Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Want To Reread

Top Ten Tuesday is a wonderful little thing dreamed up by the wonders over at The Broke and Bookish, a lovely favorite of mine. I like a good list and this one seemed fabulous. With my to-read list at Goodreads currently on infinite scroll, it's nice to think about some old favorites and the stories that got me into reading and keep me going as well.

10. Sideways Stories from Wayside High School by Louis Sachar: I loved these stories when I was a kid and I'd pretty much completely forgotten about them until I saw them on Goodreads. It was total facepalm action. I couldn't believe my memory had pushed back some of the greatest characters to ever congregate on the thirteenth floor.

9. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle: This is also a book I read in my childhood--specifically in fifth grade in my reading group led by my fourth grade teacher who is also mom to my now best friend (It's a small place where I come from). I remember thinking it was really awesome and totally captivating, but I really don't remember much from the actual story. Definitely time for a reread.

8. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs: Ok, so I literally finished this book less than a month ago, but I love it. I loved this story so much and I'm obsessed with how the actual book looks and I want everyone to read it including myself. So go read it!!

7. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series by Ann Brashares: I've read the first two, possibly three, books in the series and I've recently acquired the fourth. I think there's a fifth one out there where they're all grown-up, which I want to read too. But I want to read them in order because I'm such particular about that sort of thing, so I must break out my dusty copies and get going! Plus, my three best friends from college and I did a traveling shirt this summer (San Diego to Australia/New Zealand to Anaheim to Redding/Hawaii and back to San Diego), so it fits.

6. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides, Four Blondes by Candace Bushnell, and The Good Patient by Kristin Waterfield Duisberg: As a psych major and morbidly obsessed with depression and suicide, these three books are fascinating to me. The types of characters featured in these novels impact me and I went through a period where I could really relate to their situations. These books remain with me always as they were there for me in that time and rereading them is not only for the pleasure of rereading a good book, but a reminder of what has made me the person that I am today--a person much stronger than I ever thought I was.

5. The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis: This book really helped me feel comfortable with the idea of a heaven and a hell. Though I wouldn't call myself a knowledgeable Christian, I really feel (or maybe I just hope) that Lewis has some amazing ideas about what comes after death and whether or not there's second chances for those who didn't make it to the pearly gates. I'm not going to get all biblical on you, so whether or not you believe in anything at all, this is still an amazing, thought-provoking book and I recommend it to anyone.

4. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas: I don't know if this technically counts as a reread because, although I did read a version of it in high school, I have never read the full novel. We had to read an abridged version for the class. (Boy was I freaked out when I flipped through a friends SparkNotes. It seemed our version didn't even have half of the stuff from the original.) I would really, really, really, really like to read the full thing. I know the movie has basically nothing the same from the book, but I love the movie (Hello! OG Dumbledore Richard Harris is in it!) and I also loved the abridged. Now it's time to gear up for the long haul.

3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky: It's going to be this kick ass indie flick and I read this book I think when I was ten. I loved the YA section of our little county library, though I'm pretty sure I didn't understand a lot of what I read--this book being one of them. Now it's like the cool thing to do, and though I was cool before it was even cool, I guess I need to get back in the loop.

2. Harry Potter series, Twilight saga, Hunger Games trilogy: I don't need to link them. You know what I'm talking about. You read them too. And you reread them too. And you will probably always reread them for the rest of your life because they're absolutely amazing and deserve to be reread. And I will too.

1. The Jessica Darling Series by Megan McCafferty: This series means absolutely the whole world to me, and that's coming from someone who has Harry Potter and Twilight posters plastered on her walls. Jessica Daring is my number one fictional role model. Marcus Flutie is the number one fictional male I swoon over (although I think I decided my perfect man would be a combination of Marcus Flutie and Jim Halpert-think about it Ms. McCafferty... then create!) These books have each come to me in the right moments of my life, finally culminating at the beginning of the year when I completed my collection of the novels and read them all straight through for the first time. As a fourth year college student who has only a semblance of an idea of what she's looking for in life, I take comfort in knowing that if Jess can do it, so can I. WWJDD?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Book Review: Vampire Kisses *Spoilers*

SPOILERS: From first novel of the three. Can't really describe the last two without mentioning the ending of the first.

Pages: 576
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Young Adult/Fiction/Paranormal Romance
Series: Three is Vampire Kisses series
Bought At/Borrowed From: Library bookstore

Finished: September 22, 2011
Reading Competition: Book 24, 8125

Review: This book is comprised of the first three novels from the Vampire Kisses series by Ellen Schreiber. The series follows main character Raven, a goth-to-the-extreme girl obsessed with all things dark, black, and vampiric, stuck in a Ralph Lauren golf club town aptly named Dullsville. She is the only out of place person in the whole town, preferring head-to-toe black ensembles instead of the pastels and plaids worn by the rest of her town. Raven keeps company with Becky, a girl from the wrong side of train tracks who likes Raven for who she is and probably because Raven is the only girl to ever stick up for her. Dullsville becomes happening when a new family moves into the haunted mansion at the top of the hill by the cemetery. No one in town ever sees anyone from the family except the butler, who only ventures out at night to do the shopping. Rumors spread quickly through town that the new family is full of vampires. When Raven hears about them, she is more than intrigued and becomes determined to find out more. (Summary only covers first novel.)

I'm not going to lie, I almost enjoyed myself while reading the first novel, Vampire Kisses. I thought it was interesting to read a vampire love story from the point of view of girl already obsessed with vampires, not accidentally wandering into the world. Raven is much different than other YA paranormal romance heroines and I enjoyed the fresh take on the genre. However semi-original the character is, she gets old really quickly. As if the constant reminders of her "uniqueness" in Dullsville from her spoiled, rich kid peers aren't enough, Raven also loves to remind her reader. From detailed descriptions of her all black outfits that seem straight from a Hot Topic, or should I say "Hot Gothics," and her bedroom accessories from various dark cult flicks to her morbid adorations about her gothic "knight of the night" boyfriend, it seems Raven's life pretty much comprises about how to be as goth as possible. Maybe I'm stereotyping, but her voice in the novel reminds me nothing of a goth at all. In fact, she reminds me of a cheerleader, but instead of saying "Ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod!" she says "I'magoth, I'magoth, I'magoth!" Maybe it would have been much worse if she had been the stereotypical goth, but I possibly could have stayed interested in the series if it weren't for how much Raven annoyed me. I really don't need to be told eighty million times that Raven is a goth (see, even I keep repeating the sentiment! Probably because it's 97% of the novel.) because much of the conflict is based on the difference between her and her classmates, with the majority of it revolving around Trevor, the elite, super popular soccer god. I want to be clear, I have no problems with goth as a lifestyle, a fashion decision, a group, etc... Just the one girl.

I will also mention that I wasn't quite sure I liked Raven's relationship with Alexander. I get their both super goth and lonely and Raven wants to be a vampire with him and they make a perfect gothic pair, but I wasn't sure what else their love was based off of.They do get through some pretty sticky situations together in these first three books, so maybe it's brought them closer together, but I'm a very harsh judger of relationships, even fictional ones, so it may just be that.

Ok, something I liked now... Sheesh. I love how rebellious Raven is. Her family was once like her and in a major way shaped the goth person that Raven is today, but they changed to fit in more with their country club surroundings. Raven is someone who doesn't care what people think about her, sticks up for the people she loves and what she believes in, and will even help those who have hurt her the most in the past. She is a strong-willed character and it's good to see a main character like that. The series was given the ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers award and I'm actually glad it did--maybe Raven will spark a connection in someone who wouldn't normally read because they find similarities between the two. And though she can be annoying, she's got a character and an integrity we could all learn from.

The novels are pretty easy reads. I read the first one in one day while on vacation and it kept me mildly entertained. By the time, I got halfway through the second, I was bored and by the third, I was begging for it to end. I really only finished the third one to get the pages for the reading competition. But, if you are still wildly interested in paranormal romance or maybe you're like Raven, this book is probably going to keep your attention for a little bit.

Rated: 2 -- I will never go back to this series.
Up Next: Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Oh My Bookstore: MFOL

PO Box 1017
Wailuku HI 96793

"In the early days of our Society, Book Fair Days, held in various shopping centers, were the only way to dispose of surplus books. Around 1984, the MFOL opened their first year-round location on Waiehu Beach Road, subsequently moving to the present location in Puunene approximately three years later. The old building is part of the Puunene School, which ceased operating as a school many years ago. Staffed exclusively by volunteers, who are knowledgeable and accommodating to say the least, this is surely 'bargain city,' with hardbacks, paperbacks, and magazines. The suggested donation is ten cents each (a few select books may have a higher suggested donation amount). Our qualified estimate is in excess of 180,000 books to choose from! A visit to the Used Book is always worthwhile, and we're very easy to find." -Maui Friends of the Library Website, quotation and picture

Let's play Two Truths and a Lie with the quote above. Read it, think about it, ok... Which part is a lie.

If you said that there cannot be 180, 000 books in that tiny little place, you are wrong. The building is small, a little dirty, and I have no idea how it actually stays protected from the elements, but there are a ton of books in there. Maybe 180,000, maybe not, but there sure as heck seemed like it. There were floor to ceiling bookshelves around all the edges, plus in lines throughout the middle of the room. There's also a little back room which mostly held romance novels, I think. With the ONE Borders out of business now, I think this is Oahu's only place to buy books, so it should definitely have a lot. And with what they do with the money--fund scholarships for students who want to become librarians and help with funding programs outside of the library's budget--they need a lot of books to do those kinds of things. Also, they're basically the only place in Oahu where you can donate books and media, so they're helping keep quality items out of landfills... and what book isn't a quality item? (Stop thinking Twilight!)

If you said the suggested donation price has to be more than 10 cents, you are wrong again. Yes, the books are indeed 10 cents. Didn't quite comprehend it? 10 CENTS! I'm not kidding. If I literally hadn't been on my way to the airport and had a day to repack my luggage to fit more books, by all means, I would have bought a hell of a lot more books here. And it says that a few can be priced at a dollar and upwards... but the key word is few. In my whole time in the store, I only found one. ONE. And it is probably worth way more than a dollar. It was insane. I was picking up beautiful, brand new looking, hardcover books searching for the telltale yellow dot that this amazing piece of literary finery was more than ten cents, but they weren't. Oh no. I found sooo many books that I had been wanting. And see those books in the picture on the outside of the store? Those books are FREE! Yes free! Not only are they basically giving books away at 10 cents, but they are ACTUALLY giving books away too. And the free books are pretty awesome--I found one little gem called Chuck Norris vs. Mr. T... Yeah, that's a keeper! It was so cool. I want to live there... In the bookstore yes. Actually, I don't because I can pretty much get the books for free anyway. I ended up with one 1$ book, eight 10cents books, and one Disney sing-along video, also 10 cents, for a total of $1.90. Yes, nine books and a classic movie for under 2$ (Don't worry... I definitely made a large monetary donation to them anyway.)

No, the lie in that above quote is that it is easy to find. Let me tell you, it is not. First you have to go on this road that smells like fart (no lie) because of the sugar mill then go around the sugar mill on some scary as road, then you have to cross this rickety "bridge" and go down a super dirty dirt road around the school until finally you get there. My dad and I tried to go one time and we got lost down some street in the middle of the sugar cane fields. The next time we went, we called when we got to the scary road and made them stay on the phone with us until they got there. They were nice about it though.

Anyway, it's an AMAZING store doing AMAZING things and it should be able to keep on doing what it's doing. If you feel the urge to help save the Hawaiian Public Library System, or at least keep it free to its patrons, please follow this link to find ways you can contribute! It is seriously a worthwhile use of your time because these amazing volunteers deserve it.

Bookstore Rating: 5 (How can you beat 10cents books for a good cause?)