Thursday, February 27, 2014

Crush by Richard Siken

Richard Siken’s Crush, selected as the 2004 winner of the Yale Younger Poets prize, is a powerful collection of poems driven by obsession and love. Siken writes with ferocity, and his reader hurtles unstoppably with him. His poetry is confessional, gay, savage, and charged with violent eroticism. In the world of American poetry, Siken's voice is striking.

In her introduction to the book, competition judge Louise Glück hails the “cumulative, driving, apocalyptic power, [and] purgatorial recklessness” of Siken’s poems. She notes, “Books of this kind dream big. . . . They restore to poetry that sense of crucial moment and crucial utterance which may indeed be the great genius of the form.” (from GoodReads)

So I am not a big poetry person at all. I even shy away from books written in verse. But, surprisingly, I really enjoyed this book of poems, entitled Crush.

Richard Siken is an amazing writer and he brings so much emotion to his poems. They are mostly about love and his relationship and the imagery he uses is so effective. It was like I was there with him, and feeling the same emotions. It's all very visceral and tragic but even so it was beautiful to read.

Even if you're not a huge fan of poetry I would definitely recommend this book. You can even read some of his poem's online to see if you like his style. I'm sure it won't be everyone's cup of tea but at least give it a chance.

Rating: 8 out of 10.
FTC: purchased.

2005/Yale University Press/80 pages.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - 175

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine for bloggers and readers to see what new books are going to be released soon.

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they're rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen's relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and -- finally -- a reunion in the city where they first met.

A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith's new novel shows that the center of the world isn't necessarily a place. It can be a person, too. (from GoodReads)

I think this book sounds so cute! A fateful encounter and then the friendship is maintained across great distances. Hopefully it all turns out ok! The Geography of You and Me will be released April 15, 2014.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - 121

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish for bloggers who like to make lists about books.

Top Ten Books I Want to Reread

1. Heist Society by Ally Carter
I just love this series and this is the book that started it all! I forget some of the main details of the heist so rereading it would be fun.

2. Past Perfect by Leila Sales
I have a copy of Mostly Good Girls that I pull out whenever I need something to read because it's just that good. I wish I could do that with Past Perfect because I love the setting of historical reenactment sites.

3. The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
I wanted to live in this beach town when I first read this book and I'd love to revisit it because it's been so cold and snowy.

4. The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti
I read this book so long ago but I remember loving it. Plus it's a road trip book!

5. The Opposite of Hallelujah by Anna Jarzab
This book is super long so I'd really have to dedicate myself to rereading it but it's such a thought-provoking and interesting book.

6. What We Keep is Not Always What Will Stay by Amanda Cockrell
I absolutely adore the title of this book but it's also a funny, well-written, and even sad story.

7. Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley
Another beautiful title with a beautiful story as well. This was the winner of the Printz Award which shows that it's great.

8. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
This book has a really sad ending but the rest of the novel is so good that I think I would torture myself again just to read about a summer in the Pocono's.

9. Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott
My favorite Elizabeth Scott book and I'd love to revisit it.

10. Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
I read this over the summer and it was so fun. The characters were great and Josie was an awesome protagonist.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Year of Mistaken Discoveries by Eileen Cook

Friendship is a bond stronger than secrets in this novel from the author of The Almost Truth and Unraveling Isobel.

As first graders, Avery and Nora bonded over a special trait they shared; they were both adopted.

Years later, Avery is smart, popular, and on the cheerleading squad, while Nora spends her time on the fringes of school society, wearing black, reading esoteric poetry, and listening to obscure music. They never interact...until the night Nora approaches Avery at a party, saying it's urgent. She tells Avery that she thought she found her birth mom but it turned out to be a cruel lie. Avery feels for Nora, but returns to her friends at the party.

Then Avery learns that Nora overdosed on pills. Left to cope with Nora's loss and questioning her own actions, Avery decides to honor her friend by launching a search for her own birth mother. Aided by Brody, a friend of Nora's who is also looking for a way to respect Nora's legacy, Avery embarks on an emotional quest. But what she's really seeking might go far deeper than just genetics. (from GoodReads)

I loved the premise of this book and when it was on Pulse It, I jumped at the chance to read it. I'm so glad I did because Year of Mistaken Discoveries was a great read.

I've never read anything by Eileen Cook before but she's a wonderful writer. I'm definitely going to check out her other books. She has this way of writing with such a genuine voice. There are obviously sad parts in this book and they were handled so well; she's able to incorporate all these different emotions into Avery and it really works.

I loved the idea of looking for birth parents because I think that's something a lot of people who were adopted struggle with. Everyone wants to know where they came from and why they were given up for adoption so Avery's quest makes perfect sense. What happened to Nora was awful but I almost wish more time was spent on that, on how she was being conned. That was such an interesting subplot. But the story is ultimately about Avery and how she reacts to these events.

I really loved the character of Brody. He and Avery clicked right away and it was so funny watching them joke around and tease each other. It was a great relationship and that didn't develop too quickly. My only qualm with Year of Mistaken Discoveries that Avery is quite the detective and I don't think the process would have been quite that easy. But that's a really small negative and I definitely think the majority of people will like this book.

Rating: 8 out of 10.
FTC: read on Pulse It
Release Date: February 25, 2014

2014/Simon Pulse/272 pages.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.

But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.(from GoodReads)

So this book was really interesting. The two main characters, Noah and Echo, had a lot going on in their lives, least of all the romance between them. I enjoyed the novel for the most part even though there were things I didn't like.

Let's start with the good. I thought Noah's and Echo's situations were really unique and interesting to read about. Noah is in foster care because his parents died in a house fire. He has two young brothers living with a different family and his goal throughout the book is to get custody of them. Echo's story is just as tragic as Noah's: her brother is killed in Afghanistan and then your mother (who has bipolar disorder) tries to kill her. She remembers nothing about the night, except for the fact that she was left with scars on her wrists and horrible night terrors.

Echo has repressed the memories of that fateful night and will do anything to remember. Honestly, she has a lot of the details and if I were her I wouldn't want to know. I was also skeptical of how her mother's bipolar disorder was characterized. There's this perception that people who are mentally ill are also violent and it's really a small percentage of them that are. I don't know how fair it was to give the mother this disorder because it really gives bipolar disorder a bad name (not that it has a good name per se but still).

Noah is equally determined to obtain information but this time it's about his brothers. He's obsessed that their foster parents are hurting them even though there is minimal evidence to suggest that (besides them being a bit rude). He wants to raise his brothers which is admirable, but naïve. Even so, I absolutely loved how much Noah adores his brothers and I really like the way his story turned out.

Other things I didn't like: Grace, Echo's "friend." I put that in quotes because she refuses to be seen publicly with Echo because she's trying to maintain her status as a popular girl. But she'll talk to Echo in private sometimes. Echo, drop that girl like a hot potato! I also didn't like how the characters referred to being "in love" just as "in." I'm not kidding, Echo at one point said "I'm not 'in' with him." What does that even mean?!

Besides that, I really did like the ending because you could see Noah and Echo becoming stronger people. Echo is even able to repair the broken relationship she has with her father and stepmother. The book was easy to read and I sped through the pages. Fans of Simone Elkeles's Perfect Chemistry will really like Pushing the Limits.

Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: sent copy by publisher.

2012/Harlequin Teen/392 pages.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - 174

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine for bloggers and readers to see what new books are going to be published soon.

The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings

13576132An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young’s Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

Action-packed, blood-soaked, and chilling, this is a dark and compelling debut novel by Lindsay Cummings. (from GoodReads)

This sounds really interesting and a little creepy. I'm confused about the Murder Complex actually is, but I guess I'll have to read the book to find out. Plus it's a 2014 debut! Look for The Murder Complex on shelves June 10, 2014.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - 120

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish for bloggers who like to make lists about books.

Top Ten Reasons I Love Being a Reader

1. It's fun! I love reading and it's enjoyable for me to curl up with a good book.

2. I'm never bored. Whenever I feel the beginnings of boredom, I just pick up a book and cure those annoying feelings.

3. It's an easy hobby. I love that I can read wherever - on an airplane, in the waiting room, on the beach. Books (and e-readers) are portable so I can take them anywhere.

4. It makes me a better writer. Reading has made me a better writer and student in general (the verbal portion of the SAT? Nailed it). I have a much bigger vocabulary than I normally would and reading all those different sentence structures has made me a more well-rounded writer.

5. I learn new things. I mostly read fiction, but when I read historical fiction I know I'm picking up some facts about that time period (even if others things are untrue). Even just being exposed to new settings is interesting and an educational experience.

6. It's a great way to connect to other people. This sounds counterintuitive because reading is such a solitary hobby but I think it's a great way to connect to others. Through blogging is definitely a big way but my friends and I read the same books so we discuss them and then go see the movie adaptations together. It's a lot of fun.

7. It led me to blogging! Blogging has been so much fun: meeting other readers and authors, learning about new books and sharing my own bookish experiences. I wouldn't trade it for anything!

8. It's an escape. Reading allows me to leave my own world for a little and it's great way to relieve stress. It's not healthy to always worry about your own life and reading is a way to get away from those problems.

9. It makes my room look interesting. This is kind of a shallow reason but my room is overflowing with books and people are amazed that I've read most of them.

10. It can be free. Buying books can be expensive, which is why I utilize my public library. I love that we have them and can't imagine living in an area without one. I love being able to save a little money by borrowing books.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Perfect Scoundrels by Ally Carter

Katarina Bishop and W.W. Hale the fifth were born to lead completely different lives: Kat comes from a long, proud line of loveable criminal masterminds, while Hale is the scion of one of the most seemingly perfect dynasties in the world. If their families have one thing in common, it's that they both know how to stay under the radar while getting-or stealing-whatever they want. No matter the risk, the Bishops can always be counted on, but in Hale's family, all bets are off when money is on the line. When Hale unexpectedly inherits his grandmother's billion dollar corporation, he quickly learns that there's no place for Kat and their old heists in his new role. But Kat won't let him go that easily, especially after she gets tipped off that his grandmother's will might have been altered in an elaborate con to steal the company's fortune. So instead of being the heir-this time, Hale might be the mark. Forced to keep a level head as she and her crew fight for one of their own, Kat comes up with an ambitious and far-reaching plan that only the Bishop family would dare attempt. To pull it off, Kat is prepared to do the impossible, but first, she has to decide if she's willing to save her boyfriend's company if it means losing the boy. (from GoodReads)

This series is one of my absolute favorites and I'm so glad I finally got to read book #3. Perfect Scoundrels did not disappoint in the least!

Even though each book in the Heist Society series features a heist of some sort, spying, surveillance, and just all around subterfuge, each story is unique and I could read them all day. This book is a little different because this time Hale is the mark instead of being the con artist. That makes it a lot harder for Kat and her merry band because the stakes are much higher. Hale is much less cooperative in Perfect Scoundrels because his grandmother just died and he doesn't want to see that anything is wrong. He comes around eventually but these events definitely put a strain on Hale's and Kat's relationship.

I don't have much to say about this book because I enjoyed it so much. It looks like there will be a 4th book (it's on GoodReads) and I really hope that's the case! I can't get over how clever and smart Perfect Scoundrels and the rest of this series is!

Rating: 9 out of 10.
FTC: Christmas gift

2013/Hyperion/328 pages.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers

Climbing to the top of the social ladder is hard—falling from it is even harder.  Regina Afton used to be a member of the Fearsome Fivesome, an all-girl clique both feared and revered by the students at Hallowell High... until vicious rumors about her and her best friend's boyfriend start going around.  Now Regina's been "frozen out" and her ex-best friends are out for revenge.  If Regina was guilty, it would be one thing, but the rumors are far from the terrifying truth and the bullying is getting more intense by the day. She takes solace in the company of Michael Hayden, a misfit with a tragic past who she herself used to bully. Friendship doesn't come easily for these onetime enemies, and as Regina works hard to make amends for her past, she realizes Michael could be more than just a friend... if threats from the Fearsome Foursome don't break them both first.

Tensions grow and the abuse worsens as the final days of senior year march toward an explosive conclusion in this dark new tale from the author of Cracked Up To Be. (from GoodReads)

Review:Wow! This novel was so crazy. It was difficult to read because of the content, but at the same time I couldn't put it down. Some Girls Are makes you look at high school a lot differently.

Some Girls Are details bullying in one of its most extreme forms. The popular crowd, known as the "Fearsome Fivesome," engages in humiliation, isolation, cyber bullying and various types of physical and emotional abuse. This mistreatment isn't just limited to the normal student body: if one of the members has a falling out with the group, they are also subject to this torture. It's truly horrible and you can't help feeling bad for Regina, even though she did the same awful things beforehand.

It's hard for me to comprehend how people are able to go through their day spreading rumors, locking others in supply closets and pushing them into lockers. It takes a lot of time and energy for these wars, not to mention some creative manipulation. Is the average high school girl clever enough for the schemes that Courtney Summers outlines? I'm not quite sure. Also, how prevalent is this type of bullying? I must have had an exceptionally good high school because none of this ever happened. I'm not saying there wasn't bullying, but these all-out offensives against one person in which most of the school either participates or knows about? That didn't happen. Most of the bullying I saw was people being left out or teasing. Maybe I was just naïve.

Even though most of the characters acted like sociopaths, Some Girls Are is very engaging. You want to see Regina win and watch how her relationship with Michael develops. There were some interesting twists that will keep you on your toes. Unfortunately, the book kind of just ends. I wish there was more resolution than what we got. I liked the book, but obviously didn't at the same since I'm not really a fan of seeing people be constantly bullied.

Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from the library

2010/St. Martin's Griffin/246 pages

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - 173

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine for bloggers and readers to see what new books are going to be released.

The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor

18599583Bettina Vasilis can hardly believe it when basketball star Brady Cullen asks her out, and she just about faints when her strict father actually approves of him.

But when school starts up again, Brady changes. What happened to the sweet boy she fell in love with? Then she meets a smoldering guy in his twenties, and this “cowboy” is everything Brady is not—gentle, caring, and interested in getting to know the real Bettina.

Bettina knows that breaking up with Brady would mean giving up her freedom—and that it would be inappropriate for anything to happen between her and Cowboy. Still, she can’t help that she longs for the scent of his auto shop whenever she’s anywhere else.

When tragedy strikes, Bettina must tell her family the truth—and kiss goodbye the things she thought she knew about herself and the men in her life.

Leslie Connor has written a lyrical, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful story about family, romance, and the immense power of love. (from GoodReads)

Hmm this sounds like a very interesting romance. I can't wait to read it. The Things You Kiss Goodbye will be released June 24, 2014.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - 119

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish for bloggers who like to make lists about books.

Top Ten Books That Will Make You Swoon

1. The Angelfire Trilogy by Courtney Allison Moulton
This book series features one of my favorite all time romances: Ellie and Will! What I love so much is that their relationship is very well-developed and we're actually shown (instead of being told) how much they adore each other.

2. The Season by Sarah MacLean
The Victorian period is ripe for swooning - pretty dresses, tailored suits and fancy balls are some of the hallmarks of the era.

3. The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan
Not a book you would normally consider swoon-worthy (because it features zombies) but I really enjoyed the relationship between Gabry and Elias amidst the chaos.

4. Perfect You by Elizabeth Scott
I read this book so long ago but it still sticks with me! Kate can't exactly figure out what's going on between her and Will, but you'll be pleasantly surprised by the end.

5. The Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray
The romance isn't a huge part of these novels, but that actually makes it better. The few times Kartik appears on page (at least in the first two novels) were such treats that I looked forward to reading.

6. The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
There's a love triangle between Jem, Will and Tessa, but it's not contrived in the least. Both boys are great matches for Tessa and their feelings for each other are very complicated.

7. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Rhett Bulter may be a rogue, but he's such a great character to read about and definitely made Scarlett (and me) swoon.

8. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Same with Mr. Darcy!

9. Past Perfect by Leila Sales
I just love this novel. A feud between the Revolutionary War and Civil War reenactment sites? An elicit romance? It's perfect!

10. Glimmerglass by Jenna Black
I didn't like this book when I first read it but I actually enjoyed the love triangle. I still need to read the last book of the trilogy to find out what happens!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Book vs. Movie: Vampire Academy

On Friday I went to see Vampire Academy on its opening night. My friend bought the book so she could read it before the movie premiered, which is how I ended up reading it too. I really like the series now but I would recommend the movie only for fans of the series.

With any book to movie adaptation, a lot of the information about the new world gets lost in translation. Vampire Academy does a good job of attempting to explain the differences between Moroi, Dhampir, and Strigoi, but even I was a little confused and I've read the first two books. That kind of exposition just works better in books.

The movie is also really fast paced and jumps from plot point to plot point. Normally that makes for an exciting movie but events were happening so fast the viewer doesn't get enough time to fully understand what's going on. The main point of the story is that Rose is trying to protect her friend Lissa (who's a vampire) from someone that keeps leaving dead animals and messages in blood in her room. Rose is a dhampir, which means she's training to be a guardian to Lissa, who is next in line for the royal throne. If you add in Rose and Lissa's supernatural mind connection, Rose's growing attention to her instructor, and regular high school drama, you have a story with many subplots and it didn't work well in the film. There was just too much going on.

The actors and actresses did a good job, though I thought they could have been better. I imagined Dimitri a lot differently. I thought that the actresses who played the headmistress and Mia needed work though. Their portrayal of the characters was very one-dimensional, though that might have been due to the dialogue.

Honestly, this movie isn't that good and I probably would have hated it if I hadn't read the book. I would be very surprised if the rest of the series gets made into movies too.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Ink by Amanda Sun

On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they'll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive. (From GoodReads)

I am of two mind when it comes to Ink. Some parts I really liked and others I could have done without. Why do authors have to make it so hard to figure out my feelings about books?!

We'll start with the good. I loved the setting. Japan is awesome and we got to see the country from an American (non-tourist) perspective, making it easy to relate to Katie. She talked a lot about the food, language, culture and education, making it a super informative read. It seemed like the author knew a lot about Japan and I would love to visit there someday. The other part I enjoyed was the mythology. The ability for your drawings to come to live seems really cool, but we learn that it's more of a curse than a blessing. I just love the originality and Ink is definitely a breath of fresh air to the YA fantasy genre.

What I didn't like was the romance between Katie and Tomohiro, the hero of the story. Sometimes I would really enjoy their interactions and then Katie would go and say how she couldn't live without Tomohiro, even though she's only known him about a month. We get the classic story of boy ignores girl, tells her to stay away from him because he's "dangerous," girl pursues boy anyway and they fall in love. It's just so predictable and Katie comes off as a stalker in the beginning. I was also disappointed in the ending. I thought for once we would have the heroine actually make the choice that is best for her, but alas that doesn't happen. 

So I don't know what to think. Ink has both good and bad qualities. I suppose you'll have to decide for yourself.

Rating: 7 out of 10.
FTC: copy sent by the publisher.

2013/Harlequin Teen/326 pages.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday - 172

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine for bloggers and readers to see what new books will be released soon.

Nil by Lynne Matson

17225463On the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have one year. Exactly 365 days--to escape, or you die.

Seventeen-year-old Charley doesn’t know the rules. She doesn’t even know where she is. The last thing she remembers is blacking out, and when she wakes up, she’s lying naked in an empty rock field.

Lost and alone, Charley finds no sign of other people until she meets Thad, the gorgeous leader of a clan of teenage refugees. Soon Charley learns that leaving the island is harder than she thought . . . and so is falling in love. With Thad’s time running out, Charley realizes that to save their future, Charley must first save him. And on an island rife with dangers, their greatest threat is time. (From GoodReads)

This sounds really interesting! I love how you have only a year to get off the island - makes it much more exciting. Nil will be released on March 4, 2014.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday - 118

Top Ten Tuesday was started by The Broke and the Bookish for bloggers who like to make lists about books.

Top Ten Books That Will Make You Cry

1. The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale
One of the characters dies in this book (which you don't expect because this book is a comedy) and I just bawled my eyes out. I have no idea why I identified with this book so much but I was a mess. I don't know if anyone else was super sad while reading, but I sure was.

2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
This is a pretty obvious pick and I know there won't be a dry eye in the theater when the movie is released.

3. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
Major character death that everyone knows by now since it was in the movie. It was heartbreaking.

4. The Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton
A few side characters die and while I wasn't too invested in them, Ellie and her friends are so upset that it's bound to make the reader shed a few tears as well.

5. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
The main character's dad has cancer. The book was good but that part was horrible.

6. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
This novel describes the evacuation of Lithuanians to Siberia during WWII. Just an awful event that not that many people are aware of.

7. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
The ending is really sad and unexpected. I can't remember if I cried during the book, but I definitely did while watching the movie.

8. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
I read this for school in sixth grade and everyone was so upset after the ending since it involves dogs.

9. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
I didn't cry at the ending but I know there are people that will. So be prepared!

10. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
This was sad in a good way - just a perfect ending.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Fangasm: Supernatural Fangirls by Katherine Larsen and Lynn Zubernis

Once upon a time not long ago, two responsible college professors, Lynn the psychologist and Kathy the literary scholar, fell in love with the television show Supernatural and turned their oh-so-practical lives upside down. Plunging headlong into the hidden realms of fandom, they scoured the Internet for pictures of stars Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki and secretly penned racy fan fiction. And then they hit the road—crisscrossing the country, racking up frequent flyer miles with alarming ease, standing in convention lines at 4 A.M.

They had white-knuckled encounters with overly zealous security guards one year and smiling invitations to the Supernatural set the next. Actors stripping in their trailers, fangirls sneaking onto film sets; drunken confessions, squeals of joy, tears of despair; wallets emptied and responsibilities left behind; intrigue and ecstasy and crushing disappointment—it’s all here.

And yet even as they reveled in their fandom, the authors were asking themselves whether it’s okay to be a fan, especially for grown women with careers and kids. “Crazystalkerchicks”—that’s what they heard from Supernatural crew members, security guards, airport immigration officials, even sometimes their fellow fans. But what Kathy and Lynn found was that most fans were very much like themselves: smart, capable women looking for something of their own that engages their brains and their libidos.

Fangasm pulls back the curtain on the secret worlds of fans and famous alike, revealing Supernatural behind the scenes and discovering just how much the cast and crew know about what the fans are up to. Anyone who’s been tempted to throw off the constraints of respectability and indulge a secret passion—or hit the road with a best friend—will want to come along. (from GoodReads)

So I am a big fan of Supernatural and the fact that the authors decided to analyze what it means to be a fan in the context of this TV show is what really drew me into this book. I loved that the authors are self-proclaimed fangirls and it was cool to see two intelligent, professional women love a TV show as much as I do. I could really relate to their experiences of watching the show, encountering the huge online community and being captivated by the two leads, Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles.

What made this book such a fun read was that the story was divided between some psychological analysis and the authors' fan experience. They travelled to a ton of Supernatural conventions, got to visit the set and interview everyone from the creator of the show to the lead actors themselves. I was super jealous but I loved that I was living vicariously through them.

Some parts were repetitive; they told a few stories more than once. I wasn't always clear on what their findings were but it turns out that they published a more academic book on this topic. Now I'm compelled to check that out too!

Though this book is about fandoms in general, it might not make much sense if you haven't watched Supernatural and are unaware of the fandom lingo that's present online. So I probably would only recommend this book to fans of the show. I'm sure there are some of you out there!

Rating: 9 out of 10.
FTC: purchased

2013/University of Iowa Press/246 pages.