirty, to find out since the answers were not a-coming in this ending.

OVERALL: I love and need more YA Mysteries like this that are fun and suspenseful.  I loved the girls (when I could keep them straight), loved that it kept me guessing, and loved the light feel this had to it.  Totally recommend.

Date Published: 9/16/2014
How I got this book: BEA 2014!!
Publisher: Blazer + Bray

Add it to your To-Read List!!

This Book Contains:
  • Murder
  • Mystery
  • Drama
  • A school play
  • A rock band called Bangers and Mosh
  • Depression
  • Mean Girls
  • Bullying
  • Minimal romance

My Rating: 4/5

Character: Bree Deringer
Book: Fallout (Lois Lane #1) by Gwenda Bond

  • Bree is the most "Lois Lane" out of this bunch & I think she'd like this Lois's attitude, family situation, and ingenuity.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday- TBR from Before the Blog

Top Ten Tuesday is a really cool original feature/weekly meme created over at The Broke and The Bookish. Each week they post a new Top Ten List that bloggers join in on answering... and today (August 23rd) I'm one of them :)

Today's Topic

Top Ten Books That Have Been On My TBR From Before I Started Blogging That I STILL Haven't Read

Before I blogged (way back in 2011), my reading habits were SO different.  

First of all, I wasn't in the know about books coming out, or ones that were already out, or who the good authors were.  2nd-- I bought one book, I read one book.  If I wanted to read, I would go to the bookstore or library, find 1 book & buy/borrow it-- then I would read it.  So yeah, I wasn't a book hoarder and I didn't have a body-crushing TBR laying around.  I don't really think I had any unread books laying around :(  So this list is what I can think of from the way back that I had in my mind at one point, but didn't get around to reading them:

1. Feeling Sorry for Celia (Ashbury/Brookfield #1) by Jaclyn Moriarty
  • I read The Year of Secret Assignments and The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie and LOVED.  So once I found out it was a series (back then I just didn't know when things were series unless it was CLEARLY stated) I wanted to read the beginning of it all.  I need to find time to do that (and reread the others!).

2. Freaky Green Eyes by Joyce Carol Oates
  • Joyce Carol Oates = Writing Goddess.  If I made a list of people I would want to write like, she would be high on that list.  I first read Where are You Going, Where Have You Been (a short story) and I knew I wanted to read more by this talented woman.  I read Big Mouth and Ugly Girl, but never got around to reading this one.

3. You are So Undead to Me (Megan Berry #1) by Stacey Jay
  • I am all about the cute Paranormal books.  This was one of those that caught my eye way back when, but I still haven't gotten to.

4. The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
  • I LOVE a good cult/polygamy book.  Definitely got to remember this one for SOON!

5. Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen
  • This might be the only older Sarah Dessen that I didn't read back in the 2000's.

6. Envy (Empty Coffin #1) by Gregg Olsen
  • I bought this because the girl on the cover looks like the girl from The Ring, but I read the first few pages and it didn't stick with me.  Maybe it will now?

7. Following Christopher Creed (Steepleton Chronicles #2) by Carol Plum-Ucci
  • So I read The Body of Christopher Creed and LOVED it.  But by the time I bought the sequel, I had sort of forgotten what happened in the first book.  SO now I need to reread if I want to ever finish this.

8. Shine by Lauren Myracle
  • Love the cover!! Love Lauren Myracle (usually), and I love Mysteries.  Need to do this at some point.

9. Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Shroeder
  • This is about multiple ghosts haunting multiple people & it just sounded good at the time.

10. Same Difference by Siobhan Vivian
  • I wanted to read this because coming-of-age was my jam back in 2010.

What did your TBR look like before you started blogging??

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Light Fantastic by Sarah Combs-- And How It Made Me THINK

On a day in April (a month where bad things seem more likely to happen), 7 teens make life-changing decisions, face unimaginable horror, and learn they are stronger than they imagined.

An internet group termed The Assassins by it's creator, The Mastermind, is about to carry out their plot on this very clear and happy April day.  Some people are having second thoughts, some feel they have nothing to lose, and some are being intercepted by people who have no idea what's going on.  Will this be another black mark on the April calendar?

This is going to be a tough one to review.  It's like trying to describe the way something delicious tastes-- there are only so many words to do it and none of them are as good as the actual eating of the food.  I had the best time reading this book.  It's so smart and emotional that I basically never wanted it to end.

This book was one of those "not a lot happens" books, but it makes up for it in FEELING.  I'll always love a book that makes me think about the whys in life.  And this one made me do a lot of thinking.

I loved so many of these characters.  Good and bad.  Not everyone is a good guy in this book, but mostly, even the ones who were the bad ones made me feel compassion towards them in some way.

April is in Delaware and she has that weird condition where she can remember details about every day of her life, and she's always felt like she was tied to the bad things that seem to happen in April every year.  After all, she was born on the day of the Oklahoma City bombing.  Lincoln's dad was killed on September 11th, and now he's seeing a girl way out of his league.... except nobody knows the secrets she carries.  The Mastermind has been waiting for this day for a long, long time.  Nothing is going to stop him from carrying out his ultimate plan.  Gavin is crammed in a janitorial closet with an entire classroom of kids scared he'll never be able to run again.  And a bunch of other kids hate themselves more than anyone else could ever hate them.

It's a really hard book to explain because it's not what happens in the book that is impactful, it's what the book makes you think about.

Sometimes the philosophizing got old, but it was so insightful and meaningful that I didn't mind.  This book made me think about all the crazy things that happen in the world we live in and it made me feel like I did when I read Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock.  Like how there are so many people in pain & how many of those people are people that I know??  How many people are hiding their pain and how many do I interact with, and am I too self-involved to ever notice it?  How many people do I miss out on helping?  It also made me realize that I'll never understand certain things (like why people are so intent on hurting other people) and that people are really hard to understand in general.

So it ended rather abruptly, but I think I am okay with not knowing what happens to every last character.  I kind of like imagining it on my own.

Quote: "I think about it all the time, how many people there are, how there can't possibly be room on this earth for all that love and confusion and longing and fury.  Where are you supposed to put it all?  Where's it going to fit?"

OVERALL: Another one of those books that hit me right in the gut.  I love books like this that make me think outside of myself and look around at life that's going on that has nothing to do with me.  I'd recommend this to so many people, so I'm just going to say-- if you like books that make you feel, read this!

Date Published: 9/13/2016
How I got this book: Thanks to Candlewick Press for providing me with an Advanced Copy to read and honestly review
Publisher: Candlewick Press

Add it to your To-Read List!!

This Book Contains:
  • 7 Narrators
  • Bullying
  • Depression
  • A boy who talks in hashtags a lot
  • A girl with HSAM (Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory)
  • The Glass Menagerie
  • Forum transcripts
  • 1st & 3rd person narration
  • East and West coast, USA
  • NO romance

My Rating: 5/5

Character: Gavin
Book: Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

  • Annie is training for a marathon she never wanted to race, and Gavin never got to race the marathon he trained for.

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