Monday, October 1, 2012

Must Monday

Must Monday is a feature I started years ago when I started reviewing. I feature one book that is not out yet and I am dying to read.

This Is Not a Drill
This Is Not a Drill
Beck McDowell

Two teens try to save a class of first-graders from a gun-wielding soldier suffering from PTSD

When high school seniors Emery and Jake are taken hostage in the classroom where they tutor, they must work together to calm both the terrified children and the gunman threatening them—a task made even more difficult by their recent break-up. Brian Stutts, a soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in Iraq, uses deadly force when he's denied access to his son because of a custody battle. The children's fate is in the hands of the two teens, each recovering from great loss, who now must reestablish trust in a relationship damaged by betrayal. Told through Emery and Jake's alternating viewpoints, this gripping novel features characters teens will identify with and explores the often-hidden damages of war.

Why I want to read it:
Not only is it a unique idea, it sounds intense! I feel like I would just need to sit down and read this one straight through.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday

The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read.

This weeks question: What is the BIGGEST word you’ve seen used in a book lately – that made you stop and look it up? Might as well leave the definition & book too.

My answer: I don't recall looking up any words recently. I'd like to think it's because I have a large vocabulary but in reality it is probably that I have been reading easy books...   So what about you guys???

Author Post: Sean Beaudoin

Today I have Sean Beaudoin here to do a guest post! His book, The Infects, came out Tuesday! Please help me welcome him to the Books Make Great Lovers stage....

The Infects
Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Nero is stuck in the wilderness with a bunch of other juvenile delinquents on an "Inward Trek." As if that weren’t bad enough, his counselors have turned into flesh-eating maniacs overnight and are now chowing down on his fellow miscreants. As in any classic monster flick worth its salted popcorn, plentiful carnage sends survivors rabbiting into the woods while the mindless horde of "infects" shambles, moans, and drools behind. Of course, these kids have seen zombie movies. They generate "Zombie Rules" almost as quickly as cheeky remarks, but attitude alone can’t keep the biters back. Serving up a cast of irreverent, slightly twisted characters, an unexpected villain, and an ending you won’t see coming, here is a savvy tale that that’s a delight to read — whether you’re a rabid zombie fan or freshly bitten — and an incisive commentary on the evil that lurks within each of us.

Sean's Post:

    When I was a kid, I never wanted the hero to win. Ever. I rooted against Superman. I prayed for kryptonite. I wanted Batman to fall into the Joker’s roiling shark tank instead of looping Batcord over a joist and swinging to freedom. Those sharks looked hungry. Even sharks need an advocate. It was the same with James Bond. Why wouldn’t Goldfinger just cut Bond in half already, instead of blabbering away about his weather control device? It also drove my crazy that the Road Runner always got the best of Wile. E. Coyote. It seemed so unfair that all of Wile E’s rockets and gadgets failed. At least one Acme Bird Pulper has to function correctly eventually, doesn’t it? If you gave a hundred monkeys a hundred hatchet-shaped typewriters, one of them would eventually kill King Lear, wouldn’t they? And the Road Runner was so smug. He was ridiculously fast, never got caught in the dynamite blast, always ate the real bird seed instead of the poisoned pellets and had pure luck forever on his side? Whatever. I’m a firm believer in odds. And justice. A nice braised Road Runner shank in delicate aspic and cherry remoulade would have been just. It was the same with Westerns. Give me a black hat anytime. I always wanted the sheriff to be slow on the draw. I wanted the mean cattle rustlers to take over the town and turn it into an Outdoor Whiskey Garden and Upright Citizen Target Practice Range. And then all grow huge mustaches and get fat and marry the girls from the brothel.

    So, yeah, I was sort of an odd kid. But at least I was consistent. Because when I turned eleven and was taken to my first zombie film (Dawn of the Dead. Thanks, Dad!) I immediately started rooting for the zombie hoard. They looked parched. And dirty. They needed a bath and a shave. Even the women. I wanted them to get the humans. I wanted them to take over the city. I wanted their desires to be met, their flesh orgies to be fun, their ceaseless human-free shambling to come to a protein-filled end.

    But mostly, I’ve always wanted to know what happens when there’s no one left to fight back or hide or barricade themselves in basements. When there’s no one left to brain zombie skull with baseball bats or run screaming through the woods. What happens after the last human is eaten? Do all the zombies suddenly look up and shrug? Do they shuffle around purposelessly for months, years, decades? Do they just lie down and never get up again?

    I want to see a movie about post-human zombie society, where the zombie leaders all come together like the United Nations and decide what their stated goals and resolutions are. How they eventually get over their differences and build school and hospitals and libraries. How they start to get fat and comfortable, watching reality TV and giving each other the finger on the highway.

    When the zombies win, we all win.
    Because then we are them, and they are us.

    Just with worse breath.

    Seriously, though? If I were a zombie I’d get a diamond encrusted grill made and grow my sideburns out and hang out downtown in a silk sweat suit, watching the girls walk by and just basking in the knowledge that finally the right side got a fair shake.

Sean Beaudoin

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wednesday Wishlist

WW is a feature I started years ago when I started reviewing. I spotlight one book that is already out and that I want to read.

You Wish
You Wish
Mandy Hubbard

    Kayla McHenry's sweet sixteen sucks! Her dad left, her grades dropped, and her BFF is dating the boy Kayla's secretly loved for years. Blowing out her candles, Kayla thinks: I wish my birthday wishes actually came true. Because they never freakin' do.

    Kayla wakes the next day to a life-sized, bright pink My Little Pony outside her window. Then a year's supply of gumballs arrives. A boy named Ken with a disturbing resemblance to the doll of the same name stalks her. As the ghosts of Kayla's wishes-past appear, they take her on a wild ride . . . but they MUST STOP. Because when she was fifteen? She wished Ben Mackenzie would kiss her. And Ben is her best friend's boyfriend.

Why I want to read it:
    Thus sounds very unique. I think it would be very amusing if all your pasty wishes suddenly came true.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Must Monday

Must Monday is a feature I started years ago when I started reviewing. I have so much fun doing it, I have kept it going :)

The Shadow Society
The Shadow Society
Marie Rutkoski

     Darcy Jones doesn’t remember anything before the day she was abandoned as a child outside a Chicago firehouse. She has never really belonged anywhere—but she couldn’t have guessed that she comes from an alternate world where the Great Chicago Fire didn’t happen and deadly creatures called Shades terrorize the human population.

    Memories begin to haunt Darcy when a new boy arrives at her high school, and he makes her feel both desire and desired in a way she hadn’t thought possible. But Conn’s interest in her is confusing. It doesn’t line up with the way he first looked at her.

    As if she were his enemy.

    When Conn betrays Darcy, she realizes that she can’t rely on anything—not herself, not the laws of nature, and certainly not him. Darcy decides to infiltrate the Shadow Society and uncover the Shades’ latest terrorist plot. What she finds out will change her world forever . . .

Why I want to read it:
    Alternate worlds and lost memories?! This sounds intense. I feel like I could be taken in by this book and not released until the last page!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Review: The Other Woman's House

The Other Woman's House: A Novel
The Other Woman's House
Sophie Hannah
*From a Penguin contact

Grade: B
For adults

    It's past midnight, but Connie Bowskill can't sleep. To pass the time, she logs on to a real estate website in search of a particular house, one she is obsessed with for reasons she's too scared to even admit to herself. As she clicks through the virtual tour, she comes across a scene from a nightmare: a woman lying facedown on the living room floor in a pool of blood. But when she returns to show her husband, there is no body, no blood—just a perfectly ordinary room, with a perfectly clean beige carpet.

My thoughts:
    I had been craving a good mystery and this book filled that desire. Though it was slow at times other parts made up for that. There were parts where I was wondering what the hell could happen next and other parts where I was laughing. Connie was an incredible asset to the story, mixing in her crazyness made for some humor.

    The biggest thing that took away from this book for me was how it eventually became like a Lifetime movie. Everything became very over the top and dramatic. As the twists kept coming, my eyes kept rolling. Somehow through all of that I couldn't put the book down!

    This is not a book that you will be able to figure out. Things keep changing and the mystery is eventually ablaze with clues you never saw coming. Don't go into this looking for a light read. This will keep you flipping page after page until the very end.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Review: Never Have I Ever

Never Have I Ever (Lying Game Series #2)
Never Have I Ever
Sara Shepard

Teen audiences
4 stars

   My perfect life was a lie.

   Now I'd do anything to uncover the truth. Not long ago, I had everything a girl could wish for: amazing friends, an adorable boyfriend, a loving family. But none of them know that I'm gone—that I'm dead—and that my long-lost twin sister, Emma, has taken my place to solve my murder.

   But the deeper she digs, the more suspects she uncovers. It turns out my friends and I played a lot of games—games that ruined people's lives. Anyone could want revenge . . . anyone could want me—and now Emma—dead.

My thoughts:
   When I start a series I have to finish it unless I absolutely despise it. I did not love the first Lying Games book but I decided to give it another go. This book was a little better but still not amazing. The plot reminded me of Pretty Little Liars from time to time. That was not a surprise.

    Emma is a pretty connectable character. I think she was a great asset to the book. Some of the other characters were a bit far-fetched. It didn't take away too much though because it was not told in their voices.

    The flow of this book is easy. If you wanted to sit and read it all it would only take you a couple hours. It is smooth and pretty light. Because of that it would make a great series for reluctant readers or those in a reading slump.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wednesday Wishlist

Wednesday Wishlist is a feature I started years ago. I spotlight one book that is already out and I have not read yet but want to.

Stalker Girl
Stalker Girl
Rosemary Graham

Carly never meant to become a stalker. She just wanted to find out who Brian started dating after he dumped her. But a little harmless online research turns into a quick glance, and that turns into an afternoon of watching. Soon Carly is putting all of her energy into following Brian's new girlfriend--all of the sadness she feels about her mom's recent breakup, all of the anger she feels over being pushed aside by her dad while he prepares for his new wife's new baby. When Carly's stalking is discovered in the worst possible way by the worst possible person, she is forced to acknowledge her problem and the underlying issues that led to it.

Why I want to read it:
This is a concept that seems new, at least to me. I like the psychology aspect as well as the dramatics. Plus, look at this cool cover!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Must Monday

Must Monday is a feature I started years back where I spotlight 1 book that is not out yet but I can't wait to read.

The Dead Girls Detective Agency

The Dead Girls Detective Agency
Suzy Cox

Pop quiz: What would you do if you had to solve your own murder to get anywhere in death?

Maybe if I hadn't slept through my alarm, slammed into Kristin—my high school's reigning mean

girl—or stepped in a puddle, destroying my mom's new suede DVF boots (which I borrowed without asking), I wouldn't have been in the wrong place at the wrong time, and I wouldn't have been pushed in front of that arriving train. But I did, and I was.

When I came to, I was informed by a group of girls that I'm dead. And that because I died under mysterious circumstances, I can't pass straight over to the Other Side. But at least I'm not alone. Meet the Dead Girls Detective Agency: Nancy, Lorna, and Tess—not to mention Edison, the really cute if slightly hostile dead boy. Apparently, the only way out of this limbo is to figure out who killed me, or I'll have to spend eternity playing Nancy Drew. Considering I was fairly invisible in life, who could hate me enough to want me dead? And what if my murderer is someone I never would have suspected?

Why I want to read it:
This unlike any book I have ever read. I am drawn to the concept and excited to devour this book some day.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Review: Crazy by Amy Reed

Title: Crazy
Author: Amy Reed
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Price: $16.99
Release: 6/12/2012

Grade: C
Audience: Teens

    Connor knows that Izzy will never fall in love with him the way he’s fallen for her. But somehow he’s been let into her crazy, exhilarating world and become her closest confidante. But the closer they get, the more Connor realizes that Izzy’s highs are too high and her lows are too low. And the frenetic energy that makes her shine is starting to push her into a much darker place.

    As Izzy’s behavior gets increasingly erratic and self-destructive, Connor gets increasingly desperate to stop her from plummeting. He knows he can’t save her from her pain...but what if no one else can?

My thoughts:
    I am sad to say I was disappointed with this book. I had read Beautiful when it came out and recently read Clean. I adored both of those books. I wan instantly drawn in and didn't want them to end. That was not the case with this book. I brought it to work, hoping to devour a good chunk of it during lunch. Shortly after starting to read I had to stop. That was how I read the whole book, with breaks every so often.

    Izzy came across as super whiny at the start. I could not like her or feel sorry for her as hard as I tried. The way she told her story frustrated me to no end.  I finally had to step back and remind myself that this is just a book, something I hate to do!

    My feelings for Connor fluctuated. Sometimes I could tolerate him and other times I was annoyed with him. He too could be whiny. There were a few moments when I thought he was generally a good guy.

    The story was all over a lot. I believe this was because it was written in emails. It was hard to keep everything moving in the same direction. I have seen it done in other books though, so I know it is possible. I wish there would be been more focus and not so much all over the place stuff going on.

     The lack of direction at points and my dislike of Izzy are what made my rating a C.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wednesday Wishlist

W.W. is a feature I started years ago when I started reviewing. I spotlight 1 book that is out and I have not read but would love to read.


And Then I Found Out The Truth
And Then I Found Out the Truth
Jennifer Sturman

Delia Truesdale is still searching for the truth about her mother, who is in hiding somewhere in South America. But for now, Delia has to make do with her mystery-solving in New York City, alongside her Aunt Charley (a downtown hipster), her Aunt Patience(an uptown ice queen), a detective with a questionable taste in neckties, an eccentric psychic, her brainiac friend, and Quinn, the wealthy, gorgeous boy who--gasp!-- seems to return Delia's affections. Too bad Quinn's shady CEO dad may be involved in the scheme Delia is trying to crack. And a trip to South America may be in order after all...

Why I want to read it:
I read book one and was hooked. I can't wait to devour this one.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Must Monday

Must Monday is a weekly feature I started years ago. I feature 1 book that is not out yet but I am dying to read!

Death and the Girl Next Door                                                            
Death and the Girl Next Door
Darynda Jones
St. Martin's Press

    Ten years ago, Lorelei's parents disappeared without a trace. Raised by her grandparents and leaning on the support of her best friends, Lorelei is finally beginning to accept the fact that her parents are never coming home. For Lorelei, life goes on.

    High school is not quite as painful as she thinks it will be, and things are as normal as they can be. Until the day the school's designated loner, Cameron Lusk, begins to stalk her, turning up where she least expects it, standing outside her house in the dark, night after night. Things get even more complicated when a new guy—terrifying, tough, sexy Jared Kovach—comes to school. Cameron and Jared instantly despise each other and Lorelei seems to be the reason for their animosity. What does Jared know about her parents? Why does Cameron tell Jared he can't have Lorelei? And what will any of them do when Death comes knocking for real? Thrilling, sassy, sexy, and inventive, Darynda Jones's first foray into the world of teens will leave readers eager for the next installment.

Why I want to read it:
    First off, look at that cover! She draws me in! I also am a sucker for a good mystery and this looks like it may feed that desire! How am I supposed to wait 3 more weeks?!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Interview: Smashed by Lisa Luedeke


Smashed was released 8/21/2012. Enjoy the synopsis and interview!

    Stay out of trouble for one more year, and Katie Martin can leave her small town loneliness behind forever. She is a field hockey star on the fast track to a college scholarship, but her relationship with alcohol has always been a little questionable. Then trouble finds her. Alec is the most popular guy in school, and also the biggest bully—with his sights set firmly on Katie. When Alec turns on the charm, Katie thinks she must have been wrong about him.

    Except that she wasn’t. On a rain-soaked, alcohol-drenched night, one impulsive decision leaves Katie indebted to Alec in the worst possible way. This debut novel is a fast-paced and compelling story of addiction, heartbreak, and redemption.

1. Smashed shows a teen on a downward spiral with addiction. What brought you to write this story?
The car accident was the genesis of the story; it’s the scene I saw first in my head. But the accident needed to be someone’s fault to be the beginning of a complex and compelling story. Alcohol use and abuse are common among teenagers, so this was an easy choice.

At the time I began the book—this is many, many years ago—I hadn’t seen alcohol abuse tackled in a YA book, at least not in a believable way. I’ve always wanted to write stories that are complex and realistic, stories that ring true, and reflect the lives of real kids. Alcohol use is sometimes part of those lives.

2. Writing such a serious book could get emotional. Did you ever find yourself feeling the emotions Katie was feeling?

Sure, I think it’s a bit like acting in that you really have to go there for it to be authentic. You really have to get inside the characters’ heads—all of them. For Katie, who narrates the book, I had to express what she was thinking and feeling at any given moment in time, and her feelings are pretty intense.

There is one particular scene in the book that I just didn’t want to write for this reason (I won’t name it, because it would be a spoiler, but if you’ve read it, you can figure it out). I spent an entire day pacing around this writer’s colony where I was staying, then finally jumped in my car, went to a local bookstore, bought a book on the topic of the scene I was avoiding writing, and read that instead. After I finally wrote the scene, I only revised it once, at my editor’s request. I didn’t like going there.

3. Katie plays field hockey. What made you choose that sport?
I simply chose my favorite sport. As a first-time novelist, it was easiest to stick to a sport I knew well. I’d played field hockey for six years and coached it for three. And I had a great time catching up on the sport again--going to state tournaments and doing research on current recruiting practices, for example. It made the writing fun.

4. You hear of some authors being disappointed with the covers chosen for their book. How do you feel about the cover of Smashed?
I absolutely love it. It’s perfect. The girl even looks like Katie. When I saw it, I cried because it was so perfect.

5. When you wrote Smashed did you map the story out or just see where it went?

I mapped it, but I mapped in many times over. When a book is conceived in my head, it comes with a complex situation that interests me, so I knew the main conflicts. Soon after, I knew the big turning points, and the gist of the ending. It’s the scenes that glue all that together that are up for grabs. I know the story in my bones, but how can I convey it to the reader so that she feels it in her bones, too? So my map changed many times, right up to my last draft for Simon & Schuster.

6. Do you hope Smashed conveys a message or is just a great read? If so, what would the message be?
I don’t ever write to send a message. I write to tell honest, compelling stories. For me, it’s just the story of one kid’s reality, told as honestly as possible, in a way that I hope keeps people turning pages. The reader determines what the message is (if any). A bunch of people have told me that after they finished the book, they kept thinking about it for a long time afterward. They couldn’t get it out of their head. I like hearing that. The story meant something to each of them, but what it meant is likely different for each of them.

7. What is your favorite book and why?
I fall in love with just about every book I read, so my answer could be, “Whatever book I’m reading at the moment you ask.” But I read The Catcher in the Rye every year for more than a decade—from the time I was fifteen until I was in my mid-twenties. I haven’t reread any other book that many times, so I’ll say that one. Why? I fell in love with Holden’s voice, and his sensitivity. The way he feels about his brother Allie, the way he hates Ackley for molesting girls, and his love and protectiveness for his sister Phoebe. I could relate to his confusion, and his sadness, and his anger. And his voice always makes me smile.

8. Recently I saw an article saying YA books are more honest about tough topics than adult books. Do you think this is true? Why or why not?
Certainly not if you include memoir…those books are often brutally honest. Hmmm, I’m not sure I agree. The truths are just different. One of my favorite adult books in the last few years was Olive Kitteridge, which does not shy away from looking at the difficulties of aging (among other things).

9. Other than writing how do you keep yourself busy?
I practice Ashtanga yoga several times a week, and I love to hike in the woods and on the rural roads near my home. I have a full time day job as an editor of professional books for English Language arts teachers and a family, including a young daughter, that I love spending time with, too. It’s a more than busy life right now!

10. What's next for you? Are you currently writing another book?
Yes, I’m about 90-100 pages into another book. It’s set in the same town, but with an entirely different cast of characters, and very different conflicts. It’s told in the alternating points-of-view of two girls who become friends. I have three other books in my head that I’d like to write after that.

A big thanks to Lisa for taking the time to talk to me!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Review: Sweet Talk

Sweet Talk                                                             
Title: Sweet Talk
Author: Julie Garwood
Publisher: Penguin
Price: $26.95
Release: 8/7/2012
Source: Publisher

Grade: B
Audience: Adults

When FBI agent Grayson Kincaid first encounters Olivia MacKenzie, she makes quite an impression.

The beautiful, tough, young attorney has stumbled into the middle of an FBI sting operation and has reduced it to chaos. Months of surveillance and careful planning down the drain, Kincaid’s partner is furious and lets Olivia know that she’s ticked off the wrong guy. After all, he’s FBI.

Olivia isn’t intimidated by his partner’s bullying because she’s something even scarier . . . she’s IRS.

And working for the IRS isn’t for the faint of heart. She’s on the trail of an elaborate Ponzi scheme, one that threatens to ruin the lives of naive and unsuspecting victims, and one she has personal reasons to be angry about. But after she asks questions of the wrong people, her life is suddenly endangered. She’s accustomed to fighting for the underdog but being vulnerable herself is a very different story. Smart enough to know when to call for reinforcements, she contacts Grayson Kincaid.

Together they make an excellent team to fight corruption but Olivia is also fighting the immediate and intense attraction she feels for Agent Kincaid, and that may be a battle she is bound to lose.

My thoughts:
    This was not a book I would usually go pick up on my own. When I recieved the request I decided to give it a try. Though it took me awhile to feel involved with the book, I did eventually experience that. The story picked up a deccent pace about half of the way through it.

    The characters were pretty likeable but not as easily connectable as some. I would have enjoyed this book a little more if I had felt a deeper connection to the characters. I did like Olivia a lot more later on.

     I recommend you try this book now if the synopsis really grabs you. If you are iffy on it, I recommend a library copy.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Did you miss me?

I'm back. After a week hiatus, I am finally able to return. As you know, I graduated from college and then went to see my parents in GA. I came back and started my new "big girl" job the next day. Tomorrow is my first day off and I am so ready to come catch up on reviews. You have been warned :)

Thanks for hanging in there with me!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wednesday Wishlist

Wednesday Wishlist is a feature I have been doing for years. I spotlight a book that has already been release that I would love to read but have not yet.

Beautiful Malice
Title: Beautiful Malice
Author: Rebecca James
Publisher: Random House
Price: $25.00
Release: 7/13/2010

    Who is Katherine Patterson? It is a question she hopes no one can answer. To erase her past, Katherine has moved to a new city, enrolled in a new school, and even changed her name. She’s done the next best thing to disappearing altogether. Now, wary and alone, she seeks nothing more than anonymity. What she finds instead is the last thing she expected: a friend.

    Even more unlikely, Katherine’s new friend is the most popular and magnetic girl in school. Extroverted, gorgeous, flirtatious, and unpredictable, she is everything that Katherine is not and doesn’t want to be: the center of attention. Yet Alice’s enthusiasm is infectious, her candor sometimes unsettling, and Katherine, in spite of her guarded caution, finds herself drawn into Alice’s private circle.

    But Alice has secrets, too—darker than anyone can begin to imagine. And when she lets her guard down at last, Katherine discovers the darkest of them all. For there will be no escaping the past for Katherine Patterson—only a descent into a trap far more sinister . . . and infinitely more seductive.

Why I want to read it:
    This week my focus must be on secrets. Maybe my own life is too dull right now ;)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Graduation and Vacation

Today is my last day as a Hemodialysis student! I thought I would take a moment to celebrate my good news with all of you readers.

My other news is that I will be leaving for GA tomorrow morning! I will be there a week. So if you can't reach me that's why!

Thank's for reading!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Must Monday

34 Pieces of You
Title: 34 Pieces of You
Author: Carmen Rodrigues
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Price: $16.99
Release: 9/4/2012

    There was something about Ellie…Something dangerous. Charismatic. Broken. Jake looked out for her. Sarah followed her lead. And Jess kept her distance—and kept watch.

    Now Ellie’s dead, and Jake, Sarah, and Jess are left to pick up the pieces. All they have are thirty-four clues she left behind. Thirty-four strips of paper hidden in a box beneath her bed. Thirty-four secrets of a brief and painful life.

    Jake, Sarah, and Jess all feel responsible for what happened to Ellie, and all three have secrets of their own. As they confront the past, they will discover not only the darkest truths about themselves, but also what Ellie herself had been hiding all along….

Why I want to read it:
    Secrets always make for a great story. I want to discover their secrets with them.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Review: Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades Trilogy #1)
Title: Fifty Shades of Grey
Author: E L James
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday
Price: $15.95
Release: 4/3/2012
Source: Purchased

Grade: C
Audience: Mature

    When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

    Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

My thoughts:
    Before you start reading this I am going to remind you that this book is for adult audiences. If you are not an adult, or easily offended by adult content this book and review are not for you.

    The hype for this book is huge. You can't go anywhere without hearing mention of this series. 1/2 of my college classmates have read it, my mother-in-law has read it. I feel like the whole world read it. The general consensus seems to be that people either loved it or hated it. I felt like I was stuck in the middle. I could have lived without reading it but I also don't regret reading it.

    This story was as unrealistic as it gets. Rich man with a kinky sex life falls for a nobody young woman. Though nobody could make him love before she somehow could. Blah, gag. The romance wasn't even attracting. I would never want that kind of love.

     There was hardly any sex in this book for it being erotica. Yes, I will admit that some of the scenes were "steamy". Other scenes produced many eyerolls. I have never in my life heard of a woman having that many orgasm's. It seems like he would barely look at her and there she went.

    As for the writing, don't expect it to be great. Hell, don't even expect it to be good. It is poorly written but lets all be honest, we aren't reading it for the authors superb use of punctuation.

   If you feel like you need to read this book then go for it. If you don't want to read it but feel like everyone is, so you should too, don't read it. I feel like this is one you just can't love if you don't REALLY want to read it.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Review: Want to Go Private?

Want to Go Private?                                                                
Title: Want to Go Private?
Author: Sarah Darer Littman
Publisher: Scholastic
Price: $17.99
Release: 8/1/2011
Source: Library

Grade: A
Audience: YA

    Abby and Luke chat online. They've never met. But they are going to. Soon.

    Abby is starting high school--it should be exciting, so why doesn't she care? Everyone tells her to "make an effort," but why can't she just be herself? Abby quickly feels like she's losing a grip on her once-happy life. The only thing she cares about anymore is talking to Luke, a guy she met online, who understands. It feels dangerous and yet good to chat with Luke--he is her secret, and she's his. Then Luke asks her to meet him, and she does. But Luke isn't who he says he is. When Abby goes missing, everyone is left to put together the pieces. If they don't, they'll never see Abby again.

My thoughts:
    It has been a long time since I have read a book that made me want to stay up late and finish. This book grabbed me and I became very frustrated that I had no time to read this week (it's my last 10 days in my college program). Even with this book taking me longer to read then I would have liked I found it to be AMAZING.

    The subject of Internet predators is not one I have seen in books very often (if you have please give me recommendations in the comments). I have had the unfortunate experience of being the victim of an online predator. Fortunately for me, I got so scared early on that I told my parents. This story felt like an expansion of what could have happened to me, had I not told. Since this is becoming more and more common, I felt like this was an important story. It conveyed the reality of the situation without feeling like a lecture from someone paid to scare teens away from the Internet.

    This book was split in thirds. Part one is all about Abby. We discover who she is, and it is at this point that you will develop an opinion about her. Some people have mentioned in reviews that they hated her. I saw her as the 14 year old victim that she was. When you move on to part 2 the story starts showing different peoples perspectives. This part of the story made me fearful and was what really kept me wanting to read this book. Part 3 contained an insight into the psychology of this crime. It was truly haunting.

    I recommend this book to ALL teens. Yes, it was a fabulous book but it can also serve as a reminder. If you are a teen or you know a teen, do not hesitate to buy a copy. You won't want to miss this one.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wednesday Wishlist

Wednesday Wishlist is a weekly feature where I spotlight a book that is already out and I have not read yet but would love to. These books have usually been out at least a couple years.

Tell Me a Secret                                                                      
Title: Tell Me a Secret
Author: Holly Cupala
Publisher: HarperCollins
Price: $16.99
Release: 6/22/2010

    It's tough living in the shadow of a dead girl. . . .
    In the five years since her bad-girl sister Xanda's death, Miranda Mathison has wondered about the secret her sister took to the grave, and what really happened the night she died. Now, just as Miranda is on the cusp of her dreams—a best friend to unlock her sister's world, a ticket to art school, and a boyfriend to fly her away from it all—Miranda has a secret all her own.

    When two lines on a pregnancy test confirm her worst fears, Miranda is stripped of her former life. She must make a choice with tremendous consequences and finally face her sister's demons and her own.
Why I want to read it:
    I have a sister, so stories about sister relationships are near to my heart.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Review: Memoir of a Milk Carton Kid

Memoir of A Milk Carton Kid: The Tanya Nicole Kach Story                                                         
Title: Memoir of a Milk Carton Kid
Author: Tanya Nicole Kach
Publisher: Tate Publishing
Price: $17.99
Release: 10/11/2011
Source: Library

Grade: C
Audience: Adults

    'Tom,' I said, bracing myself for the threat that was sure to follow. 'I need to talk to you about something. About leaving here, I mean.'He didn't hit me. Didn't threaten. Instead, he looked at me with great sadness. 'Who saved your life?''You,' I replied, 'but...''Who takes care of you?''I know that,' I told him. 'I just can't live like this.''You can't live? What about me? You would destroy my life if you left. I am the only person to ever show you love, and you would leave me? Don't be stupid.' Told from the perspective of Tanya Nicole Kach, Memoir of a Milk Carton Kid is the haunting story of a girl, lost in the cracks of the system, forced to spend more than ten years as the prisoner of her school's security guard. From her troubled childhood, through her captivity at the hands of a manipulative captor, and ultimately on her road to recovery, Tanya's story is one of pain but ultimately triumph. Her story is told by her advocate and confidant, Lawrence Fisher. For more than five years his impassioned advocacy has helped Tanya as she has reintegrated into society. He successfully blends Tanya's story with his own insight into the legal issues surrounding the controversial case that followed Tanya's release. This multipronged approach gives the reader insight into Tanya's emotional state and the state of a criminal justice system that allowed her ordeal to happen.

My thoughts:
    I hate to judge nonfiction. This is somebodies life we are talking about but I had to here. I felt that the story was poorly written. For the most part I felt like I was reading an outline for a fiction story. Yes, what this woman experienced was hell. I do not want to sound cold or heartless at all. I just think maybe she was not ready to give us an honest portrayal of what happened.

    I have to be honest and say that I did have to skim some pages. There were times when I felt myself bored with this writing that I wanted to give up on reading the book. I made myself power through though.

    I recommend this to hardcore nonfiction/memoir fans.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Must Monday

For all you new followers out there, Must Monday is a weekly feature where I spotlight a book that is not out yet and I am anxiously waiting for.

The Raft                                                            
Title: The Raft
Author: S. A. Bodeen
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Price: $16.99
Release: 8/21/2012

     Robie is an experienced traveler. She’s taken the flight from Honolulu to the Midway Atoll, a group of Pacific islands where her parents live, many times. When she has to get to Midway in a hurry after a visit with her aunt in Hawaii, she gets on the next cargo flight at the last minute. She knows the pilot, but on this flight, there’s a new co-pilot named Max. All systems are go until a storm hits during the flight. The only passenger, Robie doesn’t panic until the engine suddenly cuts out and Max shouts at her to put on a life jacket. They are over miles of Pacific Ocean. She sees Max struggle with a raft.

    And then . . . she’s in the water. Fighting for her life. Max pulls her onto the raft, and that’s when the real terror begins. They have no water. Their only food is a bag of Skittles. There are sharks. There is an island. But there’s no sign of help on the way.

Why I want to read it:
     A fight for life book starring a girl. HECK YES!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Review: Clean

Title: Clean
Author: Amy Reed
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Price: $9.99
Release: 7/19/2011

Grade: A
Audience: older teens and Young Adult                                                       

    You’re probably wondering how I ended up here. I’m still wondering the same thing.

    Olivia, Kelly, Christopher, Jason, and Eva have one thing in common: They're addicts. Addicts who have hit rock bottom and been stuck together in rehab to face their problems, face sobriety, and face themselves. None of them wants to be there. None of them wants to confront the truths about their pasts. And they certainly don’t want to share their darkest secrets and most desperate fears with a room of strangers. But they'll all have to deal with themselves and one another if they want to learn how to live. Because when you get that high, there's nowhere to go but down, down, down.

My thoughts:
    I really enjoyed reading Clean. Not only was it a fantastic work of fiction, it had a purpose. Don't get me wrong, I don't think every book needs a purpose. This book just had so much potential to reach readers that I would have been disappointed if it did.

    Teen rehab is not a new subject. Some parts of this were similar to Impulse by Ellen Hopkins. They both had their own spins though, so I didn't feel like I was reading the same story in a different book. It was full of very adult subjects. Obviously drug addiction is a big one. Another prominent aspect is sex. It is thrown around quite often but that is common with drug addiction. It is heartbreaking to hear about young people who give their body for drugs.

    My only problem with this book was the amount of characters. Since they were all introduced so quickly I thought they were each going to play a role in telling the story. I was happy to discover that only two were the "main" storytellers. We discovered the other characters through their eyes and through personal essays included in between some chapters.

    I would recommend this book to all my older teen readers and anyone who has contact with teens. It was truly one of the best addiction books I have read.

   Also, Amy, If your reading this I would love to see a sequel ;). I want to know how these kids turned out. I want to finish Olivia's story with her!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Atlanta, GA

I am about to make my very first trip to Atlanta. My parents recently moved just outside the city. I will be there August 29th- September 3rd. I will be attending the Decatur Book Festival for at least one day. So I am curious to see if any of you guys will also be attending? If so, comment below or email me. Also if you live in the area or have been to the area what is your favorite thing to do there?


Friday, August 17, 2012

Book Blogger Hop

I decided to do this as a trial basis, so for a couple weeks. Everyone looked like they were having so much fun!

This weeks question was: What blogger inspires you?

I have had the same answer to this for a couple years. Kristi of The Story Siren. She is super sweet and has not let her popularity go to her head. She writes amazing reviews that I can only hope to ever come close to!

Yes, I know there was a "scandal" but I am still impressed with everything she has done outside of that. I am able to look past that.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wednesday Wishlist

StrandedTitle: Stranded
Author: J.T. Dutton
Publisher: HarperCollins
Price: $16.99
Release: 6/8/2012            

    My best friend, Katy, says a person with a sparkly two-part name like Kelly Louise should be guaranteed a little glamour and excitement and not be forced to move back to Mom's middle-of-nowhere hometown—now the center of a media frenzy since a farmer found an infant in his cornfield. (It just slipped from some mystery mother's body without anyone noticing.)
    But Baby Grace shadows every hair flip, every wink, and is keeping me from losing my virginity, despite my dynamite new boots. Even Katy doesn't have any more good advice. The one boy around who rates anywhere near acceptable on the Maximum Man Scale only has eyes for my cousin, Natalie, who only has eyes for Jesus.
    But Natalie has a secret.
    Everyone is so busy burying the truth about Baby Grace, they can't see who they're burying alive.
    Welcome to Heaven, Iowa.

Why I want to read it:
    This sounds like it will be filled to the brim with delicious drama.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Must Monday

The InnocentsTitle: The Innocents
Author: Lili Peloquin
Publisher: Razorbill
Price: $17.99
Release: 10/16/2012

Nothing ever came between sisters Alice and Charlie.

Friends didn't.

Boys couldn't.

Their family falling apart never would.

Until they got to Serenity Point.

Why I want to read it:
I am incredibly intrigued by that little snippet we are given. This is probably in my top 10 books I was most excited for this year!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Last Letter From Your Lover

The Last Letter from Your LoverTitle: The Last Letter From Your Lover                                          
Author: Jojo Moyes                      
Publisher: Penguin                      
Price: $16.00                              
Release: 6/26/2012                     
Source: Publisher                        

Grade: B            
Audience: Adults                                                           


    It is 1960. When Jennifer Stirling wakes up in the hospital, she can remember nothing-not the tragic car accident that put her there, not her husband, not even who she is. She feels like a stranger in her own life until she stumbles upon an impassioned letter, signed simply "B", asking her to leave her husband.

    Years later, in 2003, a journalist named Ellie discovers the same enigmatic letter in a forgotten file in her newspaper's archives. She becomes obsessed by the story and hopeful that it can resurrect her faltering career. Perhaps if these lovers had a happy ending she will find one to her own complicated love life, too. Ellie's search will rewrite history and help her see the truth about her own modern romance.

My Thoughts:
    I found this novel to be a wonderful love story, worthy of a place on your bookshelf. Though it took a tad longer than I would have preferred to get going (note the B rating), once it did it was a fantastic story. Love is complicated in real life and this proved true to that.

    The use of two time periods was great. That added an extra sense of mystery into the mix. I thought the mystery and discovery were the best aspects of this entire book. The romance being the second best.

    Ellie was easy to connect with. She truly lived the life of a typical woman, though her career may be a bit more exciting than most. She was honest and I found that to be enjoyable. She quickly became like a friend. You wanted to hear her stories because that's what friends do!

    I recommend this book to my adult readers who enjoy a book with a little mystery and a lot of real life.