Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Reading Year in Review - Top 14 of 2014 + Honorable Mentions





An abridged version of this post originally appeared on Examiner.com
 
I spent my year navigating other people’s heartbreak, falling in love for the first time, discovering new worlds, figuring out superpowers, but mostly I spent it with my face in a book, sitting on the sofa with a cup of coffee and a cozy blanket.  Saying that 2014 was a great reading year for me would be an understatement; finishing the year with 127 books read it is my best reading year to date and included a varied mix of Adult Fiction, Children’s Literature, Comedy Memoirs, Graphic Novels and the staple in my reading list Young Adult Fiction.  Instead of going the traditional reading route this year for some books I decided that listening to an audiobook would be preferable, and for me it really worked.  It allowed me to enjoy “reading” while I worked, drove and on rare occasions, cleaned.   

The most important thing I took away from my grand reading adventure was this: Happiness for me is directly related to how much time I make for reading.  The more time I allow for reading, the more content I am, and the more I dedicate myself to everything else in my life.  So for 2015 I plan to read, read some more and then read until I can’t see straight.  Before we ring in the New Year I wanted to share my Top 14 Books of 2014 with superlatives and a few honorable mentions.  Let me know what your thoughts are on my choices and what your Top 14 reads of the year are.  



#14: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Martin Selznick
Superlative – Most Unique Read
A magical adventure told through stunningly simple drawings and minimal words, The Invention of Hugo Cabret takes you on a journey of discovery.  I was unsure what to expect from this one, and I was absolutely enchanted by the illustrations and simplicity of this “mystery” as it is unwound before your eyes.  It was made into a movie a while back and I have heard wonderful things about it. I am really curious to see how the movie will compare to this imaginative book.


#13: Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
Superlative – Most Likely to Give You Nightmares
Haunting, disturbing and downright creepy; the biggest compliment I can give to this stunning graphic novel is it reminded me of reading Edgar Allen Poe’s short stories.   I picked this one up on a whim at the bookstore and was immediately drawn in by the stark swaths of color and dramatic illustrations.   A slow build of scary with every turn of the page, it also makes a beautiful addition to your library.   



#12: Covet by Tracey Garvis Graves
Superlative – Most Memorable Plot
Having previously read Ms. Garvis Graves On the Island I knew that she was a master at delayed gratification.  Building up so much tension between her characters that you, as the reader, literally start sweating; she is that good at conveying chemistry through words.  Even so, I never expected what was waiting for me when I cracked open Covet.  She perfectly captures the need and want of a woman to feel appreciated and wanted by her partner.  The utter longing of the characters drip from the pages and the tension builds until the very end in this “will they – won’t they” story.  It left such an impact I read it twice.  

Find my mini video review of Covet here




#11: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
Superlative – Most Likely to Revive a Genre
This is technically a cheat, as this was the last book I read in 2013, but I couldn’t leave it out when I was compiling my list.  This book breathed new life into a genre that I had completely abandoned: Vampire Fiction.  Holly Black turns the traditional story of vampires on its head by infusing it with a zombie apocalypse vibe and stripping it down to a gritty story of survival.  No glitter, no werewolves, just an old-fashioned vampire story.   This was the book I recommended and loaned out the most in 2014 and I received rave reviews from everyone who read it.  



#10: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Superlative – Best Retelling
Full disclosure:  I love retellings.  I especially love Beauty and the Beast retellings.  But, it’s rare that the author does something new with the story.  Rosamund Hodge managed to create the most unique version of the Beauty and the Beast story I have ever encountered.  Reminiscent of Greek Mythology but with a twist of Shakespearean Tragedy, Cruel Beauty was a stunning blend of the familiar and the new.
Find my mini video review for Cruel Beauty here



 #9: Shatter Me Series by Tahereh Mafi
Superlative – Most Surprising Reading Experience
I had been hearing about this series for years.  How could I not? It was all over Goodreads and I recall seeing the cover image of Juliette in her white dress surrounded by shattered glass and thinking…”that just looks dumb.”  I am the poster child for judging a book by its cover, despite that; I managed to pick up Shatter Me in the spring.  At first, I thought all my preconceived ideas of the book were right.  I hated the main character Juliette, as a matter of fact; I have never hated a main character as much as I did Juliette.  But, the writing was so stunningly haunting, beautiful, and poetic that I could not stop reading.  Tahereh Mafi is a gifted author; an author who manages to create an utterly loathsome heroine, but who has such a way with words that the reader looks past it.  Once I did I couldn’t get enough.  The Shatter Me Series is completely stolen by Warner and Kenji and that’s perfectly fine by me (and I would guess most readers).  Through three novels and two novellas Taherah Mafi takes the reader on a fun dystopian journey of self-discovery for her heroine and heroes and someone manages to do the unthinkable by the end of book three, Ignite Me: she teaches the reader to appreciate and like Juliette and understand her choices.   



 #8: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Superlative – Cutest Couple
Stephanie Perkins is the uncrowned queen of YA Contemporary Fiction.  She manages to infuse all her stories and characters with a sweetness and warmth that makes for the best kind of escapist literature.  I read all three of her books this year and while they all made me smile I couldn’t help but feel a special attachment to Lola and Cricket.  I know Anna and the French Kiss started it all, and while many swoon for St. Clair’s French charm it was Cricket’s nerdy idiosyncrasies that really hooked me.  Her ability to consistently provide her readers with an uncomplicated and enjoyable story every time is an incredibly special ability, and will keep this reader loyal. 



#7: Saga Volumes 1-3 by Fiona Staples and Matthew Vaughn Not for children under 17
Superlative – Best Graphic Novel
Saga is the graphic novel series that everyone was talking about this year.  A gorgeous take on the classic star-crossed lovers’ tale, except in this story our hero and heroine happen to come from different worlds and those worlds are enmeshed in a bitter war.  World building at a level that is uncommon in a graphic novel, Saga introduces its readers to new worlds, monarchies, hierarchy’s and species.  It does an excellent job of living up to its name.  Volume 4 was released on Christmas Eve and I immediately scooped it up (technically as a present for my husband, but not really) eager to see how the next chapter in this epic romance will unfold. 

Find my video review for the Saga Series here




#6: The Giver by Lois Lowry
Superlative – Most Likely to Make You Regret not Reading it in School
I don’t know why it took me so long to pick up The Giver. It is teeny tiny, generally considered a modern classic, and beloved the world over.  Somehow, none of that information persuaded me over the past 20+ years of reading to actually crack it open and see what all the fuss was about.  I can’t tell you what inspired me to do so this year, but I can tell you, I regret that I didn’t do it 20 years ago.  It is a brilliant little bit of Young Adult literature masquerading as a Utopian cautionary tale.  Jonas, the hero, is the narrator and the readers guide into this perfect world. Somehow, Lois Lowry does in 179 pages what many authors fail to do in 400. She makes you associate with Jonas in a way that makes you feel like he is your proxy living for you and struggling but surviving in this idyllic world.  By the time the story ends in its non-committal infuriating way you can’t believe how much story was told in so few words. 



#5: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Superlative – Heroine Most Likely to Remind You of You
This was the year I read everything of Rainbow Rowell’s I could get my hands on.  Attachments, Fangirl and Landline, each a great book with relatable characters and a great story, but Fangirl stood out.  With her heroine Cath, Rainbow Rowell introduces a fan girl to idolize to a generation of fangirls (myself included).  Her obsession with Simon Snow the Harry Potter like character and the slash fan fiction she spends hours writing reminded me of the year I spent plunged into the abyss of Twilight and Harry Potter fanfic and what sweet torture it was waiting for the next chapter to go live.  It may just be that the story brought back so many enjoyable memories for me, but I absolutely fell in love with Cath, Levi and their awkward stumbles into falling in love. 



#4: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Superlative – Most Likely to Give You Heart Palpitations and Make You Want to Vomit
Oh Outlander, the effect you have had on a generation of readers is something special.  At over 800 pages you are definitely not an easy book to commit to, but once you do the payoff is spectacular.  A singular reading experience and one that has since gone unmatched, Outlander is truly unlike anything I have ever read.  Incredibly detailed world building, historical accuracy, intricate plots, a heart stopping love story, adventure with every page turn and some truly traumatic moments await you as a reader of this epic tale of time travel.  To categorize Outlander as a romance would be a disservice to this masterwork of storytelling, but it has to be said that the Jaime, Claire and Frank love triangle is pitch perfect.  Outlander was such an immersive experience for me that I needed a break upon finishing book one. At times the story can be too graphic, and some scenes especially during the last third of the book made me feel physically ill, but I understand Diana Gabaldon’s reasons for including them.   Somewhere along the way I decided that I would do one Outlander book a year until I finish the series, it definitely helps that the Starz show is brilliantly made and here to fill the Jaime and Claire void. 

Find my video review for Outlander here 
 


#3: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Superlative – Most Beautiful Book You Will Ever Read
I never expected a coming of age story about to friends in their early teens to be so hauntingly beautiful.  Every sentence felt like a love letter from the author to the reader.  Simple, emotive and beautiful, reading Aristotle and Dante felt like reading a book length poem.  No superfluous words, every line counted and made its intended impact on the reader. It may be cliché to say it but, I laughed, I cried and felt completely satisfied with this gem of a book.

Find my video review for Aristotle and Dante here



#2: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Superlative – Most Nostalgic Read
There is something so special about books like Ready Player One.  Ernest Cline has lovingly crafted a completely unique story while making it entirely relatable to the reader by utilizing 80’s pop culture.  This book was an absolute joy to read from the first page.  The narrator, a teenage boy, is your guide through this marvelous world filled with pop culture and video game references.  From the first chapter you are completely transported and you don’t want to put down this cyber-punk adventure until you know how it will end.  For those of you so inclined, I recommend doing an audiobook – traditional book combo read.  The audiobook is narrated by Wil Wheaton (of Stark Trek, Wesley Crusher fame) brilliantly, he infuses it with such nerdy glee you can’t help but get sucked in.  If you love video games, 80’s nostalgia, pop culture, or just an amazingly fun and well told story Ready Player One is a must read.  

Find my video review for Ready Player One here


#1: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Superlative – Best Love Letter to Book Lovers
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is a book to be savored.  I knew going in that this was going to be a story that I would treasure.  It is not a particularly long book, so before I even cracked the spine I decided that I would take it slow, read only a chapter or two a day. Author Gabrielle Zevin, known for writing insightful and touching Young Adult Fiction has taken what on the surface appears to be the mundane life of an older set in his way bookstore owner and turned it into a fairy tale.  She manages to turn A.J.’s solitude and loneliness into something thoughtful rather than sad.  And when A.J.’s life is completely turned upside down by an unexpected surprise you go right along this new, exciting and slightly scary journey with him.  Gabrielle Zevin carefully chooses the characters for her story, their importance in A.J.’s life and really makes them part of it.  You never feel as they are there as filler, but rather important parts of the story that you as the reader grow to love.  At times funny, sad, bittersweet and wistful, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry is a gorgeously written love letter to a life filled with love and books and it was the absolute highlight of my 2014 reading journey. 

 Find my video review for The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry here


Honorable Mention
Georgia Nicholson Series by Louise Rennison
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Alienated by Melissa Landers
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness 
Invisibility by David Levithan and Andrea Cremer
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman  
Throne of Glass  by Sarah J. Maas.

A pictorial guide to my year in books


Monday, August 25, 2014

The Slow Burn of a Great Book


I began reading The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin after having seen it on Goodreads on a friends news feed.  I had a brief interaction with said friend where she told me verbatim "If you don't like this, I'll eat my hat."  I thought that was a rather unique way to tell me that I would love the book and had to read it.  So, I asked for it for my birthday and received it in due course.

I picked it up one day after work and read the first 40 or so pages.  I instantly fell in love with A.J. Fikry and his curmudgeonly ways.  How could you not?  He was a reader, bookstore owner, widower and overall lonely soul who was just going through the motions of his life.  And then, one day, everything changes for him.  His world spins out of control and he is set on a path that will change his life forever.  One that he initially fights against, but eventually gives into.  I decided on that first night that I would do my utmost to savor this story, a true rarity for someone like me who typically inhales my chosen books.  But AJ's story needed to be enjoyed like a bowl of rich creamy ice cream.  Slowly and holding each bite in your mouth until it melted away.  So I did just that.  Reading this 258 page book over the course of several weeks.  Allowing myself only a handful of chapters every few days.  The way I felt reading this brings to mind one of Bradbury's most famous (if not THE most famous) quotes
 "It was a pleasure to burn."
That is how I felt reading The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, it was a slow burn of pleasure from cover to cover.

There were so many moments about this pseudo memoir that I loved. The chapter openings, each highlighting a short story and how it connects to what will follow.  The supporting characters, every one of them adding a layer of depth and heart to the story that most authors wish they could reproduce.   The heartbreak.  The joy.  Even the tears I couldn't stop from crying.  Sentences so beautifully written that it felt like a gift to read it.  But, the highest compliment I can give to this gem of a book is that I forgot I was reading a book of fiction and felt like I was part of AJ's story.  As if, AJ really lived and I was experiencing the twists and turns of his life from inside the cozy confines of Island Books.  To borrow a line from the author:
“Every word the right one and exactly where it should be. That's basically the highest compliment I can give.”

Top 5 Jane Austen Adaptations II 2014

Friday, August 22, 2014

Why We Broke Up: A Bittersweet Tale

My full review is up...here is an excerpt. 
"The biggest draw for me was the realism. The pangs of first love you could clearly hear in Min's retelling of their relationship and the demise of what was such a delicate thing to begin with. It reminded me of being young and in love. Of how it felt when that boy that wasn't supposed to like you because you belonged to different worlds kept furtively looking your way until one day he finally made a move."

To read the full review go to Examiner.com



Friday, August 8, 2014

Hitting my 2014 Reading Goal

Despite making such a lofty reading goal in the opening days of 2014, I didn't think it was something that I would be able to accomplish...not to mention reaching the goal 5 months early!

It took a lot of dedication to hit my goal so soon, and I must admit that it was a great feeling.  Reading is such a solitary hobby that most people think you are crazy for choosing to spend a night in curled up with a book rather than out socializing in the world.  Given the choice, however, I always choose the book.  This year more so than any other I decided to focus on reading.  I can't begin to explain how gratifying it was to finally hit that 100th book.

So, in honor of hitting my goal I decided to honor my 100 reads.   I have created a bit of an infographic for my year in reading so far.  Let me know if you disagree with any of my ratings.







Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Currently Reading - June and Summer Reading Challenge


I decided that TBR lists are really not for me...I always pick a few books and feel an unreasonable amount of pressure to read the books I have chosen.   I am a mood reader, so having the TBR pressure is counterproductive.  That being said, this month I decided to set one book goal for myself. 

I want to read Book 1 of A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin.  I'm about 300 pages in so far, via audiobook and traditional book and am really enjoying it.  Even though I watch the show, I am finding that I absolutely love all the details in the books that HBO just doesn't have th time for.  My favorite example of this is Bran's storyline.  I can't get enough of it, and actually wish that they would have cut back on Ned's storyline somewhat to feature more of Bran's.  But 'tis life.

Despite having already picked up an epic fantasy whopper at 800+ pages I also decided that this would be the month that I read Outlander by Diana Gabaldon in anticipation for the Starz series of the same name that begins in August.  I must be insane because honestly both of these books are incredibly long and take your full attention.  But habing discovered how much I enjoy the audio/book combo I decided to employ the same technique for Outlander.  I am listening to it while I work and I read a couple chapters at night once I get home.  I have flown through this book.  I think it's taken me about a week and it should be finished later today.  I absolutely love it, though, I am not sure if I am going to continue on with the series...it's another heavy commitment a la Song of Ice Fire.  If I do decide to continue reading the other books I may do so later on.

Aside from those two massive reads, I've read about 6-7 other books/graphic novels.  Mostly light and fluffy YA's to balance out the seriousness of my heavy reads.  But, I also started the Grisha Series last night and plan to finish all three books before months ends.  Once I finish those, I want to wrap up reading The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead in anticipation of the release of Silver Shadows this summer.

So basically, I have lost my damn mind this month.  Instead of keeping it light I decided to be a sadist and read the craziest books I could get my hands on...and the month is only half way through. 


On another topic entirely...I decided that on top of my annual Reading Challenge (this year's goal is 100 books)  I wanted to try for a 50 book summer.  I am giving myself all of June, July and August to accomplish this goal.  I think it is entirely feasible if I continue at the rate I have been reading for the last few months (average of 20 books a month).  If I am being honest though, I am suffering from a bit of reading fatigue and have felt myself slowing down...and with the addition of my whopper reads I am not feeling too hopeful.  So cross your fingers that I can make it all happen!

'Tis all for now.  If you'd like to see what I read in May, check out my monthly wrap-up posted on YouTube and of course, stay tuned for this month's wrap up and review vids. 

Bye!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

May Unboxing Video

My May unboxing video is now live.
Subscribe, like comment.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Bout of Books Read-a-thon - UPDATED

 
http://boutofbooks.blogspot.com/p/welcome.html
 
 
I think I am going to attempt my first read-a-thon, in what is the craziest week of the Spring for me.  Who says this girls doesn't love a bit of a challenge? 
 

What is Bout of Books? I'm so glad you asked!

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 12th and runs through Sunday, May 18th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional.
 
For all Bout of Books 10 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog.
 
 
So let's see...

Time Devoted to Reading:

My goal is to read at least 2 hours a day during the weekdays and at least 5 hours each weekend day.  This is much less than my usual weekend reading but with so much craziness next week I will be lucky if I can scrape together 5 hours.  

My Goals:

  • To read until I'm sick of it. 
  • Fall asleep with my Nook on my face
  • In a perfect book reading world finish six (6) books or 1,000 pages 
 

Books to Read - maybe, this could change depending on my mood

  • A Great and Terrible Beauty
  • The Sea of Monsters
  • Destiny Rewritten
  • To all the Boys I've Loved Before
  • Throne of Glass
  • It's Not Summer Without You

Updates - Coming Soon

Monday
Number of books I've read today: 2 children's book, 180 pages in Throne of Glass
Total number of books I've read: 2.5
Books: A Boy Names Dickens, Paperbag Princess and Throne of Glass
 
Tuesday
Number of books I've read today: 1
Total number of books I've read: 3
Books: Throne of Glass

Wednesday
Number of books I've read today: 1
Total number of books I've read: 3
Books: Hyperbole and a Half

Thursday
Number of books I've read today: 1
Total number of books I've read: 3.5
Books: Hyperbole and a Half

Friday
Number of books I've read today: 1
Total number of books I've read: 3.5
Books: Obsidian

Saturday
Number of books I've read today: 1
Total number of books I've read: 4
Books: Obsidian

Sunday
Number of books I've read today: 1
Total number of books I've read: 4
Books: Hyperbole and a Half

So in total I read: A Boy Names Dickens, Paperbag Princess, Obsidian and Throne of Glass.  In addition, I read half of Hyperbole and a Half.  I didn't make my reading goal nor stick to my TBR but it was an insanely crazy week for me...so yeah. 


 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Enormous April Book Haul 50+



It took me three days to edit it down but it's finally live!!  

Watch, subscribe, like and comment <3

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

My YouTube channel is now live!

I recently decided that I wanted to venture into the deep and scary waters of YouTube and start my own BookTube channel. 

 
 
As of this post I have two - not so great quality, videos up. 
Pass by, subscribe, like and comment. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

March Wrap-Up

March was nothing short of a fantastic reading month.  I had been in an epic slump since 2014 began.  I don't know if something in the Spring air(or forever summer, I live in Miami afterall) made me devour books at the rate I did.  But I can honestly say, I am never happier than when I read a great book and this month was FULL of great books.  In total I read 17 books: 3 Children's Books, 2 Novella's, 1 Adult Contemporary re-read, 8 YA books, 1 Lady Porn,  and 1 Middle Grade.
 
All ratings can be found on my Goodreads profile.
 

 
The Kissing Booth by Beth Reekles
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi
Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi
Fracture Me by Tahereh Mafi
Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

 
Dream Animals: A Bedtime Story by Emily Winfield Martin
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce
The Dark by Lemony Snickett
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Horten's Miraculous Mechanisms: Magic, Mystery and a Very Strange Adventure by Lissa Evans


Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
The Trouble With Being a Duke by Sophie Barnes
Austenland by Shannon Hale
Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberh
Adorkable by Sara Manning
Better of Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The final chapter in The Goddess Test series did not deliver



My goodreads review can be found here.
 
I really do not like to post negative reviews, I try to avoid them as much as possible.  But being that I have talked about my love for this series so many times before I felt like I needed to wrap it up in some small way.

I picked up this book mid-way through March, excited that I was finally getting around to finishing up the series.  I could tell from the moment I started that it was not going to deliver the thrills that I had anticipated.  I felt the story was predictable, the main character annoying and worst of all the death(s) in the story unnecessary. It took me 3 weeks to read and I had to force myself to open my Nook to read it.  I think the only reason I actually finished was because I told myself I would not read another book until I finished.  So I finished it. And it was just okay. And that is so dissapointing after following this series for as long as I have.

Rounded up from 2.5

 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

 
Review originally posted on Examiner
 
To be honest, I'm a bit over vampire stories.  If I'm being really honest, I am entirely over them.  I actually picked this up not knowing what the premise of the story was, but because I felt that it was high time I read a Holly Black book.  I recall several years ago when I was originally getting into The Mortal Instruments Series, her books were considered on par with Cassandra Clare's.  I made a mental note at the time to give her books a shot.  And then I never did.  The other reason I picked this book up was the cover. Simple and it manages to draw you in.
 
All that being said, I started the book and was immediately sucked into this dark world.  Vampires are typically romanticized in YA but this story painted a grim picture of what our world could be if it was overrun with blood thirsty creatures of the night.  I think my favorite bit of world building was the foreshadowing about the dangers of leaving the windows open at night.  Even if one just needed a bit of air.  An absentminded crack of the window is all it would take to change your life forever.
 
Holly Blacks, character building and writing style are wonderful and the only complaint I had on that front was that Gavriel wasn't as fleshed out as I would have liked him to be, but fot the sake of keeping a bit of mystery where he is concerned I can see why she chose to leave us a bit in the dark.  Tana, is a sympathetic main character and I found myself trying to stear her away from bad decisions with my mind.  Ms. Black really makes you feel like you are on this dark and twisted adventure with Tana and her companions. 
 
The other aspect of the story that I loved is how modern it is.  This is a story that is written for the world we live in.  A world where all races, genders and sexual orientations are represented and Holly Black made sure to give them all space. 
 
Overall, this was a great read and one that I would recommend to lovers of dark YA stories.
 
 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Fault in our Stars...an incredibly late review.



via redbubble



This review originally appeared on Examiner.com 

As an avid reader, I have often been told to read John Green. As a Young Adult reader, I have been shamed multiple times for not being a fan. I tried once, in my eyes reading 70 pages of An Abundance of Katherines, was more than enough time to decide wether or not I liked his work. I'm sure it's quite obvious that I did not, in fact, enjoy An Abundance of Katherines (AAoK). For the next few years, anytime someone would mention John Green to me I would rage at them that I really didn't get what the fuss was all about. I would explain how I not only found AAoK uninteresting but just plain boring. I would always end the conversation the way I do when I discuss authors that don't interest me, "They aren't for me."

I have never been happier to be wrong. After dragging my feet for almost a year, I sat down late this summer to read The Fault in our Stars (TFioS). I knew the premise of the book going into it, honestly, a story about a teenager fighting cancer did not seem like something I wanted to subject myself to. But for some strange reason, I decided to read it on my birthday of all days. Aside from it being a hugely busy day for me, and one that would not allow for a ton of free time, I thought that being so overwhelmed with plans would prevent me from getting overwhelmed by the emotion of the book. And I was right. Thank the lord. 

I cannot imagine how incredibly sad I would have been had I sat down to read TFioS in one sitting. The story itself is not, in my opinion, meant to be sad. The tone of the story is more hopeful than doom and gloom. Hazel and Gus are full of life and love despite the harshness of the reality they live with. And somehow, despite how sad the story actually is, it leaves you feeling optimistic and in my case raring to take on the world. I think that with TFioS, John Green did the impossible, he wrote a cancer book that isn't actually about cancer, but about the joys of living your life despite it. A book, that I thoroughly recommend to all readers, not just the YA fans. And even though I am sure it goes without saying, I'm going to anyway: I am a John Green fan. DFTBA.