Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Why Twilight?

Guys, I just came back from seeing Eclipse. Mind you, that's the second time I've seen it in around 12 hours. Does that say something about me? Probably. Oh well.

But what I really want to talk about today in celebration of vampire week, even though it's been discussed to death, is what is it with the whole Twlight (accurately named) phenomenon?

And to totally throw eveyone off (because I've on more than one occasion expressed my feelings about the anti-feminism in the series-here's a hint: I'm not a fan) I'm going to talk about the good things about this series.

1. Let's be honest, other than Harry Potter, people aren't reading. With TV and movies and technology reading has definitely taken a back burner. Don't get me wrong, there are lots of readers out there and there were before hits like Twilight but numbers drastically increased with the arrival of our favorite sparkly vampires. And even though people are acting like they're some starved addicts, turning to every vampire novel out there to get their next fix, I think as someone who wants to be an educator I'd rather having people reading flawed novels than not reading at all. People are enjoying story-telling and that's wonderful. Twilight had also brought mothers and daughters together as well. Which is totally cool. I think a novel that reaches out to all ages is an incredible feat. And hey, YA is getting its voice out there certainly in part to this. For the right reasons is questionable but again, I'm happy that YA is getting a better rep.

2. Aside from the stalking, and the sparkles, and the atrocious fourth book that doesn't even count in my mind, I found the novels fun. I thought her writing flowed well and Stephenie Meyer definitely has a knack for romance. I mean, if she can get me (I'm 21) hot for a 16 year old werewolf, she must have some talent, right? I enjoyed shedding reality (and what counts as acceptable courting and such) and living in Meyer's fantasy world. The characters are great. The premise is fun and exciting.

So really, I think it's okay to like these novels. I really do. I would be a hypocrite if I criticized anyone of that. There are levels of course. I'm not going to ask my boyfriend to be like Edward Cullen. What is okay for Bella is not okay for Jess in real life. And I accept that and can appreciate different rules for conduct in a fictionalized world.

Um, and let's not forget this...
I couldn't resist this if I tried. It's too much :)

So what are your thoughts about Twilight? I'm curious to hear!

Happy Reading!

Currently listening to: Love the Way You Lie by Eminem ft. Rhianna
Currently Reading: Frostbite by Richelle Mead
Up Next: Catching up on True Blood then post about it

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

I'm probably the last person to even read this, so I'm going to give a brief summary. Basically, Rose and Lissa ran away from the Academy from which they've been practically all their lives. See Rose is a guardian, someone who devotes their life to protecting Moroi. And Lissa is a Moroi, a princess in fact, with whom Rose has a strong (psychic even) connection to. Oh, and she's a vampire. After running from the Academy for a year, they're finally caught and brought back to the Academy. There they have to face the dangers of their peers and those of their enemies.

Rose is badass. And I love her. She's like the brunette, novel version of Buffy...and Buffy is absolutely my hero. Her voice is so strong throughout the novel. I definitely had moments where I could completely relate with her. Embarrassing and deep psychological stuff that hurts but you never admit to. Lissa was also great. There's definitely something bubbling within her that's kind of scary. I think in the next few books I'll be seeing a different side of her. I mean, after all she's been put through I would go loco too.

But what REALLY is pushing me to read the rest of the series (which I've decided, I totally am) is Dimitri. He's a 24-year old guardian and also Rose's mentor. And he's hot. And Russian. And sexy. It took all of my self control not to drool on the pages of my book. And boy, was there a hot and heavy scene! I had to take a break from reading it to go get some water! Well actually because I was reading it in front of my dad and I was a little embarrassed...

I can't wait to dive into the next books! They're full of well-thought out lore, action and adventure, and steamy romance! If you haven't, and I'm sure you have, definitely take a bite out of Vampire Academy.

And stayed tuned for more vampire posts on vampire week here at Lost in a Book!

Happy Reading!

P.S. AH ECLIPSE IS COMING OUT TONIGHT!!!!! I. love. Jacob. That is all. Go see it. Swoon over it. No one will judge you.  I surely won't :)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

It's Vampire Week!

In celebration of the release of Eclipse later this week (or more accurately, in celebration of getting to see Jacob shirtless again) I'm going to be hosting a week full of all things vampiric! From what we love to what we hate, you will find it all here! So keeping checking back to see what's new and to chat about vampires! Also, my top commentator from now until next Sunday will get a special vampire prize! yay!

Here's some of the stuff to look forward to in the next few days:

  • True Blood vs. Sookie Stackhouse series (TV vs. the novels)
  • Twilight-to love or to hate?
  • Vampire Academy review
  • Blood Feud review
  • a Buffy the Vampire slayer GUSH post
  • top 5 sexiest vamps!
and I am completely open to suggestions! I will write about what you want! so let me know what kinds of vampire posts you'd like to see!

can't wait to take a bite out of this :-)

and for your viewing pleasure

Happy Reading!

Monday, June 21, 2010

the extraordinary secrets of april, may, and june by robin benway

April, May, and June are sisters each with an extraordinary gift. After their parents' divorce and moving to a new school, April discovers she can see the future, May can disappear, and June can read minds. They soon discover how easy it is to use their gifts for selfish reasons and the consequences that ensue. As tension builds between the sisters, and April sees a vision of a terrible accident, they will have to work together or risk everything.

um. so this novel is brilliant. amazing. a page-turning gem of literature. robin benway is the QUEEN of dialogue and fast, clever one-liners. can i have a special power and be part of their sisterhood? because even though most of time they were annoying each other to no end, there was a bond there that i've never experienced with my sister. this book defines sisterhood and all of it's turbulence and radiance. and did i mention that robin's dialogue is super hilarious? like, if the whole book was dialogue i would've been happy. along with great dialogue this novel has substance. and boys. swoonable boys. julian and henry were so perfect for april and may. there is not one part of this book i disliked.

so make sure you read it! it's impossible not to love!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

seth baumgartner's love manifesto by eric luper

seth's summer vacation is starting off really crappy. first, his girlfriend veronica breaks up with him at applebees, then he catches his father with another woman. but if that wasn't enough he loses his job, too. in a very, very funny way this novel is about heartache, love, truth, and friendship. with a hilarious cast of characters this is not a novel to overlook.

seth starts an anonymous podcast that deals with getting over his girlfriend, following his father's mistress, and figuring out what love is. we only get snippets of the love manifesto throughout the novel but they're insightful and capture seth's understanding of love as it grows and develops in his own mind. also, it's accompanied by a ironic and humorously fitting playlist of music that everyone will be able to recognize and say "haha, i totally feel you!"

it's hard to summarize this novel. there's golf, there's love, there's the crazy best friend, the parents you love to hate then hate to love. but throughout all of it the characters are real and are people you want to be friends with. the voice of this novel is funny, bittersweet, and genuine. i absolutely couldn't get enough of it. i actually laughed out loud reading this, and often. there were great one-liners. and also there were some awww moments. if i could pick a novel that spoke to me, this would be it. because it's so real. it's not overly dramatic, it's not unrealistically funny. i think teens will be able to relate to seth, and dimitri, and even veronica. each character represents a part of our teenage years and we've all been there.

so go pick this up. i was reluctant to read it because i'd heard nothing about it. but it's so totally worth it. there's no hype about it, so just dive into for a good laugh and a good read. i dare you to anything but love this novel when you're done. i highly, highly recommend it.

Monday, June 14, 2010

confessions: i wish i were a dancer

some of us figure out what we want to do at a very young age. but for most of us it takes much longer to know our true desire. and if you asked me if i could do anything what would it be? i would want to be a dancer. i was never put into dance classes or much of anything when i was little so the option was never really open for me. my mom was a tomboy so basketball was the only thing i tried (and hated so, so much) and with my failure at that sports weren't anything i was too interested in. it wasn't until eighth grade that i discovered color guard. of course i would find something i loved that nobody knew anything about and if they did thought it was dorky or uncool. and of course i excelled at it, still do in fact.

and it was doing this activity that i really started to understand my body. at first it was like a whole different language for me. i didn't understand anything. i had to point my toes, bend my knees without sticking my butt out, keep my turnout, and not look like i had limp fish for arms all while learning how to spin this new piece of equipment. naturally, i hated dancing. i had never moved my body in these ways and i was constantly getting corrected and frustrated with myself and my seemingly inability to be graceful.

but i worked hard, almost subconsciously, on being a better mover. i hated not doing something right so i kept at it. and by the time i was a senior in high school, i was good. i became captain of my indoor and outdoor color guards and i was a top mover. so when i got to college i decided to take some dance classes because it was now something i really enjoyed. i loved feeling ethereal knowing i was creating art and telling stories with my body. i loved performing, i loved all of it.

but it wasn't enough. great dancers spend years of their lives and quite a lot of money perfecting their art. i had only basic technique which wasn't enough to get into the dance minor at my school. so i tried taking classes at dance studios, only to discover oftentimes i was too old. and when i finally found a dance studio that let older kids take classes i also discovered how expensive they were. especially for a college student.

my dream quickly came crashing down on me. but i discovered ways to keep dance in my life. i still do color guard and push my instructors to add more dance elements and teach new things. i also teach. and dance is the first and main foundation of my teaching style. they hate it, much like i did but i know it will benefit them in the end and they will be beautiful. i still teach myself things and take classes at my dance studio but i now know dancing can only be a small part of my life. i still hope, though, and still perfect everything i am able to do.

i guess if i could tie my love of novels and my love of dancing together i would say that i love stories. i love hearing them, i love telling them in conventional and unconventional ways. being creative keeps the mind alive, and keeps me happy.

so how about you guys? what would you do if you had the opportunity?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

sweethearts by sara zarr

mmm cookies

Jennifer and Cameron were outcasts (reader, i almost spelled this 'outkast'-what is pop culture doing to me?!) in elementary school but they always had each other. but one day when Cameron leaves Jennifer without saying good-bye she is both confused and heartbroken. then she finds out he's dead. Jennifer decides that it's time to change from Jennifer into Jenna-the popular girl who doesn't cry and who doesn't live in a world inside her head. and she thinks she's finally gotten rid of all of Jennifer, that is, until Cameron comes back eight years later. can Jenna remember who she was, and more importantly, will people accept her? and will Cameron and Jenna be able to rekindle their friendship and overcome the horrible thing that happened on her ninth birthday...

so, i read this in one day. while it's only 217 pages, i'm a very busy gal. basically, i loved it. i think i want to time travel so i can meet a guy like Cameron in fifth grade and he can be my sweetheart. or i can just book travel and have Cameron all to myself. this boy has some serious determination and individualism. he knows who he is and what he has to do to make it in life. poor Jenna and Cameron were both dealt the worst hands growing up, but luckily for Jenna her life changed in high school but not so much for Cameron. i wish they made magic fairy dust that made awful parents go away. seriously, i don't know how people like Cameron's father live with themselves.

you can come live with me, Cameron. no really, please do.

this novel kind of showcases the importance of how your entire life shapes who you are. like, i can't just go reinvent myself tomorrow and be a completely new person. all those old memories, experiences, they make you who you are. and Jenna has to discover that. of course, it doesn't hurt that she has a cute boy to help her out.

this is a short, sweet book that you won't soon forget. and if you're not big on the whole self-discovery (or re-discovery) or deep, philosophical things that keep our humanity in check (im talking to you, cannibals...) then read this for the sheer adorableness that it Cameron. but also remember, he's mine.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

round 2 book battle winner


in corner one, twenty boy summer- according to her best friend Frankie, twenty days in ZanzibarBay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy ever day, there's a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there's something she hasn't told Frankie---she's already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie's older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

characters- frankie and anna are so great. i wish they could be my bffs. +2

plot-very intense. sometimes i had to put it down so i didn't drown in the sadness of the book. but there were a lot of surprises, a lot of comforting predictability. very enjoyable, well-thought out, and well written.  +3

ending-perfect. +3

=8 points!

in corner two, jessica's guide to dating on the dark side- marrying a vampire definitely doesn’t fit into Jessica Packwood’s senior year “get-a-life” plan. But then a bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth—and he’s her long-lost fiancĂ©. Armed with newfound confidence and a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica makes a dramatic transition from average American teenager to glam European vampire princess. But when a devious cheerleader sets her sights on Lucius, Jess finds herself fighting to win back her wayward prince, stop a global vampire war—and save Lucius’s soul from eternal destruction

+1 my name is in the title. no? okay fine. but it's still pretty awesome.

characters- loved lucius. he was funny, suave, not American at all, and sexy. very sexy. his moments trying to figure out American culture are hi-larious. the rest of the cast of characters are great, too. i just paticularly loved lucius. +3

plot- i loved the beginning. ordinary girl finds out she's vampire princess, vampire tries to convince her she has to marry him. it was all very funny, and i felt like it mocked the genre a little bit which is a major plus for me, but towards the middle-end when lucius  becomes, um, a little nuts is where i got lost. i felt like he was a successful business man turned drug addict. very strange. still, +2

ending-i hated it very much. +1

=6 points!

so the winner is twenty boy summer!! YAY!!! go read it, it's perfect for, you know, the summer!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

things that bother me

  • highly acclamined bloggers (at least, from my experience, in the YA blogosphere) who use the wrong than/then, you're/your, there/they're/their

  • the "my best friend/dad/mom" was killed in a car crash trend in YA lit. I know how absolutely awful it is but I'm kind of tired of reading about it

  • vampires, werewolves (except the shirtless body of Jacob Black), angels, other supernatural beings.

  • bad writing in general. especially people who get paid to do it.

  • generic reviews. put something in the reviews that makes me want to read the novel you're reviewing. because that's the whole purpose of reviews, right?

  • seeing the same book reviewed 39 times on my google reader. in one day.

  • seeing an amazing book get a crappy, short reviews because of laziness and/or because bloggers try to post as many reviews of books on their blog as possible for who knows what reason. personally, i'd rather read a blog whose reviews were funny, well-thought out, and sincere who only post once a week than a blog that posts multiple times a day but gives no substance to what they're talking about. althought, props to you if you do both!

And that's it. sorry for the negativity, guys, just blowing off some steam!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

be mine, sweet , ur cute

mmm...don't you just wish it was valentine's day so you can get like eight boxes of those sweethearts candy, not even to eat but to read every. single. one. of the messages trying to find (who knows what, the man of your dreams' number?) a new one. no? oh well. that's what i thought when i first saw the cover of after the kiss. and my second thought was "i'm about to dive into a delicious marshmallow pit of fluffy reading!" but that is not what happened. and although i am quite sad that i did not dive into a marshmallow pit (who doesn't want to do that?!) i thoroughly x a million enjoyed this novel (i also loved pure, you should check it out).

set in alternating points of view and poetry/poetic prose, the novel is about two girls camille and becca who are each inexplicably drawn in opposition over a kiss from a boy. a boy who happens to be becca's boyfriend. a kiss that was shared between camille and the boy (his name is alec but i hate him so hence forth he is "the boy"). the novel is beautifully told. both girls, besides sharing the lips of the same boy, have a whole crap load of other things going on in their lives. so self-discovery is a huge thing here. i love the idea of being a trapeze artist, jumping, and taking risks which the poetry refers to a lot.

the story is completely told though "dear diary" like poetry but without the "dear diary, let me tell you what happened today in gym class" simplicity that many diaries have (which, not to knock diary entries, is their purpose. this novel just sorts through the meaningless everyday play by plays-which also makes it more interesting for the reader).

let me share some quotes from this novel. they will take your breath away.

he is dynamite wrapped in a swirl of smoky cinnamon, clenched between lips that have take me home written all over them. his mouth is a complicated question, is something you should maybe avoid for your own good

our lips-bodies-meet
as he pours over me-smothering me melting me

so I am liquid and lava too,
flowing with him spreading pushing surging seeing
nothing but orange-

orange orange orange orange orange

and those yellow dots that are
the hot center of a flickering fire
We are burning everything in front of us.

is that not enough to get you to pick this book up? so becca breaks up with the boy after he kisses camille but camille just moved there and still has no idea that the boy even had a girlfriend. and every time becca sees camille (becca works in a coffeeshop that camille goes to often) she can't understand the nerve of that girl coming into the place where she works-almost taunting her. while becca is learning to cope with seeing camille (and not, well, ripping her head off), camille just thinks the boy is another asshole (which, he is) and is just plain confused. and actually, the most infuriating thing about this novel is waiting for the confrontation between camille and becca. but there really never is one. and it drove me nuts ("becca, she had no idea!!!") but it was quite brilliant. i love that mcvoy just doesn't give us what we want. she creates this situation with real friction and not everything resolves in a cookie-cutter like manner. again, which makes me angry, but i can truly respect that.

and while becca is trying to get over the boy, camille is learning that saying good-bye isn't always good-bye. moving from place to place frequently is hard on her (will she ever write back the guy she's in love with?) and we see her struggling with that throughout the book.

this novel was amazing. inspirational.

favorite character: the guy camille is in love with from chicago. i would totally date him, because, he's super hot and an artist. i fall for those guys.

favorite moment: i loved seeing becca grow. i felt wicked sympathy for her and was cheering her on the entire time. the moment she finally knows she's over the boy is empowering. i wish i was as awesome as her.

in conclusion, i wish this novel had more marshmallow-y goodness in it because i was really in the mood for marshmallows. but, nevertheless, it was beautiful and real.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

maybe size does matter

which is the only reason i can think of to make The Shining 683 pages. that's like-harry potter long. and, no offense stephen king, i do not have a love affair with your work as i do with ms. rowling's so 683 pages is a little much. reading this novel took committment, and patience, and many, many, many rice dinners (this would make more sense if you knew that i frequently spent my time waiting for my rice to simmer and cook reading The Shining...and now you may continue reading). and again, there is no plot device, character development, suspense factor that i know of (used in this novel) for it to be okay that i read 683 pages only to read what I KNEW WAS GOING TO HAPPEN in the end (and, i've never seen the movie)! so why stephen king? why was this necessary? to torture me? to keep me guessing (well maybe the overlook hotel will end up making cupcakes for everyone and spit out sprinkles and rainbows in the end and it won't completely MESS WITH EVERYONE UNTIL THEY'VE GONE COMPLETELY NUTS!)? 

and i know this may offend some diehard stephen king readers, but honestly (can i be honest with you now?), i do not get it. at all. granted, this was my first stephen king novel, well, that i finished...and therefore i am not qualified to make judgments about all of his novels. but this is precisely why i chose a novel that is supposed to be one of his best. i did not find it scary, i was not up all night trying to finish it. in fact, the only reason i did was so i could say i've read a stephen king novel. 

it was way too much psychological and not enough thriller. more blood, more murder, more scary encounters with dead people who lived in the hotel, i found myself chanting (now that i think about it maybe the book did what it intended to do...i am now the insane one). i learned so much about jack's dad and how he was feeling and every guilt, fear, and desire he had in his damn head. but i just wanted to get out of his head! and when i did i was forced to spend time with his crazy wife who thought it would be okay to be cooped up in a hotel with no way out for the winter with her husband who totally beat the crap out of one of his students. genius woman, really. the only cool part of this novel was the fact that the little boy danny was a telepath. but was it used for anything cool (except to save his family-but notably in a horror novel is uncool!)? no! so what he could see dead people? it happened, like, twice. bo-ring. 

the novel is described as a look into consciousness. and i totally get what stephen king is trying to do with the novel-it really digs deep into humanity and our thoughts and all that psycho babble fun stuff. but it's marketed as a horror novel; it's popular fiction. and this is where i think he messes up-why it's SO friggen long. he's trying to tie in two novels together-the one where the guy goes crazy because he's messed up over a sick childhood and has all these mental problems and the novel about the guy who goes crazy because the hotel is possessed. maybe a lot of readers out there soak this stuff up. but i found myself bored and annoyed.

but perhaps there are better stephen king novels out there? maybe i'll give another one a try. what do you all think about stephen king? like, dislike?
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