Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Top Ten Books I Think Would Make Great Book Club Picks

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's post is the Top Ten Books I Think Would Make Great Book Club Picks.

This is going to be a super hard one for me.  Because I generally don't read super deep thinking books (they're typically beyond my mind).  And the fact that I'm not currently in a book club (that can be blamed on the fact that I don't have a whole lot of friends in the Madison area).  But I'll give this top ten a try.

1.  The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads
Let's face it, this book is probably the number one book in book clubs right now.  Especially with the movie coming out soon.  I'd have to say this has been the number one book I have been able to push friends/family to read.
2.  If I Stay by Gayle Forman
This book and the one after it play on so much human emotion after a tragedy.  They're absolutely gorgeous books to read.  And since they're super-quick reads, I think they'd be perfect for a book club pick.
3.  The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
Ever wondered what happens to your food before you purchase it from the grocery store?  Or a more accurate question would be: want to know why the FDA was put into place?  This will definitely help with your diet plans (if you want to lose weight).  I suggest discussing this over dinner (just kidding).  It doesn't help that I work in the Nutritional Chemistry and Food Safety department either...
4.  The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
Isn't it fun to romanticize about being queen?  Not if you're married to King Henry VIII.  Now I'm sure any book from this genre would do for a book club. And I'm sure my book club would be all about bashing King Henry VIII and debating about how absolute power can make a man crazy...

5.  The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
This book would be an awesome example of why I need a book club.  I barely understood the emotions behind the plot (let's face it, I barely understood the plot).  It took a lot of people explaining this one to me for my brain to be less foggy.
6.  Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
This book is a very controversial book, and I would have to say it ranks high in my classics-love list.  I believe everyone should have the chance to read this book and debate about it with others.  You'll definitely be left with a love-hate relationship for this book.
7.  Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
The only book on this list that I haven't read yet.  And honestly, I don't think I'm going to read it any time soon unless I have a group of people kicking me for not reading it.  But I like the idea of swooning over this book with other fellow swooners (err, book club goers).
8.  Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
This book is for people who aren't well-versed with old-style books but are looking for some history.  I loved how well this book weaves around the French Revolution (even if you know nothing about it like me).  And the book's just awesome.  Doesn't that mean it qualifies for a book club read?
9.  Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
This is a definite book club read for teens.  There's so much emotion regarding suicide in this book.  And there's a lot of blame.  Whether or not it's right/justified is what could be discussed in the meeting.
10.  Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Out of all of the books on this list, I would say this is the numer one book that needs to be on a book club's reading list.  A lot of controversial issues in this book, and it brings a lot of emotion out of the reader.  And the writer never picks sides, he just tells it like it could be.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Halflings by Heather Burch

Genre:  YA Paranormal Romance
Halflings, Book 1
Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads

Description (taken from Goodreads):
After being inexplicably targeted by an evil intent on harming her at any cost, seventeen-year-old Nikki finds herself under the watchful guardianship of three mysterious young men who call themselves halflings. Sworn to defend her, misfits Mace, Raven, and Vine battle to keep Nikki safe while hiding their deepest secret—and the wings that come with.

A growing attraction between Nikki and two of her protectors presents a whole other danger. While she risks a broken heart, Mace and Raven could lose everything, including their souls. As the mysteries behind the boys’ powers, as well as her role in a scientist’s dark plan, unfold, Nikki is faced with choices that will affect the future of an entire race of heavenly beings, as well as the precarious equilibrium of the earthly world.

So imagine a love triangle (it's easy to imagine).  And right off the bat, you've already picked which one you like.  And then the other one comes into the picture, and you get warm feelings for him as well.  And then we go back to guy number one, and the biggest ice storm comes about (and you wonder why on earth you liked him better).  And then the same happens for number two.  The author does a really good job at making you love/hate both Mace and Raven.

But back to why Nikki is being targeted in the first place.  Some clues are hinted at in the book.  But you're left guessing the whole way through.  Which means you'll be digging your nose into book two.

Would I recommend this book?  If you like love triangles and angels, sure.  I found the romance fun (even though I detest romantic triangles - for the most part).  It was a literally "love me, now hate me" relationship (think of those Old Spice commercials that completely leave you disoriented).

Thanks goes to Zondervan Publishing and Netgalley for providing me a review copy of this book.

Challenges:  Debut Author Challenge and Young Adult Reading Challenge

Sunday, January 29, 2012

In My Mailbox

The "In My Mailbox" post consists of which books we bought during the past week, hosted by The Story Siren.

For review:

From the library:
  • Delirium by Lauren Oliver
    • Amazon | Book Depoistory | Goodreads
      • Dystopian novels have become the new fashion...  I'll admit however that I judged this book by its cover and title.  But so many people said it was good.  And that's when I decided to read the description and wondered why on earth I hadn't read this book yet.
For Review (e-edition):

Life is But a Dream by Brian James
I've only read one other book that really dealt with schizophrenia.  And it was beautiful yet scary all at the same time.  I'm looking forward to this one.  Thanks goes to Netgalley and MacMillan Children's Publishing Group.

The Night She Disappeared by April Henry
Have you ever had moments where you realize someone else's ill fate should have been your own but by chance or luck, it wasn't?  That's what intrigued me about this book.  It sounds like a good mystery.  Thanks goes to Netgalley and MacMillan Children's Publishing Group.

Purchased (e-edition):

My Blood Approves by Amanda Hocking
Since I loved Switched so much, I thought I'd give this book a try.  It has vampires in it, so it must be good (right?).

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Tempest by Julie Cross

Genre:  Paranormal Fantasy

Description (taken from Goodreads):
The year is 2009. Nineteen-year-old Jackson Meyer is a normal guy… he’s in college, has a girlfriend… and he can travel back through time. But it’s not like the movies – nothing changes in the present after his jumps, there’s no space-time continuum issues or broken flux capacitors – it’s just harmless fun.

That is… until the day strangers burst in on Jackson and his girlfriend, Holly, and during a struggle with Jackson, Holly is fatally shot. In his panic, Jackson jumps back two years to 2007, but this is not like his previous time jumps. Now he’s stuck in 2007 and can’t get back to the future.

Desperate to somehow return to 2009 to save Holly but unable to return to his rightful year, Jackson settles into 2007 and learns what he can about his abilities.

But it’s not long before the people who shot Holly in 2009 come looking for Jackson in the past, and these “Enemies of Time” will stop at nothing to recruit this powerful young time-traveler. Recruit… or kill him.

Piecing together the clues about his father, the Enemies of Time, and himself, Jackson must decide how far he’s willing to go to save Holly… and possibly the entire world.

Enter Jackson's world where you've got the girl and the friend who's helping you deal with your time-traveling abilities.  Let me stop and mention that it was very refreshing to read from a guy's point of view. Seeing his girlfriend from his eyes and the small quirky things she did that he loved to see made me really love the romance in this book.

Now back to time travel.  The idea of time travel is so friggin intense and difficult to wrap your head around that you really have no idea of where you're going if you don't know the beginning and the end.  That's why we let the authors write these books, and I just read them for the ride.  Sure, there were some very disorienting moments where I had to question when on earth Jackson was.  But Jackson was questioning that as well, so I suppose I was meant to be a little disoriented.

And you want to know the funny part?  The day that everything happens in this book (you'll know what I'm talking about when you read it) is the day I married my husband (I kid you not).  So, yes I remember exactly what I did that day.  And throughout Jackson's story on this day, I was thinking about how I was getting my hair done, getting dressed, shoving cake in my husband's face, etc.  Personal side note from the story that you probably don't care about...

Bottom line, I was very intrigued with this story.  There were so many spots where you wonder what's going on.  And I believe enough mystery was added to make you want to read more.  And the romance?  I loved it (and this is coming from a not-so-super-romantic person).  Am I anxiously awaiting the next book in this series?  Oh yeah!

A special shout out goes to Mindy from Magical Urban Fantasy for letting me participate in this ARC tour. If you are interested in participating in one of her tours, check out her ARC Tour page.

Challenges:  Debut Author Challenge

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Soul to Keep by Rachel Vincent

Genre:  YA Paranormal Fantasy
Soul Screamers, Book 3

Description (taken from Rachel Vincent's website):

Kaylee has one addiction: her very hot, very popular boyfriend, Nash. A banshee like Kaylee, Nash understands her like no one else. Nothing can come between them. Until something does.

Demon’s breath. No, not the toothpaste-challenged kind. The Netherworld kind. The kind that really can kill you. Somehow, the super-addictive substance has made its way to the human world. But how? Kaylee and Nash have to cut off the source and protect their friends—one of whom is already hooked. And when the epidemic hits too close to home, Kaylee will have to risk everything to save those she loves.

I really love this series.  I enjoyed the first two books.  However, I felt like this one started out a little slow.  But no matter, I was completely hooked once I was halfway into the book.  I still agree with my statement that the plot lines are predictable.  However, it's the ride through the book that makes it worth it.

When Kaylee and Nash go chasing the root cause of the new drug fad, I got intrigued.  And while the theme of this book is a little different from the first two books, the emotions feel real.  However, I think it hit a little too close to home for me, and that's why I can associate so well with Kaylee and her struggles (even though I don't have that pesky screaming ability).

Honestly, what other books out there are about banshees?  If paranormal fantasy is one of your favorites, then you'll want to read these books.  If you're someone like me who can't sit through contemporary novels very well but will read anything regarding real-life situations with the added paranormal twist, then go read these books.

Challenges:  TBR Pile Challenge and Young Adult Reading Challenge

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly post hosted by Breaking the Spine, and it spotlights upcoming books that we as readers are anxiously awaiting...

Waiting by Carol Lynch Williams
Genre:  YA Contemporary
Carol Lynch William's website
Expected publication date:  May 1, 2012
Amazon | Book Depository | Goodreads

Description (taken from Goodreads):
After her brother’s death, a teen struggles to rediscover love and find redemption in this gripping novel. Growing up in Africa and Latin America as the children of missionaries, London and Zach were as close as could be. And then Zach dies, and the family is gutted. London’s father is distant. Her mother won’t speak. The days are filled with what-ifs and whispers: Did Zach take his own life? Was it London’s fault?

Alone and adrift, London finds herself torn between her brother’s best friend and the handsome new boy in town as she struggles to find herself—and ultimately redemption—in this authentic and affecting novel from award-winning novelist Carol Lynch Williams.

Now why did I pick this book?  Because it deals with some powerful emotions.  It caught my attention one day, and that's why I want to read it.
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