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5

Jan

2014

My Top Picks

By Alaska. Posted in Alaska | 2 Comments »

Here are my favorite books I read last year. These didn’t necessarily come out this past year, that’s just when I read them. I decided that would be a less constrictive way to rate them. I had kind of a rough reading year and I didn’t want to focus on only books with a 2013 publication date. Can’t nobody hold me down, oh no, I’ve got to keep on… Oh, sorry. Anyways, in no particular order, here are my favorites from 2013!

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell- I love this book so much I don’t even know what to say about it. My boyfriend John Green wrote a glowing review of it, so I figured I’d check it out. I’m so glad I did. This is easily my favorite book of the year, and her latest Fangirl is great as well. This is an unlikely love story with beautiful characters, it’s an amazing read.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer- This is the first in a series called the Lunar Chronicles and I’ve read the 2nd book Scarlet as well, which is just as good.  These are retellings of fairy tales with a sci-fi twist, which I wouldn’t think I’d be into. This book has the word cyborg in it and I still love it! Crazy, I know. Trust me, you’ll love them!

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys- This one is set in New Orleans in the 1950s and it is an exciting read. I loved the setting and the story was great. The main character is Josie and her mom works in a brothel. There is a death in the French Quarter and Josie is working hard to solve it. Ooh, there are also gangsters in this one, how could you go wrong?

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz- If I could be friends with the characters in the books I read, I’d start with these two. Ari and Dante meet at the beginning of the summer and form an amazing friendship.  I loved them both and loved their families.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey- This book gave me nightmares! Aliens have arrived on Earth and are taking everyone out in waves. Each wave brings a new terror.  The first wave gave me panic attacks even thinking about it. I believe this is getting turned into a movie as well! I blogged about it already, read it here.

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick- This one is a little intense. It all takes place on one day, Leonard Peacock’s 18th Birthday, which is also the day he takes a gun to school and plans to kill someone. The book follows this journey and Leonard’s goodbye’s to those closest to him. My favorite character is Leonard’s neighbor Walt.

The Diviners by Libba Bray- I listened to this on audio and it was super creepy. It’s a creepy book anyways, but hearing a serial killer singing “Naughty John, Naughty John, does his work with his apron on” really took me over the edge. It’s set in the 20s which is always fun, and Evie has been sent to New York City to stay with her uncle after she finds herself in some trouble back home in Ohio. Unfortunately for Evie, she’s there the same time as a serial killer that terrorizes the city.

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater- This is the second book in the Raven Cycle; the first is The Raven Boys. After Scorpio Races which I’m completely obsessed with, Maggie Stiefvater has become one of my favorite authors. The series centers around 4 boys from a private school and Blue, a local girl. All are interested in ley lines and Cabeswater.  These things sound boring, but they’re not, trust me! Have I ever lied to you?

 

 

26

Aug

2013

Aliens in school buses

By Alaska. Posted in Alaska | No Comments »

I don’t sleep well, never have. Last night for instance, I was up from 2 am on and very bored. So, I did what every sane person does at 4 am, researched homemade laundry soap. I’ll let you know how that goes, I’m sure you’re sitting on the edge of your seat with anticipation.  A couple of days ago, I was in that weird half sleeping/half awake phase where you’re dreaming but kind of aware it’s not real. Know what I’m talking about? Good. Anyways, I was in that state when I had a nightmare about this book! I kind of half knew it wasn’t real, but kept saying “I can’t believe this is really happening, I thought this was just a book! Don’t get on the bus kids!” But, more on the bus later.

The book I’m referring to is The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.  This book is the next big thing in the creepy, dystopian world. I will say, I loved it! I will also say, why are all these books so dark and creepy? Can’t someone write a nice happy book about unicorns or puppies? Seriously, everyone is always dying in these books, everyone!  With all that being said, grab a copy of this one stat! You don’t want to be the one in the cafeteria staring off cluelessly while your friends are talking about which wave was the scariest, they’re all scary!

I guess I should give you some background here so you’re not so confused. This book opens with Cassie running around the woods wondering if she’s the last human on earth.  Aliens have invaded the earth, I know, I lost you didn’t I? These are not your run of the mill, green headed friends. This is much more complicated. “The Others” as Cassie calls them (nice Lost reference) have been obliterating the human race through waves. The first wave knocks everyone off the grid, everything stops and I mean everything. No power, no cell phones, cars stop working, planes stop working mid air and crash to the ground. Creepy right? I don’t know what I would do if that happened. Probably curl up in the fetal position and cry. I panic every time the power goes out. I’m suddenly starving and find myself with no food or water, I clearly need a survival kit!

The creepiest wave of them all involves birds and blood, it’s disgusting, trust me. I already hated birds before I read this book, now I really hate them! They’re little devils with beaks I tell you. Have I said enough? Birds, blood, school buses, no power, stuff gets crazy! Click on the picture below to get a copy!

book jacket

Once you’ve read this one, and you want some more fun, try some of these other horribly depressing books! I’m going to assume you’ve already read The Hunger Games! Also if you’re down with the creepiness in this book, Rick Yancey also has an amazing trilogy with the first book The Monstrumologist which is just as good!

book jacket

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness- This is my favorite dystopian trilogy ever, I’m obsessed!

book jacket

Divergent by Veronica Roth- Being made into a movie released in March

book jacket

Life as we Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer

I could keep going, but I’ve done dystopian posts before, I’m sure you’re bored, email me if you want more suggestions!

 

7

Jan

2013

My Favorite Things

By Alaska. Posted in Alaska | No Comments »

I finally have managed to pull together my favorite books I read in 2012. Now, these books weren’t necessarily published in 2012, that’s just when I read them.  Also please keep in mind that I’m sure this list would be much larger if I wasn’t such a slacker with reading this year.  Remember this post? Yeah, that’s still happening. I’ m working on it though, I’m already 2 books in this year, and hope to keep up the trend! Without further ado, here she is:

Top of 2012

 

22

May

2012

Here horsey, horsey

By Alaska. Posted in Alaska | No Comments »

Oh, horses. I am so undecided on you. Sometimes I think I like you, so I try and ride you, and then have mild panic attacks the whole time. Every time I see a horse, I sing this annoying Wild Horses song, and no, it’s not the cool one, it’s lame. You may remember the last time I talked about horses I liked them, read about that here. Then I rode one again and was scared. Yet, I’m planning another horse riding trip, possibly near cliffs. What is wrong with me? I clearly need to make up my mind. I had a couple very bad experiences as a child with horses, at least that’s how I remember them.  The picture below is when I started to come around, I mean who wouldn’t like riding a horse in Puerto Rico?

Anyways, there are lots of horses in Maggie Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races. The two main characters are Puck (Kate) and Sean Kendrick. They live on an island called Thisby where there is a large horse race every year. Not just any race, however. This race is between water horses. As if I wasn’t on the edge already, these horses are frightening! They are very large and very dangerous. They come from the sea, and so they are always kind of trying to get back to the sea after being caught. Puck’s parents were both killed by these horses in an accident. On the verge of losing everything, Puck decides to join the race to try and save her family. Puck is the first girl to ever race, so obviously things don’t go great for her in training. I actually listened to this, and while I found Sean Kendrick’s voice a bit too old for the story, I absolutely loved the story. I did not love it enough to hop on a water horse, but maybe a regular one.

 

24

Apr

2012

My iPad is Making Me Stupid

By Alaska. Posted in Alaska | No Comments »

I love gadgets, they don’t love me back, but that’s another story. I’ve been obsessed with my iPad ever since it changed my life 2 years ago when I bought it. It’s gotten pretty bad; I don’t take it with me when I go places like work, since I know what would happen. But, at home, I have to have it by my side at all times. I can’t even watch TV without playing on it at the same time. I love TV, and now I don’t ever know what happens on my favorite shows because my iDD (see what I did there (changed the “A” to an “i”, I crack myself up) has gotten so bad. I’ve tried to just watch TV, but I get all twitchy and bored. This is just TV, now let’s move onto reading.

I try and read books on my iPad, but obviously I only get about 2 pages in before I start playing Draw Something or checking in on facebook and seeing which of my friends have posted some kind of vague annoying status update in apparent cry for attention. By now you’re probably thinking, so pick up a real book, aren’t you a librarian? Yes, of course, I LOVE real books. The problem is, again, that I get about 2 pages in, and reach for the iPad. I tried putting the iPad in a different room, but it calls to me and I go pick it up after about 10 minutes. What I need is for someone to come and sit and read me the books while I play games on my iPad; that would be the best case scenario. Takers?

I am trying to finish a book on my iPad as we speak, and I’ll be sure to let you know when I finish. It’s great so far, but maybe now that I’ve told you about it, I’ll feel accountable and finish it! It is The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson, I think part of the reason I haven’t finished yet is because it’s creepy! We have it in several formats: audio, ebook and good old fashioned paper! It’s set at a boarding school, so obviously I’m on board!

 

13

Feb

2012

Breaking up (your face) is hard to do

By Alaska. Posted in Alaska | No Comments »

In honor of the upcoming Dr. Dorsch’s Lonely Hearts party, I thought I’d share a story with you all. This is a story from my junior prom. It’s not really a break up story, since we weren’t really dating and certainly weren’t dating after the event! So, I didn’t have a date to the junior prom, and a friend of a friend was interested in coming along. So, I went along with it, and met my date a couple of times before the prom. He went to a private school with no dancing so I think this was his first dance ever. Since I didn’t know him well and don’t like awkwardness as a rule, I spent much of my prom dancing with my friends. I was soon approached by another friend who said my prom date was in the mens room with blood all over his face. This was a bit concerning. What happened? Was he in a fight? Nope, apparently he was dancing with a couple friends to the song “Jump Around” ironically and they threw him in the air. Well his “jump” didn’t go so well, and he landed on his face. I sat with him and the principle waiting for the ambulance to arrive. I had a fleeting thought I should go along to the hospital, but I really wanted to go to the after party I had begged my mom to let me attend! Plus, I was afraid of the wrath of his mom, not that it was my fault, but moms are scary. I did have to go to his house a few days later to pick up a few belongings I had left in his car. When I arrived, he handed me a letter to read since he couldn’t really talk because his jaw was wired shut. Apparently, he had broken his face, woopsies.

Don’t forget to leave a comment about your own break-up story.  Prizes will be given out for the best story at the DDLHC Party on February 17th!

I suppose I should tie this to a real book with a break up until I write my own. I blogged about this a few years ago, yes apparently we’ve been doing this for 3 years, when did that happen? Anyways, imagine being a dumped and then having a song written about you? Well, it happened here, you can read my full review here.

Audrey, Wait!

 

For my favorites list this year, I decided to focus more on what I read and loved this year, as opposed to what year it came out. I’m sure there are tons more that I need to read, I fell a bit short on my list this year with reading as many books as I want to. Working in a library, you hear all day about books you HAVE to read, and it gets stressful! I don’t give full out reviews here, mainly because I’m listing my favorite books of the year, so do I need to tell you why they’re awesome? No! They are because I (and lots of other people) said so. That doesn’t mean they’ll be awesome to you obviously, so I won’t judge you if you don’t like my list. Please feel free to add your favorites in the comments below.

Without further ado, my favorite books read in 2011…

Everybody Sees the Ants

By:  A.S. King

This is only the 2nd A.S. King book I’ve read, but I already feel like I wouldn’t hesitate to call her one of my favorite authors. I’m working on a full review for this, but in the meantime, pick it up!

Divergent

By: Veronica Roth

Another book to read if you are a Hunger Games fan, and they already sold movie rights. This is a fast paced read with lots of action.

I’ll Be There

By: Holly Goldberg Sloan

I’m not even sure what style this book is written it, but it was breathtaking. I loved each character so much. It had a definite storytelling vibe to it. There were lots of pages I read over and over just because they were so nicely written. LOVED IT!

Between Shades of Gray

By: Ruta Sepetys

I had the privilege of hearing Ruta speak last year, and she is an amazing speaker. This is a story that needed to be told, you can read my full review here.

The Knife of Never Letting Go

By: Patrick Ness

This is the first book in the Chaos Walking trilogy, and the series is absolutely amazing. If you are a Hunger Games fan, you must pick this up! I think as a whole, I actually enjoyed this series more, just by a hair.

A Monster Calls

By: Patrick Ness inspired by Siobhan Dowd

Apparently Patrick Ness is the man. The idea for this book was started by the late Siobhan Dowd, and Patrick Ness picked up where she left off and finished the book. I actually picked it up because I love Siobhan Dowd’s books so much. If you haven’t read any, you must!

The Sky is Everywhere

By: Jandy Nelson

This was a gorgeous story about grief and love, and, oh, those Fontaine boys.

Badd

By: Tim Tharp

Speaking of favorite authors, add Tim Tharp to that list! I’ve loved everything I’ve ever read by him, and this is no exception.  This one is about a girl coping with her brother’s return from war.

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares

By: Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

This is a great winter read. It was such a sweet book, and I loved the whole concept.  It was on my “to read” list last year, and now that I’ve actually read it, I can definitely recommend it.

 

6

Oct

2011

Stay Golden, Ponyboy

By Alaska. Posted in Alaska | No Comments »

Hey friends, I realize it’s been awhile. I am in a major reading slump. I pretty much just play on my iPad every night when I used to read. The only reading I am getting in is on audio, and the only thing I seem to want to listen to are celebrity memoirs. Help! Although, let me say, Rob Lowe’s audio book is amazing, and I am super obsessed with him right now. You can request it by clicking the picture below. Isn’t he cute? The book is called Stories I Only Tell My Friends. That’s right, we’re friends now. And by friends I mean I’d like to have his babies.

As far as which iPad games I play into the wee hours of the night, that is embarrassing. The one that took up most of my time is called Tiny Tower. You basically build a tiny tower with tiny people. They write comments on BitBook, those are funny. It’s a pretty stupid game, and my friends all make fun of me for playing. I hit rock bottom with it the other day. I am in the middle of a house renovation, and I have a lot of work I should be doing. Since I am allergic to work though, I just paint fake tiny walls, in my fake tiny little tower. I realized I need to be painting real walls, so I deleted it. That’s right, I did it. It was tough, but it had to be done. I thought that would be the end of my woes, and I’d start picking up new books. But, no, apparently they make lots of other free, stupid games that I can’t stop playing.

I think I may just go on strike until I’m in my new house in my chair and a half. Have you seen those? They are awesome. I love chairs, so if you take one, and add a half, what’s not to love?

There is a new book coming out very soon that I am really excited for, and will tell you more about as soon as I get my hands on it. But, is there anything else I should know about? Anything I can’t live without that will break me out of this funk…

 

9

Aug

2011

Old Faithful

By Alaska. Posted in Alaska | No Comments »

My parents were out of town one time a few years back, so it was just us kids. Well, don’t go calling social services yet, there were a couple over 18. Anyways, at one point, there was an issue with the toilet. And by issue, I don’t just mean it was overflowing. It was shooting water out like a geyser. I didn’t really know what to do, since my oldest sister had run to the store. I decided I would shut the door. Yep, that was my fixer. I guess I assumed that if the door was shut, the toilet was not shooting up like Old Faithful. Luckily my sister came home, and oh I don’t know, called a plumber, before any real damage was done.

I do this kind of thing all the time. I will ignore a bill if I don’t want to see it, ignore the news if it’s bad, etc… If I can’t see it, it’s not there. It’s sort of like when a little kid is playing hide and seek, and to hide, they close their eyes. That’s my move. I don’t see you, you must not see me.

I guess I sometimes do this when I’m picking up books too. I especially do it if I know the story is based on real events and is absolutely horrendous. But, I think sometimes I need to come out from under the rock where I live, and hear these stories. I owe it to these people, it’s the least I can do. I will say I need them in small doses though, if I watch too much or read too much, I get depressed and am no fun to be around.

We all learned about World War II, and it is absolutely horrific. But, I really don’t remember learning about what happened to people in some of these other countries, specifically the Baltic states including Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. In this story, Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, Lina is just sitting at home with her family when the Soviet Police barge in and deport them. They are put on a train with no idea of where they are going. There is no food, and several people do not make the journey. They are sent to a work camp in Siberia where they live in a small shed, and work in unthinkable conditions. They are given one tiny slice of bread per day, and are constantly beaten and tortured. I will warn you, this book does not sugar coat anything. Things like this really happened.

It is so important to learn about these things, and for many reasons. Of course, we’ve all heard we need to learn about history, so that we don’t repeat it, and I agree with that. Another reason of course, is to remind ourselves just how good we have it in this country. At one point in the book, Lina lives in a jurta (mud hut) in the Arctic Circle. I just bought a house, and it seems to have so many things wrong with it, but it is not a jurta in the Arctic Circle. So, for instance when I saw water seeping in places it’s not supposed to, I say “I do not live in a jurta. I do not live in a jurta.” Say it with me, “I do not live in a jurta.” Good, right?

Now, this book is not just about all of the bad things that happened to these people. I know it sounds cheesy, but it really is a book about the human spirit. The people you read about in these pages become your friends, and you feel every small victory. At one point Lina is arguing with her mother about how she wishes one of the guards would get sick and die, and her mother reminds her that is not how they are. She says, “Lina, think of what your father would say. A wrongdoing doesn’t give us the right to do wrong. You know that.”

This is also a story about love, wait until you meet Andrius. Swoon. And I haven’t even gotten to the art. Lina realizes that no one knows what is happening to them, so she documents everything through her art. I’m not usually able to see things in my head when I read them, but let me tell you I could see every single one of Lina’s drawings. They sprang to life from the page. And, don’t skip the epilogue or author’s note. Read every page, you won’t regret it!

 

2

Aug

2011

Shark Attack!

By Alaska. Posted in Alaska | No Comments »


Well boys and girls, this week is one of my favorites of the year. It’s Shark Week on the Discovery Channel! I’m not sure why, but I just cannot get enough! In fact, as I type this, I’m having to strain to keep my eyes open because I stayed up way too late watching. They have a pretty cool website, you can play games, puzzles, etc…I have a healthy respect (fear) of sharks. I think they are magnificent creatures who may eat me while I’m swimming. That’s why I’m more of a swim in a pool next to the beach kind of girl. What’s sad is not the real footage that scared me most, it’s the brilliant film making of the classic thriller Spring Break Shark Attack that did it. I’m not sure why IMDB only gave it 3 1/2 of 10 stars, that’s just a shame. I even had a shark visit us at the library, here my nephew is fending it off:

Luckily for all of you, I’m lame and watch a lot of shark related footage, so I can tell you that sharks are a bit controversial. There have been times of the year where there is an increase in shark attacks, and number of sharks spotted near public beaches. They are mostly juvenile sharks, but you still don’t want to mess with them. Anyways, Australia had a problem a few years back where there were quite a few attacks in a small period of time, and an especially nerve wracking one in the Sydney Harbor. Anyways, some areas use shark nets to try and keep sharks out of beaches, but some shark specialists believe there are better ways since a lot of sharks die in these nets. Now, some people think that’s a good thing, while others obviously not so much.

I couldn’t help but think of this issue while reading Kristen Chandler’s Wolves, Boys & Other Things That Might Kill Me. This book takes place in a small town outside of Yellowstone Park.  There are several ranchers that live in that area, and they were having problems with the wolves killing their cattle, so the wolves were eventually killed off. The Wildlife Administration reintroduced the wolves to Yellowstone, and this was causing problems. The main character in the book, KJ, has always been fascinated with the wolves. She lives with her dad and helps him with a store they own and also on elk hunting and fishing expeditions to tourists. When a new boy moves in town, Virgil, KJ’s life begins to change. She is assigned to start writing about the wolves for the school newspaper, and a lot of the people in the town have a lot to say about it. Dangerous things start happening to those around her. I was really concerned when I saw the title of this book, that it was going to turn into KJ becoming a wolf or something, no worries, doesn’t happen. Although, if you like that sort of thing, I have a few good titles for you!