Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Genre: Memoir
Synopsis: Elizabeth Gilbert tells how she made the difficult choice to leave behind all the trappings of modern American success (marriage, house in the country, career) and find, instead, what she truly wanted from life. Setting out for a year to study three different aspects of her nature amid three different cultures, Gilbert explored the art of pleasure in Italy and the art of devotion in India, and then a balance between the two on the Indonesian island of Bali.

Rating: 3 stars

Review: Reading this memoir felt like I was at a party, listening to one person tell me a long story all about herself. Yes, her story is quite interesting, funny, enjoyable, and entertaining, but I know I can only listen to her for so long. Sooner or later, I'll feel like walking out of the room just to get her to stop talking! Eat, Pray, Love was exactly that to me.

While I sometimes thought it was self-indulgent, whiny, and immature, for the most part, I actually liked it. Like I said, there are moments when I thought it was enjoyable and entertaining, sometimes even thought-provoking and inspiring. The author, Elizabeth Gilbert, is an engaging writer, and I can just imagine her voice speaking through the words. It was very cool to see the beauty of these different places -- Italy, India, and Bali -- through this writer's eyes. Her points-of-view are different from mine, but maybe that was a good thing. It made it fresh, new, and original.

I do think a lot of people like this more because of their personal and sentimental connections to this book or to the story. I know others who hated it, because they thought it was just about "a 34-year-old whining about her horrible life." Personally, I didn't "connect" with the story or the characters, but I did appreciate and respect the honesty as it is in fact a real person's story. I recommend these to those who like reading memoirs and travelogues. 3 stars!

One Day by David Nicholls

Monday, December 27, 2010

Genre: General/Literary Fiction
Synopsis: Emma and Dexter meet for the first time on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways. So where will they be on this one day next year? And the year after that? And every year that follows? Twenty years, two people, ONE DAY.

Rating: 4 stars

Review: I am so happy this book was my 100th one to read for 2010, and I'm even happier that I loved it. One Day is a simple but good story, told by a talented author for sure. The narratives are just plain good, and flowed conversationally. It was as if I was hearing a close friend of mine tell me their story instead, and not a fictional character's. It made me not only get into the plot line -- which is rather unique and original -- but made me appreciate and root for the protagonists as well. Emma and Dexter are great characters to read about. Granted, they have many flaws, but who doesn't? To me, these flaws make them even more likeable, and make them easy to relate to. While I have to admit, there are a couple of moments when I personally HATED Dexter, there were also a lot of times when I was in love with him. I guess that's a good thing, because it shows that I did feel for these characters. Only good and realistic writing can do that. That being said, I have to say the author did a terrific job building their personalities and their characteristics. They truly seemed like real people to me, and not stereotypical at all.

There are some things I would have preferred differently, but then again, I still do think it's good. It is so well written, and I was never tired or bored while reading it. I don't think it's a book for everyone, but I do think most who enjoy literary fiction will appreciate this as much as I did.

2010 Favorites

This survey has been going around the blogosphere these past few weeks now, and it looked fun, so I had to do it. I am not sure who started this little survey, but if you do know who did, let me know :)

Best Book of 2010:
This is way too difficult to answer. There were so many awesome books that I read this year, but I'll go ahead and cheat and choose my top 3. They would be The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, and Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver.

Worst Book of 2010:
There's a lot of 'eh' books this year for me, but to pick just one, I'd pick one that I thought was sort of offensive to the topic that it was handling; Life in the Fat Lane by Cherie Bennett.

Most Disappointing Book of 2010:
Mockingjay. Don't get me wrong, I liked it. But it was definitely very underwhelming and not what I was expecting at all.

Most Surprising (In A Good Way!) Book of 2010:
The Maze Runner by James Dashner! It was surprising because I haven't heard much about it from others, so I wasn't really expecting anything.

Most Recommended-to-Others Book of 2010:
Before I Fall and The Maze Runner!

Best Series You Discovered in 2010:
Hands down, Percy Jackson and the Olympians series!

Favorite New Authors I Discovered in 2010:
Lauren Oliver, Rick Riordan, and Jonathan Safran Foer.

Most Thrilling, Unputdownable Book of 2010:
They're not thrillers, but I literally was unable to put down these books until I was finished with them. The Maze Runner by James Dashner, Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles, and Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver.

Most Anticipated Book of 2010:

Favorite Cover of a Book You Read in 2010:
Halo by Alexandra Adornetto!

Most Memorable Character in 2010:
Ohhhh too many! I feel like most of the books I read have characters that I loved. But for the sake of picking, I have to say Oskar from Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

Book That Had the Greatest Impact on You in 2010:
To be honest, most books that I've read had some sort of an impact on me. I do have to say though, Before I Fall would be one of those books that stand out to me the most. A lot of people don't seem to get why, but for some reason, the story got to me.

Book You Can't Believe You Waited Until 2010 to Read:
Adventures of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll! I mean.. come on, right.

chestnuts roasting on an open fire..

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you had a great December 25th! I know I had a very fun and blessed Christmas Eve with the relatives and Christmas Day with my parents and my siblings. Here's a little photo of our tree in the house..

And yes, I did get a lot of books as presents. It's funny; my relatives and friends never knew I was a reader until they started reading my blog, so all they gave me were books, books, and then some more books.. Not complaining by the way. Haha. I might do a little collective "haul" post of all these little babies!

What did you do for Christmas? Also, did you have a Christmas tree this year? Well, whatever you did, whatever you got, and wherever you were, I genuinely hope you had a great one and that you were with the ones that matter to you the most. And if you do not celebrate Christmas, I hope you had an awesome weekend. As for blogging, normal posts will be back very soon. I have a lot of book reviews to write and some other posts as well! But as for now, I'm just here wishing you a very happy, warm, safe, and healthy Holiday season!

P.S - Christmas/Blog Anniversary Giveaway is still going on.. clickclickclickclick

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Genre: Young Adult
Synopsis: Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave "the Great Perhaps" even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then . . . After. Nothing is ever the same.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Review: I don't why it took me so long to read this! I have been hearing so many rave reviews about this and now, you can add my review to that 'rave review' pile. Looking for Alaska is just plain good. The plot is interesting, and is wonderfully told and wonderfully written. The narratives simply flow without effort, and seemed very genuine and real. I also liked the main characters, especially Pudge! I also liked Alaska herself; so flawed yet with redeeming qualities. I saw those as well, just like Pudge did, which to me, is important. It was nice to see what the author was really trying to tell his readers, without over explaining things.

So yes, I highly recommend this. Mostly, I recommend this to YA readers, and teenagers. A little note for parents though, there are some few racy scenes that may be inappropriate maybe for, say, middle schoolers or younger teens, but I suggest you read it and judge it for yourself.

As for adult readers, I think you would like and appreciate this as well. It is honest, raw, and sometimes sad, sometimes funny. All in all, this is a book that is absolutely genuine and authentic. It just doesn't sound pretentious or fake. It is also quite an eye-opener, without it being preachy. Great writing, great characters, great story-telling. A must read. 4.5 stars!

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Genre: Young Adult
Synopsis: According to her best friend Frankie, twenty days in ZanzibarBay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy ever day, there's a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there's something she hasn't told Frankie—-she's already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie's older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

Rating: 4 stars

Review: I am so happy I finally read this book after so many rave reviews from other book bloggers and friends! I can now see why everyone's saying mainly positive things about Twenty Boy Summer. It is a mixture of things; it's a feel good Summer book, yet it also quite heartbreaking at times.

First of all, I absolutely LOVED the main character. Her pain and her joys were so real to me; I felt like I was going through everything she was. I think it's a challenge for any author or writer to be able to create a fictional character that would be able to do that to his or her readers. The author, Sarah Ockler, did a great job shaping and adding life to that said character, and was also able to write beautifully at the same time. Also, I love that cover! It's so eye catching and the colors are gorgeous.

There are some minor things I did have some problems with. There were a lot of subplots here and there, that I felt weren't explored all that well. The major plot was dealt with very well, but there are the other story lines that I thought were somehow ignored.

Overall, I thought it was a great read. It's definitely entertaining and I was never once bored with it. It's a great story about love and loss, family and friends, letting go, moving on, and growing up. Recommended to lovers of the YA genre.

Christmas + Blog Anniversary: Giveaway!

Please watch the video in order to find out how to enter the giveaway. Thanks everyone!
PS - I hate Youtube for not letting their users select their own video thumbnail. Hence, the awkward face still below. Haha.

*If you dont celebrate Christmas, or a similar holiday, then just tell me your favorite thing about December!

It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

Monday, December 13, 2010

Genre: General Fiction - Young Adult
Synopsis: Craig Gilner is a gifted 15-year-old boy who works hard to get into a fiercely competitive high school, then crumbles under the intense academic pressure. Blindsided by his inability to excel and terrified by thoughts of suicide, Craig checks into a psychiatric hospital where he finally gets the help he needs.

Rating: 5 stars

Review: I wasn't even thinking of reading this one, but the cover intrigued me so I picked it up. I can't even tell you how happy I am that I did. It's Kind of a Funny Story is probably one of my favorites this year. Everything about it, I simply loved.

The biggest strength this novel has is the main character himself, Craig. His story and the way it is old is not overly formulaic. It's actually incredibly simple; he gets in a psychiatric hospital, and he feels like, for lack of a better expression, "his life is shit" and has gone down the drain. No hope. No faith. Nothing. And as a reader, I felt all that. He is honest, genuine, and real, sometimes horribly so. I felt like I was reading a close friend's journal. His voice is so familiar and distinct, you just can't help but empathize and feel for him. He actually kind of reminds me of Oskar from Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Craig is also as genuinely lovable and likable as him.

I also loved the fact that the author is able to handle such a difficult issue with skill, wit, and sensitivity all at the same time. It doesn't seem like that would be possible, but he did a great job at it. Simply put, it is just such a great read. Highly recommended to older teens, mature YA readers, and adults as well. This deserves 5 stars and nothing less.

* There is a recent movie adaptation of this but have not yet watched it. I heard it was good, and I might rent it when I get the chance.

Room by Emma Donoghue

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Genre: General Fiction
Synopsis: To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep.
Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Rating: 4 stars

Review: Loosely based off of the kidnapping of Fritzl from Austria, and of Jaycee Lee Dugard's in California, Room digs deep into that kind of unfamiliar and horrific world of captivity and abuse. Just the courage to write about something like that, I give it 4 stars. And I have to say I loved, loved, loved this book. It truly made me think and feel for these characters and the situation they were in. At times, it was a little difficult to read, given the subject matter, yet I think the author was able to brighten it up by showing how incredibly strong the bond is of the mother and her child.

Now this book isn't perfect; I did have some problems with the narration. At times, I just didn't believe that it was a 5-year-old's voice that we're reading about anymore, but an author's, attempting to write in a voice of someone else. Sometimes, I could tell that it was an adult's voice, and I really didn't like that. However, for the most part, she did do such a great job capturing the mind of a child, especially its naivety and innocence.

While I can see how Room is not for everyone, I still think it is a great read. It is a chilling and heartbreaking story told with strength, compassion, and sensitivity. I highly recommend this novel as I think everyone should give it a try and see what they think of it.

Jane Eyre 2011

Jane Eyre is probably my favorite book in the Classics genre. I first read it when I was in high school as a requirement, and though I liked it, the experience was nothing compared to when I read it again for sheer leisure. It was as if I discovered these characters and their love story for the first time. I remember also, watching almost every Jane Eyre movie that there is, just to find one that will cure my Jane Eyre-obsession. I have to say, while they were all very different from each other, I liked all of them as each offered something new to the table.

Now in 2011, there will be a new Jane Eyre movie coming out starring Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) and Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds!!) I went to the movies yesterday to watch Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader -- which is a whole other blog post -- and saw the official poster for the Jane Eyre movie. I got excited, nervous, and hopeful all at the same time! What do you think of them doing another remake? Of the actors playing? And if you have watched any other adaptations, which one would you recommend?

Elixir by Hilary Duff

Friday, December 10, 2010

Genre: Young Adult
Synopsis: Two years ago, her father disappeared while on a humanitarian mission and is presumed dead, but that doesn't stop Clea and her mother from continuing to do good throughout the world. On one such trip to Columbia, she meets Race, the guide for the trip. She feels a connection to him but cannot explain why. Was it something in their past or possibly in their past lives? Whatever has brought them together is threatening to tear them apart forever. As the mystery of her father's disappearance unravels, Clea discover that she has powers that are bigger than anything she could have anticipated.

Rating: 3 stars

Review: I know what you're thinking... Hilary Duff? An author? Since when? Yeah, those are the same things I thought of when I found this on the "highly recommended" shelf in the library. I have heard mixed reviews about this so I knew I had to check it out for myself. I was hoping it'd surprise me, and well, I guess it did. Now Elixir is not exactly the next best thing, but it is a pretty decent read. I think it offers something new, and something original. I even liked the main character, Clea. She has some stereotypical qualities in her, but I found her likable nonetheless. While the pace, the writing, and the overall plot development could be a lot better, as it was sometimes too cliche and too slow, I have to say, I still enjoyed reading this. I don't know if I would pick up the sequel in a hurry or anything, but I would probably still read it someday to find out what happens next. While it's not a great book, I don't think it's bad either.

100th Book for 2010

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I set out a goal at the beginning of the year to read 100 books this 2010. I have read 99 books so far, and I felt like I just realized that this morning. So all day, pretty much, I've been coming up with titles I have been wanting to read for a while. I thought though, it would be fun if someone else picked it for me. So I asked my cousin, Justine, to recommend me one. She and I pretty much like the same books, so I went to her for a suggestion. She recommended a General Fiction novel, and as soon as I read its synopsis, I was sold.

Meet the official 100th book, everyone! One Day by David Nicholls is about Emma and Dexter who meet for the first time on the night of their graduation. The next day, they must go their separate ways. "Where will they be on this one day next year? And the year after that? And every year that follows?" Basically, it will show their separate lives over the course of twenty years. I just thought that sounds so interesting and intriguing, I knew I just had to give it a go.

Now my question for you is; if you had to pick a 100th book for others to read, what book would it be? Recommend a good one, and I might choose it as my 101st ;) Ha ha ha. Happy Reading!

The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson

Genre: General Fiction
Synopsis: Jackson matches effortless Southern storytelling with a keen eye for character and heart-stopping circumstances. Laurel, a high-end quilt maker, sees the ghost of a little girl in her bedroom one night. When it leads her to the backyard and a dead girl in the swimming pool, the life Laurel had hoped to build in her gated Florida neighborhood with her video-game designer husband, David, and their tween daughter, Shelby, starts to fall apart.

2 stars

Review: This novel has a great idea and a good intention behind it, and I do see where the author wanted to go with this story. Unfortunately, the story itself fell flat for me. First of all, the book was simply too slow. It had a lot of promise in the first few chapters, but it just went on and on, and I couldn't even envision where it was going. I also did not even like the characters -- too stereotypical, in my opinion. I also couldn't understand as there were way too many things going on at the same time. In the end, there were just too many loose ends and too many questions left unanswered. Don't get me wrong; I do like a complex story with multiple subplots, but not if they don't tie up or go together very well. As a whole, I didn't think it was that bad, but I don't care for it either. It is easily forgettable. Perhaps if this was turned into a Lifetime movie, I might enjoy it better.

the Holiday tag

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I was bored one day, and was looking for a 'holiday tag' to answer. I couldn't really find any, so I decided to create my own. These are basic questions that I made up and answered. And basically, if you're reading this, then you have been officially tagged to answer this as well! All you have to do is copy and paste the questions, answer it yourself, and post it somewhere. On your blog, as a comment.. Feel free to do whatever you want! Just don't forget to mention who tagged you, and of course, do try to tag others as well! Now to be more specific, I will tag some book bloggers down below. As for the questions and my answers...

1. When do you usually know and feel that it's finally the holidays?
- Christmas music playing everywhere, Christmas lights on houses and stores, and when Starbucks bring back their holiday drinks!

2. What do you want for Christmas this year?
- Either a plane ticket and a hotel booking for BEA '11. Haha. In all seriousness, a new bedding set would be nice..

3. Do you go all out with decorations?
- We have a Christmas tree, lights outside, and some garlands with lights on the fireplace. Our table centerpieces change colors as well, of course. We don't really go too crazy though; just simple and staple decors.

4. What are you doing Christmas eve?
- I will be with my dad's side of the family, enjoying each other's company, eating good food, (maybe drink a little), opening presents, and do our annual Secret Santa.

5. What are you doing Christmas day?
- I'll be with my parents, and two siblings. Most likely, my mom will cook. We might watch Narnia later on at night -- it comes out Dec.25.

5. It's Christmas time. What are you reading?
- During the holidays, I especially enjoy re-reading some of my favorites growing up: the Harry Potter books, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L' Engle, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. There's just something festive about those books for some reason, even though they have nothing to do with Christmas time.

6. Favorite movie to watch during the holidays?
- I like to re-watch Paris Je Taime, Toy Story, and Love Actually every year. I just adore those movies. Most especially though, I always have to re-watch You've Got Mail. My favorite still!

7. Favorite Christmas song?
- The Christmas Song, and My Grown-Up Christmas List - Michael Buble's version.

8. Favorite holiday drink?
- Good old Hot chocolate or Peppermint Mocha!

9. How is your Christmas shopping going?
- Half done. There's not a lot on my list; only the closest family and friends. The rest do get Christmas cards though :)

10. If you could spend Christmas day anywhere else, where would you spend it?
- Paris, because I am in love with the idea of finally visiting, and because I have never been!! Or New York City, because I love that place.

11. Any holiday traditions?
- I like to celebrate Simbang Gabi every year. Simbang Gabi or Mass at Dawn, is a nine day Catholic ritual novena that occurs over 9 days starting on December 16 and ending on December 24. It is usually performed as early as 4 or 5 in the morning. I usually go with a group of my closest friends. We head out to work or school straight after. It takes a lot of effort waking up every morning so early, but to me, it's definitely worth it.

12. Favorite thing about the Holidays?
- Aside from having more time to spend with my family and my best friends, it's probably the festive, caring, giving, joyous, loving mood everywhere! People for the most part seem to be kinder and nicer. Everyone's generous, and everyone just seems to be a lot happier. It's such a general thing, but just being around happy and loving people, it's unbelievably contagious and heartwarming! There's nothing better than feeling pure joy and contentment.


Again, if you happen to be reading this, you are all tagged. Specifically, I tag...
Enbrethiliel from Shredded Cheddar

Have fun, enjoy, and happy holildays everyone :)

Fire in the Blood by Irene Nemirovsky

Genre: Literary/General Fiction
Synopsis: We hear the voice of Silvio: a man getting on in years who has returned to the village of his youth after a long time abroad. He lives by himself, enjoys his wine and his solitude. But a visit from his cousin Hélène and her husband François, with their future son-in-law in tow, begins to draw Silvio back into the life of his family and of this insular community, toward the revelation of secrets he and others have guarded for decades.

4.5 stars

The greatest strength of any work coming from Irene Nemirovsky is the writing. If you liked Suite Francaise as much as I did, then I recommend this novel by the same author simply for her poetic and effortless way of telling a story.

I do think not everyone is going to like this. It does go on and on, with almost the same exact pace as when it started. There are not much action going on, as the main focus of the book I think is its narrative. Also, for those wondering, it is not as good as Suite Francaise. However, this is such a different book that there's really no point comparing the two. For me, I really enjoyed reading this.

Overall, I loved the male character's point-of-view and perspective, the hidden messages behind it, and how observant this book and story is of human nature. If the genre, synopsis, and the author's style appeals to you, and if you are looking for a well-written narrative, then I highly recommend this.

Mini-Movie Review: Tangled

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Seeing this movie just brings me back so many memories as a child, falling in love with every single Disney movie -- Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast... Tangled brings us Rapunzel; a long lost princess trapped in the tower all her life. This is an old-fashioned story with a new and modern twist. What can I say? I felt like I was a kid watching a Disney classic and a princess movie all over again. Everything about this movie is reminiscent to what Disney is to me -- and what it is for so many. Tangled was cute, funny, old-fashioned, and romantic. I also loved the fact that Rapunzel was actually sort of the heroine here, and wasn't really the "damsel in distress." I adored the lead male character, and loved (and hated!) the villain. The music... well, all the songs were composed by Alan Menken; the genius behind The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules, Pocahontas, Beauty and the Beast, among so many others. The score and the songs truly added to the movie, creating the magic that only Disney films have. It is a good, fun, and cute film, that will surely bring back memories of your childhood. Watch it!

Inspiration: the Holidays

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas season: most definitely my favorite time of the year. I just love everything about it! The get togethers, gatherings, and parties. Friends and family. Even the Christmas shopping. The gift giving. Also, people, for some reason, seem to be a lot kinder, nicer, and more patient this time of year. Everyone's in a festive, happy, and joyous mood. How can you not love this season? I know I am in love with it. This inspiration post is just to get you into that Christmas-y feeling, if you are not feeling it yet. And if you don't celebrate it, for you to be excited about the last month of 2010. Happy Holidays everyone!

Recommend books to non/new readers

Friday, December 3, 2010

I know a couple of people who don't read for fun or for leisure. I'm sure you do too. However, there are always instances when they would suddenly ask to recommend them books to read. Before, I would be at a loss, letting my brain think too much about it. I would try to think of the kind of genre, topic, issue, story, character, etc that they might enjoy, and after a couple of hits and misses, I think I've come up with my "go-to list of book recommendations for non or new readers." I have also come to find that usually, non or new readers' concerns are, but not limited to, these simple things: 1) how entertaining the story is, 2) how long it will take them to finish it, 3) the pace, 4) ease, 5) and how boring or interesting it is. Well, so far, these are the books that I noticed have never failed; books that I find myself always recommending to others and the books that I find others seem to always end up liking.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak- If you have been a reader of my blog for a while now, then this one won't be a surprise to you at all. I always, always recommend this YA novel, for the simple reason that it's good. It's something different, and something unique. It's beautiful, sweet, old-fashioned yet painfully heartbreaking at the same time, if that makes any sense at all.

A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks - Again, with the whole "beautiful, sweet, old-fashioned yet painfully heartbreaking." I love this book! It is such a simply written story of young, yet real and genuine love.

The Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella- This series is the girliest series out there, in my opinion. So if you like that, and if you like fun, light, and entertaining books, then this one's for you. It's cute, and just so funny. It's a fast-paced and easy to read "beach read." Just imagine basking under the sun.. or something.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver - This is probably one of my favorite books this 2010! It is fast-paced, well-written, and wonderfully told. I think it'd be a great Christmas gift as well. It's just good!

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown- Yeah, I hate The Lost Symbol by the same author, but I actually thought Angels and Demons was good. I mean sure, it is a crazy, out-there, impossible story, but it sure is entertaining! It's adventurous, exciting, and... yes, crazy, out there, and impossible. Maybe that's what I liked about it so much. So far, 3 of my friends liked this too after I recommended this to them.

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling - Uh, need I say more?


What are some of the books that you always, somehow, end up recommending?

Matched by Ally Condie

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Genre: Young Adult
Synopsis: Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

Rating: 4 stars

Review: I have been really liking the Dystopian genre so far, especially when I discovered about the Hunger Games and The Maze Runner series. To me, they offer something new to the table. For this YA novel by Allie Condie, I can honestly say the same thing. Matched is a sweet, old-fashioned love story, set in a very interesting (and sometimes rather dangerous) place and time. The setting definitely adds a new twist to it, and makes everything very intriguing. I also enjoyed reading about the characters; I felt as if they were very realistic, and not just based off 'teenage' stereotypes.'

The only thing I don't like about this novel is the pace. For some reason, I did have trouble trying to finish it. It wasn't as if it was boring; maybe it's just me, but it just wasn't as fast-paced and as much of a page-turner as I wished it was. Overall though, I recommend it if you like YA and the growing Dystopian genre. The whole 'love story' theme adds something new and extra, the ending leaves you satisfied and promises for something possibly better. Yet, it also leaves you wanting for more. It's not a favorite of mine, but it was still really good! Personally, I can't wait to read the sequel for this, as I did enjoy this a lot. 4 stars!