Spend the week reading at your own pace, when and how you want to. There will be daily challenges for awesome prizes and opportunities to get points toward the Grand Prize Packs.
As if that weren’t enough – the week will end with a 24-hr marathon readathon! Twitter parties, mini-challenges, games, prizes given EVERY HOUR, and more chances to get points toward the Grand Prize Packs.
Sign-ups will be open through July 6th. I’m in, are you?!
June, yeah? The one month that was supposed to be the highlight of my entire year - the crown on the top of my teenage life? That little spice that....you get the point.
In June, I turned eighteen , graduated from highschool and got into a great University.
Thus, I can happily report that June was, in fact, mind blowing and life changing and everything I could have asked for.
It's just...about the books...
Reading was definitely not my priority this month and even though I tried to get at least a decent amount of books read, it just didn't happen.
In addition to that, I got really frustrated with the books I did read - and it took me forever to get through them.
As a result, I'm trying to make July not about more discipline (reading is a hobby, after all!), but I'll get myself back into actually enjoying it.
Books I read in June:
I actually think this is a first for me. Three books is...not a lot :) Anyway, I have to correct myself. The first two books 52 Reasons and The Rules were amazing - it was a Sarah Dessen that ruined my reading month. If you'd told me that before I picked the book up, I swear I wouldn't have believed it.
But on to next month. I will post a July Books - I just don't know when that will be. (Hopefully tomorrow, maybe Wednesday....)
Then, you can already prepare yourself for a few changes on the blog for July. There are quite a few things I've been meaning to do for a while now and I will share what they are in this coming week.
Lastly, those new things might not really include reviews since I am so behind on reading that I'm also running out of reviews these days...
And finally, my July TBR list:
The Year of the Great Seventh by Theresa Orts
Ink by Amanda Sun
Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend by Louise Rozett
Hourglass and Timepiece by Myra McEntire
Ashes and Shadows by Ilsa J. Bick
Ten Things We Did That We Probably Shouldn't Have Done
Now, some of these books are supposed to be amazing - which is exactly what I'd need right now. Ilsa J. Bick and Myra McEntire are both new to me (I've heard of them, of course, but I've never read something by them). At the same time, I have high hopes for the second confessions book and Ten Things and lastly, I'm interested in trying something different with the other ARCs.
What are you guys reading in July? And what are some books you'd suggest for getting out of a reading slump? I'd love to know!
A total meltdown. The whole school watching. Now Poppy’s an ex-straight-A with no Plan B.
When Poppy Johnson throws away a full scholarship to Columbia, she can only blame the jelly beans. The yucky green ones? Midnight cram sessions and Saturday’s spent studying. The delicious red? The family legacy: Columbia, and a future in finance. Except now it’s starting to look like Poppy’s jelly bean theory is wrong. School has been her life until, but maybe it’s time to start living now.
Poppy has thirty days to try a new life. No school, no studying. Just jumping into every possible world. Thirty days to find her passion, her path, and maybe even love. The Jelly Bean Crisis is officially on.
Paperback, 308 pages
Published August 1st 2012 by CreateSpace
A Long Story Short:
Although many people liked The Jelly Bean Crisis, the book didn't cut it for me. Stereotypical, flat side characters assisted the main character, Poppy, as she went on a personal discovery journey that lead into the middle of nowhere - and me into a web of frustration. The conflicts she faced didn't seem real to me, the love interest was annoying and in the end, I felt like I had read a self-help book with a story thrown in.
Review for You:
Did you know that Jolene Stockman, who wrote The Jelly Bean Crisis, wrote a self-help guide for teens, too? Basically, it's supposed to help highschool students decide what to with their future.
Basically, I imagine it to be the better version of The Jelly Bean Crisis.
Because there's one thing Stockman managed to do really well with her novel - and that was giving advice. And introducing different kinds of jobs. And promoting gap months or years.
We don't have counselers in Germany, but with The Jelly Bean Crisis, I didn't think I'd need one, either which was quite annoying.
As I said, the general message, about doing what you feel like, about making educated decisions and to not let anyone tell you what your future is going to be was really good and well presented.
However, the execution of the story idea, the character development, the dialogues, the writing, the ending - really didn't do it for me. At all.
Let's start with Poppy, our main character. At the beginning of the book she finds herself at a point where - just as her dream, everything she worked for - is about to come true. And then she realizes that this might not, after all, be what she wants.
The whole situation, I could identify with.
I know exactly how it feels like to think you've given up so much and worked so hard and now that it's finally paying off you have to get the very, very best out of it.
That situation in the beginning, Stockman explained and described really well. But it went downghill from there.
Not only that I found the gap month idea pretty unrealistic. My teachers certainly wouldn't let me miss four weeks of school - at least not, if everyone else still has to go.
Something else that totally bothered me was that Stockman created conflicts where there weren't any. It started with Poppy's best friends who seeemed to totally disapprove of her idea. They felt like she was abandoning them - which clearly wasn't the case!
Also, while I do understand that her parents weren't too happy about the gap month, I did not understand their hysterical reactions to it.
And all the family drama that Stockman threw in? It should either had been a big part of the novel or not be in it at all. But mentioning old granddad-dad conflicts every twenty pages or so did not help giving more depth to Poppy's father's character.
The side characters were pretty flat in general. That alone wouldn't have bothered me, but they were complete stereotypes, too, and that got on my nerves a LOT.
You know, the understanding, but quiet mom, the somewhat-hippie grandmother, the strict and overachieving dad, the ambitous best friends...ugh. Too much clichés for me.
Overall, I cannot really recommend this book. To younger teens, maybe. Or for not-so-avid readers. Or for people who have trouble finding what they want. The Jelly Bean Crisis is full of good advice, but in general, this book was just not entertaining enough for me.
I don't know about you guys, but I certainly cannot believe half of the year is already over. So much has happened, but the time flew by like nothing!!!
I decided to make this Top Ten Tuesday a bit more personal by reminiscing over everything that happened as I was reading these new absolute favorites of mine:
This was towards the end of my Christmas vacation and while I didn't really get all Christmas-y as I was reading it, it certainly has a very special place in my heart, because it featured such unique and amazing characters who I probably won't ever forget...
Tempest and Vortex will probably always remind me of those last few quiet days of my Christmas vacation. I literally spend hours on my bed without moving an inch, as I was immersing myself into the story. Both of them were fast reads, but the second book was one of the most entertaining books I've ever read.
This one I started as school started again in January. Rossi's world and characters never ceased to keep me entertained during the long and harsh days of school and winter :)
Just like Veronica Rossi's books, the Lunar Chronicles are fantastical and mind blowing. The kinds of stories you do. not. want. to. put. down. Exactly what I needed at the time! Something that lets you completely forget the world you live in!
We had a looong winter this year. It was still snowing in April - and that lead me spiral into a seriously depressing mood. To accompany that, this was also my last year of school and during those cold month, the pressure to do well one last time and secure the grades that would let me into Uni, had me doubting myself and made for the most terrible time of my school -life (so far). Geek Girl was the perfect book to help me out of that depressed state of mind. Funny, witty and full of enthusiasm for life, it had me laughing even when I thought I couldn't do it anymore.
This was one of the first books I read after I had finished all of my final exams - and it was perfect! Though dealing with loss and grief a whole lot, How To Save a Life really also had an aspect to it that applied to my situation and state of mind at that time.
History was one of my core subjects during the previous two years so I highly doubted that, after I'd taken my exam, that I would pick a historical fiction book ever again. I didn't really want to, either, but this one was still sitting on my shelf. Apart from it turning out to be mind blowing in the end, it also came to the most perfect of all times. Now I know how much I still enjoy history - when I don't have to study it :)
With Dare You To, I saw a change in me happening for the first time. I think it's been going on for a while, but as I was reading this book I realized that now, about 15 months since I started blogging and so close to my 18th Birthday, I am losing interest in the kinds of books I used to read.
It's not about abandoning YA or something. It's more that I loved fluffy and happy high school stories before, but now, I really crave something deeper, something more mature. Not that I myself matured. It's just that not going to school anymore and looking at all the perspectives in front of me, I realize now how small high school and my horizon still is. And how much more there is to explore.
Actually, there is no real story to the rules. It was just an amazing read that I completely underestimated in the beginning. I guess I'll see what my personal story to it is in a few months, though....
What if you could dream your way into a different life? What if you could choose to live that life forever?
Sloane and Maggie have never met. Sloane is a straight-A student with a big and loving family. Maggie lives a glamorously independent life as an up-and-coming actress in New York. The two girls couldn't be more different--except for one thing. They share a secret that they can't tell a soul. At night, they dream that they're each other.
The deeper they're pulled into the promise of their own lives, the more their worlds begin to blur dangerously together. Before long, Sloane and Maggie can no longer tell which life is real and which is just a dream. They realize that eventually they will have to choose one life to wake up to, or risk spiraling into insanity. But that means giving up one world, one love, and one self, forever.
This is a dazzling debut that will steal readers' hearts.
Hardcover, 343 pages
Published October 2nd 2012 by Razorbill
Long Story Short:
Loved the book. Don't even know why. I could identify with it, I liked the story, the heroines. I liked the side characters -and I liked the unique concept. Seriously, this is just a thoughtful book I'd recommend to everyone.
RATING: 3/3 Smarties
I remember when this book first came out Lauren over at 365 Days of Reading described it as very mature - and I can only agree. Basically, Lucid is the story of two girls and their experiences as almost-adults. It's different from most YA contemporary, because it's not just the same old highschool drama we all know. It's not about friends gossiping, boys taking over life, bad or good grades and embarassing parents. It's not an issue book, either, though. No sex, no drugs, no mental disorders (um...or only...kind of). It's not something to cry over, not a worst case scenario.
It's just two girls trying to find themselves, to live their lives and overcome struggles.
I listenend to Lucid on audiobook which makes it hard to describe the writing style. What I can say for sure, though, is that I loved the story and dialogue and didn't get annoyed once whenever the characters said something.
Talking about characters - I liked them. Really, really liked how Stoltz made each of them unique, how they talked and went through life. Of course, the leading ladies Sloane and Maggie each had great personalities that I could identify with. Maggie shows the marks of taking on a lot of responsibility at a very young age while still being vulnerable and a bit too hysterical sometimes. She worries a lot, maybe too much, because her mom seems to sometimes not care enough.
Sloane on the other side thought that she knows what she wanted, stumbles through life really numbly with that huge secret she carries on her shoulders.
Directly after I finished Lucid I thought the story eventually didn't really start somewhere, lacked a common thread and a to the point ending. Thinking about it now, though, that's exactly what made it so beautiful. It's not even all that special, it doesn't really lead anywhere but the next step in both girl's life.
Instead of having a clear beginning and ending, we just see a little part of Sloane's and Maggie's lives, we see them part with old memories and habits, working through issues and problems they face, meeting new people, reconnecting with others and learn their lessons as they continue to get up every morning. They have to make decisions, sometimes hurtful ones.
In the end, there's not too much to say about the book except that I recommend it. It's nice and different and, yes - mature. Not a single time did I declare one of the characters silly or stereotypical or infantile. They always thought their decisions and behaviour through and if they made mistakes that was because they didn't, couldn't, know better.
Being America’s favorite heiress is a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it.
Lexington Larrabee has never to work a day in her life. After all, she’s the heiress to the multi-billion-dollar Larrabee Media empire. And heiresses are not supposed to work. But then again, they’re not supposed to crash brand new Mercedes convertibles into convenience stores on Sunset Blvd either.
Which is why, on Lexi’s eighteen birthday, her ever-absent, tycoon father decides to take a more proactive approach to her wayward life. Every week for the next year, she will have to take on a different low-wage job if she ever wants to receive her beloved trust fund. But if there’s anything worse than working as a maid, a dishwasher, and a fast-food restaurant employee, it’s dealing with Luke, the arrogant, albeit moderately attractive, college intern her father has assigned to keep tabs on her.
In a hilarious “comedy of heiress” about family, forgiveness, good intentions, and best of all, second chances, Lexi learns that love can be unconditional, money can be immaterial, and, regardless of age, everyone needs a little saving. And although she might have 52 reasons to hate her father, she only needs one reason to love him.
A Long Story Short:
A great and entertaining novel. You should not be too critical going into the book because it does lack depth and meaning. However, if you're ready to just throw yourself into it without questioning too much, you will find this to be an amazing read - for the summer time as well as at every other point in your life!
Review for You:
This book was everything The Daughters, for example, should have been. It's contemporary, it's a cheesy premise that comes with witty writing, funny dialogues, a swoon - worthy guy and a horrible ending.
I can't even say I'm torn about this book. Yes, there were parts I didn't like but most of the time I just simply enjoyed this novel.
Truth be told: a thousand things could have gone wrong.
The 52 reasons thing? Just imagine having to read a bout that many different jobs in one book! Brody managed that topic very well, though. By only including a few jobs, but making those count. By doing flashbacks and time jumps that were neither forced, nor missplaced or confusing.
The only that did get left behind through those jumps was character development. Of course, you can go through a drastical change within weeks, but if it's just two pages in a book it appears unrealistic. More on that later, though.
The other problem I expected with a book that was about a rich person doing 52 low wage jobs in order to learn something? Exactly, clichés.
I'm extremely opposed to prejudice, clichés, whatever you want to call it. And yes, the novel went in that direction once or twise.
For one, Lexi, our main character, herself seemed like the author's modified version of Paris Hilton - or society's general of the hotel chain owning lady, at least. Lexi was spoiled, materialistic and arrogant -while still being utterly educated, smart, funny and witty. Kind of too perfect for my taste.
The people she met at her different jobs made me a bit crazy at times, too. For example, we have that picture of the poor family living in a crammed apartment in a dangerous neighbourhood where girls can't walk the streets on their own. The family members, though, always work together, support each other. There was so much warmth and understanding and harmony in that family that it almost made me gag.
I mean, yes, being poor might bring families closer together. But being poor can also totally destroy a family. It is not said that no money makes for perfect families and relationships and that actually being able to pay rent every month makes you a cold hearted person.
However, as I said, most of the novel was just funny and entertaining and a bit too cheesy at times. I grew to like Lexi - and loved the love interest SO much!
The other side characters were pretty flat but I didn't expect much more from them and they weren't really important to me anyway.
The ending was still too cheesy for me - to the point where I felt uncomfortable reading it. Too unrealistic in the plot, too forced when it came to language and dialogues and not satisfying at all meaning - wise.
52 Reasons did contain a great message, though. I always like when books encourage (teenage) readers to not only try to live their best lives possible, but to have big dreams and achieve them.
For some reason I can't mention (would spoil the book) I really, really want a list of all the 52 jobs Lexi had to do and the "story" behind them. That would have been the icing of the cake :)
As I find myself in the middle of University applications and big decisions, I am feeling the need to branch out a bit - and which better place to start to at least feel a bit more adult than trying New Adult? Now, my pick this week is Easy by Tamara Webber - not only because it's New Adult, but also because it sounds like an amazing novel that everyone has already read, and loved.
Rescued by a stranger.
Haunted by a secret
Sometimes, love isn’t easy…
He watched her, but never knew her. Until thanks to a chance encounter, he became her savior…
The attraction between them was undeniable. Yet the past he’d worked so hard to overcome, and the future she’d put so much faith in, threatened to tear them apart.
Only together could they fight the pain and guilt, face the truth—and find the unexpected power of love.
A groundbreaking novel in the New Adult genre, Easy faces one girl's struggle to regain the trust she's lost, find the inner strength to fight back against an attacker, and accept the peace she finds in the arms of a secretive boy
Q: Activity: Spine Poetry. Create a line of poetry with your book spines (take a picture). Not feeling creative? Tell us about your favorite poem.
So, I've never done one of these before. I always shied away from all the effort. But as soon as I really got started I could not stop choosing books and adding more lines...I guess I went a little overboard with it....
(Also, excuse the picture. There simply was NO place with right lighting in my entire room!)
A few weeks ago, I read that article (you know the one everyone read and commented on but me, 'cause I'm too busy sleeping all day) by Maureen Johnsson where she talks a lot about an author's gender and book covers and the way they're designed for boys and girls specifically and I think she also talks about sexism.
That was not, however, what I wanted to write about.
I picked up a few sentences she wrote about beach reads and novels that are underrated because they go as "beach reads" or chicklit.
And I wanted to utter my honest opinion about that.
Beach reads are usually considered light and funny realistic fiction reads that you can devour whenever you are, well, on the beach. Or a similar setting like the pool or the hammock in your garden.
That is why I don't agree that beach reads/chicklit are an underestimated genre that suffers from prejudice.
I mean, most men probably would not pick up a book with a pink cover that has lipstick and highheels on it. I get that. And there might also be women who consider themselves too educated to read such a book.
Please don't hit me for the following, but I actually think those people have a point. Beach reads are, in fact, usually targetted towards women more than men. They are, as I said, light and fluffy because we - the readers - want them to be.
Of course they are brilliant. It's not easy to be funny, to make people forget their worries and laugh out loud instead. It's probably even harder than making readers cry. However, we all have to admit sooner or later, that beach reads or chicklit very seldomly win the huge literary prizes, their authors - though admired by the fans - often don't get a lot of recognition from the rest of the world.
I personally think that's okay, too. It's just like TV. Shows like Grey's Anatomy or Pretty Little Liars have a huge fanbase, they are watched regularly and win awards at events like Teen Choice. Then, we have documentaries or movies based on historical facts and those are the ones that win the experts' prizes. Same with movies. Highschool Musical 3 was awesome (oh, come on, it was awesome in my head!...), but it won't ever win an Academy Award like Les Misérables did.
In the end, I think it does not matter how society seems to describe the books we read, we shouldn't get annoyed because someone finds chicklit shallow. In most cases, it just is. Still, that doesn't mean, it's bad to read it. It doesn't mean we shoud read nothing but autobiographies anymore.
It might mean, though, that we should hand the person underestimating our taste in books one of Meg Cabot's or Sophie Kinsella's works and let them see for themselves... :)