Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (#2): The Secret Keeper

Thankfully I only have two weeks left to wait for this one:

The Secret Keeper
The Secret Keeper
Publication date: 10/9/12 10/16/12

I devoured Kate Morton's first three books and she has become one of my all-time favorite authors. These are not the kinds of books I ever expected to love so much, but they have got me totally hooked. They are mysterious and tragic and utterly addicting!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (#3): Series I Haven't Finished

This weekly feature is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

1. Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon -- I haven't finished all the published books in this series, not because I lost interest, but rather because I know just how long I have to wait for the next installment. I will read # 7 when we get closer to the publication date for #8

2. Stephanie Plum series, but Janet Evanovich -- I really liked the first two, but other books always seem to grab my attention instead of picking up the next one in this series.

3. Fallen, by Lauren Kate -- I'm not sure why I haven't read the final installment in this series since I was really looking forward to it and bought it when it first came out. Maybe I just don't want it to be over?

4. Wicked Lovely, by Melissa Marr -- I've read 3 out of 5. I never read the other two because I didn't remember a whole lot from the first 3 and wanted to re-read them first. It definitely didn't help that I've been making a conscious effort to only read new books instead of re-reading old ones. (The To-Read pile must be tamed somehow!)

5. The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart -- I've only read the first one and I enjoyed it, but it didn't make me want to dive into the rest ASAP like some other series.

6. The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, by Rebecca Wells -- Only read one of these and I'm pretty sure it wasn't the first one. It kind of read like a stand-alone book, so I never felt any urgency to get to the others.

7. The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, by Michael Scott -- My husband loves these books and got me into reading them. I was all caught up, but then never read the last one. While I enjoyed the rest of them, it's just not one of my favorites series.

8. The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis -- These are classics I feel I should have read long ago, but have only managed to read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (for a college class no less!). Someday.

9. Earth's Children, by Jean M. Auel -- I absolutely loved the first three. The Clan of the Cave Bear was the very first book that ever made me cry (yes, I actually consider that a excellent quality in a book). But, after a while I started to agree with a lot of the series' detractors -- too much description of flora and fauna and the books were just getting too darn long. I skimmed The Plains of Passage (#4) to get the gist of how things turn out and then I abandoned ship.

And one I suffered through, but wish I hadn't bothered:

10. Incarceron, by Catherine Fisher -- I'm actually intrigued by the fact that they are making this into a movie. I found the books slow and weird and just couldn't get into them, even though I did manage to finish them both. I still like the idea behind the books even though I didn't like its execution. I think it will be interesting to see a movie made from a book I didn't like, as opposed to the opposite that almost always leaves me disappointed anyway. For this one, I figure there's only room for improvement.

P.S. I was thinking of writing a bonus list with series I own, but haven't even started yet, but honestly that list scares me! And truthfully it's probably even longer than this list of 10!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday (#1): The Casual Vacancy

This might be cheating a little bit, because the publication date is only 8 days away (not that I'm counting or anything!), but I absolutely can't wait to read....

The Casual Vacancy
The Casual Vacancy
Expected Publication date: 9/27/12

I am so curious to see what JK Rowling has up her sleeve for this next stage in her writing career. I do not want to compare her new book to Harry Potter because that series is in a class of its own, but I really want to see what else this incredibly talented woman can dream up! Thankfully I don't have to wait too much longer...

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (#2): Top Ten Bookish People I Want to Meet

I am 100% certain I'd make a blubbering fool of myself if I ever actually had the opportunity to meet anyone on this list, but it would still be incredibly awesome to meet any of these super-talented people! Thanks to The Broke & the Bookish for hosting this weekly feature.

1. J.K. Rowling - This needs no explanation.

2. Diana Gabaldon - My husband recruited his parents to get me an autographed copy of Outlander when she had an book signing in their area, (which was awesome!) but I never got the chance to meet her myself.

3. Jenny Downham - British author of two of my all-time favorites Before I Die and You Against Me

4. Kate Morton - Author of The House at Riverton, The Forgotten Garden, The Distant Hours, & the soon-to-be-released-I-absolutely-cannot-wait-to-read-it, The Secret Keeper!

5. Suzanne Collins - Another favorite author, seriously don't make me choose between all of these lovely ladies (& men) because I don't think I could!

6. Sara Gruen -- Author of one of my absolute favorite books that is not part of a series, Water for Elephants.

7. Lauren DeStefano -- My aunt actually did meet her! And I love her facebook posts all about her experience as a writer -- very interesting and inspiring.

8. Jenny Lawson -- simply because her debut memoir, Let's Pretend This Never Happened was utterly hysterical

9. John Marsden -- because the books of his Tomorrow series were the my "gateway" YA books that got me hooked on the genre.

10. Nathan Fillion -- Not only does he play the role of a writer on TV's Castle, he's also one of the founders of the non-profit Kids Need to Read -- a very worthy cause & very inspirational!

Who would you love to meet?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (#1): Books That Made Me Think

It's been awful quiet around here! And it's not that I haven't been reading, but I can't honestly say I've been reading anything worth writing a review about to share with the world. That's quite a drought of quality books for me, since I last posted all the way back in July -- goodness! I won't make any grand promises for daily or even weekly posts, but I think I will promise myself (and you) to read more books that get me excited, rather than falling into the trap of only reading books I feel I "should" be reading that clearly don't leave me feeling very inspired!

Anyway, as I was thinking about my lack of posting and the sad state of my current reading list, it was quite ironic that today of all days I came across a weekly blog feature over on the Broke & the Bookish. They host a topic each week and this week just happens to be "The Top Ten Books That Made You Think." While nothing I've been reading lately qualifies, answering this question has reminded me about the types of books I'd like to be reading more of. Truthfully, these are the books that have become some of my favorites because they really draw me in and stay with me long after I've turned the last page. So without further ado, my very first Top Ten Tuesday List:

1. Before I Die, by Jenny Downham -- This one is about a 16 year old girl dying of cancer. Not only did it make me think, it truly made me feel. (And cry buckets of tears, if I'm totally honest.) A totally brilliant book that stayed with me long after I finished it.

2. You Against Me, by Jenny Downham -- This book poses all sorts of questions. To quote my own review, "Just how far would you go to protect someone you loved? How important is family loyalty? What would it take for you to turn your back on your own family? When the pressure is on, would you do what is right or what is easy? Does love really conquer all?" I'm convinced that no matter what plot or characters she writes about next, Jenny Downham will ALWAYS write a book that makes you think and that's precisely what I love about her.

3. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins -- I didn't think it could possibly live up to the hype, but it absolutely does. For days after reading this book, I couldn't stop thinking about what I would do if I were Katniss. Could I sacrifice myself for someone I love? Would I have the courage to fight back against such a corrupt government? What would I do if I were placed in an arena and told to kill or be killed? It's the type of book that addresses so many important issues and just had my mind racing. 

4. The Help, by Kathryn Stockett -- This book brought a difficult period in American history to life for me. It made me think about how cruel humans can be to each other and the audacity of some to dare think themselves superior to others based on something as insignificant as skin color. It also made me realize how easily one person's evil can spread and how every single person's actions matter. There is a lot of food for thought in this one, especially for those of us who've only read about the Civil Rights era in textbooks.

5. Heaven is Here, by Stephanie Nielson -- This is a memoir written by a woman who has survived the unimaginable. It not only made me wonder if I could ever live through what she lived through, but it also opened up my eyes and taught me about the culture and family life of a typical (non-polygamist) Mormon family which was quite foreign to me. It really got the wheels turning in my head, trying to understand a point of view and a way of life different from my own.

6. The Journal of Best Practices, by David Finch -- Not having a lot of first hand experience with people on the Autism spectrum, this book was a real eye-opener. It made me think about all the difficulties some people experience just to get through a normal day. It also made me wonder if I could ever be as supportive as this dear man's wife!

7. The House at Riverton, by Kate Morton -- This book has an ending that literally screams the question, "What would you have done?" I won't give anything away, but the conclusion of this novel left my mind reeling for days.

8. The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton -- I spent a good hour flipping back through this book after finishing it, piecing together the answers to all the questions going through my mind. Maybe not as dramatically as in The House at Riverton, but this one also poses the question, "What would you have done?"

9. The Distant Hours, by Kate Morton -- Kate Morton is the master of secrets and secrets in novels tend to breed questions. By the time the whole sordid truth comes out, you can't help, but ask yourself how you would have handled things. (All of this author's novels have a major elements of mystery, so it's hard to describe the questions they pose without giving too much away, but if you read them, you'll know what I mean!)

10. Tomorrow When the War Began, by John Marsden -- No review for this one, but its one of my all-time favorites. It is the first book in a series by Australian author John Marsden. The series is about what happens to a group of teenagers when their country gets invaded and they have to figure out how to survive in the outback. As the series goes on and they start to fight back, they have to make a lot of hard decisions and you can't help but wonder what you would do if you were in their shoes.

If you ask me, books that make me think also make me write better reviews. As it turns out, these books have inspired some of the posts I've been most proud of and I don't think that's a conincidence!