What I've Read

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Teaser Tuesday: Not a Drop to Drink

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can
play along!

Just do the following:

Grab your current read.

Open to a random page.

Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

From Chapter Twelve of Mindy McGinnis's Not a Drop to Drink

In the dark field, it felt to Lynn like predators 
would see Lucy not only as the easiest target 
but also as Lynn's weakness as well. 
She hoped Lucy could feel the affection 
coursing through her fingers, 
even though the grip on her tiny wrist was iron. 
As I've mentioned before on Twitter, but not on here, I am SO excited about this novel! I got to visit the Dark Days panel at ATBF a couple weeks ago and let me tell you, Mindy McGinnis is incredibly charming and an absolute delight in person. Her dark YA novel sounds like one I can really sink my teeth into. I just got it from Amazon today, so I'll let you know how it goes!

My current thoughts.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Book Review: Peter Pan

Peter PanPeter Pan by J.M. Barrie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've read this before but it's been ages. I love the tale of Peter Pan and Wendy, of the Lost Boys and poor, arrogant Captain Hook, and reading it again via audio certainly gave me a new appreciation for the Boy Who Will Never Grow Up and the Girl Who Wanted to Grow Up.

It's a beautiful story, and the audio, narrated by Jim Dale who also read the Harry Potter audio books, is breathtaking. I wish I had heard this before I read it in book form because it truly is one of those books made to be read aloud. Jim Dale does every single voice differently and is able to capture these personalities with skill and imagination.

Reading this is truly like a return to childhood, to a self you forgot you knew.

Just like Peter, this book awaits children and adults everywhere who may have forgotten the beauty of imagination and the power of hope and joy.

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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our StarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I know other reviewers have used words such as "blase" (which, to be fair, is quite 'blase' in and of itself) to describe this novel, but let's get down to the nitty gritty of it all. I know it's the "hip" thing to not like the books everybody else is reading and, honestly, before I picked up one of John Green's novels (this is my first, but NOT my last) I figured he had to be overrated.

I. Was. Wrong.

Write that in your datebooks because I don't say it often, but I was very wrong in my prejudgment of this novel.

The characters are charming, poignant, and painfully real. In the face of tragedies too huge for most adults to experience with a smile, they manage to insert light, carefree, intellectual humor. I laughed as much as I cried in this novel, and let me tell you, that's saying something. Green does not romanticize the struggle with cancer, but rather gets deeper into the fact that no matter how old a person is, he or she has an identity. No matter what their struggle, they have a sense of humor and the ability to be a beautiful soul. The love story here is one of the truest and greatest I've ever read, perhaps because of the short time frame, perhaps because of the circumstances. I don't know. Either way, it's a book I will use in my classroom and recommend to anyone I meet.

... I can't really think of any, unless you include massive emotional upheaval and tear-wrenching catharsis.

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Book Review: Where the Stars Still Shine

Where the Stars Still ShineWhere the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Firstly, I really liked this book. I will probably read it again and I will DEFINITELY use it in my classroom. That being said, there were some weak spots.

Pros: Excellent character development and story arc within a relatively short period of time. The main character experienced major changes from the beginning to the end of the story and showed maturity and growth. Actually, all of the major characters are surprisingly well developed. The imagery Doller uses is phenomenal. She uses lovely and interesting metaphors in her descriptions. It also includes such a beautiful and realistic representation of mental illness that is severely lacking in YA literature. I also love the big crazy Greek family!

Cons: There were some instances where authenticity was an issue for me. I felt like some of Callie's reactions were unrealistic. It seemed to me like she would be the kind of person to push back more during certain instances where in the book she passively went along with it, but at the same time, I understand why she didn't.

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Saturday, October 5, 2013


Ok. So I lied. I didn't post every day this week. ...

For the Cumbercookie followers out there, here is a full fledged, highly organized, and well-thought-out apology delivered by the oh-so-lovely Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes:

I got lost in a book or two. And I think I might be getting sick and needing extra-ridiculous amounts of sleep.

Also, I got up to 2,500 words in my novel!  


Now only about 78,000 more to go! Jeez-a-loo

Anyway, I'm sorry. Expect more and better posts this week!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Austin Teen Book Festival 2013 or #ATBF13

This weekend consisted of so many books which will be reviewed sometime in the near future. I know. I feel like I always say, "I'll get to it," but I will. Promise.

My bookish girl friends and I headed to Austin this weekend (all of us childless adults, mind you) for the Austin Teen Book Festival and it was AMAZING! We had absolutely the best time and got to see/meet some great authors who gave us advice on writing, publishing, etc.

Honestly, I'd forgotten what that looked like.

So many nerdy people in nerdy t-shirts! So much fangirling!


 I repeat,


I will write a new post later this week complete with images and snippets of what happened.

Expect an update each day!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Book Review: Bridget Jones's Diary

Bridget Jones's Diary (Bridget Jones, #1)Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really liked this, book, but having been a huge fan of the movie I was slightly disappointed in some areas, but impressed in others. I like Bridget, but at times her whining and incompetence were irritating. I like Daniel much more in this one. Mark, of course... Well, I liked the film version because of Colin Firth (I mean come ON!) And Bridget's mom was developed so much better in the book! It was an all around pleasing read, light-hearted and silly.

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Book Review: The Lightning Thief

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is really a 4.5, but either way, it was an exciting read! I've always loved Greek mythology, and it is woven into every aspect if this story! I know I was late jumping on the bandwagon, but I'm so glad I did. I'm definitely a fan of the demigods and their adventures.

Percy is a great and magical hero; a truly exciting coming-of-age story!

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Book Review: Can You Keep A Secret?

Can You Keep a Secret?Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love Sophie Kinsella! Her heroines are relatable without being overly incompetent and irritating. I wasn't the biggest fan of Jack, but Emma felt like my BFF. Loved it! Definitely going to re-read!

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Book Review: Starship Troopers

Starship TroopersStarship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was recommended this book by a friend, and it is of the hard science fiction variety. While it was an easy read, it dealt with strong and controversial topics. If you are somebody who generally goes for this sort of thing, you'll probably find it highly enjoyable. Militaristic propaganda abounds, and the battle scenes (though few and far-between) are riveting. The main character adds just enough humanity to make this feel real.

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Book Review: Board Stiff

Board Stiff (An Elliott Lisbon Mystery, #1)Board Stiff by Kendel Lynn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I. Love. This. Book!

With her debut novel, Kendel Lynn introduces us to the spunky, albeit unlucky board-director-turned-private-investigator Elli Lisbon, for whom Murphy's Law is a daily plague. She is smart, though, and her guts get her into and out of many a tangle. While mysteries are generally not my cup of tea, I am a huge fan of this novel and now the entire genre and I want to devour them all! The writing is intelligent, the wit quick, and the humor rampant.

Read it.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Dealing With Tough Subjects

This a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week's topic is books dealing with tough subjects including but not limited to suicide, depression, eating disorders, drug use, etc. 

In other words, books that make my face do this.

I remember reading this when I was in high school and I loved it. Chbosky captures teen-hood perfectly. At least, teen-hood as I knew it. You've seen me post about Perks before. I've read it more than any other book except the Harry Potter series.  It also has great music. If you never have, READ THIS BOOK.

Topics include: depression, suicide, drug-use, homosexuality, homophobia

While this is technically a short story, I’m including it. It is also, for all intents and purposes, a public service announcement about women’s health issues, but I digress. The protagonist deals with post-partum depression using methods men came up with in the 1920s, including sitting in bed, not lifting a finger, etc. Eventually, this drives her insane. While it is a humorous account, Wallpaper really speaks to issues women dealt with at the time. 

Topics: women’s health, depression, mania

This is a play about two women who run a school. A little girl gets in trouble at the school and makes up a story about the women being lesbians and how all of their lives are ruined after that.  There is also a great film starring Audrey Hepburn and Shirley MacLaine. 

Topics: the power of lies, truth, identity

This is a book we often teach in high school because the students care so greatly about the character. It is about a girl who experiences something just before her first year of high school and then sinks into a depression in which she loses all her friends and disconnects with her family. 

Topics: Depression, anxiety, sexuality, bullying, rape

Contrary to the poorly-made Lifetime movie, the novel that inspired it is highly unsettling and brilliant. Two students who are in love decide to kill themselves. One survives, the other does not, and he gets blamed for her death. The tricky thing? The parents are friends. The students had been friends their whole lives. 

Topics touched on are: suicide, depression, rape

A man loves a woman for five years and builds his whole life around the hope that they’ll be together. She loves her cheating, old-money having husband,, but decides to have a fling anyway. 

Topics: adultery, murder, alcoholism

This true to life account from Wiesel about concentration camps during WWII will break your heart. There is so much truth and so much pain packed into a tiny story.  

Topics: war, death, racism

This is about middle-school age book about a girl going on a road trip with her family. She tells the story of her friend Phoebe who, in turn, tells the reader about our protagonist and all she’s been through. 

Topics: death, divorce

It is about a girl who loses her family during WWII and gains another. So much death and pain and growth. LOVE this book.

Topics: war, death, racism

Personally, I don’t think we have enough books written by Native American authors about their real life experiences. In this novel, the protagonist deals with wanting a future in an environment that expects him to fail. 

Topics: bullying, alcoholism, bulimia, gang violence

Monday, May 13, 2013

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the literary equivalent of a well-sewn quilt. It's worn in, familiar, comforting, and surprising all at the same time. It's so great going back to this series, back to the beginning, and getting to know them all again. It is quite different once you know how it ends.

Harry and his comrades astound me, each and every time. J.K. Rowling created a world I love to escape to, over and over again.

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Book Review: City of Lost Souls

City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments #5)City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 3 of 5 stars


This was an enjoyable read and a necessary step in the story, not unlike City of Ashes, but it is not a life-changer. For the most part, I think most of the tension is broken. I felt like a great deal of the plot was predictable, especially when Jace's mark is torn. I have to admit, I really like Clary. I've liked Clary since City of Bones. She's brave and impulsive and sometimes selfish, but she is human. Unlike characters who always do the right thing, she went against everything she knew to save Jace's life, much like many real life people do when choosing to take their loved one off life support. She knew that the person she loved was still in there and therefore couldn't let him die, but then she turns around and stabs him through the chest with the archangel's sword! It's so ridiculous that it works. I'm expecting the next one to be epic.

Lastly, I would like to add:


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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Literary Crushes

This is a meme I got from Dana Huff to list one's top ten...anything! This week, I'm kicking it off with my top ten literary crushes (and the fictional men against whom I measure all others). If you've not read these series, note, there will be *SPOILERS*. 

In no particular order:

Syndey Carton from A Tale of Two Cities
Self sacrifice and perpetual melancholy?  
*le sigh*


Colonel Brandon from Sense & Sensibility

Steadfast. Constant. Strong. 
Selfless and considerate. 
Brave and hard-working.  
And Alan Rickman plays him in the film. *swoon*

Ron Weasley from Harry Potter- The funny, desperately loyal ginger in the Harry Potter trio has always had an appeal to me because he is just so RON. When I was a little girl, I adored Ron. I thought he was ridiculously lovable and down-to-earth. I didn't fall in love with Ron until Order of the Phoenix, however. Luna often set herself up to be picked on. Her naturally whimsical nature made it so. Ron only respected her, taking no opportunities to tease or mock, instead having her back in the battle at the Ministry.
Henry DeTamble from The Time Traveler's Wife
      Oh Henry. Bookish, sly, awkward Henry. His love for Clare and his daughter, his tender heart and quick wit, even within the confines of his disease set him apart as a highly flawed yet highly attractive character. I mostly love his relationship with Clare. Their love is all- encompassing and passionate, but they each still have their own lives. 
Henry V from Henry V- He dominates France like a hero, give credit to God, then proceeds to awkwardly woo the princess of France to make her fall in love with him. He gives her a choice instead of forcing her. LOVE that!
Remus Lupin from Harry Potter-I've got to say, it was difficult keeping the list this short when I theoretically could have filled it up with the dashing men of the Potter-verse. Remus was my first crush, Ron was my first love. Remus was so steadfast and understanding, that adult who remembers what its like being a kid in a dangerous environment. He always said the right things and he was always honest. He was smart and kind and self-sacrificing. He also loved a butt-kicking woman, too.

Theodore Lawrence from Little Women- Teddy! Oh how I adored Teddy when I was a little girl. I still see a great deal of appeal in him now, in fact. He loved Jo so fervently and for so long, then he was so heartbroken. He wanted to be a hero, when Jo needed an equal. He is so brave for entering into that house full of women, and loving each of them as his own family. I especially love how he treats Meg when she goes about pretending to live above her means, telling her she is delightful just as she is. 

Gideon and Sophie Art from Katie's Book Blog
Gideon Lightwood from The Infernal Devices- While he is definitely not the starring male lead of the trilogy, he is certainly the most constant. I loved him from the start. Even during the first training session, he sees Sophie. He truly sees her, when nobody else saw her as much other than a good friend or maid. He saw her bravery, her courage, and her hope. He has a strong belief in justice at all costs which I love, and he has an unending hope in what is right. Plus, he's one heck of a big brother to irritating little Gabriel. And let us not forget the incident with the scones... lol :)

Finnick Odair- Catching Fire Mockingjay- He's so...sexy. There really is no other word for it. Instead of playing the role of victim, Finnick, calm, confident, brave, deliciously good-looking Finnick, suffered the struggles of surviving the games only to fall in love with with fellow survivor, the emotionally fragile Anne. Anne, who Finnick describes as having "snuck up" on him when he was thinking of other things and who carried on bravely after his death, suffered severe emotional trauma during the games. Finnick believes in Katniss. He survives Snow's horrendous pimping. He is willing to sacrifice himself for Mags or Peeta or Katniss. He even let Katniss go first when they invade the Capitol, and then loses his life. Poor, sweet, brave Finnick...

And last, but not least: 
Guthrie from Bloomability- 
He introduces Dinnie to all sorts of fun and adventure when she's thrust into her new and diverse environment at a boarding school in Switzerland. I read this when I was in the fifth grade and I thought he was absolutely precious and so much fun. 
He was a great contrast to Dinnie's passivity. Alas, no photos for him :(

So who are some of YOUR great literary infatuations, 
past and present? 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Liebster Award

Earlier today, my friend Gabi nominated me for the coveted Liebster Award! Yay!

First of all, I would like to thank the Academy, my mom, all the little people who got me here today, my as-yet-un-hired-personal-assistant,


Oh wait. Wrong speech. Saving that one for another time...

This is a Liebster. The rules are different:

Rules for a Liebster Award:

In order to accept this super awesome award, there are Things That Must Be Done.
1. Thank the person that nominated you.


2. Display the Liebster Heart on your blog. 
3. Nominate 3 to 5 more different bloggers 
4. Post 11 things about yourself.
5. Create 11 questions for your nominees to answer.
6. Answer the 11 questions you've been asked in your nomination.

Here are my 11 Questions:

1) If you could choose any book universe to live in, what would it be? 
Um, trick question? Harry freakin' Potter.

2) If you could guest star in any TV show, which one would you choose? 

3) What do you keep in the trunk of your car? 
Currently? Drill team uniforms from the dry cleaner, jumper cables, about 5,000 pairs of shoes, a Yoda mask, and a first aid kit. Only the essentials :)

4) What is your favorite quote?
"It is our choices that determine what we truly are...far more than our abilities."- Albus Dumbledore in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

5) Would you ever hug a complete stranger?
Would and have.
6) If you could visit a different decade or era, when would you go? Why then? Would you stay?
The 1940s (although the 20s are a close second). I would go there because I think that is when America was at its best. They had swing dancing, for goodness' sakes! I would totally rock those polka dots and red lipstick, too. Oh, and the men in uniform...

I'm not sure if I would stay or not. I love where I am in time, knowing what I know and having knowledge easily at my fingertips. However, the romantic in me would probably overpower the practical side and I would stay.
7) What's your favorite OTP and from which fandom?
Shamy from The Big Bang Theory :-)
8) If you were stranded on a desert island, what three books and what three people would you want with you?
Books: The Bible, Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban, SAS Survival Handbook: How to Survive in the Wild, in Any Climate, on Land or at Sea

People: Zachary Levi, Ryan Gosling, and Gerard Butler

9) How would you like to be remembered?
As somebody who loved people, and dedicated her life to making others' better.

10) What's the best and/or worst pick up line you've ever heard? (Did it work?)

Best: "Do you have a whip?"-It didn't work, but it should've.

Worst: "Miss, would you marry me? Imma be 18 in a few months..." -Didn't work, by the way.

11) What would your last words be before departing this world?
I love you.

11 Things About me:
  1. I listen to *NSync on a daily basis.
  2. On Foursquare I'm currently the mayor of my local Wal-Mart.
  3. I love Jesus.
  4. I am addicted to sitcoms.
  5. I want to visit Ireland more than any other place on Earth.
  6. When I was a kid, I had a crush on Jack Frost.
  7. I speak quite freely (which sometimes gets me in trouble).
  8. I don't like chocolate. I know, I break girl-code.
  9. I love to go shooting.
  10. I LOVE my job. Teaching is my greatest passion!
  11. My dogs' names are Spanky (giant German Shepherd mix) and Penny (tiny Pomeranian). Spanky is a baby and is terrified of Penny.

And NOW: 11 Questions for My Nominees
  1. What is the first book you ever fell in love with?
  2. Do you prefer Diamonds or Pearls?
  3. If you could travel anywhere to live, where would it be and why?
  4. What is your fantasy (as in, it doesn't exist in this world) career?
  5. What scares you?
  6. How many books do you own? *Estimates accepted*
  7. Who is your favorite Greek God/Goddess?
  8. How often do you hang out outside?
  9. With whom do you feel safest?
  10. Who is your guilty pleasure musician/band?
  11. Describe your feelings about public education.

And the nominees are:

People I've never met, but whose writing brings me joy:

As I tell my students...proceed.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Book Review: Divergent

Divergent (Divergent, #1)Divergent by Veronica Roth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh my.

This novel is like quicksand. Once you start to sink into it, you're done! The story was fast-paced and oddly realistic. I love the flawed characters. The kids still act like real teenagers, and Tris is truly brave. And she knows it!

This Dystopian is a great reflection on society and values, but it is also a terrifying world to imagine living in. One of my favorite books. Ever.

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Monday, April 29, 2013

43 Pounds

Sherri L. Smith's Orleans
Libby Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty
This weekend I had the awesome opportunity to go with some of my friends to the Texas Library Conference at the Fort Worth Convention Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Gabi from Gabi Books It and Britney from I Eat Words trekked around the convention center where we got to meet Libba Bray, author of A Great and Terrible Beauty, Going Bovine, and The Diviners, and Sherri L. Smith author of Flygirl and Orleans. 
All. The. Books.  43 pounds of books.

It was phenomenal. I actually got to speak with Smith a bit about the inspiration for her novel Orleans,, which is where her mother was from and where she survived Hurricane Katrina.

Part of the beauty of this experience is all the books I was able to get for quite cheap/free. It being my first time at such an event, I did not adequately prepare. My shoulders ache from carrying the bags full of books.

Next year, I'm taking a suitcase.

Well, readers, I have some reading to do. Reviews coming soon!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Book Review: The Great Gatsby

The Great GatsbyThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First off, I know I will be a bit biased because I LOVE the 1920s. As far as American History goes, it is probably my favorite decade. I also have a bit of a thing for the Lost Generation participants, however, I want this to be less about Fitzgerald and more about Gatsby.

The first time I read this novel, I was a teenager and Gatsby seemed like the ultimate playboy, rich, powerful, confident, arrogant... This time around, I was able to see past his facade better. He is not so confident. In fact, he questions everything until he meets Daisy again (and don't even get me started on her). I liked Nick much better. He is a good man and a good friend who sticks with Gatsby but does not let Gatsby believe that he can behave however he wants.

It was perhaps even more delicious the second time around and Fitzgerald's writing is perfect. Nothing superfluous, nothing superficial. It is honest, clear, and human, as are his most famous characters. I have to say, I'm highly looking forward to DiCaprio's portrayal of the lovelorn New England millionaire.

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Book Review: The Summer I Turned Pretty

The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer, #1)The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really loved this book. Han really captures what it's like being a teenage girl having to deal with real issues, and what it's like to feel invisible. Albeit, Belly got irritating at times, but I think that's a teenage girl thing. Those boys are fantastic and what a great relationship they all have.

The book is not a difficult read, but it goes rather quickly, even at that. The pacing of the chapters and the speed of the book...you can almost feel the summer slipping past you. The descriptions of everything beautiful about the beach and the ocean and even the gritty sand were mesmerizing. Now I need a beach house to escape to so I can read the next two...

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Book Review: Clockwork Princess

Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3)Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ok. I know people are going to hate on my rave for this book. Grumpy, curmudgeonly cynics, you have been forewarned.

I would have given it a 4, except for the Epilogue. It was divine. It has been so long since I sat in my bed, weeping for the lives and deaths of people I do not know, or who do not even exist, and somehow or another, Cassandra Clare has used fiction to restore my faith in love. Love and friendship that are truly and utterly selfless.

I love mostly how each character got his or her own time. As a reader, it is always frustrating to get little teasers about the dynamics of non-protagonists, but not to get to know them. I loved getting to know each of her flawed characters. Sarcastic Will, steady Gideon, adventurous Cecily, brave Tessa, constant and intense Jem, tiny and ferocious Charlotte, haughty Gabriel...

Mostly, Clare let me know what had happened to all these characters I've loved. I missed no significant points of the lives in which I was part.

I know this is a series I will read again and again in the future because these characters are part of me now. I love this beautiful, breathtaking story.

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Book Review: Clockwork Prince

Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2)Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'll give this a 3.5 because it was not as good as Clockwork Angel, which is a solid 5. This novel, this writer, is refreshing. There is so much reality and humanity shoved into a fantastic and magical world. Tessa learns more and more about who she is, and with every decision he makes, I like and respect her even more as a heroine. While I am a bit sick of the love triangle in YA lit, there really is no other way for this story to play out. Great read!

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Friday, March 1, 2013

Oryx and CrakeOryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ohhh... this novel caused so many emotions. It took a while to get going, and once it took off, I couldn't stop reading. It's an all too real premise, I think. Like most dystopian lit, I could see it happening at some point in the future. Who knows where science will take us?

In any case, give Snowman a chance. He's worth knowing.

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A Wallflower All Grown Up

The other day I watched The Perks of Being a Wallflower, the film. I've always been a big fan of the book, read it more times than I can count using both hands (and probably toes, too) but until watching the film, I never realized what struck me. I never knew what connected me so much to Charlie and his friends, but I felt like I knew them. In fact, I always pictured them with the faces of people I know in real life. Patrick was my best friend (a guy) who struggled with cross dressing, keeping it under wraps, and attempting to have a semi-normal life in a small Texas town. He doesn't do that anymore. In fact, he's dating a girl who knows about all of it and loves him and they're happy. Sam was another beautiful best friend, (a girl) in high school. Everybody loved her and thought she was superb. All the guys liked her. She was smart. Into all the guy type stuff. In fact, she's going to college right now to be an engineer. I think she's pretty great, even though she's done some pretty crappy things. I guess we all have, though. 

Anyway, there were people in my real life that I associated with characters in Stephen Chbosky's amazing novel. Still, that isn't it. I understood Charlie.

As a grown-up, I understand Charlie.

I don't act like Charlie. I was a bit of a wallflower in school, but never to that extent. I always was friendly, had friends, but I never really let myself participate. What I understood in Charlie is the self-hate. The self-doubt. The questioning of every little action and behavior and wondering, "Oh my goodness, did I just make myself seem even weirder?" and the WORST, "If people actually knew me, would they want to know me?"

Other people I've talked to who have struggled with depression go through the same things. Feeling alone, tired, worthless. In my case (because I've always been a big girl) I've always figured I felt that way because I'm fat. I don't think that's it, though. I think it's depression and anxiety and most of all, NOT LOVING YOURSELF. 

I am more okay now than I've been, but it's because I've learned to love myself. I love Jesus. I love other people. It would hurt if I talked to other people the way I talk to myself. I would not be a nice person. Jesus died for me, and I know not all of you do, but I think that's a BIG DEAL. Clearly, I'm worth loving. Fat, thin, short, tall, pimply, we all are. 

Charlie's friends teach him that. Jesus, and a lot of people, family, and friends, taught me that. 

Perks... will always been one of my favorite books. Charlie is kind of great.