Top 10 Tuesday: Favorite Recent Reads

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Top 10 Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in 2010. It combines what I love most in this world into one—lists, books, and blogging. It couldn’t be any better suited for me! This week is all about those books I’ve read recently that I just absolutely loved. I try not to “5 star” anything, because I know I’ll 5 star everything, so here are just some of my favorite recent reads.

Code Name Verity
1. Code Name Verity 
by Elizabeth Wein
I read this book for my YA literature class, and it was such a surprising, amazing read. It’s set in Nazi-occupied France and takes a surprising twist at the end that leaves readers at their seats. It features a pair of girls who are best friends despite the trying times of war and what that friendship means to them despite time and distance.

Blankets
2. Blankets 
by Craig Thompson
This is the first graphic novel I’ve ever read, and I fell in love. Thompson is an amazing artist and he brings is story to life with his imaginative illustrations and artfully crafted book. Definitely a book I recommend to people who love art and unearthing people’s stories.

Graceling
3. Graceling 
by Kristin Cashore
Graceling is an amazing tale with twists and turns at the end of every chapter. It is a fantastical story set in a land with seven kingdoms. Specific individuals are “graced” with a gift, whether it be sensing storms or being able to fight well. Some enjoy these graces while others are used by their kings for the king’s personal benefit. Graceling follows the brave Katsa on her journey to save herself as well as a young princess named Bitterblue. It captivated me from the moment I opened its covers.

4. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
I’ve been wanting to read We Were Liars for quite some time now, but Frankie got to me first, and I’m really quite pleased that she did. Lockhart catalogues a tale of a young girl trying to understand feminism in the men’s world she was raised in. She goes to a top-notch Prep school in the northeast where she learns about relationships, equality, power, and pranks. Truly a novel I think every would enjoy.

5. The Tales of 1,001 Nights
I NEVER thought I would enjoy these tales, but they captured my attention much more than I’d like to admit. It might be because of their relatable nature or the common theme of a clever girl or the interwoven-ness of each of the tales, but I devoured the ones that I’ve read so far. Perfect for a quick read before bed or a break between classes, I know these are tales I will keep on shelf for a lifetime.

Eleanor and Park
6. Eleanor & Park 
by Rainbow Rowell
If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you’ll know I wasn’t the biggest fan of Fangirl, but I fell in love with Eleanor & Park. I definitely thought the ending to this story was much more satisfying (yet extremely sad), and I liked the topics it dealt with. Rowell embraces the challenge of incorporating the tough stuff into her stories, and she doesn’t try to sugarcoat it. That’s what makes her novels, especially this one, important ones for young adults to read.

I think having 10 favorite recent reads is a little excessive, so I’m keeping this list short. I’ve also only included books I’ve read in 2016! Of course I read others, and of course I liked them, but I truly wanted to share my favorites with you.

Let me know your favorite recent reads in the comments below!

Happy reading,
Kimberly

 

 

Treasure Tuesday

Treasure Tuesday

1. I hope everyone had a great Easter (for those who celebrate it)! I made this adorable chocolate bark and the cutest cupcakes!


2. I am currently reading Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick.

3. I am actually currently traveling back to school after a relaxing week at home with my family. I took my grandmother book shopping and she picked up three new favorites! Always share the love of reading with those around you.

4.


5. I have read 14 books so far in 2016! I’m really hoping to reach my goal of reading 50 books in one year!

Happy reading,
Kimberly

Code Name Verity: A Review

Title: Code Name Verity
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction
Quotation: “It’s like being in love, discovering your best friend.”
Would recommend to: any history fan that loves a good twist.

Code Name Verity
The title, much like the book, is allusive in nature but focuses on the book much more than readers will originally believe. Code Name Verity, written by Elizabeth Wein, is an intricate story about relationships between people that evolves around codes, names, and “Verity,” known by many names, but I shall call her Queenie.

The title, much like the novel, is something readers won’t fully understand unless they give it a second read. All aspects of this novel are doubled-sided — readers pick up a whole different meaning to Queenie’s words when they read the novel for a second time. This makes Code Name Verity a shocking first-read and a ultimately very revealing second-read.

This novel takes a look at World War II through the eyes of teenage British girls in France thrown into a war they are much too young for — a perspective that is largely overlooked when writing about the era. While Wein directly writes about Nazi-occupied France during World War II, what she’s truly writing about is friendship and duty to each other. She develops a story around the friendship between a pilot, Maddie, and a wireless operator, Queenie.

Apart from this novel, Wein is an author of a plethora of short stories and young adult novels, two of which are accompaniment novels to Code Name Verity. Many of her stories involve similar focuses on the development and cultivation of friendship.

Readers have a chance to see the girls’ relationship blossom during one of the darkest times in history. One can’t help but smile over their chats about fears and the strong bond they form in such a trying time. They have a connection that challenges their thoughts, and readers’ perceptions, about loyalty and what true friendship really means.

The story is written from Queenie’s perspective as a form of stream of consciousness while she’s being held in a Nazi interrogation building. Readers get a sense of the situation she is in, but she cloaks her torture in talk of airplanes and her relationship with Maddie. She describes her captures and torturers, but rarely in a way that makes readers hate them, rather in a way that makes readers hopeful — hopeful that they will release Maddie and cease the cruel punishment they bestow upon her.

Wein does an astounding job of creating complex characters and giving them each a plausible and interesting background. SS-Hauptsturmführer von Linden is the main Nazi that interrogates Queenie. Readers are encouraged to understand that von Linden is essentially evil, but Wein does an interesting job of impressing humanistic characteristics about him to her readers, such as him having a daughter and him continuously giving Queenie “one more week” to continue to tell her story. These characteristics are what make readers hopeful for his redemption.

Apart from Maddie and Queenie, Wein makes a concentrated effort to inform readers about the character of Engel, which means Angel in the German language, the translator for Queenie’s writings. These emphasized characters and the relationships they have throughout the story with Maddie and Queenie further the meaning of the text and the underlying message of the importance of relationships and human understanding.

Wein’s writing was also laden with allusions. They are scattered throughout the text, but the most prominent one is that to Peter Pan. Because flight is a common motif in the novel, Peter Pan translates easily, but Wein also makes references to Queenie’s family resembling the Darlings. Queenie’s mother says to Maddie, “Please come back soon. The window is always open.” This is a blatant reference to the window in the Darling’s nursery in Peter Pan. These allusions ground readers in the understanding of the time period and help them understand what the girls cultural influences were like during the time. The more popular allusions, such as Peter Pan, also help readers, at least they helped me, feel like they understand and can relate to more of the text.

While this story was originally published and marketed as a young adult read, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to older readers as well. Because the content of the book is rather mature having taken place in an interrogation center in Nazi-occupied France and because the plotline is very complex, I think readers of any age can benefit from this story. 

Some books have a time-stamp on them — but Code Name Verity, among many others, is not one of those books. Its dealings with friendships and the importance that relationships have transcend time. And, although it’s not the central focus on the novel, Wein’s perspective on World War II impresses upon readers how far the effects of the war reached. Although Wein talks about a specific time period, she really writes about themes such as friendships, strength, and loyalty that have no boundaries or age limits. She begins her novel with “I AM A COWARD,” but she ends it with anything but cowardice.

Happy reading,
Kimberly

(This is a review I wrote for my YA lit class. Let me know your thoughts.)

Top 5 Wednesday: Books I Did Not Finish (Round 2)

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This weeks Top 5 Wednesday is dedicated to the books I never finished, but I’ve decided to spice up this post (because I already did it in November). Instead of talking about the books I never finished, I’m going to let you know about the books I wish I had never finished. Let’s get started.

1. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
I absolutely loved The Mortal Instruments and I was so disappointed when Clockwork Angel didn’t measure up. I’ve head from many people that they loved it, so maybe I should give it another try, but I thought it was way too long and tried to make too many connections. It felt like she was just trying to continue on with the series because it was successful.

Series of Unfortunate Events
2. A Series of Unfortunate Events 
by Lemony Snicket
I know I’m going to get a lot of haters for this, but this was one of the worst series ever. Every book was exactly the same, and I wasn’t far too much time on them as a kid. Everyone loved them, and I did too, until I realized every novel in the series followed the same pattern, and the pattern wasn’t even that good. (I never finished the series.)

breaking dawn
3. Breaking Dawn 
by Stephanie Meyer
Don’t get me wrong, we all went through a Twilight phase, and for the most part, I can appreciate that time in my life, but I NEVER liked Breaking Dawn. It was one of those books that just ruined the series for me. It should have ended with Eclipse. It was the best book and movie, and that’s all I have to say about that.

Eat Pray Love
4. Eat, Pray, Love 
by Elizabeth Gilbert
I wanted to love this book — I really did. Everyone raved about it, and I thought it would be about so much more than God, but unfortunately I was disappointed. I think this book has its merits, it just wasn’t for me.

5. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
I read this book in 7th grade, and maybe it was my 13-year-old brain or it truly was awful, but I hated this book. It’s entire plot is based around sex and rice. Maybe I’ll give it another go later on in life, but for right now, I wish I never had to read it.

What books would be on your list if I had to decide which ones you had never read? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading,
Kimberly

Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Love (That I Bet You Didn’t Know I Loved)

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Top 10 Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in 2010. It combines what I love most in this world into one—lists, books, and blogging. It couldn’t be any better suited for me! This week I’m going to let you guys know about the books I love, that I haven’t really talked about a lot on here. I feel like you all know how much I love Harry Potter and Divergent, but here’s my lesser well known favorites. Let’s get started!

All the Bright Places
1. All the Bright Places 
by Jennifer Niven
I raved about this when I first read it a few months ago, but I truly think it’s one of my favorites. I think it pushed boundaries when it comes to defining high school relationships and mental health.

Looking For Alaska
2. Looking for Alaska 
by John Green
I NEVER though John Green would make it into my favorites, and despite his pretentious characters, I still loved the story of Looking for Alaska. I think it’s still a powerful story of young kids trying to understand their place in this world.

art of racing in the rain
3. The Art of Racing in the Rain 
by Garth Stein
My father recommended this book to me while I was in high school, and it’s something I will never regret reading. If you love dogs as much as the next person, I definitely suggest reading this book. It’s an amazing tale for the perspective of our best friends.

4. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
One of the best classic books/poems I’ve read, Peter Pan has a way of grabbing your heart and never letting it go. One of the biggest inspirations for the novel, as well as my life.

5. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum
I recommended this book to my grandmother and she loved it, because it’s amazing. A classic tale that transcends time and anyone can read at any time in their life to gain understanding.

Sirens of Titan
6. Sirens of Titan 
by Kurt Vonnegut
I read this towards the end of last year, and it really changed how I look at science-fiction. One of my favorite science-fiction reads of all time, Vonnegut creates a world that everyone would benefit from reading about.

7. 1984 by George Orwell
I’m sure you do know this is my favorite, but I couldn’t leave it off the list. It’s my all-time favorite, and I think that surprises some people. I read it a couple of Christmases ago and just couldn’t put it down. A great read for anyone who loves a dystopian novel.

The Hobbit
8. The Hobbit 
by J. R. R. Tolkien
I read this after seeing the movie (oops) and loved it. I know it was originally a children’s tale, but Tolkien creates characters and settings that come to life with a readers of all ages.

9. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
I don’t think I can adequately express how much I love this book. This was the first Flynn novel I read, and it was my favorite (sorry Gone Girl). Its such an intricate story with a convoluted backstory, readers can’t help but be sucked into the intensity of Flynn’s created world.

Fight Club
10. Fight Club 
by Chuck Palahniuk
Another book I read after seeing the movie, and I think that was a wonderful choice for me. I understood the book much more, and I was also able to pick up on a lot more of the little nuances.

What are you lesser known favorite novels? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading,
Kimberly

Treasure Tuesday

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1. I am currently reading Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.

2.
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3. It’s SPRING BREAK! Usually that means sun and sand, but for me it means dentist appointments and getting ahead in my work. Making the best of an unfortunate situation is always best!

4. Here are some truly hilarious posts from tumblr about books that any book lover can relate to.

5. I went roller-skating last week with my sorority, and despite being absolutely terrible, I loved every moment of it.

Happy reading,
Kimberly

Top 5 Wednesday: Fictional Items

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This weeks Top 5 Wednesday is all about the fictional items I wish I could have. I know this is going to be a hard one to narrow down, so let’s get started!

1. An invisibility cloak from Harry Potter
Nothing would be better than being able to disappear from society but still being able to participate in a way. I could people watch without interruption and curl up in my favorite chair for hours without being disturbed — unless people tried to sit on me, now that would be a problem. I could definitely pull some Fred and George Weasley worthy pranks with this thing on.

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2. Flying carpet 
from 1,001 Nights
While I would love to have a broomstick, I’m slightly afraid of heights and get rather queasy rather quickly. That’s why I feel it would be better for me to have a flying carpet to help me travel quickly from place to place and avoid traffic and people at the same time. It’s the best of all the worlds!

3. Steles from The Mortal Instruments
I would love to be able to instantly heal, become stronger, stealthier — anything that runes can do for Shadowhunters. It would be absolutely amazing to be able to enhance myself by the swish of a Stele.

wand
4. Magic wands 
from Harry Potter (again)
Who doesn’t want to be able to Accio a book closer to them or magic a light on by the flick of a wrist? Magic wands would make life just that much easier and that much more exciting.

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5. Time machines 
from The Time Machine (by H.G. Wells)
For all the big and little mistakes in life, I have to believe that a time machine would fix most, if not all, of my problems.

If you could have any fictional thing in real life, what would it be? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading,
Kimberly

Top 10 Tuesday: Spring TBR

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Top 10 Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in 2010. It combines what I love most in this world into one—lists, books, and blogging. It couldn’t be any better suited for me! This week I’m talking about the books on my To Be Read list for the spring. Most of these are required reading for my YA literature class, but that doesn’t mean I’m any less excited to read them. Let’s get started!

Eleanor and Park
1. Eleanor & Park 
by Rainbow Rowell
I’ve actually already started in on this one and it’s GREAT.

2. Midwinter Blood by Marcus Sedgewick

Aristotle and Dante.jpg
3. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe 
by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Graceling
4. Graceling 
by Kristin Cashore

5. Feed by Matthew Tobin Anderson

Illuminae
6. Illuminae 
by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

7. The Bomb by Steve Sheinkin

Not That Kind of Girl
8. Not that Kind of Girl 
by Lena Dunham

Girl Interupted
9. Girl, Interrupted 
by Susanna Kaysen

10. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

What’s on your TBR for the spring? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy reading,
Kimberly

Treasure Tuesday

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1. I just finished the graphic novel “Blankets” by Craig Thompson. If you’ve never read a graphic novel, I highly suggest picking this one up. It was extremely well done and very inspirational.

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3. Last week was Big/Little week for my sorority, and I had SO much fun surprising my two littles throughout the week with gifts, candy, and more. I am so happy they are a part of my AXO family!

4. Find out if you were truly a bookworm in the 90s with this Buzzfeed quiz. I got “Reading Master,” and I don’t think much has changed since then.

5. I filmed with a GoPro for the first time last Saturday at my sorority’s rock climbing event. I haven’t checked out the footage yet, but it was quite the experience.

6.
koal
I hope this baby koala brightens your day as much as it did mine!

Happy reading,
Kimberly

Treasure Tuesday

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1. I am currently reading “Code Name Verity.” So far, it’s an amazing historical fiction YA novel that I definitely recommend to anyone interested in either of those genres.

2. If you didn’t know, I am in a sorority at college and last night I got my little(s?)!!! I am so excited and ready to make the week an amazing one!

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I love this. Every option in the world....nothing is decided for me yet. So many adventures to be had. The entire world is my oyster.

4. Here’s a list from Buzzfeed of the top YA books to read this spring. I’m looking forward to reading #4, #6, and #13. They all look amazing though.

5. I am the Editor-in-Chief of my yearbook, and this past week I was featured on my school’s new television broadcast show. Any PR is good PR!

Happy reading,
Kimberly