Thursday, September 18, 2014

Books and Songs (2)

Sometimes, when I listen to a song, I think it matches up perfectly with a book I've read. And sometimes, when I read a book, I think it matches up perfectly with a song I've heard. This feature is all about showcasing some of these books and songs that I think fit together really well.

BOOK: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
SONG: How to Save a Life by The Fray
Step one, you say, "We need to talk."
He walks, you say, "Sit down. It's just a talk."
He smiles politely back at you
You stare politely right on through
Some sort of window to your right
As he goes left and you stay right
Between the lines of fear and blame
You begin to wonder why you came

Where did I go wrong? I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

Let him know that you know best
'Cause after all you do know best
Try to slip past his defence
Without granting innocence
Lay down a list of what is wrong
The things you've told him all along

Pray to God, he hears you
And I pray to God, he hears you

WHY: This book/song match-up is pretty straight-forward. The book is about suicide, and so is the song. This song reminds me of the way Clay felt when he learned about Hannah's death and listened to the tapes. He felt guilty, like he should have been able to stop her or save her in some way. But he didn't know how to save a life.

Also, it makes sense for this book and song to be matched up because they have both made me cry a ridiculous amount of times. I don't think it's even possible to experience either of these stories without crying.

What do you think of this book/song match-up? Do you have a better song for this book? A better book for this song? Let me know down in the comments!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Book Covers: The Bad (Rachel)

Hello everyone and welcome to part two of Book Covers: The Good, The Bad, and The Girls in Dresses, in which I will share some of my favorite and least favorite book covers. You can find my last post here. Today I'm going to share The Bad!

It is an unfortunate reality that sometimes, bad covers happen to good books. While I don't let bad covers affect my decision to read books, I really wish that some of my favorite books would get better covers!

Like I mentioned in my post about the good covers, I'm not a fan of couples on covers. The Just One Year cover bothers me because the couple is totally unnecessary. I mean, having a couple on the cover doesn't make much sense when you consider the actual subject matter of the book. And the Pushing the Limits cover is a little too steamy for a book that I want to carry around in public. When I got the hardcover of Pushing the Limits, I immediately removed the dust jacket because I disliked it so much, only to find this underneath:

image from Katie McGarry's blog

I know it might be a little surprising to find the Anna and the French Kiss cover on this list. Well, honestly, I don't like this cover. It's super cheesy and looks like something I, with my extremely limited design skills, could have scraped together in a few minutes. It cheapens the book and makes it look less awesome than it really is. However, this cover has become iconic, and I've grown to associate it with the book we all know and love, so I've gotten used to it. 

This is the cover for Lair of Dreams, the sequel to The Diviners, which I featured in my good covers post. Yes, there was a cover change, and yes, I am very upset about it. This cover is stupid and it looks like the cover of an adult novel, which is bad because everyone knows that young adult books are supposed to get the pretty covers so that the teenagers see something shiny and buy it.

The Truth about Forever

Do I really need to say anything about the Obsidian cover? I mean, come on! This cover is just embarrassing. It makes the book look like it's a bad erotica novel, when in reality it's a fun, action-packed story about aliens. And The Truth About Forever cover really bothers me. What is up with the random bracelet?! It would make sense if there was a bracelet like that in the book, but since there isn't, I don't understand why someone thought this weird photograph of a weird bracelet would look perfect on the cover. (Although, to be fair, the wishbone charm is relevant, so that's something, I guess.)

An Abundance of Katherines has had a few cover changes over the years, and I have no idea why this version was ever thrown into the mix. Just...why? What about this cover is appealing? It's so boring and weird and what's up with the close up of that girl's cut-off head? I'm also including the entire Vampire Academy series in my bad cover list because look at those covers and find one that's not terrible. I DARE YOU. I've also seen a few slightly different versions of these covers, but rather than making big, significant changes, the only thing that's different is the specific position of the models. So basically, every version of the covers look like this and I HATE IT. (Although, the newest cover designs made to coincide with the movie release are not terrible.)

And that's it for my Bad Covers...for now. Let me know what some of your least favorite covers are down in the comments!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Rachel Rambles About Burn for Burn

Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian (Burn for Burn #1)
From Goodreads:
Postcard-perfect Jar Island is the kind of place where nobody locks their doors at night, where parents can sleep easy, knowing their daughters are tucked away safe and sound in their beds. But bad things can happen, even to good girls . . . and sometimes, the only way to make things right is to do something wrong. 
Lillia used to trust boys, but not anymore. Not after what happened this summer. And she’ll do whatever it takes to protect her little sister from the same fate. 
Kat is over the rumors, the insults, the cruel jokes made at her expense. It all goes back to one person--her ex-best friend. Someone needs to teach her a lesson, and, with Lillia and Mary behind her, Kat feels up to the task.

Four years ago, Mary left Jar Island because of a boy. But she’s not the same girl anymore. Now that she’s got friends who have her back, he's going to be in big trouble.
Three very different girls who come together to make things right. Will they go too far?

I picked Burn for Burn up on a lazy summer day when I needed something entertaining to breeze through, and this book turned out to be exactly what I was looking for. Burn for Burn is dramatic, exciting, and a whole lot of fun.

Burn for Burn gives off some strong Pretty Little Liars vibes, which is a good thing, considering Pretty Little Liars is such a fun show to watch. Both Pretty Little Liars and Burn for Burn are over-the-top, ridiculous, dramatic, and completely addicting. Just like entire seasons of Pretty Little Liars are meant to be binge-watched from the couch in a single weekend, Burn for Burn is meant to be devoured in just one day or one sitting. 

Let's be real here, Burn for Burn isn't exactly a high-quality story. It's not terribly original or thought-provoking, but that's okay. I like that Burn for Burn doesn't pretend to be something it's not. Burn for Burn embraces its not-entirely-realistic high school stereotypes, its silly teenage girl antics, and its somewhat predictable storyline. Burn for Burn is a comfort read--the book you turn to when you've had a rough day and need to lose yourself in a story for a good few hours. It's the book you turn to when all you need is a story that will make you want to keep turning pages. 

I didn't feel particularly connected to any of the main characters, but I actually appreciated the lack of emotional investment I felt. It made it easy for me to distance myself from the story and just watch the shenanigans ensue and the craziness unfold. Just like I'll enjoy catching the occasional episode of Pretty Little Liars and being sucked into the story without caring about something bad happening to any of them, I was able to enjoy this book without loving the characters and getting all worked up over them.

I love that Burn for Burn is about a group of girls taking matters into their own hands and kicking some ass. Sure, the pranks are a little silly and juvenile at times, but they're teenagers! I really liked reading about strong girls who decide to not only stand up for themselves but to take it to the next level and get some epic revenge on the people they aren't too fond of. I think each of the girls has a valid and interesting reason for wanting revenge, and I loved reading about the process of scheming and plotting to putting things into action to watching the results. I was always eager to see what they would do next, and while I didn't particularly like any of the characters, I was totally intrigued by their actions and curious about whether their pranks would go according to plan.

I also really like the setting of Burn for Burn. The island is very much its own world. It's secluded and set apart from mainstream society, which makes the people on the island a close-knit group. This type of dynamic always makes mysteries way more interesting, and I think the setting works really well with this story. In addition to the setting, there is a slight paranormal twist in this book that makes the story approximately eight thousand times more fascinating. I seriously just love that this book gets crazier and crazier with each turn of the page.

Overall, Burn for Burn is a fun, fast book that I couldn't put down. It entertained me and kept me hooked for a few hours, and when it was over, I found myself interested in reading the second book but not terribly concerned with the outcome. This book is not a bad book at all, but it's definitely a comfort book as opposed to a thought-provoking book. Next time you're feeling stressed or sad or upset and are looking for a story to escape into (assuming you've already finished watching the latest season of Pretty Little Liars), pick up Burn for Burn. It will suck you in from the first page, and you'll lose yourself completely in this fun and dramatic story.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Megan's September TBR

So I've never been very good at TBRs in the past. I make a list and then end up reading none of it! But this time since I've got a lot going on and haven't finished a book in a bit, I thought I would at least give you guys a sense of what I'm reading!

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Like everyone else in the world I'm OBSESSED with Anna and Lola and I couldn't wait for Isla to be released. I haven't had a chance to read it with everything going on in my life but it is definitely next up on my TBR and I know once I start I'll probably finish it in a day!

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
I also got a finished copy of E. Lockhart's newest book at BEA which I have heard nothing but good things about. I can't wait to get to this one and find out what all the hype is about!

The rest of these are ARCs that I received at BEA which come out in September. I'm trying to finish them all before or close to when they come out!

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
I was lucky enough to get an ARC of Afterworlds at BEA and as it is one of my most anticipated reads of the year I will definitely be finishing it before it comes out in the end of September!

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
This book sounds like an amazing and heartbreaking story about two twins who have lost the ability to be on the same page.It's dual narration which is always interesting and I've heard really good things so I can't wait to check it out!

Falling into Place by Amy Zhang
HarperCollins was dropping ARCs of this at BEA and I was super excited to get it! When I first read a description of this book and saw that it was described as appealing to readers of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman, and Jay Asher I was sold! Those are only some of my favorite authors so I knew this was a debut that I couldn't miss!

The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black
When Cassandra Clare and Holly Black first announced they were writing a middle grade series together I literally jumped up and down screaming. Nothing could be more perfect than these two working together on a series! Then when Katherine and I accidentally stumbled into an ARC drop of the first book at BEA we were so thrilled! I can't wait to devour this one!

Blackbird by Anna Carey
I've never read a book in the second person before and I love Anna Carey so this one was a super exciting find at BEA! I started reading a few pages of it in line and loved every second of it. I'm sure that once I pick this one up I'll fly through it!

Rooms by Lauren Oliver
Even though this is an adult book, I'm super excited for it because it's Lauren Oliver! She's not only one of my favorite authors, but one of my writing idols! I'll read anything she writes, regardless of it being YA or Adult.

Made for You by Melissa Marr
This is the last book on my list of things that I'm going to try to read this month. I've read one of Melissa Marr's other books, Wicked Lovely, and I really liked it. I'm excited to see how she applies her writing talent to a more contemporary story!

Looking at this list it looks like it may be a bit ambitious to fit into one month with everything I have going on, but I'm going to try my best! There are also a few other September ARCs that I have, but these are the ones that I'm most anxious for so I'm going to try and read them first. It also looks like I have some really great reads ahead of me!

What are you planning on reading in September? Have you read any of these yet? Let me know what you thought or what you're planning on reading in the comments below!