Ten Books I Recently Added To My To-Be-Read List

Top Ten Tuesday

I’ve decided to partake in the popular weekly meme by The Broke and The Bookish called “Top Ten Tuesday.” Each week there is a new Top Ten list for bloggers to respond to and talk about. This week it’s ten book you recently added to your (presumably ever growing) to-be-read list. I had to defer to my Goodreads shelf because I lose track of my mental too easily…here are 10 of my books tbr.

1. Paper Towns by John Green
paper towns book cover
I can’t believe I haven’t read this yet considering how much I loved The Fault In Our Stars. I think I’m one of the few female YA book fiends who hasn’t read all the John Green books yet. But with the movie coming out later this year I’ll definitely have to read this one soon.

 

 

 

2. One More Thing: Stories and Other Short Stories by B.J. Novak
one more thing stories and other short storiesAnother hilarious TV writer/actor’s autobiography. I’ve read Tina Fey’s Bossypants and Neil Patrick Harris’ Choose Your Own Autobiography (absolutely brilliant idea) and laughed out loud through the both of them. I love his writing on The Office and The Mindy Project so I’m sure I’ll love his writing in One More Thing: Stories and Other Short Stories.

 

 

3. The Minds of Billy Milligan by Daniel Keyes
The Minds of Billy MilliganThis true story is about a man with multiple personalities (24, to be exact) who was arrested for various kidnappings and rapes. I heard about this book when Leonardo DiCaprio was cast to play Billy Milligan. It sounds really interesting and like it has potential for Leo to finally get the Oscar everyone is dying for him to win.

 

 

4. Single, Carefree, Mellow: Stories by Katherine Heiny
single carefree mellow storiesI found this collection of awkward short stories in one of my daily Skimm e-newsletters. They described it as “a book of short stories about relationships and dating that’s kind of like ‘The Affair’ meets ‘Friends.'” As a an awkward “Friends” aficionado, I quickly found this on Goodreads and clicked “want to read.”

 

 

5. The November Criminals by Sam Munson
The November CriminalsThis is another book that’s going to get a movie makeover and it will reunite Ansel Elgort and Chloë Grace Moretz on the silver screen. I’m a huge fan of criminals and Ansel Elgort, so before I even knew what November Criminals was actually about I knew that I was going to read it. But it’s about a high school drug dealer who starts investigating the murder of one of his classmates. Count me in.

 

 

6. Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff
Playlist for the DeadI have no idea where I heard about this book but it reminds of another book I recently read, Thirteen Reasons Why (about a girl who committs suicide and leaves behind 13 cassette tapes she recorded). This one’s about a teenage boy who tries to understand his best friend’s suicide by listening to the playlist of songs he left behind. Playlists can be like diary entries, so I’m curious to see how these songs play into the story of this character’s life and death.

 

 

7. The Rook by Daniel O’Malley
The Rook bookThis is the first of The Checquy Files series, it’s about a girl who wakes up to finds a letter that stars “The body you are wearing used to be mine.” Color me intrigued. I don’t remember where I first heard of this one either, but I’m always down to start a good YA book series.

 

 

 

8. 1984 by George Orwell
1984 book This is a classic that I think I read in the seventh grade but don’t remember. I’m pretty sure that I liked it and in my twentysomething effort to be cultured/well-rounded, I figured I should revisit this Big Brother novel.

 

 

 

9. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Fangirl a novelI’m pretty sure every avid book reader is a fangirl/fanboy on at least some level. I for one am a loud and proud fangirl for a dozen books/movies/celebrities/tv shows/anything and everything. This feels very “chick flick” (not necessarily in a good way) but I’m assuming I’ll be able to relate to the main character as a fellow fangirl. I’ve also read a few good reviews on it, so I figured I might as well give it a shot.

 

 

10. A Storm of Swords by The Devil Himself George R. R. Martin
A Song of Ice and Fire #3Speaking of fangirl… This is the third book in George R. R. Marin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series that inspired the HBO favorite Game of Thrones. This is one of the only times I’ve watched a show/movie before the book and will continue to do so. I started the show on a whim and it has changed my life (for the better and worse). Since I loved the show so much I knew I would have to read the books. I’ve read the first two and couldn’t put them down even though I knew what was going to happen. Especially with Game of Thrones season 5 coming out, I’m very excited to read this one.

 

What books are on your tbr list? Which of these books do you think I should read next? Let me know!

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Insurgent: Movie Review

Insurgent Movie Poster Movie: Insurgent

Director: Robert Schwentke (REDThe Time Traveler’s Wife)

Writers: Brian Duffield, Akiva Goldsman and Mark Bomback

Genre: Sci-Fi, Dystopia, Romance

Length: 1 hour 59 minutes

Rating: ♥ ♥ ½ – Average

Stars:
Shailene WoodleyShailene Woodley as Tris

Theo James Theo James as Four/Tobias

Kate Winslet Kate Winslet as Jeanine

Miles Teller Miles Teller as Peter

Ansel Elgort Ansel Elgort<3 as Caleb

Read the Insurgent book review!

Make sure you see Divergent first.

Remind me what it’s about…
In the aftermath of Jeanine’s (Winslet) attack on Abnegation, Tris (Woodley), Four/Tobias (James), Caleb (Elgort) and Peter (Teller) seek refuge in Amity. There, they regroup and come up with a plan to find the remaining loyal Dauntless. But when traitor Dauntless soldiers arrive in search of divergents, they must quickly change their course of action. Yet again on the run, Tris and Tobae-as search for safety while they strategize a plan of attack on Jeanine and the traitor Dauntless.

What did you think?
As 10 Things I Hate About You philosopher Chastity would ask: “I know you can be overwhelmed and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?” If we were in Europe, I would say that I was exactly “whelmed” by Insurgent. I didn’t love the book, so I wasn’t expecting to love the movie either and sadly I was right. It was enjoyable but there was nothing really special about it and I’m not dying to see it again despite it’s stellar and gorgeous cast.

To be completely Candor, the cast is the best thing about the movie. Insurgent was casted to perfection; not only do the actors perfectly portray the characters but just about everyone is absolutely gorgeous. I’m clearly not cut out for Abnegation because I’m so vain that I simply enjoy watching beautiful people be beautiful for two hours. Not that the rest of the movie was bad — it was entertaining, but it didn’t excite me in anyway.

Was it a good adaption?
Not really… It started off fairly true to the book but then took a sharp left into Imaginationville and changed quite a bit. The overall plot line and end result remained pretty on point with the book, but the path to the end was very different. Oddly, this didn’t offend me as much I would have thought. I think it’s my lack of investment. I felt meh about the book, so I didn’t have high hopes for the movie. Somehow the movie managed to be about as good as the book (not that good) but in a totally different way.

Should I watch it?
Eh. I wouldn’t advise you pay to see it in theaters, but might be worth a night of watching it online/renting it from RedBox once it comes out.

Here’s the trailer.

Insurgent: Book Review

Insurgent book coverBook: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Publisher/Year: HarperCollins/2012

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ – Above average

Who’s going to be in the movie?
Shailene Woodley (The Fault in Our Stars and The Spectacular Now)
Theo James (Underworld: Awakening)
Miles Teller (That Awkward Moment and Whiplash)
Kate Winslet (Titanic and unfortunately Labor Day)
Ansel Elgort (The Fault in Our Stars)
Zoë Kravitz (Lenny’s daughter, X-Men: First Class)

When can I watch it?
March 20 at a theater near you!

Make sure you read Divergent first!

What’s it about?
In the sequel to Divergent the shit hath hittith the fan…ith. Since the Erudite (the intelligent faction) attack on Abnegation (the selfless faction) has the factions in chaos, Amity (the peaceful faction) has opened their doors to all refugees…as long as they reside in peace. Tris (Woodley), Four/Tobais/Tobae-is (James), Tris’ Erudite brother Caleb (Elgort), Peter (Teller), Christina (Kravitz) and Four’s abusive and manipulative father Marcus seek the safety in Amity. However, this predominantly Dauntless (the brave AKA completely reckless faction) group does not exactly mesh well with the Amity way of life. Shortly after their arrival, Erudite and Dauntless traitors come to Amity in search of Abnegation (Tris & Caleb’s original faction). Tris, Caleb and Tobae-is escape capture and find refuge among the factionless. Now they have to try to come up with a plan to return peace to the factions and overthrow Jeanine (Winslet), the leader of the Erudite.

What did you think?
Definitely not as good as Divergent, but still a decent read. It still is the most different among the YA post-apocalyptic series (trust me, there are a lot) which is refreshing; there’s no love triangle (praise!) and we don’t have to wait until the last book for the rebellion/action to take place. But I got really frustrated with almost every character and their choices. I understand that not every character in a book is going to do what I want, but it’s hard to really get into a book when all the characters are pissing you off.

Although I was annoyed most of the time, I was still attached to the story and read through it pretty fast. The poor choices led to an interesting plot that kept me on my toes — since the characters didn’t always do what I thought to be the sensible thing, I never knew what was going to happen. The twists and turns throughout kept me avidly turning the pages, desperate to find out what happened next.

Should I read it?
Sure, just remember that it’s not as good as the first one. You can buy Insurgent on Thriftbooks or Amazon.

You can watch the trailer here:

The 2 Websites Every Book Lover Must Know

I’ve talked about about both of these websites in my posts, but it’s time you know more about them and why they are amazing.

1. Goodreads
Goodreads logo

I joined Goodreads about a year ago and, as an emphatic bookworm, it’s one of the best things to happen to me. It’s a social network but for books instead of people. *Heaven open, angels sing* HALLELUJAH! The book gods have spoken, and they are pleased. Goodreads is the best way to keep track of books you want to read, organize the books you’ve read, see what books your friends have read and it will even suggest books you might like based on your book ratings.

You can create different “shelves” and organize your books however your heart desires. I love organizing my books because: 1. I’m a little OCD; and 2. It makes it very easy to find books to suggest to friends. I read so many books that I cannot keep track of them all, but I can just look at my Goodreads shelves, see what I rated different books and make recommendations accordingly.

Another great thing is that you can be as social or antisocial as you want and still get a lot from the website. You can connect with your Facebook friends and see what books they’ve read and how they rated them, you can join an online book club and join in conversations to make new friends, or you can never friend anyone ever and just find great books to read. All legitimate options and equally great choices.

2. Thriftbooks
Thriftbooks logo

Thriftbooks is probably the greatest thing to happen. Ever. Its tagline is “Spend less. Read more.” Are you kidding? What is more perfect than that? Besides a brunch date with Harry Styles, nothing. Up until my discovery of Thriftbooks, the biggest struggle of my life was deciding whether to buy or borrow books. My dream is have a library of my own, a room just filled with books upon books that are all mine. But, as a constantly broke college student, it’s hard to justify buying books when you can take them from the public library for free. On the other hand, it’s impossible to grow a library if you always have to return the books you read.

Enter Thriftbooks — the answer to all my prayers. This magical website is a place where you can buy books for cheap. So. Cheap. I’m talking $2.89 cheap. Not all the books are that cheap, but you can get most books for a single digit price. There’s also some great 3 for $7.99 deals. They’re used but you can choose whether you want “Good,” “Acceptable,” etc. But all the books I’ve gotten have been in great condition. I’m not fancy, I don’t need brand new books. As long as it’s readable and there aren’t any actors on the cover, it’s good enough for me.

But wait! There’s more! The shipping is FREE! *fireworks explode and chocolate rains from the sky* You can order any book and it will ship anywhere in America absolutely free! You can even get a 50¢ discount if you order more than one book from the same location. They also offer gift cards which makes the perfect gift for any bookworm. *hint hint*

Labor Day: Movie Review

Labor Day movie posterMovie: Labor Day

Director: Jason Reitman

Writers: Jason Reitman

Rating: ♥ – Poor

Stars:
Kate Winslet Kate Winslet as Adele

Josh Brolin Josh Brolin as Frank

Gattlin Griffith Gattlin Griffith as Henry

Read the Labor Day book review!

Remind me what it’s about…
Adele (Winslet) is the most literal kind of stay at home mom. She never leaves the house. She lives with her son, Henry (Griffith), who only sees his dad and stepfamily on Sunday evenings. They’re living their hermit crab life when one day they have to go out because Henry’s outgrowing his clothes.  At the store they run into a shady guy (Brolin) who asks them for a ride. To their house. Fearing that this has become a hostage situation, Adele agrees. Adele and Henry find out that he escaped from prison (which he was in for murder) but still start to enjoy his company and he becomes a weird husband/father/captor to them.

What did you think?
I enjoyed it less than I enjoyed the book which was borderline impossible. The only thing the book had going for it was that I was curious to find out what happened, but since I knew what was going to happen there was essentially nothing going for the movie. At first, I had some hope that movie might be better. When Adele and Henry met Frank in the book, she seemed pretty willing to take a complete stranger to her home. In the movie, she was not so down for the idea but it felt a lot more like a hostage situation. Frank appeared to be threatening Henry, so she agreed in order to protect her son. Although it still wasn’t the best, it was a lot more believable than the scene in the book.

But soon my hopes were crushed and I was back to hating everything. The plot was stupid and laced with weird flashbacks that were confusing and unnecessary. Eventually it gets put together and explained, but they were really unnecessary. It didn’t spark my interest to find out the details, it just made me think “Wait…what? This is really dumb.”

Was it a good adaption?
Yes, they both sucked.

There’s not much else to say about it. The movie slightly improves the scene when Adele and Henry meet Frank and cut one of the worst parts from the book, so I guess that’s good. But it also made a small change in the story behind why Frank was arrested in the first place which somehow made it even worse than it was in the book.

Should I watch it?
Only if you you love watching movies that suck. But if that’s what you like then you do you. You can get a copy on Amazon (but there isn’t a point).

Here’s the trailer, just in case you still aren’t convinced that this movie sucks.

The Maze Runner: Book Review

The Maze Runner book cover artBook: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Publisher/Year: Delacorte/2009

Genre: YA, Sci-Fi, Dystopia

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ – Outstanding

Who’s going to be in the movie?
Dylan O’Brien (the best friend in Teen Wolf)
Will Poulter (the “son” in We’re the MillersThe Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader)
Thomas Brodie-Sangster (the adorable love-struck child in Love Actually, the warg guy who gets seizures and hangs out with Bran in Game of Thrones, Ferb of Phineas and Ferb)

When can I watch it?
NOT UNTIL SEPTEMBER 19. UGH.

What’s it about?
Thomas (O’Brien) wakes up in what appears to be a large freight elevator and doesn’t remember anything about himself besides his name; he has no idea where he is, where he’s been, who is mother is or even how old he is. Eventually the elevator stops and the doors open from above him and he sees a group of teenage boys staring down at him. Once he’s out he finds out he’s in a place called the Glade — a huge piece of land with a few shacks were the boys live, a farm for food and a small area of trees. But the most intriguing part about the the Glade is that it is in the center of a giant unsolvable maze.

The boys (Gladers) have been there for two years with a new boy (a Greenie) coming up from the Box once a month. No one knows how or why they are there. Like Thomas, the only thing anyone can remember is his name. Then things get shaken up because the next day the Box opens again and there’s a girl inside. Game. Changer. No one knows what this means or what to think of the girl or the ominous note that came with her. All the Gladers know is that they have to keep trying to solve the Maze no matter how hopeless it may seem.

What did you think?
I LOVE THIS BOOK. I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH. Yes, it’s another young adult post-apocalyptic trilogy…but it’s one of the best of it’s kind (second only to The Hunger Games). I’ve read it twice and I still couldn’t put it down the second time around even though I knew what was going to happen. It’s. So. Good.

Along with Thomas, I just had to find out who all these boys (and girl) were, who put them there and why. I couldn’t put the book down because I had to learn everything I could about the Glade and about the Maze from Alby, the apparent leader, and Newt (Brodie-Sangster), one of the older boys and seemingly second-in-command. Dashner achieved the perfect balance of information and suspense; he tells you enough so you feel like you’re starting to figure things out, but not enough that you can put it all together. He teases you with pieces of the puzzle to keep you hooked but doesn’t let you see the big picture until the end.

I also happen to be in love with all the characters. Okay, not all the characters, but enough of them so that it works. I love Thomas, I love Newt, I love Minho and I love this book. Minho is a Runner (someone who runs throughout the Maze looking for a way out) and he is my favorite. His sarcasm and sharp tongue are some of the highlights of The Maze Runner and makes me want to be his friend. Newt is just perfect. He’s a great leader, kind and wonderful. Although I did imagine him to be more strong country boy (think: Southern Zac Efron) and less like the adorable Thomas Brodie-Sangster, but we’ll see how it goes. And, of course, our lead Thomas is a dandy fellow too. He’s got a good heart and thick skull, so he may not be the most original hero but it doesn’t make him unlikable. I can’t wait to see him played by Dylan O’Brien, it seems like a perfect match.

Should I read it?
Definitely! You can buy it on Amazon or Thriftbooks.

Here’s the trailer and it’s perfect.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day: Book Review

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day book cover

Book: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst

Publisher/Year: Atheneum Books for Young Readers/1972

Genre: Children’s

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ – Outstanding

Who’s going to be in the movie?
Jennifer Garner (Alias, Daredevil — which doesn’t suck as much as everyone thinks it does, okay? and Dallas Buyer’s Club)
Steve Carrell (The OfficeThe 40-Year-Old Virgin)
Bella Thorne (Shake It Up!)
Dick Van Dyke (The Dick Van Dyke ShowMary Poppins)

When can I watch it?
The movie comes out October 10, 2014!

What’s it about?
A terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Poor Alexander wakes up with gum in his hair and his day just continues to get worse as the day goes on.

What did you think?
This is one of my favorite books from my childhood. Probably because I related to Alexander; we’re both able to just go on rants and just wish we were in Australia.

I have no idea how the movie will be, other movies that have come out based on childhood classics like Where the Wild Things Are and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs were not very well received by those who cherished the books as children. Which makes sense; the books take 10 minutes read and are made into hour and half long movies, so there’s a going to be a lot of changes and additions. Even though my initial reaction to the movie was excitement, I’ve since had more concerns. Despite my love for Jennifer Garner (whose face is like sunshine) and Steve Carrell (who is hilarious in pretty much everything), I will be going to see the movie with low expectations. But I will definitely be going to see it.

Should I read it?
If you haven’t already then I’m sorry for your childhood. But you can buy a copy on Amazon or Thriftbooks. You can also watch a video of a random girl in a bookstore reading Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day to you. Either way it takes 5 minutes or less so just read it and thank me later.