A Maryland Summer Update!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I have been a crazy busy mess. I am well into the first month of my

Ocean City sunset

Ocean City sunset

internship and it has been a bit time consuming, though thoroughly exciting. I never imagined a future working alongside the Hill, but who knows? I’m kind of digging it so far (at least when I’m not caught in the never-ending web of monotonous Excel spreadsheets).

Add this to the usual summer activities, and there is basically no time for blogging. Changing that now. I wanted to let you know what my summer

Ball game

Ball game

reads have been so far. Summer is the best time for reading. Lying on the bench on the front porch and reading for hours. It’s awesome.

I somehow ended up re-reading Catching Fire for the 56th time, which is what I’m doing now. I’m honestly not sure how that happened. Other than that, I’ve read Divergent by

Crab feast!

Crab feast!

Veronica Roth, The Magicians by Lev Grossman, Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan and I also re-read The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan. I started to read Insurgent by Veronica Roth, but I was getting too emotional and I was freaking myself out so I stopped. I’ll revisit that one later when I start acting a bit more like a normal person (as if).

It’s been a nutty week. I started it at the beach, came back for my internship and will end it by returning to the beach and finishing Catching Fire.

What have you guys read so far? Any recommendations? Any fab debut novels?




Character Interview: Cooper of The Devil’s Triangle

Last week, I had another opportunity to work with Toni De Palma on a character interview with Cooper from The Devil’s Triangle, which I reviewed here. Below are his answers!

1. What pushed you to make the drastic decision to burn down your school? This is a touchy subject for me. I rather talk about Grace, the hot girl in my English class. Oh, so you’re not buying my little switch and bait routine, huh? Well, okay, if you really want to get on my case about the school, let’s just say it’s not that I wanted to hurt anyone. Things get out of hand sometimes, you know? I can get out of hand too. You may not believe this about me, but I’m really not a bad guy. But it’s up to you to figure that out for yourself.

2. What thoughts were running through your head after you started the fire? Thoughts? Does “Oh Crap!” count for a thought?

3. When you confronted Lucy and the others in heaven, what were you feeling? Honestly, I was trying to keep my cool. I mean standing in front of those people…if you can call them people…was pretty intense. I tried to be like…hey, how you doin’? and You lookin’ at me? You lookin’ at me? But my best Bobby Deniro fell flat.

4. What was your first reaction upon seeing Grace? And the other friends you had when you returned to earth? Grace is smoking hot, but she’s the type of girl who can burn you if you’re not careful. The guys on the football team who are supposed to be my friends? Lets just say I’m not exactly a team-player kind of guy.

5. How would you compare Grace and Lucy? Lucy is sexy, but she’s the devil’s sister. I’m a guy who likes to take chances, but even I know my limitations. Once I can get Grace to relax, I’m sure she’d see that the two of us could be great together.

6. What was it like to suddenly be a substantial part of a happy family? What did you learn about yourself, and about life in general? Wow, I didn’t know I was getting into a therapy session. Yeah, the Wandermans are cool and Ryan, my faux-bro, is a nice guy for a nerd that is.

7. How do you think this mission changed you, personally? Boy, you don’t let up huh? Okay, I’ll admit it. This whole trip down memory lane has choked me up a couple of times. When I first started this little trip I didn’t think that a tough guy like me could really care about anyone else but himself. I realize that’s not true and that my hearts a lot bigger than I gave myself credit for.

8. Is there anything you would have done differently? I don’t like hurting people and, even though Grace forgives me, I’m not sure I can forgive myself for some of the stuff I’ve done. But that’s what she says second chances are all about.

I had never heard of character interviews before this one. They’re kind of fun, yeah?

May Favorites

1. Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys. This is one of the best books I have ever read. The main character, Josie, has such a level-headed, responsible and hopeful voice. It’s a story that’s technically thought of as YA, but I think it leans more toward historical fiction. Set in the 1950s in New Orleans, Sepetys successfully writes about the “Big Easy” and one girl’s desperate attempts to escape it.

2. Sara Bareilles. An old favorite that I’m bringing back because she just released a pretty awesome new song. 

3. Scrubs. Another old favorite that I’ve gotten into again. It’s the kind of show that you never get tired of.

park outside my stop!

park outside my stop!

4. Percy Jackson on the metro. I just started an internship in DC, so everyday I have to take the metro into the city. It only takes about 25 minutes, but that is complete boredom with out a book. I’ve been re-reading the Percy Jackson books in anticipation of the new movie (that comes out on my 20th birthday!) I realize I am probably the only 20 year old who would choose to celebrate this way. I don’t care.

5. Starbucks Black Tea Lemonade. There’s nothing like it when summer comes around!

6. AMERICA!!! Just got back to the old states and loving it.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

I think I may stop limiting my reviews to debut authors. I really like the idea of only reviewing debut authors, but it really cuts out a lot of awesome books that I read and want to write about. I’m going to try this out and see how it goes.

I’m quite late to the game on Eleanor and Park. It seems everyone was reading and reviewing this one months ago. I’m not hip enough for that life, so here we are.

From Goodreads:

“Bono met his wife in high school,” Park says.15745753-1
“So did Jerry Lee Lewis,” Eleanor answers.
“I’m not kidding,” he says.
“You should be,” she says, “we’re sixteen.”
“What about Romeo and Juliet?”
“Shallow, confused, then dead.”
”I love you,” Park says.
“Wherefore art thou,” Eleanor answers.
“I’m not kidding,” he says.
“You should be.”

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.

First Impressions: Read it if you’re a sucker for a quick, cheesy, (over)dramatic love story (which I am, regrettably).

Almost every review I’ve read of Eleanor and Park just raves about it. If you like it, you love it. If you don’t like it, you still love it. It has a little bit of everything. A throwback 1980s setting, complicated relationships with siblings and parents, abusive fathers, body issues, bullies, unlikely friendships, music and romance. I mean, it really does have all those plot lines. So it’s a very consuming and detailed book, and really interesting to read. Eleanor and Park make mix-tapes for each other, like real, old school mix-tapes, and every time they were recording one or sharing one, I laughed. I’m not quite old enough to claim a spot in the mix-tape generation, but I do remember my best friend’s mom making me a mix-tape of B*Witched and Britney Spears in second grade. If you don’t know what B*Witched is, please go watch Smart House immediately. If you don’t know what Smart House, please just leave. And find someone who does.

These little details of Eleanor’s and Park’s lives gave the book depth, charm and identity, and it’s probably what I like best about it.

However, this book was a strange circumstance in and of itself. It was the first time that I have ever gone from totally loving a book to being sort of indifferent towards one. In other words, the first 200 pages were surprisingly better than the rest of it. At a certain point, the plot takes this dark turn and, I don’t know, I just wasn’t into it. I felt like they had enough problems to work out and then she throws in this whole other pile of terror (terror because it was terrifying). It seemed like Rowell was grasping for an added dimension that she just didn’t need. It was like she wanted her book to be more than just a love story, like she wanted it to be a story about one person’s struggle for survival. I’m sure a lot of people found this twist exciting. I just found it unnecessary and, frankly, overdone. What she had before this was an honest and troubling, yet hopeful story about a teenage relationship and about growing up, finding out who you are, and learning to be happy with that. To me, that was perfect.

Despite all this, I really did like the book. I read it in a day and a half, so it was quite the page-turner. It was quirky and friendly and engulfing and the characters of Eleanor and Park were as real as they get. It’s definitely one to pick up if you like coming-of-age stories or just young adult in general.

8 out of 10 stars.