Camp NaNo Update (Day 22)

2014-Participant-Facebook-Cover

 

 

Hey guys. I hope you are enjoying the book reviews. Today is the 22nd day of Camp NaNoWriMo–which means we are almost finished. I am currently at 39939 words. I have 10,061 words to go and 8 days left. Almost there! I’m coming up close to the end, but I think I can finish without struggling too badly with the word count. I’m excited to see how these last chapters go.

 

How is Camp NaNoWriMo going for you? Are you enjoying your story? I hope so!

 

 

jncname

Book Review–Goodbye, Rebel Blue by Shelley Coriell

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This is the 33rd book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.

 

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Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Goodbye, Rebel Blue by Shelley Coriell
Published October 1st 2013 by Harry N. Abrams

Rebecca Blue is a rebel with an attitude whose life is changed by a chance encounter with a soon-to-be dead girl. Rebel (as she’s known) decides to complete the dead girl’s bucket list to prove that choice, not chance, controls her fate. In doing so, she unexpectedly opens her mind and heart to a world she once dismissed—a world of friendships, family, and faith.

With a shaken sense of self, she must reevaluate her loner philosophy—particularly when she falls for Nate, the golden boy do-gooder who never looks out for himself. Perfect for fans of Jay Asher’s blockbuster hit Thirteen Reasons Why, Coriell’s second novel features her sharp, engaging voice along with realistic drama and unforgettable characters.

 

 

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While this wasn’t a book that was difficult to put down like my last read, I really enjoyed this one and nearly ran over my lunch break trying to finish it.

I admit, the concept of bucket lists have always intrigued me. You can tell a lot about a person from their bucket list. So it was pretty neat reading a book where someone tries to complete another person’s bucket list.

While the plot was fun and the writing was good, it’s really the characters that made the book for me. I loved the characters and all of their little quirks. The relationships between “Rebel” Blue and the other characters were also interesting. I adored the love interest and the fact that the relationship was far from perfect. I’m also a sucker for anyone who likes and does art. The sea-glass frames Rebel makes sounded really cool.

This was a fun yet somewhat deep read. Was a little disappointed with the ending as it felt rushed, but overall I wouldn’t change much about this book. Will definitely be looking into more books by this author.

 

 

4halfstars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

jncname

Book Review–What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton

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This is the 32nd book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.

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What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton
Published October 9th 2012 by Poppy (Little Brown Books for Young Readers)

How can you talk about something you can’t remember?

Before the ski trip, sixteen-year-old Cassidy “Sid” Murphy was a cheerleader (at the bottom of the pyramid, but still…), a straight-A student, and a member of a solid trio of best friends. When she ends up on a ski lift next to handsome local college boy, Dax Windsor, she’s thrilled; but Dax takes everything from Sid—including a lock of her perfect red curls—and she can’t remember any of it.

Back home and unable to relate to her old friends, Sid drops her college prep classes and takes up residence in the A/V room with only Corey “The Living Stoner” Livingston for company. But as she gets to know Corey (slacker, baker, total dreamboat), Sid finds someone who truly makes her happy. Now, if she can just shake the nightmares and those few extra pounds, everything will be perfect… or so she thinks.

Witty and poignant, Colleen Clayton’s stunning debut is a story about moving on after the unthinkable happens.

 

 

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This book had me hooked almost from page one. It reminds me a lot of Speak, but at the same time is very different. I loved the main character, Sid. She was far from perfect but was really easy to connect to. I ached alongside her and felt my heart warm when good things happened to her. She’s also got a lot of Irish in her, which I can also relate to as my great-grandparents immigrated from Ireland and we still observe several of the traditions.

The topic is handled well throughout the book though I’m undecided on whether or not I like how the secret gets told. It seemed a bit rushed toward the end.

I also really enjoyed the side characters–Sid’s mom, little brother, friends, and lovable dog, Ronan. The love interest won my heart over, though in a lot of ways he’s kind of too perfect. Too understanding. Or maybe guys like this are just extremely rare?

Anyway, the romance melted my heart. The story was good enough without the romance, but very hard to put down once it was added to the story. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that I’ve had trouble putting down.

Is the book perfect? No. But when I encounter books with great characters, emotion that grabs my heart, an interesting story, a swoon-worthy romance, and good writing, it’s hard to pick out the flaws. Definitely looking into seeing if Colleen Clayton has any other books. If not, she should. And I’d really, really love to hear more about Sid, Corey, and the rest of the characters. Definitely recommend!

 

 

 

5stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

jncname

Book Review–The Anti-Prom by Abby McDonald

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This is the 31st book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

The Anti-Prom by Abby McDonald
Published March 8th 2011 by Candlewick Press

Three unlikely allies team up for a night of rebellion, romance, and revenge in a high-stakes dramedy from acclaimed young author Abby McDonald.

They’ve spent years at the same high school without speaking a word to one another, but that’s all about to change. Popular Bliss was having the perfect prom until she found her BFF and boyfriend making out in the back of a limo. Bad girl Jolene wouldn’t be caught dead at the prom, yet here she is, trussed up in pink ruffles, risking her reputation for some guy – some guy who is forty minutes late. And shy, studious, über-planner Meg never counted on her date’s standing her up and leaving her idling in the parking lot outside the prom. Get ready for The Anti-Prom, Abby McDonald’s hilarious, heart-tugging tale about three girls and one unforgettable prom night.

 

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I wasn’t expecting to like this one as much as I did. Especially after reading the first chapter, which is from Bliss’ POV. While I felt bad for her, I also didn’t really like her too well. But then I met the other two characters, Jolene and Meg, and it started to get better.

Meg is my favorite of the three girls simply because I could relate much better to her. Next I liked Jolene, who was interesting, sassy, and had a big chip on her shoulder. Bliss is my least favorite but I ended up liking her much better toward the end.

This is a fun read with a scavenger-hunt like feel. It’s always impressive to find a book that only takes place within a day or two, and this one did a great job. The plot was fun and fresh. But the girls also had some issues so there was also some emotion to what would have otherwise simply been a “fluff” read.

The romances were really cute, too. At least the two that worked out, anyway. Especially Scott.

If you’re looking for a fun read involving prom, revenge, unlikely girls becoming friends, and a night of wild and possibly illegal activities, this is the book for you. I’d love to see what happens to the girls after the night is over.

 

4halfstars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

jncname

Camp NaNo Update (Day 16)

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Hey guys. Apologies for the lack of posts. I have been busy writing as well as feeling under the weather. Today is the 16th day of Camp NaNoWriMo–which means we are over halfway through!. I am currently at 30,801 words. I have 19,199 words and 14 days left. I went 3 days without writing due to not feeling well, but got back into it tonight. I’m still motivated to write when I feel well so I take that as a good sign!

The novel itself is going pretty well, though I’m going to have to use my extended ending to get in my word count. That could be really fun, though, and if I don’t like it, I can always beef up the beginning more and end it elsewhere in the re-write.

How is Camp NaNoWriMo going for you? Are you enjoying your story? I hope so!

 

 

jncname

Book Review–It’s Not the End of the World by Judy Blume

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This is the 30th book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

It’s Not the End of the World by Judy Blume
Published 1972

I want a mother and a father and I want them to live together-right here-in this house!

Karen Newman can’t believe it when her father moves out.  How could her parents do this?  Don’t they know they belong together?  Somehow Karen has to get her mom and dad to talk to each other face-to-face.  Maybe then they’ll realize divorce is a mistake.  But can she think of a plan soon-and one that works?

 

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A good middle-grade book for kids who may have parents who are divorcing or separating. While my parents divorced when I was too young to remember, this book was easy to relate to because sometimes there are a lot of questions and what-ifs involved with this situation. It seems more difficult for kids whose parents separate when they are older than it is for those of us whose parents did so earlier.

While not aimed at my audience, I still found myself enjoying this. I even got a bit angry with Karen’s father during one scene so it was easy to get attached to the characters. Definitely recommended for middle-grade/pre-teens.

 

 

3stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

jncname

Book Review–The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

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This is the 29th book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
Published June 1st 1994 by Warner Books

 

The five Lisbon sisters are brought up in a strict household, and when the youngest kills herself, the oppression of the remaining sisters intensifies. As Therese, Mary, Bonnie and Lux are pulled deeper into isolation by their domineering mother, a group of neighborhood boys become obsessed with liberating the sisters. But what the boys don’t know is, the Lisbon girls are beyond saving.

 

——

I’m not quite sure how to feel about this one. I believe I felt the same about the movie when I watched it a few years ago, though I don’t remember most of the details. However, this was a book that I found hard to put down. While I didn’t love it, nor necessarily “like” it, I also felt compelled to keep reading. I figure that has to count for something.

This book is strange but definitely has that haunting quality to it. The story itself is tragic and made me wonder about the Lisbon girls just as much as the boy(s) telling the story. The writing was very good, though tended to get lengthy in description at times. The author did a great job at bringing the story and setting to life with his words, though.

I felt terrible for the girls–and at times for the boys–but at the same time everyone is kept at a safe distance so it’s hard to get too attached to any of them. For some reason I found myself feeling the worst for Mary out of the girls (after Cecilia, of course). The worst thing about this book is all the questions I had while reading it, especially once it had ended. Questions that will never be answered.

Definitely worth a read, though the reviews for this one seem to be a love or hate scenario. Probably will never read this again, but I’ll definitely have to see if the author has written anything else. Color me intrigued.

 

3stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

jncname

Camp NaNo Update (Day 7)

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Hey guys. Today is the 7th day of Camp NaNoWriMo. I am currently at 17,035 words. I have 32,965 words and 23 days left. So far the story is coming along great, though I worry that I’m going to do my classic finish-before-I-reach-50K stunt that typically ends up happening. The beginning may have gone by a little too soon, but things have slowed now. I guess worst case scenario, I re-visit the beginning chapters and add more details or plot points.

 

How is Camp NaNoWriMo going for you? Are you enjoying your story? I hope so!

 

 

jncname

Book Review–The Alien (Animorphs #8) by Katherine Applegate

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This is the 28th book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

The Alien (Animorphs #8) by Katherine Applegate
Published July 1st 1997 by Scholastic Paperbacks

 

What would you do if you were the only alien trapped on a strange planet? Probably freak out, right? Well, that’s what Ax feels like doing. But as an Andalite warrior-cadet, he has to be pretty cool about stuff like that. He’s been hanging out with the Animorphs ever since the Dome ship was destroyed by the Yeerks and his brother, Prince Elfangor, was destroyed by Visser Three.

Life on Earth is pretty different for Ax. But there is one thing he, Cassie, Marco, Jake, Rachel, and Tobias have in common. Something that one alien, four kids and a hawk know they have to do: stop the Yeerks…

 

 

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***The following may contain spoilers from previous books as well as the current book***

This is the first book in the series that comes from Ax’s POV. I really enjoyed this one. Ax is an interesting POV to read from and the overall plot for the series begins to thicken here. I also really liked the relationship between Ax and the other humans, particularly Tobias.

 

5stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

jncname

Book Review–The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski

brotw

 

This is the 27th book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

The Shadow Society by Marie Rutkoski
Published October 16th 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

 

Darcy Jones doesn’t remember anything before the day she was abandoned as a child outside a Chicago firehouse. She has never really belonged anywhere—but she couldn’t have guessed that she comes from an alternate world where the Great Chicago Fire didn’t happen and deadly creatures called Shades terrorize the human population.

Memories begin to haunt Darcy when a new boy arrives at her high school, and he makes her feel both desire and desired in a way she hadn’t thought possible. But Conn’s interest in her is confusing. It doesn’t line up with the way he first looked at her.

As if she were his enemy.

When Conn betrays Darcy, she realizes that she can’t rely on anything—not herself, not the laws of nature, and certainly not him. Darcy decides to infiltrate the Shadow Society and uncover the Shades’ latest terrorist plot. What she finds out will change her world forever . . .

In this smart, compulsively readable novel, master storyteller Marie Rutkoski has crafted an utterly original world, characters you won’t soon forget, and a tale full of intrigue and suspense. 

 

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At first, I thought this book was going to be another cliche supernatural romance but it ended up surprising me. It’s well written and from an interesting and mysterious POV–a orphaned teenager named Darcy. While Darcy has a foster mother, she’s been through several homes and schools and can’t seem to remember what happened to her as a child aside from the moment she was taken into the system. Darcy has a pretty interesting back story but you’ll have to read to almost the end of the book to discover what it is. I’m also a sucker for any character, particularly a main character, who has love for art.

The side characters were pretty awesome, too. Darcy has this great group of friends who really come to life. And while it took at least half of the book, I eventually warmed up to and learned to like the love interest. You’ll see why. I enjoyed the relationships in this story, too. Not just with the love interest, but also between Darcy and her friends as well as her foster mother. Also Savannah and Uncle “Bear.”

The plot was fast-paced, mysterious, and fun. The settings were also pretty awesome. I’m a bit surprised that this isn’t a series, but at the same time I feel it wrapped itself up pretty well. While not perfect, this was a very good read. Will definitely be on the lookout for more books by this author.

 

 

4stars

 

 

 

 

jncname

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