"Before you, Bella, my life was like a moonless night. Very dark, but there were stars, points of light and reason. ...And then you shot across my sky like a meteor. Suddenly everything was on fire; there was brilliancy, there was beauty. When you were gone, when the meteor had fallen over the horizon, everything went black. Nothing had changed, but my eyes were blinded by the light. I couldn’t see the stars anymore. And there was no more reason, for anything."

~ Edward Cullen

Monday, May 24, 2010

What are you reading (11)?

It's Monday! What are you reading this week? is a weekly event now hosted by One Persons Journey Through a World Of Books. It's helpful way to take a look at what you have read and what you want to read!

It's been two weeks since my last what are you reading post and in those two weeks I read...nothing. The week before last, I was struck with a horrible spring cold mixed with allergies that knocked me out of the running for a few days. I managed to only miss one day of work, but on the days I did go, I literally put in my eight hours and then came home and went to bed. The words on books just swam on the page and made my head hurt.

Then this past week, I had a little mini vacation. I worked Monday and Tuesday and then on Wednesday went to Holmes County where the Amish live with my mom and brother. We had a wonderful time! My brother is in seminary studying to be a Catholic priest and we don't see him nearly enough so it was so nice to spend some time together. Here's a really fun picture of him. He's the one on the motorcycle!

Thursday was Hubby and I's four year wedding anniversary. I can't believe it's been four years!! We had both taken the day off work and spent the day sitting outside, watching movies, and just hanging out with each other. There never seems to be enough time for that so it made for a great anniversary and a wonderful day.

I do have two books started and hope to finish them up this week along with a few others. It's supposed to be beautiful all week so it should mean plenty of time to sit outside, enjoy the sunshine and read some good books. Here's what is on the agenda:
  1. The Help - Kathryn Stockett: I'm a little over fifty pages into this book and really enjoying it. I can see now why it has been so well received.
  2. My Fair Lazy - Jen Lancaster: I love this author and this book is just as funny as her previous memoirs. I'm hoping to finish this one up in the next day or two.
  3. The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank - Ellen Feldman: This one has been sitting on my shelf for years now, and it sounds really good. I'm excited because it's different from the books I've been reading lately.
  4. Daughters of the Witching Hill - Mary Sharratt: I picked this one up on a whim last time I was at Borders because I loved the description and the summary sounds amazing. It almost reminds me of the tone of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane.
  5. Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen: I've read this one twice already, but always find it to be an enjoyable read in the spring. I'm looking forward to reading it once again.

So that's my week. What do you have planned?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Review: Ice

Title: Ice
Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Pages: 308
Rating: 4/5

When Cassie was a little girl, her grandmother told her a fairy tale about her mother, who made a deal with the Polar Bear King and was swept away to the ends of the earth. Now that Cassie is older, she knows the story was a nice way of saying her mother had died. Cassie lives with her father at an Arctic research station, is determined to become a scientist, and has no time for make-believe.

Then, on her eighteenth birthday, Cassie comes face-to-face with a polar bear who speaks to her. He tells her that her mother is alive, imprisoned at the ends of the earth. And he can bring her back -- if Cassie will agree to be his bride.

That is the beginning of Cassie's own real-life fairy tale, one that sends her on an unbelievable journey across the brutal Arctic, through the Canadian boreal forest, and on the back of the North Wind to the land east of the sun and west of the moon. Before it is over, the world she knows will be swept away, and everything she holds dear will be taken from her -- until she discovers the true meaning of love and family in the magical realm of Ice (sarahbethdurst.com).

I was extremely hesitant about reading this novel for two reasons: one, I absolutely, positively, one hundred and ten percent HATED the cover, anbd two, I don't read a lot of fantasy like this (I read paranormal, but talking trees and unknown creatures...not really my thing). However, despite my initial thoughts, I really enjoyed this book.

Cassie was an extremely strong female lead. She overcame emotional and physicial struggles throughout the whole story, and showed the true strength of love. Cassie sacrificed so much to save her husband and then again when she lost Bear.

Reading this novel opened up several new genres for me. I'll definitely be more apt to choose something outside of the box and give it a chance next time because of how much I found myself liking this book. Also, I should probably learn to not judge a book by its cover so much, but that seems to be a trap I always fall in. I just don't like ugly covers!!

So whether you are a fan of fantasy or not, I really think you should give Ice a try. It's a fast paced adventure that will keeping you turning the pages into the night.

Review: Boys, Girls, and Other Hazardous Materials

Title: Boys, Girls and Other Hazardous Materials
Author: Rosalind Wiseman
Pages: 288
Rating: 4/5

Charlie Healey thinks Harmony Falls is the beginning of a whole new life. Middle School was brutal. Mean girls were all around her. But High School’s going to be Charlie’s big chance to start over and stay out of drama, except that on her first day who does she run into? None other than Will, her ex-best friend, who had moved away. Now he’s back, looking a lot cuter and hanging out with a questionable crew. But Charlie doesn’t understand just how questionable until an innocent delivery guy falls victim to a near-deadly hazing prank.

All Charlie wanted to do was have a drama-free freshman year, but now she must decide whether to turn in her very best friend, who just told her he loves her, or live with the guilt of knowing what he did.

Rosalind Wiseman’s first novel for young adults is a fresh, funny, and juicy read about friendship, betrayal, and how far some will go to be accepted (rosalindwiseman.com).

I loved this book!! I thought it was funny, and heartwarming, and really sweet all at the same time. The main character, Charlie, is adorable and I love her personality.

Hoping to run away from the nasty girls at her former school, Charlie is accepted to Harmony Falls, the neighboring school district. Charlie quickly becomes friends with Syndey who is beautiful, down to earth, and real. However, things become turned upside down when Charlies best friend, Will returns. Will finds himself messed up with the popular crowd, and gives into peer pressure just to be "cool."

I guess one of my favorite parts of this book were the fact that it was "real." It wasn't that long ago that I walked the halls of my high school, and dealt with the peer pressure, bullies, and the so called mean girls. I understood what Charlie was seeing and what she was feeling. High School can be hard, and Wiseman definitely doesn't sugar coat it.

This book has received a lot of mixed reviews, but I think you should give it a try and see for yourself!

Review: Snap

Title: Snap
Author: Carol Snow
Pages: 224
Rating: 2.5/5

Madison Sabatini thought she knew who she was: an almost-sophomore with a bright future. The newest photographer on her school paper. A shopaholic with great hair and a fabulous wardrobe. Then, in a flash, everything changed.

Now she's stuck in Sandyland, a gloomy beach town in the middle of nowhere, living with her parents in a crappy hotel "suite." Instead of spending the summer with her friends at home, she's hanging out with pink-haired Delilah, an artist who works in a shop called Psychic Photo, and a skater boy named Duncan who's totally not her type. Except, maybe he is . . .

Determined to make the best of things, Madison throws herself into her one passion: photography. But when strange figures start appearing in her pictures—people who weren't there when she snapped the shots, people who are later reported dead—she begins to question everything about who she is . . . and who she wishes she could be (harperteen.com).

It's been over two weeks since I finished this book, and my mind is a bit fuzzy on the details. One thing I know for sure though...this book was boring! I loved the premise and thought it would be spooky and creepy and have some big plot twist. Not so much...instead I found it to be rather hokey and slow and childish.

I know this is a young adult book, but to me it seemed more like a book written for middle schoolers. The writing style and character developement seemed very elementary for me. I certainly wasn't grabbed by the book like I was by the description.

Also, I found the main character Madison to be spoiled, whiney and annoying as all get out. She acted so privileged and thought it was the end of the world when she found out she couldn't have the best clothes, the most money and the super vacations. I thought it was shallow and gave people a skewed perception of what life is really like.

If you absolutely want to read this one, I'd find it at the library...I certainly wouldn't spend the money on buying it!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

What are you reading (10)?

It's Monday! What are you reading this week? is a weekly event now hosted by One Persons Journey Through a World Of Books. It's helpful way to take a look at what you have read and what you want to read!

What a stressful week! We did have really beautiful weather most of the week, even though it was absolutely freezing all weekend. Plus we had high wind warnings, which made driving quite a hassle.

I worked late most of the week, and didn't get to enjoy much time outside. I also had three doctors appointments (which meant three ultrasounds, and three blood draws!!). All these shots are certainly helping my fear of needles!

Even with being busy, I still read three books this week, and I'm half way through another.
  1. North of Beautiful - Justina Chen Headley: What an amazing read!
  2. Boys, Girls and Other Hazardous Materials - Rosalind Wiseman
  3. Snap - Carol Snow

I'm working on finishing up the reviews.

This week I'm hoping to read:

  1. Ice - Sarah Beth Durst: I'm actually almost finished with this one and really enjoying it.
  2. All Unquiet Things - Anna Jarzab: repeat from last week
  3. Ghost Girl - Tonya Hurley: repeat from last week
  4. Bleeding Violet - Dia Reeves: I love the cover on this one. The purple is so pretty!!
  5. Beautiful Creatures - Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl: This is the second time I've checked this one out at the library and I'm determined to read it this time!
  6. Girl in the Arena - Lise Haines: This one has gotten really mixed reviews. I'm going to give it a try but if I'm not feeling it, I'm not going to keep going. Too many other books to read!!

That's my week in books. How bout yours?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Giveaway Winners!!

Using a random number generator, I pulled the winners of the Perfect Chemistry/Rules of Attraction giveaway today.

The winners are:


I'll be emailing you both for your mailing addresses. You'll each be receiving a brand new copy of Perfect Chemistry and Rules of Attraction!! ENJOY!!

Review: North of Beautiful

Title: North of Beautiful
Author: Justina Chen Headley
Pages: 373
Rating: 5/5

As he continued to stare, I wanted to point to my cheek and remind him, But you were the one who wanted this, remember? You're the one who asked-and I repeat-Why not fix your face?

It's hard not to notice Terra Cooper.

She's tall, blond, and has an enviable body. But with one turn of her cheek, all people notice is her unmistakably "flawed" face. Terra secretly plans to leave her stifling small town in the Northwest and escape to an East Coast college, but gets pushed off-course by her controlling father. When an unexpected collision puts Terra directly in Jacob's path, the handsome but quirky Goth boy immediately challenges her assumptions about herself and her life, and she is forced in yet another direction. With her carefully laid plans disrupted, will Terra be able to find her true path?

Written in lively, artful prose, award-winning author Justina Chen Headley has woven together a powerful novel about a fractured family, falling in love, travel, and the meaning of true beauty (cover blurb).

This is probably one of the most powerful books I have read in a long time. This book was written so beautifully and had such a strong message, I couldn't put it down.

Terra has lived her whole life trying to escape her father, while hiding her port wine stain and remaining almost invisible. In a defiant gesture against her father, Terra decides to try to newest treatment to remove her birthmark, sending her and her mother on a trip to Seattle. It is on their way home that Terra meets Jacob, an Asian goth boy with demons of his own. It is here that the story gets really good.

Jacob brings out Terra's true beauty and sees her for who she really is, not just the girl with the horrible birthmark. Throughout the story, we get to see Terra open up and come into her own with the guidance of Jacob.

Jacob is amazing. I fell in love with him right away and wanted to fall into the story myself and sweep him away. He's probably one of the most "real" characters I've read in a long time. Same for Terra. Together they were breath taking.

I highly recommend this read. It starts off a bit slow, but don't give up on it. It truly is an unbelievable journey!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tuesday Teaser (8)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

**Grab your current read
**Open to a random page
**Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
**BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
**Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Only one teaser for me this week:

That hurt, that reminder of how our family was so screwed up, we couldn't even share the people we loved with each other. And when we did, Dad removed them from our lives, like fake maps plucked out of a collection (pg 161).

~North of Beautiful: Justina Chen Headley

So far, this book is amazingly good. Hope you enjoy the teaser!!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Review: Intertwined

Title: Intertwined
Author: Gena Showalter
Pages: 440
Rating: 3.5/5

Most sixteen-year-olds have friends. Aden Stone has four human souls living inside him:

One can time-travel.

One can raise the dead.

One can tell the future.

And one can possess another human.

Everyone thinks he's crazy, which is why he's spent his entire life shuffled between mental institutions and juvie. All of that is about to change, however. For months Aden has been having visions of a beautiful girl -- a girl who carries centuries old secrets. A girl who will either save him or destroy him.

Together they'll enter a dark world of intrigue and danger . . . but not everyone will come out alive (genashowalter.com).

I've read a few of Showalter's novels that she's written for adults, so I had an idea of what to except from her writing style and the type of characters she likes to write. Intertwined didn't disappoint. I enjoyed the main character Aden, and really liked his friend Riley who was also a werewolf. However, I thought the story was a little slow in parts, and there's still some major story lines that were left hanging. I was glad to see that the sequel "Unraveled" will be released this coming September.

One thing I liked about this book was the fact that it is introducing different paranormal characters into play. Besides vampires and werewolves, there's witches and fairies and goblins. Plus it really plays on the fact that Vlad the Impaler was in fact Dracula and that he is still alive and well in Romania. That was an interesting twist, and one that was fun to think about.

The idea of Aden living with four other souls within his body is an interesting one, and has similar parallels to Showalters Lords of the Underworld series where each man is doomed to live his life along side a demon. Having read some of these books, I could definitely pick up on similarities between the two stories. As an adult, I enjoyed the Lords of the Underworld series better, and felt that Intertwined was missing something. I'm not sure what, and it won't stop me from seeing what happens in the sequel, I just hope that Unraveled moves a bit faster now that he have all of Aden's back story.

Review: Beastly

Title: Beastly
Author: Alex Finn
Pages: 300
Rating: 4.5/5

I am a beast. A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog, but a horrible new creature who walks upright – a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.

You think I’m talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It’s no deformity, no disease. And I’ll stay this way forever – ruined – unless I can break the spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and a perfect life. And then, I’ll tell you how I became perfectly beastly (alexfinn.com).

I loved this book. I was actually surprised by how much I loved this book, considering the fact that it's simply a play on Beauty and the Beast, but I found it so well written and fast paced that I could not put it down. I picked it up from the library on my way home from work Thursday, and finished it Friday at lunch. I just couldn't put it down.

Beastly tells the story of Kyle Kingsbury, an arrogant, selfish highschooler who gets great pleasure out of making others miserable. However, he went a bit two far when he manages to royally tick off the new goth girl at the school. Kendra turns out to be a witch, who places an evil spell on Kyle, making him as ugly on the outside as he is on the inside.

When I first started reading about Kyle, I couldn't get over what a jerk he was. He was just down right mean...he thought he was so hot to trot. And then when he was turned into this beast I began to feel kind of bad for him. And by the end of the book, I was in love. It was amazing to read about his transformation, and to what him change from someone truly ugly to a beautiful person.

Beastly has been made into a movie starring Vanessa Hudgens (who I loved in all the HSM movies). This is actually how I first found out about the book. I saw the trailer on another blog, and fell in love with it and just had to read the book. The movie is going to be released on July 30th. Here's a sneak peek at the trailer:

Review: Tangled

Title: Tangled
Author: Carolyn Mackler
Pages: 308
Rating: 4/5

Paradise wasn’t supposed to suck.

Not the state of being, but a resort in the Caribbean. Jena, Dakota, Skye, and Owen are all there for different reasons, but at Paradise their lives become tangled together in ways none of them can predict. Paradise will change them all.

It will change Jena, whose first brush with romance takes her that much closer to having a life, and not just reading about those infinitely cooler and more exciting. It will change Dakota, who needs the devastating truth about his past to make him realize that he doesn’t have to be a jerk just because people think he’s one. It will change Skye, a heartbreakingly beautiful actress, who must come to terms with the fact that for once she has to stop playing a role or face the consequences. And it will change Owen, who has never risked anything before and who will take the leap from his online life to a real one all because of a girl he met at Paradise….

From confused to confident and back again, one thing’s certain: Four months after it all begins, none of them will ever be the same (carolynmackler.com).

I adored this book. I love how it was written in four separate parts, with four separate characters. It was so much fun to see how each of the four characters lives became tangled with each other. It was definitely different, and the fast pace kept me turning the pages as quickly as I could.

I had two favorite characters in this book. The first was Jena, who reminds me a lot of myself when I was younger. She's obsessed with quotes, and doesn't have a ton of confidence, but in the end is a stronger person due to the things she has to work for. My other favorite was Dakota. He's a real ass in the story, but I've always had a thing for bad boys. However, much to my mom and dad's relief, I did not marry one...lol. I think that's why I like to read about them so much!!

This is the first Carolyn Mackler book that I've read, but I'm sure it won't be my last. I'll be looking for some more titles from her next time I go to the library.

Also, I think this book would make a great movie. It reminded me a bit of The Sisterhood of the Traveling pants in the way it was written and I loved that movie and I think this one has just as much potential!

Review: Touch

Title: Touch
Author: Francine Prose
Pages: 262
Rating: 2/5

What really happened at the back of the bus?

Did they, or didn't they?

Did she, or didn't she?

Something happened to fourteen-year-old Maisie Willard—something involving her three friends, all boys. But their stories don't match, and the rumors spin out of control. Then other people get involved . . . the school, the parents, the lawyers. The incident at the back of the bus becomes the center of Maisie's life and the talk of the school, and, horribly, it becomes news. With just a few words and a touch, the kids and their community are changed forever.

From nationally acclaimed author Francine Prose comes an unforgettable story about the difficulties of telling the truth, the consequences of lying, and the most dangerous twist of all—the possibility that you yourself will come to believe something that you know isn't true (harperteen.com).

Sounds like a good read doesn't it? Oh how I wish it was. This book really, really dragged. It took me almost two weeks to read it, and I read four other book in between starting it and finishing it.

The first issue I had with the book was that I couldn't connect with the main character. She seemed really distant, and I never felt as though I really got to know her. Yes, we knew what she was thinking, and what had happened to her, but I felt like it was just words. For a book about such a tough subject matter, I didn't feel any emotion. I just felt...blah.

Secondly, the way in which the book was written was just really boring. There was absolutely no change in pace throught the whole 250 pages. I often found myself drifting from the story and thinking about what I was going to make for dinner, or when I was going to clean the house.

Others might really like this book, and maybe at a different time, I would have enjoyed it myself. I was definitely disappointed because I was really hoping to like this one.

April in Review

Wow, April flew by for me. It was a busy month at work and spring has been in the air. All the outside work's done, all I have to do is buy my plants for my pots that I put around the house and all is completed. I think its going to be a wonderful summer!

Reading wise, April was an amazing month for me. I managed to finish nine books this month...the most out of any month this year. I also read some of my favorites reads so far this year including Rules of Attraction, which will probably be on my list of top ten favorite books for 2010 come December. I have another good month ahead of me with some really awesome reads coming up. Also, this next month two new reads are coming out that I've been waiting for for a long time: My Fair Lazy by Jen Lancaster and The Storm Chasers by Jenna Blum.

I mentioned in my What are you reading post? that Hubby and I had a really good meeting with our Reproductive Gynocologist. Lo and behold, having decent insurance paid off, and we were able to get a supply of Follistim shots for a $150 copay. The actual cost of the shots --- $4000 for a one month supply. I wanted to throw up when I read that. I have to give myself the injections every night for eight to fourteen days, and they'll monitor everything with ultrasounds every other day to make sure that everything is responding well. So far it hasn't been horrible. I'm scared of needles but these really aren't too bad. I haven't passed out yet!! The Dr told us that over half of the women that do not response to Clomid the first drug we tried, will response to Follistim, so I'm optimistic about the whole thing.

So that was my month...how bout yours?

What are you reading (9)?

It's Monday! What are you reading this week? is a weekly event now hosted by One Persons Journey Through a World Of Books. It's helpful way to take a look at what you have read and what you want to read!

It was a great reading week for me. I spent most of my evenings sitting outside enjoying the beautiful weather and the newly finished backyard. I posted pictures of that here. Also, we had a really positive meeting with our RE about the whole baby issue. I've started a new medicine (daily hormone injections...its been different dealing with needles) and I go for my first ultrasound tomorrow to see how I am responding. I'm hoping for better results with these meds.

Also, I'm still hosting my giveaway for two lucky readers. I'm giving away two copies each of both Perfect Chemisty and Rules of Attraction. You can sign up here!

This week I read:
  1. Tangled -Carolyn Mackler
  2. Touch - Francine Prose
  3. Beastly - Alex Finn
  4. Intertwined - Gena Showalter

I'm working on the reviews now so they should be up in the next few hours...hopefully :)

This week I'm going to keep with most of the same books I had last week. I actually hadn't been planning on reading Beastly, but saw a preview for the new movie and just *had* to read it. I'm glad I did. Here's what I hope to read this week:

  1. North of Beautiful - Justina Chen Headley: I've heard really great things about this book and I really like the cover. It seems intriguing.
  2. Ice - Sarah Beth Durst: Repeart from last week
  3. All Unquiet Things - Anna Jarzab: I haven't seen a lot of reviews about this book around, but I know this is a debut YA author, and the mystery of the stories sounds good.
  4. Ghost Girl - Tonya Hurley: Repeat from last week
  5. Snap - Carol Snow: repeat from last week

It's supposed to be another beautiful week, and we don't have a lot of plans so hopefully I'll be able to get a lot of reading in again this week!

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