Lisa's Bookshelf

I'm a self-confessed nerd who loves to read, write, watch TV, and cuddle with my animals (and my husband too, of course). I have an eclectic taste in books ranging from classic literature to silly YA novels to epic fantasy and contemporary lit. I've joined BookLikes in order to stay in touch with my awesome Goodreads friends who have moved over.

Why I've been MIA

Due to my almost daily migraines the last couple weeks, which have twice sent me to the ER in the last month, I've fallen terribly behind in my read alongs.  I'm still participating but I'm probably not going to be able to keep/catch up until I've sorted out my health issues.  I just wanted everyone to know I haven't forgotten about you and that I'm trying.

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 30 - Your favorite book of all time

Pride and Prejudice (Penguin Classics) - Vivien Jones, Tony Tanner, Claire Lamont, Jane Austen Gone with the Wind - Pat Conroy, Margaret Mitchell

I actually have to two favorite books of all time, and both have made quite a few appearances during this challenge.  Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is the first.  I will never forget the first time I read Pride and Prejudice.  It was a magical experience and it was probably the first time I fell in love with one of the classics (aside from a few classic children's books).  Despite the fact that it was written in the nineteenth century, and the language was outdated I really enjoyed reading it.  I love it so much that when I had finished I picked it up again and read it a second time.  I loved all the characters, especially Elizabeth Bennett, and her romance with Mr. Darcy was pure perfection.  The book is funny and heartwarming.  If I need a pick me up, this is my go to book.  


Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell is in many ways the exact opposite of Pride and Prejudice. It's long, serious, and the ending is anything but happy.  My copy of Gone with the Wind is 1036 pages and I finished it in three days, which is feat for someone who is as slow a reader as I am.  I couldn't put it down.  All I did for those three days was eat, sleep, and read (it was the summer before I went off to college so there as no school to get in the way).  I actually resented sleep and food because it took time away from the book, and I went to bed far later than I should have because I had to keep reading.  Gone with the Wind was an emotional roller coaster.  Tears were literally streaming down my face for the last 100 pages and I was depressed for three days after I read it.  But it was a good depression.  That sadness meant that I was emotionally invested in the character and the story.

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 29 - A book everyone hated by you liked

Wither (Chemical Garden) - Lauren DeStefano

In trying to find a book that fits this challenge I realized that this situation has never happened to me before.  I've been in the reverse situation multiple times, but I never like a book everyone else hated.  At first this made me feel like a negative person, and perhaps I am, but I think the reason I've never been in this situation because is that I rarely read books that are universally hated.  The closest book I could come up with for this challenge is Lauren DeStefano's Wither.  It wasn't universally hated, but many of my friends did not like it.  I completely understand why, and I came away with quite a few criticisms myself, but I enjoyed it despite its flaws.  

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 28 - Favorite title of a book

A Wrinkle in Time (The Time Quintet #1) - Anna Quindlen, Madeleine L'Engle Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day - Ray Cruz, Judith Viorst The Age of Innocence - Edith Wharton East of Eden (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics) (Edition Revised) by Steinbeck, John [Paperback(1992£©] - Gone with the Wind - Pat Conroy, Margaret Mitchell To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee The Sound and the Fury - William Faulkner And Then There Were None - Agatha Christie The Phantom Tollbooth - Norton Juster, Jules Feiffer Paradise Lost - John Milton, John      Leonard

There's no way I can choose just one.  There are many book titles out there that I love.  Here is just a sampling (in no particular order):


A Wrinkle in Time


Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day


The Age of Innocence


East of Eden


Gone with the Wind


To Kill a Mockingbird


The Sound and the Fury


And Then There Were None


The Phantom Tollbooth


Paradise Lost

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 27 - The most surprising plot twist or ending

A Game of Thrones - George R.R. Martin

I'm cheating a little bit because I saw the show before reading the book but if i had read the book first then Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin would have had the most surprising plot twist/ending.  The truth is I'm rarely surprised by a plot twist or mystery in books or movies, but the character death at the end of Game of Thrones shocked me to the core.  I did not see it coming at all.


Honorable Mentions: A Storm of Swords George R. R. Martin and And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie


Catching Fire - Suzanne  Collins

I'm still not a fan of first person present tense.  Suzanne Collins is better at it than most but the only author who writes it in a way where it doesn't bother me at all is Melina Marchetta.  That said, I'm enjoying this more than I was The Hunger Games at 17% in.  

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 26 - A book that changed your opinion about something

Angelfall  - Susan Ee

This challenge was probably the hardest yet.  I know that there are abut a million books that have changed my opinion about various things but for the life of me I can't recall any of them.  This is probably because change is a process so typically it takes more than just one book to sway me, but certainly they have gotten the ball rolling.  After wracking my brain all day I finally came up with one.  Angelfall by Susan Ee changed my opinion on self published novels.  Previously, I had assumed that they weren't worth my time but Angelfall taught me to give self published books a chance.  Angelfall is well written, well researched, has great characters, and an engaging and logical plot, something I had not encountered before in the world of self publishing.  While I'm unlikely to read a self published novel until at least one of my trusted reviewer friends has rated it highly, I won't automatically write it off either.  

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 25 - A character you can relate to most (and an off-topic rant about how Hollywood hates curly hair)

Looking for Alibrandi - Melina Marchetta

I've related to many of Melina Marchetta characters but none more so than Josephine Alibrandi from her debut novel.  Like Josephine, I was raised by a strong-willed single mother, though she had a lot of extended family while I did not.  Her insecurities also resonated with me in particular with regards to her curly hair.  People with straight hair just don't understand what we curly/wavy haired people go through, not just in the upkeep of our hair, but also the way Hollywood puts us down.  Case in point, when Looking for Alibrandi was made into a movie, the actress who played Josephine had straight hair.  Same with Harry Potter and Jenny Humphrey from Gossip Girl.  In the case of Harry Potter and Josephine their curly/wavy hair was one of their defining physical characterisitcs.  Then, of course, there was the Princess Diaries where Anne Hathaway's character, Mia, was considered unattractive until her hair was straightened.  And lets not forget the original Beverly Hills, 90210 television show where the three popular, pretty girls (Kelly, Brenda, and Donna) all had straight hair, while the only ugly, nerdy girl (Andrea) had curly hair.  In college, after Andrea straightened her hair, she became more confident and attractive.  


With all these implicit messages from movies and TV that curly/wavy hair is unattractive, it's no wonder we non-straight haired people have a complex, and I always relate to characters who have insecurities over it.


(Sorry to go off topic but this is something that really bothers me and has been a source of great difficulty for me throughout my life.)

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 24 - A book you wish more people would've read

Kindred - Octavia E. Butler

Kindred is absolutely one of my favorite books of all time and one that not many of my friends have read.  I first read it in junior high, and have read it at least two more times since then, though not recently.  Up until four years ago I was not a fan of science fiction, and yet I still loved this book.  It's science fiction that can be enjoyed by scifi enthusiasts and people who don't usually care for the genre.  It's also a book that can be enjoyed by people, like myself, who usually hate time travel (whether in fantasy or science fiction), because it's really well executed.  I'm saddened that of all my Goodreads friends only two have read this book and only four if you count the people I follow.  This is a fantastic book, and I really hope that more of my friends read it at some point in their lives.

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 23 - A book you wanted to read for a long time and still haven't

Anne of Green Gables (Puffin Classics) Anne of Green Gables - L. M./ Child,  Lauren (INT) Montgomery

This challenge was hard because there are so many books that I want to read and haven't.  I picked Anne of Green Gables because it's probably the book I've wanted to read the longest and still haven't gotten around to.  When I was around seven years old (give or take a year) I watched half of the movie with my friend at her house.  I was really enjoying it but then my mom came to pick me up and made me leave so I never saw the second half.  For some reason we never watched it again and I've always wanted to know what happened.  At some point I decided that I should read the book rather than finish watching the movie but I've just never gotten around to it.  It's been on my list for a loooong time.  Maybe when I've finished all of the time sensitive books, like those that have movie adaptations coming out in November and my buddy/group reads, I'll finally read it.

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 22 - A book that makes you cry

Gone with the Wind - Pat Conroy, Margaret Mitchell Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver The Piper's Son - Melina Marchetta Little Women: (Classics Deluxe Edition) (Penguin Classics Deluxe Editio) - Louisa May Alcott Say Goodnight, Gracie - Julie Reece Deaver

There is no book that has made me cry harder and longer than Gone with the Wind.  When I read it I had already seen the movie multiple times so I knew what was coming and it didn't make it any less painful.  I was basically a sobbing mess for the last 100 pages precisely because I knew what was going to happen.  I also remained depressed for three days after reading it, though I in no way regret reading it.  I love it when I can have such a strong emotional connection to a book.


I cried hard at the end of Before I Fall.  Can I again say what a fantastic book this is?  It's incredibly sad, but a wonderful story.  The ending is beautiful and heartbreaking.  I can't recommend this book enough to those who enjoy young adult fiction.


I'm pretty sure more than one Melina Marchetta book has reduced me to tears but none more so than The Piper's Son.  There is so much heartbreak, loss, and grief within these pages, and it comes in many different forms.  It's such a beautiful story.


Little Women is also incredibly sad, not only because Beth dies, but also because Laurie marries Amy.  Ugh.  That part always makes me sad because he totally belongs with Jo and no one is going to convince me otherwise.


Say Goodnight Gracie is a little known young adult novel that I read back in middle school, and it's the first book that I remember making me cry.  There may have been others before it but this one really stuck out.  I only read the book once nearly two decades ago and yet I still recalled the title when I read today's challenge.  It had that kind of impact on me.


Honorable Mentions: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling and Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce.  They both made me cry because characters I loved and cared about died in both of them.

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 21 - The first novel you remember reading

Kristy's Great Idea  - Ann M. Martin

The first novel I remember reading was Kristy's Great Idea, the first book in The Babysitters Club series.  I'm sure I read other books before it but I can't remember reading them.  Although I did read quite a few of the early Babysitters Club books, and I loved the TV show, I never got that into the series.  I was much more a Sweet Valley Twins fan.

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 20 - Favorite romance book

Pride and Prejudice (Penguin Classics) - Vivien Jones, Tony Tanner, Claire Lamont, Jane Austen Thunder and Roses (Signet Historical Romance) - Mary Jo Putney Something Wonderful - Judith McNaught

Again, the wording of today's challenge is ambiguous.  I'm not sure if I'm supposed to choose from among my favorite books in the romance genre (you know, the smut section) or my favorite book of any genre that contains romance, so I'll do both.


My favorite romantic book would be Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (surprise, surprise).  The romance between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy is pretty much perfect.  The banter between them, the misunderstandings, the grand gesture, which result in one of the best literary love confessions of all time.  The ending always has me grinning like an idiot.  There's also a bit of a Cinderella story going on, and a man who changes because of his love for a woman.  (Note to impressionable young readers: This very rarely happens in real life.  Do not expect a guy to change for you.  It's a fantasy.)


It's been a while since I've read a true romance novel (from the smut section), but I'd say my favorite is a tie between Thunder and Roses by Mary Jo Putney and Something Wonderful by Judith McNaught.  I haven't read them in years (I went through a romance novel phase back in college) but I remember really enjoying them both.  


Honorable Mentions: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (non-smut) and The Duke by Gaelen Foley (smut).

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 19 - Favorite book turned into a movie

Gone with the Wind - Pat Conroy, Margaret Mitchell

The wording of today's challenge is odd so I'm going to interpret the question as books that were translated well on screen.  Many of my favorite books were made into movies but not all of them were made into good movies.  


Nine times out of ten, movies are unable to do justice to their source material when they're based on a book, however, there are some notable exceptions.  Gone with the Wind is one of them.  Not only is Gone with the Wind one of my favorite books, it is also my favorite movie of all time.  I saw it three times before reading the book, something that couldn't be avoided since I first saw the film when I was seven years old, which may have influenced my opinion.  Perhaps if I had read the book first I wouldn't have loved the film.


While the book is ten times better than the film, the movie is still amazing.  Although many things had to be cut from the film, I still feel like it captured the essence of the book.  The things that were cut were necessary, and didn't really change the story.  Gone with the Wind also has the most perfect casting of a book character with Clark Gable as Rhett Butler.  Usually I can find at least one thing to criticize, one detail that was wrong in the casting, but with Gable I can find none.  He is Rhett Butler.  Even Vivian Leigh, who did a great job as Scarlett, wasn't perfectly cast.  She was much too beautiful.  Scarlett was supposed to be pretty but not a great beauty.  It was her her ability to manipulate men that drew them towards her, not her looks.  Even with the inconsistencies, I still think the movie was cast well because the actors were all very talented.  There is a reason Gone with the Wind has stood the test of time, and is considered to be the highest grossing film of all time when adjusted for inflation.  


Honorable Mentions: Pride and Prejudice (BBC/A&E miniseries), Mildred Pierce (movie with Joan Crawford), Game of Thrones (just the first book—while I like the other seasons they deviated more from the books, and the books were much better).

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 18 - A book that disappointed you

Hallowed - Cynthia Hand

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand was probably the biggest disappointment of all the books I've read for two reasons.  One, I really enjoyed Unearthly, the first book in the trilogy, so I had high hopes for its successors, and two, most of my Goodreads friends had read the ARCs and gushed about it months in advance, hyping the book up even more.  I don't think my disappointment would have been as great if the ARCs hadn't been released so early, but I literally had months to build it up in my head, and what a let down it was.  I didn't dislike the book but I only rated it three stars when nearly everyone else had rated it four or five stars.


Honorable Mentions: All of the books on my Debbie Downer shelf (Booklikes Link).


30 Day Book Challenge: Day 17 - Favorite quote from your favorite book

Gone with the Wind - Pat Conroy, Margaret Mitchell

"As God is my witness, and God is my witness, the Yankees aren't going to lick me. I'm going to live through this, and when it's over, I'm never going to be hungry again. No, nor any of my folks. If I have to steal or kill - as God is my witness, I'm never going to be hungry again.” - Gone with the Wind


This was a challenge for me because I don't usually commit quotes to memory and my favorite quotes from my favorite books don't sound that great out of context.  I'm much better with movie quotes so I cheated a little bit and chose a quote from Gone with the Wind, a movie I've seen multiple times.  I like this quote because it really shows Scarlett's strength, and epitomizes her will to survive.


Honorable Mention:


“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book!—When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” - Pride and Prejudice


This would be my favorite quote but it's said by a hateful character and she's only saying it to impress Mr. Darcy.

Currently reading

Bel Canto
Ann Patchett
Les Misérables
Victor Hugo, Norman MacAfee, Lee Fahnestock
Zadie Smith
The Dream Thieves
Maggie Stiefvater
A Dance With Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5)
George R.R. Martin