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.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Laura Lascarso Interview and Giveaway

Counting Backwards
Counting Backwards
Laura Lascarso

    Taylor Truwell is a sixteen-year-old girl from Florida with a troubled past, a neglectful mother, a seemingly callous father, and an urge to flee. When Taylor is caught with a stolen car, her violent reaction lands her in court for resisting arrest. Her father convinces the judge of an alternative to punishment: treatment in a juvenile psychiatric correctional facility. And so Taylor arrives at Sunny Meadows.

    Sunny Meadows is anything but the easy way out, and Taylor has to fight hard just to hold on to her sanity as she battles her parents, an intrusive therapist, and a group of particularly nasty fellow patients. But even as Taylor clings to her stubborn former self, she gradually relents to new friendships—and to unexpected romance. Sunny Meadows goes against everything Taylor stands for. But could it be the place that saves her?

1. Counting Backwards is the story of a troubled teen. What inspired you to write this story?

I was listening to the song Fast Car by Tracy Chapman, when I started thinking about what circumstances would drive a person to be so wholly focused on driving this fast car out right of their life. That gave me an inkling as to Taylor's background. As for her character, I wanted a protagonist who was flawed but sympathetic--someone who made bad decisions, but who the reader could get behind and understand why she was making those decisions. She may be troubled, but she's also pretty self-reliant. She's a survivor. And I think a lot of teens who are given the label of troubled are doing what they can to simply survive.
Ultimately, I hope Taylor's journey encourages people to have the courage to look inside themselves, to carve out some time for reflection and personal growth, and to dream.

2. Taylor is in a psychiatric correctional facility. Did you have to do any research to keep this accurate?
Tons. More than I probably would have wanted. I am not a research person, per se, but a book like this requires you to get it right, or as right as possible. I conducted several interviews with people who had worked in facilities such as Sunny Meadows, some with less security and some with more. I tried to be fair to both sides. Being forced to enter into an institution against your will really sucks, but in the bleakest situations, there are lessons to be learned and hopefully, friends to be made.

3. When you wrote Counting Backwards did you ever get connected to the point where you felt you were in the story? Yes. Probably in my fifth draft, I reached a point where I hit my emotional stride and was able to completely immerse myself in the story. I didn't have to question so much what Taylor was thinking or feeling because I was experiencing it with her. For me, that usually comes when all the big stuff has been ironed out--plot, pacing, character motivations. That is actually my favorite part, once everything else is out of the way, being able to live fully in the story, it's like playing pretend.

4. Did you know how Taylor's story ended before you started writing or did she lead you there?I had a very specific goal for Taylor, though I didn't know how we were going to get there or how many relationships would have to be destroyed and rebuilt. I also didn't know how much she'd have to lose. I went easy on her in the first couple drafts. Not so, in the final ones.

5. Counting Backwards has some intense parts. Did writing those parts ever change your mood for the day or do you keep your emotions out of it?While writing, I definitely went there emotionally with Taylor, but later on, I mostly felt satisfied with myself. A good writing day is a good day; the deeper I can go with the character, the better. Those days are gifts. Writing brings me peace, which is probably why I enjoy it so much.

6. Is there a moral behind the story or do you simply want it to be great entertainment?
Both, I hope. I'm not terribly keen on books that are written just for the moral of the story, but I'm also not too keen on stories that are pure entertainment with no deeper meaning. I guess it's kind of like broccoli and cheese. Together, they are amazing, but broccoli for broccoli's sake, no thanks. And cheese is awesome too, but with broccoli you can feel good about eating a ton of it. Does that make sense? I don't mean to make fun of broccoli. It is one of those beaten down vegetables that really doesn't deserve its reputation. I can totally eat broccoli without cheese just fine. If I have to.

7. What does a typical day of writing look like for you? There is no typical day for me, so I will paint you a portrait of a particularly productive day. Wake at ten to a cafe con leche (made for me by my beloved), put on my robe and sit on the couch with my laptop. Check emails until caffeine kicks in, re-read what I wrote the night before--hopefully, it's not bad. Tweak some things with that until I'm back in the story, and hopefully by one o' clock, I'm in the thick of it. Lunch is served to me around two (this is Jetson's reality). By now, my back probably hurts and my legs are cramped up because they've been tucked underneath me the whole time. Maybe let the dog outside or take her for a walk, then back to writing for as long as other commitments will allow.

But sometimes, my writing day doesn't begin until late at night--like right now--then I am up until the wee hours, which isn't so bad, because everyone else is asleep and there is something special about that time too. My writing tends to be a little more zany late at night, which can be incredibly creative, or it can make zero sense in the morning.

8. What is the best book you have read lately?
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. That man can take me from LOLing to crying in about three words. He's really outdone himself this time.

9. One author I have not met yet but would love to is Sara Zarr because she rocks!

10. What is next for you?
I have no idea. I have a story that is pretty important to me. My agent is currently shopping it around to editors. It's edgy, or maybe just realistic. Hopefully, an editor will also think it's an important story and want to champion it, but if not, I'll just keep writing. I have a lot of stories swimming around in my head. I just have to find the one I can write with authenticity.

And I do take requests. Feel free to drop me an idea on the Contact page of my blog, But only if you don't mind sharing it. If it's super good, you might want to save it for yourself.

One lucky person with a US address can win a copy of this book! To win all you have to do is comment below about why you want to read this book. 1 random name will be picked using a random generator. Please leave your email address in the comment.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pretty Little Secrets

Pretty Little Secrets (Pretty Little Liars Series)Title: Pretty Little Secrets     
Author: Sara Shepard          
Publisher: HarperCollins      
Price: $17.99                      
Release: 1/3/2012                

Grade: B           
Audience: Teens

    Rewind to junior year in Rosewood, Pennsylvania, to a winter break no one has ever heard about. . . .
    Fat snowflakes fall onto manicured lawns, quilted stockings hang over marble fireplaces, and everyone is at peace, especially Hanna, Emily, Aria, and Spencer. Now that Alison’s murderer is in jail and A is dead,
    Rule number one of being an effective stalker: Get to know your prey. So I watch these liars day and night, keeping an eye on the trouble they get into, the messes they make, and the secrets they keep. Hanna’s desperate for a very personal session with her gym trainer. Emily is number one on Santa’s naughty list. Aria’s old flame from Iceland is about to land her in hot water. And Spencer’s resorting to some backhanded tactics to get what she wants.

    What happens on holiday break stays on holiday break—right? But guess what. I saw. And now I’m telling.

My thoughts:
    I had debated on whether or not to read this book. I had been feeling less and less love for this series. I finally decided if I am going to finish the series I would have to go the whole way. It was different from the other books. It was split in to quarters and each quarter was about a different character. I didn't like that. I like having the stories intertwine like they do in the main series.

    The one other thing I did not like was how these big plot points happen but they are never mentioned ever again. These were life changing events yet to the characters they were small enough to forget about. That would be why you don't go back and add a book after you are already way past that point.

    The last thing that bugged me was that things mentioned in the story did not match the time period. When this book would have taken place people did not have ipads. Certain songs mentioned weren't out. Maybe I just think too much?

    The book was a fun read though and I have mostly enjoyed the series. When I am asked what books a reluctant reader should try, this is my go to series. I still recommend it.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wednesday Wishlist

Wednesday Wishlist is a weekly feature where I spotlight a book that is already out.

The Mosts

Title: The Mosts               
Author: Melissa Senate    
Publisher: Random House
Price: $9.99                    
Release: 6/12/2012              

    Madeline finished freshman year at Freeport Academy just as invisible as when she started. But after a summer in Italy with her sophisticated aunt, she returned as a sophomore with cool clothes, European attitude, and a hot new boyfriend, Thom.

   Maddie's part of the in crowd . . . the Mosts. Her best friend, Caro? Most Beautiful. Her other friends, Fergie, Annie, and Selena? Most Stylish, Most Hilarious, and Most Hot, respectively. And Madeline? Most Popular. Her life is great.

    While it lasted.

    Now Thom's moved to California—so Maddie's no longer the girlfriend of a popular guy. The guy Caro likes only has eyes for Madeline—can you say social suicide? And a group of misfits at school are begging Madeline to help make them over.

    Madeline knows there's a fine line between being a Most . . . and being a Not. She doesn't want her status to change . . . but what if she doesn't have a choice?

Why I want to read it:
    This sounds like a light read. I am craving something I can just devour right now.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Must Monday

Burn for BurnTitle: Burn For Burn          
Author: Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian          
 Publisher: Simon and Schuster                     
 Price: $17.99             
 Release: 9/18/2012    

    Postcard-perfect Jar Island is home to charming tourist shops, pristine beaches, amazing oceanfront homes—and three girls secretly plotting revenge.

    KAT is sick and tired of being bullied by her former best friend.

    LILLIA has always looked out for her little sister, so when she discovers that one of her guy friends has been secretly hooking up with her, she’s going to put a stop to it.

    MARY is perpetually haunted by a traumatic event from years past, and the boy who’s responsible has yet to get what’s coming to him.

    None of the girls can act on their revenge fantasies alone without being suspected. But together…anything is possible.

    With an unlikely alliance in place, there will be no more “I wish I’d said…” or “If I could go back and do things differently...” These girls will show Jar Island that revenge is a dish best enjoyed together.

Why I want to read it:
    This book sounds like a new idea and a fun read. I am super anxious. It should be one of this years best.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Reviewing over the years

    As some of you may have noticed I am updating some stuff on my blog. The biggest thing I have done would be starting a running list of every book I have reviewed. I am nowhere near done with that but I have made a small dent.

    While making this list I have been looking back on every post I have ever made. I am beyond embarrassed by some of them. You can tell that when I started I was a young high school girl. My reviews were super short and there were quite a few personal posts. I was mortified when I saw the post about having my heart broken BUT then I stopped to think.

    At the time that was not an embarrassing post. When I started reviewing back in 2009 the book review community was pretty small and very close. I had GREAT friends that I made through reviewing. I still text and email with a couple of them on a regular basis. These people actually cared that my heart was hurting because we were friends!

    Over the years the community has grown. This has been both a good and bad thing. When I stopped reviewing for 9 months I lost almost 500 followers. I was bummed when I returned. I had to start at square one again. It took me awhile to gain my footing. I came back to a world that was very different from when I had left it.

    Though there are still friendships it is now impossible to know ALL the reviewers. I am making it my mission to not lose touch and fell into this hole of now personal communication. Instead of just blogging I comment on AT LEAST 5 blogs I already follow everyday and I look for 2 new blogs to follow everyday. I want to hold on to the personal connections that were so huge when I started.

    I thank the review community for welcoming me back after my hiatus. I missed you guys.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

On the Island

On the IslandTitle: On the Island                  
Author: Tracey Garvis Graves   
Publisher: Penguin                  
Price: $15.00                           
Release: 7/10/2012                  
Source: Publisher                    
Ashley Say's: Must buy 
Audience: Adult            

    Anna Emerson is a thirty-year-old English teacher desperately in need of adventure. Worn down by the cold Chicago winters and a relationship that’s going nowhere, she jumps at the chance to spend the summer on a tropical island tutoring sixteen-year-old T.J.

    T.J. Callahan has no desire to go anywhere. His cancer is in remission and he wants to get back to his normal life. But his parents are insisting he spend the summer in the Maldives catching up on all the school he missed last year.

    Anna and T.J. board a private plane headed to the Callahan’s summer home, and as they fly over the Maldives’ twelve hundred islands, the unthinkable happens. Their plane crashes in shark-infested waters. They make it to shore, but soon discover that they’re stranded on an uninhabited island.

    At first, their only thought is survival. But as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.’s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.

My thoughts:
    This was by far THE BEST adult book I have read in ages. Everything from the characters, to the story, to the writing was superb. If you are about to skip over this review because it is an adult book, not YA, I strongly suggest that you do not. This is a book you will not want to miss.

    The story was told in Anna and T.J.'s alternating  points of view. Both were incredibly engaging and well developed. As I was reading this story I was lost in it. I had to remind myself a couple times that this was a book, not real life. This is a rare thing to gain from a book. Anna was the girl you wanted to be friends with. T.J. was the kind of man you would want to marry.

    Though the story was at times predictable it remained delicious. It was the kind of book you should plan your day around. Once you start reading there is no putting it down. I stayed up until 3 am to finish it. There were enough twists to keep it going, enough drama to keep you interested.

    I have seen a few comments around from people worried about the relationship that may or may not develop between Anna and T.J. They are worried that it is a book about a woman who takes advantage of a kid. Please know that this is not the case at all. Everything in this book is tactful.

    I recommend this to all my readers 14+. Yes, it is an adult book but it was just so good. Though some aspects may be unrelatable I still believe my high school readers will enjoy it.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Runaway Girl

Runaway Girl: Escaping Life on the Streets, One Helping Hand at a TimeTitle: Runaway Girl    
Author: Carissa Phelps
Publisher: Penguin      
Price: $26.95               
Release: 7/5/2012      
Source: Publisher        
Ashley Say's: Hardback        

Audience: Adult                               

   Carissa Phelps was a runner. By twelve, she had run away from home, dropped out of school, and fled blindly into the arms of a brutal pimp, who made her walk the hard streets of central California. But even when she escaped him, she could not outrun the crushing inner pain of abuse, neglect, and abandonment. With little to hope for, she expected to end up in prison, or worse.

    But then her life was transformed through the unexpected kindness of a teacher and a counselor. Miraculously, by the time Carissa turned thirty, she had accomplished the unimaginable, graduating from UCLA with both a law degree and an MBA. She had left the streets behind, yet her path would eventually draw her back, this time working to help homeless and at-risk youth find their own paths to a better life.

    This is Carissa’s story, the tale of a girl who lost herself and survived, against all odds, through the generosity of strangers. It is an inspiring true story about finding the courage to run toward healing and summoning the strength to light the way for others.

My thoughts:
    I do not usually read non-fiction but something about this book interested me. We always hear the horror stories about runaway girls who become messed up women but we rarely see the triumphs. Carissa's story was truly inspirational.

    Coming from a troubled home into the big, bad world Carissa had so much to learn. She didn't always learn her lessons the easy way and had to face one brutality after another. The fact that she was able to pull through and become a beautiful, strong woman is astounding. Her story is a great inspiration that I would recommend to all my adult readers.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Elusive Mr. McCoy

The Elusive Mr. MccoyTitle: The Elusive Mr. McCoy         
Author: Brenda L. Baker                
Publisher: Penguin                         
Release: 7/3/2012                         
Source: Publisher                          

Grade: C                                      
Audience: Adults                          

    Lesley McCoy works in a day-care center, and she is planning to start a family of her own. Her husband, David, is a homebody whose job as a wilderness guide takes him away for long periods—but when he’s home, he’s the best partner Lesley could imagine.

   Kendra McCoy is a successful businesswoman whose husband, Eric, is an analyst who specializes in Middle Eastern politics. He supports her enthusiasm and drive to succeed, and is the perfect partner—when he’s home between assignments.

    While trying to identify a man who collapses in a Portland, Oregon, coffee shop, two wallets are found: one belonging to David McCoy, the other to Eric McCoy.

    Devastated by their comatose husband’s betrayal, Kendra and Lesley reluctantly join forces in an attempt to piece together a true picture of the man they both fell in love with. Instead, they uncover a vast web of deceit as they learn their husband lived a third life neither of them suspected.

My thoughts:
     Living near Portland I am always excited to see it mentioned in a book. That was probably the only thing that got me super excited when reading this book. I have been powering through my adult review stack and am about to jump back into YA. This book affirmed why I love YA more than adult books.

    It started off at a pace I didn't enjoy. It took me too long to get into the book and I never really felt "in love" with the story. I had such an odd feeling for this book, it is hard for me to vocalize exactly what the problem was. It was a mix of a bunch of things.

   I never felt a connection to the characters or the story. I was not left wanting more at the end of a single chapter. If this had not been a review book I probably would not have finished it.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wednesday Wishlist

For all my new followers, Wednesday Wishlist is a post where I spotlight a book that is already out and sometimes has been for years. It is a book that I do not have but I would love to read.

Author: Liane Shaw                
Publisher: Second Story Press
Release: 9/1/2009                  

    Seventeen-year-old Maddy has always felt a hole in her life, but she has finally found a way to fill it with her quest to mold her body into her ideal, thinnest shape. When she comes across the world of "pro-ana" websites, where young people encourage each other in their mission to lose ever more weight, she realizes she is no longer alone. Finally, she has found a place where she is understood. Maddy quickly becomes addicted to the support and camaraderie she finds on Now in a rehab facility where they are trying to "fix" a problem she doesn't think she has, Maddy's diary entries trace how she arrived at this point. Angry that she is barred from accessing her online friends, only the tragic consequences that come to one of her comrades in arms is enough to shock her into admitting that she does need help.

Why I want to read it:
Eating disorders are another topic that fascinates me. Though I have never suffered from one myself I have had someone close to me battle one. The psychology behind it is just baffling. Fiction books about it really get my brain working overtime.