Dec 31, 2010

End of 2010 Survey

Jamie over at The Perpetual Page-Turner came up with an End of 2010 Survey, to talk about our reading experience through the year, and I thought it was a great way to end this year!

1. Best Book of 2010

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. Hands down. I love this book, and I love Delirium even more!

2. Worst Book of 2010

I didn't read any book that I'd put under this category. I choose the book I'll read next thanks to my fellow bloggers' reviews, so most of the books I read were very interesting.

3. Most Disappointing Book of 2010

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. I was really hoping to love this book, since every review I read about it gave it five stars. And then I learned that it's now a film, starring Keira Knightly, Andrew Garfield and Carey Mulligan, great actors, so I thought, "Wow, this must be excellent!" But to me, it lacked the WOW factor I look forward to in books. I'll post the full review tomorrow.

4. Most Surprising Book (in a good way!) in 2010

Can't think of any. Granted, I didn't read as many books as I would have wanted this year.

5. Book You Recommended to People Most in 2010

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Most of my friends aren't regular readers like I am, so of course, they had no idea what this book was about. I practically forced some of them to read it, and now they're head over heels in love with it!

6. Best Series Discovered in 2010

I didn't really discover a new series this year. And I only read first in a series, so I couldn't say.

7. Favorite New Authors of 2010

Lauren Oliver, of course, and Courtney Summers. I loved Cracked Up To Be, and will be reading Some Girls Are soon.

8. Most Hilarious Read of 2010


9. Most Thrilling Unputdownable Book of 2010

I think a lot of people will say this, but I have to go with Mockingjay. I bought it as soon as it was out in Argentina (there was a delay in its publication, and I may have written on the publisher's Facebook wall demanding an explanation. Most unprofessional, I know. But I did voice what a lot of my fellow Latin bloggers were thinking, as we had to wait for the book to come from Spain.)

10. Book You Anticipated the Most for 2010

Again, Mockingjay. I already told you I nearly traveled to Buenos Aires to demand the immediate release of the book. But of course, the poor people at the publishing houses weren't to blame, the people in charge of importations were.

11. Favorite Cover of a Book You read in 2010

White Cat by Holly Black has a very enticing cover, that suits the book perfectly!

12. Most Memorable Character in 2010

Katniss Evergreen from The Hunger Games series. I love that character, I think she's one of the best heroines in YA Literature.

13. Most Beautifully Written Book in 2010

This is going to sound contradictory, but this would be Never Let Me Go. Although the book didn't reach me as I was hoping, it still is beautifully written. I loved Ishiguro's writing style, like Kathy, the narrator, was talking to us.

14. Book that had the Greatest Impact on You in 2010

I'm going to sound like a broken record, but I'm going to say, once more, Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. It really made me think about so many things, and made me cry too!

15. Book You Can't Believe You Waited Until 2010 to Finally Read

I know what you're going to say. "Really? You can't be serious." But that'd have to be Vampire Academy. Yep. I knew nothing about this series until this I started blogging, (remember I'm Argentine, and these books are just now getting published here, I think only the first and second are published here and we're waiting for the third.) and then waited a bit more to start reading it. I'm currenly listening to Frostbite, and I plan on reading the whole series in the shortest amount of time possible. I want to know what all the hype is about! But I did love VA, and Frostbite is going great!

This proves I didn't read so many books! According to my Goodreads shelves (I have a read-in-2010 category) I read 34 books, maybe a bit more, as I don't always record what I read on Goodreads. But no more than 40 books, meaning very, very few. And I'm thinking next year I'll have even less time to read, what with starting uni. But I'll still try to read as much, or more, than now!

Anyway, Happy New Year! I'll see you in 2011.

Dec 23, 2010

What I'm reading for the holidays

If you're still here, thank you! I know I've been neglecting the blog, but I just can't finish the books I'm reading because of time issues. And I'm also organising something for the Deliriously Falling blog! You won't want to miss it!

But enough with the excuses! For these holidays, I'm reading:

1. Unearthly, by Cynthia Hand.
About a girl who's half angel and trying to figure out her purpose on Earth.*

2. Lost Voices, by Sarah Porter. 
About a lost girl who seeks refuge among the mermaids, only to discover that they're not as nice as they seem to be.*

3. Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro. (To be finished, I'm listening to the AB, really good!)
About kids who grow up in a boarding house in England, and who are told that they're special. As they become older, they find out just how special they are and for what purpose they were created.

4. Wintergirls, by Laurie Halse Anderson. (To be finished.)
About a girl with eating disorders who's haunted by her best friend's ghost.

These are the ones I'm planning to read for now. But of course, I might read more. I'll be listening to ABs too. I wanna listen to the Vampire Academy ones and see why everyone loves them so much. I've only read the first.
What are you guys reading/are going to read? Did you ask for books to Santa?

I'll see you after the holidays!

*Books I'll be reading for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge.

Dec 10, 2010

In Which I Discover Figment

Thanks to Reggie and Lauren I discovered this awesome site called Figment. It's like Facebook but for writing. You create your profile, upload your work and read what others are writing!

And let me tell you, there are some amazing things on this site. I'm reading the works of Kimberly Karalius, Linna Lee, Lola, Emily Kane (check her out! Her book Soul is awesome.), Reggie, and I'm sure I'll find more cool authors later on.

There's an ongoing contest that ends soon, where you have to write a story including a set of words you're given. Lauren Oliver's a judge, and you can win an ARC of Delirium, how awesome!

Visit my Profile, and read my WIP, Insomnia. Leave a comment here or there, I'd love to know what you guys think of it.

Is any of you a member of Figment? Let me know!

Dec 7, 2010

The "My Best Friend Is More Popular And Prettier Than Me" Syndrome in YA

We see it all the time in YA Lit. MCs' BFFs whose lives seem to be amazing (but that sometimes hide terrible secrets), who have the perfect boyfriends, and are just great girls in general.

The MC would spend several pages wondering why she isn't like her BFF, complaining about her looks, and just accepting that that's all she can do about it.

Well, I say there needs to be a revolution! Main characters -male or female- are MCs for a reason! They've got a story to tell, and I doubt that the story is all about whining about her looks.

Thank goodness there aren't that many books that apply to this rule nowadays.

Take The Hunger Games for example. Katniss is a fierce MC, and the last thing on her mind is her appearance. All she cares about is getting everyone she loves to safety. And just then she stops and thinks about herself. Now that is a strong MC.

However, there are books that are all about this syndrome. And that's not always a bad thing. Perhaps the book is about a girl/boy who's self conscious about her/his appearance (I'm saying his because boys go through these dramas too!), and about how she/he learns to overcome this. And that is great! Depending, of course, on the writing. If the book is about a girl who thinks she's ugly and gradually learns that she truly is beautiful, like everyone in the world, AND the writing is great, showing us how this girl goes through that experience, then awesome. But if the book is about a shallow girl that only cares about looking better than her friends, then I'll toss the book in the bin, and don't look back or regret my decision.

Teens (myself included) want to read books with substance, with meaning and depth, and love, and friendship, and betrayal, and all that means to be a teen. Of course, we also want the light-headed book that'll make us laugh and giggle like crazy when thinking back on it. (We don't want people staring at us when that happens, though. *ahem*)

So, I refuse to fall into this rule. It's always present in my mind when writing, which I'm doing a lot these days.
My MC is strong, she's had a few setbacks, but she'll learn how to bounce back from them, and she'll have her best friend by her side. A best friend who is beautiful in her own way, and who loves her for who and what she is. My MC's name is Cora, and her best friend's Audrey.

What's you opinion on the matter? And what do you think of my characters' names? :P


Dec 5, 2010

Hachiko: A Dog's Story [Film Review]

Hachiko: A Dog's Story on IMDb

Release Date: June 13, 2009
Director: Lasse Hallström
Writers: Stephen P. Lindsey (screenplay), Kaneto Shindô (motion picture "Hachiko monogatari")
Stars: Richard Gere, Joan Allen and Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa

Plot Summary:
In Bedridge, Professor Parker Wilson (Gere) finds an abandoned dog at the train station and takes it home with the intention of returning the animal to its owner. He finds that the dog is an Akita and names it Hachiko. However, nobody claims the dog so his family decides to keep Hachi.
Every day, Hachi walks to the train station with his master, and stays there, waiting for him to return. 
Professor and dog form a very strong bond, so strong that when something happens to Prof. Wilson at his workplace, Hachi still waits for him at the station, not understanding why he isn't coming home.
My Opinion:

You may be wondering, "What is a Film Review doing in a Book Blog?" Well, I couldn't not talk about this, after just having seen it. 

You may have heard of Hachiko's story, or you may not. This is for those of you who haven't:
In 1924, Hidesaburō Ueno, a professor in the agriculture department at the University of Tokyo took in Hachikō as a pet. During his owner's life Hachikō greeted him at the end of the day at the nearby Shibuya Station. The pair continued their daily routine until May 1925, when Professor Ueno did not return. The professor had suffered from a cerebral hemorrhage and died, never returning to the train station where Hachikō was waiting. Every day for the next nine years the golden brown Akita waited at Shibuya station.

Hachikō was given away after his master's death, but he routinely escaped, returning again and again to his old home. Eventually, Hachikō apparently realized that Professor Ueno no longer lived at the house. So he went to look for his master at the train station where he had accompanied him so many times before. Each day, Hachikō waited for the return of his owner.

The permanent fixture at the train station that was Hachikō attracted the attention of other commuters. Many of the people who frequented the Shibuya train station had seen Hachikō and Professor Ueno together each day. They brought Hachikō treats and food to nourish him during his wait.

This continued for nine years with Hachikō appearing precisely when the train was due at the station.

In the end, he got ill, and passed away. His body was found in a street in Shibuya.

I've recently started learning Japanese, I like learning languages, and I thought Japanese would be fun to try. That's how I came upon Hachi's story.

Hachi means "eight" in Japanese, and it's a number of good fortune, or so I read.

When I saw that there was a film about it, I had to see it.
And well, I just did, and I can't stop crying. Hachi's tale is beautiful, it shows us how strong a bond between master and animal can be. Hachi remains loyal to his Professor until the very end.

The film was very good. They respected the dog's real race and his background, not turning the whole thing into a super Americanised version of the real story. The dog was so cute, I wanted to hug him every time he did something funny.
And so beautiful too, a golden dog with a kind face.

What I loved about it was that it goes into Hachi's mind. There were scenes in black and white, showing us what Hachi was seeing. Even if he didn't completely understand what was going on, he had some idea.

Everyone who passed by the station greeted him, and took care of him.

This is a very sad story, so I sugest you watch it with a box of tissues near you.

The ending is so cute, I loved it. Overall, a great film.

Dec 2, 2010

Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1), by Maggie Stiefvater. [Audiobook]

Release Date: August 1st, 2009
Publisher: Scholastic Audio
Age Group: Young Adult
Overall: 5 Monkeys
Source: Borrowed
Interest: Series
Other Titles in the Series: Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #2), Forever (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #3).

Summary from Goodreads:
the cold.
Grace has spent years watching the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—watches back. He feels deeply familiar to her, but she doesn't know why.

the heat.
Sam has lived two lives. As a wolf, he keeps the silent company of the girl he loves. And then, for a short time each year, he is human, never daring to talk to Grace...until now.

the shiver.
For Grace and Sam, love has always been kept at a distance. But once it's spoken, it cannot be denied. Sam must fight to stay human—and Grace must fight to keep him—even if it means taking on the scars of the past, the fragility of the present, and the impossibility of the future.

My Opinion:

Why did I wait this long to read this? Well, hear it. Everyone who's said this book is amazing was right. It has everything a reader wants in a YA book: action, romance, mystery, suspense...

I'm not going to make this long, because I'm sure most of you have read this already.

When Grace was a little girl, she was dragged to the woods by wolves and they attacked her. They bit her. But one of them, a yellow eyed wolf, saved her. And he's been watching her in silence for years. But Grace has been watching too.

So, if they bit her, why isn't she changing with the seasons, like the others?

The pace of the book was perfect, fast, but not rushed. The way Grace and Sam fall in love is the sweetest I've read in a while: the attack on Grace, something terrible, is what brings them together. He saved her, and they've had a connection ever since. How Grace talked about her wolf, Sam, and his yellow eyes, was great. It was very posessive, but it didn't cross the line and made her look crazy. She had all the right to call Sam her wolf.

Jenna did an awesome job narrating Grace's chapters. All of Grace's emotions were transmited perfectly. Same with David, narrating Sam's chapters. Both narrators were excellent.

And Sam, oh, Sam! Why do you have to be so sweet? With your songs about your Summer Girl, and your poems. I want a Sam of my own. Maybe I'll ask one for Christmas.

Dec 1, 2010

I'm featured on Lauren Oliver's Blog!

Last week I blogged on Deliriously Falling about an artwork I made, inspired by Lauren Oliver's upcoming book, Delirium, and emailed her about it. 

She emailed me back a couple of days later. And asked me if she could blog about it on her blog. Of course I said yes. Lauren is one of my favourite authors, along with Isabel Allende and J.K. Rowling.  

I'm dancing in the clouds right now. Thanks Lauren!

Before I Fall is a book you have to read, and Delirium will be one of the most important books in 2011. If not the most important one. Both books deal with so many emotions, they'll leave you dizzy after reading them.
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