Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Book Superlatives- 2015

Well, I know I am very late on this one, but it's finally happening. I am bringing back BOOK SUPERLATIVES. If you didnt already know, this is a series that I started last year, and what I do is look in my yearbook for the year of school I just finished, create a bookish superlative off of the real one, and then pick a book that best fits the superlative. I am going to go over the rules real quick as a refreshed, but I will also link my 2014 post here. As a sign note, this post also means that I've been blogging for over a year. I can't even believe it. It feels like just yesterday I was scared to say fuck, and posted my first post. AAAHHHH MEMORIES. Here are the rules from last year. I don't think I am going to change them at all.


RULES:

  1.  I have to pick books that I have read between the time I did my last superlative post (June 24, 2014), and the time I am making this.
  2. I have to give a brief reason why I chose the book that I did.
  3. I cannot be too serious about this, and neither can you! ;)

Well, lets just get right into this shit:

Best all Around (Objectively the Best Book):
A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
If any of you have been paying attention to me, I have a slight (okay, more than slight) Game of Thrones Obsession, and out of the four of the books that I have read, this is objectively the best book, and this series will obviously get the spot for my favorite book.

Most Likely to Live in the Woods (Most Outdoorsy Character):
In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken
This award goes to Ruby because she has lived outside, and in a car, and in a thousand other uncomfortable places. Ruby basically has my utmost respect when it comes to living outside and knowing (and surviving) the outdoors.

One of a Kind (Most Unique Book):
Carousel by Brendan Ritchie
This is about a bunch of people that get trapped in a mall during the end of the world. It wasn't that the idea was that inventive, but rather the way the author went about it. It wasn't that he had to try very hard to push the idea of the world being dead, it was just kinda there. I appreciated everything about this book, and I fucking hope a second one comes out.

Best to Bring Home to Mom (Book I Recommended the Most): 
This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
I dont recommend books too often, but whenever I'm with someone in the bookstore, and I see this book, I immediately ask if they've read it. Oh, by the way, you should definitely read this book.

Most Athletic (Most Athletic Character, Obviously):
The Inferno by Dante
This fucker walked through hell literally, and he never complained about being tired. Then he fucking walked up purgatory, and then floated through heaven. Dis guy is a true athlete.

Class Saint (Most Godly Book):
The Merciless by Danielle Vega
I'm such an asshole. This book is about an exorcism that turns into torture. But at least the girls were godly. hahahaha

Best Dressed (Best Girl-in-Dress Cover):
The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Just fucking look at this dress. Its stunning. I don't like the dress on book two as much, and also this dress is literally perfect.

Most Artistic (Highest Quality Cover):
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
I appreciate this cover because it means something. It is a symbolic representation of the story, which is more than I can say about most covers nowadays. But let me spell this out for you: a carousel horse (childhood?) that is off its carousel (lost? not a child anymore?) with New York (setting?) in the background. Hmmmmm

Most Spirited (Favorite Fandom):
A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
This is kinda cheating because I've already repped GoT, but this is a different book. I am obviously in  love with GoT, so this was the only choice I could have made for the best fandom.

Class Inseparables (Best Friendship):
Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson 
Birdie, Murphy, and Leeda's friendship is actually perfect. Yes, they have some ups and downs, but throughout this book and this series, I am in love and kinda jealous with the relationship these three girls have. You can truly tell that they love each other.

Class Clown (Funniest Book):
Me Being Me Is Exactly As Insane As You Being You by Todd Hasak-Lowy
First, respect: this book is written 100% in lists. Second, reasoning: this book shows the mind of a 15 year old boy, and it doesn't bother to censor it, so its crazy comical. Third, author: I actually love the author, he's amazing. Last, references: WILCO.

Most Likely to Succeed (Best Indie/Self-Published Book):
The Camelot Kids: Book One by Ben Zackheim
I read this for a blog tour, and didnt expect too much from it, but ti was actually so good. It is a middle grade book, and it has pictures. It has a very good story arc through this book, and I cannot wait for the second book.

Best Looking (Most Aesthetically Pleasing Cover):
In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis
Just look at this shit. The color, and the path, and the mountians. Its fucking beautiful. I don't think a series has better covers than these books.

Most Likely to Host SNL (Book In Need of an Adaptation): 
Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen
This one may come as a surprise for some of you who have seen my review of this one. I hated this book, I fucking gave it one star, but I am mature, and can see that this would be a stunning movie. It wouldn't drag as much as the book did, and the directors could easily play up the pirate talk, and the setting of Neverland could be impeccable. I just want to see this movie!!


And that is all of them. There are a lot less superlatives this year than last year, but I appreciated that haha. 

So what about you? What books would you have put for these superlatives?

You're Gorgeous,
Belle Bash

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Summer CramAThon Wrap Up

I didnt really go into this readathon with many plans. It was more of a "I want to read a lot, so this  give me an excuse to do it." I wasn't really aiming to finish the challenges, but like if it happened, it happened.

So here's what I read and the challenges they fulfilled:

Survive the Night 
by Danielle Vega
Pages Read: 272

Challenges:
Read a hardcover













The Wicked + The Divine: The Faust Act
by Gillen McKelvie and Wilson Cowles
Pages Read: 144

Challenges:
Read a comic book/graphic novel
Read 2 books in 24 hours












Fallout
by Ellen Hopkins
Pages Read: 665

Challenges:
Read a novel in verse
Read a hardcover





Lumberjanes
by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, and Brooke A. Allen
Pages Read: 128

Challenges:
Read a comic book/graphic novel
Read 2 books in 24 hours












And Still We Rise
by Miles Corwin
Pages Read: 25
Raise High the Roof Beams, Carpenters and Seymour an Introduction 
by J.D. Salinger 
Pages Read: 8

The Last Olympian 
by Rick Riordan
Pages Read: 63

















Total Pages Read: 1305

I am actually really happy with this number. Especially since I didnt actually read during the last two days of the readathon. Whoops. 
Well, I completed all the challenges except "read 5 books total" and "read a kids book." I wasn't really planning anything for this readathon, so I didnt really care about the challenges, but I had a fun time. I partook in many sprints, and had a great time reading a lot. 

I cant wait for the BookTube-A-Thon. That will be a good one


 XOXO,
 Belle

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Review of Survive the Night by Danielle Vega

Survive the Night
by Danielle Vega
Standalone
272 Pages
Publisher: Razorbill

We're all gonna die down here. . . .
 
Julie lies dead and disemboweled in a dank, black subway tunnel, red-eyed rats nibbling at her fingers. Her friends think she’s just off with some guy—no one could hear her getting torn apart over the sound of pulsing music.
 
In a tunnel nearby, Casey regrets coming to Survive the Night, the all-night underground rave in the New York City subway. Her best friend Shana talked her into it, even though Casey just got out of rehab. Alone and lost in the dark, creepy tunnels, Casey doesn’t think Survive the Night could get any worse . . .
               
. . . until she comes across Julie’s body, and the party turns deadly.
 
Desperate for help, Casey and her friends find themselves running through the putrid subway system, searching for a way out. But every manhole is sealed shut, and every noise echoes eerily in the dark, reminding them they’re not alone.
 
They’re being hunted.
               
Trapped underground with someone—or something—out to get them, Casey can’t help but listen to her friend’s terrified refrain: “We’re all gonna die down here. . . .” in this bone-chilling sophmore novel by the acclaimed author of The Merciless.






I swear, this author has no remorse in her writing. First, she wrote about torture, and now she writes on a mad dash out of an abandoned subway station. She is just such a good author. I feel like I would read anything that she writes. Anyway, I had no idea this was coming out until I stumbled upon it in Barnes and Noble. Then I bought it, said fuck my TBR list, and read it. It was a pretty good decision on my part.

This was in no way as good as The Merciless, but it was overall, a very well done book. I love the way Danielle Vega describes everything. She is so descriptive and gruesome. She leaves no details out for the sake of our stomachs, and I love it.

The characters in this book, however, were very similar to the ones in her first novel. I am not knocking it because I really like the characters that she chooses to write about, but I feel like she chooses a few normal character tropes and writes about them. In this book, the main character just got out of rehab for drug addiction, and Vega wrote her like I would suspect a recovering addict would act. She was real, in denial, and overall crazy, and I loved it. The thing about main characters in Danielle Vega books is that they are fucked up, but you don't see to what extent until the very end of the book. I loved the "big reveal" in this book; its crazy.

While Casey is the obvious shining star in the novel, the other characters don't disappoint. They are all so fully crafted that I felt something, no matter how little, for every character. I really, really liked the Aya and Woody as characters and as people. I wish I could have someone like Woody in my life.

The one think that didn't really kill it in this book was the explanation. I found it to be too unrealistic, and it just didn't really do it for me. I know that a lot of people would definitely disagree with my assessment, but I was really let down by what was actually going on.

I really wish this book could have been a little bit more gross like The Merciless, but I overall was very satisfied with this read. I cant wait to get to the next Danielle Vega book, when it comes out at least.

The Rating:


XOXO,
Belle

Friday, July 10, 2015

Review of Delicate Monsters by Stephanie Kuehn

Delicate Monsters
by Stephanie Kuehn
Standalone
240 Pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

From the Morris-Award winning author of Charm & Strange, comes a twisted and haunting tale about three teens uncovering dark secrets and even darker truths about themselves.

When nearly killing a classmate gets seventeen-year-old Sadie Su kicked out of her third boarding school in four years, she returns to her family’s California vineyard estate. Here, she’s meant to stay out of trouble. Here, she’s meant to do a lot of things. But it’s hard. She’s bored. And when Sadie’s bored, the only thing she likes is trouble.

Emerson Tate’s a poor boy living in a rich town, with his widowed mother and strange, haunted little brother. All he wants his senior year is to play basketball and make something happen with the girl of his dreams. That’s why Emerson’s not happy Sadie’s back. An old childhood friend, she knows his worst secrets. The things he longs to forget. The things she won’t ever let him.

Haunted is a good word for fifteen-year-old Miles Tate. Miles can see the future, after all. And he knows his vision of tragic violence at his school will come true, because his visions always do. That’s what he tells the new girl in town. The one who listens to him. The one who recognizes the darkness in his past. 

But can Miles stop the violence? Or has the future already been written? Maybe tragedy is his destiny. Maybe it’s all of theirs.





This book was weird as hell, man. It wasn't bad, per say, but it wasn't that good either. I don't know. It was just a very unique book.

It centers around 3 characters that range from creepy to bomb as hell. I didn't at all identify with any of the characters because that was not a thing I was supposed to do since they were all crazy as heck. I did really enjoy the Sadie chapters more than either of the other two perspectives. I felt that the book was more about her than Emerson or Miles, and she was just so much more interesting.

Miles was not necessarily a bad character, but he just wasn't very interesting to read about. Nothing that great happened to him. He was just kind of there. Don't even get me started on Emerson. He is such a sick fuck, but not even that intriguing of a sick fuck. I really wish we could have delved into the mind of Emerson Tate a lot more than we actually did. He was just so twisted and it would have been very cool to be able to see how he thinks, but instead we got very surface level things about him along with a few snippets from his past, and thats it. I honestly would have enjoyed this book much more if we could have seen into the minds of the three main characters a little bit more.

There was one thing that happened a lot throughout this book that made absolutely no sense to me. It was not a plot device, just a recurring detail: driving under the influence. Many characters, both major and minor, would take a few drinks before driving, and no one would freak out, and their driving skills would not be impaired. That is completely unrealistic. Unless you're some heavyweight master, and alcohol has no effect on you until you're three kegs in, you will not be able to drive after drinking. I don't know why this bugged be so much, but it really really irritated me whenever someone would drink and drive.

The overall plot of this book was very choppy. A lot of stuff would go down in a few pages then it would mellow out for thirty pages. Then stuff would happen, then it would mellow out. I'm pretty sure that it was just the fact that I was expecting some big reveal whenever the plot would get good, and it just didn't really happen until the very end of the novel.

I did, however, really like the use of flashbacks. They were very well woven into the story, and it really helped me get a good perspective on what went on in each character's life to get them to the point they were at.

Overall, this was an okay read. I think I would have enjoyed it a bit more if there was more emphasis on the thriller than the psychological.

The Rating:

XOXO,
Belle
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I received this book in exchange for an honest review, and honestly it would be more difficult to make a dishonest review than a truthful one.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Review of The Festival of Insignificance by Milan Kundera

The Festival of Insignificance
by Milan Kundera
Standalone
128 Pages
Publisher: Harper
Purchase Links: Amazon | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble

From the internationally acclaimed, bestselling author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, an unexpected and enchanting novel—the culmination of his life's work.

Casting light on the most serious of problems and at the same time saying not one serious sentence; being fascinated by the reality of the contemporary world and at the same time completely avoiding realism—that’s The Festival of Insignificance. Readers who know Milan Kundera’s earlier books know that the wish to incorporate an element of the “unserious” in a novel is not at all unexpected of him. In Immortality, Goethe and Hemingway stroll through several chapters together talking and laughing. And in Slowness, Vera, the author’s wife, says to her husband: “you’ve often told me you meant to write a book one day that would have not a single serious word in it…I warn you: watch out. Your enemies are lying in wait.”

Now, far from watching out, Kundera is finally and fully realizing his old aesthetic dream in this novel that we could easily view as a summation of his whole work. A strange sort of summation. Strange sort of epilogue. Strange sort of laughter, inspired by our time, which is comical because it has lost all sense of humor. What more can we say? Nothing. Just read.



This book doesn't matter. The entire point of the book was that it was insignificant. It was just a book about people that would never change the world. They would never do things that made them remembered. No one outside of their friends and family care about them. And I loved every word.

There wasn't really much, well, any real characterization in this book, but it just kind of worked. I get mad when there is no character development in a story, like I feel as if i wasted my precious time reading a book when the characters suck. I don't know how he did it, but this book was great. It just kind of went with the theme of insignificance, and because the characters didnt matter, there was no point in developing them.

It was the same thing with the plot. It was very lacking, and it was just a few grown men going about the everyday lives. And that was it. It wasn't even a very interesting night or two. It was just going to a party, some lying and getting drunk. I was enthralled.

And the Stalin storyline just killed me. The author took this Satan-figure, and made him kind of, well, likable. They talked of some kinda important, but not really guy in Soviet Russia who was pawls with Stalin. And he didnt matter, but he had a city named after him, WHAT? Gah! This was just great.

While most authors could not pull off a story like this one, Milan Kundera sure as hell knows how to write a good book, and I really hope that I can read more by him in the future. I really want to know how is previous books compare to this one.

The Rating:





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About the Author

Milan KunderaThe Franco-Czech novelist Milan Kundera was born in Brno and has lived in France, his second homeland, since 1975. He is the author of the novels The Joke, Farewell Waltz, Life Is Elsewhere, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and Immortality, and the short-story collection Laughable Loves—all originally written in Czech. His most recent novels Slowness, Identity, and Ignorance, as well as his nonfiction works The Art of the Novel, Testaments Betrayed, The Curtain, and Encounter, were originally written in French.







XOXO,
Belle

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Tour Stops:
Tuesday, June 23rd: Man of La Book
Wednesday, June 24th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Thursday, June 25th: A Dream Within a Dream
Friday, June 26th: The Year in Books
Monday, June 29th: Raven Haired Girl
Tuesday, June 30th: Charmingly Modern
Thursday, July 2nd: Belle’s Beautiful Books (here!!!)
Tuesday, July 7th: A Bookish Way of Life
Wednesday, July 8th: guiltless reading
Thursday, July 9th: Lit and Life
Monday, July 13th: Jancee Reads
Wednesday, July 15th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Thursday, July 16th: Book Dilettante
Friday, July 17th: she treads softly


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I received this book in exchange for an honest review, and honestly it would be more difficult to make a dishonest review than a truthful one.