Thursday, January 31, 2013

Book Talk: Top 12 of 2012

I know I'm a month late in making this, but this blog was only made this week. All over booktubing community (youtube book reviewers), there are videos of the top 12 books they read in 2012. I'm adapting that concept and putting it in blog form. So here we go. These are in no particular order, it's was too hard to choose.

 I decided to put these two together because they are part of the same series, but they are two whole different stories. They have separate characters, plot lines, worlds, and time periods. They are Bitterblue and Fire by Kristin Cashore. I anticipated these books since I read Graceling by the same author. The librarian at my library suggested it to me and I thought I wasn't into any of the fantasy-type books. Back then, I was all about vampires and werewolves. I admit, they are dreadfully boring in the beginning and it makes it hard to get through. The endings blew me away with all the plot twists. They are the kind of books that you have to pay attention to but you won't get it until the end. I loved how Kristin Cashore left the reader in the dark until a confrontation between characters. There was no inner dialogue that whispered in your ear who had done it.

 Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins surprised me. I thought it would be girly and cheesy, but I was in a big France kick when I picked it up. So when Lola and the Boy Next Door came out, I put it on hold at the library right away. It was different than Anna but I loved how both stories intertwined. Lola and Cricket are were interesting characters to get to know and watch them develop. They both have really strong personalities. I thought including a gay couple as parents was very daring on Perkins' part. It was refreshing, like she was comfortable with her writing and didn't care about any controversy. I realized that it was my first young adult book that actually had homosexual parents. It made the book stand out from others.

I had seen the Studio Ghibli film Howl's Moving Castle twice before I found out it was a book by Diana Wynne Jones. My dad decided to get me a copy on a day that I wasn't feeling too well and I read it within two days. The movie stays true to the book. It's a perfect book when you crave some spell-casting witches and eccentric characters. Howl is like no other character I had ever encountered in any book I've read. He's mysterious, snarly, a baby, a complainer, and caring all at the same time. Calcifer, the fire demon, is a joy to read about because of his constant muttering. If you loved the movie, you'll love the book.

Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. Does this even need an explanation? It was the book of the year because the movie with Emma Watson came out. Charlie is one of those characters that you will never forget. If you haven't read it yet, you're missing out

A Tale of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin was my first high-fantasy experience. I was introduced to Le Guin while watching The Jane Austen Bookclub. They say her works are fantasy classics. The thing is, this book challenged me. I would find myself wanting to skim a few sentences to get to the good part like I do with any book, but I would miss vital information. Le Guin doesn't do anything half-ass.

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot was one of those books that I didn't want to admit I read and liked. I mean, look at the title and the pretty pink cover with a giant sparkly tiara. I grew up watching The Princess Diaries movies on repeat, so I had to read it. Five or six books later, I still need to finish the series. It's definitely not the movie and I'm having trouble figuring out which one I like better.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See probably kicked off my obsession with Eastern contemporary books. The relationship between the main characters was so complex and complicated but beautiful at the same time. They shared everything with each other, the good and a lot of the bad. I loved seeing the girls grow and watching them lean on each other on the way. This is a great book if you want emotionally strong women in harsh times.

I read these books around Christmas time to get me into a jolly mood. Well, it certainly worked. Both are really cute, fun reads that tie together. Great for those days that you are snowed in.

-Let it Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle
-Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Con and David Levithan

 Oh goodness, these are the books that are packed to to the brim with emotion. I warned you, these are the tearjerkers. They made my eyes puffy and my nose runny. I am the world's ugliest crier so I try not to do it when I can. While reading these two, it just couldn't be contained. Any book that causes that emotion gets a good rating in my book.

-A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks
-Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


The ways you can reach me personally is either through my email, or through a message on goodreads by account is

I know, not a lot, but that's all I have for this blog. XD

Library Day #1

Since I'm staying home from school today because I had monster headaches (and I'm not the one to get head aches), I have time to look through book websites and put some books on hold at the library for when I can actually go there to pick them up.

I'm going to get the next five books in the Hana Yori Dango/Boys Over Flowers manga by Yoko Kamio. I did watch the drama with Kim Hyung Joon and Lee Min Ho and just about died it was so good, of course I'm exaggerating  but come on! So good! I'm currently on volume 20 but since they are really fast, I'm also going to get volume 21, 22, 23, and 24. About six volumes are scattered around my room because I have yet to return them. It's not the drama and there are more things added. Which is fine with me, the more Boys Over Flowers I get the happier I am. The art isn't all that appealing to me, but don't let that steer you away from them. They say with manga, it's either the art or the plot that's good, but never both. I don't know if that's true so don't hold that against me. The covers look so cheesy!

I do have some books already check out and one of them is Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin. A mother disappears in the subway in Seoul, Korea and this book explains how this effects four different family members. Following my trend in Eastern contemporary, this book automatically caught my attention.

To go with The Joy Luck Club, which was my first review here, I got another one of Amy Tan's books called Saving Fish from Drowning. A group of American artists go on journey through China and venture away from tour guide and encounter curses among other things. After seeing the title, I couldn't pass it up. I'm really interested in how it ties into the story.

The next few books are on hold on my nook using the 3M Cloud Library app. The first one is a book that I'm very excited about, it's Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. All I've heard about it is that there's a female protagonist and it has awesome dragons and those are two things I love in a book so I was sold right away. I also saw that it could be available in only a week! That's a very short time by 3M Cloud Library standards and for such a popular book.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs has been on my to-read list for ages. There is a lot of hype around this book but I actually don't know what it's about. I've found that going into book blindly is a whole lot more fun than if you've heard every detail from a friend. I do know that it's dark and it's a home for peculiar children. Maybe like those creepy kids in horror movies with their mangled hair in their face. We'll find out. That will be available is 15 days.

The last book I'm checking out on my nook is The Selection by Kiera Cass. I'm pretty sure this book is about a group of girls that are taking princess lessons and there's a competition between them. This also has a lot of hype. There is one problem with this book, it won't be available until a whopping 293 days! I'll probably just buy it at a second hand store by them.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

January Favorites

So there's this trend in the beauty community on youtube of make up gurus going through all the products they've loved that month. I started to wear make up little by little since middle school and I'm constantly learning more through tutorials on the internet. No, I'm not really the girly type and spend hours trying to look fantastic. I don't mind going out with little to no make up on, but I do find it interesting what it can do to enhance certain features. So that's my little disclaimer, let's go on with the favorites.

I fell in love with BB creams about 2-3 months ago. I have really oily skin and I found that foundation all over my face will just sit there and become greasy and nasty after a while. I heard about BB creams from Bubzbeauty on youtube (she is a BB cream addict too). BB creams not only provide a slight cover, but they are so light too! At first I thought Loreal London's BB was my holy grail product, until I encountered Maybelline New York's BB cream. This is creamy that matches to my skin tone (and I have really pale skin). It hydrates and has so many different benefits like SPF  30, and isn't heavy. Don't be fooled, if you also have oily skin, you still need to moisturize. I use this all over my skin and neck instead of foundation because I found that BB cream doesn't make me look like a greasy tangerine.

The thing is, with make up, I experiment with drug store products before I save up and splurge for the higher end stuff. I just want to compare them. I haven't tried a higher end BB cream because this is only my third tube of BB cream (2 of the Loreal London, and 1 of the Maybelline New York). I'm using a lot of parenthesis today.

The next item is my MAC foundation. I have tried what seems like every foundation in every drug store, and I wanted to go get my first higher end brand. The lady at the Mac desk matched the foundation to my skin and I found out that my shade is NC15. It was about $30, but it was a birthday present to myself and I paid for it with my own hard earned money. The lady showed me how a little could go a long, long way and I took note of that because there's no way I'm going to cough up that much money anytime soon.

Anyway, I use this as a concealer in those areas where I break out, have acne spots, and where's discoloration. I found that this covered up my imperfections a lot better and smoother than my concealer.

To go with my MAC foundation, I got the pressed powder as another birthday present to myself. I covet this product so much, I can't leave the house without it. With oily skin, I do love pressed powders so I can get rid of that shine and replace some color that the oil has taken away. I found that MAC's pressed powder is the best I've tried and it looks like I just on another face full of cover  up without being cakey.

Again, if you have oily skin, blotting sheets are a must have. Even my friends who don't have oily skin dig into my purse and borrow some because it's a good feeling seeing all that gunk come off your face and into this little sheet. If you don't know how they work, you just rub or dab them on your face and the paper will turn translucent when it absorbs the oil. I definitely suggest keeping some in your backpack or locker in school for those days that it seems like your makeup is going to slip off your face.

 I feel like this list of beauty products is getting a little long so I'll just tell you the others. Neutrogena's Long-Last Shine Control Cleanser/Mask. I use it as a mask about twice a week and as a cleanser in the morning and at night. Say Yes to Tomatoes Clear Skin Daily Balancing Moisturizer. This isn't heavy, 98% natural, easy to mix with a foundation, and cruelty free! No bunnies were harmed in the making of this moisturizer!

  I'm a healthy eater, and I actually enjoy it. Healthy foods just make me feel a whole lot more energized and happy compared to when I eat processed foods. Since it's winter, I'm pretty sure that avocados are cheaper. All you have to do is let them sit out for a few days until they are all squishy. Avocado is my favorite thing to put on my sandwiches, eggs, burritos, you get it. I might post some recipes later. I'm also an avid tea drinker. Green tea has so many benefits, you guys! Google it and you will get lists upon lists. If you don't like the plain green tea (which I understand if you don't, it has a strong leafy taste), Bigelow's green tea comes in different "flavors" so to speak. My absolute favorite is the jasmine. I love anything jasmine. It will taste ten times better if you breath in as you drink it because jasmine tea smells delicious.

Well, I have a guess monthly favorite posts will be the longest ones. Finding all those pictures is a pain but I liked how it turned out. I've always wanted to do one of these. Congrats of reading til the end!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Book Review: Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan starts out with mothers and daughters sitting around and playing an intense game of mah jong. Then it starts to tell how the Joy Luck Club came to exist.

First things first, I gave this four out of five starts. I originally picked it up because I thought it was going to be short and I've been reading anything about China lately. It took me a lot longer than I expected to read this book. Probably because it's so jam-packed with emotion that you just cant take it all in in one sitting. This book goes through all the mothers' hardships as well as the daughters'. Though I enjoyed the mothers' perspective better than the daughter's, I thought it was still really entertaining.

If you're looking for a feel-good book about family, this is not it. It goes through all the challenges every family goes through like the death of a child, marrying the wrong person, divorce, and just plain unhappiness.

This book isn't always sad. Don't let that description fool you. Amy Tan writes in a very optimistic tone that will keep you waiting for a happy ending (which I'm not going to tell you if there is).

Personally, it did get dull at times, but that's to be expected in every book, right? There has to be some bland moments mixed within all the drama. I think it was Amy Tan's writing style that kept me going. Even if you don't like the story line, I think you will have to at least appreciate the writing style. I thought it was absolutely beautiful. The perfect mix between colorful description, dialogue, and inner thoughts. No wonder it was a New York Times best seller.

I couldn't really connect with this book since nothing related to me in this book. That's probably why it didn't stick with me the way I expected it to. Though the writing was fantastic, the story wasn't totally for me. I liked it, but there's nothing I can really say about it.

I suggest this book if you are looking for inspiration for writing, are interested in Chinese culture, want to change your way of thinking, or like family drama.

What's going to happen

Since the name is my address here is "bookstersonya" you may have already guessed that this might be a book blog, which it is. Good for you, you guessed right. I will be listing the books I buy (which are mostly random ones from thrift stores) and book reviews, but I don't think I'll confine myself to just doing that. There are many different things I'm interested in and I have many hobbies (which I never seem to keep track of). So I'll just be sharing my life with you guys. But most of my life is about books so, if you came here for that, you've come to the right place.

Maybe I should introduce myself. My name is Sonya. I'm a Finnish-Scottish half breed. I'm currently in high school. I take band, Spanish, and Honor's English, and more. My favorite subject is A.P. World History. I'm a huge history buff. I can't resist anything that has to do with Ancient Egypt, Jane Austen, or pirates. My future plans are wide open at the moment, no ten year plan to follow. I think that sums it all up.

P.S. I'm almost done with my book so I'll probably have a book review up by tomorrow. XD