Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Review of Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Title: Blood Red Road
Author: Moira Young
Published by: Simon & Schuster Audio
Cd: 9 dics
Source: Library
Format: Audiobook
Rating: ★★★★

Summary From Goodreads: Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back.

Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she's a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.

This book has been getting a lot of good buzz so when I saw the audiobook at the library I decided to give it a try.  I'm so glad I did because I was blown away. 

Saba is one of those heroines that will capture your heart.  She's fierce, protective, smart, hot-tempered and persistent.  When her father is killed and her brother, Lugh, is kidnapped she will stop at nothing to go find him.  She has to overcome many obstacles along her way, and though she doesn't need help, she finds it in some unlikely allies.  While I'm never quite sure what to think of the rugged Jack, I did feel he was deeply connected to the story.  As soon as he was introduced I knew for certain that he would impact Saba's journey in some way. 

The Freek Hawks were some amazing ladies.  If I was Saba I would have run away with them and fought by their side.  They were loyal and yet very determined ladies who had a mission.  They kind of reminded me of Artemis's hunters, except more rugged and warrior like. 

The only thing I wasn't fond of in this novel is Saba's worshipping of Lugh.  I felt like Lugh was too good to be true and I wanted to see his flaws to create more depth to his character.  Everytime she defended Lugh, I felt a stab in my heart for Jack.  I felt like she put Lugh on a pedistal and no one could reach his "goodness."  I'm not buying it.  I wanted to see him lash out or turn bad or something, he was just too plain for me.

Overall, I really enjoyed listening to this book and would highly recommend it. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Review of Divergent by Veronica Roth

Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Published by: HarperCollins Children's Books
Pages: 489
Source: Won from The Book Cellar
Format: ARC
Rating: ★★★★★

Summary from Goodreads: Beatrice "Tris" Prior has reached the fateful age of sixteen, the stage at which teenagers in Veronica Roth's dystopian Chicago must select which of five factions to join for life. Each faction represents a virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. To the surprise of herself and her selfless Abnegation family, she chooses Dauntless, the path of courage. Her choice exposes her to the demanding, violent initiation rites of this group, but it also threatens to expose a personal secret that could place her in mortal danger. Veronica Roth's young adult Divergent trilogy launches with a captivating adventure about love and loyalty playing out under most extreme circumstances.

Everyone has been gushing over this novel for quite a while, but I was a bit apprehensive to read it.  Everyone told me it was a lot like The Hunger Games, which I wasn't a huge fan of.  Boy, was I silly to wait so long to read this novel; it was amazing.

Tris was the heroine we all love to read about.  She's fierce, tough, completely kick-butt, yet at the same time she shows some vulnerability.  She wants to find her place in life, and she's willing to risk everything to take that chance.

Four is scary and yet completely sexy.  How come the nice boy-next-door is never the sexy one?  It's always the silent, completely deadly, mentor type that gets our blood boiling.  Well, whatever your type is Four is sure to fit it.  I loved Four's story.  You won't learn the whole picture until the end of the novel but he is one of those people who will capture your heart and make you fiercely protective of.

Veronica Roth spun a dangerous and corrupt new world.  It's intriguing, frightening and completely captivating.  I read this very long book in one sitting...yes it's that good.  The writing keeps you wanting more and more you will be wanting.  Good thing there is a sequel coming out next year.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

Today I'm participating in Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
Top Ten Authors I'd Love To Have At My Thanksgiving Feast

1. Rachael Ray.  I definitely need someone to help me out in the kitchen or better yet just cook the whole meal for me.

2. Stephanie Perkins because she seems like so much fun.  I love her quirky personality.

3. Simone Elkeles because we could gush over the Fuentes brothers and the hotties who play them in her book trailers.  If you haven't checked these boys out here is your chance.

4. Stephanie Meyers because I'd want to have a serious talk with her about showing her fans some appreciation and finishing Midnight Sun or at least something better than Bree Tanner.  

5. Sebastian Junger because not only is he super adventurous and will do anything for a story, but he is quite the hottie himself.  I also really like his personality and he was such a nice guy when I met him.

Paula H. Deen6. Paula Deen because I would want someone to bake a scrumptious dessert that I know I will later regret. 
7. Andrea Cremer because I really need to advocate for Ren.  I don't think she understands how much I need Ren and Calla to end up together and for Shay to get killed off. 

8. J.R. Ward so she can set me up with one of her hunky vampires. 

9. Tina Fey because I think she'd add so much humor and entertainment to the party. 

Melina Marchetta10. Melina Marchetta because she is one of my favorite authors and I've always wanted to meet her. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Review of Touch of Twlight by Calista Fox, Mary Leo, and Erin Quinn

Title: Touch of Twilight
Authors: Calista Fox, Mary Leo, and Erin Quinn
Published by: Pryde Multimedia, LLC
Pages: 149
Source: Publisher
Format: ebook
Rating: ★★★

This is novel is compilation of three stories by three different authors.  While the stories are not interconnected they are related through the fact they are all ghost stories.  These ghost are not the scary, haunting type, in fact, most of them are friendly and are there looking for help.   

In A Chill at Twilight by Calista Fox, famous country singer Rachel Hold returns to her home town for a much needed break.  Well looking forward to seeing her old flame, a hunky cowboy named Luc, she is not ready for the ghost of my old best friend, Peyton, haunting her. 

I'm not really sure what to classify this story as.  Calista Fox intertwined a romance, with a ghost story, and also a little bit of a mystery.  As for the romance part it was sexy, steamy and everything you could hope for.  Luc was the courteous, sexy, cowboy type that every women wishes she could find.  **Swoon**  Right off the bat you could tell there was chemistry between Luc and Rachel and a spark that only grew larger.  My only objection with the romance (and it seems like a silly one) is that it seemed to take over the whole story.  The mystery was great and I had no idea who killed Peyton, but at the same time I felt it was rushed.  I wish little hints would have been dropped throughout the story instead of the bomb during the last couple of pages. 

The next story was A Shadow at Twilight by Mary Leo.  This was definitely more of a romance story with some ghosts thrown in.  Hilly Thompson ends up having to cut her vacation short once again, because her over-demanding boss, Dillon Spencer, gets into a car accident and ends up in a coma.  Weird things start happening when Dillon and other ghosts start appearing to her and it's up to Hilly to help her boss choose life over death. 

I really enjoyed the pace of this novel.  Their romance, while a bit unexpected, is a slow burning one that develops over the entire story.  Personally if I was Hilly, I would have quit my job a long time ago.  Dillon was controlling, demanding and ultimately sucked the life out of Hilly.  As we encounter Dillon in his ghost form, we get to learn more about his life and who he truly is as a person.  He definitely grew on me, but I don't know if I would have fallen as easily as Hilly given their past. 

The last story was A Shiver at Twilight by Erin Quinn.  While Carly sets out to rescue her friend, things go terribly wrong and she ends up in an haunted farm house with a hunky stranger, JD, who happens to have a damsel in distress complex. 

This story wasn't for me.  The pacing felt off and the writing was really choppy.  The plot felt forced and it was easy to guess what would happen next.  While things did heat up between Carly and JD, I had a hard time believing their chemistry.  I don't think anything would be less romantic than staying in a farm house with a family of ghosts who were brutally murdered.  Carly and JD know nothing about each other and he just happens to show up in the woods to help her out.  Yeah, I think I would run instead of cuddle up next to the guy.  As for the plot, things just seemed to fall into place too easily.  It was almost as if fate was at hand because everything seemed so interconnected by the end. 

While I did enjoy Touch of Twilight overall, some of the stories left me baffled and it was not quite what I was hoping for. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Review of The Veil by Cory Putman Oakes

Title: The Veil
Author: Cory Putman Oakes
Published by: Octane Press
Pages: 308
Source: I Read Banned Books Book Tour
Format: ARC
Rating: ★★★★

Summary from Goodreads: Seventeen-year-old Addison Russell is in for a shock when she discovers that she can see the invisible world of the Annorasi. Suddenly, nothing is as it appears to be the house she lives in, the woman who raised her, even the most beautiful boy in town all turn out to be more than what they seem. And when this strange new world forces Addy to answer for a crime that was committed long ago, by parents she has never known, she has no choice but to trust Luc, the mysterious Annorasi who has been sent to protect her. Or so he says . . .

What a refreshing read.  I love paranormal books, but after a while things can start sounding the same.  The Veil was quirky, original and just what I needed.  The idea of an invisible world running in connection with ours, just under "the veil" was mind blowing.  I love the idea of looking at an object and having humans see one thing and the Annorasi see something completely different.  It makes me wonder what beautiful things are hiding behind object we find visually unpleasing.  While I still don't understand everything connected with the Annorasi world, I knew enough to completely fall in love with the concept. 

What a birthday Addy had.  The poor girl is all excited for her birthday and then she thinks she's going crazy because she keeps seeing things others don't.  If I was Addy I'd think I'd need to be committed to the psych ward or more likely think I was just over-stressed and in need of a vacation.  Good thing Luc comes along to help her figure things out.  Addy and Luc just seemed to fit.  Their relationship didn’t feel forced or contrived, it was natural and almost seemed like fate.  At first I was apprehensive about Luc because he was 'the hot guy,' but soon I didn't even think about his looks because he just became Luc to me.  He was sweet, patient and kind.

Also, the supporting characters were amazing in The Veil.  Addy’s grandmother was sweet, yet had a feisty quality about her.  She made me laugh countless times and yet I still felt protected in her presence.  Addy’s besties were full of life and spunk.  They were true best friends were they were amazingly loyal and protective.  And don’t forget ‘the cats;’ they are quite a surprise.      

This book flew for me.  It was fast-paced and held my intrigue throughout.  Cory Putman Oakes's The Veil, is a great new addition to the paranormal world.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Night Date Night

On Fridays I wanted to do something a little different then what I normally do.  I decided that on Fridays I'm going to do movie reviews.  I'm hoping to review mostly movies adapted from books, but I'm sure other movies that were not based on books will pop up every now and then.  Hopefully some of these reviews will help you decide what to watch on your date night or a night of chillin with the girls.
So every once in a while I need a fix of Channing Tatum.  He is one of those guys that just grabs my heart and my attention (I'm sure this is not news for any female between the ages of 12-100.  I mean seriously even my grandma thinks he's hot.  Well, she never actually said hot, but she said he had really nice teeth, which in grandma talk means he's sexy!).  The other day my friend told me they were making a movie out of his life.  Who knew the whole "stripper turned model turned actor" thing would be appealing enough to get a movie made of his life?  After she told me that I needed a Channing Tatum fix so I decided to watch Dear John.  (As a total side note and the fact I get distracted a lot, does anyone else have trouble with his name...seriously I feel like it's a tongue twister). 
Ok so you know that I already love Channing Tatum, but I have to tell you how much I adore Amanda Seyfried.  Seriously, she was great in Mean Girls ("There's a 30 percent chance that it's already raining!"), and who knew the chicka had a set of lungs until Mamma Mia!  Even though I love both of these actors I don't think they had the chemistry I was hoping for in Dear John.  Though I didn't read this novel, I have read other Nicholas Sparks' novels and I know that the main characters always fall for each other and somehow are magically perfect together.  They have the special kind of love we all hope for and I didn't feel that between Channing and Amanda.
One of the things I really enjoyed was how the actors read each others' letters during the film.  From what I understand, Dear John is an epistolary, which is a novel written in a series of documents and I like how this was incorporated into the movie.  I though this was done really well, and it helped portray the emotions each of these characters were going through as they read the letters. 
As for the setting it was gorgeous and they story itself pulled me in.  And of course I cried; I feel it is a requirement for reading/watching a Nicholas Sparks novel.  It's just not perfect without the tears.  Overall I enjoyed the movie, but it wasn't one of my favorite Nicholas Sparks-book based-movies. 
Wanna see more...
Also, does anyone have any suggestions for book based movies?  I have some more lined up but I'm always looking for more.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gratitude Giveaways Blog Hop

Happy Turkey Day!  With the Holidays right around the corner what's a better way to celebrate than a chance to win some fabulous books.  A special thanks to I Am A Reader, Not A WriterAll-Consuming Books for hosting this wonderful hop.

So what is up for grabs...A SIGNED hardcover copy of Delirium by Lauren Oliver! 


Giveaway Rules:
The contest runs until Sunday November 27th, 2011 at 11:59pm (CST)
You must be 13 years of age or older to enter
You must fill out this FORM!
This contest is only open to participants with US address (I'll have another giveaway soon for International participants)

Check out all the other people on the Tour!

Reward Challenge - stage 3

I don't know if you are anything like me but it is impossible to stop from buying books.  I love it, but sadly my bookshelves and my bank account don't.  When I found The Reading Reward Challenge hosted by Good Golly Miss Holly I knew this challenge was for me.  

The goal of this challenge is not a book buying ban but instead a reward program.  There are different stages and hopefully by the end your TBR pile will go down, but you'll still end up rewarding yourself by getting some new books (plus there are also prizes you can win!). 

Here is how it works
Stage 1      Read ONE Book       =   Buy ONE Book
Stage 2      Read TWO Books     =   Buy ONE Book
Stage 3      Read THREE Books
  =   Buy ONE Book
Stage 4      Read FOUR Books
    =  Buy ONE Book
Stage 5      Read FIVE Books
     =   Buy ONE Book

a n d   s o   o n . . . 

The three book I read were Blood Drive by Traci Houston (review), Revelations by Melissa de la Cruz (review) and Dark Lover by J. R. Ward (review).  I decided to reward myself by buying Lover Eternal by J. R. Ward. 

I'm so happy I'm sticking with this reward challenge.  I think I'm going to have to read stage four books fast because I'm really excited to continue reading the Black Brotherhood series and I don't own anymore. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

Today I'm participating in Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
Top Ten Books That Have Been On My Shelf For The Longest But I've Never Read
Prom1. Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson.  I have loved Laurie's other books so I don't know why I keep putting off reading this one.
2. Little Women by Lousia May Alcott.  I was always really excited to read this novel.  I enjoyed the movie and as we all know the book is usually better.  For some reason this book just sits, unread on my shelf year after year. 
3. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.  This was the first play I saw on Broadway and I fell in love with it.  Soon after I saw the play I went out and bought the book.  It is a tome and quite intimidating which is the reason this book as has sat on my shelf for over 10 years.
Peaches (Peaches, #1)4. Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson.  This novel looked really cute and I kept glancing at it every time I went to the bookstore.  I finally bought it one day with every intention of reading it and it still remains on my shelf.
5. The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder by Rebecca Wells.  My friend gave me an ARC of this novel a couple of years ago because she knew how much I liked Rebecca Wells' other novels.  I couldn't wait to read this one and the reason I didn't start it that night is because I was going through some crazy hard exams for grad school and I just pushed it off until I had a break...and I never picked it up.    
6. The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman.  I love Alice Hoffman.  The way she subtly intertwines magic in her novels is breathtaking and mesmerizing.  The above mentioned friend also gave me an ARC of this novel before it was released.  She loved it and knew I would love it too.  I really do think I'll love it as soon as I get to reading it. 
7. The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss.  I've had this book forever, but before about a year ago I never really wanted to read it, because I was in love with the movie and I didn't want to ruin the nostalgia.  Now for some reason I can't wait to read it, not only to compare it to the movie but to see if I still love the story just as much.
Frankenstein8. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.  I picked this up a while ago when I thought I should be reading all the classics.  I could never quite force myself to read this novel.  It just doesn't seem like I would enjoy it very much.  Yet, I feel incredibly guilty donating this book so it sits on my shelf eating up space and collecting dust.
That's all I can think of for today...what about you?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Review of Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

Title: Dark Lover
Author: J.R. Ward
Published by: Signet Eclipse
Pages: 393
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★★

Summary from Goodreads: In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there's a deadly turf war going on between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Yet none of them relishes killing more than Wrath, the leader of The Black Dagger Brotherhood.

The only purebred vampire left on earth, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who murdered his parents centuries ago. But, when one of his most trusted fighters is killed-leaving his half-breed daughter unaware of his existence or her fate-Wrath must usher her into the world of the undead-a world of sensuality beyond her wildest dreams

So just to start out I the only person who has not read this series yet?  Just checkin. 

If you are looking for brooding vampires who sparkle in the sun, this is not your novel.  But if you're looking for hot, dangerous, incredibly sexy and loyal vampires then pick up this series.  Wrath, is not the typical prototype when I think of vampires.  He's huge, tough and an incredibly dangerous fighter.  When I picture him I think of a linebacker or a WWE wrestler only sexier and in lots of leather.  At first his brash attitude kind of turned me off.  He really came across as the rough warrior who is out for vengeance.  Then I learned about his background and saw his interactions with Beth and he grew on me.  Don't get me wrong if I ever saw him in real life, I'd probably pee myself, because besides being outrageously attractive, he'd be so scary (that goes for all of the brotherhood).

As for the writing itself, it was a fast-paced, intriguing story.  I love the intricacies of learning about their culture and some of their history.  The Glossary of Terms at the beginning of the novel really helped and I found myself referencing many times throughout the novel.  Plus the bedroom scenes were smoking! 

I really enjoyed Dark Lover and I can't wait to read about the rest of the brotherhood.  If you've read this series which book is your favorite? 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Review of The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory

Title: The Red Queen
Author: Philipa Gregory
Published by: Simon & Schuster Audio
Dics: 12 CDS
Source: Library
Format: Audiobook
Rating: ★

Summary from Goodreads: The second book in Philippa's stunning new trilogy, The Cousins War, brings to life the story of Margaret Beaufort, a shadowy and mysterious character in the first book of the series - The White Queen - but who now takes centre stage in the bitter struggle of The War of the Roses. The Red Queen tells the story of the child-bride of Edmund Tudor, who, although widowed in her early teens, uses her determination of character and wily plotting to infiltrate the house of York under the guise of loyal friend and servant, undermine the support for Richard III and ultimately ensure that her only son, Henry Tudor, triumphs as King of England. Through collaboration with the dowager Queen Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret agrees a betrothal between Henry and Elizabeth's daughter, thereby uniting the families and resolving the Cousins War once and for all by founding of the Tudor dynasty.

I love historical fiction.  When I read this genre I imagine that this history is true and I'm actually reading the scandalous life of someone who existed during the time period.  It's like finding an old diary and exposing the truths of someone who has long been gone.  I think in a way it almost makes me feel smart because I'm not only wrapped up in the story, I'm also learning some history too that the author snuck in.

That being said, this book just didn't do it for me.  I think the main reason I didn't enjoy this book is because I couldn't stand the main character, Margaret Beaufort.  First she was a religious fanatic who twisted her religion to always benefit her.  She claimed that "it is the will of God," when in fact it was just her will and since she assumed she was blessed she thought it impossible for "the will of God" to not be her will as well.  It drove me nuts that she was so determined that whatever she wanted was "the will of God: and everyone else was going against God's will.

She was a conniving, arrogant and contemptuous women that throughout the whole novel I kept wanting her side to loose.  I actually felt sorry for her husbands.

As for the story itself I felt there was a lot of war.  I wanted more out of the story.  I wanted court life, scandal, dashing knights and forbidden romance.  All I got was strategists and war.

I love Philipa Gregory as an author, so if your looking for a great historical fiction novel I'd pick one of her other novels instead.   

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Night Date Night

On Fridays I wanted to do something a little different then what I normally do.  I decided that on Fridays I'm going to do movie reviews.  I'm hoping to review mostly movies adapted from books, but I'm sure other movies that were not based on books will pop up every now and then.  Hopefully some of these reviews will help you decide what to watch on your date night or a night of chillin with the girls.
Something Borrowed (Darcy & Rachel, #1)
My bestie and I went to see Something Borrowed a couple of months ago.  I haven't read the books, but the movie looked cute so we decided what the hey, lets give it a try. 
I think we might be the only two people in the universe who didn't enjoy this movie.  Don't get me wrong, the acting was great.  Kate Hudson was amazing and spunky as always and Ginnifer Goodwin was as cute as a button.  Plus there was some nice eye candy..yep Colin Egglesfield was looking pretty darn good.  And who doesn't love John Krasinski?  I think he was my favorite person in the whole movie, or at least his character was.  If think he was a great best friend and I think his heart was in the right place.  All of the actors had great chemistry and would love to see them work together again.    
The main problem I had with this movie was not the movie itself; it was the storyline.  (For those of you who haven't seen the movie or read the book or seen the movie trailers this may be a little spoilerish, so skip the rest of this paragraph.)  I don't think it's right that we are cheering for the characters to cheat on their best friend or fiance.  I don't care how unworthy and catty your best friend is, that doesn't give you the right to sleep with her fiance.  And for Dex, I don't care if you think you might have feelings for your fiance's best friend you don't act on them.  I thought both Rachel and Dex were completely wrong in how they handled their feelings.  I also thought Dex needed to man up.  There was a point in the movie that no matter how cute I thought Colin was, his character really turned me off of him.  I though Darcy was selfish and not best friend material at all. In fact, I don't think I would like her character as a person at all.    
Ok enough ranting and raving.  Have you seen the movie or read the book?  What did you think?
Want to see more.  Check out the Trailer:

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Review of Where She Went by Gail Forman

Title: Where She Went
Author: Gail Forman
Published by: Dutton Juvenile
Pages: 260
Source: Library
Format: Hardcover
Rating: ★★★★

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.

If I Stay was a devastating read.  So much emotion and turmoil, with a powerful ending that stuck with you long after you but the book down.  When I heard there was going to be a sequel I wasn't quite sure how I felt about it.  I thought If I Stay was amazingly written and I didn't want a sequel to ruin the overall impact that If I Stay had.

That being said, I adored Where She Went.  I think this novel really worked and didn't pull anything away from If I Stay.  I think the reason this novel worked so well is that it was told from Adam's point of view.  Adam was broken after Mia left for college.  He retreated into himself and became a ghost of the person he used to be.  His downward spiral actually reminded me of Bella's in New Moon when Edward left.  Part of me felt for Adam and another part of me thought it was kind of crazy.  I understand Adam's devastation, but I don't understand not picking yourself back up and going on with life.

When Adam and Mia finally meet again it is familiar and awkward at the same time.  They make a wonderful couple and Gail Forman really builds each of their characters off of the other one.  I love the edginess of this novel.  Even though it was highly emotional, it also had a hardness to it (which I'm attributing to Adam's point of view and his pain).  I loved getting to know Adam better and more of who he is instead of his connection to Mia.

I must applaud Gail Forman on her directness.  There were so many difficult emotions that both Adam and Mia went through after If I Stay and Gail Forman really showed us the grit and pain.  She didn't back off on the hard stuff and make it a light and easy read.  Instead she made Mia and Adam have those dark feelings that everyone has but are too scared to talk about.  We all know that people have irrational feelings after tragedy, but won't talk about them for fear of being ridiculed and ashamed.  Gail gave Mia and Adam these feelings and that really made the novel for me.

Where She Went is a novel that will stick with me for a while.  Gail Forman truly knows how to write a gripping novel.       

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Review of Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

Title: Looking for Alibrandi
Author: Melina Marchetta
Published by: Orchard Books
Pages: 256
Source: Library
Format: Hardcover
Rating: ★★★★

Summary From Goodreads: Seventeen-year-old Josephine Alibrandi is no stranger to conflict. If she's not caught between her strict single mom and her even stricter grandmother, then she's trying to choose between wealthy good boy John Barton and working-class bad boy Jacob Coote. Josephine is always in trouble with the nuns at her Catholic school (who everyone calls "penguins because of them wearing wimples and all that Sound of Music gear") because she fights with native Australian kids over her mixed Australian/Italian heritage. Just when she thinks her situation couldn't possibly get more complicated, her mysterious, long-lost biological father comes back and Josephine must decide if it's worth getting to know this person who abandoned her and her mother.

I don't know how many times I've said it and I'm sure it will be at least a hundred more, but I love Melina Marchetta.  She writes the most amazing characters who are far from perfect, but at the same time are so raw and authentic you can't help but love them.

Looking for Alibrandi was not a novel I had heard of when I stumbled upon it on someone's blog (I would give a shout out to this person but I'm not sure anymore who it is).  I quickly looked at my local independent bookstores and I didn't see it, so I tried the library and to my immense pleasure they did have a copy.

Josephine was a sassy girl who wasn't really sure of her place in life.  She felt as if she never really fit in with the Australian side because of her Italian heritage, but at the same time she hated following the strict rules of her Italian upbringing.  Things soon got complicated when not only her long lost dad enters her life, but also two other boys vying for her attention.  At first I wasn't sure about Josephine.  I thought she was very disrespectful to her mother and her grandmother, but as the story went along and more information was revealed about their situation I really felt for Josephine.  She didn't live an easy life and neither did her mother or grandmother.  They all had to make tough decisions and life with their consequences.

Now lets talk about the boys.  Jacob Coote is Melina Marchetta's typical male of interest.  He's a little rough around the edges and does things his own way.  His relationship with Josephine is a little rocky and they have trouble finding their own rhythm with plenty of mistakes along the way.  He's considered the bad boy with her motorcycle and ripped jeans...sounds yummy to me! 

My favorite character had to be Josephine's father.  Well he is described as plain, I still imaged him as dashing and kind of bumbling, like a Colin Firth type.  I loved seeing his and Josephine's relationship grow and him learning how to be a father.  It was quite heart-warming.

I must say while I did really enjoy this novel, there was something missing that was in her later novels.  It had all the elements; a great story, perfect characters, a hot guy and yet it seemed to not have her usual spark. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

Today I'm participating in Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
Ten Books That I Read That Were Outside Of My Comfort Zone (whether you liked them or not)
War1. War by Sebastian Junger.  I went to listen to Sebastian Junger talk about this book and it got me intrigued.  I've never read a war book from a solider's perspective and the thought that it was real and still happening today made it all the more unique to my usual reads. 

2. Room by Emma Donoghue.  The topic of this book it what threw me.  The whole though of reading about a young women and her son held captive is not my usual read.  I thought it would be more graphic and I'm very thankful that it wasn't.

3. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout.  I'm not a huge short story fan but I liked how this was a set of short stories that was all interconnected.

4. Harry Potter and the Socerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling.  This was my first fantasy read.  I'd never read a fantasy book before and I thought that I woudn't like it.

Twilight (Twilight, #1)5. Twilight by Stephanie Meyers.  This was my first paranormal book and just like the fantasy genre I didn't think I'd be a I'm in love with vamps, though I tend to enjoy the non vegetarian type a little more now. 

I can't think of any other books that I've read that are outside of my comfort zone, but I can list some topics of books that would be so outside my comfort zone I wouldn't read them
1. Clowns...I don't like clowns.  In fact, they freak me out to no end
2. Birds...Again I'm not a fan of birds at all.
3. Brutal vivd abuse...I don't think I could handle reading anything too descriptive.  I'd either be crying hysterically or getting sick

What about you?  Are there any topics that are a direct no read for you? 

Monday, November 7, 2011

When words fail you

Has there ever been a book you've read where you just can't write a review about?  I just finished listening to Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott and it was so emotional and such a difficult book that I just can't seem to make myself write a review.  I had so many complex emotions going through my head when I was listening to it and I still have them now.  Maybe I just need some time, but I think it was the topic this book was about that makes it so difficult for me to write a review. 
Living Dead Girl

Am I the only one out there or are there certain books where it's just to difficult to write a review about?  If so, what books are they?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

How are your 2011 Challenges Going?

When I check my email yesterday I noticed that there was an email about a new 2012 challenge.  I was all excited and then before signing up I thought I should look at the challenges I participated in this year to check my progress on them. 

First I participated in the 2011 Debut Author challenge which I already completed.  Yea!  The next challenge I particpated in was the Most Awaited YA releases and I already completed this one too. 

Then I looked at the last challenge I particpated in which was the Off The Shelf challeng and *gasps* I still have 8 books left for this challenge.  This should have been the easiest challenge since I had all the books already.  And the sad thing is that I have no desire to read any of the books I have left on that challenge.

What to do?  Do I race and try and finish the challenge or do I just give up?  I had thought I'd read these last 8 all over the summer and we can see how that went.  Part of me is determined to finish the challenge and the other part of me thinks I won't enjoy the books as much if I'm forcing myself to read them.  I guess I better make a decision fast.   

How are your challenges going?  Are you going to finish them all or is it time to throw in the towel? 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Friday Night Date Night

On Fridays I wanted to do something a little different then what I normally do.  I decided that on Fridays I'm going to do movie reviews.  I'm hoping to review mostly movies adapted from books, but I'm sure other movies that were not based on books will pop up every now and then.  Hopefully some of these reviews will help you decide what to watch on your date night or a night of chillin with the girls.
Shutter Island

I read Shutter Island by Dennis Lahane probably around 5 years ago.  In fact, I didn't actually read this book but I listened to it with my parents as we took a road trip to go visit my sister and her husband when they lived in Kentucky.  We were all so enthralled with the book that we would sit in the car at gas stations and not want to get out because then we'd have to take a break from the story.

When I heard this movie was coming out I couldn't wait to see it.  I didn't see it in theaters though because I wanted to see it with my parents since we listened to the book together.  Finally one of the last times my parents came to visit we got to sit down and watch this movie together...and it was fabulous.  

First off the setting was amazing.  It was dark and stormy throughout the entire movie.  It really set the mood for this psychological thriller.   The Insane Asylum looked old and forgotten and one of the scariest places to get trapped during a hurricane.  

Leonardo DiCaprio did a great job as U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels.  He was very believable in his role and even though I knew what was going to happen, he made it seem like I was learning this story for the first time.  

One of my favorite thing about psychological thrillers is that even when the movie or book is over there is still so much to think about and questions.  The movie did a great job at tying up loose ends but also leaving just enough for us to question what really happened.  

If your looking for a great movie to snuggle up with try Shutter Island.    

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Review of Forgotten by Cat Patrick

Title: Forgotten
Author: Cat Patrick
Published by: Listening Library
Discs: 7 discs
Source: Library
Format: Audiobook
Rating: ★★★★

Summary from Goodreads:  Each night when 16 year-old London Lane goes to sleep, her whole world disappears. In the morning, all that's left is a note telling her about a day she can't remember. The whole scenario doesn't exactly make high school or dating that hot guy whose name she can't seem to recall any easier. But when London starts experiencing disturbing visions she can't make sense of, she realizes it's time to learn a little more about the past she keeps forgetting-before it destroys her future.

Can you imagine waking up in the morning and forgetting everything about your past?  Imagine meeting the hottest guy and not only forgetting his name, but forgetting you ever met him.  London goes through this everyday and the only way she gets by is through the notes she writes to herself telling what had previously happened and things to "remember" for the day to come.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.  It was very original and while it was a contemporary novel, there was still that mysterious aspect of why this is happening to London and where these haunting visions are coming from.  I loved the mystery surrounding London's condition and getting to discover what her visions are telling her.  The narrator did a wonderful job with the story.  She gave London the perfect 'voice' and conveyed all her emotions so the listener really felt like they were talking to London.    

I enjoyed London as a character and I'm glad she was so accepting of her condition.  Granted this book was set many years after her memory loss started, but I felt like she adjusted to her condition and learned to live with it.  I did tend to find her whiny at times but I'm noticing that I'm finding many teenage characters whiny.  I think this may be a sign that I'm getting old.  *Gasps*

I think Luke is amazing.  He is such a great guy, who is spontaneous and completely unique.  He is so sweet to London and they do make a great couple.  Girls, trust me you are going to swoon with the originality of his date ideas.  So darn romantic!

If you are looking for something fun and fresh to read, try's unforgetable (ok that was a bad pun, but I still can't stop laughing).   

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Book that I'm the most Grateful for

Beth Revis, 2011 debut author or Across the Universe, is doing something pretty awesome.  She's getting bloggers to talk about the books they are most grateful for.  Check it out at her site.  

As for the book I am most grateful for it would have be Danger in the Shadows by Dee Henderson.  This is by no means my favorite book, but it is a book that means a lot to me.  When I went to college I went to a school and a town where I didn't know anyone.  I tend to be shy when I don't know people and it was so hard to open myself up to new people.  That first week I stayed in my room and wanted to quit school and move back home.  Finally I picked up one of the books I had brought with me and went outside to read it.  I was so emersed in the book that I didn't feel lonely anymore.  And don't worry this story ends well, the next day I met this wonderful person and she was not only my first friend in college but she is still one of my besties now.  Books are powerful!
Danger in the Shadows (O'Malley, Prequel)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

Today I'm participating in Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
Top Ten Books I Had VERY Strong Emotions About (cry, laugh, hurl across the room, etc.)
First I must make a confession....I'm a crier.  It is my emotion and I fully claim it.  I cry when I'm sad, frustrated, upset and feeling blue.  However, I also cry when I'm excited and when I'm bursting with happiness.  Hence the reason I say crying is my emotion.  I'm not one of those crazy criers where I wail and throw a fit; I'm more the type where my eyes sparkle with tears and then overflow...unless it is a really emotional book/movie/topic and then I bawl.  The breath gasping, nose running, the world is ending bawl.  Ok so now you have the disclaimer...
Fury (The Fury Trilogy #1)1.  Fury by Elizabeth Miles.  The people in this book were so upsetting.  They were selfish, cruel, and unbelievable arrogant.  As much as I disliked them, I dislike the Furies even more.  Their ultimate power trip was self righteous and downright annoying.  I don't deal well with people who think they have ultimate authority and that they can control every situation.  It drives me mad.     
2. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.  This was a hard book for me emotionally.  I wasn't sure who to blame and if blame was even needed.  It's a powerful book and I really enjoyed it, but it definitely wasn't a light read. 
3. If I Stay by Gail Forman.  I bawled through this entire book.  I had to stop multiple times because I could no longer see the pages.  It was so thought provoking and Gail Forman wrote it in such a way that you couldn't help but get in Mia's head and experience all her emotions with her. 
Anna and the French Kiss4. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.  I think I literally smiled through this entire book.  It made me happy and giddy and bubbly inside.  It was cute, sweet and one of those books you just love.
5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson.  I listened to this book on my ipod and there was a particular part in this novel where I was literally yelling out loud at a character.  I was so upset that I was shouting and I must have looked completely crazed but that character deserved it. 
6. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.  I also listened to this book on my ipod and again there was a particular scene that upset me so much that again I was yelling at the characters in the novel.  This one scene and the main character's actions mad me so mad that I never really liked the main character after fact I hated him a little. 
7. Any Melina Marchetta book.  I am very protective of these books.  They are some of my favorites and I just want everyone to love them as much as I do.  I respect that everyone has a different opinion on books, but I just can't see how people cannot love them.  They're freakin fabulous. 
8.  Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.  To take away a girl's voice and make Melinda feel the way she did is completely unacceptable.  While this is a powerful novel, it was not a light read. 
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle9. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski.  I really enjoyed this book until a certain scene came about.  I really can't handle cruelty and this book really got to me.  I had to set it down for a while and come back to it.  It is a really great story but parts of it were too emotional for me to handle. 
10. Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott.  I'm listening to this book right now and it is one of the hardest things I've ever listened to.  There are times when I can only get through 2 minutes and I have to take a break.  It is so emotional, and at times I don't even know what to think.  I find myself being appalled at all the characters and then chiding myself because I'm not in Alice's situation and I'd have no idea what I would do to get out of it.