Archive | July, 2013

What I’m Reading

24 Jul

 

 

 

Reading is still my favorite hobby and way to spend free time (or even non-free time) — it’s such a magical escape. Here’s yet another overdue recap…

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  • That Summer (Amazon) / Someone Like You (Amazon) / Keeping the Moon (Amazon) / Dreamland (Amazon) / This Lullaby (Amazon) / The Truth About Forever (Amazon) / Just Listen (Amazon) / The Moon and More (Amazon) (Sarah Dessen) – I think I’ve read half of these before, but I couldn’t remember all the nuances and details of each story, so I read them all again. I also hadn’t realized how Dessen adds subtle hints and throwbacks to characters in earlier novels, so I intentionally looked for them and loved it. In an interview she mentioned that she started doing it as a response to reader requests for sequels, without actually writing sequels. They’re all enjoyable, poignant, and so truly capture that hope and intensity of what life feels like it holds in high school. I remember one of her novels making me straight up cry my eyes out and despite my reputation as a sap, it was the first book that had ever truly made me cry.
  • Code Name Verity (Amazon) (Elizabeth Wein) – Picked it up at Elliot Bay Books on our trip to Seattle. Was a little wary at first because it was historical fiction and definitely not the typical romantic/dystopian/fantasy book I had been reading, but it is VERY clever. So clever. Once I started to catch on to some of what the author was doing, I would flip back and forth to figure out how earlier I should have caught on (or possibly couldn’t have…). SO clever.
  • Graceling (Amazon) / Fire (Amazon) / Bitterblue (Amazon) (Kristen Cashore) – I also bought GRACELING at Elliot Bay Books in Seattle because I had seen it mentioned in a number of author interviews where they heralded it as one of the first fantasy novels/trilogies with a strong female character, etc. Then, as I read it in our hotel room, I realized I had TOTALLY read it before! Doh. But, I loved it before and then loved it again. So much so that I looked for one of the two “sequels” at the next used bookstore we visited and found BITTERBLUE at Magus Books near U Washington, then requested FIRE from the library. FIRE is a “companion” with different characters from GRACELING, but BITTERBLUE is more of a sequel that ties all 3 together. Excellent, excellent books that I’m happy to own.

I’ve been picking up a handful of non-YA (aka grown-up) books here and there, mostly titles that are super popular or that I see recommended highly by someone whose opinion I trust. But, I’m rarely moved by them and it usually reinforces the fact that I’m a YA reader through and through.

  • Revenge Wears Prada (Amazon) (Laura Weisberger) – The original was hilarious and while I thought it wasn’t bad, it didn’t have the same kick to it… and I didn’t really love the ending. A fun summer chick-lit read, but nothing more.
  • What Alice Forgot (Amazon) (Liane Moriarty) – I actually almost stopped reading because it was really slow for me in the beginning (it’s a pretty lengthy book considering how little actually happens in it) but unlike the book above, I loved how everything got resolved — both realistic (well, as realistic as it can be given the premise of the book) and heartwarming.
  • Truth in Advertising (Amazon) (John Kenny) – Did not love. Liked some of the funny references to clients and the ridiculousness of marketing and behind-the-scenes agency life, but too… real? IDK.
  • Attachments (Amazon) (Rainbow Rowell) – Rainbow wrote one of my favorite books of all time: ELEANOR & PARK. This was her first book and really unique in a lot of ways, like the hero and the writing style/format. I also love that the character named Beth is short for Bethany (or so Rainbow told me on Twitter!).
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (Amazon) (Mindy Kaling) – Hilarious. I loved the format (random chapters on a variety of topics) and I love how real it is. So much of THE MINDY SHOW reminds me of this book and she is a character!

More to come! Books for all!

What I’m Reading

12 Jul

Massive update. I’ve been reading a ton and updating on Goodreads, but now it’s time for blog updates!

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  • Beautiful Creatures (Amazon) (Kami Garcia) – BEAUTIFUL CREATURES is the first book in a series that is extremely popular among fans of TWILIGHT and has its own cult following (and a movie that came out recently). But, somehow it fell flat for me. Finished it, but have no desire to read the next few books. Sometimes it’s secretly a relief when this happens because it means I can read something else instead.
  • Abandon (Amazon) / Underworld (Amazon) (Meg Cabot) – I loved THE PRINCESS DIARIES and thought I would like hermore paranormal/fantasy-esque series, but I didn’t. I forced myself to finish the first book, skimmed through the second, and have no desire to read the third. It’s sometimes surprising when books don’t appeal to me because I think I’m pretty easy to please… but nope! Learn something new every day.
  • The Raven Boys (Amazon) (Maggie Stiefvater) – This is a paranormal series that I did like, though I’m finding that I tend to have a harder time with certain kinds of paranormal… I know, I know. Really compelling male friendships (a breath of fresh air after all the love triangles and super romance-centered stories) and a lot of twists and turns in the plot. Looking forward to THE DREAM THIEVES — book #2 (of 3, I assume).

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  • Every Day (Amazon) (David Levithan) – David Levithan’s an author I hear a lot about, but this was the first of his I’ve read. Super intriguing concept (main character wakes up in a new body every day) and I thought it was really carefully plotted out. Didn’t love some of the messages, though, but I think he’s known to weave deeper issues into his stories.
  • The Selection (Amazon) / The Elite (Amazon) (Kiera Cass) – Okay, I know these are super fluffy princess novels that weave together Cinderella and some kind of YA-fiction-friendly edition of The Bachelor but seriously? So fun! I don’t love how they “rebels” and the political machinations are emerging — I want my fluff to be fluff — so it’ll be interesting to see how she wraps it all up next year with THE ONE.
  • The Mortal Instruments series – City of Bones (Amazon) / City of Ashes (Amazon) / City of Glass (Amazon) / City of Fallen Angels (Amazon) / City of Lost Souls (Amazon) (Cassandra Clare) – I read a LOT of Cassandra Clare over the past few weeks. Like BEAUTIFUL CREATURES, I was late to the party on this series, which has 5/6 books published and at least 3 other trilogies/series branching out of it, plus a movie coming out in August. Thankfully, unlike the aforementioned other series, I DID like The Mortal Instruments! While the different worlds colliding was a bit of a headache to keep track of, you can tell that the author really lives in this other world(s) and has a strong sense of where she’s taking you. Despite some interesting rumors of plagiarism and online drama, I thoroughly enjoyed these 5 books and promptly picked up… (drumroll)
  • The Infernal Devices series – Clockwork Angel (Amazon) / Clockwork Prince (Amazon) / Clockwork Princess (Amazon) (Cassandra Clare) – The Infernal Devices take place in the same “world” as The Mortal Instruments, but centuries earlier. It’s really clever because her next two planned trilogies take place between these two (chronologically) and then another is set in 2012 (in LA!) as a follow-up, with new main characters, etc. I can only imagine how many more books there will be, but I would say I’m probably going to read them all, if they’re anything like these!
  • A Certain Slant of Light (Amazon) / Under the Light (Amazon) (Laura Whitcomb) – A dud, unfortunately. Another example of paranormal stories that just didn’t do it for me… maybe it’s something about ghosts?

PHEW. There’s actually more… but I’m pooped. Next post.

What Happened in June 2013

11 Jul

I made the mistake of putting off this post and we’re already in the full swing of July. Here’s to what I can remember!

  • New Years Resolutions Update: I still haven’t finished OMNIVORE’S DILEMMA, but, I read a good 30+ other books (primarily YA). I completely failed at trying a new recipe & Yelp-ing has been completely replaced by inhaling books. Still flossing almost daily, still doggedly avoiding fast food & not a sip of soda. It’s only halfway through the year… and astounded by how hard it is to establish good habits and make them last a YEAR. Maybe that’s good rationale for picking a few of them–maybe at least one will stick.
  • As mentioned above, still reading a LOT. Regularly visiting the library, following some of my favorite authors on Twitter (the Internet has totally revolutionized book marketing…), updating/scouring Goodreads for books, and reading. Lots of reading. I hope I’m not ruining my eyes…
  • Semi/almost-triannual haircut at Etude Lounge — I only trust Koreans with my hair.
  • Celebrated D + S’s wedding in Anaheim Hills — one of B’s best friends and a sweet reunion of friends.
  • Lots of family gatherings for Father’s Day (the usual) — really liked (and overate) at a restaurant front of a catering company in Orange. Super recommend.
  • Another visit to the endocrinologist, which led to a visit with a dietitian. Was advised to watch my carb intake (did you know grapes and melons have a LOT of carbs?!) and return for more visits in a few months. Joy.
  • Made a midweek trek down to the OC for my stepbrother A’s high school graduation. A tiny bit nostalgic, but otherwise celebratory and excited for him and what is to come.
  • Made a semi-regular trek out to Oak Tree to please B 🙂
  • Summer movie season continues with Man of Steel… I actually liked it! Slower, more emotional, but I felt like it was building a lot of the story and characters in preparation for what will inevitably be a trilogy.
  • And wrapped up the month with a seriously epic Beyonce concert @ the Staples Center with J. My phone died early so I didn’t get a ton of pictures… but it was very artistic, LOTS of multimedia, a ridiculous amount of crazy lighting, and super fun. Expensive, though, so maybe once in a lifetime!
  • Spent a lot of time researching and planning for our big trip to Seattle!
    • Extended a layover in NorCal to indulge our nostalgia. Driving through Berkeley was a trip because so much has changed even in a few years. Spent the afternoon catching up and talking shop with a couple wedding photographer friends (Mark Kuroda, Jerry & Ingrid), then hopped on a plane to Seattle. Probably too much for this recap–another post, maybe.
  • Discovered and now a huge fan of DogVacay — basically like Airbnb — where you can find people who are willing to “host” your dog while you travel, an alternative to kennels or dog hotels. Bella gets easily anxious and I think she prefers the company of people to more dogs, so it worked out really, really well for us.

Happy Summer!