Friday, September 16, 2011

Rescue by Anita Shreve

** spoiler alert **
This was a book by an author I have heard a lot of wonderful things about however this particular book had mixed reviews.  That being said, I was a little mixed myself.  I enjoyed the EMT portions of the main character's thought processes in rescue situations. I don't think I could ever do that sort of job.  At the same time, I didn't view Webster as a strong character, or even as someone I would like in real life.   He allowed this woman, Sheila, to pretty much do whatever she wanted to and turned a blind eye from the get-go.  Part of it, I'm sure is that I've never experienced a pull so strong to someone that I did not know that would cause me to basically stalk them and then have sex with them on the second time we met...unprotected.   Granted I don't need to actually go through everything in a book to relate or understand, but maybe because it's a situation I would NEVER want to be in, it was a little bit of a turn off.  I don't believe in promiscuous sex, etc. 
Fast forward to after they were married, I understand, definitely, that there are the things we do for love, but to me, I feel like there was more he could have done in the process of helping Sheila with her problem and he just kind of took it all in stride.  Everything was so calculated and less emotional. Perhaps dealing with those awful rescue situations made him deal with EVERY situation as a "process" but by doing so, you get a feeling of disconnect with the character, making him harder to relate to.  It's like he was just saying how much he loved her, not necessarily feeling it.
Sheila was a typical alcoholic, in every sense of the word, and in her case, could not be helped until she helped herself. If I were Webster, after sending her away, I would have followed up with her sooner than when Rowan was 18. I mean, it was clear that she was a fantastic mother when she was sober.  Then again, I don't know what I would do in a situation like this.
I think the writing was great, so that wasn't a problem. I just couldn't relate to the characters as much as I would have liked to, which makes me sad.

Rating: 4

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Black Stiletto by Raymond Benson


I received this from the author, autographed and hardcover (thank you!!!).   I loved the cover of it...it's gorgeous.

Rating: 4

I actually really like the book and the premise behind it. The idea that this old lady, riddled with Alzheimer's could be someone as notorious as the Black Stiletto...WOW! I love the way this book was written and typically I don't like the switching back and forth between past and present but in this case, it still flowed well.  I love the fact that there is a woman bad-a$$ character...because there aren't many books with "comic book" females that are awesome--fighting crimes and mob bosses.  WOO HOO!

The ONLY thing I couldn't get past, that in my opinion, is a little far fetched is the fact that when I write a journal entry, I don't quote people...so I have a hard time believing that a journal would be written this way as to incorporate quotations from a couple years prior. My memory is not that good but I'm sure other people DO write journals like this, I just don't see a lot of them.

I also hated that the author doesn't get into what ever came of the son's father. Who was he? I hope that there is a second part of this with more action as well as a little more backstory. I also didn't like the way the main character lost his job--I feel like it was rushed through and didn't become a part of the story/explanation, as I feel the author had intended it to be!
Overall, fantastic start--needs at least a couple other books to wrap up a few things.  Good job!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

One Day by David Nicholls

I think that this book was a depressing love story that had me crying and hating a lot about it for a little while last night.  I hate books that make me feel so much...but I can completely relate to the relationship between the two main characters.  I think that's why I was so emotional.  *I'm such a girl.* 
How horrible/hard is it to watch the person you love more than anything go in an opposite direction?  So many times they missed each other but they never gave up on each other.  It was heart wrenching seeing them needing each other so much and not being able to get it together.  It's such a relateable story. 

I HATED the ending.  Without spoilers--just saying.  I cried and cried in sadness and happiness.

Rating: 4

The Bourne Identity




I have been meaning to read this book for a while because my husband loves the movies so much. When I found out it was a bestseller from the year I was born, I went for it. I have to say, overall I loved it and there were some parts I didn't want to put the book down, and other parts were really confusing and hard to follow.
I did NOT however, like the way the romance was written between Marie and Jason. It didn't seem real to me...because typically, people don't speak or act that way. I remind myself that this was written a long time ago, but sometimes it had me shaking my head and saying "yeah right!"

I have not seen the movie yet but I intend to, just to maybe put some faces with the names and characters in the book--adding another dimension.

Overall, very nice. I will be reading the second and third installment eventually.
 
Rating: 4
 

Game of Thrones-G.R.R. Martin

Finally, after a battle of inner ear infection--I was able to finish this book. WOW. It's hard not to get entertwined in the characters to the point where you experience such love or hate for them. It was a bit on the long side and it's not a novel you can read quickly because you miss so much if you try to skim--but it's worth it because the story is amazing. I can't wait to get to the next novel, but I think I'm going to read something light and fluffy before getting into that! I love the character building and writing in this, and normally I wouldn't waste time on a novel like this, but once again, I picked up something out of the ordinary and it was completely worth it. 
My friend Julie over at Book Hooked Blog raised questions regarding morals and such in this book.  I have to say, it got me thinking about so many different things.  The quest for power, not knowing who to trust, the cavalier way that some of the characters dealt with life and death...the way that sex was discussed and how powerful it was...and how women were treated like objects rather than humans.  I don't think I could have lived in a time like that, knowing what I know now.

The only disclaimer I have is that this book is not for the faint of heart.  It is bloody, gory and things that you would never expect to happen...HAPPENS. 

Rating: 5

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Loose Gravel by David Holmes

** spoiler alert ** I am sure you can get a synopsis from Amazon, so I will spare you...but here's the thing. I wasn't incredibly impressed with this book. I am not a prude by any means, but some of the language and situations in this book were cringe-worthy. I think the best way to do this is to start listing the things that stood out to me as being unrealistic or bothersome.

1. The detective had NO resolve for his physical appearance. There is no way that a person like that would be allowed to work as a detective. At some point, you would think that someone would put him on leave or something until he got that straightened out...or perhaps even recommended counseling or therapy to get through all the baggage he was carrying around. I get that his past was awful and horrible, but it seemed like his problems stemmed from more than that and someone from the team (even though he was disgusting and hard to get along with) would have stepped up and made him get help.
2. I HATED "Yo Yo" Brown. A cop that is also a prostitute? Really? And she wasn't fired or let go...last time I checked prostitution was illegal.  And her mouth and the fact that she jumped into the shower the FIRST DAY she met Harold to clean him was a little unrealistic.  I understand that she had the mind of a prostitute and it didn't bother her, but this was her career on the line.  Her language was HEINOUS too. 
3. The thought that Harold based all his theories and was driven by a woman's shaved vagina had me rolling my eyes. Seriously...you think she's innocent because she shaves her private parts? Who are these people??
4. The sex between mother and daughter made me shutter...seriously...that's gross...and I know some people are sick like that...so it's not far fetched, and I am SO glad that he didn't go into too many details on this part, but it was still sickening.
5. The constant switching of the name Amy/Amanda in the same paragraph...choose one and stick with it because it's confusing.
6. I think there were two many twists and turns to make sense. I am certain that Mr. Holmes has the potential to be a great writer...but this book was not one of my favorites, by far. I just couldn't get into the characters enough to care what happened to them.

I HATE writing bad reviews but this book had my head spinning because I saw so much more than this when I read the synopsis. I am so sorry. I was not impressed.

Rating: 2 (and I'm being generous)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Long Time

I know it has been a long time since posting a book review.  Unfortunately, I haven't been feeling well, so I've been unable to read.   You can imagine how much it has killed me!!!  I am starting to get back into the swing of things, so hopefully, I will be able to do another review soon. 

Love you guys!

Kat

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Shelter (Blood Haze, 1)



What I thought:
I received this book from the Member Giveaways at Library Thing. 
This book was quick and easy to read however, being the pessimist that I am, do not believe that someone can be "so in love" with someone they just met to the point where they are all clingy and crazy about it--almost to the point of being obssessive. And to have 2 guys fall in love with Alice at the same time was reaching...then again, we are talking about a book about vampires.
I thought that the main character was naive a bit but Kai was ANNOYING. I have never met a guy like that, even though I know he had been through a lot. I have known several women like that though--so kudos to Ms. Shuler for turning the tables.
I would be interested in seeing how things turn out for all of the main characters. I think it was great to have a cast out friend who was a little overweight.
Anyway--the character development was good and the writing wasn't phenomenal, but there was nothing wrong with it at all. I think my biggest problem was the unbelieveable love story.
Sigh--I long for the days when I believed in fairytales!

(and by the way...the people on the cover are  hot!)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Goodreads:
'As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I'm still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me ...' Memories define us. So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep? Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love - all forgotten overnight. And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story. Welcome to Christine's life.

What I thought:

UNBELIEVEABLE.  I loved this book.  I loved the character development, the writing style, the entertainment value, and the twists and turns.  I never knew which way I was coming and going.  I read this in a day and did not get any work done.  None.  I was in a trance because I just had to see what was going to happen next...who was the bad guy...who was behind the madness.  The ending was one that I really didn't see coming until I got closer to the end...and by then I was guessing because I knew something had to go down.
Wonderful debut novel from Mr. Watson

Rating: 5

A Witch is a Witch


Goodreads:
Enduring the teasing and ridicule of her school mates, Sadie struggles through life as a pre-teen on the eve of her 13th birthday. Three years ago, a car crash took her mother, but Sadie never saw her body. She refuses to believe her mother is really gone. Holding fast to that feeling earns her the nickname "Crazy Sadie."

Despite her one wish to be normal, Sadie only finds solace with a small group of unusual characters. These unlikely friends give her a “semi-normal” life outside of school in a bookstore where strange and mystical things seem to happen. In fact, if Sadie entertains her deepest suspicions, her friends are a little mystical.

When her birthday arrives however, Sadie finds herself whisked into a magical world that swirls just under the surface of normal, everyday life. Not only does she learn she’ll soon become a witch, but she also discovers she must battle The Syndicate to save her new world.

Faced with fantastical encounters, unexplainable transformations, and startling fears, Sadie struggles against an unknown evil – all while searching for her real identity.

What I thought:

I feel as though there was a LOT going on on this book and it was sometimes a little bit confusing because no clear answers are ever given. However, it was a cute read. I enjoyed the character development and the story line. The ending was also a nice twist I, for once, did not see coming. SPOILER ALERT: Sadie's mom was a little weird, I must say. It didn't seem like she was that excited to see Sadie after not being with her for 3 years. I don't know...she seemed "Luna Lovegood-yI feel as though there was a LOT going on on this book and it was sometimes a little bit confusing because no clear answers are ever given. However, it was a cute read. I enjoyed the character development and the story line. The ending was also a nice twist I, for once, did not see coming.
It was a quick read and enjoyable

La Gioconda



 Goodreads:
What happens when you mix a Parisian street orphan, a hot-tempered Spanish forger, a beautiful American pickpocket, an unloved wife, and one priceless painting?
The charming Eduardo de Valfierno makes a very respectable living in Argentina fleecing the nouveau rich—they pay him to steal valuable pieces of art, and Valfierno sells them flawless forgeries instead. But when Eduardo meets the beautiful Mrs. Hart on his latest con, he takes a risk that forces him back to the city he loved and left behind—Paris. There he assembles his team of con artists for their final and most ambitious theft, one that will enable them to leave the game forever: The Mona Lisa.

But when a member of the team turns up missing, and Mr. Hart shows up in Paris, Valfierno and his crew must stay one step ahead of a relentless police inspector, endure a devastating flood, and conquer their own doubts to keep the priceless painting in play—and survive.

Based on the actual theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in 1911, and published on the 100th anniversary of the crime, Stealing Mona Lisa is a sophisticated, engaging caper, complete with a richly imagined group of con artists and a historical mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end.

What I thought:

I won this on Goodreads First Reads.
This book was really good. I loved the mix of fiction and non-fiction and the development of the characters. I found myself reading the book in their "language" and imaginging the long pretty dresses and the prim and properness of it all.
The writing was great and the descriptions of the landscapes were phenomenal.  I enjoyed it all.

Rating: 4

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Still Alice...



I don't really know what to say about this book.  You can see the plot summary on Goodreads so I won't get into it here.  I was in awe.  When the NBC started the monthly discussion of it, I wanted to read it but I was a little hesitant because something like this usually tends to bring the ugly cry--and I HATE crying.  I'm emotional enough as it is.  There aren't many words.  What a provoking novel.  I cannot imagine myself going through early on-set Alzheimer's disease and it scares the tar out of me!  To be successful and have everything you need to not even  having a clue who your children are.  It's an awful thing to say, but I think death would be easier than looking into my three year old's eyes and not knowing who she is or how she got there. 
I remember from the discussion how some people hated the husband in this.  I have to say, I can see where he's coming from.  Sometimes it's easier to walk away than to face the reality of the situation.  It's not like their marriage was strong--it did seem like they were distant in life, so it was easy for him to want to run like hell.  I wouldn't blame my husband for doing the same thing.  I would hate someone to have to take care of me at such an early age.  I would feel like he deserved better than that--especially since I may not remember him in the end.  How awful to go through that. 
:(
The book was extremely well written.  I loved the flow and the way the time line was laid out.  She made Alice come alive in my heart and in my mind. 


Rating: 5

Buried Secrets

Received this through Goodreads First Reads.
Absolute awesome heart-thumping suspenseful novel.  I honestly couldn't put it down, even though some aspects were extremely predictible.  I enjoyed the faster pace of it as well as the main character, Nick.  For some reason, even though he was a bit shady, I liked him...he was a likable character and you could tell that he just wanted to do what was right by the girl.  Who can fault him for that!
I wish I would have known this was the second in the series.  I'd like to read the first one, for sure.  It was definitely "up my alley" in terms of genre and speed. 
Rating: 5

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The First Victim


I received this free through NetGalley!
From Goodreads:

She was like all the other victims. Naked, flawed, helpless...
Fifteen years ago, Emily Wright barely escaped from a serial killer dubbed the Baby Doll Strangler. She wants nothing to do with the small town where she was abducted, but when her father is hospitalized she reluctantly returns home to care for her teenage sister.
When her sister's friend is killed and left in front of Emily's house, Emily begins to relive the nightmare she endured long ago. Soon she realizes that her sister, too, is in danger from the killer—and the only person who can help is the man Emily left behind: Deputy Bailey O'Neil. Together, Emily and Bailey must discover the killer's identity before he claims his next victim...

What I thought:

Wow...this book made me double check the locks on my three year old's bedroom window.  Seriously.  It freaked me out.  It was well written with a hellacious amount of suspense and thrill.  I have seen on several other reviews that they had a problem with Emily being described as strong but her actions proved otherwise and I have to disagree.  The fact that she was able to reason through the ordeal and come out on the other side says a lot about her.  Usually, in those types of situations, it's so easy to forget what you're supposed to do.  She never lost sight of that.  She always had in her head the logistics of it all.  Kuddos to her for not wanting to be another victim. 

Also, what a tangled web we weave!  I have to say, without adding too many spoilers that if I knew the person responsible had anything to do with my romantic interest--I wouldn't want to have anything to do with him...given the fact that the apple never falls too far from the tree, in some cases. 

Great book!

Rating: 5

Gravity, by Abigail Boyd




From Amazon:
One summer night in the town of Hell, Ariel Donovan's best friend goes missing. Everyone else believes Jenna ran away, but Ariel thinks something more sinister may have happened. She dreams of Jenna running to the abandoned orphanage in town, and then the building catching on fire. What does the orphanage have to do with Jenna's disappearance?

To complicate matters, a handsome new boy named Henry Rhodes has arrived in town, plaguing her with unwarranted attention. Even though she tries to stay away, she's drawn to him despite her best efforts, and can't help giving in to her attraction to him. Though he doesn't believe in the supernatural events that Ariel begins to witness, she enlists his help to figure out what is going on.

But when she discovers the truth, it's much worse than she ever feared.

What I thought:

I received this book free from the author through Member Giveaways on Librarything!
First of all, this book gave me the heebie-jeebies...and I'm not sure why because I don't usually spook that easily when it comes to ghosts.  I think it was the whole Orphanage part.  Those places freak me out.  Anyway, I digress.  This book was a great YA suspense novel.  I fell in love with the main character, Ariel, who had to go through losing her best friend--and that had to be hard.  I can, however, relate to her, a lot actually.  I was always the odd man out and didn't have many friends, so if I had to go through high school with losing my best friend, being blamed for it (which I'm not sure why Ariel was blamed for it--that wasn't explained) and then starting to see things--and you can't talk to anyone about it...shew! That would make for a tough ride!

 I do feel as though the ending was WAY too much of a cliffhanger!!!  I was like "this is getting good!" and then BAM-SHA-BAM! It's over.  I do hope that the second novel ties in the significance of the Orphanage as well as the principal because that really wasn't covered at the end and I wish that it was because as is, it makes sense, but it isn't in a pretty little package.   I felt it was well written though, and I have faith that all will be made right again with the second in the series.

Rating: 4

The Thread was indeed a little Twisted

From Goodreads:
When beautiful but aloof Claire Harkness is found dead in her dorm room one spring morning, prestigious Armitage Academy is shaken to its core. Everyone connected to school, and to Claire, finds their lives upended, from the local police detective who has a personal history with the academy, to the various faculty and staff whose lives are immersed in the daily rituals associated with it.

Everyone wants to know how Claire died, at whose hands, and more importantly, where the baby that she recently gave birth to is a baby that almost no one, except her small innermost circle, knew she was carrying.

At the center of the investigation is Madeline Christopher, an intern in the English department who is forced to examine the nature of the relationship between the school s students and the adults meant to guide them. As the case unravels, the dark intricacies of adolescent privilege at a powerful institution are exposed, and both teachers and students emerge as suspects as the novel rushes to its thrilling conclusion.
With The Twisted Thread, Charlotte Bacon has crafted a gripping and suspenseful story in the tradition of Donna Tartt s The Secret History, one that pulls back the curtain on the lives of the young and privileged.

What I thought:

First of all, I liked the book and I loved the main character.  I think the main problem I had with this book was the misplaced character development.  There were such long spaces between the action parts while the author was trying to introduce the characters, I felt the sometimes the focus was on the wrong details and it left me hanging and wanting to skim, and I don't typically like doing that.  I feel as though some of the details about how the detective likes his coffee probably could have been left out.  Plus, with all of the descriptions in the middle, I was forgetting some of the things that were happening that tied it all together at the end and made it make sense. 
I will say that it's a shame that a lot of private schools have the same image as Ambridge and that students get ridiculed for being a bit different.  It's a sad and hard truth.  I am glad that this book brought that to attention.  Like I said, the plot was good and I fell in love with the main characters but maybe the writing could have been re-sectioned--if that makes sense.

Rating: 3

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Poisoned House will freak your freak!


I received this free through NetGalley.

This was a simple and heart-thumping novel. I honestly couldn't put the book down from beginning to end and read it in one sitting. (I was literally walking up and down the hall with the Kindle.  You can imagine that Audrey wasn't thrilled and kept trying to get my attention!)


I fell in love with Abi and completely feel sorry for the way she's being mistreated. I have to say, I kind of saw the ending coming but that didn't make it any less powerful...I've just learned to anticipate some of the twists and turns. I love the way it worked out for her at the end and I'm so glad that she was able to get the last word. The appearance of her mother completely freaked me out to the point where I had to leave a little night light on. Yes, I'm a lightweight when it comes to thrillers but angry ghosts make me crazy! And I also love the way the author incorporated something found in history with a little paranormal!  There were not a bunch of details or character development, but honestly, it worked very well that way because you knew what you had to know about them...you always knew enough.

Good writing...not a whole lot of awkward points or negatives that really stood out or detracted from the story.  I love books like this.


Rating: 4 (but only because I figured out the ending too soon)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Not really Proof of the Afterlife

First let me start out by saying, I do agree with the hypocrisy of most Christians and their "Do as I say, not as I do" philosophy.  I feel like most people get too lost in their own faults and lives to realize what a negative affect their words and actions can have on the people around them (as well as their own hereafter).  I feel like this was important for the author to get across and he did so very well.  However, that's about all I was able to take in from this novel. 
Throughout the book the author was extremely repetitive about what was in the upcoming chapters.  He kept starting to talk about something and then reference a later chapter, so the whole story was given in pieces and parts that went back and forth in time with no fluidity or transition.  There were a few gramatical errors and horrid comma use but otherwise the problem wasn't the sentence structure.  The book was not what I expected.  I was looking for a more Diary of Anne Frank feel where the author detailed his near death experience in his journal and how it made him feel.  What I got was a little more preachy and a tad more far fetched in some assumptions.  It was filled with a few tiny journal passages and then the rest was simply speculation about events that tied into some of the author's dreams.  It was very hard to keep up with what was going on and when.  I do, wholeheartedly, believe that God talks to us in so many ways and that everything in this book could have happened, but I feel like in this book, it was a little too much.  The journal entries weren't journal entries in a sense that they didn't feel "real."  What I mean is that when someone writes in a journal, there are no limitations--most of the time people write what they are feeling and it's not proper and well written all the time.  These entries seemed strained...and there was way too much abiguity.  So much so that the author had to take a ton of time explaining what he went through...because the journal didn't have any details about the experiences.  To me, it just left so much room for improvement.

Rating: 2

The Guardian



From Goodreads:
Plunge into the world of seen and unseen forces in The Guardian. Anna Riley has just come into possession of a two-thousand-year old scroll that God gave to John the Disciple. Her mission—to guard the scroll and unlock its secret. Jason Lang, her protector, has his work cut out for him as they begin their journey around the world, facing corruption and dodging bullets—all the while trying to keep his attraction to Anna at bay. Will he succeed in defending the woman he’s vowed to protect? Will Anna, forced to trust other people to stay alive, fulfill the challenge that she’s accepted?

What I thought:
I received this ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.  The first thing I was reminded of when I sat down to read this was that the book was remniscent of The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons with a little more reflection on faith and God.  I loved how it incorporated all of the historical and biblical factors with a little bit of suspense and chase! I was able to learn something new about the bible and get completely engrossed in the story.  It was fast paced and very easy to read.  I thought it was beautifully written.  The balance between description and action was key.  I didn't feel like I wanted to skip ahead because of a lot of boring details.  I read every word and couldn't put it down because I had to see what was going to happen next.

Overall, it was a great story that had me smiling (with goosebumps) at the end.  I was able to fall in love with Anna and Jason as well as the security team. (Without major spoilers, I was a little sad at some of the events-because I was so invested in the characters, I didn't want to see anything bad happen to them)  The character development was top notch as well as the story.  In reading it, I began questioning my own faith.  What would I have done in Anna's situation?  Would I have been too afraid to trust? 
I also liked how the author didn't really talk about what happened to the "Pope"...he left it to interpretation.  Usually, that sort of thing would annoy me, but in this case, I think it was beautifully done and everyone kind of figures out what happens.  This would definitely be a novel I would recommend to my friends and family.

Rating: 5

Thursday, June 16, 2011

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It's a time for everyone to share what books they acquired over the course of the week. Ok, so I'm not sure if I am doing this right, but I've received several ARCs that I must now review--and I have had ZERO time to read. 
 
 I will just make a list of the books I received/won this week (and last week) and where I got them from...shew!  I got my work cut out for me:
  • Does Change have to be so H.A.R.D.? By Julie Donley, RN- received from author
  • Proof of the Afterlife by BR. Gary Joseph-received from author
  • The Amazing Adventures of Thomas and Erin w/Grandad (not shown) by John Vassey- childrens book received from author (this one I did read and review already).
  • The Poisoned House (ebook)- received from publisher through NetGalley
  • The Guardian (ebook)- received from publisher through NetGalley
  • Picking Up the Ghost (ebook) by Tone Milazzo- received from publisher through NetGalley (already read and reviewed)
  • Buried Secrets by Joseph Finder- received through First Reads from Goodreads
  • Stealing Mona Lisa by Carson Morton- received through First Reads from Goodreads
  • The First Victim (ebook) by J.B. Lynn- received through NetGalley
  • The Strange Life of Walenty Karnowski by Gerald Schmidt- received from author
I honestly don't know where to begin on all of these.  I think my next one is going to be the Proof of the Afterlife, since it's the one I got next in line. 

 
Wish me luck!!!

Shadowlight-Lynn Viehl

 
 
From Goodreads:
 
With just one touch, Jessa Bellamy can see anyone’s darkest secrets, thanks to whoever tampered with her genes. What she doesn’t know is that a biotech company has discovered her talent and intends to kill her and harvest her priceless DNA.Gaven Matthias is forced to abduct Jessa himself so he can protect her, but Jessa has a hard time believing the one man whose secrets she can’t read. As a monstrous assassin closes in and forces them to run, Jessa will have to find another way to discover if Matthias is her greatest ally—or her deadliest enemy
 
What I thought:
 
This book was o-k. It was a little hard to follow with all the jumping to different characters in the beginning but once I had gotten through the first part, the second part was a bit easier to follow. And lets face it...there was a "love" scene that made me a little hot and bothered.  I honestly wouldn't have picked it up if it wasn't for a book challenge I was doing and I had limited options.  It was not horrible, but it wasn't a stand out novel either.  Maybe it just wasn't my cup of tea.
 
Rating: 3
 

Picking Up The Ghost

I received this ARC in e-reader format through Net Galley.
Let me start off by saying that this book had the potential to be something different and good...but in saying that, I believe that it fell short. 
As far as the actual writing was concerned, there were very awkward sentence structures and a few grammatical errors that really took away from the root of the story.  I am hoping the final edit will get some of those taken care of but it seriously made it hard to enjoy any of it because it was hard to read.
You can read a summary of this on Goodreads, so I won't waste time on that.  I will say that the meat and potatoes of the story was good.  Cinque, a young man living in a poor town, set out to find out why such strange things were happening to him.  Outside of that, it was super confusing.  There is one part where he becomes faceless and nameless and I believe it was WAY more complicated than it needed to be.  I also think that the story dragged in parts and I found myself wanting to skip forward to see the action.  It is my opinion that there were too many characters with weird names that weren't introduced properly, lots of lose ends that weren't tied up and a few inconsistencies, including dialogue/speech.  Maybe there weren't and I just missed something, but the point in all this was that the book was extremely hard to follow from beginning to end.  The characters were not ones that you fall in love with and they seemed to develop the "answers" out of thin air.
I hate giving bad reviews and I'm an open minded reader, for sure, but I did not enjoy this book at all, and it's a shame.  I am interested to see what the actual released book will be like.  The premise and set up to such a thing would have been great but based on the book that was received, I can only give 2 stars.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dead Dead Dead Dead Dead



From Goodreads:

Sookie Stackhouse is just a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. Until the vampire of her dreams walks into her life--and one of her coworkers checks out...Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn't such a bright idea. A fun, fast, funny, and wonderfully intriguing blend of vampire and mystery that's hard to put down, and should not be missed.

What I thought:

First of all, I thought the whole premise behind this book was hilarious.  The writing, the characters, the accent, the clothes--made me laugh hysterically...and I'm not sure why.  I don't know if it was meant to evoke that type of reaction, but it did.  I thought Sookie was insane and her vampire BILL sounded a little unorthodox as well.  I love the fact that his name is Bill...hahaha. 
OK
So I am not 100% sure why this series is as popular as it is, but at the same time, it's lighthearted and a quick read.  I am not saying it wasn't enjoyable.  Maybe a little too far fetched in a genre where having a relationship with a vampire is already a bit far fetched in the first place.  I can't imagine reading ALL of the Sookie Stackhouse series--because I mean, how much of this stuff can one person go through...but I am curious to read a few more in the series to see where it's going. 

I really don't have much else to say about it.  It made me laugh...which isn't a bad thing, I suppose.

Rating: 3

If I Stay by Gayle Forman


From Goodreads:

In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeenyear- old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...A sophisticated, layered, and heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make?and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

What I thought:

I loved this book.  I loved the different perspective on dying and the choices we have to make.  I fell in love with the story, the characters, everything.  I loved the relationship between Mia and her boyfriend as well as her best friend.  The writing was great.  I didn't feel like there was too much time devoted on descriptions or on non-important things or occasions.  I felt that the transition between present and past wasn't confusing.  I didn't like the fact that I cried like a baby...maybe I should deduct a star for making me so emotional.  Not many books can make you feel so strongly, but this one does. 

Rating: 5

The Amazing Adventures of Thomas and Erin

I received this book free from John Vassey. 
As a children's story, this book doesn't offer anything new and exciting to the genre.  I feel as though the character illustrations are a little scary, unfortunately, and I don't think that they would sit well with little children, my daughter included.  They are so non-colorful against a very colorful background, which makes them stand out seperately, giving it an odd effect. 

What bothers me is the "AMAZING" part.  The adventures, although cute and fun, were not amazing.  If they had encountered something odd along the way, it would have added more to the story.  Perhaps if they had found something exciting in the road, like a turtle or a stray puppy...or a man selling a ton of balloons, it would have been more interesting.  It could have gone so many other wonderful places rather than "the market was closed so we walked down the street and played with our friends."  It was cute, don't get me wrong, but it was far from amazing.

I do love the font and the background illustrations used in the novel. The story just seemed a little rushed, in my opinion.

Rating: 2

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hex Hall Part Deux (Some Spoilers)


From Goodreads:

Sophie Mercer thought she was a witch.

That was the whole reason she was sent to Hex Hall, a reform school for delinquent Prodigium (aka witches, shapeshifters, and fairies). But that was before she discovered the family secret, and that her hot crush, Archer Cross, is an agent for The Eye, a group bent on wiping Prodigium off the face of the earth.

Turns out, Sophie’s a demon, one of only two in the world—the other being her father. What’s worse, she has powers that threaten the lives of everyone she loves. Which is precisely why Sophie decides she must go to London for the Removal, a dangerous procedure that will destroy her powers.

But once Sophie arrives she makes a shocking discovery. Her new friends? They’re demons too. Meaning someone is raising them in secret with creepy plans to use their powers, and probably not for good. Meanwhile, The Eye is set on hunting Sophie down, and they’re using Archer to do it. But it’s not like she has feelings for him anymore. Does she?


My thoughts:


I enjoyed this book more than Hex Hall and it surprised me.  Hex Hall seemed to be too much of a Harry Potter knockoff and I didn't enjoy it because the writing was no where NEAR J.K. Rowling and I kept comparing a little bit of the plotline to that of HP.  I know there were several differences but it distracted me from the actual story...however, in Demonglass, Sophie's character grows up a much more than what I thought should would have.  I felt like it was a more unique storyline and I didn't compare it with any other title I've read.  It took on a world of its own. 


Some things I didn't like though:
The fact that she's a "valley girl" type character all "whatever" and stuff.  The language was perfect for her character, so I don't feel like it's an author error.  In fact, I think the author did a great job in character building for Sophie.  It was believeable.  That being said, it was the actual character that I had a problem with because people who are THAT sarcastic need to be hit with a hammer.  Ok...so maybe it wasn't that bad.  And maybe I'm a little snarky too.  But the language did make her harder to fall in love with at first.  (and yes, I did end up loving her)  I guess it just gets hard to remember sometimes that she is very young and that's how the "youngens" talk and take it at face value.


SPOILER SECTION:
I have absolutely no idea how Sophie could still have feelings for Archer after everything that has been said and done.  Maybe we all have the "bad boy" in our lives that we've loved for no particular reason but that doesn't make it right.  It's upsetting and aggrivating!  Archer offers nothing to Sophie that can be useful except for kissing and he's so darn secretive and untrustworthy.  PLUS, it's a bad idea because of who she is and who he is.  Why is it that children never listen to their parents??  (bwahahaha)
Cal, on the other hand, is an amazing guy and would be perfect for Sophie.  OBVIOUSLY.  Anyway, the love triangle is typical.  Are you Team Cal or Team Archer?  Maybe we should buy shirts.  I'm Team Cal. 


I did love the storyline and luckily I've felt that way about a lot of the books I've read lately.  Of course I will be picking up the third in the series because I do like the characters (some more than others) and want to see what's going to happen to them.


Overall: I liked it better than the first part and I hope it gets better and better as it goes.


Rating: 4

Divergent by Veronica Roth



From Goodreads:
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance


What I thought:

First of all, yes, this book is similar to Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins in a few different ways, but honestly, I didn't feel like it was a repeat at all.  I was engaged in the novel from cover to cover and it only took me a little while to read.  The ending drove me CRAZY, since it was sort of a cliffhanger, but overall I enjoyed the character development of Tris.  She was strong and I enjoy reading books where the central role is a strong female character.  I also loved that she had flaws...
I could have done without the romance.  Why do all novels have to have romantic ties in them?  It's a little overdone, but um...I would enjoy Four's company. :) And the romance part of Divergent wasn't overdone to the point that it annoyed me.  I cannot wait until the second part of the series comes out.  I have to see what happens.  Why do authors do this to us???

Rating: 5

Friday, June 3, 2011

The End of the World--ponder it...


I received this book from the author, Andrew Biss, through Book Blogs Giveaway.   (Thanks, Andrew!). 
From Amazon.com:

Accustomed to a life of cosseted seclusion at home with his parents, Valentine is suddenly faced with making his own way in the world. His new life is quickly upended, however, when he's mugged at gunpoint. Finding shelter at a mysterious inn run by the dour Mrs. Anna, he soon encounters a Bosnian woman with a hole where her stomach used to be, an American entrepreneur with a scheme to implant televisions into people's foreheads, and a Catholic priest who attempts to lure him down inside a kitchen sink. Then things start getting strange...

In this story based loosely around the state of Bardo from The Tibetan Book of the Dead - an intermediate state where the dead arrive prior to rebirth - dying is the easy part. Getting out of Bardo and returning to the land of the living is a far more perilous proposition, and unless you know what you're doing...you might never leave.


My thoughts:

I enjoyed the book for many different reasons.  It's so easy to question what happens after you die and I find it intriguing what others' opinions are on this topic.  Biss' was a very different opinion and I liked its originality.  I have to say, overall I think the book was a little too short.  I would have preferred a little more detail about the time with his parents and why they acted the way they did towards him.  At first, I didn't know if he was living in some sort of dystopian society or if his parents were just flat out weird.  All we got were snippets of some of the "lessons" he was taught that didn't even remotely prepare him for being on his own in the outside world.   I feel like this part of the novel wasn't very well developed.  I did, however, like his time at the inn.  I feel like in those pages Valentine was forced to wake up and grow up, and he developed a lot during his short time there.  I love the fact that it brought questions into my head regarding the afterlife and what I think I'll make of it, and for that, many kudos, Mr. Biss. 
I think that this book was a good quick read about things maybe we don't talk about as much as we should and it gave me a lot to think about.  I am also very thankful that my parents didn't kick me out on my booty before I was ready to see the world!!  Great overall plot line and character. 

Rating: 4

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Jen Lancaster and me go way back!

I received this book from one of my best friends who decided it would be nice to get me an AUTOGRAPHED copy just because she loves me! 


I have to say that this book was exactly what I thought it would be and exactly what I needed it to be after reading some seriously heavy books.  Jen Lancaster broke away from her typical memoir style writing to publish a "fiction" novel.  Lets face it, the main character, Mia, was very much like Jen Lancaster and she went through things only Jen could go through.  It made for some pretty hilarious reading and I finished it in about a day.  It was a simple, quick, easy to follow book about this couple who decide to buy a house after having an AWFUL experience with their "landlord"--a no talent, Paris Hilton-esque character who has no idea what a landlord is (which is funny in itself).  Anyway- finding their perfect house wasn't easy, so Mia decides she HAS to live in a Jack Ryan house that the movie Sixteen Candles was filmed in, just because of that fact.  It was remniscent of the movie The Money Pit with how many horrible things were wrong with this house and how much money they had to go through to get it livable.  There were a TON of references to Sixteen Candles and HGTV and if you hadn't seen that movie, or watched much HGTV, you may get a little lost on some of the references.  However, that being said, I loved it and would recommend to anyone who is a Jen Lancaster fan from way back!


Rating: 5

The So-So Bones


This novel is about a young girl (Susie) whose ghost stays with her family after she suffers a horrible rape and death.  It follows the family and how they deal with the loss of their daughter/sister as well as touches on the life of the murderer. 
I have to say I was a little disappointed in the writing on this because the plot was AMAZING.  I was a little distracted by some of the descriptions that were used...and I kept asking myself why the author chose to describe everyone's eyes...over and over again.  And what do "ferocious olives" look like exactly?  I've been to Publix and seen their olive bar...and I am still confused because none of them looked particularly angry.  Anyway...the story was a good one and I was dealing with the so-so writing...up until the end.  I did NOT like it at all.  The fact that she (SPOILER ALERT) uses this girls body to have sex with her boyfriend, when up to that point she hadn't even really mentioned having sex with him (only kissing) did not fit the overall storyline of the book.  Everything up until that point was fairly believable and I felt like this particular scene was over done.  I also didn't understand how sometimes Susie had the power to be seen or touch stuff and then sometimes she didn't.  The rules weren't "explained" very well about this sort of thing, and I think it would have been useful information. 
This was not a horrible book, by far.  It had a great foundation...it was just a little poorly executed.

Rating: 3

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Not So Churched


I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review and was very excited for the opportunity, however, the feeling was short lived.  I don't know what it is about the last few books I've received but I have not enjoyed them as much as I wanted to.
The purpose of this book is basically to tell the story of a boy who grew up in a fundamentalist baptist environment where he was taught to be afraid of God and to be afraid of his pastor.  His parents were a little odd and told him things like "Jesus didn't have long hair and only deviants have long hair" and that he had to get baptized to save his soul.  I thought that it would be a book where the author would grow up and realize what his own love for God meant and find his own religion, etc.  I was so wrong.
This book was written in a very negative light towards religion in this man's childhood as well as into his adult years.  It was almost anti-religion.  I wanted this book to get another perspective on religion and what I got was ranting about the insane things he had to do as a FB and a timeline about how he grew up in a very different household and never asked questions, even as a teenager.  I understand that looking back, the author realized that he wasn't raised in a "normal" setting and he broke away from that kind of religion but he seemed ungrateful for the opportunities that he had, and to me, the stereotypes he used for fundamentalist baptists AND Nashvillians were a bit distracting.  He did not find religion.  He did not find God.  And the more he tried to say he did at the end the more I did not buy it for one minute.   I did not enjoy this book at all, which is rare for me.  I am pretty easy to please.   It was entirely too opinionated and it didn't offer any solution or insight to his world at all.
Rating: 2

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Suspense and Drama

This past week was a good reading week.  I read two books that have been on my TBR list for a long time and I am also in the middle of re-reading the Harry Potter series.  I had read the first three and then decided to go ahead and read the Deathly Hallows because I want to prepare myself for the movie in July.  After I finish it, I'm going to go back and pick up on Book 4.  Also, Clint is watching the movies with me, so I'm getting excited about it again.  So here's what I got this week:

The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly

From Amazon:
  Mickey Haller is a Lincoln Lawyer, a criminal defense attorney who operates out of the backseat of his Lincoln Town Car, traveling between the far-flung courthouses of Los Angeles to defend clients of every kind. Bikers, con artists, drunk drivers, drug dealers - they're all on Mickey Haller's client list. For him, the law is rarely about guilt or innocence, it's about negotiation and manipulation. Sometimes it's even about justice.

A Beverly Hills playboy arrested for attacking a woman he picked up in a bar chooses Haller to defend him, and Mickey has his first high-paying client in years. It is a defense attorney's dream, what they call a franchise case. And as the evidence stacks up, Haller comes to believe this may be the easiest case of his career. Then someone close to him is murdered and Haller discovers that his search for innocence has brought him face-to-face with evil as pure as a flame. To escape without being burned, he must deploy every tactic, feint, and instinct in his arsenal - this time to save his own life.
What I thought:

First of all, I didn't realize there was a movie about this (yes, I'm behind the times I guess) when I saw that it was continually on the best seller list on Amazon.com.  I got it for my Kindle and kept putting off reading it until now.  I was plesantly surprised at how quick and easy it was to read.  The writing was good and the story line was great.  I was glad that the imperfect justice system was brought to light.  I loved that Mickey turned out to be "human."  So many issues were ones that we face every day.  Parents that are work-a-holics.  Having to decipher right from wrong.  Having to defend wrong even though you know it's wrong.  Putting your job on the line for something that's right.  Having our lives threatened.  Everything was something I could connect with and I appreciated the story.  PLUS, Connelly didn't give away all of his secrets through the novel, so we were able to get sucked into the plot twists and turns that led us to the unexpected. 
Awesome read!

Rating: 4


Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

From Goodreads:
What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?
Samantha Kingston has it all: the world's most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.
Instead, it turns out to be her last.
Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.
What I thought:

This was a great novel through the eyes of a typical high schooler.  What I loved about this book was that it touched on subjects that most high schoolers go through that would make parents cringe.  The high schoolers here are getting drunk, doing drugs, being VERY sexually active, being bullies to those "less popular" and less cool, having affairs...everything that "only grown-ups" are supposed to experience.  I have to say, it scares me a little knowing that my daughter is going to have to deal with all of this peer pressure at some point in her life, and I'm sure by the time she's in high school, it could be worse.  I hate that learning is only second place to all the other things that go on in what's supposed to be a learning environment but I am not naive enough to think that these situations aren't happening everyday and everywhere.  This is real life.

Samantha goes through all of these issues and when she faces death, she realizes that it's time to stop and smell the roses and finds that she has missed so much in her life.  She is able to build a relationship with her sister, right a few of her wrongs, and change someone's life.  It was amazing watching her develop into a character I loved.  I loved that she learned what her mistakes were even if it took her a while to figure it all out.  Very well written and I couldn't put the book down. I read it in 4 hours. 

Rating: 5

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Kingkiller Series--one of the best series


So as I was lurking on the NBC forum, trying to get ideas about what to read, I came across a ton of posts regarding Patrick Rothfuss and his Kingkiller Series, starting with The Name of the Wind.  It wasn't a genre I would typically pick up and read...well...I would never pick up and read it...but since every single post I went to talked about how amazing the writing was, I couldn't help but to be curious.  I read the first book quickly because I couldn't put it down, even though it was 700+ pages.  I devoured it.  I wanted more...which brings me to the second book in the series.  I have to say I was not disappointed.   Rothfuss' writing was out of this world.  Everything about the characters, time, location, events...every single minute detail was thought out and developed with absolutely no holes in the story.  I have never read anything as poetic (smirk) and enthralling.  You fall in love with the main character, Kvothe-who is a young man who experienced more things in his life than any young man should...and you hurt when he hurts and you ask yourself "what was he thinking?!" when he does something stupid.  You wrap yourself around the character like he is a real person and that these things really happened. 
The one part that I have to say went on a little too long with no action was about the time he spent learning about the Lethani.  Pardon my french, but I just wanted him to get out there and kick some ass...but Rothfuss knew that's what was expected, so instead of throwing this young man to the wolves, he developed an honest character full of delightful yet scary flaws.  He makes Kvothe grow as a person, teaching him lessons (some of which he'll never learn) along the way.
I cannot wait until the third book comes out because I have to see what happens next.  I have to see what took Kvothe to the extremes he is at now, as an innkeeper and not much more.  Wise Man's Fear is almost 1000 pages long, and yet it wasn't long enough.  My interest is peaked and I hope Rothfuss doesn't wait too long to put out the third in the series.

Rating: 5

Basketball Junkie


I received this book through Goodreads First Reads and was excited to be able to read it.

That feeling, however, was short lived.

The underlying theme and purpose of the book had a ton of potential. Chris Herren goes through his professional basketball career as an absolute junkie, to the detriment of his family and his coaches. The book explains the timelines of events from when he started doping and drinking to when he finally decided to put his family first.

First of all, let me say, I am extremely proud of Chris for finally realizing his problem and doing something about it. I hope, for his sake and his familys' sake that he is still living life sober and telling others what he went through. That being said, the book is forgettable on a couple of levels.

Basically this was a timeline of events and occurances. There was no dialogue, no mention of what he was going through inside of his head during his lowest points--only that he was detoxing and sweating and crying...it was just surface facts of what he went through. There were few quotes from coaches or family, but no conversations. The author speaks about his wife and how she was strong, but doesn't offer much else to the relationship between the two of them. Why did she stay? How did she try to help? I can understand that being a junkie/druggie, you push everyone important to you away. I get that...but there has to be more to this story and more about the addiction and absolutely more about the process of recovery. There needs to be more to capture and motivate. The book doesn't delve into the depths of what he had to go through in rehab or with his family. Being an outsider isn't enough.

I understand the several grammatical errors, since this was an uncorrected version and the sentence structure/paragraph structure left something to be desired. I would honestly love to read the finished product to see how it changes. I know it has the ability to be a great memoir that can teach people about coping with recovery if the author would open up. After all, he obviously wants the story out there for the world to see. Make it real...make it honest. I know there was more to the experience of the whole thing than this.


Rating: 2

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Endlessly by C.V. Hunt


I received this book through a Goodreads First Reads contest giveaway.
Back Cover: When Ashley walks into a shop run by the vampire, Verloren, they both get the surprise of their lives. Ash is about to learn that she's not just another pretty young woman, while Verloren is astonished to find himself falling in love. But how can a vampire lvoe a human? And what if the human isn't as human as she seems? When Ash's true nature reveals itself, the entire power structure of the world's outsiders teeters on the brink of destruction. Verloren and Ash become more and more terrified as they grope their way toward the ultimate truth: that they hold the key to something much larger than their own survival.
MINI SPOILERS:
I have to say that I expected a little more dramatic buildup from reading the back cover and was a little disappointed that it didn't feel as though Ash and Verloren were teetering on the brink of anything. I didn't get the feeling that they were actually scared of what was going to happen. Ash wasn't scared of anything and Verloren seemed a little worried at parts, but the actions of the two of them really didn't speak volumes in that regard. They still did what they wanted and...well...um...the chemistry between the two was undeniable. A couple of questions that I wonder is: why they bothered running if they were going to meet the Quatre anyway and did Jessica meet her end unnecessarily? The thought process was there...and the story line had a TON of potential. I enjoyed the idea of the incarnates and the different types of new "non-humans" and those ideas seemed to be developed well. I also think that even the development of what a vampire was and how different they were from your stereotypical vampire was good. The writing was definitely more enjoyable than that of another popular vampire novel series. =) I would have enjoyed it more if there weren't so many f-bombs, but then again, it fit the characters of the book well enough.
I think the book deserves 3 1/2 stars. I think that it ended too quickly and that more could have been said about life after the Quatre and how things changed. I would be interested in reading the second novel in the series. My curiosity was peaked and I care enough about Ash and Verloren to see what happens.

Rating: 3 1/2

Monday, April 25, 2011

Busy week!!

I read lots of books this week because some of them were short, and quite frankly I just wanted to read and not be bothered several times--since I was having a rough work day!
SO, without further delay!

Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes, by Maureen Johnson



So this book is about a 17-year old girl who goes on an adventure when she receives 13 little blue envelopes from her crazy aunt.  Each envelope contains a task she must do and a place she must visit before she can open the next envelope.
Overall, I think the concept of this novel was great-a little treasure hunt with little envelopes and visiting gorgeous and awesome places. (lots of which I would love to go myself) and at the same time, learning how to love yourself and not miss the little things in life.   However, (and the more I think about this, the more it bugs me) I had a hard time believing that the parents would allow their daughter to go out of the country by herself.  And here's the thing--according to the aunt, she could have no cell phone, laptop, or any other communication back home until after the tasks are complete...REALLY??  So you send a minor across the planet with little money and no way for her parents to know that she's safe??  That would never happen in my lifetime, and especially in times like these.  So because of this, I didn't think it was a believeable story.  It was distracting and really took away from the experience I could have had with the book.  PLUS, I almost questioned if the girl "got it" in the end because it didn't seem as though she stopped whinning or took time to smell the roses, as I'm sure her aunt wanted her too.  I saw snippets of understanding, but not enough to believe that the trip was worth it to her.  It's almost like she just went through the motions to appease her aunt.  I would have been super excited to be able to go on an amazing trip like that by myself and be able to experience life!
Alas, to me, it was a forgettable read.

Rating: 3 (and that's just because I liked the descriptions of the places I want to visit.)

A Midsummer Night's Dream, by William Shakespeare


Sigh! I LOVE Shakespeare and his poetic stories.  I loved this play when I was in school...and I was disappointed that we didn't use it as one of our productions. I remember at first being confused at who loved who but our teacher drew us a diagram and I had to follow it!  I also remember finally seeing it at TPAC here in Nashville.  I loved Puck and his speech at the end.  I will not summarize the plot on this one--but I will say I LOVED it...and that should be enough!

Rating: 5

Cinderella

I have loved Cinderella, the movie, as far back as I can remember. It is my ultimate favorite Disney movie, character...story...everything.  However, I had never read the Grimm story--so I did.  It was just as amazing as I was expecting with a few differences...once again...it's a classic...I will just say I loved it and recommend it to everyone!

Raiting: 5

Wicked Appetite, by Janet Evanovich


From Goodreads:
Seven Stones of Power. No one knows when they were created or by whom, each said to represent one of the Seven Deadly Sins.

For centuries, treasure hunters have been eager to possess the stones, undeterred by their corrupting nature. The list is long -- Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, Napoleon, to name a few. Now the Stones have found their way to Salem, Massachusetts, and so has Gerwulf Grimoire, adding himself to this rogues' gallery of power seekers. He's an uncommonly dangerous man, with a hunger for the forbidden, and a set of abilities that are way beyond ordinary. Abilities that he feels entitle him to possess anything he might desire.

That would include Elizabeth Tucker, the woman he needs to find the Stones. She's freshly transplanted from New York City to Boston's North Shore. With a new job as pastry chef at Dazzle's bakery and an old house inherited from her Aunt Ophelia, her life is pretty much on track …until it's suddenly derailed by a guy named Diesel, a rude monkey, and a ninja cat.

Lizzy can handle the monkey and the cat. She's not sure about Diesel. He's offering up his own set of unusual talents, promising to protect her from Grimoire. The kind of protection that Lizzy suspects might involve guarding her body day and night.

The Seven Deadly Sins are pride, greed, lust, envy wrath, sloth and gluttony. That pretty much covers everything that is wicked. Diesel thinks it also pretty much covers everything that's fun. And Lizzy thinks Diesel and the Seven Deadly Sins cover everything her mother warned her about.


What did I think??  I've always been an Evanovich fan and LOVED her Stephanie Plum series, so when I saw this book at the library, I had to read it, I figured it would be cute and I was right.  This book was hilarious.  The scenes with the monkey made me laugh out loud and made my husband question my sanity (not that he doesn't do that already!).  I can definitely see several books linked to this one and I would read all of them.  I loved the chemistry between Diesel and Liz and you just want them to get it on already!  Diesel sounds like quiet a catch!  Also, Glo is a hilarious character--with her magic spells and brooms.  She reminds me of a crazy aunt that collects things and never seems to get anything right.  Sigh! I am smiling a bit!  Not a ridiculously awesome book, but cute enough and well written enough to deserve 5 stars most definitely! Great quick read!

Rating: 5

Friday, April 22, 2011

Grave Echoes



I received this book as a Goodreads First Reads giveaway--autographed by the author (Thanks, Erin!!!).
A web of mystery, twists and turns, black magic, suspicion, family values...this book has it all.
When Kate's sister, Jev dies in a horrific car accident, (after Kate envisioned the accident in a narcoleptic episode) Kate learns a lot more about her sister than she ever wanted to. Being a witch, Jev kept her secret use of spells and charms from her family. What happens next turns Kate's world upside down. Investigation of the murder, finding out deep and dark secrets about a coven, Jev's friend being hurt, the killer--coming after her...Kate has to learn who to trust in her world, and she finds it's not an easy decision.

I loved this book because it had enough twists and information to keep me interested until the very last page. I was always second guessing who I thought was Jev's murderer and it didn't take long into the book before the action started happening.

I also liked how it brought to attention how easy it is to let your emotions make your decisions for you. When something bad happens, you suspect everyone around you, which is what Kate did. It was nice to see her develop as a character and try to figure stuff out on her own, not that she had a choice. The writing was good.  It was easy to follow and didn't jump around so much that I couldn't stay interested. Overall, very easy to read and kept me wanting to read.


Rating: 5