of book suggestions & content

With the release of film version of The Hunger Games next month I've been rather excited anytime I see a mention of it anywhere. (For instance, I would have shared a picture on Twitter today of two adverts for it that I saw at 51st while riding the 6. If my car stops in the right place tomorrow I definitely will!) The content of these books are important to me and it's also difficult not to feel something for the characters and their circumstance.

My parents recently took a trip somewhere and I thought it would be the perfect time to offer up my copy of THG for her to read on the plane. A few days later I get a call saying that she's already finished it and is miffed she didn't take my suggestion to bring Catching Fire along as well. (Though she did say she was looking forward to reading it, and the wait just meant she could enjoy them longer. I was so proud.) Since she's gotten back she's finished the entire trilogy and has been discussing Finn and Peeta and Seneca Crane - among others - as if this is a mere re-read. My mom usually doesn't have a lot of time to read, so the fact that she's not only taken the time to read them but that she has read them all is somewhat of a testament to the fact that there is something between the pages of a book for everyone.

We all take something out of it whether it's fascination, seeing something of ourselves, to revulsion or confusion. Even dislike of a book means there's something in it that a person is reacting to. I decided to take advantage of her reading wave and gave to her Neal Shusterman's Unwind to have a go at. If you've been a reader here then you might know that I love this book, though it's a book that's difficult to love. Unwind is not an easy book, but, I think, it's a necessary one. The caveat I gave her before reading it was the same way I think everyone should: do not read the synopsis first; just dive right into it.

She figured it out for herself (though she hasn't read that part yet) and told me that she was absolutely shocked that the book is classified as YA. I disagreed and still do. Unfortunately, I don't see the things described in Unwind as being beyond the capacity of people nor beyond legislation were it scientifically possible. Perhaps I should disclose that I study human rights and sometimes feel like the majority of history that I read with regard to people is horrific enough to be beyond people's imaginations. But it isn't - it's happened. So, though perhaps the scientific ideas in the story are not 100% relatable in the present, is the idea behind it really so futuristic?

Have there been books you've suggested to people that they've either taken to unexpectedly or that they were entirely shocked by and not a fan of? Are there YA books that you love yet still wouldn't give a teenage audience to read? I don't support banning books, but perhaps there's a line here that you would draw that I might not, and so I'm curious.

follow friday (29)

Q: I like unique names for characters and am looking forward to coming up with some when I start writing. What's the most unique character name you've come across?

I suppose I should first start off that I begin to get nervous when 'unique' starts getting paired with 'name' because I have nightmares of of weird letter substitutions or multiple consonants for aesthetic purposes rather than any grammatical or pronunciation reasons. There are other weird instances where characters have quite a mouthful of 'unique names' as a given name and suddenly it's Starrlytte Kheeara Eve and I don't know what to think.

Names that are appropriate to the setting and story of the book are best, for me personally, without sounding too grandiose. That's why the characters in Harry Potter work  - nothing in those books is decided upon without a reason, and JKR did her homework to the last letter - for me but the name Bella Swan gave her kid doesn't. The names Neal Shusterman gave the characters in Bruiser are unusual, but for what's happening in the book they make complete sense and actually help to convey a part of the personality. Same with Alaska Young in Looking For Alaska - she is such an outgoing, vibrant, and slightly untouchable spirit that for her to have a name like Jane Smith would never have worked in the same way.

I guess my point is that I don't look for unique names at all. I just hope the name choice suits the overall environment of the book. :)

waiting on wendesday (33)

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event courtesy of Breaking the Spine
that showcases much anticipated upcoming releases.

from goodreads: 05/08/2012

Kate and Vincent have overcome the odds and at last they are together in Paris, the city of lights and love. 

As their romance deepens there’s one question they can’t ignore: How are they supposed to be together if Vincent can’t resist sacrificing himself to save others? Although Vincent promises that he’ll do whatever it takes to lead a normal life with Kate, will that mean letting innocent people die? When a new and surprising enemy reveals itself, Kate realizes that even more may be at stake—and that Vincent’s immortality is in jeopardy. 

In Die for Me, Amy Plum created a captivating paranormal mythology with immortal revenants and a lush Paris setting. Until I Die is poised to thrill readers with more heart-pounding suspense, spellbinding romance, and a cliff-hanger ending that will leave them desperate for the third and final novel in the series.

Though I'm not a fan of that cover - far too much happening and the coloring seems too busy - I read Die For Me in a few hours and I'm curious to see what happens next. I also loved living in France myself, even if only temporarily, so a chance to hop back into that world is pretty magical. I like that it tells us we're in for a cliff-hanger so instead of wondering if there will be one (and possibly annoyed if there is), we're instead anticipating what thread we'll be left hanging on. Again, May is going to be such a fabulous book month. Thankfully finals end mid-month!

Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Publication Date: 01/02/2012
Publisher: Poppy
Pages: 256
Source: Purchased

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?
Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. She's stuck at JFK, late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's in seat 18C. Hadley's in 18A.
Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.
Warning: There will be minor spoilers for character backstory herein.

Hadley Sullivan is having a time of it. She's missed her plane, stuck at the airport waiting for a trip she doesn't want to embark on to a place she's never been. London is already built upon a rickety self-imposed bed of memories, and nothing good could possibly come of it - right? Airport patrons, already schooled in the art of waiting, are often times incredibly observant and it's by this chance that she meets Oliver, who comes to her aid when the zipper goes on her bag and her things tumble to the ground. +1 for her trip across the pond.

This is a book that I was waiting very much for, for a few reasons: I love airports (so much happens there, it's great for observation), the title is incredibly catching and makes you want to know what might happen, and it has that fantastic cover. However, there is a catch, and it's a big one. The blurb only states that Hadley is going to her father's wedding in London, but doesn't say anything of the reason behind any of this. If I had known how things were to happen in this book I might not have been so keen to buy it.

Hadley's father was invited to be a fellow at Oxford, and Hadley and her mother had plans to visit him over the winter break - and then suddenly they didn't. In a whirlwind of events not only had Hadley's father been in a relationship with another woman, but suddenly her parents were divorcing and plans were  being made quietly by her father to marry this other woman. The timeline for these events is so incredibly brief in the scheme of things that not only is it impossible for me to separate my anger at what was going on from the story, but it's also difficult for me to accept the way Hadley's parents are treating her.

"He's still your dad," Mom kept reminding her, as if this were something Hadley might forget. "If you don't go, you'll regret it later. I know it's hard to imagine when you're seventeen, but trust me. One day you will."
Hadley isn't so sure. (7)
I'm not so sure, either. The issue at hand isn't the fact that her father is remarrying someone Hadley doesn't  know, nor is the fact that her father has moved to England. The issue here is her father's infidelity and everyone else's completely blasé reaction to it. Reading this I never had the feeling that neither Hadley nor her mother had a chance to properly be angry or upset. Everything was so rushed that they had to pass go completely, straight to an awkward semblance of peripheral acceptance; this left little room on my behalf as a reader to have any sympathy for her father. If the situation had been different, if it had come about in a different way then the entire shape of this book would have been different, and I would have been able to see it in a much easier light.

The ratio of this review seems to be in even proportion with my thoughts while reading;  though I loved Hadley (sarcastic and honest) and Oliver (witty and clever), the unhealthy circumstances behind their meeting threatened to overshadow how fantastically the two of them got on. The story of them is a one that is believable, well-paced, and I was behind them every step of the way. From their banter in the airport, to everything you can think that would happen during a 7-hour flight sitting next to someone you find wholly fascinating, it's a viable occurrence that might have you looking over the next time you're on a plane.

On the whole I did like the book, though I wish that I had known what I was getting myself into before I started, and that the reasoning were different. If anything, it's worth reading alone for the progression between Hadley and Oliver. Just take the backstory with a grain (or two) of salt before proceeding.

in my mailbox (31)

In My Mailbox, hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren, allows us to share our
current reads, and books we've received/checked out/purchased over the course of the week.

This is sort of a catch-up IMM. This includes books I've received since December, though not
all of them. Books from NetGalley aren't pictured, and other adult fiction books aren't shown.
Neither are the heaps of books I've pre-ordered and will be coming out at the end of this month. So while
there might be a bit of a discrepancy, here's a pile for now!

From top:
The Probability of Miracles, Wendy Wunder (r) [Thank you, Penguin!]
Wintergirls, Laurie Halse Anderson
Everneath, Brodi Ashton
Feed, Mira Grant

Out of these, I've only read three of them yet:
The Probability of MiraclesThe Hunger Games, and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight.
The latter is one I really, really wanted to enjoy but had a problem with. I'll try and have a review for that (and for Far From the War both out by tomorrow sometime.) They might both turn into discussion posts, due to the topics.

I haven't read TFiOS yet mainly because I want to read it during a time when I can give it the attention it deserves, and not sneak peeks at it between homework and work. You might note that I have two copies. John signed both, and DFTBA'd the not-my-copy version (no Hanklerfish, sorry) - I'm thinking about having a giveaway, but we'll see. I do have two other giveaways planned, so stay tuned for those!

What's been your mailboxes lately? Anything you're just ridiculously chuffed over? I missed you guys to bits so feel free to ramble away in the comments!

books, writing, & music

These two things are basically the core of my heart. Sure, I could live life without the ability to listen to music or to immerse myself into a story - but I wouldn't want to. That'd be something akin to personal mental torture for me. I always have music on: when doing homework, when writing, when in the car, on the subway, sometimes even when reading. My bf and I played a game one day (and a few times since) where he was playing a song, so amazed by how not only did I know every vocal cadence of the song, but he paused it numerous times for about 10 seconds or so each time, and when the song resumed the vocalist and I were in the exact same place. I can also name any Dave Matthews Band song just by hearing .05 seconds of the first note. (But that's my musical favoritism speaking.)

That's how music is. Music is itself a story, and the lyrics are the harmony to it.

Both remind me of characters: of their emotions and particular moments; they are representative of a struggle the character can't state but is feeling quite deeply; of a place or a conversation. Even in the tiniest way, I can relate music to my writing and to that of other characters (not solely limited to book characters, TV characters are very much included here).

I started writing my NaNo story, which continues to be my WIP, by hearing this song:

"Sigh No More," Mumford & Sons

I listened to the opening chords, the subsequent bars and had such a feeling of hope and change and a sense that things were going well for someone, despite everything. And I started writing, producing a chapter in the middle of my story.

"She Wears Green," Bobby Long

I'd heard this song many a time before, but when I saw Bobby live I was struck with an image of someone quiet, waiting, but with the overall feeling that scene was indicative of a switch being turned.

"What The Water Gave Me," Florence + The Machine

No caption for this one. It's too integral. Sharing too much feels like giving myself away.

What about you? Do an author's playlist of songs for a book or a character help you understand what's going on within the story? Or perhaps they interfere too much with your perception of what's happening. Do you listen to music while writing? Is it a necessity, or just a sometimes thing? For me, it's just the way my brain works. I see music. Just some food for thought!

Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

world book night

I've been selected to give away 20 books as part of this year's World Book Night and I'm absolutely chuffed. The chance to encourage those who might not be able to afford a book to read means the world to me. To spread literacy, to show that it's okay to read - it's a dream.

The book I'll be giving away is Markus Zusak's The Book Thief. The majority of the people visiting this blog have probably read it, and you can understand why it's an important book to share.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to World Book Night and Random House for giving me the opportunity to participate in giving back. It's going to be a memorable day to say the least.


I am presently on hiatus into the foreseeable future. You can find me on twitter, tumblr, or my writing website, wooordsea.com

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