Weekly Recap 7/25/10

Books Read:

Forget You by Jennifer Echols – Really good read, however not quite as good as Going Too Far.  It didn’t have the same emotional punch.  But it was definitely enjoyable.  At times it was confusing, but I guess that’s what happens when the narrator has amnesia. :)

Stormbreaker (Alex Rider, Bk 1) by Anthony Horowitz – This was really fun.  It’s British, so of course I liked it!  But I did like the story too.  I’ll definitely continue with the series.

Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell – So much fun!  I liked this a lot.  I love superhero (and supervillain) movies, and this was just as good.  Damien was great – so sarcastic and funny.  I’d love to see more of Renegade X and the world he lives in.

Shakespeare’s Hamlet: The Manga Edition – This was pretty cool.  I’ve read Hamlet before, but it was cool to see it as manga.

Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs – I liked this a lot!  It was really cute.  At times it was a bit predictable, but the merworld was really fun and Lily was really endearing.

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi over at The Story Siren. Click here to learn more about it.

Books Received: 8

  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (PBS FIFO)
  • Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti (PBS FIFO)
  • Forget You by Jennifer Echols (Amazon)
  • Stormbreaker (Alex Rider, Bk 1) by Anthony Horowitz (Borders)
  • Six Rules of Maybe by Deb Caletti (PBS FIFO)
  • Swim the Flyby Don Calame (PBS FIFO)
  • Point Blank (Alex Rider, Bk 2) by Anthony Horowitz (Borders)
  • Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter (Borders)

Books Mailed: 5

  • The Search by Nora Roberts
  • Forget You by Jennifer Echols
  • Watch Me by Lauren Barnholt
  • Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti

Waiting on Wednesday 7/14/10

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

The book I am eagerly anticipating this week is Forget You by Jennifer Echols.

WHY CAN’T YOU CHOOSE WHAT YOU FORGET . . .  AND WHAT YOU REMEMBER?  There’s a lot Zoey would like to forget. Like how her father has knocked up his twenty-four- year old girlfriend. Like Zoey’s fear that the whole town will find out about her mom’s nervous breakdown. Like darkly handsome bad boy Doug taunting her at school. Feeling like her life is about to become a complete mess, Zoey fights back the only way she knows how, using her famous attention to detail to make sure she’s the perfect daughter, the perfect student, and the perfect girlfriend to ultra-popular football player Brandon.  But then Zoey is in a car crash, and the next day there’s one thing she can’t remember at all—the entire night before. Did she go parking with Brandon, like she planned? And if so, why does it seem like Brandon is avoiding her? And why is Doug—of all people— suddenly acting as if something significant happened between the two of them? Zoey dimly remembers Doug pulling her from the wreck, but he keeps referring to what happened that night as if it was more, and it terrifies Zoey to admit how much is a blank to her. Controlled, meticulous Zoey is quickly losing her grip on the all-important details of her life—a life that seems strangely empty of Brandon, and strangely full of Doug.

I LOVE Jennifer Echols’ books.  Going Too Far was one of my favorite books of 2009.  I made the mistake of reading the first chapter of the book on Echols’ website and now I am dying to have my hands on the rest of the book!

Books Read in May

Continuing catching up on my thoughts on books I’ve read recently.  This is going to take forever!

Deadly Little Lies (Touch, Bk 2) by Laurie Faria Stolarz – Again, I liked this series.  I didn’t like the second book quite as much as the first book in the series, but I’ll definitely pick up the third book when it comes out.

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld – Really interesting idea and fun adventure.  The characters really came across as younger than the ages they were supposed to be, but they were both likable, especially Deryn.

Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles – I loved Perfect Chemistry when I read it last year.  This book focused on Carlos, Alex’s younger brother.  I liked Carlos’ bad attitude, but overall I felt the book was a bit too predictable and too much like Perfect Chemistry.

How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford – Kind of strange at times, but I liked it a lot.  I really liked Beatrice and Jonah and all the people on the radio.  The ending was not what I was expecting, but oddly satisfying.

Everything Beautiful by Simmone Howell – I was a little iffy on this while I was reading it at times, but I ended up really liking it.  The characters were not cliche and I really liked the story.

The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles, Bk 1) by Rick Riordan – Loved this!  It was pretty similar to Percy Jackson, but in a good way.  Two kids find out that the Egyptian gods are real.  They have to fight a god.  They encounter a bunch of other parts of Egyptian mythology.  I liked Carter and Sadie and am definitely looking forward to the next book in the series.

Going Bovine by Libba Bray – Another kind of weird book and another bad attitude that I liked.  Heh.  But this book was really interesting and funny.  It was really long though and took me forever to get through.  It’s another book that I was a bit surprised by the ending.

Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu – Such a emotional book!  It was very well written.  I’ve watched enough of Hoarders on TLC to understand the situation and Lucy’s story just broke my heart.  I really liked Lucy and wanted to make everything better for her.  The book did leave me kind of sad at the end because I wanted to know what happens next.

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green – OMG I loved this book!  I am so glad I picked John Green for my “Pick an Author” challenge this year.  I’d heard mixed reviews about this book, but I loved it.  I loved Colin and thought he was a fantastic character.  Hassan and Lindsey were great too.  I loved the way the book was written, especially when they were in the cave.

Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy, Bk 5) by Richelle Mead – Another great book in this series!  I am kind of sad that it is almost over.  I am not going to spoil anything, so I will just say this book is really good and I can’t wait for the last one to come out!

Heist Society by Ally Carter – Ocean’s 11 with teenagers.  The book was pretty fun.  I liked Kat a lot.  I really wanted the book to be longer so that we could get to know the rest of the characters better.  I hope there are more books to follow!

The View from Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg – Ergh – here’s one I didn’t like.  I read it because it won the Newbery award and I can kind of see why it did, but I didn’t really like the story.  The kids weren’t believable and the book was just strange.

Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantasky – This one was just okay in my opinion.  I liked it more in the end than I did in the middle.  Jessica occasionally annoyed me.

Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols – The sequel to The Boys Next Door.  I love Jennifer Echols’ writing and TBND is fantastic.  Part of me was excited for this to come out and part of me was a little resistant because sometimes Happy Ever After should just go on Forever After. :)  I really liked it, though.  I still love Lori’s brother and all the Vader boys.  I was kind of sad that there was less wakeboarding in this book.

The Pace by Shelena Shorts – Another kind of weird book.  I was on board with the first twist, but kind of annoyed with the second reveal.  It just seemed like too much.

How to Steal a Car by Pete Hautman – Really short book that I liked but didn’t love.  It would be a little better if it was longer, I think.  I’m not sure exactly why I think that.

Ostrich Boys by Keith Gray – Really great!  I will admit – the book is British and I am kind of an Anglophile, so I was probably predisposed to like this book, but I really did like it!  The boys were all great characters.  I was cheering for them on their trip.  Parts were really funny and parts were heartwrenching.

Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood by Eileen Cook – I was a little wary of this book as Mean Girls stories sometimes annoy me, but I ended up really liking it.  I occasionally thought Helen went too far, but I generally found myself cheering her on.

The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty – This book was written mostly in letters, plus sometimes in signs and “trial” transcripts.  I liked getting to know all of the characters so well.  There were times when the girls were kind of annoying and I liked the boys more, but I liked all of them in the end.

Favorite Books of 2009

I read a lot of books this year – the most I’ve ever read in a year – and these are some of my favorites.  I had a hard time whittling the list down to just a few, but I didn’t want to spend all day working on this, so I had to stop somewhere.  You can check out my GoodReads profile for my ratings of other books not listed here.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – This isn’t just one of my favorite books of the year – it’s one of my favorite books of all time!  The Hunger Games is simply amazing.  Katniss is a fantastic main character.  She’s smart and resourceful, but at the same time a little vulnerable.  The rest of the characters are so well written – Peeta, Rue, Haymitch, Cinna, Effie – they’re all so fabulous.  The story is action packed and full of surprises.  I also read Catching Fire, the sequel to the Hunger Games this year and thought it was fantastic as well.  I can’t wait for the third book to come out in 2010!

Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols – Just thinking “John After” makes me swoon.  Meg is wild and doesn’t want to stay in the little town she grew up in.  John is the complete opposite – he doesn’t want to leave the town.  They’re forced to spend the week together because Meg got in trouble on a bridge one night.  Throughout the novel, we learn more and more about both of them.  It’s a romantic journey with a few twists and turns along the way.  I love Meg and John – who they are, who they become after spending the week together.  I really liked everything I read by Jennifer Echols this year.

Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater – This was the third Maggie Stiefvater book I read this year, but it was my favorite.  They’re all so good.  Maggie’s writing is very lyrical and enjoyable to read.  Ballad focuses on James, a secondary character from Lament, and his time at Thornking-Ash.  Nuala is a faerie muse that can give James amazing talent at a price.  James and Nuala are fantastic – they’re both sarcastic and multi-layered.  This book kind of continues Dee’s story in a way and introduces fantastic new characters like Sullivan and Paul.  I started reading Maggie’s books because she was at the Decatur Book Festival, where I got to meet her and be a dork.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner – Another edge of your seat, action packed book.  The world that Thomas is dropped into is confusing to him and to us and I loved learning about it with him.  Everything about the book is interesting – the things that go bump in the night, the dynamics in the boys’ society, the maze, the boys themselves.  It was just all fantastic.  The ending was crazy and I can’t wait for the next book in the trilogy to come out this year.

Percy Jackson and The Olympians Series by Rick Riordan – This is a fun series about an ordinary boy that finds out his father is a Greek god.  He goes to a camp for the sons and daughters of the Greek gods and goddesses, Camp Half-Blood.  From there, he has several quests that he completes with his friends.  The stories are so well thought out and weave Greek mythology into modern culture so well.  I loved Percy, Annabeth, and Grover.  They’re all great characters.  The first book, The Lightning Thief, is coming out as a movie in February, and I hope it lives up to the book!

Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead – Richelle Mead is another author that I started reading because of the Decatur Book Festival.  I am glad I did.  The Vampire Academy books are about a group of vampires (obviously), but the story is different than any other vampire book I’ve read.  The Moroi are more good vampires with special powers, while the Dhamphir are their helpers/bodyguards, and the Strigoi are the bad vampires.  Rose, a dhamphir and the narrator of the stories, is strong, sarcastic, and fantastic.  All of the characters are really great – Dimitri, Lissa, Christian, Adrian – all of them!  The books are part high school drama, part romance, and part action.  It’s a great combination!

The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America’s Holiest University by Kevin Roose – I thought I should round this out with a non fiction book.  Going into this book, I was a little unsure of if I would like it.  I was really afraid he would spend the book making fun of Christians and the students at Liberty.  But he really didn’t.  Roose wrote about this experiences in a very straight forward manner.  He was honest about his feelings about the things going on around him.  He also presented the reasons that the school or other students acted in a certain way in a non-judgemental way.  Overall it was a very interesting and insightful book.

I may have one more review for 2009 if I finish the book I’m reading now, but if I don’t, have a happy new year!  See you in 2010!

The Boys Next Door by Jennifer Echols

The Boys Next Door (Simon Romantic Comedies) by Jennifer Echols

Cute, available, and one cabin over….
Lori lives for summertime on the lake. She spends all season wakeboarding, swimming, and hanging with her friends — including the two hotties in the house next door. With the Vader brothers, Lori’s always been one of the guys.
But while Lori and the “baby” brother, Adam, are inseparable friends, she can’t deny a secret crush on Sean, the older Vader boy. This year Sean’s been paying Lori a lot of attention, and not in a brotherly way.
But just as Lori decides to prove to Sean she’s girlfriend material, she realizes that her role as girl friend to Adam may be even more important. And by trying so hard for the perfect summer romance, she could be going way overboard…

I loved this book!  I think I say that about every Jennifer Echols book I read, but seriously, she just writes good stuff!  I loved how this book was about normal people in north Alabama.  I loved the lake setting and wish it was summer!

Lori is a great character.  I loved her voice – wanting to be one of the guys but also wanting to be noticed as a girl.  I love how hard she works at being “girly” and that Adam likes her when she’s just being herself.  All the boys were fun characters.  Adam was definitely swoon-worthy, but Sean, Cameron, and McGillicuddy were all awesome.  I mean seriously, McGillicuddy?  I loved that everyone called him that.  He was a great big brother.  I loved the family dynamics within the Vaders and the McGillicuddys.  It was very realistic.

The whole book was so cute and so much fun. And funny!  There were a bunch of laugh out loud moments.

I’m just kind of sad that I’ve now read all of the Echols books that are out, but I just realized that one of the books coming out this summer, Endless Summer, is a sequel to this book!  Yay!  More Lori and Adam swooniness!

The Ex Games by Jennifer Echols

exgamesThe Ex Games by Jennifer Echols

Brace yourself for the battle of the exes…
Hayden and Nick used to be a hot item, but their brief affair ended with a highly publicized breakup. Now the two are “just friends,” excluding the occasional flirtation.
When Hayden wins the girls’ division of a local snowboarding competition, Nick is unimpressed, claiming that Hayden wouldn’t have a chance against a guy. Hayden calls Nick’s bluff and challenges him to a head-to-head boarding contest. Their mutual friends quickly take sides, the girls on Hayden’s and the boys on Nick’s, making for an all-out battle of the sexes.
This friendly competition is bound to get heated – and they might end up igniting some old flames.

Before I tell you what I thought about the book, I have to admit something: In my head, I am a professional snowboarder.  Seriously.  I love watching the X Games and the snowboarding events in the Olympics.  In reality, all my snowboarding experience has taken place on my Wii Balance Board, but I am determine to one day actually take snowboarding lessons on real snow!

That said, I have to admit I am predisposed to liking a book about snowboarding.  I loved the parts of the book that were about snowboarding!  This was a great book to read as we approach winter.  (Not that it snows in GA much, but a girl can dream, right?)  I want to live in Snowfall. :)

And beyond that, I really liked Hayden and Nick.  They were both pretty realistic and I liked their story.  I liked that there was more to them than just “fall in love, live happily ever after.”  The secondary characters were a little one dimensional, but I loved Hayden’s brother and his friends.

This was a really fun read.  I really like Jennifer Echols.