We read to know we are not alone.
Are Books Really Good for Us?

I posted this to my blog as I was inspired to write something like this after reading Fahrenheit 451.  I encourage you to read it!

Happy reading!

Katie

3 months ago · 5 notes

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars

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Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Publication Date: January 10, 2012.

Order your copy now: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookDepository

Favorite Quote from the Book:

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” 

My Thoughts:

Sadly, I did not fall for the hype of this book like so many others.  To me, it was an average book.  It is not awful, but I do not deem it a favorite like so many others.

One aspect of this book that I can appreciate is John Green’s overall writing-style.  Having read Looking for Alaska (and also deeming it an “average book”), I can see how much Green has developed as a writer.  The prose in this book is phenomenal and some of the best in Young Adult literature.  Sentences and metaphors (which seemed to annoy many people) seamlessly flow together creating a relatively pleasant and easy read for readers.

However, I could not let Green’s beautiful prose distract the content within the book.  Mainly, I have an issue between the romance of Augustus and Hazel.  Sadly, I would have to label their relationship as the stereotypical “insta-love.”  Since Green is such a renowned writer, I never believed he would stoop to writing insta-love in his stories, but I appear to be wrong.  In my opinion, I think the novel would have been better if Augustus and Hazel remained friends.  For a majority of their relationship, they acted as merely best friends and less like lovers.  I feel as though Green included the romance element in the book to make the story more heart-wrenching.  In reality, the romance is a distraction for a majority of this plot.

One of the biggest issues Augustus and Hazel face is their battles with cancers.  However, one is not completely aware of the severity of their cancers and what exactly their cancers entail.  Rather, the book placed a lot of emphasis on the “sick lovers” aspect.  When a child is diagnosed with cancer, falling in love is one of the last things on their mind.  There’s issues of treatments, finances, and death.  These are so overwhelming that a sick child cannot even begin to comprehend or tackle a relationship in the way Augustus and Hazel did.  I hate to say this, but it is a rather unrealistic portrayal of children with cancer; I know Green is highly praised for his realistic portrayal of teens, but this just wasn’t cutting it for me.

Additionally, I found the dialogue between Hazel and Augustus to be unlikely for two teenagers.  Do not get me wrong, Hazel and Augustus’s conversations are beautifully written and make great quotes, but no teenager talks so eloquently.  Admittedly, I cringe for the day when I will read the word “swag” in a young adult book, but at least that’s how many teenagers talk (sadly…).  A majority of the young adult population talks in slang, and many do not possess the knowledge or vocabulary that Augustus and Hazel exhibit throughout this book.  In my opinion, Augustus and Hazel are “character versions” of Green himself; I have nothing against Green, but there is a slight generation gap between him and teenagers which make his “typical conversations” very improbable to the conversations high school students have.

I do not want people to get me wrong.  I appreciate this book.  In fact, I firmly believe there need to be more books written about cancers, diseases, and illnesses.  Unfortunately, many Young Adult authors write books with perfect characters, perfect worlds, and perfect situations when this is hardly the case in many teens’ lives.  Many teenagers struggle with a variety of imperfections, and Young Adult authors should strive to demonstrate the commonality that exists in their problems.  After all, reading unites us!  However, I think that The Fault in Our Stars, while it details the account of two children with cancer, fails to completely recognize that life isn’t always perfect.  I applaud Green for his attempt, and I encourage him and others to continue to write books to the younger generation that demonstrate the imperfections we all face.

Overall, this book is an average contemporary read for me.  It is probably not one that I will reread in the immediate future, but I will always appreciate it as it is the first novel that I have read about cancer.

My Rating:

★ ★★ 3/5 stars!

Recommendation:

I would recommend this book searching for a contemporary novel detailing illnesses.  I would not recommend this book to those wanting to read a beautiful love story as I feel like the relationship between Augustus and Hazel is more of a friendship.

Please note: I read this book in 2013.

3 months ago · 8 notes

2014 Reading Challenges

This year, I want to expand my reading horizons by reading even more books.  In 2013, I read 35 books; I know compared to many people that is marginal, but I am a full time college student with a job and extra curricular activities so I’m relatively proud.  Admittedly, I could have spent more of 2013 reading and less time on Netflix.  Therefore, I have decided to challenge myself a bit more this year and what better way to solidify these challenges than by posting them to my blog!  Here we go:

  1. Again, I will be posting in the Goodreads Reading Challenge.  Last year, I wanted to read at least 30 books which I beat.  This year, I’m bumping it up to 50!  Follow my Goodreads Reading Challenge here.
  2. One book blogger posted a challenge where her monthly TBR piles will be dictated according to a certain genre in order to expanse her reads.  I think that’s a great idea!  However, I don’t plan on solely reading a certain genre a month.  Rather, I will read one book which fits the monthly genre.  
  3. Be a more active book blogger!  I want to post more reviews or book ramblings for you all!  Therefore, I’m going to post at least one text post a week.

As always, I think you all for your awesome support!  What are your 2014 reading challenges?  Feel free to message me (scroll over my picture on my blog, and you’ll find a link to my ask).  I want to be more active with you all as well.  We’re all friends here! :)

Happy New Year and Happy Reading!

Katie 

3 months ago · 7 notes

Tumblr Read-A-Thon

I finished my first book! Thanks to everyone who is participating! I’m so happy we’re all so supportive of each other!

3 months ago · 6 notes

Tumblr Read-A-Thon

It’s here!!! Keep reading, everyone! Follow us on twitter @TumblrReadAThon and use the hashtag #tumblrreadathon on twitter and tumblr! Keep up your great work! Stay tuned for some challenges!

3 months ago · 6 notes

3 months ago - reblog - 583 notes
bookshelfblogger:

Read your first book of the year by participating in this 24-hour Read-A-Thon.  Not only is it the first Read-A-Thon of Tumblr, but it is also the first Read-A-Thon of the year!  
Sign up here so we can get a rough estimate of who all is participating.
Follow us on Twitter @TumblrReadAThon for updates on reading challenges, reading races, and more!
Let’s make the first Tumblr Read-A-Thon one to remember!
Book Review: Path Unchosen

When eighteen-year-old Judy Hudson discovers she’s a necromancer and sees first-hand the pain her powers can cause the dead, she just wants to deny who she is. The zombie plague is long over. She wants to find a more normal life, but that’s a challenge when a beautiful otherworldly man, who claims to be her guardian, saves her life. Judy tries to set right the harm she inflicted on a spirit she raised, but new zombies attack—zombies raised from among the long-time dead. Someone else just like her is out there, and he’s not trying to set anything right. To save her own life, and protect the innocent inhabitants of the nearby town who’ve become her friends, Judy has to figure out who’s raising the dead and why. She must also learn to control the darkness inside her—a seductive darkness that promises her power beyond her wildest dreams.-Goodreads summary

Publication Date: October 3, 2013.

Order your copy now: Amazon

Favorite Quote from the Book:

“I would learn and understand this gift.  In time, I would love it.  I belonged here.  This was who I am.”

MY THOUGHTS:

Judge the Book by its Cover:

Not a typical YA cover; it’s different.  I enjoy the cemetery setting with the raven as it alludes to important features of the novel.  After reading the novel, I see the relations this cover has with the novel, and I appreciate authors and cover artists who spend time making covers like these possible.

Things that Made Me Happy:

The character Judy has the admirable quality of determination to do good deeds with her powers.  Despite being recently introduced to her abilities, Judy ceaselessly uses her knowledge (and discovers methods to use her powers) in order to benefit others.  She truly is a caring character and is admirable to the audience.

Things that Made Me Unhappy:

Sadly, many elements make my unhappy about this novel.  Initially, I was extremely excited about the genre; a post-apocalyptic zombie book with some magical elements sound extremely appealing to the reader.  However, the plot summary and publisher’s blurb is extremely misleading.  Yes, this book is a post-apocalyptic zombie book with magic, but it also has a middle age historical feeling combined with steampunk, urban fantasy, and romance elements.  In short, this book is a combination of too many genres.  Due to all these genres, none of them are properly treated in the novel; they are simply introduced and never fully explained so as to introduce more elements of various genres.  Indeed, this can be appealing to a reader, but it is unsatisfactory because none of these genres are treated with dignity and professionalism.  Rather, they are imitations of other books.  Honestly, this book has so much potential but it is hindered by involving too many other book genres.

Thus, the combination of all these genres make the world-building nonexistent and unbelievable.  For example, the apocalypse that created the zombies is stated in the novel, but it is not explained.  Readers are left questioning what exactly caused and happened in the apocalypse and how zombies are created from it.  If this initially would have been explained towards the beginning of the novel, I believe this would have substantially aided the world-building in the novel because the totally unbelievable magical, steampunk, and urban fantasy elements could have been explained rather than suddenly thrown in the plot line.  It’s disheartening because there is no explanation of any of these genre elements, especially the magical elements.  How are certain characters magical and others aren’t?  Is magic familiar in the world or do the sorcerers need to hide it?  When an author introduces these genre elements, especially fantasy, in novels, he or she wants to secure the world building which is something Cleary fails to do in this novel.  These are rather pertinent questions to the plot line which aren’t really answered which again leave the reader frustrated.

Of course, there is romance in this novel, and you guessed it!  There is also a love triangle.  I believe on page 46 of this 338 page novel, Judy expresses interest of one of these men ON THE FIRST DAY SHE MEETS HIM.  She knows nothing about the man; he just shows up when she wakes up, and suddenly Judy is recognizing his “gorgeous attributes” as he gives her this internal longing inside her body.  Give me a break.  Cut the hormones.  Not every teenager has THAT MUCH angst.  Additionally, the other man is presumably much older than her; from his description and actions, I assume he is in his late twenties or early thirties.  The romance and love triangle are just unnecessary and detract from the other genres.  Really, not every young adult novel needs to include romance or even a love triangle to be appreciated and adored by the audience.  Honestly, it is getting overdone and typically isn’t executed well.

One would think I am done with my negative feelings about this book, but I am not done!  Additionally, many elements of this plot are predictable and blatantly stated by Cleary throughout the novel.  When a plot twist occurs, the reader is not amused because this has been stated by the author previously.  One of the greatest pieces of advice that I have received regarding writing fiction is to “Show.  Don’t tell.”  In this novel, there is an abundance of telling and limited showing.  Since everything is rather predictable in this book, I frequently got bored and, again, this added to my frustration.  Overall, the predictability, overemphasis of every character’s “suspicion,” and the suspected plot twist make this book dull.       

Lastly, I believe the word “awkward” sufficiently describes the writing style of this book.  Frequently, actions and days would pass without any sort of hint that the scene is changing.  In other words, the transitions are weak and the sudden switch in settings lead to confusion.  For example, Judy’s sudden arrival in town when she is at home in the previous sentence leave readers questioning about the turn of events.  Likewise, the chapters’ endings are just as random in the novel, too.  Judy is eating, and the chapter ends; Judy is saving a friend, and the chapter ends.  The differing resolutions at the chapters just aggravate the readers.  Simply, there is no consistency with Cleary’s writing style whether its settings, dialogues, or chapters’ resolutions. 

My Rating:

★ ★  2/5 stars!

Recommendation:

I wouldn’t recommend this book as a high-priority TBR book for anyone; however, if you have a day to yourself, and you enjoy an eclectic novel and don’t mind inconsistencies, then read this book.  It’s not awful; it’s just not my favorite book.

*I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

3 months ago · 2 notes

3 months ago - reblog - 19 notes
Wow so many reblogs, follows, and sign ups!  That’s awesome!  
If you’re not a part of the first every Tumblr Read-A-Thon be sure to join!  It’s just a short 24-hour event.
Sign up here!  Continue reblogging, tweeting (@TumblrReadAThon), and telling your friends.  Remember, this is not exclusively a Tumblr event.  The more the merrier!
Happy reading!
Katie
3 months ago - reblog - 583 notes
bookshelfblogger:

Read your first book of the year by participating in this 24-hour Read-A-Thon.  Not only is it the first Read-A-Thon of Tumblr, but it is also the first Read-A-Thon of the year!  
Sign up here so we can get a rough estimate of who all is participating.
Follow us on Twitter @TumblrReadAThon for updates on reading challenges, reading races, and more!
Let’s make the first Tumblr Read-A-Thon one to remember!
3 months ago - reblog - 6 notes
How do you prep for a Read-A-Thon?  Having a good sleep before it starts is one tip!  Share your Read-A-Thon prep tips here and receive a shout out!
What better way to reign in the New Year than by participating in Tumblr’s first Read-A-Thon.  Sign up here so we can get an estimate of how many people will be participating.  Also, follow us on Twitter (@TumblrReadAThon) to get information regarding reading competitions, reading races, and more!
Be a part of this!  Reblog and like this.  Tell your friends!  Tweet it.  Tell Goodreads!  This isn’t an exclusive Tumblr event!