Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Top Ten Favorite Heroines From Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish


Books

Eleanor Douglas
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

You'll find that I love quirky and unusual characters who overcome some sort of difficulty in their lives. Eleanor is the perfect example of that. She has flaming red hair, freckles and doesn't look or dress like anyone else. She comes from a life of poverty and abuse. In a life and situation where anyone would be understandably withdrawn and negative, she is actually very resilient, sharp, funny and perceptive. She is bright and talented and isn't hardened by her circumstances. She recites poetry beautifully, loves to read book and comics and listen to music. Park describes her by saying, "You just seem like yourself, no matter what's happening around you. My grandmother would say you're comfortable in your own skin." She's not a heroine as in fighting physical battles, but she overcomes many emotional and mental battles to stay focused and resilient in her life. What more could you ask for in a great heroine in literature?



Hazel Grace Lancaster

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Another heroine whose battles aren't fought on a battleground. She is a 17 years old with cancer and while I was initially afraid to read this book, it ended up being one of my favorites all due to the amazing characters. Hazel begins the novel very thoughtful and considerate with a wish to tread lightly upon the world. She tries to keep herself at a distance from others because she fears the impact her death will have on those around her, particularly her mother. Throughout the book, she grows and changes and learns to accept who she is and the role she can have in the lives of others. It was an incredible journey to go on with her.

Lola Nolan
Lola & the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

This was an interesting choice for me, but I just love the characters and settings in Stephanie Perkins novels. She and John Green write some of my favorite characters. They are always so unique and have such a depth of emotion and decisions that make them really multi-dimensional. Lola is another 17 year old, who is an eccentric costume designer. She wears colorful wigs and crazy outfits (most designed by herself). One of her biggest goals throughout the novel is to attend a school dance in a Marie Antoinette costume that she creates herself. She is just a true individual and accepts nothing less from those around her. She was just so enjoyable to read about.

Diana Holland 
The Luxe series by Anna Godbersen

These books take place in 1899 when the class system and gender issues were completely different than today. Diana Holland is a society girl in New York City. Her older sister is more involved in the society side of things, while Diana prefers to stay at home reading books (one of many reasons why I loved her). She is rebellious and independent and doesn't see the point of the society lifestyle. She has wild brown curly hair, pale skin and brown eyes. Throughout the books she ends up falling in love with her sister's fiance, then leading a life of more adventure in the world. She finds society dull and seeks to make her own way. I found her fierce independence very refreshing and while this didn't play out the way a typical young adult romance normally does, I really enjoyed the gender roles that were explored and the insight into what women had to face at that time.

Tris Pryor
Divergent series by Veronica Roth

I loved Tris throughout the books because of her willingness to say it like it is. She grows and changes throughout the story and following those changes was interesting and enjoyable for me. Her bravery right in the beginning to choose Dauntless over Abnegation was a great start for her character, but as the story continues, we learn that she is smart, strong-willed, direct, sarcastic and funny while also not having the greatest self-esteem and still struggling to understand her mixed emotions. Her divergence is truly played out in her constant struggle and confusion with the feelings inside her. She faces many adversities, but she is a loyal friend and a brave fighter. I was one of the few who was able to accept the full circle of her story throughout the series, knowing that her decisions were always based on her strength of character and her bravery.

Katniss Everdeen
The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins

Ah Katniss. She is definitely one of my favorite female characters because, let's be honest. Not many of us would be able to survive a real Hunger Games, but Katniss did - twice. Because she rocks. She is a provider and survivor by nature and you see that right from the beginning where she is providing for her family after her father's death. She hunts with a bow & arrow. She even goes against the norm to protect others in the hunger games as well. She risks her life for others. She is definitely hardened by her circumstances and she doesn't make friends easily and she comes off as harsh to many, but I found that when she did develop relationships that they were that much more rewarding because they had been earned. She had worked through difficulties with others to have a meaningful relationship, whether that was Cinna, Gale, Peeta or even Effie. She is rebellious, brave and defiant, but she stands up for others and her bravery proves beneficial for anyone around her in the end.

Hermione Granger
The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Who doesn't love Hermione?? She is bossy and loud, but intelligent, loyal, brave and endearing. She is a rule-follower, but she is clever and adapting and proves herself a valuable person to have on your team. She is talented and gifted with great magical ability. She is a great friend and proves to be one of the most loving and reliable members of the main trio. I enjoyed seeing her growth over 7 novels. That is one of my favorite thing about a long-running series - that you get to know the characters and you see them grow up and you grow with them. Hermione is one that grew up as I did and getting to experience that journey was one of the most rewarding experiences of my reading past.


TV

Buffy
Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I absolutely love Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I know it's a cult favorite so it wasn't exactly mainstream, but I enjoyed every single episode I watched. Buffy reluctantly accepts her role as Slayer in the beginning of the series and over the course of each season she grows to better accept her role and her calling as the Chosen One. This doesn't come without many moments of questioning or self-doubt, but she proves a fiercely brave and independent hero. She managed to fight all kinds of baddies, but keep her keen fashion sense and hairstyles. She was adorable, but she was also fierce. She was probably the most combat-able character on the show. My other favorite thing about the show and the character of Buffy was that through the fantasy storylines, they explored real issues and I got to see Buffy experience love, loss, bullying, and maneuver through friendship and fighting. She wasn't always perfect, she wasn't always put-together, but she always made it through.

Movies

Mulan
Mulan & Mulan 2

Yes I am the mother of 2 girls and so yes I watch a lot of Disney movies. My favorite Disney heroines are overcame great obstacles to show their bravery & independence (oh wait that's all of them). Mulan was a great example of this because she takes on the role of protector for her family when her father is called to service in the Chinese army. She pretends to be a man because a woman wouldn't be allowed in that role and by doing so, she proves to be just as (if not more) adept that the men she is fighting alongside. Her bravery and courage are truly admirable and I love that my girls enjoy watching this movie!

Merida
Brave

Merida is one of the newest princesses and I loved the movie from the first time I saw it! I love that there isn't even a love story in it. Merida's goal is to be allowed to choose her own future and to save her mother when she is in trouble. Merida isn't perfect and she is shown to make poor choices when she is angry, but she learns so much throughout the movie and her relationship with her mom is the main relationship in the movie. Her bravery is again her most admirable quality.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Me Before You

Me Before You
by: Jojo Moyes

Should you read it?: Maybe
...if you're ready for a good, ugly cry. 
Category: Adult

From Amazon:  They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose . . .
Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.
Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

Things I liked: 
I enjoyed the idea of the story. It was unique and interesting and very well thought-out. I felt that there was a lot of depth to all of the characters. I look forward to reading more of Jojo Moyes' books.

In terms of characters, I liked the way they briefly switched narrators for a few chapters. I've never seen it done that way, but it really did help with that idea of depth of understanding for each character.

It was very thought-provoking, in terms of quadriplegia and that community. I had never known much about it and it was interesting how they provided so many different perspectives. It also had me thinking a lot about life and death and the idea of allowing someone to die with dignity. Again, it provided lots of different perspectives and just left me thinking for a long time after it was over.

Things I didn't:
Well, I cried. A lot. And not the good kind of cry. It was the ugly, snot everywhere, I can't hardly get control of myself kind of crying. I'm not sure if I liked that aspect of it and what all made me cry. I'm still deciding.

Overall: Excellent story, excellent writing, but so so sad. 

Finished on: February 17, 2015
Book 16 for 2015

Monday, February 16, 2015

Change of Hart

Change of Hart
by: M.E. Carter

Should you read it?: Yes
Category: New Adult

From Amazon: My name is Jason Hart. As the best defensive lineman in the country, I eat, sleep and breathe football. And I like it that way. I’ve only got a few more years before I’ll have to retire, so expending energy on anything other than football seems like a waste of time. That is, until I have a random meeting with a little boy that just lost his father. We have more in common than you might think and it creates an unlikely bond. As our friendship grows, so do my feelings for his mother. I know Addison, as a recent widow, isn’t ready to date again. But I want to get to know her better, in spite of all her rejections.

Things I Liked:
It was again just a super cute & enjoyable story. Nothing fancy, nothing crazy. Just an enjoyable read.

I tend to like stories with sports guys as the main character, which is weird because I don't really watch sports. But I liked that.

I also liked that he wasn't the perfectly cut kind of guy that you usually read about in contemporary romance books. He was more real and so was she.

Things I Didn't:
I will say that I didn't like the way Hart & his friend Lindsey interacted. I was annoyed by the way they act grossed out by each other when it comes to romantic stuff. It just played as very childish to me. Beyond that, it was good.

It is slightly predictable in terms of conflict, but I still think most people who read it would enjoy it.

Overall: Another cute, fun read.

Finished on: February 16, 2015
Book 15 for 2015

Mud Vein

Mud Vein
by: Tarryn Fisher

Should you read it?: Maybe
...if you liked Gone Girl or that kind of mystery/suspense.
Category: Adult

From Amazon: When reclusive novelist Senna Richards wakes up on her thirty-third birthday, everything has changed. Caged behind an electrical fence, locked in a house in the middle of the snow, Senna is left to decode the clues to find out why she was taken. If she wants her freedom, she has to take a close look at her past. But, her past has a heartbeat…and her kidnapper is nowhere to be found. With her survival hanging by a thread, Senna soon realizes this is a game. A dangerous one. Only the truth can set her free.

Things I Liked: 
I am trying to branch out in my genres this year and this was the first step for me in that goal, so I liked the genre. It was more mystery and suspense, but it had a little love story thrown in there which strangely worked for me. 

I didn't see the ending coming. I kept wondering who did it and why and none of my guesses ended up being right, which is interesting to me.

It left me with lots of thoughts. I keep going back and forth between whether I would give this 5 stars and say it's a definite yes you should read or keep it at 4 and say it's a maybe. I just don't know. I am really interested in what other people think of it.

I thought the cover was weird and creepy when I first looked into this one, which is one reason why it took me a while to read it. But now that I've read it, I get it. It's a great cover.

Things I Didn't:
I don't know that there is anything I didn't like about the book itself. There are things that were uncomfortable to read or things that I'm not happy about happening, but they added to the book in a way that was very much needed.

Overall: This one will stick with you after you finish it.

Finished on: January 15, 2015
Book 14 for 2015

Boomerang

Boomerang
by: Noelle August

Should you read it?: Yes
Category: New Adult

From Amazon:  Welcome to Boomerang.com, the dating site for the millennial gen with its no-fuss, no-commitments matchups, and where work is steamier than any random hook-up. Mia Galliano is an aspiring filmmaker. Ethan Vance has just played his last game as a collegiate soccer star. They’re sharp, hungry for success, and they share a secret. Last night, Ethan and Mia met at a bar, and, well . . . one thing led to another, which led to them waking up the next morning—together. Things turned awkward in a hurry when they found themselves sharing a post hookup taxi . . . to the same place: Boomerang headquarters.
What began as a powerful connection between them is treated to a cold shower courtesy of two major complications. First, Boomerang has a strict policy against co-worker dating. And second, they’re now competitors for only one job at the end of summer. As their internships come to an end, will they manage to keep their eyes on the future and their hands off each other, or will the pull of attraction put them right back where they started?

Things I liked: 
This is just a really cute, fun story. It's nothing super special, but I enjoyed it so much that I had to give it a yes!

I enjoyed Mia's family. I thought they were so funny.

Things I didn't:
I don't usually like it when the trilogy involves other characters from the same book, so I'm not super excited to read the next book(s) in the series. That isn't really a negative on this particular book, though.

Also, if you're looking for anything thought-provoking or even richly told love story, this isn't that. But still, for what it's meant to be, it's great!

Overall: Pick it up if you're just looking for a quick, super enjoyable read!

Finished on: February 10, 2015
Book 13 for 2015

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

January 2015: Month in Review

Number of books read: 11
Favorite: Beautiful Redemption

You Were Mine by: Abbi Glines
Kiro's Emily by: Abbi Glines
After I Do by: Taylor Jenkins Reid
On Dublin Street by: Samantha Young
Wait for You by: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Rush Too Far by: Abbi Glines
Saving Francesca by: Melina Marchetta
Untouched by: Melody Grace
Hudson by: Laurelin Paige
Never Never by: Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher
Beautiful Redemption by: Jamie McGuire


February Releases I'm excited about: 1

Red Queen by: Victoria Aveyard

Books on my nightstand to be read in February: 5


Me Before You by: Jojo Moyes
Boomerang by: Noelle August
One Plus One by: Jojo Moyes
Unravel Me by: Tahereh Mafi
Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by: Morgan Matson



Reading Rundown



Wait For You
By: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Should you read it?: Maybe
…if you like New Adult.
Category: New Adult

Overall: Love story. Not much different from other new adult, but still an enjoyable read.

Finished on: January 15, 2015
Book 5 for 2015


Rush Too Far
By: Abbi Glines

Should you read it?: Maybe
…if you’ve read the other Rosemary Beach books about Rush & Blaire.
Category: New Adult

Overall: It was fun to see Rush’s perspective of the beginning of their relationship.

Finished on: January 17, 2015
Book 6 for 2015



Saving Francesca
By: Melina Marchetta

Should you read it?: Maybe
…if you like Young Adult coming of age kind of stories.
Category: Young Adult

Overall: This wasn’t what I was expecting. I liked how the author explored the girl’s relationship with her mother and the mother’s mental breakdown. It was interesting.

Finished on: January 17, 2015
Book 7 for 2015


 Untouched
By: Melody Grace

Should you read it?: No
Category: New Adult

Overall: I can’t even really remember what this was about. It’s a novella to start a series, but it just didn’t capture my attention enough to read anything else.

Finished on: January 18, 2015
Book 8 for 2015


 Hudson
By: Laurelin Paige

Should you read it?: Maybe
…if you’ve read the Fixed on You Trilogy already.
Category: New Adult

Overall: I do not know why I like this series so much, but I do. It was great seeing Hudson’s perspective. It definitely answered a lot of questions!!

Finished on: January 22, 2015
Book 9 for 2015


Never Never
By: Colleen Hoover

Should you read it?: Yes
Category: Young Adult

Overall: This was so interesting!!! It’s just a different idea. I think it’s going to be a novella series. It was fascinating. I have so many questions!! I can’t wait for the next one.

Finished on: January 26, 2015
Book 10 for 2015


Beautiful Redemption
By: Jamie McGuire

Should you read it?: Yes
Category: New Adult

Overall: I love this whole series. This was just as good as the others.

Finished on: January 28, 2015
Book 11 for 2015
 

Blue Lily, Lily Blue
By: Maggie Stiefvater

Should you read it?: Maybe
…if you enjoyed the first 2 in the series.
Category: Young Adult

Overall: I am still trying to decide how I feel about this one. It took me a while to get into it, but by the time I got to the end, I was really interested! But the beginning was just kinda slow for me.

Finished on: February 3, 2015
Book 12 for 2015