May 29, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (10)

Top Ten Books Written In The Past 10 Years That I Hope People Are Still Reading In 30 Years

These books are in no particular order, because I really can't say that one book is more important than another.

1.  The Letter Q edited by Sarah Moon
- It was honest and emotional; a book I hope is still around for many years.  More importantly, I hope there isn’t a need for its message in the future.
2.  Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
- A book I would recommend to anymore.  A book I have recommended to everyone.
3.  Harry Potter by JK Rowling
- Everyone deserves magic.
4.  The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
- I know how I devoured this series.
5.  Looking for Alaska by John Green
- A book I need to read again.
6.  The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
- A story of myths and legends.  A book with a great hero.
7.  Pluto’s Ghost by Sheree Fitch
- A unique narrative and a story I fall into every time.
8.  The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
- It’s a book that has everything.
9.  Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
- You’ll have a lot of questions coming out of this one.

I'm sorry that I couldn't get to ten.  My brain seems to have walked off somewhere ...

May 17, 2012

Book Review: The Letter Q

Editor:  Sarah Moon
Contributing Editor:  James Lecesne
Length:  266 pages
Publisher:  Arthur Levine Books (an imprint of Scholastic Inc.)
One-Sale Date:  May 1, 2012
Format:  Hardcover

The Letter Q is a novel that contains letters written by authors to their younger selves.
This book consists of sixty-four letters; each written by a different young adult author, and every author is proudly lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.  These authors have written letters, or drawn comics, that are filled with advice, humor, love, honesty, and self-acceptance.
Flashback:  I come home to a brown envelope, and I excitedly tear it open.  I look at the book, The Letter Q, and I think, “This isn’t the type of book I usually read”.  I read the cover, shake my head, and read the cover again.  Now, I have the biggest smile on my face.  I read the press release that’s been slipped inside the book, and I pause when I see Brian Selznick’s name (he wrote The Invention of Hugo Cabret!).  I immediately find his story and read it.  I’m crying before I get to the end. 
Fast-forward:  After I read Brian Selznick’s letter I read the book with the proper care it deserved.  I read the inside jacket; I cried.  I read the three-page introduction and cried.  I cried when I read the first story, and yes, I cried reading Brian’s story the second time.

I am so happy this book exists.

Reading this book was a moving experience and I was honored that the authors chose to share their stories.

You are worthy of love.
You are worthy of respect."  - Benoit Denizet-Lewis (198)

The Letter Q was powerful because it was real.  These stories were not imagined.  These were people sharing their lives with us.  It was humbling to read such honesty.  Each authors’ letter was personal and private, and it felt as if I was given a backstage pass.  Every journey was emotional, and the reader will be affected by the words.  (I know I was).
Everyone has felt scared or insecure or broken.  Some people have considered drastic ways to end the pain.  Countless have gotten their hearts broken, and many have been ridiculed for one reason or another.  The stories in The Letter Q were full of that kind of pain, but the prevailing message was that it gets better.  Each letter provides hope and guidance to the reader.

These letters were full of lessons learned, chances taken, and advice given.

Leave home.  Fail marvelously, and succeed even better.– Nick Burd (212)

The lessons and morals in The Letter Q are universal.

Benoit Denizet-Lewis said, Everyone can be hurt.  It’s okay to be hurt, to show hurt.  It’s also okay to be scared, to not know what to say or what to do …(197) 

The book had a flow to it, and I admired how it was arranged. It felt like it was supposed to be in that order.  By the end I was just blown away.
I liked that some stories discussed religion and theology, but that faith wasn’t the main focus of the novel.

The Letter Q had a more serious tone and was filled with heavy, heartfelt material.  However, there were places where I laughed, (some of the men advised themselves of which stock to buy), and even more where I smiled.
Maybe you should think about writing vampire stories, they might come back into fashion someday. – Jewelle Gomez (147)
This book was meant to be helpful, not hurtful, and it succeeded.

The truth is always obvious.  If something feels wrong, it is probably wrong.– Nick Burd (212)

I couldn’t tell you that I remember every story, but there were some lines that stuck with me.  After I finished reading I was filled with understanding and joy.  I felt lighter and completely happy.

I don’t think I could share my life the way these authors did.
To each contributor of The Letter Q, I say:  “Thank you”.

Premise:  5/5
Plot:  5/5
Writing:  5/5
Overall:  5/5

Disclosure:  I received a finished copy from the publisher.  This did not influence my review in any way.

Note I:  This is an anthology written by 64 authors.  Therefore, I only included the editors' names.  For a full list of authors you can go HERE.
Note II:  I usually rate characters as well, but I did not think that was appropriate to do for this book.

May 14, 2012

Love List (14) - May 14, 2012

I got my wisdom teeth out four days ago and I am fine, but my mouth hurts.
Let's get right to the Love List so I can ignore the pain.
Also, if you could find my Glee season 2 that would be fantastic.  (I'm mostly kidding).

I love ...

How I felt the first time I listened to "Someday's Gone" by The All-American Rejects.
The newest All-American Rejects CD; Kid's in the Street.
Meeting The All-American Rejects.
My friend's reaction to meeting The All-American Rejects.
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.
Meeting Jay Asher, Lesley Livingston and Charles de Lint.
Pink flowered trees.
Thunder and lightning storms when I'm inside.
Storms like the one mentioned above, but at the cottage when I can see the lake.
Good Girl by Carrie Underwood.
The Letter Q.
Scholastic for publishing The Letter Q.
Brian Selznick.
The 64 authors that contributed to The Letter Q.
It's Not Right But It's Okay cover sung by Blaine on Glee.
Vanilla and chocolate Girl Guide cookies.
Ke$ha's music.  (Sometimes I just want to listen to Ke$ha).
"Get Well" cards.
BEA mobile.
BEA customer support.
Dunking egg-loaf in homemade chicken soup.
John and Hank Green's videos.  (I know they were on a previous Love List, but I love them even more after Hank's latest video [May 11th 2012]).
That The Near Witch paperback comes out tomorrow!
That A Rocket to the Moon covered Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen.
This quote:  "The best way out is always through." - Robert Frost
My family.
My shorter hair.

So much more.


PS:  I will be in New York in 21 days!  *insert excited screaming here*
Yes, I do still need to buy a suitcase.

May 9, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (9)

Top Ten Favourite Quotes From Books

Let's get right to it!  Notes at the bottom.

1.  Lock & Key by Sarah Dessen
"What is family?  They were the people who claimed you.  In good, in bad, in parts or in whole, they were the ones who showed up, who stayed in there regardless.  It wasn't just about blood relations or shared chromosomes, but something wider, bigger.  Cora was right - we had many families over time.  Our family of origin, the family we created, as well as the groups you moved through while all of this was happening:  friends, lovers, sometimes even strangers.  None of them were perfect, and we couldn't expect them to be.  You couldn't make any one person your world.  The trick was to take what each could give you and build a world from it."

2.  Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris
"'Just don't let the scab seal the pain in, okay?'"

3.  Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen
"There are some things you rely on in this world, like a sure bet.  And when they let you down, shifting from where you've carefully placed them, it shakes your faith, right where your stand."

4.  The Host by Stephenie Meyer (I see you shaking your head, but read the quote first).
"'I like it when pessimism goes unrewarded.'"

5.  Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
"'I'm doing the best I can under the circumstances.'"

6.  Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
"No one knows for certain how much impact they have on the lives of other people.  Oftentimes, we have no clue.  Yet we push it just the same."

7.  Pretties by Scott Westerfeld
"Everyone in the world was programmed by the place they were born, hemmed in by their beliefs, but you had to at least try to grow your own brain. Otherwise, you might as well be living on a reservation, worshipping a bunch of bogus gods."

8.  The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
"A girl could lose heart in this world."

9.  The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
"You were lucky, more than blessed, if you got a goodbye at all."

10.  Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
"It is not the same thing to be good and to be kind."

My favourite quote:  "The best way out is always through." - Robert Frost

I love love love quotes, so this Top Ten Tuesday was incredibly perfect for me.  I have a bunch of quotes written on my door, so I just picked from them.
In making this list I've learned that my favourite quotes are not very happy.  I don't know if that makes me a pessimist or a realist, but I'm not really this negative, I swear!
I've also learned that I may need to expand my horizons since half my quotes are taken from Sarah Dessen's books, however, I love her books.
I always remember the more serious quotes.  It's those that stick with me.  I laugh at the hilarious ones, but I don't write them down.

May 7, 2012

Series Review: The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure

Title:  The Maze Runner
Author:  James Dashner
Length:  374 pages
Publisher:  Delacorte Press (an imprint of Random House Inc.)
On-Sale Date:  August 24th 2010
Format:  Paperback

Length:  360 pages
Publisher:  Ember (an imprint of Random House Inc.)
On-Sale Date:  September 13th 2011
Format:  Paperback

Title:  The Death Cure
Length:  324 pages
Publisher:  Delacorte Press (an imprint of Random House Inc.)
On-Sale Date:  October 11th, 2011
Format:  Hardcover

Thomas wakes up in a box with no memory of his life.  He guesses that he’s around sixteen, but isn’t sure.  He knows what a car is, but never remembers being in one.

This isn’t simply memory loss.
Thomas and numerous other boys awoke in the exact same way only to be thrust into the Glade.  Every boy has a job in the Glade and life follows its pattern.  Food and supplies arrive in the box once a week and a new Glader shows up once a month.
Until Thomas.
Thomas’ arrival triggers events that the Gladers could not have foreseen.  There’s a new arrival the very next day, and she (yes, I said “she”) falls into a coma for days.
Teresa causes chaos, and it doesn’t help that her and Thomas share a connection neither of them can understand.
The doors to the Glade stop closing at night allowing the Grievers (giant insect robot monster-types) full access to the Gladers.
The time to escape is now.  The Runners need to find a way out of the Maze.  If they can escape what happens next?
Something WICKED is at work here.

The Maze Runner.  The Scorch Trials.  The Death Cure.
These are books that I saw everywhere, (and you might have seen too), and I was interested in reading The Maze Runner for a very long time.  In fact, it sat on my bookshelf for a year, but now I wish I had read it instead of letting all that time pass.
The Maze Runner was a story that I didn’t expect to enjoy as much as I did.
When I finished reading The Maze Runner I desperately wished that I had the sequel, because I wanted to continue reading immediately.
I had never read a story like this.  There was no book like The Death Cure and I could hardly forget what I felt the moment I read the last words of that story.
You couldn’t wrap your mind around everything that James Dashner threw at you, so you just had to accept what happened (even though you’re screaming “No, no, no”).
Many people would call The Maze Runner, and its series, “boy books”, and they would be right.  There was a male narrator.  There were monsters.  There was death and violence and sometimes I cringed.  However, I couldn’t get enough of this series, (especially The Scorch Trials), and I could not read fast enough.
Every event topped what happened before it.  I didn’t think it could get anymore intense or surprising, but I was wrong every time.  I could not predict one thing.
You thought that Dashner couldn’t possibly have anything worse intended for Thomas, but then yes, something worse was indeed possible.  There were some horrifying parts, but the books would not have been the same without them.
The story was taken to a higher level in each book.  I had no idea what I was getting into, and now that I’ve read through the series, I know that the story was so much bigger than the Maze.
The layout of the story was very well designed.  These books, if done justice, would make incredible movies.
The very end of The Death Cure left me speechless.  James Dashner knew how to create an emotional end.  There were rocks left unturned.  Not every question was answered, and that was for the best (I, for one, don’t think a reader could handle to learn anything else).  The series was intense and fantastic and I will probably never forget The Death Cure.  The story progressed at such a quick pace that you couldn’t catch your breath.  I couldn’t believe what was happening during the entire series, and couldn’t stop reading.
I could not believe this story lived inside someone’s head.
The Maze Runner was intriguing, The Scorch Trials was unbelievable, and The Death Cure made for an unforgettable ending.

This series was addictive and terrifying, and I’m happy to have it on my bookshelves.

Premise:  5/5
Plot:  5/5
Writing:  4/5
Characters:  5/5
Overall:  5/5

Disclosure:  I received a finished copy of The Death Cure from the publisher.  This did not influence my review in any way.