Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’ve Read So Far in 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Today’s theme was:

Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far This Year

NOTE: All book titles are linked to my review of the book except the last two, which are linked to their Goodreads page. Also, each book is followed by my rating; you can check out my rating system to see each rating explained.

The Maze Runner    Love Letters to the Dead    Since You've Been Gone

1. The Maze Runner by James Dashner – 9 (practically perfect)
2. Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira – 9
3. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson – 9

Anna and the French Kiss     Lola and the Boy Next Door     It's Kind of a Funny Story
4. Anna and the French Kiss – 7 (Pretty good) / Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins – 8 (Freaking fantastic)
5. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini – 10 (Perfection)

Gone    The Raven Boys    Attachments
6. Gone by Michael Grant – 8
7. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater – 9
8. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell – 8

And those read before I started my blog (Linked to Goodreads)

The Bling Ring     Will Grayson, Will Grayson

9. The Bling Ring: How a Gang of Fame-Obsessed Teens Ripped Off Hollywood and Shocked the World by Nancy Jo Sales
10. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

 

What are the best books you’ve read this year? Did you participate in TTT? Link me to it in the comments!

Advertisements

Bout of Books – Wrap up!

So I’m sure you noticed this past week I participated in Bout of Books, especially if you follow me on Twitter.

I had a blast! Though I didn’t reach my book goal because I was/still am sick, I thought I did pretty well anyway.

Here’s my wrap-up.

Books I read (these are all linked to my reviews):

  1. Gone by Michael Grant (558 pages)
  2. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson (449 pages)
  3. The Eye of Minds by James Dashner (308 pages)
  4. If I Stay by Gayle Forman (234 pages)
  5. And I read half of The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (I read 212 pages of 408)

I read a total of 1,761 pages! My goal was to read five books and post five reviews. I read 4.5 of 5, so that’s not too shabby. I also posted 4 of 5 reviews.

Challenges I participated in:

  1. Books I’m Looking Forward to
  2. Spell It Out
  3. Rainbow of Books

My goal was participate in at least two challenges, so I definitely met that goal. These challenges were really fun! I loved digging through my bookshelf to find all the colors of the rainbow and to spell out TARDIS with the first letter of titles!

Twitter chats:

I participated in the Saturday Bout of Books challenge on Twitters. I found some new, amazing book blogs/BookTube channels to follow, which is awesome! Here’s my favorite tweet (this was in response to what is your favorite mythical creature):

https://twitter.com/katieyatesbooks/status/467695385721704448

So funny. The Twitter chat was really fun, so I’m definitely glad I participated in it.

The bottom line:

Overall, I had a really great Bout of Books. I was sinusy sick for most of it, which sucked because I had a sinus headache pretty much the whole time I was reading. I’m really glad I participated in the readathon and I can’t wait for the next one! Did you participate in Bout of Books? Link me up to your wrap up post/video so I can see what you read!

 

Book Review: Gone by Michael Grant

I read Gone as my first book for Bout of Books. Keep up with my progress here. You can also follow me on Instagram or Goodreads to check my progress.

Gone

Title: Gone

Author: Michael Grant

Genre: Dystopian, sci-fi, young adult

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Publication Date: June 2008

Paperback: 558

Stand alone or series: Beginning of a series

How did I get this book: Forced into buying it by a friend – not regretting it

 

Let’s start with a brief summary (from the book jacket):

In the blink of an eye. Everyone disappears. GONE.

Except for the young. Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not one single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. Just as suddenly, there are no phones, no internet, no television. No way to get help. And no way to figure out what’s happened.

Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents–unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers–that grow stronger by the day.

It’s a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen, a fight is shaping up. Townies against rich kids. Bullies against the weak. Powerful against powerless. And time is running out: On your birthday, you disappear just like everyone else…

What I thought:

It’s so exciting. I think that’s the best word to describe this book. Like, once the action starts, it’s pretty hard to put it down. Case in point: I read all 558 pages yesterday. It’s full of action, awesome characters, cool powers, and great descriptions. I thought that the development of the powers in some of the kids felt organic, and the reaction that some of the characters had to them was natural and realistic; some of the characters go bad, some distance themselves from those who have the power, and, obviously, some are very scared of them. I also thought that the reaction to this weird event (the adults disappearing and the town being surrounded by a barrier) felt real. The kids go a little crazy at first, loot a bunch of the stores, take what they want and don’t care what happens. But then you’ve got other kids who step up and take charge. I just think if something like this were to actually happen, this is exactly the reaction kids would have had.

Also, the characters are brilliant and super well-developed. I could go on and on about how much I liked or didn’t like certain characters and how ridiculously well-developed they were, but I won’t. Let’s just say that I was seriously impressed with Grant’s ability to develop even the most minor characters. I felt like I actually knew each of them. I do want to focus on a couple though:

  • Sam; he’s our main character. I really appreciated the fact that he was kind of a reluctant hero. He stepped up when he needed to, but he didn’t want to be in the spotlight or be the leader of this group. He reminded me a bit of Katniss in that regard, so that was cool. He also felt pretty mature for a 14 year old, which was odd at first, but then you get to know him and you realize that he is real.
  • Caine; he’s our main antagonist. Holy freaking crap. He’s psycho. I think that Grant wrote him really well. Yes, it was a little far-fetched to have a 14 year old that was this crazy, but I think that the way Grant writes enables the reader to suspend their disbelief perfectly.
  • Lana and Pack Leader; she’s a sort of main character and he’s a freaking coyote that talks. Yeah, you read that right. Not only do some of the humans gain powers, but some animals are mutated as well. Pack Leader is a coyote that can speak English, in a low, gravelly yet high-pitched voice (I could actually hear it in my mind because of Grant’s descriptions). He scared me, so I could totally feel Lana’s fear.
  • A few other characters I thought were cool: Drake (ahhhhh, that thing that happens to him in the end! I visibly reacted to this – my mom had to ask me what was wrong. Such awesome/horrifying descriptions); Quinn (I really felt for him); Astrid (she’s awesome and believable).

Okay, so Grant’s writing isn’t great all the time. There are several passages that were just too simplistic and a little immature. Yet at the same time, the book was super clever and imaginative. The dialogue was on point: humorous, deep, well-done. I will say though that at first when the characters said “brah” I was really annoyed, but then I actually thought it worked. I will assume that the writing will improve throughout the rest of the series.

Also, while the characters were really well-developed, I had a slight problem with the development of the world in which these kids lived. It was a little thin. However, I’m going to assume that this was intentional and will be fixed in subsequent novels in the series.

The book jacket quotes VOYA with saying “If Stephen King had written Lord of the Flies, it might have been a little like this. YES. This.

I definitely want to read the rest of the series, and I look forward to reading the explanation for all that happened to these kids.

The bottom line:

There were a few issues I had with the writing, but overall I seriously enjoyed this book. The characters are so well-done though I had some problems with the world development. Super fantastic book anyway. It has a great plot and is really exciting to read. My heart pounded through all of the action sequences.

Rating: 8 – freaking fantastic

Reading next: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson