Monday, April 22, 2013

I’ve been moved

On 4 May 2010, I wrote my first post to Unfinished Book Reviews as part of my Children’s Literature course in my Library Science program at Texas Woman’s University. Now that it’s been almost three years, I’ve decided to create a full site dedicated to my love of literature called bookblogarama. I’ve imported my old reviews and posts there and will do all future updates there.

So please join me over at

See you there! Thanks!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

WWW Wednesday 3 Apr 2013 (Find out what I’m reading this week)

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading? I bought a print copy of Beautiful Creatures to read instead of The Host because I just couldn't get into it.
What did you recently finish reading? I wrote a reviewof The Future of Us on Easter Sunday. It was pretty good, but I had some issues with it.
What do you think you’ll read next?I read about a quarter of Delirium already, so I'm anxious to finish it.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Review of The Future of Us

The Future of Us by Jay Ascher and Carolyn Mackler

Josh and Emma are about to discover themselves—fifteen years in the future.

It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They've been best friends almost as long—at least, up until last November, when everything changed. Things have been awkward ever since then, but when Josh's family gets a free AOL CD-ROM in the mail, his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they're automatically logged onto Facebook. but Facebook hasn't been invented yet. Josh and Emma are looking at themselves fifteen years in the future. Their spouses, careers, homes, and status updates—it's all there. And every time they refresh their pages, their futures change. As they grapple with the ups and downs of their future, they're forced to confront what they're doing right—and wrong—in the present. - from Wikipedia

I have to give this a slightly less than perfect score of 4 & 1/2 stars for a specific reason - Dave Matthews.

Look, if Josh is a skater, he's not going to be into a girl who likes Dave Matthews. And no one in the 90s would make a mix tape of Alanis Morissette, Dave Matthews, and Pearl Jam! That's not even in the same category. The 90s were about breaking into new genres that was all "alternative," but that wishy-washy, radio-friendly stuff was not good. 1996 had so much more to offer than that, for crying out loud! Smashing Pumpkins had released 1979 as a single, for instance, and Rage Against the Machine had Bulls on Parade. That will always outshine Dave Matthews, I don’t care if some preppy misogynist character like Cody Grainger tries to convince us that a bootleg copy of Crash Into Me has some amazing guitar work. No, just no. Not even close.

Granted, not everyone's 90s experience or musical tastes are the same, but only middle of the road people at that time wouldn't have a strong connection to a ground breaking band. I can't like Emma because she likes Dave Matthews. A lot. It’s discussed way, way too much in the book. I’m guessing that one or both of the authors really, really like his music and may have never given Lollapalooza a try.

Plus, were we supposed to think that Emma was ironic or just plain boring for not liking Wayne’s World?

Some other reviewers said they didn't like Emma being such a spoiled brat who didn't change at all through the whole book. I quite agree. I didn't hate her, but she didn't seem good enough for Josh. The plot was predictable, but I still found it engaging. It took me a day & 1/2 to finish because it was easy to get in to. I think it speaks to a very certain age group. I graduated in 1994, so the book was pointing just past the Nirvana era. I think that's why I was a bit critical of the stereotypical push to discuss the 90s with the over-use of Dave Matthew-isms. It seems less authentic than if they had been all over the shop with 90s references instead of sticking with the same, boring thing.

My other main criticism that I also agree with from Goodreads, is just how the idea was executed. Would two kids really be able to accept the technology so easily? Would 16 year old care about their future that much? They'd have to be less angsty, focused on school, then aim for their future college, life, etc. I mean, the book references Back to the Future, but Marty was dealing with saving Doc, his family, and the whole town. Most 16 year olds wouldn't be that apt to plan out their future.

Unless they listen to Dave Matthews, I guess.

I liked Carolyn Mackler’s The Earth, My Butt…, but I didn’t dig Jay Ascher’s Thirteen Reasons Why because of the back and forth switch in narrative. (I hear it’s easier to listen to on audiobook, so I’ll try that later.) But both authors are older than me, so I’m going to assume that they’re taking researched information on a 16 year old’s 1996 experience, and making it mild because it will connect to a wider audience.

All in all, I liked the book, but I didn’t feel really emotionally moved by it. It was a quick read, which makes it good in its own right. Great book, it just had some glaring problems that I couldn’t get past. I’d still recommend it to teen readers (then I’d hand them a decent 90s mix tape.) I also appreciate the fact that I bought the print version of this, just to feel old school.

And one last thing:

Marvin the Martian on a skateboard is from Clueless, if no one else noticed.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

WWW Wednesday: 20 Mar 2013 (find out what I’m reading)

It's Wednesday, and I need to update on what books I'm currently reading.
As I mentioned last post (even though it was a long time ago) I have a bunch of books I'm trying to read.
Of course, I keep adding more, so I'll start with the ones I have read the most of first:

The Diary of Anne Frank - 59%
"P.S. Before I forget, last night everything was blanketed in snow. Now it's thawed and there's nothing left."

2,000 to 10,000 - 57%
I stopped at, "I really hate the notion that you have to be some kind of born genius to write good book." Aside from the typo, I disagree. I agree with the rest of the passage though. It's about reaching for your ideas rather than waiting to be inspired.

Nail Your Novel - 31%
I stopped at, "Reincorporation is giving a satisfying payoff, using elements you got the reader interested in early on."

Living Beyond Your Feelings - 22%
Last highlighted quote, "Learn not to ask yourself how you feel about things, but instead ask yourself if doing or not doing something is right for you."

Delirium - 26%
"Someone is singing: a beautiful voice as thick and heavy as warm honey, spilling down a scale so quickly I feel dizzy just listening."

Vain - 25%
"I turned toward him and drank in his lean, muscular figure. Oh. My. Word."
I can't stomach romance novels, so I quit after reading a bunch of repetitive sentences like that.

The Summer I Turned Pretty - 11%
Going to have to start from the beginning again. I left off (over a year ago) with, "Over his shoulder Conrad said, 'Good night, Belly.' And that was it. I was in love."
I loved that.

Reading Like A Writer - 7%
Quote I liked so far, "You will do yourself a disservice if you confine your reading to the rising star whose six-figure, two-book contract might seem to indicate where your own work should be heading." Prose's whole passage is saying that writers deserve such contracts but it's just the icing on the creativity cake.

Hopeless - 5%
"She laughs and grabs my hand, then stands up. 'Come. I've got Rocky Road.' She doesn't have to ask twice." Not badly written, but I'm still not sure about these New Adult romances.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

WWW Wednesday: 30 Jan 2013 (Find out what I’m reading this week)

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading asks you to answer the following three (3) questions…

What are you currently reading?

I am only at page 75 of this book even though I've had it for a while. I'm determined to finally finish a Dessen book though.

What did you recently finish reading?

Holy crap! Wow! I just loved this. I couldn't put it down. It wasn't just the imagery that Oliver used but the pacing was just so right. I highly recommend it (and, as I always say, will do a proper review of it soon.)

What do you think you’ll read next?


I have plenty of books that are stored on my Nook and my Kindle that I own and still haven't gotten around to reading, so maybe I can get to one of those next time.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

WWW Wednesday: 16 Jan 2012 (Find out what I’m reading this week)

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading asks you to answer the following three (3) questions…

What are you currently reading?

I know I'm posting this on Thursday, but I didn't want to skip my reading entry for the majority of the week.

I still find this book very prescriptive and dull. There’s no real inspiration behind the ideas we’re given for the writing process and now that I’m 105 or so pages in and still needing to get the 198 to finish it, I may very well just quit.

The ideas are fine and it is interesting to see how people can think of novels but using charts to divide up how many pages you give each character isn’t interesting in the slightest. Again, as I say, most writers are not going to turn off once you show them numbers and charts and percentages – at least I do.

What did you recently finish reading?

Nothing recently.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I think I’m going to just finish this one up next. I had to return Along for the Ride to the library.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday Reads for 11 Jan 2013

My Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2013 is to read (at least) 30 books. I looked around my couch and made a list of 26 “to read” books that were either on my Kindle, Nook, or coffee table. Some of these are Friday Finds because I recently got them in ebook form from the library.

There are plenty of books I have stashed away that I can still get to but after making this list, I get the idea that I do not need to purchase any more books. Well, until I bump my challenge number to 40 or 50. I don’t think I’ll ever stop finding new books I want to read.

  1. Novel Writing - Marshall
  2. The Truth About Forever - Dessen
  3. Along for the Ride - Dessen
  4. Beautiful Creatures - Garcia and Stohl
  5. Reading like a Writer - Prose
  6. Liar and Spy - Stead
  7. The Diary of Anne Frank - Frank
  8. If I Stay - Foreman
  9. Eve - Carey
  10. Adoration of Jenna Fox - Pearson
  11. Cold Kiss - Garvey
  12. Hollowland - Hocking
  13. Must Love Dogs - Cook
  14. The Summer I Turned Pretty - Han
  15. The Great Gatsby - Fitzgerald
  16. Bright Young Things - Godbersen
  17. Pretty Little Liars: Killer - Shepard
  18. Pretty Little Liars: Heartless - Shepard
  19. Burn for Burn - Han and Vivian
  20. Matched - Condie
  21. One Day - Nicholls
  22. The Secret Life of Bees – Kidd
  23. Glass – Hopkins
  24. Mockingjay – Collins
  25. All the Wrong Questions? – Snicket
  26. Divergent – Roth

Of course I also have classics to finish reading like Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre.

Again, these are books that I can access right now. There are plenty of others on my “to read” list.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

WWW Wednesday: 9 Jan 2013 (Find out what I’m reading this week)

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading asks you to answer the following three (3) questions…

What are you currently reading?

I got this book for the Nook at the library. It's really prescriptive, which isn't my thing or a lot of other writer's way of setting up a novel, but it's interesting. Well, it was during Part 1 where it talked about how to set up (stereotypical) characters, who should be the lead, the anti-hero, the confidant, etc. Then in Part 2, things got really confusing. Writers are word people and trying to explain how to mathematically break up a plot and judge how many pages a book in your target genre should be was kind of ridiculous. (I mean, if you read books in your target genre, won’t you already know a rough number of pages that each include?)

Marshall started discussing formulas and came up with,

Book lines on a full 9 = number of words

On a full 9 what? Full 9 pages? Why would I have to do this? There are plenty of web sites out there that tell you how many words books in your genre should roughly be. Page number is going to be different depending on formatting. I think it’s a bit overboard to go into detail about how you can find this out. Marshall even included a full page chart on how to decide how many sections you need per you word count and how many goals you should have for each section.

Again, the tips are way too clinical and most writers know how plot works (There was actually a little box diagram to show that plot was a 1/4 beginning, 2/4 middle, and 1/4 end, instead of the typical triangle diagram with intro, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.) If this has to be explained, I’m guess this book is targeted for new writers and those who are writing mystery/crime thrillers.

There’s nothing wrong with that at all and it’s fine to see how other people think about creating their plot. I just sort of zoned out during this second part because it’s not about art but about formulas. Of course we all need some kind of organization so, again, if this is helpful to writers, that’s fine.

What did you recently finish reading?

I haven’t read anything in its entirety for a while except for my Life in the UK test booklet.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I already have two Sara Dessen books checked out so I’ll get through those next.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Friday Reads for 4 Jan 2013

I've been reading The Truth About Forever on my Nook. I've tried to read a Dessen novel many times but I never got very far. I'm planning to at least finish a couple of her novels early this year.

Friday Finds via Should Be Reading, “where you share the book titles you discovered or heard about during the past week” --

I just discovered this book in my Marie Clare magazine (the one with Emma Watson on it for Feb 2013.) I'd like to read even though I'm not sure about the British references and the mild Goodreads reviews.