30 Book Challenge: Day 27 – The Most Surprising Plot Twist or Ending

The hard part about this post is that I can’t tell you WHY this book has the best plot twist AND ending. So here are a bunch of GIFs that summed up my reactions to Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. Read my review of the book here!

When I got halfway through the book:

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When I finished the book:

 

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As I stated in my review, I can be a pretty cynical, know-it-all reader so when I book surprises me, I’m basically astounded. Gone Girl did it and kept on doing it the entire huge book. Read it. It’s so worth it!

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 20 – Favorite Romance Book

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There’s no love quite like unrequited love. The longing. The stolen glances. The sexual tension. What’s not to love?

Here’s the dish on my favorite romance novel:

They parted in disgrace…But desire would bring them back together.

Years ago, in one explosive instant, childhood rivalry turned into wild passion for Jeremy, handsome young Duke of Rawlings, and Maggie Herbert, the object of his affections. Unfortunately, the ensuing scandal found them banished to separate corners of the world.

Now fate has joined Jeremy and Maggie again– for a long-overdue dance of desire as uncompromising as the lovers themselves. Jeremy, a decorated soldier, is determined to claim Maggie at last. And Maggie, engaged to be married to another man, finds her secret fantasies of Jeremy spinning out of control. All that stands between them and the steamy passion the years can no longer chain is the past– and a present steeped in jealousy, intrigue, and danger…

Ok- I love the characters so much because they’re hilarious and passionate. I love stories about love that endures, especially with fire and passion. To be honest, the love scenes are descriptive enough to get the point across while being tasteful.

Also, this book is by Patricia Cabot AKA Meg Cabot! Read about my love for her here!

I have read and re-read this book book to the point that the pages are distressed. It’s no longer in print, but I found an edition online and got Meg Cabot to autograph it when I met her! Needless to say, this was my method of brown nosing her, and it totally worked.

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 19 – Favorite Book Turned Movie

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Sometimes when the stars align, hell freezes over, and we all hold our collective breath at the same time- a book to movie adaptation is just as good as the book. Obviously, this is a rare occurrence, but it IS possible.

Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower is one of those rare occurrences.

The story of teenage Charlie’s adventures were perfectly translated onto the silver screen this past year. I was so nervous for how they would make the movie because the characters and the narration fit together in the novel’s world so perfectly that I didn’t think any adaptation could do it justice. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the movie! I was disappointed that they didn’t play up the whole Charlie being abused thing and they skimmed over some of the other more serious issues, but overall I was pleased. I think it captured the book’s feeling and the character’s heart and quirkiness. The casting was perfect. I also think that it helped that Chbosky, the author, helped adapt the book to a screenplay. I honestly think this should be standard for book to movie translations.

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 17 – Favorite Quote from a Book

This beautiful quote comes from The Book Thief. Read my review of it here!

This quote touches me because, as someone who loves to read and write, I appreciate how important words are. I want to say the right things and write in a way that affects people. Words are everything. I get them stuck in my head. They change me, build me, break me. Yet, the most important moments can be so powerful that language cannot touch them. But we never stop trying. Language is our key to understanding the world and leaving something behind. To me, words are the be all and end all.

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30 Day Book Challenge: Day 16 – My Favorite Genre

Young Adult Literature

I’m an English major so I read a wide variety of works. I’ve been introduced to so many genres in the past few that I didn’t even know existed! It’s good to read things from every genre, but I keep going back to YA.

Why I love YA:

It’s interesting that YA, compared to other literary genres, is relatively new in the world of words. It is believed to have grown in the 1920s and really started flourishing in the 1970s and 1980s when it became clear that there was a serious demographic gap between juvenile lit and adult lit.

I, like many other YA readers, don’t consider myself a “young adult” in the strictest term, although the age limits are loose and constantly fluctuating throughout generations, but I still enjoy reading the genre. I think it’s because being a young adult is such a defining period in our lives. You start to grow up and figure out who you are. This is super difficult! We all remember the struggle. And at any age, we can all relate to feeling like we don’t have everything figured out. (Do we ever feel like we do?)

YA appeals to me because we can always be reminded how much we can change and how the world can be a scary and beautiful place. No matter how old I get, I will sometimes feel like I don’t fit in. I’ll deal with serious issues. I’ll remember what it felt like having a crush or falling in love. I’ll know what it’s like to have that one best friend or inspiring teacher or that girl you hate. I’ll relate to being frustrated with my parents or my hair.

Maybe we never really grow up, or maybe we’re always growing up. Either way, young adult literature is there to help with stories and characters and words.

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30 Day Book Challenge: Day 13- My Favorite Author

Meg Cabot. (Rhymes with “rabbit,” just an FYI)

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Reasons I Love Meg Cabot:
-We’re very similar! We’re both from southern Indiana. She attended Indiana University, and I did too for a while. We both love to draw. We both have cats. The list goes on.
-She writes SO much! Once I got to meet her (which was a pinnacle of my existence), and I asked her how on earth she is so prolific. She essentially told me that she knew no other way. She just did it all the time. This is awesome because I can always look forward to a new book and have so many others to go back and re-read.
-She started out under the pseudonym Patricia Cabot and wrote a series of period romance novels which were my first introduction into the romance genre. I used to dream of writing books like those. Maybe it will happen someday.
– I love her characters. There’s never a character who I can’t relate to on any level. Seriously, I couldn’t even pick a favorite. I always find myself thinking that I would react the same way her characters would. Her female protagonists are so endearing because they’re humans who have flaws, for better or for worse and have character and heart. I want to be them or be best friends with them!
-Cabot herself is awesome. She writes a great blog which she updates regularly. I love reading her take on everything from books to pop culture.
-She supports good causes, often writing for anthologies when the proceeds go to charity.
-She has often said that she never sets out to write The Great American Novel or the next War and Peace. She just wants to write to entertain and make people happy. I think this is what all writers should aspire to do with their stories.
-Her sense of humor is spot on. I constantly laugh out loud while reading her work!

She gave this sage writing advice:
“Write the kind of story you would like to read. People will give you all sorts of advice about writing, but if you are not writing something you like, no one else will like it either.”

Friday Five: Worst Things That Happen While Reading

  1. When people who don’t get bookworm etiquette always try to interrupt you while you’re reading, especially when you get to the good parts. I hate this because I always lose my place and have to get back into the book…just before they talk to me again…
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  2. When your favorite character dies. I mean, it’s just cruel! (Looking at you, George R. R. Martin. You too, J.K. Rowling)
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  3. When you can’t stop crying, laughing, screaming, making faces, etc. while you read in public, and people think you’re psychotic.
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  4. When no one else has read the book you’ve just finished, but it left you with so many feels that you HAVE to discuss it with someone or you’ll EXPLODE, but no one you know has read it.
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  5. When you’re at the end of the book or series or the next installment in the series is what feels like an eternity away from being released. 
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The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

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It’s a mouthful, like, I even have trouble typing it, but the title grabbed my interest. I used to argue vehemently about how love at first sight was an urban myth. Love is more than just liking how someone looks or feeling a spark during eye contact (I have learned this the hard way before). My pragmatic and romantic sides are constantly battling each other, and this book is a good example of that.

Hadley is on a flight to London to be in her father’s wedding to her new British stepmother whom she’s never met. She misses her flight and has the usual unpleasant interactions with strangers in the airport when she meets Oliver, a boy her age that is willing to extend some much-needed kindness her way. Turns out, he’s sitting next to her on her new, rescheduled flight to London, and he’s a good-looking Brit (don’t you love when that happens?). He helps her with her claustrophobia during their flight, and they talk all night and have some adorable sexual tension laden moments. They are clearly on the track to some romance, only to be separated after they get off their flight thanks to stupid airport security.

Of course, as fate would have it, they happen to meet again.

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This book was a fast, fun read that was just adorable. I kept reading it, thinking this would be the book that I would want to write if I wrote YA lit.

I’ve read some criticism online about the plot being unrealistic, but I think that’s the point. I mean, the title kind of pokes fun at the idea of love at first sight. People like myself enjoy these stories because they don’t happen so often. Sometimes you have to suspend disbelief to enjoy these types of stories.

This brings me back to the pragmatic vs. romantic argument.

My pragmatic side thinks it’s completely ridiculous for Oliver and Hadley to fall in love so quickly, especially in a sequence of happenstances. It tells me love is something that grows out of a long time of talking and getting to know each other, and, even after that, it’s rare for it to last. Long-term relationships are like business partnerships with a lot of negotiations.

But my romantic side says that love doesn’t follow any rules. There’s no mathematical formula for falling in love. Sometimes it’s fast. Sometimes it’s slow. Sometimes it grows out of a long relationship. Sometimes it happens in a second. Sure, it’s rare, but it’s not impossible. Pragmatism helps us survive, but love keeps us going because it gives us hope.

There are some interesting insights into how family dynamics work and how change can help and hurt that I enjoyed reading.

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I liked Hadley, and I liked hearing her take on things.  She’s funny and real, someone you’d be friends with. I love the banter she and Oliver share. It’s a pleasure to read.

This book is about hope and the happy moments in life that can sneak up on you. It’s not the most well-written book I’ve read, but there’s an undeniable sweetness in it. Read this book if you’re looking for a fun, simple read that will make you smile. I look forward to reading more from Smith.

My favorite thing: there are references to Charles Dicken’s Our Mutual Friend that are just great. Like this opening page!

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30 Day Book Challenge: Day 8- Most Overrated Book

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This is an unpopular opinion, but I HATE NICHOLAS SPARKS. I hate what he says in interviews. I hate his books. I hate his writing. I hate those cheesy movies they make out of those books. I hate seeing people reading them in public. I hate seeing or hearing his name or his books anywhere.

With that said, the most overrated book is The Notebook. SO MANY people say it’s their favorite book or favorite movie. Seriously? I gave both a try. I did. I tried it. There are so many other, better things to be reading: better authors, better characters, better love stories. Sid and Nancy have a better love story. Maybe if the writing talent was there, it could have been something, but I find it to be a thorn in my book-loving side.

And, yeah, I used the movie version of the book cover just to add insult to injury.

*End Rant*

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30 Day Book Challenge: Day 4- The Worst Film Adaptation of a Book

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I ABHOR what filmmakers did with the Series of Unfortunate Events books when they made the series into a movie. I understand that, when translating a book into a movie, some artistic license must be taken, but the movie left a poor taste in my mouth.  There are 13 books in the series so they had to compact three of them into one movie. This made the pacing rushed and left almost no time for story telling and ambience. I loved the series as a child for its weird characters and whimsical narration, not to mention the mystery and suspense. The books are wonderful, but the movie tried so hard to live up to the books that it fell flat with too many A-list actors, a terrible screenplay, and not grasping what made the books so enchanting to readers.