Friday Finds #21 – January 30th

fridayfinds

FRIDAY FINDS is originally featured at Should Be Reading and showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during, in this case, the last three weeks and have added to my neverending TBR list on Goodreads. I’ve been away on vacation and I admit I haven’t had that much time to browse for new books… Plus, I’m technically on a book buying ban so that doesn’t help either. 😉  I still found some interesting titles though, but before I continue first some happy kitty news! My cat Jazmin turned out to be pregnant AGAIN and two days ago four lovely kittens were born! ❤ The funny thing is that she’s all white and the four kittens all have different colors… I’m considering keeping the black one if it’s a male; the tip of its tail is white, too cute! 😀

gatitos2

On to my finds:

ffjan30

BOOK REVIEW: Paper Towns – by John Green

brpapertowns

Title: Paper Towns
Author: John Green
Genre: YA, Fiction, Contemporary
First published: October 1st 2008
Finished reading: January 22nd 2015
Pages: 305
Rating 3,5

“It is so hard to leave—until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.”

myrambles1review

Paper Towns is my third John Green read in less than a year, and I think it is about time to ‘de-Green’ and put his other titles on my TBR pile on hold for now. Don’t get me wrong; I have enjoyed both The Fault In Our Stars and Looking For Alaska previously and now Paper Towns as well. But I have no other choice than agreeing with those who say there are many similarities between his books. I’m not saying that is necessarily a bad thing, but it does kinda lead to a John Green overdose. Like when you eat so many homemade brownies you actually feel sick… And I do love brownies. No doubt the way John Green is able to write teenage dialogue is simply brilliant. I didn’t necessarily like the main characters, but their personalities and the way they interacted just worked. The literary quotes were a nice touch and I’m definitely going to check out the work of Walt Whitman in the future. In short: the prose is interesting, the dialogue brilliant and while the characters are not exactly likeable, you want to continue reading anyway.

shortsummary1review

Quentin Jacobsen and Margo Roth Spiegelman had two things in common: they are neighbors and they discovered the body of a man who committed suicide when they were younger. They used to be friends, but that didn’t last through high school. As they are about to graduate, she suddenly appears at his bedroom window one night. Dressed like a ninja, Margo tells Quentin she has chosen him as the get-away driver in a series of well-planned revenge attacks on some of her friends and former-boyfriend. Quentin has no other option than follow her, and he ends up having the night of his life.

The next day Quentin discovers Margo is not at school. It is not the first time she disappears for a few days so they don’t think too much of it. But when she doesn’t show up for quite a few days, Quentin starts to worry. He finds out that Margo left some clues behind that can possibly lead to her hiding place, but they are not that easy to understand… And while others give up and try to move on with their life, Quentin doesn’t stop looking. Will he be able to understand the clues and Margo herself for that matter?

finalthoughtsreview

The teenage dialogue is hands down the best part of Paper Towns. The way the different characters interact is simply brilliant and at times even hilarious. John Green is able to mix humor with more serious messages and poetry without it becoming boring, which is a gift. I wasn’t able to connect to all the characters, but I think in this case the rest of the book makes up for it. Paper Towns is definitely recommended, but if you have read other books by him in the near past it might be better to wait a bit before reading this one. Maybe just before the movie comes out in June?

BOOK REVIEW: Gone Girl – by Gillian Flynn

brgonegirl

Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
First published: 2012
Finished reading: January 12th 2015
Pages: 422
Rating 3,5

“There’s something disturbing about recalling a warm memory and feeling utterly cold.”

myrambles1review

It sure took me ages to finally pick up my copy of Gone Girl. There has been such a hype around this novel by Gillian Flynn that I was afraid it wouldn’t live up to expectations. And now I’ve finally managed to read and finish it, I’m not sure what to think of it. While the story is actually very well written, I was still able to absolutely dislike each and every main character by the end of the book. Which in general is the very sign of hating the book as well. But in the case of Gone Girl, it’s not that simple. The fast pace and the fact that Flynn keeps dropping plot twist bombs like it’s WWIII just makes it impossible to stop reading. This book seriously messed with my head; I’m still in the process of figuring out whether that is a good thing, but I cannot deny it sure is one heck of an entertaining read. The swearing is too much for my taste and I didn’t like the ending, but Gone Girl is without doubt worth reading anyway.

shortsummary1review

Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary is not starting the way it was planned… Or at least it seems that way. The couple had to move back to Nick’s hometown in Missouri after losing their jobs back in New York, and Amy has a hard time fitting in. Nick has some issues of his own, and while he was able to open his own bar with his sister Go, he is not exactly happy. Both have changed a lot since they first met seven years ago and their marriage is not the way it was. Amy is trying to revive their marriage by preparing the yearly treasurehunt for her husband, but she never gets to see his reaction… Because on the morning of their anniversary, she suddenly disappears and their now empty house shows signs of violence.

Soon Nick is the main suspect, as according to the police the husband usually ends up being the bad guy. It doesn’t help that Nick is acting strange and doesn’t seem to have an alibi during the hours his beautiful wife supposedly went missing… Amy’s parents fly over from New York and while they initially believe in his innocence, sooner or later they start to doubt Nick. What is Nick hiding with his series of lies and inappropriate behavior? Is he really a killer? And is Amy the perfect daughter and wife she seems to be?

finalthoughtsreview

I decided to keep the summary short to avoid spoiling the fun of the enormous amount of plot twists Gillian Flynn has used in her novel. What I can say is that both Nick and Amy are definitely twisted and on the border of being serious nutcases. Does it show that I didn’t like their characters, nor her parents or Nick’s sister Go? Well, at least the story was highly entertaining… Gone Girl is without doubt a pageturner. Even though I had some problems with this novel, I still think it is worth your time in case you haven’t read it yet. Just make sure you are ready for a crazy and bumpy ride and don’t forget to prepare some popcorn before you start reading!

WWW Wednesdays #24 – January 28th

wwwwednesdays Originally featured at Should Be Reading and now hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words, WWW WEDNESDAYS is still about answering the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?

andthemountainsechoedtuckerpeakI started Khaled Hosseini‘s newest novel And The Mountains Echoed the other day. This novel has been on my Goodreads list for ages and I thought it was about time to finally tackle it. I’ve had great experiences with his previous work and so far And The Mountains Echoed is living up to expectations. I’m also in the middle of Tucker Peak by Archer Mayor, a crime paperback that has been on my TBR shelf for too long… I’m about halfway done and so far it is ok. The pace is a bit slow and I don’t really like the characters, but is is good enough to continue reading.

  • What did you recently finish reading?

????????????????????????thehundredyearoldmanwhoclimbedoutofthewindowanddisappearedI have been away on vacation and I didn’t manage to read that many books, but I was still able to finish both Paper Towns by John Green and The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson. While the prose and teenage dialogues in Paper Towns were great as usual, I wasn’t really able to connect to the characters. Also, I can fully understand the those who say that there are way too many similarities between the various books that John Green has written… I think I will take some time to ‘de-Green’ and put his other novels on hold for now. The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared was simply brilliant and I have a feeling it will appear on my favorite 2015 reads list in the future…

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

underdarkskiesthesecretgardenI’m not sure yet, but it will probably be Under Dark Skies by A.J. Scudiere, a forensic mystery novel I have received for review and I’m looking forward to be reading. Either that one or The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett; the outcome of my latest attempt of using the TBR jar… I know I will read this classic at some point this year because it’s also part of the two TBR reading challenges I’m participating in, but I’m not sure if I’m in the mood to read it right now. Who knows?

Teaser Tuesdays #27 – January 27th: And The Mountains Echoed

teasertuesdays

TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme originally featured at Should Be Reading. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

I decided to finally tackle the book that has been on my Goodreads TBR list the longest: And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. I don’t know why this title has been number one on my virtual TBR pile for so long, especially since I loved his previous work (The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns) And although they say that And The Mountains Echoed cannot be compared to those two titles, I’m having high hopes for this one.

andthemountainsechoed“They say, Find a purpose in your life and live it. But, sometimes, it is only after you have lived that you recognize your life had a purpose, and likely one you never had in mind. And now that I had fulfulled mine, I felt aimless and adrift.”

 

What are you reading right now?

Best 2014 Reads

best2014reads

I’m baaaaack! Summer vacation has ended and it’s about time to go back to book blogging. 😀 And what better start than picking my favorite 2014 reads?! I know it’s almost February and there are way too many best-of lists out there already… But I figured it is still January and adding just one more list to the mix would hurt. 😉

I’ve decided to pick my favorite reads every month instead of doing a top 10, because I realized the second option would be waaay to difficult. Even now I will probably cheat and mention various books every month. It’s just so hard to pick only one favorite when there are so many awesome books out there!

# January 2014 #

animal farmWithout doubt my favorite read last January was Animal Farm by George Orwell. I’m glad I finally came around reading this classic. Orwell wrote Animal Farm as a satire questioning the philosophy of Stalin in the Soviet Union, and it is definitely worth reading if you haven’t. A little advice: the book is enjoyed and understood best if you have some knowledge about recent Russian history.oneflewoverthecuckoosnest

A honorable mention this month for One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey. Another read I thoroughly enjoyed. Go Chief Bromden! The movie version with Jack Nicholson is awesome as well.

# February 2014 #

tokillamockingbirdI guess I was reading quite a few (modern) classics last year, because my February pick is To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Somehow I never came around reading this one before, and now I did I completely understand why it is considered a classic. The novel questions racism and shows us the discrimination, inequality and injustice affecting the colored inhabitants of Maycomb and the way they react to them. Recommended!schindlerslist

This month the honorable mention goes to Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres and I’m always interested in reading more about WWI and WWII. This novel about how Schindler saved a lot of Jews during the war is impressing, although I must admit I enjoyed the movie even better. (Which is rare in my case).

# March 2014 #

pianistLike I said before, I enjoy reading historical fiction and memoirs. The Pianist by Wladyslaw Szpilman is no exception. It is a very impressive memoir about how Szpilman was able to survive the Holocaust against all odds. The prose is brilliant and the story will leave you speechless. Don’t forget to watch the movie version directed by Roman Polanski if you haven’t; it is just as powerful as the novel!beforeigotosleep

Another interesting read this month was Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson, a story about a woman who tries to get her memories and life back after suffering from amnesia. It’s written from her point of view and that is what makes this novel so interesting!

# April 2014 #

April was a slow reading month with few titles and no books worth mentioning… The highest rating being ‘only’ three stars.

# May 2014 #

roadIn May my favorite read was The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I’m glad I picked up this book anyway after having a negative experience with McCarthy‘s other book No Country For Old Men, because The Road is without doubt a powerful read. It is a story about a father and a boy, making there way down south in a post apocalyptic world; a story about determination, survival and the love of a father for his son.american

American Gods by Neil Gaiman came in close second this month. It was my first experience with Gaiman‘s work and definitely not the last! I enjoy his writing style and stories in general, and I have several titles still on my TBR list still waiting for me.

# June 2014 #

atonementJune was an interesting month with various titles worth mentioning. If I would have to pick one favorite, Atonement by Ian McEwan would be winning. Although the first part of the book was a bit slow, the other parts definitely made up for it. Plus, it is partly set during WWII, which always manages to grab my attention.fault

Honorable mentions this month both for The Boy In The Striped Pajamas by James Boyne and The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. The first is a heartbreaking story about the terrible events during WWII and seen through the eyes of a small German boy. The second I don’t think needs further introduction. 😉

# July 2014 #

1984Aaaaarghhh! I was lucky enough to read so many amazing books last July… And no way I can choose a favorite between 1984 by George Orwell, Shadow And Bone by Leigh Bardugo and The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. So I’m going to cheat and name all three. Ha. Or tecnically I’m not really cheating since they all belong to different genres…

The first, 1984, is a dystopian classic I’ve had on my TBR list for ages. Now I’ve finally shadowandboneeeread it, 1984 has become one of my favorite dystopian novels ever and Orwell one of my favorite modern classics writers. The story, setting and prose are simply brilliant and this novel is without doubt worth reading.

Shadow And Bone is definitely one of my favorite YA fantasy reads in 2014. There are so many great YA fantasy books and series out there, and I still consider myself a newby when it comes to this genre. But The Grisha series is one of my favorites in 2014, and I HAVE to buy the next two glasscastlebooks in English ASAP. Even though I’m officially on a book buying ban…

The Glass Castle is one of the best memoirs I’ve had the pleasure to read this year, and I loved the honesty and braveness of Jeannette Walls in telling the story of her life. I will be checking out her other novels as well!

# August 2014 #

thenameofthewindWithout doubt my favorite August read was The Name Of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. This book just mindblowing and leaves you wanting for more. I think the only reason I haven’t bought and read The Wise Man’s Fear yet is that I don’t want to be left waiting for ages for the third book… I can handle posponing the second book knowing it is out there, but waiting for an unpublished book? Pure torture.shining

An honorable mention this month goes to The Shining by Stephen King for positively freaking me out and reminding me not to read horror stories alone in bed in the dark. Redrum, redrum… I completely loved it though, without doubt King at his best!

# September 2014 #

thedanceofthespiritsIn September my favorite read was The Dance Of The Spirits by Catherine Aerie. This was actually an ARC sent to me by the author, and I absolutely loved this story about forbidden love set during the Korean war in the 1950s. There is a perfect balance between the historical facts and the fiction, and the prose itself is beautifully written. Recommended!

 

# October 2014 #

elementalrancorhopesrebellionOctober was not one of the best months when it comes to picking books, but I still very much enjoyed these two ARC’s that were sent to me by their respective authors: Elemental Rancor: A Chronicle Of Consequence by Charles Suddeth and Hope’s Rebellion by Jade Varden. The first is a sci-fi novel with a very impressive world building; the second a YA dystopian novel where people are judged according to their hair color.

# November 2014 #

fahrenheit451nothingeverythingnothingNovember was a lot better with a lot of great books! It would have been hard to pick a favorite if it weren’t for Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. This dystopian classic is simply a masterpiece and by far one of my favorite classics ever. Why o why didn’t I read this one before?!

Honorable mentions this month go to both Nothing Everything Nothing by Casia Schreyer and clockworkangelClockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. The first is a very strong novel that literally left me speechless; a story that touches some sensitive themes and contains some colorful language, but it is a definite must read if you want to learn more about virtual bullying and its consequences.  Clockwork Angel is another of my favorite YA Fantasy reads this year. I’ve read the whole prequel trilogy since and it is definitely so much better than the actual The Mortal Instruments series!

# December 2014 #

itskindofafunnystoryThe last month of 2014 I have no choice but pick It’s Kind Of A Funny Story by Ned Vizzini as my favorite read. This novel really stood out from the rest, and its story about teenage suicide and trying to fight depression is truly powerful. It’s a book that leaves its mark, and it is sad to know Vizzini wasn’t able to fight his own mental monsters… May he rest in peace.

eatinganimalsAn honorable mention this month goes to Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. This novel is part memoir part investigation of the US meat industry, and not for those with a weak stomach. Safran Foer doesn’t want to convince you to become a vegetarian nor is it about vegetarianism in general. Eating Animals is all about MEAT. Where it comes from, how the animals a treated and how things have changed over the years.

 

So… Have you read any of these titles or do you want to? Do we share any favorites? Or do you have any suggestions based on my favorite 2014 reads? Feel free to comment! 😀

Summer Vacation!

bigpreview_family-vacation

Here in Argentina it is Summer time now, and the summer vacation has arrived! I will be going to the coast with my hubby tomorrow, to be back anywhere before the 27th. We’re going to a small island where it’s all about going back to nature and enjoying being outdoors, so no WIFI or computer close… Which means It’s All About Books is also going on vacation temporarily. 😀

Like Schwarzenegger once said: I’ll be back! With a Gone Girl book review I’ve just finished today and completely loved. Damn, that book messed with my head; so many plot twist bombs dropping down on me that I just couldn’t stop reading the second half of the book! I’ve also started Paper Towns today, which I will finish depending on the availability of electricity on the island… (It’s an ebook and I don’t know if I will be having power 24/7.) If not, I have some paperbacks lined up to be read as well! 😉

Happy reading and have a great week everyone!

on-vacation