Tag Archives: John Green

New Release: January 10th

The bad news is that I have no new releases on my radar for the next few weeks. The good news is that I can take this time to talk about books published earlier this year. First up is a book release January 10th.

The Lowdown: This is the fifth solo fiction release by popular Vlogger and author John Green. He has also released two YA collaborations.

From Goodreads.com

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

Why you should check it out: I always eagerly await new John Green novels. Green does not force himself to release new books on a strict schedule, which allows him to take the extra time necessary to perfect them. This effort really shows in his stories. When reading one of these novels, I find myself wishing for time to slow down. I want to be able to enjoy every single word on the page. I am always torn between wanting to know what happens and never wanting the journey to end.

Green’s novels are also so amazing because he tells great stories. He is able to convey the thoughts and feelings of his characters in a realistic way. This makes the story to feel personal, as if it is about one of your friends. The personal connection makes you invested in the ups and downs of the plot, creating an emotional tie to the characters and their tale. All of this is especially true of this The Fault in Our Stars. I made sure to read this book with a tissue box nearby.

In short you should check this book out because John Green’s books are amazing. This one is no exception. Get your hands on a copy ASAP. Need additional prompting? Read an the first chapter here

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2010 Year in Review

I completed Ready or Not by Meg Cabot on December 28, 2010. This marked the 78th book I read that year, and I met my goal of reading 78 books! In celebration I will be highlighting some of my favorite–and one least favorite–of 2010.

Favorite Pregnancy Read

Nominees: Knocked Up: Confessions of a Hip Mother-to-be by Rebecca Eckler and Baby Bargains, 8th Edition: Secrets to Saving 20% to 50% on Baby Furniture, Gear, Clothes, Toys, Maternity Wear and Much, Much More! by Denise Fields, Alan Fields
Winner: Baby Bargains, 8th Edition by Denise Fields, Alan Fields
Book Cover for Baby Bargains, 8th Edition by Denise Fields & Alan FieldsI judged this category based on which book I felt prepared me the best for my impending motherhood. These two books are very different from each other, which made it difficult to choose a favorite. Knocked Up was an entertaining and realistic tale about the journey of pregnancy; it is a great memoir. Baby Bargains wins the category, however. This book helped me prepare for the new baby the most. As a first time mom, I know nothing about the products available for a newborn. This book was invaluable in helping figure out which items I needed and which I didn’t. I loved how this information was all in one place for easy reference. This is such a great book that I recommend it for all new parents.

Favorite Series

Nominees: Airhead Series by Meg Cabot, Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter, The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins, and Mediator Series by Meg Cabot
Winner: Mediator Series by Meg Cabot
Cover of Shadowland (Mediator #1) by Meg CabotI didn’t realize how many great book series I read this year until I tried to pick a winner. All four series were full of five-star books. In order to pick my favorite, it came down to one fact: which series was the most consistent throughout. Two of these series–Airhead and Hunger Games–started off strong but the series’ finales left me disappointed. To some extent this also happened with the latest Gallagher Girls book. This was not the case in the Mediator books. Each book had a consistency that I enjoyed. I picked up the first and finished the last within forty-eight hours. The entire time I was interested and engaged in the plot. I enjoyed how Cabot was able to tell Suze’s story over six books while keeping the plot connected and entertaining. Note: While the Mediator series wins this category, all four series are “Must Reads” in my book.

Favorite Goodreads “First-Read”

Nominees: Second Time Around by Beth Kendrick, The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness, and the Men Who Could Be Me by Bruce Feiler, Lay the Favorite: A Memoir of Gambling by Beth Raymer
Winner: Lay the Favorite: A Memoir of Gambling by Beth Raymer
Lay The Favorite book cover What I like most about Goodreads giveaways is that they give me a chance to read a book I wouldn’t normally pick up. This is true of all ten books I have won. I appreciated all but one of them, with Lay the Favorite being the one I enjoyed the most. The fact that I had nothing in common with the main character, yet still was still entertained by her story, made the book more interesting for me. The book was a real page-turner that had me interested throughout. I never would have purchased this book, but am really glad that Goodreads gave me the opportunity to read it.

Worst Book of 2010

Nominees: Rich Again by Anna Maxted, The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell, The Gift by Cecelia Ahern
Winner: Rich Again by Anna Maxted
Book Cover of Rich Again by Anna Maxted I previously mentioned that I picked up this book solely based on its cover. The bright colors and shopping bags made me believe the story was a typical Chick Lit plot with a bit more conflict. Instead I found a book with a confusing setup, unlikeable characters, and morbid plot. There was not one enjoyable aspect in this story. I have never before been unable to finish a book and was only able to complete this one because I heavily skimmed it. Such a bad book all around.

Favorite Memior

Nominees: Sliding Into Home by Kendra Wilkinson, My Fair Lazy: One Reality Television Addict’s Attempt to Discover If Not Being A Dumb Ass Is the New Black; Or, A Culture-Up Manifesto by Jen Lancaster, Didn’t I Feed You Yesterday?: A Mother’s Guide to Sanity in Stilettos by Laura Bennett
Winner: Sliding Into Home by Kendra Wilkinson
Book Cover of Sliding Into Home by Kendra WilkinsonSo, I have a confession to make. I have a small obsession with all things related to the original Girls Next Door; Holly Madison, Kendra Wilkinson, and Bridget Marquardt. I was very excited when I heard that Wilkinson was going to be releasing a memoir. I figured this book would give me a little extra insight into what went on behind the scenes of the TV show. I was also interested in learning a bit more about what Wilkinson’s life was life before her time at the mansion and what brought her there. Apparently I wasn’t the only one interested, as it was impossible for me to get my hands on a copy of the book until a week after it had been released! Once I was able to start reading, I found myself enjoying the pace and flow of the story. Her truthful tale was the perfect mix of history and humor that defines her. This book may not be on the same level as some of the other five-star books I read this year, but it served as a needed escape. It was the perfect way to get some “guilty pleasure” time in and getaway from the insanity that can be real life.

Favorite Chick Lit Novel

Nominees: Second Time Around by Beth Kendrick, The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes, Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin
Winner: Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin
The cover of Emily Giffin's now book "Heart of the Matter"Most of the Chick Lit stories I read in previous years were fun and flighty. They involved a single girl shopping her way around town while looking for the right guy. This year I discovered that authors were moving away from this type of story in favor of serious tales. Emilly Giffin was able to successfully tell the tale of the challenges of marriage after writing great “boy meets girl” stories. There was very little about this book that didn’t work. I highly recommend it to all of my Chick Lit blog readers.

Favorite YA Novel

Nominees: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green, David Levithan, Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan, Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, The Hunger Games & Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Winner: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Book Cover of Before I Fall by Lauren OliverIt was a great year for me in terms of YA books. A quick look at a summary of YA books I read least year shows that a high percentage of the them rated four or five stars. It was hard to narrow this list down to the nominees. It was even harder to pick a winner! After much deliberation I picked Before I Fall. I started reading the book with no expectations. Lauren Oliver was a new author who was not from the usual circle of authors I read. I finished the book with a changed attitude. The way in which Oliver discussed the life and death of the main character was inspiring. I find myself often recommending this book to friends and strangers. Such an amazing book.

So, those are some of my favorite books of 2010. What were some of your favorite reads?

Banned Books To Read

Banned Books IconEver since signing up for Banned Books Month, I have been trying to decided which books to read. While I decided fairly quickly to read four books to celebrate the cause–one a week–it has been harder for me to select which four to read. Thanks to links from Steph Su Reads, I’ve been able to find great resources to find banned & challenged books.

The first thing I noticed when browsing the lists is how many of these books I had already read. For example both Looking For Alaska by John Green and The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson have been banned or challenged. I was not surprised to find the Harry Potter series on the list of top 100 challenged books of the decade. The number of banned or challenged books I had previously read as required reading was unexpected. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous–which I read in middle school English–was listed. Also on the list was The Color Purple by Alice Walker, which I read in AP English my senior year of High School. After seeing so many books that I had read, I began to worry that I would have trouble finding new ones to enjoy.

Book Cover of Coraline by Neil Gaiman Eventually I began to find some possibilities that would make interesting blogs for Banned Books Month . I was excited when I noticed Coraline by Neil Gaiman was listed as challenged. This book has been sitting on my “to-read” list for months, waiting for me to purchase it. This challenge would be a great opportunity for me to finally read it.

Book Cover of Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan Boy Meets Boy The second book I added to my list is Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan. While I have read and enjoyed several of the books he has co-written–most recently Will Grayson, Will Grayson–I have yet to read any of his solo efforts. Reading this book for Banned Books month allows me to read a challenged book while checking out some more of his great work.

Book Cover of Twisted by Laurie Halse AndersonLaurie Halse Anderson is an author whose books I have frequently seen mentioned on banned or challenged book lists. Many of my friends have talked about how much they have enjoyed her books. I figured this would be a great chance to check out her work while also reading a banned book. I looked up several of her banned or challenged books on goodreads.com in an attempt to help choose which to read. I decided to add Twisted to my to-read list.

I was pretty successful at picking my first three books. Picking a fourth book has not been as easy. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a possibility. Out of all the books I read during my time in school, I somehow missed this classic. I could read it now and cross it off my “to-read” list, while also reading a banned book. I Was a Teenage Fairy by Francesca Lia Block is another option. This book caught my eye several times as I read different banned/challenged book lists and inspired me to put it on my list. Another alternative is the ttyl Internet Girls Series by Lauren Myracle. The series caught my attention due to the fact it is among the top 10 challenged books of the past few years.

So while I am pretty solid on three of my choices, I’m still wavering on my fourth. I would love some suggestions of what banned books people think I should check out. I know you guys have some great banned book recommendations for me!

Great Book Recommendations

When I make a book recommendation to a friend I am always a tad worried. There is always a fear in the back of my mind that although I loved a book, they could hate it. The same is also true when I pick up a book on the recommendation of a friend. How am I supposed to respond if I hated a book they highly praised? While this has yet to happen, I always get a bit nervous when starting a book plugged by a friend.

My experiences with the Harry Potter series helped me find some great friends. The passion we share for the Harry Potter series often translates to a general love of reading. As that feeling is shared with this great series, I often find many of us to have similar tastes in books. When a love of books and shared interest combine, great book recommendations are often the result.

I credit my discovery of the fantastic world of Young Adult (YA) literature to recommendations from friends. In some cases, the book suggestions come inadvertently. After noticing a few friends commenting on a book on twitter, I will look to get more information about it. Often–as was the case with John Green’s novels– I’ll find myself heading to the bookstore to pick up the book. A love of YA books was born.

My friends are not the only people who recommend books to me via Twitter. I mentioned previously that there are a few fantastic authors that I follow on the site. These authors can also be a great source for recommendations. A while back, Maureen Johnson tweeted how she had written a blurb for Heist Society by Ally Carter. This mention put the book on my radar, and I purchased it on my next bookstore run. I enjoyed the story so much I ended up picking up the author’s Gallagher Girls series. Another successful recommendation!

Sometimes I pick up books based on their covers. Other times I pick up a book based on a suggestion by a friend. While the book cover route has had mixed results, a recommendation from a friend has never let me down. Keep those great book reviews coming, guys!

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan

As someone who has devoured John Green’s first four stories, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on his latest creation, Will Grayson, Will Grayson. I had previously checked out two of David Levithan’s stories, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist and Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List, and enjoyed both. I knew the collaboration of the two great authors would be a must-read.

From Goodreads.com

Will Grayson book coverOne cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.

Hilarious, poignant, and deeply insightful, John Green and David Levithan’s collaborative novel is brimming with a double helping of the heart and humor that have won both them legions of faithful fans.

This book focuses on the story of two teenagers, both named Will Grayson. Each author writes from the point of view of a Will Grayson, alternating narration and characters as the story goes on. Both authors are able to describe this time in a teenager’s life perfectly. They artfully communicate the wide range of feelings teenagers have during these years. The authors capture these complex relationships –platonic and romantic– realistically. The characters they create are so true and believable that you can’t help but turn the pages to see what happens to them next.

The wonderful plot of this story made it hard for me to put the book down. It starts out as two characters in contrasting situations. The path they take to each other is very different compared to anything I’ve experienced, while still being something I found myself relating to. The main story of love is not only something that affects teenagers, it affects everyone.

Review: I read a lot of young adult (YA) books. Often I read these books for purely entertainment purposes. Most of the YA books I read help me escape from my life for a bit, to an enjoyable place free of the every day stresses of an adult. In the most wonderful way possible, Will Grayson, Will Grayson is not that type of YA book. All around an amazing book that is a must-read.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to link to my friend Melissa’s blog. She also recently read this book and had some great insight to share on the topic of love. I hope you enjoy the post as much as I did!

Authors are all aTwitter

Twitter is a fantastic place to get information out quickly. Many authors have realized this, and they are using Twitter to quickly spread the word about their work. This practice helps authors in reaching their existing readers, communicating with them, and giving them updates about their books. In addition authors are also using Twitter to reach out to new readers. I love using Twitter to find new authors and to keep up with my favorite authors.

An example of an author whose books I started reading after I found them on Twitter is Maureen Johnson (@maureenjohnson). I met Maureen at LeakyCon 2009. After the conference I decided to check out Maureen on Twitter. What I found was a stream of hysterical tweets that inspired me to check out her books. I have since read and ejoyed all of her currently published works. Now I use Twitter to keep up with the status of her next book, The Last Little Blue Envelope, due out May 2011.

I follow my favorite authors on Twitter to find out about their newest projects. When an author announces a new book, Twitter is often the fastest way to find out about it. Jane Green (@JaneGreen) tweeted about possible title choices for her upcoming book. Other authors like Ally Carter (@officiallyally) sometimes tweet excerpts from the works they are editing. Looking for a cover or release date for a book? Check out an author’s Twitter account!

Authors don’t only tweet about books while they are writing them. Authors use Twitter to get the word out about their soon-to-be release books. Meg Cabot (@megcabot) recently tweeted about a book giveaway for her upcoming book release. John Green (@realjohngreen) recently posted his tour dates on Twitter for for his upcoming tour.

I find the best way to keep track of my favorite authors on Twitter is using lists. I have created a Twitter list of some of my favorite authors. Feel free to check it out, and hopefully find a great new author! Have an great author I’m not following? Let me know so I can check them out!