Top Ten Tuesday - Books atop my fall TBR list

This week's Top Ten Tuesday covers the books that are at the top of our to be read list's for fall. My list is a combination of books I'm anticipating the release of as well as some of the books that I plan to read in the next couple of months.

1. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin - this book blew up after BEA and I cannot wait to get my hands on it when it comes out!
2. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins - Okay, so I haven't read Anna and the French Kiss yet but I've heard how awesome it is by some of my favorite bloggers and I trust you guys! So let's just say Anna and the French Kiss is also a part of this list, my number 2B :)
3. Delirium by Lauren Oliver - I still haven't read this. The pretty cover is calling my name though.
4. The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle - this book just popped up on my radar in the last few weeks but it sounds so good that I think it's going to be worthy of an immediate buy upon it's release (next week!)
5. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs - this sounds super creepy and perfect for an October read
6. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath - I've been waiting for the right time to read this and I think fall will be the perfect time.
7. A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young - I just bought this and I can't wait to read it after all the buzz about it lately
8. Moonglass by Jessi Kirby - another one that I just bought. I love the cover for this and it's fairly short so I'm probably going to read this soon. Plus, I've heard it's really good!
9. A Long Long Time Ago & Essentially True by Brigid Pausulka - I've had this book on my shelf for awhile. Between the title and the cover I'm always drawn to it but I haven't read it yet. That will change soon.
10. One Day by David Nicholls - with the movie release I'm seeing more and more people reading this book in public. I received it for Christmas and hadn't even heard of it at that time. Now I'm pretty eager to read it so I can see the movie.

As always, thanks to The Broke and the Bookish for coming up with this awesome meme!

Blog Tour: Repairing Rainbows by Lynda Fishman

Book: Repairing Rainbows by Lynda Fishman
Published: Tribute Books/ 2010
Genre: memoir
Pages: 277 pages
Where I got it: received for review from the publisher
Buy It: Amazon

Summary (from Goodreads): At thirteen years old, Lynda's life comes to a disastrous halt when her mother and two younger sisters are killed in a plane crash. Her father, overcome by despair, simply continues to exist, in a state devoid of hope. After burying a wife and two young children at the age of 44, the overwhelming responsibility of raising a daughter alone completely immobilizes him.

Teetering on that tender brink between childhood and adolescence, Lynda faces the responsibility of a father in a complete state of shock, a house to take care of and hundreds of decisions about how to proceed with their shattered lives.

In Repairing Rainbows she candidly describes the agonizing memories, deafening silence and endless hardships that are the fallout of incredible loss. As we follow her through marriage, motherhood and her own spiritual journey, Lynda reveals her complex feelings of hope, anger, pity and determination. Most importantly, she learns the crucial difference between "truly living" and the existence that is so often mistaken for being alive.

A true story, written by a woman whose normal and abundant life hides a terrible past, Repairing Rainbows is loaded with important lessons to help others overcome struggles and obstacles, and fulfill their lives. It is a powerful, captivating, riveting and easy-to-read story that will undoubtedly touch the hearts of its readers.

My thoughts: I don't typically read self published books just because they tend to be so hit or miss, but when I received an email to do participate in a blog tour for Repairing Rainbows,  I was intrigued by the summary. I really enjoy reading memoirs, although it makes me feel like I have issues getting so engrossed in the tragedy and misfortune of someone else's life. I think it's the writing style that keeps me so captivated because they often read like a diary or as if the writer is there telling me the story.

At the young age of 13, Lynda Fishman lost her mother and two sisters in a plane crash. Her father was never the same after the crash. While he was physically present in her life, he basically abandoned her emotionally, leaving her to deal with everything on her own. 40 years later, she is still coping with that loss. Repairing Rainbows is the story of how she decided that she was going to live positively, despite her obvious misfortunes. Overall, I really enjoyed this memoir and felt very emotional while reading about everything Lynda went through. She could have chosen a different path for her life, one full of depression and bad decisions and I don't think anyone would have blamed her. Instead, she held her head up high and dealt with the cards she was given. She and her husband, Barry, are true inspirations.

I would have given this a higher rating except that she started to lose me in the last section that focuses on her family's visits with a medium. It took too much of a supernatural turn that I felt it wasn't fully believable as a memoir anymore. They visited this woman regularly to connect with all of the people they had lost over the course of their lives. I enjoy ghost stories and pulling out the Quija board now and then, but it was hard for me to believe that this woman was actually connecting with the spirits of the dead. It also felt very rushed to finish out the book and include all of the details from these interactions.

My rating: 3.5 stars

Useful Links:
Repairing Rainbows website
Repairing Rainbows blog
Author's Twitter


In My Mailbox (9)

 In My Mailbox is a weekly feature created by Kristi at The Story Siren where we get to share the new books we've gotten in the mail or at the bookstore, etc. This week I went back to the Borders going out of business sale to take advantage of the 40% and 50% off, as well as the 15% coupon I got in my email. I almost went a little overboard but I ended up saving $52 so it was pretty worth it despite how sad I got about it being the last time I will probably ever shop there.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young
The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry
How To Buy A Love of Reading by Tanya Egan Gibson
Moonglass by Jessi Kirby
Anthropology of An American Girl by Hilary Thayer Hamann


Review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Book: Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Published: Dutton Juvenile/ April 2011
Genre: YA
Pages: 264 pages
Where I got it: bought at Borders
Buy It: Amazon

Summary (from Goodreads): It's been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other.

Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance

My thoughts: Another fantastic, unputdownable book by Gayle Forman! At first I wasn't sure I was going to like Where She Went very much because I suspected that Forman was going to take in a different direction, but about one quarter of the way through I was completely hooked and loving it. I ended up liking this even more than it's predecessor. It was perfect in almost every way. The emotional rollercoaster that Forman puts the reader on is a hell of a ride but that's what makes the ending all the more worth it. All told, I think I read both of these in a matter of a few hours each. I'm not much of a re-reader, but these two books will be added to my small stack of MUST READ AGAIN books. Seeing things from Adam's perspective was an interesting change and helped me understand things that had happened in If I Stay that we probably wouldn't have known otherwise.

Like my review for If I Stay, I don't want to give too much away here because I don't want to take anything away from your experiences if you haven't read this yet. This is probably the shortest review I've written but I don't care. I don't want to waste any more of your time that could be spent running to the bookstore or Amazon and ordering these books. Even if you don't typically read Young Adult, I urge you to give this contemporary series a chance because it's such a heartbreaking story that's beautifully written. I apologize for this gushy, fan girly review but seriously guys, go read If I Stay and Where She Went.

My rating: 5 stars 


Top Ten Tuesday - Books you loved but never wrote a review for

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and is a weekly meme where we share lists of some of our favorite bookish things. This weeks topic is the top ten books we loved but never wrote a review for. My list consists of ten of my favorite books. I never wrote a review for these because I read them before I started my book blog. Before Recklessly Reading came about, I hardly ever reviewed books. I hated taking the time to gather my thoughts and always rushed into the next book. I think at some point I might like to go back and re-read so that I can give them a proper review. It also might be interesting to see how my taste in books has changed.

1. The Catcher In the Rye by J.D. Salinger
2. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
3. A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith
4. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
5. White Oleander by Janet Finch
6. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
7. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
8. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
9. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
10. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak


Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Book: If I Stay by Gayle Forman
Published: Speak/ April 2010
Genre: YA
Pages: 242 pages
Where I got it: bought at Borders
Buy It: Amazon

Summary (from Goodreads): In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen year- old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...

A sophisticated, layered, and heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make -and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

Wow, where do I even begin with this book? I've been hearing amazing things about it since it's release but I also heard how much it's going to make me want to dive right into the sequel. So for that very reason I have been putting off reading it, until I could make sure that I have Where She Went waiting for me immediately after finishing. I am taking only the smallest break right now to review If I Stay! It's been awhile since I've found a book that I absolutely could not put down. I started this around midnight, read about half and woke up to finish it the next day. It is that amazing!

Mia's story is one full of heartbreak and struggle as she literally fights for her life after a horrific accident. She is faced with the choice to wake up in that hospital bed or pass on to wherever it is that people go after death. Reading this made me so emotional and it got me thinking about how quickly life can change in an instant. It made me feel so many things, but most of all grateful for all of the wonderful people I have in my life, and how nobody should ever be taken for granted. 

Whatever Mia decides, everyone's lives will be changed forever. Obviously I was rooting for her to wake up, but I could also completely understand her reasoning for not staying. It was heart wrenching to read about the visits with her grandparents, best friend Kim and rocker boyfriend Adam. Despite how sad the story was overall, I didn't cry much until the very end when I just let out a huge sigh and bawled my eyes out. It was like so many emotions had been building within me throughout the novel and I had been holding my breath the whole time until it all just came gushing out once we learn her decision.

Not only was this awesome and unputdownable; it was also well developed and the characters were all so great. For a book that is just over 200 pages, Forman did a fantastic job of getting in all the necessary details and completely connecting the reader to the story. I don't want to spoil too much for you if you haven't read it, so please do yourself a favor and go buy it, put it on reserve at the library... whatever it takes! Also, please please please ignore the blurb on the front that says If I Stay will appeal to fans of Twilight. Whether you're a Twi-hard or not, this book is nothing like Twilight. Apples and oranges people!

My rating: 4 stars


Top Ten Tuesday - Freebie Week!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke & the Bookish where we create lists to discuss some of our favorite bookish things. This week is a freebie week, so we get to come up with a list for ANYTHING we want related to books. Since I'm pretty nostalgic and love to reminisce about my childhood, I decided it would only be fitting that my freebie top ten list would be related to my favorite bookish memories.

Top Ten Favorite Bookish Memories.... and GO!

1. Wandering through the library trying to find books I hadn't already checked out. I spent so much time in my local library as a kid, it actually ended up being pretty difficult for me to find new books to read at the rate I was flying through them.

2. Scholastic book club day! It was exciting on both the day we got the Scholastic book club circular and the day that our orders came in. I remember the excitement and stress I felt trying to narrow my selections down.

3. Book-It. I honestly could have cared less about the pizza but it was a fun incentive to keep challenging myself to read more books.

4. Making forts on the floor of my room and figuring out new ways to trick my mom into thinking I was sleeping instead of staying up all night to read.

5. Discovering new book series. Every time I picked up a new series, I felt this excitement and anticipation of the new friends I was about to discover.

6. Listening to my Gram read to me. This was when I was really little and I'm not sure if I would remember it if I hadn't seen a bunch of footage on an old home video. I spent a lot of my childhood at my grandparents house and my Gram was like a second mother to me. I think that her reading to me at such a young age was part of why I became such a huge reader.

7. Summer reading and getting the syllabus for English classes. I was always the big nerd who got excited about the new books I was going to get to read for my classes.

8. Taking the old literature books from school because a new edition was coming out in the next school year. My mom was always actively involved in PTA or befriending staff at my school's and she somehow managed to get her hands on all the old English textbooks. I would take them and pretend that I was simultaneously the teacher and the entire classroom and read aloud from the books to no one in particular.

9. Book fairs. Just like Scholastic book club day but x100000. The smell of all those new books in my school cafeteria was sooo exciting. Then swapping books with friends after reading the ones we all got.

10. Making my book collection into my own mini library. I got little book plates and kept a notebook of who was borrowing books from me. My neighbors did this too and we loved going into each others libraries and "checking" the books out.

Obviously I was a huge nerd as a kid although I took some time off from reading in high school because I thought I was too cool to read. Some of these are my favorite memories of growing up and I'm so glad I found reading again.


Review: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Book: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
Published: 2009/ Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA
Pages: 290 pages
Where I got it: bought at Borders
Buy It: Amazon

Summary (from Goodreads):
"Don't worry, Anna. I'll tell her, okay? Just let me think about the best way to do it."
"Promise me? Promise you won't say anything?"
"Don't worry." I laughed. "It's our secret, right?"
According to her best friend Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy ever day, there's a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there's something she hasn't told Frankie—-she's already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie's older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.
Beautifully written and emotionally honest, this is a debut novel that explores what it truly means to love someone and what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every single moment this world has to offer.

My thoughts: I really had no idea what Twenty Boy Summer was about before I read it, so I was pretty surprised when it started straight away by kicking me in the chest. I thought it was going to be just another summer fluff read. I was dead wrong but oh man, I loved this book! There is so much depth within the pages of this novel. After the death of Frankie's brother, best friends Anna and Frankie struggle to pick up the pieces without the third piece of their trio. Anna was keeping a big secret from everyone because she promised Matt that he would be the one to tell it, but then he died and she was left alone with that secret. A year later, Anna accompanies Frankie's family on their summer vacation to California. It's the first time the family has been back since Matt's death and we see that there is so much they have to work through upon their arrival.

Frankie has turned to clothes, makeup and boys to distract her from the void her brother has left in her life. She makes it the girls' mission to hook up with 20 boys between the two of them over the summer, and one of those boys would be the one that would take Anna's virginity (nicknamed the Albatross). Apparently this book was banned because of the promiscuous behavior. Like all books banned, this infuriates me! If the people fighting to ban it actually read and paid attention to the subject matter, they would see that Anna and Frankie were just normal teenagers faced with the pressures of high school. Anna was not even into the mission of finding a bunch of guys because she was still so hung up on Matt. These two girls were actually fairly well behaved girls all things considered. They had fun sneaking out and lying to Frankie's parents, but it was never anything too harmful. The adventures the girls had made for an epic summer that I had so much fun reading about.

The relationships in Twenty Boy Summer seemed so real to me. Frankie and Anna were opposites but they got along so well. They reminded me of me and my own best friend. I also loved getting the glimpses of Anna's memories of moments spent with Matt. Just reading about it, I got those butterflies that you get from your first love. Normally when I read a book like this that has two romantic interests, I will choose one over the other, but in this case I was so happy that Anna found Sam. He was exactly what she needed and it tugged on my heart strings how guilty she felt for being attracted to him but I couldn't blame her for feeling that way.

There were so many moments where I felt like I had to put the book down and just have a good cry but oddly enough, I never felt like it was too depressing. There was a lot of sadness but there was also plenty of happiness and points where the characters were making progress in getting on with their lives. The cover is so simplistic yet gorgeous! I've always loved beach glass and the tie-in's with the beach glass made it the perfect cover for the book. I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a fast paced summer read that has more than just your typical fluff.

My rating: 4.5 stars


Review: 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

Book: 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
Published: October 2006/ HarperTeen
Genre: YA
Pages: 336 pages
Where I got it: bought at Borders
Buy It: Amazon

Brief Summary (from Goodreads): When Ginny receives thirteen little blue envelopes and instructions to buy a plane ticket to London, she knows something exciting is going to happen. What Ginny doesn't know is that she will have the adventure of her life and it will change her in more ways than one. Life and love are waiting for her across the Atlantic, and the thirteen little blue envelopes are the key to finding them in this funny, romantic, heartbreaking novel.

My thoughts: 13 Little Blue Envelopes was my first experience with Maureen Johnson and it was such a fun book to read! As I'm sure I've mentioned a bunch before, I love traveling, so anytime I get the chance to travel along with the characters in my books is usually a must read for me. I've never been to Europe but I have some major wanderlust for that part of the country. Ginny's trip sounds so amazing, although I would have been terrified to travel to another country alone at 17. There was more to this story than I was expecting, and I was pleasantly surprised.

Ginny's aunt was one of the most special people in her life who promised she'd always be there for her, so when she disappeared, Ginny felt abandoned. After her aunt passed, there were so many things left unsaid. The 13 enveloped offer her closure in the typical and exciting Aunt Peg fashion. Along the way, Ginny finds love and friendship and gets the opportunity to learn more about herself which I think is so important for a girl her age.

A couple of little things nagged at me while reading this story, though. First of all, that cover. Eeeeesh. I like the envelope idea but the body shot of the girl tells me nothing about the story. Also, where were Ginny's parents?? They let their daughter travel to Europe alone without any contact whatsoever (this was one of the terms as instructed by Aunt Peg- she was to have no contact with anyone in the states). I'm not even as concerned that Ginny's parents were so trusting of her, but that they trusted the crazy, unstable aunt who wasn't around anymore to help her if she wound up in any trouble. Lastly, I didn't really buy the attraction between Ginny and Keith. They seemed to disagree more than they agreed. It just felt too forced for the most part.

Despite those things, I enjoyed 13 Little Blue Envelopes and I plan to read the other books in the series. This was a quick read that was appropriate for summer reading. I liked reading about Ginny and the excitement of traveling abroad while not knowing what's in store. I definitely felt that itch caused by the travel bug creeping up on me!

My rating: 3.5 stars


Review: The Rules of the Tunnel: My Brief Period of Madness by Ned Zeman

Book: The Rules of the Tunnel: My Brief Period of Madness by Ned Zeman
Published: August 4, 2011, Gotham
Genre: Memoir
Pages: 288 pages
Where I got it: received for review from the publisher
Buy It: Amazon

Summary: A journalist faces his toughest assignment yet: profiling himself. Zeman recounts his struggle with clinical depression in this high- octane, brutally funny memoir about mood disorders, memory, shock treatment therapy and the quest to get back to normal.

My thoughts: I've said this before about reviewing memoirs... how can I possibly judge something that a person experienced? This is not a product of someone's imagination, these are the true events of Ned Zeman's life. Admittedly, I had some trouble getting into the book at first, as I felt there was a bit too much focus on the people he profiled at his job as a contributor to Vanity Fair. However, as Zeman began falling into the dark, twisted world of the clinically depressed and started experimenting with different medications, I found myself quickly sucked into the story. After many failed attempts with mood altering drugs, he turned to the controversial ECT (electroconvulsive therapy, also known as electroshock therapy) and once again the story got a whole lot more interesting.

ECT pretty much did exactly what it sounds like it should do to a person's brain. Ned began to forget things but continued to go through the emotional ups and downs as his brain was subjected to the scheduled brain frying sessions. Despite the unfortunate circumstances, there was a humor present in Zeman's rehashing of events. He was able to poke fun at himself and the sad state of his sanity which is something I give him a lot of credit for. He went through so much crap and found himself feeling desperate enough to try anything that might help him. As a Psychology minor, reading about other people's downfalls and learning about the way the mind works has always been an interest of mine. I was very impressed with the way Ned's friends formed a support group for him in order to make sure he was getting to his appointments and taking care of the things he might forget because of the amnesia. Things could have turned out much different for Ned had he not had such an awesome group of people who cared about him.

I think that I could have done without a lot of the info in Part 1 of the book, but overall I found The Rules of the Tunnel: My Brief Period of Madness to be an entertaining and informative story about how depression can completely take over a person's life, and the ways in which it can affect those around you. I'm actually quite interested to learn how he was able to recover enough to remember details and write this book. ECT sounds like such a horrible procedure, I'm surprised that he's not a vegetable by now!

My rating: 3 stars

Head on over to The Broke & the Bookish, where I'm giving away a copy of The Rules of the Tunnel: My Brief Period of Madness to one lucky winner. Thanks to TLC Book Tours for the chance to read this book & give away a copy!


In My Mailbox (9)

The last month I've gone book buying crazy. Bad for my wallet, but exciting for my bookshelves. Does anyone else like to just stare at their shelves sometimes, or am I the only weirdo that gets all mushy inside when I see all those books that are just waiting to be read? Anywhoooo, I went to the going out of business sale at the only Borders left open around LA and got a few things. I was not impressed with the sale prices yet but of course I still had to buy more books.

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan
Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Juliet, Naked by David Horby

From NetGalley:

The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian
The Fallback Plan by Leigh Stein
Moonlight on Linoleum by Terri Helwig

Happy reading ya'll!