#LR2012 Challenge: No! Wait! What? Killer Cliffhangers

Happy Sunday, friends.  I hope you’re all enjoying this last weekend before Christmas (or, you know, fourth weekend in December, for those of you who don’t celebrate Christmas).

I mentioned in my post a few days ago that I would be hosting a challenge as part of the Last Reads of 2012 Readathon, and that day has arrived!

Last Reads of 2012 ReadathonWant to know more about the readathon, or sign up?  Check out this post.

Today’s challenge is called No! Wait! What? Killer Cliffhangers.

You all know what I’m talking about.  These are the books that make us want to tear out our hair,

Pulling-Out-Hair

bite off all our fingernails,

nail-biting-disease

and personally berate the authors for messing with our mental well-being.

These books have endings that are BRUTAL.  They can leave you speechless, or breathless, or in tears.  I don’t know about you, but the anticipation of finding out what happens next nearly kills me.  I spend MONTHS thinking about all the possibilities, and run out to get the next book as soon as it comes out.

So here are some of the books I’ve read this year that have had killer cliffhangers.

pandemonium1. Pandemonium, by Lauren Oliver

So there are a couple of big things that happen near the end of this book.  I sort of figured that what happened on the last page was going to happen (sorry to be all vague, but I don’t want to spoil it for those who have yet to read the series!), but it was still pretty jarring, and such an abrupt ending!  I must know what is going to happen! And Requiem doesn’t come out until MARCH.  Darn you, Lauren Oliver!

spark2. Spark, by Amy Kathleen Ryan

Um, WHAT. In a lot of cases, the 2nd book in a trilogy can kind of drag.  SO NOT THE CASE HERE.  This book had action throughout, and just when it seemed like there would be a resolution, THAT ENDING.  What is going to happen?!?!  It’s going to bother me until next summer, when I can finally read the next book.

once3. Once, by Anna Carey

So I’m sort of hoping against hope that Caleb will pull an Alex in Delirum when Rise comes out, even though I realize that this is pretty much impossible, as well as completely irrational on my part.  Either way, TERRIBLE ENDING.  By which I mean, why do you write these things and then make us wait so long to see what happens next, silly authors?!?!?!  But also, despite my outrage at some of the final events, the very end has important implications for the future of the revolution against the government, so I WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS.

variant4. Variant, by Robison Wells

Wow.  Just wow.  This whole book was one crazy revelation after another for me, and the ending?  How is that even possible?!?!?!  I haven’t yet read Feedback, since I really have to be in the right mood to read books like this (I’m hoping to get to it over my school break!), but I am really interested to see where the author takes things from here.

5. Crewel, by Gennifer Albin

So immediately after I finished this book, this happened:Screen Shot 2012-12-20 at 10.59.51 PM

goodreadsUnfortunately, since Crewel just came out a few months ago, it’ll be a while before I can find out what happens.  I really want to know more about the state of the world they arrived in at the end of the book, how the whole love triangle thing is going to work out, if there’s a way back…I just have SO MANY QUESTIONS.

In the meantime, though, I guess I can keep thinking about which brother I’d choose…

Well, there you have it: five books with endings that drove me crazy, and the continuations of which I am eagerly anticipating.

What were your ‘killer cliffhanger’ books this year?  Let me know in the comments, or write your own challenge post (you can do this even if you’re not participating in the readathon).  And ff you do write a post, feel free to link to it in the comments, so everyone can read it!

Reading Update

Finished: Lola and the Boy Next Door, by Stephanie Perkins; Long May She Reign, by Ellen Emerson White; A World Away, by Nancy Grossman; Beautiful Chaos, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl; Bittersweet, by Sarah Ockler

Currently Reading: Let It Snow, by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle

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Caturday (6)

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This is my sister’s kitten, Bennie.  Both kitten and sister are arriving today for the holidays!

#LR2012 Challenge: Sleep? What’s That For?

Hello all!  Welcome to day 4 of the Last Reads of 2012 Readathon.

Not sure what I’m talking about?  Want to sign up? Find out more here.

Today’s challenge, hosted by Lily Lost in a Book, is called Sleep?  What’s that for?

In other words, we’re talking about those books so good we just couldn’t put them down-they kept us up all night!

I’m definitely guilty of picking up a book and not putting it down until I’ve finished it (even if it takes until the wee hours of the morning, and I have work/school the next day).  Here are some 2012 reads I just HAD to stay up all night to finish.

sisterhood1. Sisterhood Everlasting, by Ann Brashares

I was a HUGE fan of this series when it first came out, so when I found out there was a 5th book, and that it looked at what the girls were doing 10 years down the line, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.  Since I’ve always found these characters compelling, plus this book has a little bit of a mystery to it, I just couldn’t put it down.  I had to know how the girls would end up and if they would get a happy ending.  Needless to say, those of you who have read it will understand why I cried my eyes out while reading this one.

selection2. The Selection, by Kiera Cass

First of all, when I got this book, I didn’t realize that it was the first in a series.  So I stayed up until like 3 am to finish this book, and as I got to the end and realized there wasn’t going to be any resolution, I was SUPER irritated.  I don’t LOVE either of the romantic interests in this one, but I do love reading about royalty, and the society (the caste system, in particular), intrigues me.  So I don’t regret staying up to finish it, and I’m eagerly awaiting the second installment (with the hope that the prince finally opens his eyes and gets rid of that horribly snobby girl).

tfios3. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green

I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH.  I know I’m nowhere near the first person to proclaim my undying love for the works of John Green, but this is one of those books that I recommend to EVERYONE because it is THAT GOOD.  Yes, it is (really, horribly) sad.  Yes, the ending is perhaps a bit unsatisfying.  But there are few characters I have loved more than Hazel Grace and Augustus.  The writing is amazing, and I love that Green doesn’t dumb down the characters just because they are teenagers-I love the big words, and the snappy retorts, and just the intelligence of it all.  I stayed up late, and sobbed uncontrollably, and immediately began telling everyone to read it.

ready4. Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline

This book is really long, and took a bit for me to get into, and despite my love of 1980s pop culture, contained a lot of references I didn’t get.  But I loved it anyway.  A world in which everyone spends almost all their time in a virtual reality?  Super intriguing.  I also love scavenger hunts, virtual or otherwise.  This was just a really fun read-I had to know how things would end up!

goosegirl5. The Goose Girl, by Shannon Hale

I am so sad that it took me so long to discover Shannon Hale.  Her books are AMAZING.  I thought that Isi handled her situation so well, and was so resourceful.  Plus, I loved all of the supporting characters as well.  After staying up super late to finish this book, I immediately requested the three other books in the Books of Bayern series from the library-they are such a good choice for fantasy lovers!

So there you have it-these are the books that kept me up all night this year.  What are some of the books you couldn’t put down?  Let me know!

#LR2012 Challenge: Standalone Sorrow

So as I mentioned previously, over the next few weeks I’m participating in the Last Reads of 2012 Challenge.  I shared my reading goals with you in my last post (and you will be happy to know that my list of books has already changed a lot-just chalk it up to perpetual indecision).

ANYWAY. In addition to reading like crazy (or at a leisurely pace), there are also daily blog challenges to partake in, if one is so inclined.  Today’s challenge, hosted by Eileen at Singing and Reading in the Rain, is as follows:

“Standalone Sorrow is about me expressing how much I wish the standalones I loved were really a series, just so I could see more of a few characters, more of a plot, or I just wanted to have my heart ache a little longer!”

Since there are definitely characters I’d love to see more of, as well, I thought I’d share with you a few books that, in my perfect world, would have a sequel (or many).

jkt_9780545334747.indd1. Take a Bow, by Elizabeth Eulberg

This was absolutely one of my favorite books this year.  I loved the characters so much, plus it was set at a performing arts high school in New York City.  I would love to see what happens next for Emme, Ethan, Carter, and the gang.

statistical2. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, by Jennifer E. Smith

Because 24 hours is not nearly enough time to spend with Oliver.  End of story.

secondchancesummer3. Second Chance Summer, by Morgan Matson

Definitely one of the saddest books I read this year, but I couldn’t help but love it anyway.  I also think that seeing how the characters cope with grief, long distance relationships, trying to go back to their normal lives, etc. would make an interesting story-it’s not JUST because I want more Henry (not gonna lie, though-that is a large part of it).

So there you have it.  Even though the world of YA is filled with sequels and trilogies, sometimes to the point of exasperation, there are some characters who you’d love to have around for more than one book, and these are my picks.  What are yours?  Let me know!

A few notes:

-Readathon progress: 2 books read so far; Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins and Long May She Reign by Ellen Emerson White (actually a re-read)

-It’s not too late to join the readathon yourself! Visit Jen’s, Patrick’s, or Eileen’s blogs to sign up, and follow along on Twitter-#LR2012.

-On Sunday, I’ll be hosting a readathon challenge on books with the most brutal cliffhangers-make sure you stop by to check it out and add your two cents!

-The holidays are upon us!  If you’re in the mood for something more festive to read, head over to InfoSpace and check out my posts on taking advantage of libraries during the holidays and holiday greetings in the digital age.

because what else do I have to do in the latter half of December?

So I’ve never really been one to keep track of every book I read, or set a goal of reading a certain number of books each year. My goal has pretty much always been to read as much as I can, whenever I can.  However, in my recent internet wanderings, I stumbled across the Last Reads of 2012 Readathon, hosted by Jen, Eileen, and Patrick.  I thought to myself, “hmm, that sounds like fun.  And I always have a ton of books I want to read anyway.  And it will be a way to motivate me to keep blogging now that the semester is over. And perhaps I’ll make some new internet friends.”  So then I said, “self, LET’S DO THIS.”

As readathons go, this one falls into the ‘laid back’ category.  You can read as many (or as few) books as you want, work toward completing a yearly goal or challenge, or not set a readathon goal AT ALL.  However, I am competitive, and I thought I should probably set some kind of goal for myself, even if it’s just ‘finish the library books you have checked out before they’re actually due.’  So I decided to spend some time this weekend figuring out exactly what and how many books I’ve read so far in 2012, in order to aid in creating said goal.  (Full disclosure: by ‘some time,’ I actually mean all of Saturday afternoon.  When you are not one of those people who sets numerical book goals and keeps a detailed list of every book you’ve read, remembering all the books you’ve read in 11.5 months is HARD.  Note to self: in 2013, YOU ARE KEEPING A LIST.)

Anyway, as it turns out, I’ve read somewhere around 146 books so far in 2012. (I say somewhere around 146 because I’m pretty sure I reread at least one of the Harry Potter books and possibly a few other books, but I can’t remember exactly, so I’m hedging my bets.)  So it would be logical to try to end the year at a nice, even number like 150, right?  But here’s the thing: 4 books in 15 days doesn’t seem like much of a challenge, especially when the majority of books I read are YA (i.e. quick reads).  So I’ve settled on a goal of reading 156 books for the year, meaning I’ll have to read 10 books during the readathon.  Why 156, you ask?  Well, there are 52 weeks in a year; 156 books averages out to 3 books a week, which sounds good to me.  Plus, 10 books averages out to less than a book a day, which will give me time during the readathon to do other things, like blog, write Christmas cards, and finally finish unpacking (yes, I moved in August.  SHUT UP.).

So, want to know what books are on the list for the readathon?  Well, let me tell you:

Beautiful Chaos, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Beautiful Redemption, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Speechless, by Hannah Harrington

The Forsaken, by Lisa M. Stasse

The Girls of No Return, by Erin Saldin

A World Away, by Nancy Grossman

Wither, by Lauren DeStefano

Lola and the Boy Next Door, by Stephanie Perkins

Vessel, by Sarah Beth Durst

A Partial History of Lost Causes, by Jennifer DuBois

This list is subject to change, of course, depending on what my mood is, what other books arrive for me at the library, if I get books for Christmas, etc.  Also, if you think there are any MUST READ, amazing, fantastic books that should be on my list, feel free to let me know in the comments-I never turn down book recommendations!

If you’re interested in joining the readathon, clicking on the picture at the top of the page will take you to Eileen’s blog, where you can sign up.  If you want to keep track of readathon participants’ progress, follow along on Twitter: #LR2012.  And check back here over the next few weeks; there might be some fun book-related posts!

Happy reading!

caturday (5)

cat baby

In the wake of what happened yesterday, check out this and other moments to restore your faith in humanity in this Buzzfeed article.  Disclaimer: it might make you cry, but for totally different reasons than yesterday’s events did.

the intersection of library school and college football

So, if you read yesterday’s post, you know I’ve spent the past few weeks working on a pathfinder assignment for one of my library school classes.  You also know that I’m indecisive, and changed my topic a BUNCH of times.

What you may not know is that one of the topics I considered for this project was Manti Te’o.  You see, I happened to attend Notre Dame as an undergrad, and I’m just a tad bit proud of my alma mater right now.  In case you are not a college football fan, Notre Dame had an undefeated regular season and, one month from today, will be playing for the national championship against Alabama.

Notre Dame Football_JPEG-09a3c (1)My competitive nature lends itself well to winning football seasons, but in the decade since I enrolled at Notre Dame, we haven’t had particularly impressive football teams.  However, I’m also proud of the fact that Notre Dame has high academic standards for all students, including athletes; Notre Dame has led the pack in terms of athlete graduation rates for a number of years, and this year is the first time that a team has been ranked number one in both football and in graduation rates.  I also like that Notre Dame students generally want to do something good in the world; people care about things at Notre Dame, and demonstrate this through their actions both during college and after.

Manti Te’o, of all the athletes I’ve watched since I started paying attention to college sports, is truly the epitome of a Notre Dame student.  He’s a great football player, sure; but he’s also a strong student and a caring, empathetic person.  He thinks before he speaks, doesn’t disparage others, and goes out of his way to do kind things for others.  So I thought that, since Te’o embodies all of the good things for which Notre Dame stands, I’d put together a little unofficial Manti Te’o pathfinder for all you curious readers (and any undecided Heisman voters who may have stumbled across this post).

mantisiWell, first of all, you may be wondering just who Manti Te’o is.  You can check out his Notre Dame profile for statistics and a little background information.  This article, from the Notre Dame student newspaper, The Observer, provides a nice profile of Te’o as a student athlete.  Also, earlier this season, Te’o graced the cover of Sports Illustrated; the article in that issue, “The Full Manti”, details important events in the course of Te’o’s recent life and football career (SU students can access the article here; others will need to find a copy of the magazine).

That’s a lot of text, and there’s more to come, so let’s take a video break:


Manti Te’o is an excellent football player; this season, he had 103 tackles and 7 interceptions, his presence on the field during goal-line stands against Stanford and USC was instrumental in securing victories during those games, and he played an integral part in victories over Michigan, Michigan State, and Oklahoma as well.  But Te’o’s presence is important not only because he is good at football; these articles illustrate how Te’o leads by example and is the heart of the Notre Dame football team.  A student who interviewed him extolls his virtues off the field, and concludes in her article that he is “one of them,” a regular student.  He takes time out of his busy schedule to comfort a family going through a difficult time, even in the wake of his own grief.

76119_136392359846094_1882390243_nTe’o has a history of inviting fellow students into his dorm room for impromptu conversations, posing for pictures with young superfans, taking a fan he’s mentored out to eat every time he returns to Hawaii, emailing grieving parents, jumping into the student section to celebrate football victories, and turning down millions of dollars to return to Notre Dame and have Senior Day with his family.  Is it any wonder that people wanted to make sure he got the sendoff he deserved, the public address announcer from Notre Dame Stadium wrote him a personal farewell, and Notre Dame fans everywhere are clamoring for him to win the Heisman?

To be fair, Te’o doesn’t really need another trophy.  He’s already picked up the ARA Sportsmanship Award, the Walter Camp Award, the Butkus Award, the Lombardi Award, the Maxwell Award, the Nagurski Award, and the Bednarik Award, setting a record for most postseason awards won. Oh, he’s also been named a national scholar-athlete. No big deal.

manti

But the Heisman is the biggest of them all.  And for those of you who do not know, the first sentence of the Heisman Trust Mission Statement reads: “The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity.”  Manti Te’o is an outstanding football player, on the best football team in the country, and, given all you now know about Te’o, there is no way you can question his excellence or his integrity.  So you would be right in believing that Te’o is the most deserving Heisman candidate.  And, in fact, you would not be alone in that belief.  You see, there are others who think Te’o best fits the Heisman ideal, and that his statistics are more impressive that Johnny Manziel’s, and that he embodies all things Heisman, and that his performance, team results, and integrity put him ahead of Manziel, and that he flat out deserves the award. There’s a website devoted to this pursuit. And a video:

 

In his four seasons at Notre Dame, Manti Te’o has made an indelible impression on the hearts and minds of students, alumni, and fans throughout the country.  He is humble, empathetic, hardworking, intelligent, and an excellent athlete.  Aside from a national championship and the degree he will receive in December, the Heisman trophy would be the crowning achievement of his college football career.  There is no doubt in my mind that Te’o should win the Heisman, as he is outstanding both on and off the football field.

I hope that this unofficial guide to Manti Te’o has provided you with sufficient information on the country’s best student athlete, and shown you why Te’o embodies the spirit of Notre Dame, and has had such an incredible impact on the university and college football communities.  If not, here is one last video to illustrate my point:

 

#HeIsManti.  Go Irish.