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Friday, December 12, 2014

Book Review: The Paper Magician

Considering it’s Christmas time and Harry Potter is starting to air on ABC Family, I was excited to read a YA (young adult) fantasy novel. So I picked up The Paper Magician, the first in a trilogy about a young girl and aspiring magician who becomes an apprentice to a renown Paper Magician after graduating from Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined. 

However, Paper Magic, or Folding, is seen as a joke in the young magician community. Our character, Ceony, initially wanted to study Smelting, or Metal Magic. So when she gets an assigned apprenticeship to a Folder named Emery Thane, she has to learn to deal with it, because the material you bond with during an apprenticeship is a lifetime commitment.

However compelling this magical world seems, I don’t want to mislead you. This is not a generous review.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Book Review: Girl Online

If your Facebook feed looked anything like mine this week, then I think you have heard of the book I am reviewing today. Headlines described a 24 year old girl in the UK whose debut novel has outsold any other author in the UK in its first week. That is an insanely impressive statistic, made especially obvious by the list of names she has beat (J.K. Rowling? Dan Brown?). When I clicked the link to discover this juggernaut of the literary world, I was pleasantly surprised to see Zoe Sugg staring back at me. I have been an avid viewer of her vlogs for a couple of years now, and I have always found her to be a delightful breath of fresh air in the YouTube community. Knowing what I already knew about her, I was anxious to get my hands on a copy of her book, and that I did.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Book Review: Without You, There Is No Us

Everything has been so hushed for decades that if you press your ear to the stillness, you can almost hear the muted cries.
That is how Suki Kim, the author of the newly released non-fiction Without You, There Is No Us, describes North Korea, a place shrouded in mystery, fear, and pain.

This deeply touching memoir gives an emotional, rare, and brutally honest glimpse into a world that few on the outside have seen. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Book Review: Station Eleven

This is one of those books that I have been dying to get my grubby paws on. I have seen countless positive reviews of this novel and the synopsis peaked my interest, but I have to admit that the cover pulled me in the most. I know it is a reader's SIN to judge a book by it's cover, but the tents surrounded by a starry night sky looked so peaceful! Peaceful is not a word I would use to describe this book now that I have read it, but the cover did not lead me astray nevertheless. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Book Review: The Cruelest Month

Kneeling in the fragrant moist grass of the village green Clara Morrow carefully hid the Easter egg and thought about raising the dead, which she planned to do right after supper.
The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny wastes no time getting right down to it's eerie business. A beautiful, terrifying murder mystery with a supernatural twist, this book rivals the best of the best and could very well be one of the best mystery crime novels I have ever read.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Book Review: John Dies At The End

...or does he?

If I’m being honest, this is either the worst book I have ever read. Or the best.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Book Review: Famous Last Words

I myself am not usually a fan of scary things. I avoid scary movies at all costs, but I do find it easier to read something that I normally would never want to watch unfold in front of my eyes. This month, when the girls and I decided we would tackle a spooky book for the month of October, I was hesitant to pick something to read, knowing that whatever I chose might give me nightmares. Luckily, I was informed that a friend of mine, Katie Alender, had a new book out that perfectly fit the description of what I was looking for: a murder mystery with a supernatural edge aimed at teenagers. I figured I was safe in assuming that since I knew the author, I live in the city that the story takes place in, and I was older than the characters involved, I would come out nightmare free. I may have been wrong. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Book Review: The Night Gardener

The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier is spooky tale much spookier than what you would expect from a book placed on the Middle Grade shelf. I found myself having to take breaks in the middle of the day so I wouldn't get too creeped out. Granted, I'm a big 'ole wuss.

But beneath the spooky elements is a wonderfully crafted narrative filled with rich characters, magic, and mystery making it a perfect read for the season.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Interview with an Author: Marcos Gabriel

A while ago we reviewed the non-stop thriller The Last Scenario by Marcos Gabriel. I was a little apprehensive to read it, as I don't normally enjoy the action/conspiracy genre. But, this was a wild ride that I did not want to get off of.

Now, just in time for The Last Scenario to get the much deserved spot light of being the Kindle Deal of the Month, we were able to sit down and talk to Gabriel himself to discuss the behind the scenes of a complicated and surprising novel.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Book Review: I Am The Messenger

You recognize the name Markus Zusak, not just because he’s the only Marcus who spells his name with a “k,” but also because he’s the author of the best-selling novel, The Book Thief, which was recently adapted into a terrible movie (but don’t get us started on movie adaptations—ahem, The Giver).

One of the reasons I picked up I Am The Messenger is because I really admired the unique voice that Zusak uses to narrate his more popular novel. And while the narrator of I Am The Messenger isn’t exactly Death himself, the novel still includes a coffee-drinking dog, free beer at church, and a whole lot of playing cards, which is apparently enough to tempt me into reading.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Book Review: Paper Airplanes

I’ll start this review by admitting that there are few things I find more important in life than good friendships.  I will delve further by saying that strong female friendships are of particular importance to me, and I am drawn to any type of media that explores this theme in a relatable and accurate manner. That being said, when I heard about this novel through one of my closest female friends, I was extremely intrigued. Even better, the same friend invited me to join her at a book singing for Paper Aeroplanes where we could pick up a copy.  

I had the pleasure of being able to meet Dawn O’Porter at a quaint book shop in LA and hear her read an excerpt from the novel. As a human, Dawn O’Porter could not be more endearing and likable. Her and her husband (Chris O’Dowd) showed up to the book signing with candy and TWO cakes decorated in theme with the book for everyone to snack on (as well as wine which is ALWAYS appreciated). During her brief introduction of the book, O’Porter spoke to the group as if we were old friends, and it was clear that what she had written meant a lot to her. She chose a perfect event in the book to sample, as it highlights the overall tone of the story and the relationship between our two narrators perfectly.  Before I even cracked open my newly signed hardcopy, I knew I was in love.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Book Review: Landline

You guys, if you haven't figured it out by now based on our other raving reviews, we're big fans of Rainbow Rowell. So when Goodreads alerted me to her new book soon to be released, you better believe I preordered it within the next 10 seconds. And to have that arrive fresh and new on my kindle on release day was a dream come true. 

Landline by Rainbow Rowell is a sweet and nostalgic novel that shows us how easy it is to forget your significant other and how hard it is to win them back.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Book Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain

This book is not quite like all the other books I’ve read. The story is narrated by a dog, whose sole passion in life is to become human. And in the meantime, a bunch of terrible things happen to his owner. 

And while I could appreciate the creative intent, I found that a dog narrator has its pros and cons.

Through the lovable eyes of Enzo, The Art of Racing in the Rain tests the boundaries of other-species-narration and possibly explores what it truly means to be human.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Book Review: What I Know For Sure

One of the most beloved and simultaneously polarizing figures in modern culture is Oprah Winfrey. Whether you know her through her 25 year talk show, her popular book club, her magazine or her television network, everybody knows Oprah. Or, at least we think we do. Before reading this book, I would say I had a pretty good idea of the kind of person Oprah Winfrey was. As a long time fan and almost lifetime viewer of her talk show, I was already convinced of her good intentions and positive effects on the world. Being that she is known for interviewing celebrities, it doesn't surprise me that a lot of people don't view her as anything but a rich gossip monger. One thing no one can deny is her generosity. At the end of every chapter in this book, I found myself imagining O shouting "YOU GET A LIFE LESSON! YOU GET A LIFE LESSON! EVERYBODY GETS A LIFE LESSON!" And life lessons I got.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Best Day of the Week to Read a Book

Could there quite possibly be a best day of the week to read?

For those of us who have busy schedules or just can’t quite find the right time to read, here’s a breakdown of the best times to read, in our opinion. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Book Review: The Silkworm

Robert Galbraith has done it again! And by Robert Galbraith I really mean J.K. Rowling. Her newest book The Silkworm published under her pseudonym was just as good if not better than her first in hopefully a long series of mystery novels starring the private detective Cormoran Strike.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Back to School Reading We Didn't Hate

It's back to school time! And that means Cliff Notes sales are on the rise! 

Required reading is the bane of most students' existences. But we put our heads together and came up with a few books that we definitely didn't mind being made to read. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Book Review: Under the Egg

I picked up Under the Egg on a whim at the Los Angeles Festival of Books while I was waiting for my next panel to start. I spent the next two hours turning page after page, pausing only once to change my location from a bench in the unforgiving sun to a cafe table under an umbrella. The jacket description references The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and I find the comparison to be rather apt. Laura Marx Fitzgerald’s middle-grade mystery of forgeries, smuggling, and stolen art is full of the same wonder and larger-than-life adventure that made E. L. Konigsburg’s novel a classic.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Why We Refuse to See The Giver

Last Friday the box office opened with a very important film filling the slots. The Giver based on the book by the same name by Lois Lowry had a lot of responsibility on it's shoulders. Unfortunately it couldn't seem to take the pressure and buckled under the weight. And we at the Lone Book Club just cannot bring ourselves to see such an important book turned into such a bad movie.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Book Review: Into the Wild

Not many people born into a respectable family would graduate college with top marks and donate $25,000 in savings to charity in order to hitchhike across the country.

This is the true story of Chris McCandless and how he died.

Inspired by my recent road trip across the northwestern United States, today’s review is dedicated to one of the most widely read travel essays. It’s a book I pick up now and again to read the things I’ve underlined, and to remind myself of that wild side in all of us.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

To Live Will Be An Awfully Big Adventure

This week, the world gave a collective gasp as we learned that beloved Robin Williams had died at age 63, and the even more shocking news that he had committed suicide. It is a tragedy that will resonate for a long time, but hopefully will bring awareness and acceptance of stigmatized mental illnesses. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Book Review: The Geography of You and Me

Sigh. I’ll admit that after my last review (All the Light We Cannot See) I was anxious to read something light and easy, less emotionally draining and inversely less moving. I browsed Goodreads for a bit and stumbled on this book. I can say without hesitation that this book indeed provided what I needed, a quick and very easy read. Unfortunately it didn’t provide much else. Luckily, I’m not holding that against Jennifer E. Smith, as this book was exactly what it offered to be.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Swag That Every Book Lover Should Have

You're a book lover. You've accepted that. You're not ashamed to be seen carrying around a paperback or pulling out your kindle anywhere anytime. You deserve to have that sweet swag to make your lifestyle even sweeter. 

We've compiled a few items that you and your bad book loving self shouldn't live without.
Justin Beiber ain't got nothin on our bookish swag.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Book Review: The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden

Jonas Jonasson has done it again. The author of the hilarious The 100 year old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared has created yet another unbelievable funny, witty, and bizarre piece of historical fiction in The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden. If you love history, rich characters, and absolute absurdity than you're really going to love this book.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Judging A Book By Its Cover: Round 2

Book covers speak to us. And it is impossible not to listen. Whether it's telling us "Read me," or, "Stay far away," our minds are practically made up before we read a single word.

In our last installment of Judging A Book By Its Cover, Mish took a look at a few popular book covers and literally judged them based on them. And since it was so popular and fun, we decided to try it again.

Don't judge this little English Muffin by her cover!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Book Review: Killer of Enemies

I’d been eyeing Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac for quite a while. A story of a badass Native American girl in a post-apocalyptic America? Yeah, I could get behind that. Now that I’ve finally read it, my only regret is that I waited so long. This story has all the trappings of a dystopian novel—a vaguely familiar futuristic landscape, regressed technology, an oppressed society cowering under the gaze of a totalitarian government, and unflinching brutality—presented in a fresh light and with a solid helping of scary creatures, gritty fights, and humor.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Based on a Story By...

They’re letting me ramble about animated films today! You guys are in trouble.

My cohorts here at The Lone Book Club know I love animation, particularly the old-school variety. I grew up on beautifully-rendered, Disney-spun tales like many of you did, I’m sure. And as we all know, Disney has a special talent for taking an existing story and running wild with it. Many of the classic animated films feature the line “based on a story by” in the credits - in some cases that phrase is applied more loosely than others. We all know the darker origins of classic fairy tales like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, and popular book adaptations like Peter Pan and The Jungle Book. Today I’m looking at a few of my favorite Disney films and digging up their lesser known origins.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Book Review: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

Cake has a taste. It’s limited to the mouth. You can taste sour. You can taste sweet. You can’t taste sadness. At least, you’re not supposed to.

In The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, Rose Edelstein can. She can taste the emotions of the people who cook her food. In her mother’s lemon cake, she tastes things she can’t even put to words. She tastes “hollow.”

Through her unique use of storytelling, Aimee Bender creates a world where junk food is gold and chairs are easier to be than people. And though it took me a while to digest it all, I came out on the other side of this book with a more profound interpretation of the traditional family dynamic and the feeling  that life is very strange, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not.

Though the magic might fool you at first, this is a sad book. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Awesome Children’s Picture Books turned into Movies

Many young adult and children’s chapter books have been adapted into movies over the decades, but I always find myself especially excited when a trailer comes out for a picture book adaption. Not only are these the books that originally inspired our imaginations at a very young age, but they also tend to become something much larger and deeper on the big screen.

From Roald Dahl to Dr. Seuss to Maurice Sendak, today’s blog post explores the awesomeness of children’s literature and how these seemingly simplistic books often hint at much deeper themes.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Book Review: All The Light We Cannot See

Do me a favor. Open a new tab in your browser. I will forgive you from taking a break from reading this review. Type in "Amazon" or "Barnes and Nobles" or however you acquire the books that you read. Buy this book. I promise I am not leading you astray. I had the PLEASURE of reading and reviewing "All The Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr this week, and I am so very glad that I did. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

From Book to Film, A Fan's Emotional Journey

You pick up a book. You think, maybe I'll like this. And maybe it starts off great and you know immediately that you were right. Or perhaps it's a slow starter, but once it get's going you know it's something special. Either way, you know you're reading a great book. And when it's over, you really don't know what to do with your life. You think, "Would it be weird if I started it over again right now?" You're hooked, you're in, you're a big fan and this is now on your list of favorite books.

And you live in that fandom for a while. You read it again, convince your friends to read it so you can have someone to talk to about it, and if they won't read it, well God damnit, you're going to talk to them about it anyway. And then, something happens, something that could be really good or really bad. It is announced that one of your favorite books will become a movie.

Let the emotional roller coaster begin.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Book Review: Doll Bones

Fresh off my first adventure into Middle Grade with Counting By 7s, I decided to keep up the trend and hop on over to Doll Bones by Holly Black. Although technically under the same umbrella genre of Middle Grade, Doll Bones is a completely different type of story than Counting By 7s

Doll Bones, is a coming of age adventure-horror that reminds you of how scary the idea of growing up can be.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

5 Genres Who Got It Wrong

Human beings like genres. Genres are comfortable. They’re familiar. They’re easy. And it makes sense. Our brains have to sort through an infinite amount of incoming information every day. By categorizing things, we can sift through that information faster, as well as form a basis for which we develop standards. But more importantly, genres sell. We get that.

But have you ever browsed through the genres on Netflix and found yourself saying out loud, “Wait a minute. The Truman Show isn’t a comedy. It’s a sick social experiment and paranoid  nightmare of mine. Sometimes genres take advantage of us as consumers, and so we might be disappointed when we're in the mood to watch/read something else. How many people watched M. Night Shyamalan's The Village wanting to see an actual horror movie? 

Do we limit ourselves by restricting books to definable label? As the great genre debate rages on the Internet, we’ve pointed out 5 examples of genres who didn't quite get it right...

Friday, June 27, 2014

Book Review: The Lake of Dreams

The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards is a very interesting story. Given to me by a friend, I was very excited to read it. Though it took me a while to get into it, I'm glad I made the effort to discover a sweet and sentimental story of self-discovery.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

5 Unique DIY Bookmarks

Bookmarks are important. Back when I was in middle-school a cool bookmark could set you a part from the rest. They can be fun, pretty, inspirational, anything. They travel all the way through the book with you. So choosing the right companion for the journey can be difficult.

Today I've decided to make that decision a little easier for you and show you 5 great DIY bookmark tutorials that will make your choice for a travel companion a little bit easier.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Book Review: Ruin and Rising

Book fans from all walks of life rejoiced this Tuesday morning as they picked up and began to read the final installment of The Grisha Trilogy, Ruin and Rising. Of course, I was one of them. Luckily, it wasn't a busy day at work so I was able to slip in a few chapters here and there while still doing what I was supposed to be doing.  Ok, no, I really mean I ignored everything else and devoured this book in one day. 

Ruin and Rising is the entertaining, heart-wrenching, surprising, and inevitable end that all Grisha fans were hoping for. 

Be aware, though no spoilers for this book will be revealed, there will be spoilers from the previous two books in the trilogy. So if you haven't read them yet, don't read this post, AND GET TO READING THEM, YA HEARD?!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Book Review: The Raven Boys

It's always been pretty easy for someone to convince me to read a book that is popular in the young adult fandom. The more fangirls (and fanboys) there are, the better. For months, a few of my friends have been begging me to read this book. I resisted only because I knew that once I started, I would not be able to read anything else until I had read the entire series, or what was out already. Recently, I knew I was ready to dive in. The Tumblr presence of this book was enough to assure me that I was not making a mistake, and my fangirl sisters did NOT let me down. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Movie Review: The Fault In Our Stars

John Green has enjoyed a fair share of praise in the past couple of months, but he has also been the recipient of a healthy amount of criticism. Say what you will about him, but the man knows how to write a story with mass appeal. It’s hard for me to remember the last time a film, adapted from a novel set in an entirely realistic world, was met with such anticipation. The absence of dystopia, vampires and the supernatural appears to be the breath of fresh air that young adult readers were secretly yearning for. The Fault In Our Stars garnered a lot of positive reviews even before it was released in theaters, which drove the tweens and adults alike in masses to the theaters opening weekend. I found myself shuffling along with the Friday night crowd this past weekend, anxiously awaiting to watch the chemistry unfold between Shaliene Woodley and Ansel Elgort. *SPOILERS TO FOLLOW*

Friday, June 6, 2014

Book Review: Counting by 7s

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan was my first true foray into middle grade novels. (Middle grade is for the 12-14 year old reader demographic)

The premise seemed very interesting and it was receiving rave reviews, so I thought I'd be safe and not read a book that would ruin the whole genre for me. And turns out, I read a book that opened the whole genre for me. I need to read more books like Counting by 7s!

This unforgettable book transcends that 12-14 year old age bracket, and should be read by all ages. It is a tale of loss, grief, friendship, perseverance, and triumph that grabs on to your heart and doesn't let go.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Daily Creative Rituals

If you hang around artists, writers, and other creative types for enough time, eventually the topic of how to be productive comes up. How to stay motivated, how to be consistent, how to avoid all the slumps and distractions and pesky desire to procrastinate that plagues any creative. Daily rituals aren’t for everyone, but there is a certain logic to making your creativity a habit as much as possible.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Book Review: Three Wishes

From The Book of One Thousand and One Nights (aka 1001 Arabian Nights), to I Dream of Jeannie, to Aladdin, the idea of powerful genies that grant wishes to their masters has long fascinated Western audiences. In Deborah Kreiser’s Three Wishes, these powers are bestowed upon an unsuspecting seventeen-year-old girl. Typically this tale is told from the perspective of the master. Sure, deciding how to use your three wishes is tough, but selecting the recipient of such a gift is arguably more complicated.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Book Trailer: Friend or Foe?

It's a relatively new phenomenon... that may or may not be a good thing. The book trailer is a new way to promote books. It brings literature into a new art form and can bring a little part of the book to life. But there seems to be a right and a wrong way to do it.

Lord knows we've all seen about 15 book trailers for James Patterson's new book of the month and probably a smattering of strange, vague, and perhaps semi-erotic trailers for upcoming YA romances. And all of these trailers have something in common; they're really cheesy. Ok, not all of them. But with such a hit or miss track record it makes me wonder why do people make book trailers at all?
Mr. Book Trailer himself, James Patterson

Friday, May 23, 2014

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars

The older I get, the more find that adults often write off the emotions and beliefs of young people. This is a book that makes you realize how unfair that is.

Terminal cancer patient meets cancer amputee in this young adult romance, and no one—not even a pretentious Dutch author with a drinking problem—can stop them from reveling in pretentious literature, ven diagrams, life metaphors, and Natalie Portman.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Ship Wars!

Pearl Harbor, Blackwater Bay, Gale-Peeta-Katniss. What do these things have in common? SHIP WARS. As tumblr users, we are well versed in the ship wars of the YA fandom. Choosing your OTP can be stressful, but when it happens. you will just know. Here at the Lone Book Club, we feel pretty strongly about some popular ships, so we decided to lay out our least favorite literary ships, as well as our favorites.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Book Review: Gone Girl

I want to start out by being completely honest with you, this is going to be a tough book to review. Mysteries are, in my opinion, best read when you go in knowing nothing about the plot. That is tough for this book already, because the trailer for the upcoming film adaptation has been released, and is garnering a lot of buzz. I picked this book up out of curiosity after having seen the trailer at the movies a couple of nights ago. After sampling the first few chapters and buying the book on a Wednesday morning, I devoured the rest of the book before I went to sleep on Thursday night. It is one of those books that you couldn't go to sleep without solving the puzzle.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Books Then, Books Now

Eleven-year-old me would never have read Harry Potter.

Seems weird, doesn't it, especially given that that's Harry Potter's target age. Nowadays I sort of envy people who had the joy of growing up with a magical book series that spoke to them so directly.

I had this thought while I was at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books last month. I was hanging out with a friend, we were browsing the tents and talking about our favorite books and authors, and I was once again struck by a question that came to mind now and then. This time, rather than mulling it over quietly and letting it drift away, I decided to run it by my friend.

Isn't it funny how the books you read as an adult can be so different from the books that made you fall in love with reading in the first place?