United States of Books: Hawaii

Week eleven of the United States of Books coming your way! Here’s the road map; every Friday I will bring you book recommendations from each of the fifty nifty United States. Anyone else remember that song from elementary school? We’re just going to follow that order.



Micro by Michael Crichton

11660590In the vein of Jurassic Park, this high-concept thriller follows a group of graduate students lured to Hawaii to work for a mysterious biotech company—only to find themselves cast out into the rain forest, with nothing but their scientific expertise and wits to protect them. An instant classic, Micro pits nature against technology in vintage Crichton fashion. Completed by visionary science writer Richard Preston, this boundary-pushing thriller melds scientific fact with pulse-pounding fiction to create yet another masterpiece of sophisticated, cutting-edge entertainment.





The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings

968403Narrated in a bold, fearless, unforgettable voice and set against the lush, panoramic backdrop of Hawaii, The Descendants is a stunning debut novel about an unconventional family forced to come together and re-create its own legacy.

Matthew King was once considered one of the most fortunate men in Hawaii. His missionary ancestors were financially and culturally progressive–one even married a Hawaiian princess, making Matt a royal descendant and one of the state’s largest landowners.

Now his luck has changed. His two daughters are out of control: Ten-year-old Scottie is a smart-ass with a desperate need for attention, and seventeen-year-old Alex, a former model, is a recovering drug addict. Matt’s charismatic, thrill-seeking, high-maintenance wife, Joanie, lies in a coma after a boat-racing accident and will soon be taken off life support. The Kings can hardly picture life without her, but as they come to terms with this tragedy, their sadness is mixed with a sense of freedom that shames them–and spurs them into surprising actions.

Before honoring Joanie’s living will, Matt must gather her friends and family to say their final goodbyes, a difficult situation made worse by the sudden discovery that there is one person who hasn’t been told: the man with whom Joanie had been having an affair, quite possibly the one man she ever truly loved. Forced to examine what he owes not only to the living but to the dead, Matt takes to the road with his daughters to find his wife’s lover, a memorable journey that leads to both painful revelations and unforeseen humor and growth. 


From Here to Eternity by James Jones

116114Diamond Head, Hawaii, 1941. Pvt. Robert E. Lee Prewitt is a champion welterweight and a fine bugler. But when he refuses to join the company’s boxing team, he gets “the treatment” that may break him or kill him.

First Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden knows how to soldier better than almost anyone, yet he’s risking his career to have an affair with the commanding officer’s wife.

Both Warden and Prewitt are bound by a common bond: the Army is their heart and blood… and, possibly, their death.

In this magnificent but brutal classic of a soldier’s life, James Jones portrays the courage, violence and passions of men and women who live by unspoken codes and with unutterable despair… in the most important American novel to come out of World War II, a masterpiece that captures as no other the honor and savagery of men.


About a Girl by Lindsey Kelk

22307920Tess Brookes has always been a Girl with a Plan. But when the Plan goes belly up, she’s forced to reconsider.

After accidentally answering her flatmate Vanessa’s phone, she decides that since being Tess isn’t going so well, she might try being Vanessa. With nothing left to lose, she accepts Vanessa’s photography assignment to Hawaii – she used to be an amateur snapper, how hard can it be? Right?

But Tess is soon in big trouble. And the gorgeous journalist on the shoot with her, who is making it very clear he’d like to get into her pants, is an egotistical monster. Far from home and in someone else’s shoes, Tess must decide whether to fight on through, or ‘fess up and run… 



Song of the Exile by Kiana Davenport

165924In this epic, original novel in which Hawaii’s fierce, sweeping past springs to life, Kiana Davenport, author of the acclaimed Shark Dialogues, draws upon the remarkable stories of her people to create a timeless, passionate tale of love and survival, tragedy and triumph, survival and transcendence. In spellbinding, sensual prose, Song of the Exile follows the fortunes of the Meahuna family–and the odyssey of one resilient man searching for his soul mate after she is torn from his side by the forces of war. From the turbulent years of World War II through Hawaii’s complex journey to statehood, this mesmerizing story presents a cast of richly imagined characters who rise up magnificent and forceful, redeemed by the spiritual power and the awesome beauty of their islands. 


Moloka’i by Alan Brennen

3273This richly imagined novel, set in Hawai’i more than a century ago, is an extraordinary epic of a little-known time and place—and a deeply moving testament to the resiliency of the human spirit.

Rachel Kalama, a spirited seven-year-old Hawaiian girl, dreams of visiting far-off lands like her father, a merchant seaman. Then one day a rose-colored mark appears on her skin, and those dreams are stolen from her. Taken from her home and family, Rachel is sent to Kalaupapa, the quarantined leprosy settlement on the island of Moloka’i. Here her life is supposed to end—but instead she discovers it is only just beginning.


 Next week, Idaho!

As if this country wasn’t already screwed…

I heard on the radio this morning that 4/5 Americans cannot name a single author.


Is that wild or what? It’s 2017 and most of the United States, an affluent country with easy access to education, cannot name one author. Not one! Even the guys on the radio tried to name authors. Some of them named a few of the more popular ones like J.K. Rowling and Tom Clancy, which is like naming George Washington when it comes to Presidents but at least they could name someone.

One of them hilariously and proudly named “Ariel Stine” as their author. There are a few things wrong with this. One, It’s R.L. Stine… and two, R.L. Stine is a man.  (I’m sure there are men out there named Ariel, but in this instance, R.L. is a man.)

This got me to thinking… how many authors can I name off the top of my head without looking anyone up?

  1. J.K. Rowling
  2. Robert Galbraith (He counts!)
  3. Tom Clancy
  4. Tahereh Maafi
  5. Markus Zusak
  6. Cassandra Clare
  7. Dianna Gabaldon
  8. Lewis Carroll
  9. F. Scott Fitzgerald
  10. Harper Lee
  11. Emily Bronte
  12. Charlotte Bronte
  13. Anne Bronte
  14. Jane Austen
  15. Sinclair Lewis
  16. Amy Bartol
  17. Suzanne Collins
  18. Veronica Roth
  19. Sarah J. Maas
  20. Katie Cross
  21. R.L. Stine
  22. Veronica Aveyard
  23. Cecelia Ahern
  24. Phillipa Gregory
  25. Jojo Moyes
  26. John Green
  27. Kristin Hannah
  28. Deborah Harkness
  29. Joe Hart
  30. Colleen Hoover
  31. Nicholas Sparks
  32. Amy Harmon
  33. Rick Riordan
  34. Marissa Meyer
  35. Stephanie Meyer
  36. Ann Rinaldi
  37. Scott Westerfield
  38. Lauren Weisberger
  39. Laura Ingalls Wilder
  40. Maud Hart Lovelace
  41. Gail Carson Levine
  42. Stephanie Perkins

This wasn’t as many as I would have hoped… I think I’m missing a few obvious ones. But it’s better than Ariel Stine!

Your turn! Leave me a comment or participate on your own blog and try to name as many authors as you can without looking anyone up! NO CHEATING! Not that I’d know, but it’s so much more fun this way.

Top Five Wednesday: Characters’ Fitness Routines I’d Want

This can be interpreted a bunch of different ways! Fitness comes in many different packages. This can be about characters who are super fast, strong, agile, good at dancing, good at climbing, athletes, or foodies! Whatever it means to you. This is inspired by those routines you see in magazines for actors, but with more of an open mind and less body shaming 🙂



Katniss Everdeen


The way that Katniss is with her bow and arrows is enviable. It’s more like an extension of her own arm rather than an external weapon. Arrows are cooler than guns. Okay, everything is cooler than guns… but of the things you can shoot, arrows are the coolest. Also, basketballs.


Tally Youngblood


When she’s pretty, she’s perpetually skinny and fit while also being able to eat what she wants without getting fat or pimply. When she’s special, she has super human abilities and still able to eat what she wants. Either way, the ability to eat all the things without gaining weight is a very attractive concept.


Arya Stark


“Who taught you to do that?” “No one.” Let’s face it. The Game of Thrones life is not the best life. But Arya has definitely made the best of it with her training in the House of Black and White, and with her water dancing from Syrio Forell. All of this showed in her sparring match with Brienne, and I wish I was as cool as she is.


Roselle St. Sismode (Secondborn by Amy Bartol)


Because sword fighting is cool and not at all dangerous. Roselle has been trained to be a soldier since she could walk, and it shows in her abilities. Despite her less than perfect upbringing, she has a heart of gold. I just wish I had assassin-like abilities, okay? Which brings us to my final pick:


Celaena Sardothien


Celaena is such a badass! Somehow, she still finds time to read in her time spent in court and being a freaking assassin. I wish I could balance my own life that well.

Scaring Away the Sunday Scaries (19)

“You deserve someone who loves you with every single beat of his heart, someone who thinks about you constantly, someone who spends every minute of every day just wondering what you’re doing, where you are, who you’re with, and if you’re OK. You need someone who can help you reach your dreams and protect you from your fears. You need someone who will treat you with respect, love every part of you, especially your flaws. You should be with someone who could make you happy, really happy, dancing on air happy.”

-Cecelia Ahern, Love, Rosie

United States of Books: Georgia

Week ten of the United States of Books coming your way! Here’s the road map; every Friday I will bring you book recommendations from each of the fifty nifty United States. Anyone else remember that song from elementary school? We’re just going to follow that order.

Bless my southern heart…


Deliverance by James Dickey

2213022The setting is the Georgia wilderness, where the state’s most remote white-water river awaits. In the thundering froth of that river, in its echoing stone canyons, four men on a canoe trip discover a freedom and exhilaration beyond compare. And then, in a moment of horror, the adventure turns into a struggle for survival as one man becomes a human hunter who is offered his own harrowing deliverance.






Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

5287473Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It’s gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie’s estranged father—an elusive European warlock—only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it’s her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tag-along ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.


The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

30555488.jpgCora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hellish for all the slaves but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood – where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned and, though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.

In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor – engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven – but the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. Even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.

As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.


Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown

28003097Joanna Gordon has been out and proud for years, but when her popular radio evangelist father remarries and decides to move all three of them from Atlanta to the more conservative Rome, Georgia, he asks Jo to do the impossible: to lie low for the rest of her senior year. And Jo reluctantly agrees.

Although it is (mostly) much easier for Jo to fit in as a straight girl, things get complicated when she meets Mary Carlson, the oh-so-tempting sister of her new friend at school. But Jo couldn’t possibly think of breaking her promise to her dad. Even if she’s starting to fall for the girl. Even if there’s a chance Mary Carlson might be interested in her, too. Right?



Simon Vs. the Homo Sapien’s Agenda

simon vs the homo sapiens agenda+becky albertalliSixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Next week, Hawaii!

Top Five Wednesday: Second Book is Best

We’ve talked about series that went downhill, and series that are worth it, but which series were best in the middle?

I’ve been seriously slacking on my Top Five Wednesdays lately, and for that I’m sorry. I have no excuse except that life has gotten away from me the past few weeks and I am slowly trying to get back into my routine. I may do a post on what has been going on later, but for now, let’s get into this week’s Top Five Wednesday!

A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin


This was the only Song of Ice and Fire book that I just flew through. I’ve only read the first three books in the series, but this is one I really loved. I know it’s the third book in the series, but it’s the best I’ve read so far. Once you get past the long winded descriptions of characters that show up once, it really is a fantastic series.

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis


This could be considered the first, or second book in this series depending on how you look at it. Chronologically, it’s the second book, and that’s the way I’m considering it for this post. This is the best book in the series, hands down.

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon


As much as I love Outlander, I think Dragonfly in Amber is one of the better books in the series that I’ve read thus far. I love the way it’s written, all the new characters we are introduced to (Brianna and Roger!!), and the intrigue of French Court contrasted with the Scottish Jacobite rebellion.

Pretties by Scott Westerfield

I think this book is more powerful than Uglies because it shows how strong a character Tally really is. She overcomes her superficial “pretty-minded” mentality, and is able to think clearly about what is happening around her. The commentary on today’s society is very apparent, as we are so overloaded by media and the internet telling us what and how to think that we barely ever have an original thought on our own. Pretties teaches us to question authority, and to not overlook something because “that’s the way it’s always been.”


Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder


This was my favorite book in this series growing up. Positives: the trip out west, family dynamics, adventure. Negatives: racism against the Native Americans. While this book was published in 1935 and reflects the views of the time, I think it could do with some editing in 2017. I didn’t notice the racist elements to this book as a child, but it definitely isn’t a concept that I would want to introduce to my own children.