Me, the Missing, and the Dead by Jenny Valentine

Sep 22, 2012

Me, the Missing, and the Dead

Summary from Goodreads - "Me: Lucas Swain--I'm nearly sixteen years old and live in London. I was fairly normal until the night I found Violet. Then everything changed.
The Missing: Dad. He disappeared five years ago. Nobody knows what happened to him, and nobody cares except me. It's enough to drive you crazy.
The Dead: That's Violet . . . in the urn. Speaking of crazy--I know she's trying to tell me something, and I think it's about my father. . . .
A dead lady may not be much to go on, but my dad's out there somewhere, and it's up to me to find out where."

My Rating - 3.5/5 urns (how macabre)
POV - First
Liked - The character growth and depth of Lucas
Favorite Quotes - "Sometimes, when I'm deciding which route to take to, say, the cinema in Camden, I get this feeling like maybe if I choose the wrong route, bad stuff will happen to me. This sort of thinking can make decisions really, really difficult because I'm always wondering what happens to all the choices we decide not to make." Pg. 2

"People give up. We're defeatist and we stop striving or fighting or enjoying things. It doesn't matter what you're talking about - war, work, marriage, democracy. It all fails because everybody gives up trying after a while; we can't help ourselves. And don't ask me to solve it because I'm the worst. I'd escape tomorrow if I could, from every single thing I've always wanted." Pg. 168

I really can't decide how I feel about this book. It was really fantastic in the middle and end parts, but otherwise it was slow. The author portrayed Lucas with a lot of depth, I thought, and I saw a character who was trying to figure himself out, but getting stuck and retreating into who he thought he wanted to be. But I didn't like the lack of description in some parts. I also feel like the author did some telling instead of showing, but sometimes that can be excused. I don't know, some parts of the book felt like they weren't as well-written as other parts. But, despite all of that, I really did like this book.

It took me some time to get really interested in the story, but it picks up after a while. At first, it was hard to understand Lucas's pull towards Violet, but after I found out little things about her it all clicked for me. It was easy to relate to Lucas, someone who was misinterpreted often by others and lost. Lucas's perspective was refreshing, as he wasn't the type of male character that's a jerk or girl-crazy or caught up in silly drama.

This book wasn't super fantastic, but if you're looking for a casual read while waiting for an anticipated book to come out or something, I would try this novel out.

Long Time No See!

Ahh!! I have not posted in two months! I can't even begin to say how sorry I am.... I promised a review two months ago but never finished. Its possibly in my drafts. I'm terribly terribly sorry for deserting this blog. Life has been extremely busy lately, and will likely stay that way for at least another month. I don't know if I've mentioned this, but I'm in my high school marching band, and we've been busy with practices and games and stuff. Its super fun, just a lot of work. I'm taking honors English this semester, and I don't think I've ever had so much homework. I've been doing really well though. English is my favorite subject and my teacher is amazing. We're reading The Scarlet Letter as a class, and maybe when that's through I'll write a review for it :). We've also been reading books by American authors as an outside reading project. The first novel I read was Jailbird by Kurt Vonnegut. I really really REALLY loved it. Its the first Vonnegut novel I've read, and I think that if you're ever apprehensive about reading a book written by him, Jailbird is a great one to start with.

I probably won't be posting very much until maybe December. I'll try to update this blog with posts about my English class or something since we're reading so much in that class. I hope everyone is having a great school year so far. Happy first day of autumn!!


Happy 4th of July!!

Jul 4, 2012

      I would like to wish my fellow Americans a Happy Independence Day! I know I probably should have made this post earlier, as everyone is most likely out lighting fireworks and watching massive displays, but better late than never! I hope you all have/had a safe and fun day! 
      This year my town banned fireworks for the second year in a row, so my day hasn't been all that fun. My parents and I did light some fireworks, but after an hour or so, a police officer came and told us to stop. It stinks because we were taking the right precautions, but even so, it was still illegal. (Apparently this doesn't stop everyone else in the city though - its still really noisy outside.) I hope your Independence Day was better than mine!  Take care!


P.S. I'll have a review up soon! Promise!

Saving June by Hannah Harrington

Jun 27, 2012

Saving June

Summary from Goodreads - "When her older sister commits suicide and her divorcing parents decide to divide the ashes, Harper Scott takes her sister's urn to the one place June always wanted to go: California. On the road with her best friend, plus an intriguing guy with a mysterious connection to June, Harper discovers truths about her sister, herself and life."

My Rating - 4/5 vinyl records
POV - First
Liked - Music was incorporated into the story and the book had play lists at the end (which I always love), the author described Harper's grief really well.
Favorite Quotes - "'Think of it this way,' he says. 'You're experiencing everything she'll never get to. It's like... a tribute, or something. Not living your life won't help anyone.'" Pg 172

"All I can think of is how when I was six, I jumped out of a tree in our backyard with paper wings taped to my back and sprained my ankle. June was only eight, but she didn't freak out. She just held my hand while I cried my eyes out, the whole time until Mom found us. And she told me when I was suspended in the air for just a moment, I looked like a bird flying out of its cage." Pg 292

**Only a small spoiler near the end, nothing majorly revealing.**

First, I want to praise the author on a good job of writing out some of Harper's grieving moments. Sometimes when authors write really intense moments of emotion, it drags and doesn't feel genuine. But, although I've never lost a sister, I was able to feel how Harper was feeling. This book hurt pretty bad, I have to say.

Second, I love that the author included play lists at the end. There was a lot of song and artist names being tossed around, and I really wanted to listen to the songs, but there was no way I could remember them all. In fact, I put off reading this book so that way I could bring it home from my cousin's house to go back and YouTube the artists. But thankfully, I didn't have to go back through every page. So thanks, Ms. Harrington.

I understand that Harper was under a lot of stress with taking care of her mother and everything, but the fight between Harper and Jake was, I thought, too dramatic. It seemed like the author thought to herself, "Oh man, the book's about to end. Hmm... one last twist should wrap this story right up." I felt bad for Jake, and Harper over-reacted majorly. I was quite mad too, especially after everything that he did for Harper. The story didn't need this blowout.
The push-and-pull kind of relationship gets annoying. Like, after the second time. I wish I could erase that part of the book from my memory, because every time I think of it I cringe and then become angry.

I read this book fairly quickly, considering I was on vacation and seemed to be busy a lot. The book was really good, possibly the most tolerable teen angst-y book I've read. When I saw this book on Barnes and Noble the first time, I wasn't interested, mostly because I don't really like reading about suicides and sadness and just general bad feelings. If my cousin hadn't recommended this book and let me borrow it, I would never have given it a second look. But I feel like there are good reasons as to why this book has a 4+ star rating on Goodreads. I feel like the author went about the subject of suicide very humbly. The only thing I had bad feelings about was Harper, so if you can get past an occasionally daft main character, then give this book a go.

Sparkly Polka Dot Bow Nails!

Jun 26, 2012

This design was inspired by Sarah's post @ Lace and Lavender. Mine didn't turn out as great as hers did :)
Polishes I used:
Sally Hansen Insta-Dry in Lively Lilac
Essie in Coat Azure 
A Bon Bons sparkly polish

It took me FOREVER to do this. First, I had to decide which color combos looked the best out of my favorite choices. Then, I decided I liked one shade on paper, but it looked terrible on my nails, so I had to start over. Next, I only had time to paint the base color because it was getting late, so there was one day down the drain. After that, I started dotting the bow out and messed it up every time. Finally, I decided to save my sanity and just do the stupid dots. Some people say I'm a perfectionist, but I'm not sure that I see it.

Anyway, the dots aren't stupid, they're actually really cute. I'm really happy that I tried this out, and I can't wait to try out more color combos.

I have some little nail gems that I got at a friend's birthday party one year, and I really love using them. I have six different shapes, I think, and there's a bunch of different colors. I wanted to use a circle, but I didn't have one. Then I thought about using a square and then turning it so it would look like a diamond, but the colors of the polishes and the gems didn't look good together. The flower isn't my favorite choice, but I think it looks pretty good. To make it stick, I just used a dot of Sally Hansen Hard as Nails (clear).

The finished product:

I think in order to make the bow look really awesome, you kind of have to make the sides parabola-shaped. Maybe it would have been easier for me to start with a dot in the middle and then fill in the nine dots on both sides (kind of like when you're drawing a parabola! Yay algebra!)

Fun to say, not so fun to learn.

Anyway, if you would like to check out the tutorial for this design and see more awesome stuff, go right here

Musing Mondays!

Jun 25, 2012

Musing Mondays is hosted by MizB.

This week's musing asks...
Do you set goals for yourself, while reading? For example, “I want to get this book finished this weekend“, or “I will read __ pages today“, etc. Why, or why not?

My answer:
I try not to set goals for reading, as sometimes this discourages me. I can't explain why really, I guess I just start to expect myself to do something and it becomes less appealing. But if I'm reading at night and I'm really tired, I try to make myself read so many pages before I can fall asleep, or finish so many chapters, whatever. If its an assigned reading for school though, I try to set a goal or else I'll get really behind and have to use Sparknotes or something :)

I really need to allot myself some time during the day to do these weekly events! Its almost not Monday anymore!
Feel free to leave a link to your Musing Monday or any other Monday meme!

Friday Finds #1

Jun 23, 2012

In the final minutes of my Friday, I've decided to do my first event (...thingy)! Today I visited the library with my friend and checked out four books.

Friday Finds is hosted by MizB. Go check out her blog!
FRIDAY FINDS showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (they aren’t necessarily books you purchased).

Thirteen Reasons Why

I've put off reading this book because it sounds horribly sad, but my friend said it was in a tie for her favorite book ever. I really hope this book is great, and I have a feeling I'm going to be in tears. It has a 4+ star rating on Goodreads, but some mixed reviews. 

The Adoration of Jenna Fox (Jenna Fox Chronicles, #1)

I was seriously on the fence about reading this book because I think I will become easily frustrated by the main character. But if I don't like it, at least I didn't have to buy it. That sounds bad to say about a book I just picked up today. But still.

Me, the Missing, and the Dead

I'm so excited to read a book by Jenny Valentine. I've wanted to read Broken Soup for months now but the only place I can find it is online, and I don't have money for that. Until I get Broken Soup, this book will do. The story sounds so good, and sometimes its refreshing to read a book from a boy's point of view. This book sounds mysterious, suspenseful, and a little amusing. I can't wait to start reading it, and I hope it lives up to my expectations.

The Nature of Jade

Oh my gosh! Finally I will get to read this book! I'm assuming that the reason I could never find this at a bookstore was because it was so amazing that everyone bought the heck out of it. The plot and the characters sound so interesting and there are elephants, which are possibly my favorite animal. Sometimes I think I have some anxiety, so maybe I can connect with Jade, the main character. I want to start reading this book immediately after I finish a review I'm working on. Whee!

So now its officially Saturday where I'm at (but at least its still Friday in Colorado and the East Coast). Have a great weekend everyone! Also, if you've read any of these books, feel free to leave a comment telling me how you felt about them! 

Liebster Blog Award

Jun 19, 2012

I have been awarded the Liebster Blog Award!
Thank you outRageous.pages :)

The Liebster Blog Award is given to upcoming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.

The Meaning: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome


Here's the rules:

1. Each person must post 11 facts about themselves

2. Answer 11 questions the tagger has given you and give 11 questions for the people you've tagged.

3. Choose 11 people and link them in your post.
4. Tell them you've tagged them.
5. Remember, no tag backs.

My 11 Facts:
1. I have two aunts with identical first and last names (that makes get-togethers interesting).
2. I have a dog a two cats.
3. My car is a Pontiac, and her name in Ponti.
4. My favorite color is blue, and I love every shade of it.
5. I play the clarinet and bass clarinet.
6. My favorite academic subjects in school are english, algebra, and science.
7. My favorite place to vacation is Sante Fe, New Mexico. I love it because there's so much culture and art and history stuffed in a city that its unbelievable.
8. I'm an only child.
9. My favorite movie is Dirty Dancing.
10. I still have and use my public library card from when I received it about ten years ago, and it still has my clumsy six-year-old signature on the back.
11. My favorite ice cream flavor is chocolate.

Eleven Questions From outRageous.pages 
1. What song could you listen to over and over and over?

Hmm, I really love music by The Head and the Heart, so probably any song by them.

2. What's your favorite genre to read?

"Young adult" is quite broad, but really I like any book that keeps my attention and has great qualities. My tastes change often.

3. What's the longest book you've ever read?

Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer, I believe. The book is over 600 pages and I devoured every one of them, admittedly.

4. If you could become an animal, what animal would you be?

I would like to be a bird so I can live in the trees, but I don't want to be run over. Maybe an owl, since I don't think they get squished by cars much.

5. Do you consider yourself "normal"?

Not in my perception of "normal", but maybe someone else's. 

6. As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Probably everything. I remember wanting to be a vet, a librarian, a teacher, a firefighter,  and a musician at different points. 

7. What is something you're really good at?

I really like writing, and I think I'm pretty good at it.

8. What do you think of Shakespeare?

I don't have any strong opinions of him. He probably had a really interesting life though. I don't think I really love any of his writing, but I like the ideas and plots behind some stories.

9. Do you ever contemplate the meaning of life?

Not when there's more important things to contemplate :)

10. Is there a book you wish you had written?

I wish I had written a book that's now/will be a classic, because I think being remembered and acknowledged and praised after so many years would be really fantastic.

11. Hey baby, what's your sign? (I just had to...)

Libra :)

People I'm tagging:
10. Paper and Pages (I can't find a way to comment on your blog! I hope you find out about this somehow....)
11. The Headless Owl

If you have already done one of these or you don't want to participate, you definitely don't have to. 

Here's 11 questions for the tagged:
1. What color(s) do you dislike?
2. What is a quote that you live by?
3. Do you have a lucky object? What is it?
4. What is your dream job?
5. Would you rather have a gigantic, extravagant wedding or a small and intimate one?
6. What is your favorite holiday?
7. If you could live anywhere, where would you live and why?
8. What is your preferred beverage?
9. What language would you most like to learn?
10. What is your worst vacation memory?
11. What toppings do you like on your pizza?

I'm home! With books!

Jun 17, 2012

         Hello! I've been in Kansas City for the past week visiting some family. I drove up with my grandparents, and we got home late last night. It felt good to sleep in my own bed :)
         I did a little bit of shopping, and I'll show the books I bought and put the rest under a break.

The one I'm most excited to read is City of Bones by Cassandra Clare.
City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1) 

         I've heard great things about this book. I really want to start reading it but I should finish all the other books I'm currently reading :(

I also bought The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard.
The Secret Year

         I've already started reading this book and its pretty okay so far. It was hard for me to really pay attention to the story, but that could be because I was hanging out with family and stuff. Maybe I'll start liking it more.

The last one I bought is The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong.
The Gathering (Darkness Rising, #1)

         I loved the Darkest Powers series by this author so I really think I'm going to love this book too. This book has a pretty good rating on Goodreads so there must be some good things about it. I read that the story line is kind of similar to the Darkest Powers series, which is great because I couldn't get enough of those books.

My cousin also lent me a book which I'm pretty close to finishing. Its called Saving June by Hannah Harrington.
Saving June

           I only have about 30 pages left, so expect a review pretty soon. I really love this book and its really hard to put down. There are some little things I don't really like about it but the story is really great.

         Under the jump is some stories and other things about my trip, if you are interested. Also, have a happy father's day!!

Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors

Jun 3, 2012

Mad Love

Summary from Goodreads - "When you're the daughter of the bestselling Queen of Romance, life should be pretty good. But 16-year-old Alice Amorous has been living a lie ever since her mother was secretly hospitalized for mental illness. After putting on a brave front for months, time is running out. The next book is overdue, and the Queen can't write it. Alice needs a story for her mother-and she needs one fast.
That's when she meets Errol, a strange boy who claims to be Cupid, who insists that Alice write about the greatest love story in history: his tragic relationship with Psyche. As Alice begins to hear Errol's voice in her head and see things she can't explain, she must face the truth-that she's either inherited her mother's madness, or Errol is for real."

My Rating - 4.5/5 love arrows
POV - First
Liked - I loved learning about a little mythology since I've never heard the story of Cupid before, the ending is so amazing.
Favorite Quotes - "What is more terrifying-the things we imagine or the things that are real?" (Pg. 72)
"'If it makes you feel better, only sane people worry about losing their sanity.'" (Pg. 128)

Possible spoilers ahead-tread carefully.