It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? (2)

Last Week’s Reads:

Reviews Posted in the Last Week:

This Week’s Reads:

  • The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larrson
  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  • If I Stay by Gayle Forman
  • October Mourning by Leslea Newman

Well, as you can see the two books that I was reading last week… I am still reading. I’m only about 250 pages into The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and the storyline is picking up some more. I am struggling with The Raven Boys, I’m almost halfway through and wish I was flying through it, but for some reason that is just not happening… And If I Stay I started during the read-a-thon, I’m about halfway through. And it’s amazing.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila over at Book Journey

Crank by Ellen Hopkins

Crank is a young adult novel written in verse by Ellen Hopkins. I was hoping to have read and reviewed this back during Banned Books week, but I just wasn’t able to get around to it. But, during the Read-a-thon on October 13th, I was able to get this in.

As I mentioned, it is written in verse. It is about Kristina, a good-girl high school student. Kristina hasn’t seen her father since she was seven years old, and ends up going to visit him in New Mexico. It is while she is visiting her father that she is introduced to “the monster”, crystal meth, also known as “crank”. I absolutely detested her father, he is the King of all deadbeats. Definitely not a role model in Kristina’s life. It is during this visit that Kristina’s life begins to lose control, and she is introduced to Bree. Bree is her alter ego. Her sexy, unafraid– and yet, terribly addicted self.

I have only read one other novel written by Hopkins, and I thought that she dealt with the deeper issues beautifully in both. I think that it is important in this day and age to have novels like this– that deal with the ugliness in truth. Kids are talked at throughout middle and high school about drugs. Stay away from drugs. X, Y, and Z will happen if you use them. I feel like Crank can absolutely be an ally to parents, because it shows that it can turn a good kid bad. It shows you the downward spiral that your life will ultimately go in if you use drugs, and become addicted. You can lose your sense of judgement. You will lose yourself.

I will be going back to read the rest of Hopkins books because I feel that there is a message to be taken away from them. Something meaningful. I have never experimented with drugs in my life, and I was able to take something away. I think that all teenagers should have to read her novels. Because they deal with real issues… and I think they absolutely have the ability to save someone’s life.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

So, I’ve read the blurb about Anna and the French Kiss numerous times, it sounded like it might be good… but it never struck me as being a must-read. I’d almost written off sitting down to read it, and then I kept getting these recs from some awesome bloggers out there, specifically Brittany from The Book Addicts Guide.. I need to say THANK YOU. I am so glad I did not write off this book.

The premise of Anna and the French Kiss is about a seventeen year old named Anna Oliphant, or “banana elephant” as she is called by her best friend, Bridge. Anna’s mother is a teacher, while her father is a novelist who writes cheesy and tragic love stories, written with the intent of being made into movies. And her father is all about impressing his friends in New York, so that is why he makes the decision to send Anna off to boarding school, for her senior year… in Paris.

Here is everything I know about France: Madeline and Amelie and Moulin Rouge. The Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, although I have no idea what the function of either actually is. Napoleon, Marie Antionette, and a lot of kings named Louis. I’m not sure what they did either, but I think it has something to do with the French Revolution, which has something to do with Bastille Day. The art museum is called the Louvre and it’s shaped like a pyramid and the Mona Lisa lives there along with the statue of a woman missing her arms. And there are cafes or bistros or whatever they call them on every street corner. And mimes. The food is supposed to be good, and the people drink a lot of wine and smoke a lot of cigarettes.

I hear they don’t like Americans, and they don’t like white sneakers.

Anna is less than thrilled about being shipped off to a boarding school in Paris, instead of spending her senior year with her best friend, Bridgette and the boy that she is crushing on back in Atlanta. She doesn’t know the language, as she has spent the last three years studying Spanish. She is afraid of travelling to Paris, when she hasn’t really ever traveled before. How will she survive without knowing the language and without the familiarity of home?

I must tell you. I love Anna. She is unique, and witty, and imperfect,  a blogger,  self-conscious at times, and just… a breath of fresh air. Reading the story from her point-of-view was so easy. I read the entire book in about four hours. I definitely felt that I could relate to her, even though I’ve never been to Paris. Maybe because I’d never been to Paris or traveled much. I could relate to that fear of not knowing how to survive in a foreign place– things as simple as going to the grocery store, the movie theatre, or taking the train.

Luckily, Anna is not completely alone. It is at SOAP (School of America in Paris) that she is introduced to a cast of characters… they are easy to remember, as her senior class only has a sum of twenty-five students. She is forced out of her comfortable little shell, her dorm room at SOAP and with the help of her friends, begins to actually experience Paris. Experience life.

Oh, did I forget to mention Etienne St. Clair? He is a English/Parisian raised American with a swoon-worthy accent. Now, I don’t know about you, but the sound of an English accent makes me swoon! But it wasn’t just his accent, it is Etienne’s (or, as he is more commonly called, St. Clair’s) whole being that draws Anna to him. He is intelligent, and teasing, and thoughtful. They start off as friends, and it is obvious where the story is leading… but there is one thing that is a major road block. Etienne’s girlfriend, Ellie.

This story was a wonderful and light read. It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows- but all in all it was a really great feel-good book.This is a book that I will be buying to add to my favorite YA Contemps. If you are like me: stop hesitating, and read this book. I don’t think that you’ll regret it!

My Read-a-thon in Review

So, yesterday was my first official read-a-thon. And let me tell you, what a wonderful and awesome experience it was. Seriously, what is better than devoting 24 hours to reading, spending time with the book blogging community, and eating snacks? I really don’t have a negative thing to say about it. Well, other than I went to bed at 2 am and was hoping to be up by six to spend the last two hours reading again. Well. My eyes refused, and I woke up at 8:25. But I’m okay with that!

End of Event Meme

  1. Which hour was most daunting for you? 1 am, which was hour 18 for me. I stuck it out til hour 19, and am proud of myself as I had no naps, and had quite a horrible night’s sleep Friday night.
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? I definitely think that Ellen Hopkins verse novels would be a great choice. They are long, but read fast. And if you like YA: I did not want to put down Anna and the French Kiss, ya’ll.
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? I think it was done phenomenally!
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? The mini-challenges were fun, though I didn’t get to do all of them. And the cheerleaders were fantastic!
  5. How many books did you read? From start to finish, I read four different books. And I dabbled in two others.
  6. What were the names of the books you read? If You come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, and Crank by Ellen Hopkins
  7. Which book did you enjoy most? Anna and the French Kiss
  8. Which did you enjoy least? I would say Streetcar– not that I didn’t enjoy it, but I think for a short book, it took me a while to read. And I think I just enjoyed the other books more.
  9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? n/a
  10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? I would love to participate again, I am sure I’ll be back in April as a reader. I lurked on Twitter, maybe more than I should have and may have squeezed another book in.

Total pages read: 1293 pages

Titles of all books read since I started:

Books I completed:

Books I started:

 

  • If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson If You Come Softly was a re-read for me, something that I read back when I was in high school. It was a meaninful book to me then, and it still is now. I definitely enjoyed it as much as the first time, and will be reviewing it soon. Definitely a tear-jerker.
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins This was the second book that I read, and one that I knew I wanted to squeeze in. I had heard such amazing reads. I loved Anna. Her character was awesome, and St. Clair? There WILL be a review on this one. It is such a wonderful YA Contemp.
  • A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams This was a short classic play, only about 141 pages. I thought that I would fly through it, but it took me longer than I expected. I was a bit tired at this point… but I did enjoy it. This is a re-read from about five years ago. STELLA!
  • Crank by Ellen Hopkins This was my second verse novel by Ellen Hopkins, and it was well written. Her novels read pretty quickly, and generally are dabbled immersed in serious issues. 
  • If I Stay by Gayle Forman I wish that I had started this earlier in the read-a-thon, because I know I would have finished it. I didn’t start it until after 1 am, and I was struggling to see straight. I only got about 30 pages in, but maybe I’ll read it for a while today (instead of writing the reviews that I should be working on….)

 Did you compete? How was your read-a-thon? Have you read any of the books that I read, and what did you think of them? Well… I’m off to maybe do something productive.

Read-a-thon Update # 5

Wow! 1:25 am already…

Pages read since last update: 537 pages

Titles of book(s) read since last update: Crank

Running total of pages read since I started:  1235 pages… wowza! Didn’t expect that — but the Ellen Hopkins book was in verse 😉

Titles of all books read since I started:

  • If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
  • A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
  • Crank by Ellen Hopkins

Amount of time spent reading since last update: 3 hours and 30 minutes

Total amount of time spent reading since I started:12 hours and 45 minutes

Other participants I’ve visited: 

Currently Reading 

Read-a-thon… Halfway Home!

Hard to believe that it’s been over 12 hours already! Here are my answers to the mid-thon survey:

Mid-Event Survey

1) How are you doing? Sleepy? Are your eyes tired? My eyes are getting a bit sleepy! I haven’t had a nap yet, but did get another iced coffee. We’ll see how much it helps!
2) What have you finished reading? So far I have read If You Come Softly, Anna and the French Kiss, and A Streetcar Named Desire
3) What is your favorite read so far? I have always loved If You Come Softly… but I think my favorite would have to be Anna and the French Kiss!
4) What about your favorite snacks? Iced coffee… and the raisinets!
5) Have you found any new blogs through the readathon? If so, give them some love!

Total pages read so far: 695 pages!

Currently Reading

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Read-a-thon Update # 4

Thank you for all of the wonderful support so far. This is my first read-a-thon and it’s been a wonderful experience!

Pages read since last update: 121 pages

Titles of book(s) read since last update: Anna and the French Kiss– what a wonderful YA Contemp!

Running total of pages read since I started:553 pages

Titles of all books read since I started:

  • If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Amount of time spent reading since last update: 1 hours and 45 minutes

Total amount of time spent reading since I started:7 hours and fifteen minutes

Other participants I’ve visited: 

Currently Reading