Talkin' About: Ghost Writers

Ghost Writers  
Recently, I was talking to my friend and blogger Jenn@JennReneeRead and she brought up a subject I hadn't really thought about before...Ghost writers. 
For those people, who, like me, had no idea what this was, a ghost writer is someone who writes under the name of someone else. They usually take on the writing style of the original author. James Patterson is a widely used example. He has so many ideas, and no time to write them, so he uses ghost writers. Zoe Sugg's book, Girl Online, also used a ghost writer.
Ghost writers can technically be used for anything, such as plays, articles, reports, and even blog posts. BLOG posts. This may not be me right now....

So what's the controversy? Some people say it's not fair that ghost writers don't get the credit and that the so-called "author" does. However, ghost writers are fully aware of the fact that they won't be acknowledged and are signing up for it when they take the job. Also their pay check is craaaazzyyyy. 
I'd never thought of ghost writers before, but now I want to check them out and learn more about them. 

What's your opinion? Have you heard of ghost writers? If so, do you think it's fair? 

The Catcher in the Rye Review

Title: The Catcher in the Rye
Author: J.D. Salinger
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Genre: Classics

Blurb: (from goodreads) Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with "cynical adolescent." Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he's been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists. It begins,
"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them."

His constant wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies (the two of course are not mutually exclusive) capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation.

Me: What to say. Goodness, what to say. 

 I honestly was a bit scared to read this book. I had no idea what to think about it going into it, because it is so famous for being a classic, but also insanely famous for being controversial. And even having read it, I'm a bit stumped. 
There is a certain quality to it, a certain beauty, that is so hard for me to put into words. The cynical, sarcastic, but so real tone of the book and Holden's character made the book almost eerily moving. There is no real objective in the book. It seems like I am just having a glimpse into Holden's everyday life, and there is no obvious resolution either. But it is really beautiful. 
The teenage years are tough. And they can be over glamorized, or sometimes authors can't tell it like it is. But Catcher in the Rye managed to give me a sense of hidden meanings behind Holden's tough demeanor. 
He seems like an immature teenage boy who just cusses a lot, but somewhere in the midst of all the cuss words I feel like he is genuine, and that I know him extremely well. He is so stuck in the teenage angst. Here is a boy who is intelligent, reckless, loving, crazy, and still trying to figure it out but not once does he talk about those things. You can just feel it. 

Am I confused on why this book is such a classic? Yes. Am I slightly crazed by the amount of cuss words in this book? Yes. (I find it hilarious) Am I still stumped on how to put my feelings for this book into words? Yes. But am I also amazed at the delivery and the accuracy of this book? Yes. 

Overall: A moving classic with amazing delivery and an interesting premise that made me think. A lot. 

Rating: 4 kisses!

Have you read this book before? How did you interpret it? 

Under A Painted Sky Review

Title: Under A Painted Sky
Author: Stacey Lee
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons 
Genre: Historical Fiction

Blurb: (from goodreads) Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician—not an easy thing if you’re a girl, and harder still if you’re Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hopes of fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life. With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier. But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys headed for the California gold rush. Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to their past, and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. But when they cross paths with a band of cowboys, the light-hearted troupe turn out to be unexpected allies. With the law closing in on them and new setbacks coming each day, the girls quickly learn that there are not many places to hide on the open trail.

This beautifully written debut is an exciting adventure and heart-wrenching survival tale. But above all else, it’s a story about perseverance and trust that will restore your faith in the power of friendship.

Me: An incredibly unique story with lots of great aspects.

The Ups: I have never read a story like this. It is hard to find a 1800s, going west book that is genuinely interesting, and even harder to find one about anyone of Asian descent. I think that is what made it so fascinating for me, because I could relate to her cultural differences (even though Sammy is Chinese and I am Korean) and everything about the path she chose to take and her journey was fascinatingly different from what I normally read in historical fiction. 
I loved the plot. I find that most 1800s stories tend to get a little slow after a while, which is understandable as there are basically cows, cows, more cows, and grass.
But the book kept me interested the entire time. Maybe it is because they had the constant problem of being men and being caught, but even the "drab" parts managed to keep me hooked.
I really enjoyed the characters as well. Sammy, like I mentioned before, was someone I could relate to, and found myself connecting to with the prejudice and hate she got for her race and the restrictions she felt both as an Asian and a girl at the time. Andy was one of my favorites, a faithful girl with a strong sense of direction that I felt like all the characters, and me as a reader, could rely on. The boys, West, Peety, and Cay...God, I hated them. But I loved them. I cared for all of them so much, even with their significant flaws. The author did a great job at making the reader really feel for all these different characters. 
This book was just a perfect mixture of adventure, suspense, friendship, characterization, eccentricity and everything else. Loved it. 

The Downs: The ending was a bit confusing. I understood it, but I found myself wishing for a bit more of a solid conclusion. 

Overall: A truly unique story with wonderful characters I grew to care for. A fresh take on historical fiction. 

Rating: 5 kisses! 

All Fall Down Collab Review

Title: All Fall Down
Author: Ally Carter
Publisher: Scholastic 
Genre: Mystery, Contemporary 

Blurb: (from goodreads) A new series of global proportions -- from master of intrigue, NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Ally Carter. 

This exciting new series from NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Ally Carter focuses on Grace, who can best be described as a daredevil, an Army brat, and a rebel. She is also the only granddaughter of perhaps the most powerful ambassador in the world, and Grace has spent every summer of her childhood running across the roofs of Embassy Row.

Now, at age sixteen, she's come back to stay--in order to solve the mystery of her mother's death. In the process, she uncovers an international conspiracy of unsettling proportions, and must choose her friends and watch her foes carefully if she and the world are to be saved.

I'll be formatting this review a little differently today. I collaborated with the awesome Christina @Books and Prejudice (go check her blog out). We decided to break it down into some of the main aspects of the book, and give both of our thoughts. I'll be talking in blue, and she'll be talking in pink


Me: It was interesting enough. The entire idea of her hunting after the Scarred Man and trying to get her revenge was really interesting. However, I feel like a lot of the plot was a bit expected, and some things happened "coincidentally" that wouldn't have happened in real life. I also saw the main plot twist coming at the end, which kind of downed the entire book. Also the ending. Who end a book like that? Just cut it off. Like what. the. hecky.
Christina: I really liked the idea of this plot.  I started reading this without having read anything about it, so I honestly didn't know what it was about.  But the idea of a disturbed girl hunting down her mother's killer in a foreign embassy.  That's kind of neat.  Some super silly things happened that made me seriously laugh.  But that ending.  I felt like Carter was attempting to do a cliffhanger but it just fell flat.  It doesn't really lead me to want to care about the next book.  

Me: This was a rough spot for me. I felt uncomfortable with Grace, the main character. I think her sort of "craziness" and her inclination to act on impulse was a bit disturbing and instead of feeling for her I found myself distancing myself from her as a reader. That made the entire book a bit distanced from me and didn't give me reasons for her doing the things she did and acting the way she did. I loved Ms. Chancellor. To me she didn't feel like the sugary-sweet counselor who pretended everything was okay. She understood what was going on, and she was okay with it.
Noah and Megan, I really liked. I think that their characters were well defined and described, and I found myself sympathizing for them, especially Noah. Alexei, however, I didn't like as much. I didn't feel the old relationship between him and Grace and their history. He was very...distant.

Christina: Our main character, Grace, suffered a severe trauma three years before the start of All Fall Down.  This leads her to be quite mentally unstable.  Many of the antics that she gets herself are quite comical.  One of the things that annoyed me about this book was the lack of character growth from Grace.  Yes, she's grief-stricken.  But by the end of the book, I felt like she could have changed some and learned how to deal more with her grief.  I love reading about people's takes on mental instability.  So I really felt like there was so much room for personal growth here.

I really loved some of the minor characters.  Ms. Chancellor and the Scarred Man are so complex it's almost impossible to guess who they truly are and what their loyalties really are.  They had me guessing all the way to the very end.  The two of them had me going thinking, "Is Grace really that crazy?" up until near the end of the book.  I liked Alexei, but I wish he were better developed.  It was almost like he was thrown into the mix for the sake of having a love interest.  And then taken out at the last minute when the author realized that it wouldn't work.  What was that?  Cliffhangers are at least supposed to make sense... right?


Me: THIS. This was beautiful. Even though it was a bit of a fantasy setting, I could totally see the embassy happening in real life. The different nations and their embassies coming together on one island and having issues was plausible, and I also found it fascinating to think about. How would it feel to go to the next building and be in a country that is normally half way across the world? Love it.

Christina: Adria.  What is this place?!  A small Mediterranean country that is peaceful, and super powerful in trade... okay??? A made up country, I get it.  The real setting, though, is Embassy row - the street lined with the houses of different embassies for different countries.  This is actually a pretty cool concept.  With it, we can mingle so many different nationalities of teenagers and have people correct our stupid Americanisms (it's football!).

Overall: An interesting plot with a great setting. A fresh concept. 

Rating: 4 kisses! 

How did you like our collab review? Any feedback? Thanks!

Talkin' About: Reading Slumps

Reading Slumps 
Oh reading slumps and all their evil glory. We all know the feeling I'm sure. Where every book we read just drags on and on and you just don't want to read. And you want to just ask the book gods of the world...

Well I am stuck in this wonderful condition and I apologize for not getting out so many blog posts. But I thought I might use this opportunity to ask you how you deal with reading slumps, and if you ever take a break with reading. 

I don't take reading breaks. I don't know why, but I feel really strange and uncomfortable if I'm not reading a book. So while I might go a few days without reading, I won't take breaks between books. I don't know, is this a bad thing? I feel like if I did, I wouldn't forget so much that is happening in the book and when I get into reading slumps, I'll be able to take a quick break and then move right back in. 

Reading slumps are not fun. At all. And yet I tend to get into them really badly. I won't get into them often, but when I do, it's hard to find a really good book that can get me back into the world again. But I've discovered these tactics work: 
1) Go back to the basics.
Any Harry Potter book can make me feel good about reading. For others, it's Jane Austen, or J.R. Tolkien. Try rereading something you know you'll enjoy. 

2) Take it easy on the blogging.
No need to crazy blog when you're on a reading slump. And don't discourage yourself by looking at a ton of posts on other blogs. Just relax for a bit until you get back in your routine. 

3) Leave time to read. 
Force yourself to do nothing before bed, or when you get home, and you'll start to read again. Works real miracles to read before I sleep. 

How do you deal with reading slumps? Do you take breaks?

Top Ten Characters You'd Like To Check In With

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish where we post 10 of our favorite things in each category.

Top Ten Characters You'd Like To Check In With
1. The Penderwick Sisters
It's been so long since I've read these books, and I now really want to. I would really like to see where the sisters are now, and what each of them are doing. Such a childhood favorite. 

2. Lina and Doon 
From The City of Ember, these are two characters I want to see what happens to...(maybe I should've actually finished the series) The world they lived in was almost hopelessly doomed I wonder where they would be now.

3. Eleanor and Park
I like to think that both of them are fully happy with who they are with now, and how they are living now, but have good feelings about the other person. I don't know, would they end up together? 

4. Everyone from Harry Potter
Kind of a must. I fangirl every time J.K. Rowling puts out a new short story about the grown up characters. 

5. Celaena
From Throne of Glass, I really want to see how she is at ruling a kingdom. Also, who does she actually end up with? *whispers* Chaol! Please Chaol!

6. Skeeter
Ahhh Emma Stone was PERFECT as this role. I really want to see how her life continues, and how writing The Help affects her later career. 

7. Josie Moraine
I really felt the desperateness of her wanting to leave New Orleans, and I want to see how life is for her now. Where would she be? What would she be doing? 

8. Elizabeth Bennet
...And Mr. Darcy. Forever OTP. I would love to see how their later life would have continued, and what kind of relationship they would've had in their elder years. 

9. Maddie Brodatt
I recently read this book, and yet I still feel like I want to see how Maddie's life continued. (Maybe I should read the sequel) She seemed like someone who would find a way to always be with people she loved and do things she loved. 

10. Anne Shirley
And last but not least, Anne Shirley. I didn't read all 8 books in the series, but I still feel like she could pop up right next to me as I write this and I would still love her to death. 

How about you? Who are some characters you want to check in with?

Code Name Verity Review

Title: Code Name Verity
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Publisher: Egmont Press
Genre: Historical Fiction

Blurb: (from goodreads) I have two weeks. You'll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.

That's what you do to enemy agents. It's what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine - and I will do anything, anything to avoid SS-Hauptsturmf├╝hrer von Linden interrogating me again.

He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I'm going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France - an Allied Invasion of Two.

We are a sensational team.

Me: I remember picking this book up 2 years ago to read it for a book club, and not being able to get into and dropping it. But I have tried again. And succeeded. 

The Ups: First of all, it's a WWII story. And it is practically impossible for me to not enjoy a WWII story in some shape or form, because I am crazy about WWII. (It just utterly fascinates me. Does anyone agree? Comment below if you do)
I loved that the main characters were girls. Again, going on my WWII geekiness here, it makes me extremely proud that women really got into the midst of the war in WWII. I think that the book showed the power of them, and what they did for the war, while also mixing in their personal stories. It really showed their bravery, and how capable they were. 
I really loved Maddie Brodatt. She was someone I felt like had a very strong voice, and I feel like she felt very genuine to me. Her character arc, I feel like, was very apparent even though she only spoke for half of the book. And I could really picture her world, and this may sound weird, but I felt a sense of comfort leaving her in her world after I read the book. It's like I knew she would be okay. 

The Downs: But I faced the same problem as the first time I'd tried to read the book. It took me so long to get into it, and when the book would finally get interesting, it's go back to lengthy boring ranting again. I also feel like Julie's part of the book, or her "report" so to say, was very confusing because it kept going back and forth to the past and back. I felt like I was getting sucked out and in of a story and it was chaotic and weird. 

Overall: Fabulous heroines, but not so great plot. 

Rating: 4 kisses! 

March Blogging: The Big Picture

March 2015: The Big Picture
Hey guys! April 1st YAY! It's also my birthday, actually. Yup. I was born on April Fool's Day. Anyway, March has been a pretty good month for me. I read some really AWESOME books and started some new things I'm excited about. This being one of them. This is my first monthly wrap-up post I've done, but I think it'll be a good way to really pull together everything that's happened this month.
I read some super fabulous books this month, and am really happy overall with everything I've read.

1) Count of Monte Cristo, The
An AMAZING classic that really got my head spinning, but was also decently easy to get through.                                                            4 kisses!
2) Into the Wild
A very interesting way of putting a spin on your average fairytale, but drags on a bit in the beginning. 
3 kisses!
3) When I Was the Greatest
A beautiful coming-of-age story, with phenomenal voice, characters, and relationships between said characters. Recommend it for more gritty contemporary fans. 
5 kisses!
4) I'll Give You The Sun
A riveting, heart-wrenching, heart-breaking-and-then-puts-it-back-together novel. Might be the best one I've read so far this year. 
Beat My Scale!
5) Pride and Prejudice
A charming classic with satirical humor and great characters. 
4 kisses!
6) A Thousand Pieces of You 
A very interesting idea, but confusing to follow. 
4 kisses! 
7)And Then There Were None 
An AMAZING thriller that, and I will quote my friend Claire from Cover to Cover, "EVERYONE MUST READ. EVERYONE." 
Beat My Scale! 
8) Popular
A cute story with a great narrator, but we've seen the concept before.
4 kisses! 

Talkin' About

On the blog, we discussed buying books and how freakishly expensive they are, and also I started a new idea for collab reviewing, where I would read a book together with another blogger and we would do a collab review. I'm super excited to have those out...

Goals for April 
I need need need to get back in my habit of commenting back. I was great at it for a while..and then I just kinda slumped. 

I am super busy this entire month, but I hope to get out a lot of reviews, and hopefully a few discussion posts. What are some things you want to see or discuss? 

I'm so sorry to all the amazing bloggers that check out my blog. I usually make it a habit of going and following and regularly commenting on yours, but I have been slacking...a lot. 

And of course, I hope to collab read! 

Awesome! How was your month of March?