February 28, 2011

NEW BLOG WEBSITE

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So, getting this website thing up and running has been incredibly taxing at times and it doesn't help that finals are coming soon. That being said, I'll be taking a short hiatus in terms of posting reviews until finals are over (that doesn't mean that I won't be reading though). I'll slowly be transferring things to the new website at bravenewadventure.com in the meantime. The website will hopefully be ready to go on March 14 with an all new giveaway.

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February 17, 2011

Under Construction

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I was so bored one day, that I bought a domain name. The blog will be moving to bravenewadventure.com in a few days, so since I didn't finish any books this week (T_T), I will be using the weekend to update the template, possibly make the header more dynamic (if I have the time and the access to my comp that has photoshop), and moving the blog over to the new domain. So if you want to access the blog and find it gone, this is the reason why. I hope to see everyone next week with some new books.





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February 13, 2011

Plan B by Charnan Simon

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Date Started: February 13, 2011
Date Finished: February 13, 2011


Summary: Lucy is in love with her boyfriend, Luke. Lucy is a dancer and has a big solo in the show and her boyfriend Luke is getting a baseball scholarship. Now their plans and goals are in jeopardy because after one buzzed night, Lucy finds out that she's pregnant.

Likes: I like the themes of the book, it definitely made me think about some different perspectives on the topic. The writing was short and sweet, it was mostly telling and not showing, but I could live with that. It seems like it was written for a younger audience, maybe middle schoolers or 9th and 10th graders. This could open up a lot to the imagination and definitely start a dialogue for kids this age. It should probably be one of those books that have questions included in the back asking kids what they think Lucy and Luke should do? What would they do? and stuff like that.

Dislikes: This book was just too short to make a qualified statement in terms of story. I read it in about 45 minutes. It seems to stop right when the story is getting interesting. I wanted to know what was going to happen with Lucy and her dance solo, especially when she has to tell her teacher that she's pregnant. I also wanted to know what Luke was planning to do about his scholarship. The book was less than one hundred pages. I've read short books before, the one that comes to mind is The First Part Last by Angela Davis which is about a similar topic. That book packed a punch in a short amount of time, but this book doesn't seem to gloss the surface. Even though I wasn't too crazy about it, Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles is short and simple as well. Perhaps if it started later and went into the consequences of her actions, without being preachy, I think it would have work. I definitely think it needs another one hundred pages or so

Overall: This wasn't a bad book, but it was so incredibly short that I can't really make a good judgment about it. This seems to be a part of a series, even though it does follow a different character at the school, it would be interesting if these characters show up again. I thought this book was more of a YA, but it reads more like a Middle Grade book. It's an ARC, so I'm wondering if some things will be fleshed out when the final draft is printed, I'm not really sure how ARCs and stuff work. I'm assuming since it made it this far, it's pretty much a done deal. That being said, it's more of a discussion starter for a sex ed class then it is an actual story or novel.

Recommended by: My senior thesis about teen pregnancy and the summary sounded pretty interesting.

Acquired: Netgalley

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February 12, 2011

Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu

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Date Started: February 7, 2011
Date Finished: February 8, 2011

Summary: Lucy doesn't have a normal life, even though she is trying desperately to maintain one. She has a best friend for the first time in a long time and even a budding romance with a hot guy. However, when she goes home the only thing waiting for her is piles and piles of garbage and junk that her mother refuses to let go. When a terrible tragedy happens to her mother, Lucy will go to great lengths to keep her home and her life a secret.

Likes: This was a frustrating read. I rooted for Lucy the entire way, but it was clear how her mother and her family was holding her back from just doing average things like having a sleepover at her house or even just having a normal life. It's embarrassing just to have dishes piled up in the sink and dog hair everywhere just dealing with all the stress of having roommates, I can't imagine how much more embarrassing it would be to have a whole house full of trash. The memories weaved in and out of Lucy's current situation were sad, because it wasn't always that bad. Her mother was frustrating, blaming her children for not cleaning up behind themselves instead of accepting that she had a problem. Lucy's older sister, Sara, was frustrating as well because she was going down the same destructive path. The family dynamic was troubled, but realistic given the situation. The crazy thing is that everyone believed Lucy's mother was a nice woman and given the memories about her in the hospital and the things she did for her kids before things went bad, it was true. It was a heartbreaking story, but it was so real and so honest.

Dislikes: Sometimes the message was a bit on the nose, but it was quickly undercut by Lucy's cynical attitude. I also want to know what happens afterward, I feel that Lucy's story wasn't exactly over where it was stopped.

Overall: The first thing that came to my mind was that this book is horrifying and horrendous and I mean that in a good way. I was rooting for Lucy to do something for herself and when she did, I was so happy for her. I haven't been so invested in a character in a long time. I really wanted her to succeed in doing whatever she had to do to get away from her house. When she took that step, I was so happy.

Recommended by: I read the author's blog on occasion. This story is incredibly relevant given the shows on televison about people who hoard. Even more so, I know someone who is a hoarder and from an outside point of view I can understand how frustrating it is to think you can't go inside someone's house because it's too messy. I haven't been in this person's house since middle school, so who knows how bad it could be now. In fact, it was so bad that it was almost condemned. And the interesting thing is that I can understand how Lucy was so willing to do anything to protect her secret. The thought ran through my head several times about how I can write about hoarding without giving away the identity of the person who does it. I even debated about whether I should write this little section and thought about all the people who could see it and the repercussions, so times that feeling by about 100 and I can see how bad the situation got and was cheering when Lucy took matters into her own hands.

Acquired: Library


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February 6, 2011

What You Have Left by Will Allison

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Date Started: February 4, 2011
Date Finished: February 5, 2011

Summary:  When Holly was young, her mother died in a boating accident and her father dropped her off with her grandfather, Cal. Years later, Cal is suffering from Alzheimer's and is preparing the old farm for Holly to inherit. When Holly realizes that she has no one left, she goes to track down her father.

Likes: This is a novel I didn't think I would enjoy, but it was more about a family and their healing process instead of a "quest" type of novel for Holly to find her father. All of the characters were tragically and beautifully flawed and all were likable and humanized. We aren't told one way or the other to feel sympathy or disdain for one character over the other, they are just presented and the reader is left to make our own judgments, if necessary. I found that I didn't condemn Wylie for leaving his daughter and I love the way the author presented the characters and their stories. The narration isn't consistent, starting with first person and going from first to third to first in whatever order is deemed necessary to tell the story.

Dislikes: There wasn't much I disliked. The POV changes were a little jarring at first and they stopped at parts where I felt could have been a scene (but I definitely appreciate why they weren't included, it's a technique we have to learn at school about showing the small scenes, the quiet moments). eeee

Overall: I enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would. I meant to read just a little bit, but I found myself having trouble pulling myself away from it. I was invested in these characters and they were so unique and dynamic that I couldn't figure out what it was about them that made them so three dimensional. I suppose it was the quiet moments that we saw that added up to the larger picture. I think that's where a lot of novels fail and this novel didn't. A lot of things show the big moments and things tend to get cliched when that happens, but this novel shows the quite seemingly mundane moments that make for poignant and thoughtful moments. I really enjoyed this novel, not just the story, but the storytelling technique through time skips and POV shifts was beautiful and really worked for the story.

Recommended by: My thesis advisor recommended it. Not for any particular reason other than she thought I would enjoy it and I did immensely.

Acquired: Borrowed from my thesis advisor


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February 5, 2011

Anacaona: Golden Flower by Edwidge Danticat

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Date Started: February 2, 2011
Date Finished: February 3, 2011

Summary: Anacaona was a high chieftess of Haiti during the late 1400s. This story chronicles her life from her marriage and birth of her daughter. Despite her apprehensiveness about being a ruler or a wife and mother, the impending invasion of the Spaniards threatens Anacaona and her family as well as the nation that she is destined to rule.

Likes: The prose was so lyrical and beautiful to read. Having read one of Danticat's adult novels for class, I'm glad that her language can translate well for a young adult/middle grade novel. The author took a lot of liberties considering that the tainos didn't have a written language, but rather told stories orally or through pictographs. There's not much in the way of plot until the last third of the book, but going through the daily routine of Anacaona is just nice because the way she describes certain customs of her people is so beautiful to read. Also it's nice to read one of these Royal Diaries stories from someone who was born in the country they are talking about. Danticat was born in Port Au Prince, Haiti. While it's not a requirement that people from certain countries can only tell their people's stories, it is definitely appreciated when someone does because they personally had a stake in everything that happened as opposed to hearing about it, then getting interested in it. Danticat states that she often heard this story as a child and was honored to write it for other people to read, enjoy, and most importantly share. 

Dislikes:  This is probably one of the most depressing stories in the Royal Diaries series that I've ever read. There is nothing wrong with the actual book, but since it's a historical book, most of us can surmise what came next. That's what makes the book depressing. Why we celebrate massive genocide for Colombus Day is beyond me, but reading historical accounts (fictional or otherwise) makes it obvious why we don't learn this stuff in elementary school (I didn't even learn any of this stuff until I got to college).

Overall: I like this book, even though it was sad. These are the books that should be encouraged for us to read in elementary school. This book however came out in 2005, so I was already a junior by then. If I had read this in elementary school, I'd definitely have a broader perspective on the world and the history that is taught to us opposed to what really happened. I'm sure any child who was as curious and inquisitive as I was would have went to search for more books regarding this topic.

Recommended by: U, at the library. We were in the middle grade section (the only time I go to that section is when I'm with U) and by the Dear America and Royal Diaries section when she points out a bright green book and goes "Look, it's about Haiti." Given what has happened in Haiti with the earthquakes and everything else, I thought it would be interesting to read. It was a good read, but it was depressing.

Acquired: Library


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February 4, 2011

Book Blog Hop/ Follow Friday #1

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Yay, I believe this is my first blog hop and follow friday for the year. I will most likely do this every other week until graduation when I can switch to doing it every week. Can you believe I have only 4 weeks left!? I feel like I'm going to faint. At any rate, on to the blog hop and follow friday questions!

Book Blogger HopWhat are you reading now and why are your reading it? 

I am currently reading What You Have Left by Will Allison because my thesis advisor recommended it. I find myself not being able to tear myself away from it, even though I have to sleep and hopefully go to work tomorrow. I'm finding myself working this book around my schedule, figuring if I can finish the book now, I can go to sleep after work before my meeting at 3. It's very rare that a book can do that for me, especially this type of book which is more literary than action. I find myself invested with thses characters and I'm curious to see where it goes. I'm also going to start reading Bhangra Babes by Narinder Dhami, and possibly start listening to Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld at some point. We'll see.




What is the book you are currently 'pushing'?

I'm always pushing people towards The Hunger Games, but it usually depends on the people who ask me for book recommendations. For contemporary reads, I typically recommend John Green, Maureen Johnson, and most recently Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. For darker edgier reads, I'd recommend Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steven Chobsky, and the Hate List and anything by Ellen Hopkins. For PoC, I definitely recommend The Girl Who Fell From The Sky by Heidi Durrow and Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez, and Highwire Moon by Susan Straight. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a fantasy, YA or Adult, that has completely wowed me recently, so I can't really push anything moreso than say I didn't enjoy it, but maybe you will.books in this category include Graceling and if people haven't read it yet, The Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce (which wowed me at the time I read it)

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