Friday, May 31, 2013

May Wrap Up and June TBR

May Wrap Up
I read a total of 9 books in May which officially beats out February where I read 8 books. 5 of those books I read after I got out of school on May 14th so you can tell I spent a lot of time reading once summer began.  Although I read so many books in May I'm sad to say I still did not finish my TBR. I didn't get to Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, but will get to it in early June. May was a month full of decisions which I announced in my Read-A-Thon sign up post which is coming up and the very exciting event of graduating from high school. I have a busy summer ahead of me, but I hope to get some reading done in June. 

1.  The first book I finished in May is 44 Cranberry Point by Debbie Macomber. This still did not top the 2nd book in my opinion, but I really enjoyed my time reading this novel. (review) (character follow along)







2. The 2nd book I finished in May was Breathing Underwater by Alex Flinn. This is the first book I have read by Alex Flinn and I really enjoyed the complex characters she created in this book. It was a quick read and totally worth it. (Reivew)(Cover Face Off







3. The third book I read in May was Rapunzel Untangled by Cindy C. Bennett. I have to say that I enjoyed Rapunzel Untangled so much I decided to do a Rapunzel feature. A whole month of Rapunzel themed posts. I will announce more about it later this year although I have decided when I'm going to do the feature. 







4. The fourth book I read in May was Firefly Lane by Kristen Hannah. Although it is so hard to pick a favorite for May because I read so many amazing books. If I have to choose a favorite it would be Firefly Lane by Kristen Hannah. This books was very emotional, but it had so many compelling themes and it was real life. I didn't feel like I was reading fiction. I felt like I was reading about a real life friendship. A friendship I hope one day to find. Firefly Lane is a hard book to get over. I can't wait to read another book by this author. (Review) (Discussion





5. The next book was Happy Birthday Bad Kitty by Nich Bruel. This was such a fun read and took me under an hour. I was bored while babysitting so I picked up the book and I did a quick review on it the next day. I thought it was a fun read. (Review







6. The next book was City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. The book that set me behind on my TBR. I was going to start Sarah Dessen as soon as I finished Firefly Lane, but that got put on hold when I forgot Firefly Lane at home on my final day of High School. I ran to the library to check out a random book and they had Cassandra Clare's City of Bones. I really enjoyed this book and read it really quickly so I could start Sarah Dessen. I did really like the book and I'm excited to read the 2nd book City of Ashes. (Review)




7. Then after I finished City of Bones it was time to scramble to finish The Spring of Sarah Dessen reading challenge. I started that by reading her shortest book That Summer. That Summer was a really good book although it was not Sarah Dessen's best. (Review).







8. I followed with This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen which was quite an amazing book with great characters. I really enjoyed this book and the issues it covered. (Review).









9. The next book I read was Just Listen by Sarah Dessen which has quickly made its way to be one of my favorite Sarah Dessen books. I could not run out of good things to say about Just Listen in my review which to me shows the true sign of how much I enjoyed a book. With that I finished The Spring of Sarah Dessen reading challenge and May (Review)






June TBR
The grand news for June is that there is no To Be Read list. Of course I still have books I want to read in June, but you will have to figure some of those out through my reviews and read-a-thons that are happening in June. I just want June to be a very relaxed month where I read whatever I want. At this point I would like to finish up the books I have checked out from the library now. Maybe read another book by Kristen Hannah and the 2nd book to City of Bones. You will have to see in my June wrap up what I decide to read. 

The Spring of Sarah Dessen Challenge Wrap Up


Ramblings of a Daydreamer

The Spring of Sarah Dessen was one of the two challenges I sign up for in March. I only had until June 1st to complete this one and I'm happy to say I made it although I read all the books for it in the span of a week and read them at a fast pace to finish the challenge. 


The three books I read for The Spring of Sarah Dessen reading challenge were That Summer, This Lullaby, and Just Listen. I'm proud to say I enjoyed them all. I actually read them from least favorite to favorite. Just Listen was the top of the list followed by This Lullaby and then That Summer. 

I wrote a review on each book and I have to I couldn't really run out of good things to say about Just Listen. This has to be one of my favorite Sarah Dessen books. I loved the This Lullaby characters being in it. So I was glad I read This Lullaby before Just Listen so I could pick out the characters in Just Listen. 

That Summer was Sarah Dessen's first novel. Although it was good it wasn't Sarah Dessen's best work. I think it really shows how far she has come as an author writing as complex of novels as Just Listen. 

Now the only book I haven't read by Sarah Dessen is her new book The Moon and More which comes out on June 4th which is this Tuesday. I'm excited to say the least to get my hands on her new book. 

I really enjoyed The Spring of Sarah Dessen challenge and I'm happy that I completed it on time while still enjoying the books I read for the challenge. 

Thanks for reading

Rachael 

Book Review: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen (no spoilers)

Book: Just Listen
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publication: April 6th, 2006
Source: Local Library
Rating: 5/5 stars
Summary (from Goodreads):
Last year, Annabel was "the girl who has everything" — at least that's the part she played in the television commercial for Kopf's Department Store. This year, she's the girl who has nothing: no best friend because mean-but-exciting Sophie dropped her, no peace at home since her older sister became anorexic, and no one to sit with at lunch. Until she meets Owen Armstrong. Tall, dark, and music-obsessed, Owen is a reformed bad boy with a commitment to truth-telling. With Owen's help, maybe Annabel can face what happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends.


My Thoughts:

I just finished Just Listen and it has quickly made it to being one of my favorite Sarah Dessen books. Just Listen wasn't what I expected and I really enjoyed that.

The main character of Just Listen is Anabel Greene. From the beginning Anabel is a mysterious character. She doesn't like confrontation which reminds me a lot of myself. Anabel feels alone after losing three friends Sophie, Emily, and Clarke. Although what they think of her is not true Anabel doesn't know how to talk to them. Although Anabel mentioned that there was incident at the end of the last school year it takes us as the reader to over half of the book to find out what really happened. This incident lead to Anabel losing all her friends. I liked this complexity of Anabel. We didn't really know why she was like she was. We didn't totally understand Anabel, but Sarah Dessen kept me reading to find out. In a lot of ways Anabel reminds me a lot of myself and I think that was why I connected so much to Just Listen. I have lost a lot of friends and there is a lot of times where I have felt alone because sometimes losing one friend means losing another because they are also friends with that friend you lost.

Every day at lunch Anabel would sit down six feet away from Owen Armstrong and for awhile they never talked. Owen was mysterious also in the fact that he was always listening to music. Owen stuck out to Anabel. Then the day came that Anabel talked to Owen and she learned quickly that Owen always speaks the truth. This changed Anabel because she started to look at her life and the lies she tells.

Owen also has a little sister named Mallory who is in middle school. She just loves Anabel because Anabel is a lakeview model. Mallory is obsessed with fashion. She was a really funny, cute, and sometimes annoying character.

The other part I really liked about Just Listen is the part about Anabel's sisters. Sometimes family is mentioned, but not focused on, but in Just Listen family was a key part of the novel. Anabel's sister Whitney, tall and beautiful has an eating disorder. Her healing is a big part of the novel. Although at first Whitney is quiet and withdrawn, we watch her grow as the novel progresses. Then there is Anabel's sister Kirsten who changes in many ways during the novel. Kirsten is the outgoing sister of the family not afraid to speak her mind.

Then there was Anabel's mom and dad who were a key part of the novel. Anabel spent a lot of time with her mom through modeling. Anabel's dad would always be up at night when Anabel came home and ask her to watch the history channel with him. Her parent's played a key role in this novel's ending.

I really enjoyed Just Listen's focus on music because even though the music was strange it lead Anabel to figuring out what she needed to do to move back the incident that wrecked her friendships. Anabel learned that sometimes she just needed to listen and that other people needed to be able to listen to here.

Another part that really drew me to Just Listen was the references to This Lullaby. The previous book I read by Sarah Dessen. I won't tell who all was in here, but it was really fun to find them for myself.

Just Listen was an amazing novel and I really enjoyed how complex of a story it was. Just Listen was an amazing book with such complex characters and characters that grew and changed throughout the story. This book wasn't all about relationships. It was about finding yourself and mending the bonds that have been broken. Anabel was an amazing character who discovered herself so much during this novel. Thanks to all the amazing people in her life Anabel was able to make a hard, but brave choice at the end of this novel. Although Anabel's life isn't perfect she was able to make the best of the situation. I think everybody can relate to some of the challenges Anabel faced. That is what makes Just Listen so relatable. Just Listen is a must read by Sarah Dessen.


Thanks for reading


Rachael

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Book Review: This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (no spoilers)

Book: This Lullaby
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publication: May 27, 2002
Source: Local Library
Rating: 5/5 stars
Summary (from Goodreads)
When it comes to relationships, Remy doesn't mess around. After all, she's learned all there is to know from her mother, who's currently working on husband number five. But there's something about Dexter that seems to defy all of Remy's rules. He certainly doesn't seem like Mr. Right. For some reason, however, Remy just can't seem to shake him. Could it be that Remy's starting to understand what those love songs are all about?



My Thoughts:

I will disappoint you. That is how Remy Starr has lived her whole life, disappointed. It all started with her father. The guy who wasn't around, but wrote This Lullaby that seems to be played everywhere Remy goes. Remy has trust issues and her believe in love isn't there. Remy's mom has been married five times so Remy knows her fair share about how relationships don't work out.

Then Remy meets Dexter who she does everything in her power to keep away from, but this boy won't leave her alone. Dexter is different from Remy's past boyfriends. This one changes Remy.

Remy is different character for Sarah Dessen. She smoked, she drank, and she slept around. She was in no way a perfect character. I liked her for that. Remy was still responsible. As the summary says she doesn't mess around when it comes to relationships. Remy is not going to fall in love because it only leads to being hurt.

Remy's mom was also an important reason in this book that Remy is the way she is. Remy's mom has been married 5 times. That isn't easy for any child to handle. Remy has watched each relationship form and fall apart. Will this be the husband that stays?

Most of the novel is about Remy's relationship with Dexter and I really enjoyed the moments they spent together. The thoughts that ran through clean freak Remy's head. This novel had a really relaxed, real life feel. You feel like you could be friends with the people in this book. Remy's friends were Jess, Chloe, and Lissa. They brought the best out in Remy and helped put things into prospective for her. I like how four girls with so different personalities can still be friends.

This Lullaby is a book full of disappoint, but it also brings the question of is love a worthwhile choice? I really enjoyed This Lullaby. The friendships were great and I really liked Remy and Dexter as characters. The ending of this novel gave us peace with the characters and left it open to our imaginations as to where they would go next. This Lullaby was another winner by Sarah Dessen. The main message in This Lullaby is that your parent's past and your past does not have to determine your future. Sometimes you just need to take a risk and find out what happens. It might be something worthwhile.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Library Books Read-A-Thon Announcement and Sign Ups




I'm very excited to announce my very first read-a-thon. I love read-a-thons and I really think they motivate me to read. I present to you the Library Books Read-A-Thon. June read-a-thons seem to be in short supply so I hoped to fill in the gap. 

The goal of this read-a-thon is to read as many library books as possible. If you are like me you always have books that are close to due that need to be done and fast so this read-a-thon is a great time to get those books done and get them back to the library.

I'm not going to be picky. If you want to read your own books go ahead. I just love read-a-thons so I would love anybody who could join. 

This Read-A-Thon will start at midnight on June 21 and will go until midnight of the 28th. I will put an update, linky post up every day during the read-a-thon so you guys can link your progress and we can meet new bloggers through this read-a-thon. 

The Sign Up Linky is below. Please put the link directly to your sign up post. Grab the button and go. 


Rachael 



Monday, May 27, 2013

the Anti-BEA Read-A-Thon May 27th- June 2nd Sign Up, Starting line, and Progress


My disclaimer is that I'm in no way against BEA. I was just not able to go this year or nor will I be able to in any year in the near future. I'm addicted to read-a-thons so I'm proud to join another one for May that flows slightly into June. This post is going to serve as my sign up post, starting line post, and progress post since I am a day late.

The three books I have in my stack right now are This Lullaby and Just Listen by Sarah Dessen. Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstilskin by Liesl Shurriff. I'm starting this read-a-thon on pg 122 of This Lullaby. Just Listen is going to take priority because I need to finish that by May 31st to count for my Sarah Dessen challenge. Rump is due back at the library on May 30th, but if I don't get to it I'm just going to take the fine. 


Progress

Day 1 May 27th
pg 122 to pg 209

pg 119 to pg 140 in Robin Hood by Howard Pyle

Books Finished: 0
Total Pages Read: 108

Day 2 May 28th
pg 209 to pg 344

Books Finished: 1
Total Pages Read: 243

Day 3 May 29th
pg 0 to pg 162

Books Finished: 1
Total Pages Read: 405

Day 4 May 30th
pg 162 to pg 314

Books Finished: 1
Total Pages Read: 557

Day 5 May 31st
pg 314 to pg 371

pg 0 to pg 36

Books Finished: 2
Total Pages Read: 650

Day 6 June 1st
pg 36 to pg 106

I realize how much I have forgotten about this fairy tale. I will need to read the original. So far this book is amazing. 

pg 140 to pg 195

Books Finished: 2
Total Pages: 775

Day 7 June 2nd
pg 106 to pg 258

pg 195 to pg 214

pg 0 to pg 50 in Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Books Finished: 4
Total Pages: 996








Sunday, May 26, 2013

Do you need to have prizes to host a read-a-thon?



Today's blog post is a question. If you have spent any amount of time on this blog you have probably seen I'm addicted to read-a-thons and I'm dying to host my own. Today I'm wondering if that is a good idea or not.

Here's the deal I have my whole future to pay for right now and I really can not afford to spend even a little bit on this blog. I started this blog as a hobby hoping people would love it for the content I put on it. Not the prizes I give away.

I like joining read-a-thons just to make friends and read more, but there are always prize involved. I have won a couple times, but I'm always quick to tell the person to give the prize to another person. I just joined for the fun of reading.

If I hosted a read-a-thon without the incentive of a possible prize at the end. Would you guys look at that read-a-thon differently? Would you still join or would you decide not to because there was no end result? Has the blogging world became all about getting prizes instead of just sharing our thoughts? I understand that I could get people to donate prizes, but I would prefer to just have a read-a-thon where the goal is for people to read together and meet new bloggers.

Do you need to have prizes to host a read-a-thon? Answer my question down in the comments. I'm curious.

Thanks for reading


Rachael

Friday, May 24, 2013

Discussion Post: Setting Limits

There are so many things in life where there a limits to things we can and can't do. That gets me to wondering to why we set limits to things that we don't have to like blogging. I have read many the blogs that say they ONLY review Young Adult and Middle Grade books. Sure those books are great, but why would you want to limit what you read?

I like to pride myself of being a reader who reads a variety of stuff so if I was to limit my blog to only Young Adult books for example I would only read Young Adult books. I know a lot of people are skeptical about adult books, but I have been reading adult books since I was in 7th grade. I have never felt like the characters were too old for me to relate to or that the books were about too serious of topics. I believe if we are sheltering kids from tough subjects such as suicide they are only going to become more curious about it and they will find out about it in their own ways. 

Still today I read a variety of Young Adult, and Adult books. I would never want to make my blog all one genre because I started this blog as a hobby to share my thoughts about books not so I would limit myself. I feel like eventually you will hit a brick wall with the limit and decide to go off the limit. There is just so many other things in life that have limits. I never want my blog to have limits. I want to feel free to post anything my mind comes up with such as this post right now. 

Let's Discus: What do you think about this topic? Does your blog have limits? Are you limiting yourself as a reader by sticking to one genre?



Thursday, May 23, 2013

Book Review: That Summer by Sarah Dessen (no spoilers)

Book: That Summer
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publication: October 1st, 1996
Source: Local Library
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Summary (from Goodreads):
For fifteen-year-old Haven, life is changing too quickly. She's nearly six feet tall, her father is getting remarried, and her sister—the always perfect Ashley—is planning a wedding of her own. Haven wishes things could just go back to the way they were. Then an old boyfriend of Ashley's reenters the picture, and through him, Haven sees the past for what it really was, and comes to grips with the future.



My Thoughts:

I have read a lot of Sarah Dessen's books and in this case That Summer got beat out by Sarah Dessen's other books. I was constantly comparing this book to Sarah Dessen's other books that I really liked. That Summer was a pretty good book, but not Sarah Dessen's best by far.

This book was about the summer that changed everything for 15 year old Haven. I think we can all relate to that because there is a time in life with a lot of change happens quickly. For me I can relate to it right now because college is changing a lot of things. Haven is also almost 6 feet tall which I can relate to. She talked about how she slouched to be shorter. I do the same thing without even thinking anymore because I don't like being tall. That Summer is also about hope and fantasying about the past. It always seems when we look back at good memories they are always better in our mind than what they actually were. That was a true statement for Haven who built her expectations for one guy too high.

This book was also about the present and not just the summer that was good for Haven, but the summer that everything changed for Haven. Her sister's Ashley's wedding is a big part of the book. It was Ashley story line they used in How to Deal with Mandy Moore. I didn't really like the character of Ashley just like I don't like her in the movie. Ashley was very needy and self centered. Haven's life would be all turned upside down and Ashley wouldn't even notice. Then there was Haven's mother who was too busy planning Ashley's wedding and trying to get over her divorce to even notice the issues Haven was having. That left Haven to struggle through this difficult, life changing time by herself.

Of course there had to be a boy in That Summer. His name was Sumner. Sumner was the perfect guy. Haven kept bumping into him everywhere she went. For Haven, Sumner brought back memories of a time when everybody in her family was happy and care free. She would give anything to have those days back. Sumner isn't exactly the person Haven believes him to be.

I really liked the themes of That Summer of hope, loss, and change. I think the author made a novel that real teaches you that the past isn't really as great as we make it out to be in our minds. People are not who we always thought they were. I think she also mixed in the right amount of humor and stressful moments. Overall this was a very light read with great hidden messages. I always feel like I have learned something about life after reading Sarah Dessen and That Summer did a beautiful job in doing so. Although this wasn't my favorite Sarah Dessen book I did really enjoy That Summer.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Top Ten Covers I love of Books I have read

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This weeks post is about cover that I love of books I have read. I have to say it was really hard to choose only ten because there are so many beautiful covers, but I managed. 

Book Covers:
1. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger is one of my all time favorite books and I have always loved the simplicity of the cover. It has the ability to tell you about the story while still letting you imagine the characters. 
2. The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks is a cover that is very simple which is the theme for today simple. I have always loved simple covers and Nicholas Sparks is great at creating them. The bench and the porch also convey a lot about the story. 
3. The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen is my favorite Sarah Dessen book. No book is complete without a beautiful cover. I love the simplicity of this cover and the simbolism it represents with Maci wondering if Wes loves her or not.
4. The Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin is my favorite cover and one of my favorite books out of Emily Giffin's collection. I just love how there isn't a lot going on in this cover. 
5. Firefly Lane by Kristen Hannah is a book I just finished reading last week. I love the fireflies and the jar on this cover because to me that is the ultimate representation of summer. Summer seems to be the time in books where friendships form just like Tully and Kate's friendship. I don't mind Tully and Kate being on the cover because they were blurry enough I was still able to imagine them for myself. 

6. Rapunzel Untangled by Cindy C. Bennett is a beautiful book cover. You know this is a Rapunzel retelling from the long locks of golden hair, but her face is still up to you to imagine. 
7. Cinder by Marissa Meyer had a very creative, different cover that just drew me to this magnificent book.
8. The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick was a great book. You will notice this is the only book on this list where I chose a cover that featured people's faces. This book is the only movie cover I have not hated on a book. I think that says something. Even if I got the old cover I know I still would have imagined Pat as Bradely Cooper and Tiffany as Jennifer Lawerence. 
9. Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult was an amazing book and I learned so much about wolves. I love the simplicity of this cover and how well this cover represents the book.
10. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen was a great books about the circus in the 1920s. I love this cover for how well it represents the book and that it allows you to imagine the characters for yourself. 


Thanks for reading


Rachael 


Summer Series Challenge June-August 2013 Sign Up Post

Summer Series Challenge

Yes I know another challenge when will the challenge madness come to an end. Probably never on this blog although my reading habits will be changing a lot come fall and possibly July. I couldn't resist a good series challenge as I have so many series that I have started and haven't finished. I also have a lot of series that I want to start. This is my chance.

I'm going to set my goal low as it is summer and I have a lot of standalone books that I want to finish. Plus I need to get ready for Classics Retold in September.

Highlighted books are the books that I have finished in the series.


Series Started

Cedar Cove Series by Debbie Macomber
16 Lighthouse Road
204 Rosewood Lane
311 Pelican Court
44 Cranberry Point
50 Harbor Street
5B Poppy Lane
6 Rainer Drive
74 Seaside Avenue
8 Sandpaper Way
A Cedar Cove Christmas
92 Pacific Boulevard
1022 Evergreen Place
1105 Yakima Street
1225 Christmas Tree Lane

Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margret Stohl
Beautiful Creatures
Beautiful Darkness
Dream Dark
Beautiful Chaos
Beautiful Redemption

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
City of Bones
City of Ashes
City of Glass
City of Fallen Angels
City of Lost Souls
City of Heavenly Fire (2014)

The Caroline Series by Maria D. Wilkes and Celia Wilkins
Little House in Brookfield
Little Town at the Crossroads
Little Clearing in the Woods
On Top of Concord Hill
Across the Rolling River
Little City by the Lake
Little House of Their Own

Firefly Lane by Kristen Hannah
Firefly Lane
Fly Away

Series I want to Start

Blossom Street Series by Debbie Macomber
The Shop on Blossom Street
A Good Yarn
Sussanah's Garden
Back on Blossom Street
20 Wishes
Summer on Blossom Street
Hannah's List
A Turn in the Road
Starting Now

Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Delirium
Pandemonium
Requiem

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
If I Stay
Where She Went

Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Just One Day
Just One Year (October 2013)

Divergent by Veronica Roth
Divergent
Insurgent
Allegiant

Summer Series by Jenny Han
The Summer I Turned Pretty
It's not Summer without you
We'll Always Have Summer

Anna and the French Kiss by Stepanie Perkins
Anna and the French Kiss
Lola and the Boy Next Door
Isla and the Happily Ever After

Hundred Oaks by Miranda Kenneally
Catching Jordan
Things I Can't Forget
Stealing Parker
Racing Savannah

Legend by Marie Lu
Legend
Prodigy
Champion (November 2013)

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Unearthly
Hallowed
Boundless

Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
Clockwork Angel
Clockwork Prince
Clockwork Princess


Obviously I have listed a number of series here and there is no way I can get to them in a span of 3 months. My plan is to read at least 10 books that are a part of a series this summer. I don't care which series on the list the books are from.













Book Review: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments Book 1) (no spoilers)

Book: City of Bones
Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: The Mortal Instruments Book 1
Publication: March 2007
Source: Local Library
Rating: 4/5 stars.
Summary (from Goodreads):
When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder -- much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing -- not even a smear of blood -- to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . .

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare's ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.


My Thoughts:

City of Bones was a book I really wanted to like because I wanted to go see the movie in August. I'm pleased to say that I enjoyed City of Bones although it is not my favorite book. I have heard a lot of good things about City of Bones and when I forgot my book at home on Tuesday I quickly hurried over to the library to check out a random book. City of Bones was going to be on my TBR list for this summer so it was the perfect time to get the book done. I read it at a pretty fast pace.

The beginning of City of Bones is pretty confusing as we are thrown right into the shadowhunter world. The book quickly picks up and I didn't want to stop once it got good. I wasn't a big fan of the writing style at first because the third person writing style made it really hard to connect with the characters. Eventually I got over it and fell in love with the characters anyways.

Clary is the main character of City of Bones. She doesn't know anything about this shadowhunter world until she meets Jace, Isabelle, and Alec. The next day she is attacked by a demon and her mother goes missing. The only people that can help her are Jace, Isabelle, and Alec. Clary and her friend Simon go on an amazing adventure discovering many new things about themselves and the shadowhunting world.

This book is jammed full of action and suspense with a mix of romance and a love triangle. This book is defiantly not real life. Nothing in this book is relestic, but I enjoyed it anyways. I loved and hated the character of Jace and Simon. Clary, Isabelle, and Alec were amazing characters. Magnus Bane who you will meet in the book quickly became one of my favorite villains. There were a lot of side characters such as Valentine leader of the uprising who really added to this book.

My only complaint about City of Bones was the ending. I finished the book late into the night and I was a bit disappointed when I got to the end. I have to say I was expecting a cliff hanger, but I was suspecting an action packed cliff hanger not the mellow ending I got. I'm excited to read the second book City of Ashes and find out what happens to Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Alec, and Simon.


Thanks for reading


Rachael

Monday, May 20, 2013

Bout of Books 7.0 Read-A-Thon Wrap Up

Bout of Books
My goals for this read-a-thon was to finish Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah, and start Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurriff. I also wanted to read at least 50 pages per day and read at least an hour a day. 

My goals changed on Tuesday when I forgot to bring Firefly Lane to school so I checked out City of Bones by Cassandra Clare and I just had to finish it before I started another book. This was the first time I tracked the time I read and I really liked the idea. I think it motivated me to read more often.

I finally beat out my page numbers from the Wicked Valentine Read-A-Thon back in February. I read a total of 777 pages and I read for a total time of 23 hours and 56 minutes. I finished about 1.84 pages per minute. On average I read 111 pages per day. I read on average 3 hours and 25 minutes per day. I read 255 pages in Firefly Lane, 485 pages in City of Bones, and 37 pages in Robin Hood. Saturday was a bit of a set back because I only read 3 minutes because I graduated from high school. Overall This week was very successful and I'm glad for what I accomplished during Bout of Books. If I could keep up this pace for the rest of the month I might be able to finish my TBR list.

Books Finish:
Books Started: 



This Week in Books (13) May 19th, 2013

This week in books is going to be a feature I'm going to be doing on my blog. This week in books is in no way my original idea. It is a combination of Friday reads, its Monday what are you reading, weekly wraps up, and any thing else you can think of. The basic idea is I will be telling you what I read last week and what I would like to read this week which is always subject to change.


Read Last Week: 
Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah (Review) (Discussion) was an amazing book and I can't wait to read its sequel Fly Away. 
I finished City of Bones just a little after midnight last night so I'm counting it for this week. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare was also a pretty good book and my review will be up soon. 

Currently Reading:
That Summer by Sarah Dessen is a book that I have been wanting to read for a while. I haven't started it yet, but I will get into it soon. 
I'm still reading Robin Hood by Howard Pyle. This book is getting a bit slow and not holding my attention as much as I hoped it would. 

To Read:
Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstilkskin is my next read. This cover is beautiful and I can't wait to read this. I know this was on the list to read last week, but my plans changed and I will read it this week once I finish That Summer. 

Thanks for reading.

Rachael 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Weekend Library Reading (5)



Book: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Why I took this book out: I have been wanting to read City of Bones for a while, but I wasn't planning on starting it until later. Then I forgot my book at home on Tuesday so I went to the library to check out a random book and they had this one. Here I am working my way through. So far it has been a great book and I have really enjoyed being immersed in their world. 


When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder -- much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing -- not even a smear of blood -- to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . .

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare's ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end


Thanks for reading


Rachael

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah discussion post (spoilers included)


There will be spoilers in this post so only read if you have read the novel. Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah was a wonderful book.



The Kate-Johnny-Tully triangle is one of the central threads of the novel. How does Johnny really feel about Tully? How does Tully feel about him? 

Kate was always inscecure that she was with a man who loved Tully first. Johnny at first is really likes Tully which leads to their one drunken night together. Tully on the other hand is uncapable of love after her mom abandoned her. The relationship was nothing to Tully.

Kate believes she is Johnny's second choice for love. How does Johnny contribute to her insecurities? How does Tully? How much of a relationship is set in the beginning and how are changes made as we grow? 

Kate knew she was in love with Johnny the moment she walked into the interview. The problem is that Johnny didn't see any of it. He was always blind. Johnny had that one night stand with Tully and then Kate told him how she felt. From there they had a whirlwind romance getting pregnant and married fast only to have Kate miscarry. Johnny contributes to Kate's insecurities by spending so much time with Tully. Kate thinks because they are both in the news world they should be together. Tully is very open with Johnnny and she will be all over him without really thinking and that makes Kate jealous.

Near the end of the novel when their friendship is on the rocks, both women feel wronged. Certainly Kate has ample reason to feel betrayed, but what about Tully's similar belief? Do you understand why Tully was upset, too? Do you believe that a friend should always reach out even when great pain has been caused? Or do you believe that true friends would never hurt each other? 

Tully is a complicated character with a difficult past. Some of the things Tully does is because of what her mother did to her and they are really unexplained as to the reasons why. Tully doesn't know what it feels like to be a mother or even to be a daughter so her betrayal with Kate was clearly her fault. After the fact was over I think Kate reacted too harshly saying the things she said. I also think Tully should have called Kate much sooner than she did. Of course there is no way to know that Kate would get breast cancer, but if Tully had just stopped being so stubborn and apologize she would have been there to hold her friend's hand through this difficult, trying period in her life. It is really hard to reach out when you have been hurt by a friend. Kate could have easily never called Tully again, but she needed a friend and Tully was that friend. That is what I loved about their friendship is that whenever times got back they would be back together. True friends do hurt each other it happens all the time. Fighting is a part of life it just may have not been that dramatic.

What role do you see Tully playing in Marah's life, after the pages of the novel are closed? Johnny's life? 

Marah needs a mom and unfortunately her biological mom is gone. Tully needs to stop being Marah's friend and just be a woman role model in her life. I picture Tully helping Johnny through a lot of difficult times. Although I see no romantic relationship forming.

In the end Kate comes full circle in her life and accepts the choices she has made, and in fact, discovers that she would do it all over again. She is fully at peace with who she is for perhaps the first time. How is this acceptance a gift to her children, her husband, and her best friend? And where do you think Tully ends up in terms of her own self worth? How will Kate's illness change her life? 

Cancer is a thing that touches so many people's life. There isn't a person on this Earth right now that didn't have a family member or a friend die of cancer. My great grandpa died of Stomach Cancer and my grandpa died of Colon Cancer. Kate was always striving to be somebody that she wasn't or do better at what she was. She thought she wasn't doing enough as a wife and mother. It took her getting breast cancer to finally sit back and look at her life and think how good she had. Kate gained perspective as she was dying. You could see towards the end that Kate was at peace as she said goodbye to her family and her best friend. Tully is always going to have issues in her life. Abandonment by a parent isn't something a child ever gets over. Tully will always think her life is just mediocre and she will never be good enough in her own eyes. Kate's disease gave Tully perspective too that friends and family are what matters in life and she took a few weeks off from her show after making that decision.

Book Review: Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah (no spoilers)

Book: Firefly Lane
Author: Kristin Hannah
Series: Firefly Lane Book 1
Publication: 2008
Source: Local Library
Rating: 5/5 stars
Summary (from Goodreads):
From the New York Times bestselling author of On Mystic Lake comes a powerful novel of love, loss, and the magic of friendship. . . .

In the turbulent summer of 1974, Kate Mularkey has accepted her place at the bottom of the eighth-grade social food chain. Then, to her amazement, the “coolest girl in the world” moves in across the street and wants to be her friend. Tully Hart seems to have it all---beauty, brains, ambition. On the surface they are as opposite as two people can be: Kate, doomed to be forever uncool, with a loving family who mortifies her at every turn. Tully, steeped in glamour and mystery, but with a secret that is destroying her. They make a pact to be best friends forever; by summer’s end they’ve become TullyandKate. Inseparable.

So begins Kristin Hannah’s magnificent new novel. Spanning more than three decades and playing out across the ever-changing face of the Pacific Northwest, Firefly Lane is the poignant, powerful story of two women and the friendship that becomes the bulkhead of their lives.

From the beginning, Tully is desperate to prove her worth to the world. Abandoned by her mother at an early age, she longs to be loved unconditionally. In the glittering, big-hair era of the eighties, she looks to men to fill the void in her soul. But in the buttoned-down nineties, it is television news that captivates her. She will follow her own blind ambition to New York and around the globe, finding fame and success . . . and loneliness.

Kate knows early on that her life will be nothing special. Throughout college, she pretends to be driven by a need for success, but all she really wants is to fall in love and have children and live an ordinary life. In her own quiet way, Kate is as driven as Tully. What she doesn’t know is how being a wife and mother will change her . . . how she’ll lose sight of who she once was, and what she once wanted. And how much she’ll envy her famous best friend. . . .

For thirty years, Tully and Kate buoy each other through life, weathering the storms of friendship---jealousy, anger, hurt, resentment. They think they’ve survived it all until a single act of betrayal tears them apart . . . and puts their courage and friendship to the ultimate test.

Firefly Lane is for anyone who ever drank Boone’s Farm apple wine while listening to Abba or Fleetwood Mac. More than a coming-of-age novel, it’s the story of a generation of women who were both blessed and cursed by choices. It’s about promises and secrets and betrayals. And ultimately, about the one person who really, truly knows you---and knows what has the power to hurt you . . . and heal you. Firefly Lane is a story you’ll never forget . . . one you’ll want to pass on to your best friend.


My Thoughts:

The first thing the librarian said to me when I came to pick up this book was "This book looks well loved." I couldn't help, but agree. The corners were bent and the paperback cover looked like something had been spilled on it. There is a small tear on the back cover and the back cover is bent. It wasn't until I started reading Firefly Lane that I realized why this book was so beat up. This book deserves to be read and this book had a very good reason why it was loved. From the very first page of Firefly Lane I knew I was in for an emotional ride. Kristin Hannah didn't disappoint.

Firefly Lane is primarily about friendship, but it has the underlying theme of abuse, abandonment  conformity, dreams, hope, jealousy, regrets, foreignness, love, family, and betrayal. This book had way more to offer in themes than most books do. This book had the unique ability to make me laugh and cry. I don't know where to start because this book was so beautifully written and so raw and emotional.

I'll start with friendship. Kate reminds me of myself in a lot of ways that she was quiet and she turned to books as her safety net. That is until the day Tully moved in. To Kate Tully always seemed unreachable until something bad happens to Tully and Kate is there to be her shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen. From then on TullyandKate were said as one word because they were inseparable.

Tully was abandoned by her mother and that has hurt her in many ways. I think it made Tully as a character hard to understand because you didn't exactly know the reason for the things she did. Underneath that Tully is a dreamer. She holds on to dreams tightly and doesn't let go. Tully had high hopes and many fantasies. She wasn't giving up until her dreams were completed.

Kate's dreams were a bit more simple and normal. She wanted to be a wife and a mother. Kate wanted to be as great a mom as her mom is. Kate doesn't know how much being a mother will change her and how many hurdles she will have to jump over in life.

Tully and Kate remain friends through more than 30 years, but their friendship was not without difficulties. They have real life problems. They have fights that are just apart of being human. That is what made this novel feel real is that their life wasn't perfect. Kate and Tully had flaws. When they were going through hard times they were always there for each other..  That is the type of friendship I hope to find.

One act of betrayal changed everything for Kate and Tully. It was because of this act that they missed out on many important events in each other lives. That is where the regret comes in. That is when they start to realize they can't get those moments back. Kate began to say at one point "The past is gone we can only move forward."

I really loved what a big part music played in this novel. I listen to Abba and I love their songs. It was so great to see them be a part of Firefly Lane. Music is a way for memories and that is how it was for Tully and Kate. They would pop in a CD from the 80s and be transported back to the time. The time of their youth.

Firefly Lane is a deeply personal story for Kristin Hannah who after 10 years of writing wrote her first author's note. Kristin Hannah lost her mother to breast cancer, she grew up in the seventies, and listened to the songs that Tully and Kate love. I think that is why Firefly Lane is such a emotional novel is because it was written straight from the heart. Firefly Lane is one of the most amazing books I have ever read. I was so touched by this book that words can't even explain my feelings. In a lot of ways this book reminded me of my own life. My own friendships that haven't worked out. I would guess that every person who has read this book could pick out one moment that they could relate back to their own lives. I highly recommend this book. It has been an amazing, emotional ride. I can't wait to read the squeal Fly Away.


Memorable Moment
When life got tough for Kate and Tully they transported themselves back into a world where they were young and carefree. Where KateandTully was just one word and back to a time they were known as the Firefly Lane girls.


Thanks for reading. If you have read the book I have a discussion post up.


Rachael

Independent Reading Page Numbers

Independent Reading Page Numbers
This class is just like the name. The goal of the class is to have time to read independently. You get to spend the class period reading and filling out a journal at the end. The school I go to doesn't have very many options for classes so this was actually my second time taking this class. I took it the first time my sophomore year. I used the class a lot my sophomore year to get my English books done, but since I took Senior Composition 2nd semester this year and independent reading 2nd semester this year I didn't need to use this class to get English books done. I was allowed to read whatever I wanted. I took World Literature 1st semester and I used my open to read the books for English which was great because I never had to read an English book at home this year. This post is for my page numbers I was able to get done during independent reading class. This post is mostly for my personal record because I'm not very good at keeping papers around. I really wish I tracked page numbers and times my sophomore year because it would be interesting to compare, but I didn't. 


1/8/13 The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger pg 255 to pg 318 63 pages total 90 minutes
1/10/13 The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger pg 450 to pg 493 43 pages total 60 minutes
1/14/13 Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl pg 106 to pg 128 22 pages total 60 minutes
1/16/13 Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl pg 130 to pg 174 44 pages total 60 minutes
1/18/13 Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl pg 215 to 241 26 pages total 50 minutes
1/23/13 Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl pg 448 to pg 484 36 pages total 40 minutes
1/25/13 Paper Towns by John Green pg 18 to pg 72 54 pages total 70 minutes
1/29/13 Paper Towns by John Green pg 216 to pg 266 50 pages total 70 minutes
2/1/13 Picture Perfect by Jodi Picoult pg 82 to pg 122 40 pages total 70 minutes
2/5/13 Picture Perfect by Jodi Picoult pg 341 to pg 369 28 pages total 60 minutes
2/7/13 Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti pg 174 to pg 258 84 pages total 70 minutes
2/12/13 Three Weeks with My Brother by Nicholas Sparks pg 262 to pg 315 53 pages total 60 minutes
2/19/13 The Fault in Our Stars by John Green pg 13 to pg 64 51 pages total 60 minutes
2/21/13 Doomed by Tracey Deebs pg 10 to pg 60 50 pages total 70 minutes
2/25/13 Doomed by Tracey Deebs pg 385 to pg 436 51 pages total 60 minutes
2/27/13 Redemption by Karen Kingsbury pg 0 to pg 44 44 pages 60 minutes
3/1/13 Redemption by Karen Kingsbury pg 59 to pg 113 54 pages total 80 minutes
3/5/13 Redemption by Karen Kingsbury pg 120 to pg 141 21 pages total 30 minutes
3/7/13 Redemption by Karen Kingsbury pg 170 to pg 222 52 pages total 70 minutes
3/12/13 The Host by Stephenie Meyer pg 89 to pg 123 34 pages total 90 minutes
3/14/13 The Host by Stephenie Meyer pg 132 to pg 158 26 pages total 60 minutes
3/19/13 The Host by Stephenie Meyer pg 275 to pg 296 21 pages total 40 minutes
3/21/13 The Host by Stephenie Meyer pg 324 to 358 43 pages total 70 minutes
3/25/13 Marvel Fairy Tales by Stephen Cebulski pg 0 to pg 96 96 pages total 60 minutes
3/27/13 Marvel Fairy Tales by Stephen Cebulski pg 96 to pg 143 47 pages total 20 minutes
3/27/13 Cinder by Marissa Meyer pg 218 to pg 257 39 pages total 40 minutes
4/2/13 The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult pg 318 to pg 363 45 pages total 75 minutes
4/4/13 The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick pg 16 to pg 30 14 pages 20 minutes
4/8/13 The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick pg 126 to pg 154 28 pages total 25 minutes
4/17/13 Splintered by A.G. Howard pg 244 to pg 289 45 pages total 70 minutes
4/19/13 Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson pg 6 to pg 45 39 pages total 60 minutes
4/29/13 Breathing Underwater by Alex Flinn pg 0 to pg 51 51 pages total 60 minutes
5/3/13 Breathing Underwater by Alex Flinn pg 158 to pg 217 59 pages total 55 minutes
5/7/13 Rapunzel Untangled by Cindy C. Bennett pg 134 to pg 151 17 pages 15 minutes
5/9/13 Rapunzel Untangled by Cindy C. Bennett pg 257 to pg 274 17 pages total 15 minutes
5/13/13 Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah pg 224 to pg 252 28 pages total 50 minutes

Now it time for some mind blowing statistics. I gave up my open to take this class so I would have to read instead of just sitting on the computer during my open. I read a total of 1,511 pages during this class. I read for a total time of 2015 minutes which translates into 33 hours and 35 minutes. I was in a total of 36 class period and on average I read 41 pages per class. I read about 1.3 pages per minute. Obviously this is a pretty great number of pages to get done during school and I'm glad I was given this time to read.

Thanks for reading

Rachael 


Senior Composition Reading Log Page Numbers

Senior Composition Page Numbers
Senior Compostition was the name of the English class I was taking the second semester of this year. Our teacher let us read for the first 20 minutes of class sometimes more sometimes less because through all her research she had seen the best way to be a better writer was to read. Since she couldn't expect all of us to read outside of class we read in class. I appreciated the time to read. As you can see below I wouldn't get too many pages done in that time and sometimes it is hard for me to concentrate on reading when I'm around so many people so I got what I got done. I noticed that I read about a page every 2 minutes and it can be faster or slower depending on the book.

1/8/13 pg 241 to 255 The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffengger (14 pages total)
1/10/13 pg 437 to 450 The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (13 pages total)
1/14/13 pg 96 to 106 Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (10 pages total)
1/18/13 pg 205 to pg 215 Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (10 pages total)
1/23/13 pg 433 to 448 Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (15 pages total)
1/29/13 pg 206 to pg 216 Paper Towns by John Green (10 pages total)
2/1/13 pg 73 to 82 Picture Perfect by Jodi Picoult (9 pages total)
2/7/13 pg 160 to pg 174 Something Like Fate by Susanne Colasanti (14 pages total)
2/12/13 pg 252 pg 262 Three Weeks with My Brother by Nicholas Sparks (10 pages total)
2/19/13 pg 0 to pg 13 The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (13 pages total)
2/21/13 pg 6 to pg 10 Doomed by Tracey Deebs (4 pages total)
2/27/13 pg 53 to 62 Across the Rolling River by Celia Wilkins (9 pages total)
3/1/13 pg 105 to pg 122 Across the Rolling River by Celia Wilkins (17 pages total)
3/5/13 pg 237 to pg 250 Across the Rolling River by Celia Wilkins (13 pages total)
3/7/13 pg 160 to pg 170 Redemption by Karen Kingsbury (10 pages total)
3/12/13 pg 82 to pg 89 The Host by Stephenie Meyer (7 pages total)
3/14/13 pg 126 to pg 132 The Host by Stephenie Meyer (6 pages total)
3/19/13 pg 267 to pg 275 The Host by Stephenie Meyer (8 pages total)
3/21/13 pg 313 to pg 322 The Host by Stephenie Meyer (9 pages total)
3/25/13 pg 10 to pg 24 Cinder by Marissa Meyer (14 pages total)
4/2/13 pg 302 to pg 318 The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult (16 pages total)
4/4/13 pg 0 to pg 16 The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick (16 pages total)
4/8/13 pg 110 to pg 126 The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick (16 pages total)
4/15/13 pg 125 to pg 137 Splintered by A.G. Howard (12 pages total)
4/17/13 pg 234 to pg 244 Splintered by A.G. Howard (10 pages total)
4/19/13 pg 0 to pg 16 Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson (16 pages total)
4/25/13 pg 91 to pg 102 Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson (11 pages total)
4/29/13 pg 77 to pg 89 Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (12 pages total)


I read 324 pages over the course of a Semester in my Senior English Class. I'm so glad she gave us this time to read because it helped me finish off some books. It was 324 pages I wouldn't have got done as fast without this class. I realize this is kind of a boring post, but it is mostly for my own record because I can't keep papers around.

Thanks for reading


Rachael

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Top Ten Hard Books

Top Ten Tuesday is Hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.

I tend to gravitate towards hard books because reading about other people's struggles makes the story seem so much more like real life. Sometimes it makes me realize how lucky I am. These books are really in no order they are all amazing. Last week's post on Light Books went to Sarah Dessen. This week's post on hard books goes to Jodi Picoult.


Hard Books is defined as books that talk about serious issues that make you think, cry, and everything in between.

Hard Books
1. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult is about a school shooting. This was a very hard book to read and Jodi Picoult twisted my emotions like crazy. There was times where I believed the shooter was guilty and other times I didn't. I didn't know what was coming next. 
2. The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult is Jodi Picoult's newest book and it was about Sage whose grandmother is a WWII survivor and her friend Josef who wants Sage to help him die because he is an ex-Nazi. Any WWII novel is hard because it was a horrific time in World History, but this had the added question of when is murder forgivable? My favorite theme in this book was forgiveness. 
3. The Pact by Jodi Picoult is about Chris and Emily who create a suicide pact. Emily goes through with it, but Chris is caught by the police before he can kill himself. They believe Chris murdered Emily. Jodi Picoult explores the feelings that lead people to commit suicide in this novel and it was a very emotional experience reading this novel.
4. The Help by Kathryn Stockett is a novel everybody knows about at this point because of the movie. The movie was great, but the novel was able to dive deeper into the character's emotions. Although the novel was funny sometimes you realize how serious black peoples lives were in 60s. 
5. Dreamland by Sarah Dessen is Sarah Dessen's most serious novel. This one is about abuse and the effects it can have on a girl. It was a great novel, but very emotionally heart wrenching. 
6. Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult is about Willow who has a disease called OI or brittle bone disease. This explores how hard it is as a parent to have a special needs child and what a mother would do for her child. 
7. Lone Wolf by Jodi Picoult is about a father who got hurt in a car accident and he is brain dead. His estranged son and his daughter Cara have to decide when to pull the plug. This would be such a hard decision to make and I hope to never have to make that decision. 
8. The Year I Turned Sixteen by Diane Schwemm is about four sisters and their lives when they turn 16. They each go through many hard struggles and their father's death which make this book very emotional. At times it was a very light book and funny. This book is on my eventual to reread list. 
9. House Rules by Jodi Picoult is about Jacob who loves murder mysteries and has asperger's disease which is a form of autism. This book explored if the court system gives people with special needs equal rights. It was a great book I highly recommend. 
10. The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks is another book everybody knows about. I put this one on the list because the death in this book was really hard for me. I even cried a little bit. 
We enter into the honor books. These are books I love that are difficult reads they just didn't make it into the top ten.
11. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult is another book that everybody knows about because of the movie. This one was such a hard read, anything with cancer is, and the the ending was so surprising. 
12. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is about Hazel who has cancer and meets Gus who only has one leg because of cancer. This one was beautifully written and touched me deeply. They were both such great characters. 
13. After by Amy Efaw is about a girl named Devon who threw her baby in the trash can and it is mostly about her journey in juvenile jail. Since I love kids and babies so much this was an especially hard read. 
14. Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks just came out on DVD. This one is about abuse and the effects it can have on a woman. It was very scary at points reading this book because you didn't know what was going to happen to the main character Katie. 
15. Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinsky is about 3 girls that make a pregnancy pact. It would such a hard thing to go through a teenage pregnancy much less a planned one. 
16. While by Sister Sleeps by Barbara Delinsky is similar to Lone Wolf in the fact that Robin's sister has to decide went to stop life support. It was such an amazing book. 
17. Night Road by Kristin Hannah is on my to reread list also. It about twins that get in a car accident with a friend and a mother's love for her children. 
18. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is a WWII novel that I had to read for school. I really enjoyed this book although it is so sad. 
19. Breathing Underwater by Alex Flynn is about Nick who abuses his girlfriend Caitlin and his personal feelings on the situation. I really like this novel and was surprised that I didn't totally hate Nick as a character. 
20. Firefly Lane by Kristen Hannah is a book that I'm not even done with, but it is so amazing I had to put it on this list. This book is mostly about Kate and Tully who become friends as teenagers and how their friendship grows and changes as they enter adulthood and go through many hard times. It is a very emotional book and I have developed a very deep bond with the characters. 


Thanks for reading. 


Rachael