Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Top 10 Tuesday #1

This week's topic is "Books I Want to Re-read"

My Top 10:

1. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love this book. I love fairy tales and this has got to be the best retelling of Cinderella I have ever read. And if there are any of you out there who haven't seen the movie yet, you NEED to read this first. It's so much better!!

2. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Just finished reading the Chamber of Secrets to my younger brother last week. Now he's reading The Prisoner of Azkaban on his own and I wish I had time to read it and all the later books now, too.

3. Cybele's Secret by Juliet Marillier
One of those few books that is actually as good as it's predecessor. I would say it's almost better than Wildwood Dancing(which is saying something) One of those books that is so drop-dead gorgeous you'll be smiling about it every time you think about it afterwards.

I don't read non-fiction much, but this one was amazing! One of those books that I think I can honestly say changed my life. Or at least, my mind. It's psychology (I know, right? Of all the things for me to read a non-fiction book on, I pick psychology!) and absolutely fascinating! And the really cool thing about it is that it's applicable to real life! So yeah, definitely gotta get a copy of that one.

5. The Treekeepers by Susan Britton
I read this book a long, long time ago. I remember really liking it at the time, so I want to read it again and see if I still think the same.

6. The Witch Family by Eleanor Estes
When I was little, I was majorly obsessed with witches. Just the ones in fairy tales and stuff. I checked out like every good book I could find at the library with stories about them and their potions and stuff. Which inspired me to make "potions" with my best friend in my backyard out of mud and seeds and stuff. We actually poured a few--okay, maybe more like 10--into some mason jars of my mom's or grandma's. I actually ran across some of them a while ago. All dried up and sealed/rusted shut. Anyway.... the point is - this book is about witches. Which is(haha) one of the reasons I loved it so much.

7. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Harriet was totally my hero for a while. I carried around a bag with the book, my notebook, pencils, a mirror, etc. and spied on my neighbors and siblings and everyone(shh!! don't tell!). She was right up there with Nancy Drew in my opinion. Best. Ever.

8. Meg's Mysterious Island by Elizabeth Ladd
So adorable! The year I read it, I told my mom that I wanted to dress up as her(in dungarees and an orange jacket with my black cat) for Halloween. And then didn't because I came to the realization that no one would know who I was.

9. The Sue Barton series by Helen Dore Boylston
Sue made me question my desire to be a writer a little bit. I thought she was so cool, and these books made being a nurse sound awesome - however, I grew out of that and went back to the author goal. :)

10. The Betsy~Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace
So sweet and beautiful! For a while I was reading them with my sister(because she hadn't read them yet!), but we only got about halfway through them and the last books are my favorite!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Banned Books Week!

Today as I walked into my school library I saw a bunch of little packages wrapped in brown paper with the word "censored" in red across the front on a bunch of the tables and counters and everywhere and was really confused for a second. Then I saw the sign that said "Banned Books Week" and got really excited. I headed over to the table to read about it. There were a whole bunch of banned books standing on the table (including Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings!) among others which I've heard of, and some I haven't. There were also little buttons very similar to this one:
They had bits from news articles about different book bannings(and burnings), and this list: "the top 10 ludicrous reasons for banning a book", and a poster that had pictures of the authors whose books had been banned or challenged most. And those little brown packages? Each one talked about a banned book and the reason it had been banned.

It was really strange reading all the stuff on display. My opinion kept on changing with each thing I read. But after thinking about it for a while, I think I have come to the conclusion that I am against book banning. Let me explain my reasons for this:

Reading is one of my great loves in life and I have always tried to read books that were clean and wholesome(judging by my own standards and those of my family).

However, one thing I have been grateful for as I've been growing up, is that my parents have always left that choice up to me. And not just the choice of what I read, but also how much I read. My family has been visiting the library weekly since before I can remember, and during those visits my mother would tell me and my siblings that we could check out as many books as we could carry. Which for a five or six year old like myself, was usually pretty close to the library's limit of 25. And I took advantage of that. Oh boy, did I take advantage of that. I would walk up to the check-out counter with my library card between my teeth because my hands were so full, barely able to lift my stack up to the librarians. And that hasn't changed much through the years, though I don't still check out 25 books each time (and I swear I don't still carry my library card in my teeth). But I think if it hadn't been for my mom fueling my love of books by reading to me SO much, putting up with the semi-frequent over-due fines, and not ever disillusioning me by pointing out that I might not have time to read ALL of those books, or telling me what I could or couldn't read, I wouldn't love it so much.

Many of the books that have been banned/challenged are classics, and while I'm not saying that the classics are examples of great literature with perfect role models (because they totally aren't), there are a lot of lessons to be learned from the classics, even if only from the mistakes of the characters. Isn't that the way we learn? Through our mistakes, and those of others?

And really, outside of our own families we don't (and shouldn't) have any control over what is read.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
--1st Amendment to the Constitution--

This is one of the freedoms that was fought for us hundreds of years ago when this country was founded and unfortunately, we must continue fighting for each day.

So this week, celebrate your right to read what you want! Click here, browse the lists of challenged/banned books, and pick either your favorite that you have read, or one that you haven't, but would like to. And, if you're really ambitious you can challenge yourself to pick a book AND finish it this week!

Now, I actually haven't read a whole lot on that list but my favorite hands-down is #1 for the last decade! The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. :) I also enjoyed Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor. One that I am going to read this week: Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson.

Your turn!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

100 YA Book Chain

Snatched this from Chantele Sedgwick's blog: My Writing Bug

Bold = I've Read It
Italics = I Own It
Underline = Started, didn't finish (not counting the ones on here I've only read a couple pages of.)

1. Alex Finn – Beastly
2. Alice Sebold – The Lovely Bones
3. Ally Carter – Gallagher Girls (1, 2, 3, 4)
4. Ally Condie – Matched
5. Alyson Noel – The Immortals (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
6. Anastasia Hopcus – Shadow Hills
7. Angie Sage – Septimus Heap (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
8. Ann Brashares – The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (1, 2, 3, 4)
9. Anna Godbersen – Luxe (1, 2, 3, 4)
10. Anthony Horowitz – Alex Rider (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
11. Aprilynne Pike – Wings (1, 2, 3)
12. Becca Fitzpatrick – Hush, Hush (1, 2)
13. Brandon Mull – Fablehaven (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
14. Brian Selznick – The Invention of Hugo Cabret
15. Cassandra Clare – The Mortal Instruments (1, 2, 3, 4)
16. Carrie Jones – Need (1, 2, 3)
17. Carrie Ryan – The Forest of Hands and Teeth (1, 2, 3)
18. Christopher Paolini - Inheritance (1, 2, 3, 4)
19. Cinda Williams Chima – The Heir Chronicles (1, 2, 3)
20. Colleen Houck – Tigers Saga (1, 2)
21. Cornelia Funke – Inkheart (1, 2, 3)
22. Ellen Hopkins – Impulse
23. Eoin Colfer – Artemis Fowl (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
24. Faraaz Kazi – Truly, Madly, Deeply
25. Frank Beddor – The Looking Glass Wars (1, 2, 3)
26. Gabrielle Zevin – Elsewhere
27. Gail Carson Levine – Fairest
28. Holly Black – Tithe (1, 2, 3)
29. J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
30. James Dashner – The Maze Runner (1, 2)
31. James Patterson – Maximum Ride (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
32. Jay Asher – Thirteen Reasons Why
33. Jeanne DuPrau – Books of Ember (1, 2, 3, 4)
34. Jeff Kinney – Diary of a Wimpy Kid (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
35. John Boyne – The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
36. John Green – An Abundance of Katherines
37. John Green – Looking for Alaska
38. John Green – Paper Towns
39. Jonathan Stroud – Bartimaeus (1, 2, 3, 4)
40. Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl – Caster Chronicles (1, 2)
41. Kelley Armstrong – Darkest Powers (1, 2, 3)
42. Kristin Cashore – The Seven Kingdoms (1, 2)
43. Lauren Kate – Fallen (1, 2, 3)
44. Lemony Snicket - Series of Unfortunate Events (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13)
45. Libba Bray – Gemma Doyle (1, 2, 3)

46. Lisa McMann – Dream Catcher (1, 2, 3)
47. Louise Rennison – Confessions of Georgia Nicolson (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
48. M.T. Anderson – Feed
49. Maggie Stiefvater – The Wolves of Mercy Falls (1, 2, 3)
50. Margaret Peterson Haddix – Shadow Children (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
51. Maria V. Snyder – Study (1, 2, 3)
52. Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
53. Markus Zusak – I am the Messenger
54. Mark Haddon – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
55. Mary Ting – Crossroads
56. Maureen Johnson – Little Blue Envelope (1, 2)
57. Meg Cabot – All-American Girl (1, 2)
58. Meg Cabot – The Mediator (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
59. Meg Cabot – The Princess Diaries (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
60. Meg Rosoff – How I live now
61. Megan McCafferty – Jessica Darling (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
62. Megan Whalen Turner – The Queen’s Thief (1, 2, 3, 4)
63. Melina Marchetta – On the Jellicoe Road
64. Melissa de la Cruz – Blue Bloods (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
65. Melissa Marr – Wicked Lovely (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
66. Michael Grant – Gone (1, 2, 3, 4)
67. Nancy Farmer – The House of the Scorpion
68. Neal Shusterman – Unwind
69. Neil Gaiman – Coraline
70. Neil Gaiman – Stardust
71. Neil Gaiman – The Graveyard Book
72. P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast – House of Night (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 )
73. Philip Pullman – His Dark Materials (1, 2, 3)
74. Rachel Caine – The Morganville Vampires (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
75. Rachel Cohn & David Levithan – Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
76. Richelle Mead – Vampire Academy (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
77. Rick Riordan – Percy Jackson and the Olympians (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
78. Rom LcO’Feer – Somewhere carnal over 40 winks
79. S.L. Naeole – Grace (1, 2, 3, 4)
80. Sabrina Bryan & Julia DeVillers – Princess of Gossip
81. Sarah Dessen – Along for the Ride
82. Sarah Dessen – Lock and Key
83. Sarah Dessen – The Truth about Forever
84. Sara Shepard – Pretty Little Liars (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
85. Scott Westerfeld - Leviathan (1, 2)
86. Scott Westerfeld - Uglies (1, 2, 3,4)
87. Shannon Hale – Books of a Thousand Days
88. Shannon Hale – Princess Academy
89. Shannon Hale – The Books of Bayern (1, 2, 3, 4)

90. Sherman Alexie & Ellen Forney – The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
91. Simone Elkeles – Perfect Chemistry (1, 2, 3)
92. Stephanie Meyer – The Host
93. Stephanie Meyer – Twilight Saga (1, 2, 3, 4)
94. Sue Monk Kidd – The Secret Life of Bees
95. Susan Beth Pfeffer – Last Survivors (1, 2, 3)
96. Suzanne Collins – Hunger Games (1, 2, 3)
97. Suzanne Collins – Underland Chronicles (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
98. Terry Pratchett – Tiffany Aching (1, 2, 3, 4)
99. Tonya Hurley – Ghost Girl (1, 2, 3)
100. Wendelin Van Draanen – Flipped

Now, a question for all of you: What are your favorites on this list? (Because I'm guessing that if you read at ALL, you've read Harry Potter or Twilight at the very least!)

Hope you are having a fabulous week! Read on! :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Spread the Love!

Today I would like to share my love for a very special person.

Yup! That would be Adam Young. As in the Owl City guy. (aka like, my favorite artist in the whole wide world!!) :D

And if you don't know what Owl City is (chances are-you've at least heard "Fireflies"), you need to go spend a couple hours here listening. Because it's amazing. He's amazing. And if you do know what it is and don't like it--well, I don't know if we can be friends...(haha jk!)
Actually I have to admit that I didn't fall in love with it during my first encounter, but I am a genuine convert now!
His music is unlike(and 10x more awesome than) pretty much anything else I've ever heard. And I actually have the privilege of being able to say that I was the first one in my group of friends to like him and so was telling everyone how cool he was and they were like "yeah, yeah...whatever." And THEN they started listening and I was like "I told you so..."

For my birthday this year, one of my friends actually got me his new CD "All Things Bright and Beautiful" and I now have it on my MP3 player. Which is truly fabulous. If I'm having a bad day at school, I just turn that on and wham! Insta-bad-day-be-gone! :D

People I've met who don't like Owl City give me the excuse: "All of his music sounds the same" to which I must say "Not true!" Maybe similar, but each song has its own unique sound AND they're all about different things and insanely creative which is more than can be said for some music. And while I must admit that there is a curiously frequent use of the word "textbook", that's a pretty small thing to complain about when you're getting great music that is clean and fun.

And it makes me happy. So happy. Hot Air Balloon in particular, makes me want to frolic around the house wearing fuzzy socks.

That's it for today, I think. But you can spread the love too! Either for Adam Young or another artist. Who is your favorite artist/song? Why?

P.S. Just on a side note from the fuzzy socks... check this out!!
fuzzy TOE socks!!! I get a pair of these and my life will be complete. ;) lol.

Friday, September 2, 2011

I was going to make myself write tonight...

...but my flash drive is missing.

And I know there's probably people out there who would just pull out their hard copy and start working from that. However, I'm lazy. Meaning, unless my flash drive magically appears in the next little while I will most likely not be writing. Because I actually have been attempting to work from my hard copy for the last few months -- on the few nights where I have actually set out to do something of that sort--and so now, I'm just ready to work from the computer again. But I can't! Unless I start on something totally new... which I really don't want to do right now.

So what are your plans for the weekend? Or do you not have any because all your best friends have gone off to do crazy things without you(like me)?

If that is the case, let me provide you with a few things to do which are at least amusing even if they're not terribly productive:

1) Ever wondered if you would survive the Zombie Apocalypse? Find out here: http://hatsproductions.com/organtrail.html

2) http://cleverbot.com/ --for those of us who really have no one else to talk to...

3)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7t29dNoTxs does that not look adorable?? And yeah, I'll probably cry my eyes out when I go see it, but I've learned that I don't actually mind movies that make me cry that much--especially if it's because it's sad but beautiful.

Any ideas for other fun stuff I could do with my weekend?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Review: Possession by Elana Johnson

Format: Hardback
Number of Pages: 416
Genre: YA Dystopian
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: June 7, 2011
ISBN: 1442417617
Received from: Borrowed from a friend

Description: Vi knows the Rule: Girls don't walk with boys, and they never even thinkabout kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn...and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi's future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.

But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they're set on convincing Vi to become one of them...starting by brainwashing Zenn. Vi can't leave Zenn in the Thinkers' hands, but she's wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous--everything Zenn's not. Vi can't quite trust Jag and can't quite resist him, but she also can't give up on Zenn.

This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.

My Thoughts:

I was so looking forward to reading this book. I entered every giveaway that I could, I changed my profile picture on facebook to the little "tagged" icon, having NO idea what it was about, I started following several blogs of people I had never even heard of before, all in hopes that I might be the lucky one. Well... I wasn't. And my library didn't have it yet (and to the best of my knowledge, still doesn't!) and I kind of have a policy concerning buying books. I don't generally buy a book, unless I have already read it and loved it, or am 105% sure that I will love it. And while I was pretty sure, I wasn't 105% sure...so that was that. Fortunately, one of my book buddies had bought it, and loaned it to me. :)

So I started reading it some afternoon and got through almost half of it before I finally put it down and told myself to go to bed. However the following days were kinda busy what with school starting and stuff with friends, so it was a little while before I got to finish it. But I finally did, and it was insane!

I think this book could get a 5 star rating just because of Vi. She should win like, Best Character of the Year award or something. She was amazing. And, unlike a lot of female protagonists in love stories, she wasn't totally swoony. And when Jag or Zenn messes up, she doesn't instantly forgive them for it.

One of my favorite lines from Vi:

"The sun is supposed to drain a person of life, allow for more sicknesses, yet Jag appeared perfectly healthy. He radiated life like no one I'd ever met. "

I spent most of the book chuckling over the witty dialogue(and interior monologue) and gasping in shock(or in awe @teleportation!!) at the twists and turns of the plot, especially the end! I totally was NOT expecting that. I couldn't help disliking Elana just a little at that point, because how could she leave it like that?!?

Because there's going to be another book, silly. Book 2: Surrender comes out summer 2012. That's a long time!! But the good news is, that in the meantime there are like, fifty billion other books we can read. That makes the waiting a little more bearable, right?

Thanks for an awesome read Elana! I look forward to Surrender!

And, now to my dedicated followers: Have you read Possession? What did you think of it? And for the sake of cheesy teenybopperness: Are you Team Jag or Team Zenn? (Honestly, I don't think there's even a question here. If you have all your brains intact then you'll say--never mind, I guess that's mean...but seriously?)