Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Genre: Fiction - Chick Literature
Synopsis: Nothing comes between Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) and her bargains. Neither act of God nor budget crunch can shatter her dreams of wall-to-wall Prada. Every milestone in her well-shopped life (travel, long-lost sister, marriage, pregnancy) inspires new vistas to explore in the name of retail therapy. But now she faces her greatest little challenge yet: Becky’s two-year-old daughter, Minnie.

Rating: 4

Review: I have always enjoyed the Shopaholic series. I love reading about the main character, Becky Bloomwood-Brandon. As annoying as she is and her 'crazy, erratic, shopaholic ways,' she can also be quite endearing and lovable. She's the type of character you just can't help but like and root for at the end, despite all her craziness. I've also always liked her because she doesn't seem like a walking stereotype. She seems like a real person, making stupid mistakes and whatnot.

To be honest, there's not much to be said about the novel, hence the short review. It was typical Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella style -- light, fun, a 'beach' read. The writing is conversational, and it makes me want to keep reading as I get attached to the things happening in the story. But I think it's greatest strength is how light and easy it is. It's a book about a shopaholic. Sometimes it's just nice to relax and end the day with a light-hearted, cute, and funny book. Mini Shopaholic was exactly that to me. It entertained me from the very first chapter to the last, and I don't know what else I can ask for from a book.

In My Mailbox!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

I haven't done this meme in a while, so I'm pretty excited to join this week. I got a pretty good book week. I finally went to the library after a long hiatus, and even bought some from the bookstore. I have to tell you, I am even more excited because I didn't have to spend anything, because the books were bought using Christmas gift cards. Anyway, happy reading everybody and hope you're having a great weekend so far!

Mini Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella
Change of Heart by Shari Maurer
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler
Crash Into Me by Albert Borris

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
The Hobbit
The Lord of the Rings complete set by J.R. Tolkien!! - so excited for this one! It was a $45 value and I got it for free because of a gift card. So happy and thankful!

The Future of YA

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Amelia from Imagination in Focus wrote a post about her wishes for the YA genre in the years to come. The post not only pointed out interesting points -- most that I agree with -- but it also made me think about my own wishes for the YA genre. Read her post, comment, and maybe write your own as well. As for me, here are the things I would like to see, and perhaps not see, in the near future.
  • More Contemporary Fiction about sensitive issues
Everytime I read these kinds of books, I tend to think about the readers that are going through the same exact things as the characters in these stories, and I imagine that it helps them a lot simply by reminding them that they're not alone. I just think that's a very important and significant thing to have. Some examples of these books, Willow by Julia Hoban, Speak and Wintergirls both by Laurie Halse Anderson, Scars by Cheryl Rainfield, among many others.
  • Twisted fairy tale re-tellings
I just can't resist it when a fairy tale becomes twisted and creepy -- ala The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. It is so unique, and it gives a fresh new feel to a classic story.
  • More realistic love stories
For some reason, there aren't much "romance" in the YA genre. I think a lot of people can relate to this, especially teens and YA readers. I mean, sometimes, it's just nice to read a good old love story every once in a while.
  • 20-50s era
I'm talking about the roaring 20s, poodle skirts, diners, The Great Depression even.. there are so many things I can think of that surrounds this time. Like Amelia said on her post, there are a lot of Victorian novels out there, particularly in the 18th century, but there aren't a lot of books centered around the 20s-50s. I think it'd be quite interesting to see how young adults lived back then.
  • Less vampires, werewolves, and faeries, please!
To be honest, I am getting a bit sick of the whole Paranormal genre trend going on. By this I mean, vampires/werewolves/faeries, etc. I feel like bookstores and libraries should have their own section for these paranormal creatures already due to so many books all about these! I enjoy a good paranormal novel or two, but I wish they'd venture out a little bit more. There are a whole lot of other interesting creatures that could be used, I think.

Water for Elephants.

Monday, January 24, 2011

I saw a movie last night and one of the trailers shown was Water for Elephants! I got so excited and curious to see because I honestly didn't know how they could make it into a movie. So far, just based on the trailer, I am really intrigued already.

The soundtrack and the overall feel of the movie trailer itself makes it look like it's going to be very good. I also do like Reese Witherspoon, but most especially Christoph Waltz -- from Inglourious Basterds!! And yes, if you've seen Remember Me, you probably saw Robert Pattinson in a whole new light. I think he's going to pull off this role. Oh, and a funny thing, guess what his name is in Water for Elephants... JACOB. Quite a funny coincidence, I have to admit.

I'm actually very excited to see this movie, as I really liked the book. What do you think?

BEA: needs convincing + questions

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Should I go to Book Expo America 2011? I've always wanted to go! I'll be surrounded by books and bookish people, in a city that I want to live in! But, and there's a very big but, is it worth splurging on? Flights, hotel, other expenses... seems like it may cost a bit-- like any other trip/vacation would, I know -- so I need a little bit of convincing.

Why do you want to go to BEA? And if you've been there, what makes you come back? Also, how and where do you register? Is it true that there is a fee for book bloggers this year unlike last year?

To go would be an amazing experience, but I want to make sure it'll be worth it. Thanks for your feedback!

Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers

Monday, January 17, 2011

Genre: Young Adult
Synopsis: When Eddie Reeves’s father commits suicide her life is consumed by the nagging question of why? Why when he was a legendary photographer and a brilliant teacher? Why when he seemed to find inspiration in everything he saw? And, most important, why when he had a daughter who loved him more than anyone else in the world? When she meets Culler Evans, a former student of her father’s and a photographer himself, an instant and dangerous attraction begins. Culler seems to know more about her father than she does and could possibly hold the key to the mystery surrounding his death. But Eddie’s vulnerability has weakened her and Culler Evans is getting too close. Her need for the truth keeps her hanging on...but are some questions better left unanswered?

Rating: 2 stars

Review: I know a lot of people loved this book. And as much as I wished I loved it as well, unfortunately I did not.

Writing: 4 stars
This has got to be the only good thing that I liked about this novel. The writing is unpretentious and effortless, and it flows beautifully. The author, Courtney Summers, knows exactly how to portray a teenager's troubled mind and she knows exactly how to paint a picture for her readers to see and feel it as well.

Characters: 1 star
I wasn't into any of the characters. I didn't feel emotionally invested, and I didn't even empathize with the situation. Even though I could see where the main protagonist, Eddie, was coming from, I was actually quite annoyed at her. I also didn't understand the point of the rest of the characters either. Culler? Milo? Why are they even there? The worst thing though, I have to say, is that there was no character development.

Plot development: 1 star
When I finished this novel, my first reaction was, "That's it?" I couldn't believe it was over. Just like that. It was built up, and then... DONE. There wasn't any sort of development with the plot or the characters, and the same questions I had in the beginning were simply unanswered. I was left there, feeling completely underwhelmed.

When I first started this book, I saw promise, mainly because of the writing and the very mysterious plot line. Unfortunately, Fall for Anything fell flat for me. It definitely lacked something crucial. It was depressing -- and not in a this-is-life-we-just-have-to-learn-from-it-and-get-back-up kind of way. It was just depressing and nothing else. Maybe that was the point of the novel, but I simply didn't get it.

On Reading.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I was rereading Where Books Fall Open -- a reader's anthology full of drawings, paintings, poems, essays, etc about books and reading -- when I came across one of my favorite passages. I thought I'd share with you all, as I think you'd appreciate and relate to it more than anyone else I know.

On Reading
by Elizabeth Hardwick

As I have grown older I see myself as fortunate in many ways. It is fortunate to have had all my life this passion for studying and enjoying literature and for trying to add a bit to it as interestingly as I can. This passion has given me much joy, it has given me friends who care for the same things, it has given me employment, escape from boredom, everything. The greatest gift is the passion for reading. It is is cheap, it consoles, it distracts, it excites, it gives you knowledge of the world and experience of a wide kind. It is a moral illumination.


Do you, every time you finish a good book and pick up another one, stop and think about what reading means to you? For me, there are so many passages out there that can explain what it means to me. I can even write an entire essay, maybe even a long blog post rambling on about it. But I think this short passage sums up how I feel about it pretty darn well.
At least, for now.

a trip to a bookstore results to this.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I went to the bookstore today, just to look around. I wasn't meaning to get anything, as I wasn't really sure what to get to begin with, but while wandering around the YA section, I saw a random book I have never heard of. It's Annexed by Sharon Dogar, which is apparently "a powerful story of the boy who loved Anne Frank." I picked it up right away.

Like I said, I didn't know anything about it or what it was about, but it did look interesting. As soon as I read the synopsis, I was immediately sold.

What was it like hiding in the Annex with Anne Frank? To be with Anne every day while she wrote so passionately in her diary? To be in a secret world within a world at war -- alive on the inside, everything dying on the outside?
Peter Van Pels and his family have lost their country, their home, and their freedom, and now they are fighting desperately to remain alive. Look through Peter's eyes. He has a story to tell, too. Are you listening?

I don't know about you, but to me, that synopsis is so intriguing! It sounds like the perfect read for me, and while I was still in the bookstore, as I was debating with myself whether or not to get it, I took the time to read the first chapter. It was so good already and the writing sounds so beautiful I just couldn't pass it up. It also didn't hurt that 1) I love The Diary of Anne Frank and 2) for some reason, Annexed reminds me of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Need I say more?

This got me thinking about books we had no intention of getting or reading, but end up buying/borrowing anyway simply because of our attraction to its cover or its synopsis. I wonder, do you ever buy/borrow a book you have never heard about, or never read a single review of, simply because of this, shall we say, "instant connection?" Have you ever discovered any favorites because of this? What are some of those books? I'd love to hear from you.

hop hop hop!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Welcome to my blog! If you came here from the Book Blogger Hop over at Crazy-for-Books, thanks for visiting! This is where I talk, rant, rave, and gush about all things, books! This week, Jennifer asks, "Why do you read the genre that you do? What draws you to it?"

As I read pretty much every genre there is, it depends. Typically, it's really the synopsis that draws me to the books I read and not necessarily their genres.

I'd love to check your blog out as well, so please leave your link here if you can. Also, visit me on Twitter! Happy Friday, everyone!

we have a winner!

Thanks to everyone that entered the Christmas + Blog Anniversary Giveaway. Through randomized drawing, we have already picked a winner.

Jess M.
of Tangled in Blue

The main rule of the contest is to tell me your favorite thing about the holidays/Christmas/December. I loved hearing everyone's answers! Jess says,

"Christmas is my favorite holiday, so it's pretty hard to narrow down things I love about it! I think if I had to choose, I'd say just the general feel of the season. Y'know, spending time with family, how everyone's cheery, how it's such a peaceful time...I guess just the warm and fuzziness of the season :)"

Congrats, Jess! I will be sending you an e-mail to confirm. Please respond as soon as you get it :) Thanks again to everyone for all the blogoversary greeting and entries!

First Impressions: Fall for Anything

I don't usually do a whole post dedicated to my "first impressions" on a book, but I feel like if I was going to start doing it, this book would be the perfect one to do it on. I have been wanting to read this after hearing many rave reviews about it. For Christmas, somebody got it for me as a gift. Let's just I was excited.

Fall for Anything is a YA novel about a teenage girl, Eddie Reeves, whose dad commits suicide, leaving her consumed by the nagging questions of whys and what ifs?

Sounds dark and mysterious -- sounds interesting to me! I mean, look at that cover! (It's actually quite creepy looking) I am only 1/4 through the book, and I have to say, I am already liking it. I have never read anything from Courtney Summers before, but now I wonder if I'm missing out, because I have to say, I really like the way she writes. It feels a bit like reading someone's diary -- I know I should mind my own business and not read it, but it's also one of those things; how can I pass up the chance? So yes, it's not only intriguing but it's also a fast-paced, and readable page-turner.

Please no spoilers, but if you have read this book, what rating did or would you give it? Did you or did you not like it? Personally, so far, I'm really liking it. Here's to hoping it stays that way!

guess who's officially one today?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Happy Birthday to this little old blog right here!! She is officially a year old. There's a lot of things I didn't expect to come out of this book blogging thing, but mostly, what I never expected was for anybody else -- who isn't a family member or a friend haha -- to care about what I have to say. Believe me, I still get so excited when I see a new follower or when I read a new comment from you.

So... thank you so very much if you have followed, read, and if you have ever left me a comment in 2010. For the conversations here on the blog and even on Twitter! You made book blogging not only fun, but a way for me to relax, unwind, and cope during stressful times. I look forward to many more book talks (and many more conversations in general) with all of you!

reminder: giveaway ends tomorrow

Sunday, January 9, 2011

This little old blog turns 1 on January 10th, which also means the end of the Christmas + Blog Anniversary Giveaway. Entries are accepted until Jan.10, 11:59 PM Pacific! Clickclickclickclick.

I broke up with reading.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Kind of. For some reason, I am in a huge "I-don't-know-what-to-read-I'm-so-bored-with-everything!" phase. I have spent a lot of time stalking the shelves in my local library and nearby bookstores, even picking up random books just to try them out. Somehow, I just end up disliking them. I know I need a book -- or several books -- to bring me back to my normal self again, but I am at a loss. I don't know which book to read next. So the reason I wrote this post is to ask for the perfect remedy from you. Please recommend me a book. Something that you liked, something you thought was perfectly readable, engaging, and just plain entertaining. Any book at all, as long as you absolutely loved it.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

This post isn't going to be long at all, but I wanted to say it anyway. I'm pretty sure everyone knows by now; Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is the target of yet another case of censorship. The 'n' word, considered as a very offensive slang term, is to be replaced by the word, 'slave.' Since when did the word 'slave' become less offensive anyway? They don't even have the same meaning.

People argue that it's just 1-2 words that have been changed -- they would ask, "So what?" I just think, whether it's one word or an entire chapter, it's still going to make a huge difference to the reading experience. Why mess with something that's perfectly fine the way it is? I say, let the readers today read how it was read yesterday. Classics should not be altered to match contemporary ideology, and Literature should never feel the need to adjust itself for anybody.


recommended books with a little help from 2010..

Monday, January 3, 2011

In 2010, I read a total of 102 books. I was fortunate enough to have read mostly good ones, and only disliked a few. However, there are some books that stood out the most to me in the past year, and I decided to compile a list of these. These are books that I read in 2010, enjoyed and loved. These are the books that I feel comfortable recommending to others who are looking for a new read. If you have read any of the books here, let me know which ones -- just by telling me which number -- and also what you thought of them. Also, if you have other suggestions of books you read the past year and that you personally highly recommend, feel free to do so. Happy New Year everybody!

1. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foe
2. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll
3. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
4. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan - and the rest of the books in the series
5. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
6. Still Alice by Lisa Genova
7. Willow by Julia Hoban
8. Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
9. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
10. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
11. I Am An Emotional Creature by Eve Ensler
12. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
13. Dark Lover by J.R. Ward
14. East by Edith Pattou
15. Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
16. Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
17. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
18. Matched by Ally Condie
19. The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
20. Fire in the Blood by Irene Nemirovsky
21. It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
22. Room by Emma Donoghue
23. Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
24. Looking for Alaska by John Green
25. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
26. One Day by David Nicholls

Goodbye 2010..

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Hello 2011!

Hope you have a lovely New Year's Eve with all the people you love, care about, and have fun with! See you January 1st :)