Thursday, December 8, 2011

Pardon Our Dust!

Great new redesign is coming soon! Been making a list and checking it twice to make this blog really really nice!:P  So be patient and keep an eye out for the great new stuff! Some of what you can expect:


* More Frequent Postings!
* New Blog Designs
* New meme's and content ideas!


See you soon!

Friday, November 25, 2011

REVIEW: Passion (The Fallen Series Book 3)


By Lauren Kate
Delacorte Books for Young Readers 
June 2011
ISBN-10: 0385739168
ISBN-13: 978-0385739160



 Passion is the latest novel in the Fallen series by Lauren Kate. At the end of the last novel we find Luce climbing through an announcer to get away from the battle that ensued between the good angels, the dark angels and  the Outcasts.  On the other side she finds herself in Russia during World War Two and unfortunately, bears witness to seeing her previous self lit up like a torch after kissing past life Daniel. After watching that she decides to go through another announcer and once through this one she finds herself a nurse in World War One in another previous life.

As she makes her way through all these previous lives Daniel, the other angels and her two friends from the academy are trying to find her, slipping through announcers themselves. Doing this she hopes to find the answers to the many questions she has about her and Daniel. 

I found this book interesting though slightly long winded. It gives readers perspective on what Luce and Daniel have been through. It helped me better understand Daniels personality and why he acts the way he does. Though I would recommend reading the first two books before tackling this one. I believe it complements the other two novels well. I cannot wait until the fourth and final novel of the series comes out in 2012.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

BOOKSHELF: Thought Bubble



Every once an awhile I like to do a post a call bookshelf.  Very early on in my book blogging I came across a website aptly named Bookshelf that showcases..well....bookshelves!  Some are wacky, some are weird, but they all look like fun!

This particular one is called the thought bubble! Hope you like!  If you have a wacky bookshelf or have seen one you think others would enjoy email me and I will make sure to include it in a future post!

Monday, November 21, 2011

NEWS: NEW SOPHIE KINSELLA


I have always been a lover of books by Sophie Kinsella. Though her last two , Mini Shopaholic in Twenties Girl were for me not so hot, I haven’t given up on her yet.   Recently, I was reading one of my favorite blogs and read that Sophie it’s coming out with a new book.  It is called I’ve got your number and it is due out the Valentines Day  2012.



Here is a short snippet but what it’s about courtesy of Amazon.com :

I’ve lost it. :( The only thing in the world I wasn’t supposed to lose. My engagement ring. It’s been in Magnus’s family for three generations. And now the very same day his parents are coming, I’ve lost it. The very same day! Do not hyperventilate, Poppy. Stay positive :) !!

Poppy Wyatt has never felt luckier. She is about to marry her ideal man, Magnus Tavish, but in one afternoon her “happily ever after” begins to fall apart. Not only has she lost her engagement ring in a hotel fire drill but in the panic that follows, her phone is stolen. As she paces shakily around the lobby, she spots an abandoned phone in a trash can. Finders keepers! Now she can leave a number for the hotel to contact her when they find her ring. Perfect!

Well, perfect except that the phone’s owner, businessman Sam Roxton, doesn’t agree. He wants his phone back and doesn’t appreciate Poppy reading his messages and wading into his personal life.

What ensues is a hilarious and unpredictable turn of events as Poppy and Sam increasingly upend each other’s lives through emails and text messages. As Poppy juggles wedding preparations, mysterious phone calls, and hiding her left hand from Magnus and his parents . . . she soon realizes that she is in for the biggest surprise of her life.

This book is  definitely at the top of my pile of books to read in 2012!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Guest Post: A little design help!

Hello everyone! My name is Sammie and I blog over at Uncharted Heart. I am also Tarah's younger sister! We've been video chatting recently and admitted to each other that we have blogs. She viewed mine and wanted some similar features so I decided to clean it up a bit. I am in the process of working on a new header and button. But I wanted you guys to know first, we have added a "Grab My Button" on the right hand side of the blog. So if you are interested and have a blog yourself. You can just click in the text box under the button, copy and paste it right into your html, or however and which ever service you blog with. Whether it is with widgets or what have you! 
Here is the updated version of her button (new one to follow in a separate post ones I'm finished with it)

Anyway I'm still working on the kinks and the text box might not be there yet. So just be patient.

Another surprise is that Tarah will be guest posting on Sunday on my very own blog.
Come on over and check out Uncharted Heart !

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

REVIEW: Family & Other Non-Returnable Gifts

By Claire LaZebnik
September 2011
5 Spot
ISBN-10: 0446555029
ISBN-13: 978-0446555029
Buy It Now 






Recently, I read Families and Other Non-Returnable Gifts by Claire LaZebnik The main character in this story is Keats a middle child in a family of “eccentrics” to put it mildly. She has been dating a man named Tom since she was fifteen and it’s a pretty comfortable life; until recently.

Her parents have been divorced for quite awhile, but still live in the same house. Her mother has finally decided to put her foot down and told her ex husband that he has to leave. This decision begins a chain of many others that change life for most of the family members. When Keats dad moves from the house  her mom goes forward with selling it, which is easier said than done. Her mother is a hopeless pack rat, and her younger brother seems to have some kind of agoraphobia . Keats feels like she is the only one that can help them and not by choice as the prodigal daughter also known as the oldest is a world famous brain surgeon with very little time for her family.

On top of all this is her family’s expectations for her, specifically her mother.  Her mother thinks it is bad that she has been dating the same man for so many years.   Having only had one boyfriend her mother thinks that she has settled two soon and should instead break up with him and see more of the world specifically other men. Her mother also doesn’t like that she has not reached what she feels is her daughters career potential either.  For a few years now Keats has had the job of office manager at the local community college.  She likes the people and enjoys the job so she doesn’t feel she needs to change it.

I enjoyed this book a lot.  Keats is faced with many challenges and has changes that she must power through.  It will change the world as she sees it and she will have to let go of the life she once had in order to grow as a person. It is something we all must go through, but is necessary for anybody to grow. As with the first book I read from her, If You Lived Here You Would Be Home By Now,  Claire has painted the very realistic picture of family that all readers can relate to. Whether this is your first novel by her or not,  I suggest when you have the extra cash to pick it up.

As always happy reading!  


4 out of 5

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

An update...


Hello all!

I just wanted to give you an update, I finally got voice recognition software that works for me.  I find that it is much easier to use a speech to text program to create blog posts. It allows me to be more expansive with my descriptions without my hands or fingers getting tired.  

From now on thanks to this program you’ll be seeing me post more often.  I know that has not been the case so far. I hope , however , that with the help of this program that will change.

Good bye for now! 

Monday, October 24, 2011

REVIEW: The Goddes Test

By Aimee Carter
Harlequin Teen
April 2011
ISBN-10: 0373210264
ISBN-13: 9780373210268
5 out of 5 




The Goddess Test is the debut novel for author Aimee Carter. For those who like Greek Mythology and/or a not cheesy love story, you will enjoy this book!

Kate’s mother has cancer and despite all the doctors best efforts they have run out of options.  So, to fulfill he mothers dieing wish the two of them move back to her home town of Eden.  Kate almost immediately makes enemies with the schools reigning queen bee Ava and is tricked into going to a late night party. Unfortunately it is not a party and she is about to be stranded when she hears an awful sound.  Just as Ava is about to hightail it she misjudges the distance and when diving into the water (the spot she brought kate to is surrounded by a lake) she cracks her head on a rock and dies even though Kate is able to get her out of the water. While Kate is sitting near Ava a man comes walking by with his dog, he says his name is Henry and asks Kate if she would do ANYTHING to bring Ava back.  She says yes.

What ensues is a deal, Henry is actually Hades King of the Underworld and is searching for a Queen since he is sick of doing the job alone.  It will not be an easy task however, she must pass seven tests. 

There is a bit more too it then that but, if I tried to write it all it would leave you, lovely readers, more confused.  This book is one of my Top 5 for 2011!  It is not a lame romance, you pull for the both of them and admire Kate easily for her strength and courage. The story is well developed and when you reach the end I am sure you will gasp once or twice, just like me!


Sunday, October 16, 2011

REVIEW:Then Came You


By Jennifer Wiener
July 2011
Atria Books
ISBN-10: 1451617720
ISBN-13: 9781451617726
5 out of 5




Then Came You is the latest novel by Jennifer Wiener.  I have always loved Jens books from the time I read In Her Shoes I was hooked.  Though one of the things I love about chick lit books is the rich fabulous looking Carrie Bradshaw type woman Jens characters are more real. 
            Bettina for example is one of the women in this book, she is the daughter of a wealthy businessman whose mother left her family for an ashram some years ago.  Ever since then Bets has been very protective of her father.  So, when he marries someone more then 10+ years younger she is enraged.  She smells a gold digger and doesn’t want her father being hurt again.  She hires a team of private detectives to do some digging about her past.
            The new wife, whose name is India is enjoying being a newlywed. Having had a hard upbringing with emotionless grandparents and being dismissed by her mother when she is sent to live with her as a teenager, India has had to fight for everything she’s gotten in life. Now she can reap the rewards of that hard work and enjoy the spoils.  Her and her new husband Marcus are even planning to have a baby! Though due to more then one failed IVF, they have decided to go with a donor egg and surrogate.
            The Surrogate is Annie, the same age as Bettina she has taken a much different path. Marrying soon after graduating high school before her husband went into the army, she is now the proud mother of two children.  Though she loves them dearly, she is looking to do more, but money is tight and she wants to be able to help provide for her family, but really does not have the time or the skills for a regular job.
            Last, but nowhere near least is Jules who is about to graduate from Princeton when she is approached by a man while eating at the food court at a local mall.  He says to her that she is very beautiful (which she is very used to) and asks if she has ever thought of donating her eggs.  Though this is something she ordinarily would never consider the donation payout is rather considerable and she might finally be able to get her dad into rehab.
            After reading all this, I am sure the storyline seems a little heavy, but it is very readable.  Jennifer definitely did her research on this topic and each character in there own way was an ingredient towards making the story a whole. Each has their own part to play and lessons that they need to learn.  Each of these characters too, I could easily see bits and pieces of myself in.  Though some situations and personality quirks seem a bit exaggerated at times the story is solid.  This novel is for sure one of my top reads for 2011!


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pottermore




So, I was twitter stalking the other day......to me that means hunting around for other book bloggers, publishing companies and avid readers to follow.  While I was doing that I watched my tweets from those I'm following grow all about something called Pottermore.  I don't mean just a few tweets either try 100! So, I got the hint and decided to check it out.

All I really got out of it was a lot of confusion.  Pottermore seems to be a fan page of sorts set up by Rowling and Sony.  There is know real idea what exactly it is...when I plugged in the web address what I got was a coming soon page with information about how to join the beta and a video of the author trying to explain what's coming.  The site will not officially be open for all those who want to join until October, but if you want early access you can take part in the "magic quill" promotion. I will be trying and if I get an account I will let you all know. For now check out the website for yourself and/or watch this video.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Review:Fallen by Lauren Kate



  

 Luce has always seen creepy shadows and because of this has always been thought of as a bit of and oddball.  She is a pretty and bubbly person otherwise, popular among her friends and a great listener.  Now that she is older she keeps her shadow sightings a secret and has done a pretty good job of it; till recently.

While hanging out with her boyfriend Trevor the shadows come out in force one day and somehow a fire is started and her boyfriend is rather gruesomely killed.  As she is the only witness she is implicated in the tragedy and sent to a reform school called Sword & Cross. She quickly makes friends with the abrasive but friendly Ariane, helpful and upbeat Penn, and the flirt Cam.  There is one person there that for some reason Luce is practically dying to get to know.  His name is Daniel and she finds him beautiful, but he for some reason cannot stand her.  The first time he sees her in the courtyard he flips her the bird!

The two however keep meeting and there interactions are strange to say the least.   Daniel sometimes is warm to her, but then all the sudden it changes in a flash back to annoyed and sometimes downright mean.  Though all of her experience tells her to just forget him and move on, she finds herself going out of her way to find out more about him.  What she will discover will be nothing like she imagined and a bigger deal then she may be able to handle.

Despite its mass of negative reviews on Amazon I sincerely enjoyed this novel.   The vampire stories honestly have gotten tired and predictable and this was a nice change.  I found myself just as curious as Luce and what she learned made me want to go do my own research on the subject when I finished reading.   I suggest if your like me and want to stay within the supernatural genre, but are sick of the vampires and werewolves to pick this up!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Bookshelf: News!

As regulars to this blog know, I like to every once an a while write a post about a really cool blog called "Bookshelf".  This blog for those of you not in the know showcases cool, wacky, and sometimes downright weird bookshelves!  Most that the author posts about are art house finds or ones that really are not meant to hold many books.  


I went to the site today to see what I could find to show you all and found out some news that might interest you instead!  Apparently, the English paper The Guardian has started a Flickr group so that readers and fans of bookshelves alike can post their bookshelves! Click the link I have there and go check it out for yourself! Maybe even post as well!  I plan now to go there as well for those times I am feeling bookish but want to break things up a bit, so maybe someday you could see yours here!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Review: Summer An The City!


In this novel we rejoin Carrie after she has arrived at Samantha’s apartment! She is quickly thrust into the social scene by joining Samantha at an upscale cocktail party.  There she meets a famous playwright named Bernard and one of her writer idols who turns out to be completely arrogant and a liquor lush.  After the party she is brought back down to earth by arriving where she will live for the summer.  It is ramshackle to say the least and her landlady Peggy is mean and more then a little bit crazy.  Luckily, there is Li’l a sweet country girl from North Carolina who is also part of the New School summer writing program and a terrific poet. 
           
Almost immediately after arriving in New York, Carrie decides she is completely in love with it.  At first she focuses less on writing and more on exploring the vintage clothing shops and restaurants the city has to offer.  Though her tastes at 17 are nothing compared to the one we know and love from television. (think surgical scrubs instead of Kate Spade ICK!)

Carrie also starts dating Bernard who just got through a nasty divorce and is looking for some companionship.  Thanks to his influence Carrie decides to write a play for her main project at the New School, after some unsuccessful attempts at a short story. 

With her writing class and Bernard you would think she would be too busy to socialize more, but she does! She meets Miranda!  Who at this point is a women studies major in college and is already sporting her trademark short red hair, Which she explains, is her way of rebelling against her controlling family who she’s been given the opportunity to get away from.

This to me is barely scratching the surface of the novel!  I do not want to give to much away, however, so you will have to read it yourself if you want the whole story.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and can’t wait for the next novel! Never has a series got me this excited since Twilight!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Review: TheUnidentified By Rae Mariz



Katey Dade aka Kid is the main character in The Unidentified by Rae Mariz.  In Katey’s world kids don’t go to school.  They attend “ The Game”  a renovated mall where life is more like a computer game then the world that we are used to.  In Kateys world the government got to the point that it could no longer procure the funds for education.  So, companies saw this as an opportunities to mold young minds (to their products) and took over.  There are no grades like 11th or 12th there are only levels 13-17.  Once a “gamer” hits level 17 they are considered graduated.  Companies act much like big brother to kids within the game and keep track of them via their Intouch (tricked out cell/GPS) and their profiles which are like MySpace and Facebook rolled into one.  A gamers most important goal is to become “branded” where a company sponsors you and whatever you create, whether it be music a product  it becomes their property.  What makes it worthwhile for the gamer though ?  Well status among their peers for one thing, but also free stuff and extra privileges like admittance into the VIP room,

Katey’s not your average gamer however, the spoils of branding do not interest her.  What matters to her most are her friends Ari and Mikey.  Ari is status hungry and craves being branded while Mikey is an adrenaline junky whose main goal in life is to just live life to the fullest an to have a good time and sometimes push the envelope.  Things are going pretty well for all of them until some other students stage a protest of sorts by throwing a dummy with a dye filled balloon head off a high balcony into a busy plaza area of the game.  Causing a stir because not until it reaches the ground do others realize it’s a dummy.  The entire display scares the crap out of Katey and starts her on a journey that no one could have predicting and changes everything.

I liked this novel.  It honestly scared me because the whole idea that’s spelled out in these pages is something that could very well come to pass someday.  With the economy the way it is and the government trying to find money just to keep congress in session this fantasy could very well become a reality if we are not careful.  I think that is what makes this a good book.  It makes you think and really question the state of all of our lives and the roll that companies and advertisers play in it.

Monday, May 9, 2011

REVIEW: The Baby Planner


Katie Johnson has just recently been laid off due to a government cutback.  Her job was working for a child safety commission for the state of California.  She and her boss Helen  helped parents file claims against companies who produced safe and sometimes deadly baby and child products.  After having done this job for many years Katie does not know what to do with herself, so she throws herself into helping one of her younger sisters prepare for the arrival of their second child.

Katie loves children, but sadly her husband to this point has not been agreeable on the subject forever procrastinating on the reasons why it’s “just not a good time.’  Katie in preparation for a shopping trip with her pregnant sister creates this HUGE binder with information she has gathered during the time at her job and other interesting baby information and brings it too their outing.  They are quickly noticed by a fellow mom-to-be who questions them about said binder and Voila! The idea is born!  

Katie names the company Making Mommies Smile and quickly gets about a half a dozen clients thanks to her sisters setting up a small party to celebrate/explain the business to the invited guests and in some cases just some dumb luck.  Each of her clients is different and a little off kilter, but Katie handles each situation and client with grace and patience that I wish I had.

I enjoyed this book immensely, it kept a good pace and though it seems at first like it will play out predictably, it did not, with fantastic, sometimes almost unbelievable result.  I myself have no children at this time.  It definitely got me thinking though of when that times comes just how much goes into just preparing for motherhood!

5/5

Friday, March 25, 2011

BOOKSHELF: Ofo

I realized while trying to come up with something interesting to post that I haven't done a Bookshelf one in a while. For those of you left unawares or that have never visited previous blogs of mine before I like to highlight interesting bookshelves I find out about thanks to a blog by the same name.  I heard about the blog many moons ago at another book blog called Trashionista and ever since they check in every so often to see what cool and a lot of times pretty ingenious and funky types of bookshelves that its creator has found. Today I give you: Ofo


I picked this one because not only are the colors engaging, but I also like when I see bookshelves in unconventional shapes. I like all the curves especially...what do you think?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Cool Cover Art



I don't know about you all but I am super excited! Sweet Valley Confidential the story about the Wakefield sisters all grown up is coming out on March 29, 2011!  Growing up I loved these novels and watched the TV show that aired on UPN with Britney and Cynthia Daniel every afternoon.  Francine definitely has a tall order to fill and I am hoping just like her previous novels about these girls that she does not disappoint!  Are you looking forward to the release?  Do you plan on picking up a copy? Let me know!  




Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Review: The Best Laid Plans by Lynn Schnurnberger


When I read the summary of The Best Laid Plans I actually thought it was going to be another novel of the same, starting to get tired, totally devoted wife gets the rug pulled out from under her and has to learn to survive on her own.  Tru Newman, is the stereotypical society mom at the start of this novel putting the finishing touch on her latest charity function.  Her inventive decorations though are not the topic of conversation that evening though, her marriage however; is.  No, it’s not what your thinking, or what I thought, but something equally negative, her husband three months prior lost his job and has neglected to tell her hoping her would find another before having to break the news.

What I like most about Tru is her determination.  Rather then just sit and pout about the dire straits of their finances she mulls over the possibilities with her best friend Sienna who after being replaced as star anchor at the local TV news station, could use some extra cash herself.  After hearing her husbands money manager discussing the dating woes of young shy guys like himself she hatches a plan.  She, Sienna and Barry (the money manager) start The Veronica Agency a high end call girl (though they them courtesans) company that supplies socially awkward young business men with  beautiful an well read dates.

Yes, I know the whole idea is definitely on the tawdry side and I did not warm up to the idea right away, but its more of the idea of her branching out on her own that really got me to keep reading.  Sure, her husband did get another job working for a sexy young neighbor helping her build her beauty company.  This is something that Tru did on her own, giving her a stronger sense of self worth then she had before.  Sure, she always knew she was a awesome and well appreciated wife and mother, now though, she can add businesswoman to the list!

I cannot give this a perfect review however because certain parts could easily been taken out. A couple of the situations you can read coming ages before and sometimes the author goes a bit overboard analyzing our protagonists feelings.  If you are looking for a fun, light and uplifting read though, give this books a try!


4/5

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

REVIEW: The DUFF


The DUFF is the newest novel by Kody Keplinger.  Bianca Piper is a high school senior, who when amongst, who she considers her considerably more beautiful friends is the ugly duckling.  One night when she is in a popular teen hangout in the town the schools resident playboy approaches her and starts making conversation.  This conversation is in no way positive though as he quickly tells her that the only reason he is talking to her is to impress her friends on the dance floor.  He tells her that she is a DUFF the designated ugly fat friend.   The odd girl out amongst her two bests that when she is paid attention to by the equally fabulous of the opposite sex her friends will give brownie points for paying attention to there less stellar third.  I hope this makes sense because its one of those points that for some reason I am finding hard to explain.  After hearing what the guy Wesley has to say she gives him her opinion on the subject by throwing her cherry coke in his face and storming out.

Things aren’t that great at home either.   Her mother who after writing a successful self-help book a few years ago has been anywhere, but home.  She is constantly out on book tours that started out as a few days here, a week there, but have now started to stretch into months at a time.  Her father has always been her best friend, who unfortunately has become increasingly depressed and as a result has regressed back his alcoholic ways that he had previously stopped after she was born, especially after he is served with divorce papers.

Wesley who has curiously still been pursuing her since the cherry coke meet face incident turns into a welcome diversion from her woes at home.  First as her study partner for a class project and then as a sexual partner after one of their homework breaks becomes a little intense.

I liked this novel! I thought I wouldn’t.  I was worried that just by the title alone it was going to be a rambling story of self hatred and pity, but it surprised me.  Sure it was like that in the beginning, but throughout the novel you see her grow into someone that is more beautiful on the inside as well as out by the end!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

REVIEW: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand


One of the best novels I have read lately is Unearthly by Cynthia Hand .  This novels protagonist is Clara Gardner a angel blood (technically quarter angel) who just got her purpose.  Her purpose is God’s way of telling her what her job is as a angel blood; what her destiny is.  From her first vision on, which seems to happen once a day at least, she gleans a little bit more information.  About a month goes by until she gets something solid, a license plate number from the truck owned by the boy she is supposed to save  from a forest fire.  From here her mother (a half angel) packs up her and her brother and moves them to log house on the outskirts of a town of Wyoming.  It’s  January and therefore halfway through the school year so Clara starts off at a disadvantage.  Within  hours of starting her first day, she meets Christian Prescott, the boy from her vision and within seconds of this she passes out.  Luckily, he is quite the gentleman and carries her to the nurses office.  From this point she bounces back and forth between, thinking she is in love with him and trying to figure out how she is supposed to save him from the fire in her vision that she still happens fairly often.  When not focused on Christian she finds the time to make friends and two enemies. On the friend side of the spectrum is Wendy who she meets in English class and Angela who she is paired up with in history and who she finds out is a fellow angel blood.  In terms of enemies, theirs Kay, Christians venomous girlfriend and Tucker, Wendy’s twin brother who she makes the mistake of teasing for his choice in vehicle. 

I really have started to enjoy science fiction type YA novels.  I especially enjoyed this one because the author did not try to overload me with too much info about the nephillim.  You really could understand to a point what she was going through being so different from everyone else and having all these extra things to worry about, but still trying to live her life as close to a normal teenagers as she could.  I can not wait till the sequel! 


5/5

Saturday, January 22, 2011

REVIEW: Fallout

Fallout is the newest book by Ellen Hopkins and is the third in the series of  books that started with Crank.  This particular novel follows the children of the first novels main character; Kristina.  Well, three of them anyway, the three oldest kids, all from different fathers. Hunter, who is in college and never met his father and though he professes to be completely in love with his girlfriend, has made a habit of cheating on her. Summer, who when shes not being bounced around from foster home to foster home spends time with her drunk of a father and whoever is his latest girlfriend. Lastly, there is Autumn who lives with her fathers dad and sister, he himself is currently in jail though she doesn't know very much about him as her aunt and grandpa don't speak of him much.  They say he used to be a good guy, but ever since he met her mother he has been going downhill since. 

Told in her now expected poem like style it is really hard to follow at first.  The connection between the three of them is not explained outright and not until a few sections in did I realize what tied them all together. It is also pretty predictable where the stories going to go early on.  The story was okay not one of my favorites and certainly not a must read, but definitely not a horrible read either.

3/5

Thursday, January 6, 2011

REVIEW: Willow

WillowBy Julia Hoban
April 2009
Dial Books for Young Readers
ISBN-10: 0803733569
ISBN-13: 9780803733565



Most teenagers when it comes to things they have to worry about the most common answer would probably if and what college they are going to after graduation. This, however is not the case for the main character in Julia Hoban’s novel Willow.

Nine months previous to when this books begins Willow is in a terrible accident where both her mother and father are killed and she is badly injured.  If that is not bad enough, Willow feels terrible guilt because it was her who was driving the car when it crashed.  Her parents, having wanted to have a little extra to drink at dinner out asked Willow if she would mind being the one to drive home.  The weather was very bad, torrential rain which turned the roads slick and caused her to veer off the road into a tree.

Since then Willow has moved in with her brother and his wife and daughter living in a converted half bedroom in there tiny home. She copes with her pain and anger at herself in one of the worst ways possible, by cutting. In order not to feel the full weight of what she feels; she thinks this is the only way to survive. 

That is until she meets Guy a charismatic sort of emo guy at the local college library where she works part time.  He stumbles upon her secret and takes it upon himself to do what he can to help her.  She strongly dislikes him at first though she finds him attractive but slowly thaws letting him in more then she ever thought she’d let anyone after the accident.

This is a great book!  You can tell that the author did a lot of research into the world of self mutilation and talks about it in a very frank and accessible way.  This book, however because of the subject matter is best suited for 11th grade and up because at times the descriptions are very graphic. All in all definitely an author I would like to read more from!

4 out of 5

REVIEW: Promises to Keep

Promises to Keep: A NovelBy Jane Green
June 2010
Viking Press
ISBN-10: 0670021792
ISBN-13: 9780670021796


For a few novels now Jane Green has shied away from the story lines that had made her famous.  No longer do we see the hip young working girls trying to balance family, finding love, and a career. Sure, bits and pieces of those elements can be but she seems to gone a more adult contemporary route rather then chick lit.

What’s it about? . . .

Promises to Keep (Jane’s 12th novel) is about to sisters Callie and Steffi who (surprise surprise) are polar opposites. Callie is the older more put together sibling of the two.  She is happily married with two children and a thriving photography business that she does from home. Steffi, is the free spirit who has recently become a bit more responsible and is quickly becoming the chef de cuisine at a vegan hot spot in NYC.  Soon after we meet Steffi one of her regular patrons offers her rent free his house is a rural Connecticut town in exchange for house and dog sitting. Since she recently broke up with her latest boyfriend she is itching to get out of her familiar surroundings and try something new, she accepts the offer.

Another plus to accepting the job is that she can be closer to her sister who is a short drive away from where she will be staying! This is and extra special plus considering that four years previous her sister, though now in remission was diagnosed with breast cancer, which has taught the entire family the preciousness of life.

What I think.  .  .  .

I wasn’t really able to get into her last couple of novels like Dune Road because of the change in style, but this novel I enjoyed.  I had an authenticity to it that many can relate to and not just because it has to do with cancer.  It is a story that I believe just about anybody can relate to that will keep you turning the pages till the very end.

4 out of 5
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Review: Perfect Chemistry

Perfect ChemistryBy Simone Elkeles
 December 2008
Walker & Co.
ISBN-10: 0802798225
ISBN-13: 9780802798220
 
 
 
 
What it’s about…

Alex and Brittany in terms of how they live their lives and their backgrounds, are polar opposites.  Brittany lives in the affluent part of town, she wears the big names in terms of clothing and is part of the popular clique. Plus, her boyfriend is the star football player of their schools team. All that perfection is only a façade, however, her biggest issue that she hides from others is the fact that she has an older sister with physical and mental disabilities and is constantly fighting with her parents about what is best for her.

Alex’s life is not easy by any means either.  He is a gang member by necessity in order to protect his family as best he can from the violence in the area they live.  Recently the stakes have gotten much higher and he is asked by one of the higher – ups to help with a drug smuggling operation.

Alex and Brittany have known each other for ages in a casual way for many years, but it is not until they are made lab partners by their tyrannical chemistry teacher that they actually interact.. To say they didn’t  get along at first is an understatement…..

What I think……

Perfect Chemistry it seems to me like a present day Romeo and Juliet .  Unlike Romeo and Juliet, however, the words used are a lot less complicated! I enjoyed this book a lot! it teaches some life lessons without being preachy and the amount of violence is not overly exaggerated and definitely authentic.

4/5

Review: Arm Candy

By Jill Kargman
May 2010
E.P Dutton
ISBN-10:  0525951598
ISBN-13: 9780525951599


What’s it about……

The book is set around a woman named Eden.  The novel starts with he moving from her small home town to the bright lights of the city of New York.  She starts out as a sales associate at a Tower Records close to her apartment.  While working there one day she meets an aspiring musician,  but their romance quickly fizzles, due to the fact that as he starts getting more exposure by the local media. Which in turn it means he has less time for Eden. 

She then moves on to Wes who she meets in a little café near the iconic Bowery Bar.  The romance is seemingly perfect but Eden has a large if not a little cocky self awareness.  Though she loves Wes dearly she still feels like there is something missing in her life.  She is given the opportunity to capitalize on her looks to achieve her dream of riches and fame though  the painter Otto Clyde who can’t take his eyes off of her.  At one point asks her if she would pose for him, which meant the beginning of the end for poor Wes.

After their breakup the novel fast forwards to 20 years later.  Eden is still with Otto, though not married and they have a son named Cole who just recently went off to college.  Her sons departure has forced her to realize the decisions she made all those years ago may not have been good ones. With no child to take care of anymore Eden begins to notice things that she purposefully pushed out of her mind. The biggest issues is Otto’s wandering eye.  She catches Otto and his latest painting model in bed and decides right then and there enough is enough.

What I think…..

I found this book to be good, not exactly a best seller, but a great effort. It was engrossing enough to keep me reading .  The only thing I have a problem with was some of her language choices like played out phrases.  I really think many of them should have been omitted because they really tarnish what could have been an even better story.  It reminds me of how sometimes my mother would say stuff like “what do you think of my bling?”  Its kind of funny in a aww look how hard she’s trying to be cool, but mostly its just annoying.
 
5/5

Review: After

After 
By Amy Efaw
Viking Juvenile
August 2009
ISBN-10: 0670011835
ISBN-13 9780670011834





What it’s about…..

Devon Davenport at first glance seems like your typical overachieving high school student. She gets great grades and is the star player of her schools varsity soccer team. Imagine everyone’s surprise, however, when Devon turns up on the news because of a deep dark secret.  A jogger found something she had tried to get rid of, but failed to do so…a baby.

We follow Devon from the moment the police realize she is the culprit to her court hearing which is done to decide whether she should be tried for attempted murder as and adult. (she’s 15)  For most of it she is dazed and confused, having put herself in a trance like state after the baby was born. She is asked by many people, doctors and police included why she did what she did, but mentally she is so far gone from denial that she literally does not remember committing  the crime.

What I think….

Obviously this is a very touchy subject.  The author could have easily been able to slant the story in which ever direction she felt like.  She did not do that, however, and was able to write the novel in such a way that the reader has all the information needed to have a verdict all their own.  The story is thought provoking and fluid in terms of it’s timeline and all in all I think it is a great book.  I would suggest though it be read by older teenagers as some of the descriptions are quite graphic.  All in  a definite must read!

5/5

REViIEW: Life as I know it


Life as I Know It: A NovelBy: Melanie Rose

What it’s about….

Right away we meet Jessica Taylor the main character and a bit of a homebody with a job as a paralegal and a dog named Frankie.  Almost everyday she walks Frankie in an area called the downs.  On one of theses many trips, however, tragedy strikes when  she is hit by lightning during a freak thunderstorm.  Next thing she knows she’s in the hospital and for some reason everybody is calling her Lauren.
It turns out that somehow Jessica and this other woman named Lauren got struck by lightning at the exact same time. Laurens soul went to heaven and Jessica’s got sent to her body. From then on she goes through the day twice, once as Jessica and then again as Lauren.


What I think…
I enjoyed this book a lot more then I thought I would. After reading the inside cover I thought it was going to be a story similar to Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella.  It was only vaguely like that, however, and turned out to be one of the better novels I have read this year.  Even though from the synopsis it seems like a very complicated story, it was well put together and explained by the author.  She could have really screwed up the story if she had not told it right/  At some points it is sad but I definite read!

4/5

REVIEW: North of Beautiful

By Justina Chen Headley
Feb 2009
 Little Brown and Company
 ISBN-10: 0316025054
  ISBN-13: 9780316025058




What it’s about…..

Terra is the daughter of a cartographer and homemaker and youngest of three kids.  She and her brothers are named after map names or terms, as is the case with her.  What further distinguishes her from the rest is something called a port wine stain, a dark red birthmark that has spread over time and at present takes up most of one of her cheeks. She tries to hide it as best she can whether it be with her hair or loads of makeup.  Over the years she been to various doctors and conferences about it, but still it remains.
            Her father is another source of pain and stress in her life/  He is VERY critical of everyone stemming from some map related failure many years ago.  She, being the baby of the family, still has to deal with it on a daily basis. She spends most of her time around him protecting her mother from his many insults by deflecting them onto her.  Her brothers, one off at college the other working in China have escaped his wrath and now she barely sees either of them.  Things have been this way for years and it seems that things will continue to be that way forever.  That is, until she meets Jacob, who she literally almost runs into on the way back from a doctors appointment. They get to talking and almost instantly become friends, He makes her think and disarms and challenges her in a way that nobody every has before.  For the first time she is thinking for herself and deciding to do thinks because she wants to and not because its what her dad wants her to do.

What I think…..

I liked this novel a lot! It is relate able to everyone, but especially to those that face adversity.  In the beginning of the novel Terra was annoying the crap out of me because she let everybody push her around. You could practically see her future in the sections with her mother who is the proverbial deer in headlights after years and years of emotional abuse.  Jacob thank goodness helps her to slowly start changing that!  I like how candidly the author shows us through her writing how Terra feels about her situation and what she is thinking. You can tell very much she did her research and did a very good job of creating a exceptional mental  picture.  Anyone that has gone through situations like these or knows someone who is will get a lot out of this novel.

5/5

REVIEW: If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home By Now


By Claire Lazebnik
September 2010
5 Spot
ISBN-10: 0446555010
ISBN-13: 9780446555012




Rickie isn’t your typical soccer mom by any stretch of the imagination.  She has short hair and eyebrow stud and a nose ring.  Unlike most of the fellow mothers that live in her ritzy town, she would rather wear a T-shirt and pair of ratty jeans then anything resembling Chanel.  When Rickie was nineteen she became pregnant with her college boyfriends baby, who even before he was born hit the road for a scholarship opportunity and never returned.  As someone who previously prided herself on being perfect, perfect grades, perfect attitude, she soon faced the reality that caring for a baby was not something she could do on her own. So, she dropped out of school and went back home to live with her parents.

Noah is now six and thanks to his grandparents money support goes to the best private school in the area.  He has been running into some trouble lately though being bullied by some of the bigger kids.  Noah early on was diagnosed with and autoimmune disease which in short means he can not eat anything with gluten in it. This causes him to be smaller for his age and therefore not as athletic as his peers.

After being called into the principals office to discuss a recent issue in gym class and a pep talk from her step sister Melanie, who is going through some issues of her own they decide to do something about it.  Melanie’s idea, which Rickie under much duress agrees to, is to join the events committee at the school.  This way if her and a couple of the mothers get along then maybe their kids can make friends with Noah.  Its not easy being the youngest and the most, lets say, alternative of the group, but Rickie does her best to suffer through for the sake of her son.

I enjoyed this book very much.  It was not the typical chick lit I am used to that threw around brand names heavily.  I really could (though I do not have children) relate to Rickie’s feeling of being the odd woman out.  Though she obviously does seem rough around the edges at the start you consistently see her grow throughout the novel.  Definitely worth the time.

4/5

REVIEW:The Oracle Rebounds

 By Allison Van Diepen
November 2010
Harlequin Books
ISBN-10:  0373210213
ISBN-13: 9780373210213





The Oracle of Dating aka Kayla is back in the second installment in the series of the same name.  In The Oracle Rebounds, we find Kayla just coming home from a date with her boyfriend Jared in the foulest of moods.  She is in a bad mood because Jared has just broken up with her.  He recently got rejected by an art scholarship committee and says he thinks he should spend more time working on his portfolio.

Kayla is completely thrown off guard since she thought everything was going great with them! Obviously she must have made some gross miscalculation she thinks, so she decides to throw herself into her website. TOOD as I am going to call it for the sake of space and finger cramping from now on, has been, though continued without much of a pause at any point in need of some tlc.  She continued to write articles for its blog section weekly, but really wasn’t as invested in it as much as she used to be.  One of the things she decides to do is contact other blogs of a similar subject and ask if she could possibly guest post. This way she can get more exposure and hopefully drive more visitors to her website. It at first all seems well and good, but quickly backfires as one of the bloggers she contacts uses it as a platform to fire shots so to speak.

The dating front as much as she’d like to take her own advice to others and take a break still remains active.  One of them being a French foreign exchange student named Benoit and another a chess playing Russian.  She hopes that these boys will help her forget about Jared who as much as she tries not to give in, she still finds herself missing and loving.

I really enjoy this series! It was just as good as the previous one and I found the story and the ‘blog posts’ were mixed well together.  Maybe it is because I am a blogger too, but you can really feel how much she loves working on her site.   Yes, maybe she makes a little money for it, but more then that she helps people which for her is what’s important.  I can relate to her excitement and sometimes her fear when she adds a post or tweaks the site, because I know exactly how that feels!

5/5

Excuse my Mess!

Over the next couple of days I will be loading in all the reviews from the other two sites so that they can all be found here.  So, its gonna be a lil messy and its going to look like a did an awful lot of posts for one day, but  no worries just a lil copy and paste.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

REVIEW: Helen of Pasadena by Lian Dolan


Recently, I read Helen of Pasadena about a woman named Helen Fairchild who lost her husband in a freak parade float accident.  Just hours before her husbands fatal run in with the paper mache panda, he had told her that he was leaving her for the towns young and perky weather girl.  That is a lot to deal with in the space of only a couple of days, but Helen fairs better then I would have expected her too.  Not only is her husband dead but according to his lawyer who she meets with a few days after the funeral he is VERY much in the financial hole. So, not only was she left to raise their thirteen year old son all on her own, but she also has to get herself out of debt.
            One of the first things she decides to do is get a job part time job.  Being that her husband comes from a rich family, she lives in a very Stepford wives neighborhood. She has volunteered her time at the historical society enough in the past that she asks one of the ladies there if there is a job opening.  Lucky for her a traveling scholar has come to look through books from a famous archeologist that the society acquired.  There is many notebooks to read through and he needs a part-time assistant and as they say the rest is history.  Trouble is, she has a hard time concentrating on her work when he is around because not only is he smart, but easy on the eyes as well.
            My favorite part about this book  is how funny she is even during the most stressful situations she tries to make the best of it with a sarcastic remark either out loud or crossing your mind. Though a little too long winded at times this book was definitely a good read.

4/5

Here's a preview video I found about the book!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Welcome!

So I decided to combine both my YA and my Chick Lit blog into one all new blog!  It was really hard to keep putting together a new post for each blog.  People had told me that it was going to be hard to do, but I have always been the kind of person that would rather know from the experience itself.  I hope you like the title, I live in the countryside of central PA and regularly see Amish in carts and on a particularly windy day on occasion you can smell  cow crap.  I plan to keep things going the same way I have been, but now that I am reading the two genres together. This way I will be able to post more often and not speed read as much since I won't be going double time.  Hope you enjoy and ya'll come back now ya here?

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