"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, November 22, 2010

What are you reading (21)?

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!

I didn't get a chance to even post last week, my life has gotten so busy.  With the holidays approaching, I've been trying to get my Christmas shopping done so I don't have to waddle through huge crowds come December.  I'm almost finished, and know exactly what else I need to buy so it shouldn't take me much longer.  This week was especially busy for hubby and I.  We had our baptismal class for the baby, a birthday party, dinner with family, and then our baby shower was this past weekend.  It was amazing and turned out wonderfully.  We got a ton of gifts and almost all of the big stuff that we had registered for.  We couldn't be more thankful for the amazing friends and family that we have!  My mom is coming over next Monday to help me wash baby clothes and blankets and put everything away so the room is completely finished and we are ready for his arrival (and I'll definitely be ready...I'm completely miserable and now have legs that look like large tree trunks with the amount of water I am retaining!!)

So here's the run down of the books I read in the past two weeks.  Most of them I finished during the first week.  I didn't have a ton of reading time these past few days (click on the titles for link to review):
This coming week will be a busy one again.  I have a follow ultrasound on Wednesday.  The way the baby is laying is making it difficult to get really clear pictures of his heart.  He's being stubborn so I have to go to a specialist where they have "a really awesome ultrasound machine" according to the girl at my OBGYN's office.  The Drs are pretty sure he's laying breech so I'm hoping beyond hope that he decides to turn!  My brother is also home for the week, and we have a very busy Turkey Day but I'm looking forward to spending the day with family.

Here's my reading plans for the week (all titles linked to Goodreads):

Lamb by Christopher Moore - I started this one last night and so far its pretty humorous.

Audio of The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom - I started listening to this one on Friday at work and was almost sad to see five o clock come because I had to stop it.  It was absolutely amazing!!

Garden Spells - Sarah Addison Allen

Audio of The Language of Secrets by Dianne Dixon

That's my week.  What do you have planned?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Audio Review: Arcadia Falls

Title: Arcadia Falls
Author: Carol Goodman
Listening Time: 12 hrs and 37 mins
Rating: 4/5

In debt after her husband's unexpected death, Meg Rosenthal secures a job as a teacher at an upstate New York boarding school. Leaving suburban Long Island, Meg and her teenage daughter, Sally, embark on a new life in Arcadia Falls, a beautiful but isolated small town and the inspiration for a number of magically eerie fairy tales. With a hurtful rift growing between her and her daughter, Meg is hopeful that the change of scene will provide them with a fresh start. But it soon becomes clear to Meg that this isolated community hides deeply rooted and deadly secrets. And after a mysterious death, Arcadia Falls begins to reveal a disturbing dark side (Cover Blurb).

I borrowed this audio strictly for the cover.  I thought it was beautiful and gothic and really grabbed my attention.  I'm glad I went with the impulse, and thought this book was really spectacular. 

Arcadia is a small private art school that was started in the early 1900s by two women, Vera Beecher and Lily Eberhardt.  The two women were deeply devoted to each other, but each of their lives were shrouded and secrets and betrayal, especially Lilly Eberhardt.  In the present day, Meg Rosenthal comes to Arcadia after the death of her husband, which left her penniless and desperate.  After being offered a job to teach English, especially the history of fairy tales, Meg moves with her daughter Sally into the cottage of Vera Beecher and Lily Eberhardt and it is here where the mystery begins.

Soon after Meg's arrival, one of the students at Arcadia is found dead in the ravine, eerily mirroring the death of Lily Eberhardt so many years ago.  Troubled by the death, Meg begins to delve into the lives of Lily and Vera, finally finding the journal of Lily Eberhardt which has remained hidden for many years.  It is at this point that the novel begins to twist and turn, releasing secret after secret, keeping the reader on their toes.

Intertwined throughout the story, is the fairy tale of The Changling Girl originally written by Lily.  The story mirrors Lily's own journey and it's interesting to see how it fits in with her life.  One of my favorite aspects of this story was the mix between the past and present day.  Along with the changling story, we also were able to experience Lily's journal and travel with her through her struggles.  I loved the descriptions of her life and how everything happened.  There were a few times where my mouth just fell open as I pieced everything together.

I'm looking forward to reading more of Carol Goodman and hope that ther other books are half as good as Arcadia Falls!

Audio Review: The Girl Who Chased the Moon

Title: The Girl Who Chased the Moon
Author: Sarah Addison Allen
Listening Time: 7 hrs and 1 min
Rating: 4.5/5

Emily Benedict came to Mullaby, North Carolina, hoping to solve at least some of the riddles surrounding her mother’s life. But the moment Emily enters the house where her mother grew up and meets the grandfather she never knew, she realizes that mysteries aren’t solved in Mullaby, they’re a way of life: Here are rooms where the wallpaper changes to suit your mood. Unexplained lights skip across the yard at midnight. And a neighbor, Julia Winterson, bakes hope in the form of cakes, offering them to satisfy the town’s sweet tooth—but also in the hope of rekindling a love she fears might be lost forever. Can a hummingbird cake really bring back a lost love? Is there really a ghost dancing in Emily’s backyard? The answers are never what you expect. But in this town of lovable misfits, the unexpected fits right in (sarahaddisonallen.com).

I was really excited when I saw this one available on the library's website and instantly added it to my cart.  I've been interest in reading something by Allen for a while, but always seem to be distracted by something else.  Audio books have allowed me to finally get to all the books I've been meaning to read!  I can't wait to go back and read Allen's backlist of Garden Spells and The Sugar Queen and she's definitely on my must by list now!

Allen's books fall under the genre of magical realism.  Set in the South, The Girl Who Chased the Moon, is a fast paced, moving story filled with lovable characters and bits of mysticism.  The Girl Who Chased the Moon focuses on two main characters - Emily and Julia.  Emily is a seventeen year old girl who has recently lost her mother.  She comes to Mulberry to live with the grandfather she never knew existed.  Julia fled Mulberry eighteen years ago, only to return after the death of her father.  Julia is running from her own secrets while Emily is just discovering those of her mother.

Intertwined throughout the story is a bevy of secondary characters all with their  own quirks.  These secondary characters where so well developed, that I wished there were more of them throughout the novel.  They helped bring a deep richness to the story that would have been lacking otherwise.  Along with great secondary characters, Allen intertwines descriptions of food that will make your mouth water (especially if you are six and a half months pregnant and always hungry)!  Julia's baked good sounded scrumptious and now I am craving BBQ.

I highly recommend this audio and can't wait to dive into the pages of more books by Sarah Addison Allen!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Audio Review: The Wife's Tale

Title: The Wife's Tale
Author: Lori Lansens
Listening Time: 11 hrs and 33 mins
Rating: 3/5

It’s the eve of her twenty-fifth wedding anniversary and Mary Gooch is waiting for her husband, Jimmy, to come home. But Mary isn’t just waiting for Jimmy. She is waiting for a mother who accepts her, children she is unable to have, a life beyond the well-worn path from her bedroom to the refrigerator. Mary is waiting for her life to start.

As she waits for Jimmy, the night passes into day and it becomes clear that he isn’t coming home. A letter left in the mailbox confirms her worst fears and Mary is left alone to make a difficult decision. Should she break free from her inertia and salvage her marriage? Or is the pull of the familiarity of her home, the predictability of her daily routines, too strong to resist?

For the first time in her life, Mary decides to leave and boards a plane to California. She flies across the country in a desperate attempt to find her husband. The clothes, the marriage, the home that had given her a place to hide for so long are all gone. Mary soon finds that the bright sun and broad vistas of California force her to look up from the pavement, stop waiting and start living. What she finds when she does is an inner strength she’s never felt before. Through it all, Mary not only finds kindred spirits, but reunites with a more intimate stranger no longer sequestered by fear and habit: herself (randomhouse.com).

I'm having a hard time figuring out exactly how I feel about this book.  On one hand, I think parts of the book are a five star read.  On the other hand, I think parts of it are one star.  So I met in the middle and gave the book as a whole three stars.

One reason why I think I had such trouble with this book especially in the beginning was because I found Mary to be such a hard character to like and get to know.  Even at the end of the book, I still didn't have a deep fondness for her.  At times I found her existence to be almost sad, and I few times I viewed her as pathetic.  I had visions of slapping her a few times!!  Other times, I cheered her on as she fought again the "obeast" as she refers to her obesity and begain to find herself again after a lifetime of letting herself go.

I think the biggest struggle I had with this book was how easily it seemed that Mary was able to make friends, and ask so many people for help.  When Mary was home in Canada, she could barely go to the grocery store and talk to anyone, let alone ask a total stranger to help her.  When she came to the US, she was much more open and seemed to make friends almost easily.  I do believe that the author did this to show the audience how Mary was growing as an individual, coming out of her shell and opening up in the world.  I just had a hard time with how quickly things changed.

This is the first book I've read by Lori Lansens and I was a bit taken aback by the writing style.  For some reason, I thought it would be different.  Plus, a few of the scenes made me extremely uncomfortable, especially listening to them on audio at work.  I'm curious now to read The Girls and see how it compares to The Wife's Tale.  I will say, I find the description of the The Girls to be more entertaining than I found that for The Wife's Tale.  It seems like it might be more up my alley.  Despite being a bit "shocked" by some of the scenarios in the book (I think I'm turning into my mother...ahhh), I thought the writing was truly superb.  I also thought this was a beautifully presented audio that I enjoyed listening to.  That's one reason why I felt the book may have deserved a higher rating, but my dislike for the main character kept me from going above a three.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Review: Lost and Found

Title: Lost and Found
Author: Jacqueline Sheehan
Pages: 278
Rating: 4/5

A poignant and unforgettable tale of love, loss, and moving on . . . with the help of one not-so-little dog

Rocky's husband Bob was just forty-two when she discovered him lying cold and lifeless on the bathroom floor . . . and Rocky's world changed forever. Quitting her job, chopping off all her hair, she leaves Massachusetts—reinventing her past and taking a job as Animal Control Warden on Peak's Island, a tiny speck off the coast of Maine and a million miles away from everything she's lost. She leaves her career as a psychologist behind, only to find friendship with a woman whose brain misfires in the most wonderful way and a young girl who is trying to disappear. Rocky, a quirky and fallible character, discovers the healing process to be agonizingly slow.

But then she meets Lloyd.

A large black Labrador retriever, Lloyd enters Rocky's world with a primitive arrow sticking out of his shoulder. And so begins a remarkable friendship between a wounded woman and a wounded, lovable beast. As the unraveling mystery of Lloyd's accident and missing owner leads Rocky to an archery instructor who draws her in even as she finds every reason to mistrust him, she discovers the life-altering revelation that grief can be transformed . . . and joy does exist in unexpected places (harpercollins.com).

I bought this book a few years ago based strickly on the cover.  I'm a sucker for any type of book that has to do with dogs and the black lab on the cover of this book is absolutely adorable.  However, like so many books it was pushed aside for other books that seemed to be more exciting, more interesting, or the it book of the moment.  When I was picking out my books to read this week from my TBR pile, this cover again caught my eye.  Once I read the description I was even more intrigued and moved it from the TBR pile to the I am reading now pile :)  I'm quite happy I did.

Rocky was a hard character to get to know, and it made the book a bit difficult to get into at first.  However, once I realized what her personality was like, and broke through the outer shell I flew through the rest of the pages.  Lost and Found is a book filled with grief, hope, tragedy and mystery.  All of these elements are molded together into one moving, beautiful story that pulled at my heart strings.  Of course my favorite character in the book was Lloyd, the beautiful, but injured, black lab that captures Rocky's heart.  There are three chapters in the book told from Lloyd's point of view and each chapter is more moving than the last.  It made me look at my two little doggies in a different light.  I only hope that they view me the way that Lloyd viewed Rocky.

I recommend this book to anyone who has a love for animals and is looking for a good strong story that will keep you turning pages long into the night.  I'll be looking for and definitely picking up Sheehan's newer book Now and Then in the coming weeks.  This is definitely a new "must read" author for me!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Audio Review: Viola in Reel Life

Title: Viola in Reel Life
Author: Adriana Trigiani
Listening Time: 6 hrs and 17 mins
Rating: 4.5/5

I'm marooned.


Left to rot in boarding school . . .

Viola doesn't want to go to boarding school, but somehow she ends up at an all-girls school in South Bend, Indiana, far, far away from her home in Brooklyn, New York. Now Viola is stuck for a whole year in the sherbet-colored sweater capital of the world.


There's no way Viola's going to survive the year—especially since she has to replace her best friend Andrew with three new roommates who, disturbingly, actually seem to like it there. She resorts to viewing the world (and hiding) behind the lens of her video camera.

Boarding school, though, and her roommates and even the Midwest are nothing like she thought they would be, and soon Viola realizes she may be in for the most incredible year of her life.

But first she has to put the camera down and let the world in (harpercollins.com).

Viola in Reel Life is Trigiani's first novel written for the young adult audience, and I thought she did a wonderful job!  I was immediately captivated with Viola and I thought the premise of the novel was extremely fun.  Also, Trigiani's voice as a writer is amazing.  I could kick myself for waiting so long to read something by her.

My favorite character is Viola, our main character.  She's snarky and fun and her sarcastic manner is light hearted and helps keep the story moving at an even pace.  Viola is an only child whose parents are documentary film makers.  Because of a project they are working on, they send Viola to the Prefect Academy, a boarding school in South Bend, IN.  Viola is housed in a quad with three other girls.  Things are a bit rough in the beginning, but once everything works out, the girls find themselves as close as sisters.

One of the complaints that others have had about Viola in Reel Life was the language of the novel.  They found the dialogue to be too "young" for high school freshman.  I, on the other hand, found it to be refreshing (I must be getting old!).  I thought the dialogue fit the age group and flowed smoothly. 

This has been my favorite audio so far that I have listened to.  I adored the narrator, and felt she brought a real uniqueness to the story.

This is the first in a new series by Adriana Trigiani.  The next book, Viola in the Spotlight, comes out in April of 2011 and I'll definitely be grabbing it.  The cover is equally cute :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

What are you reading (20)?

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!

This was an amazing reading week for me.  I enjoyed almost all that I read and listened to, and am quite enjoying November and its longer evenings.  There's a bit of a chill in the air, and the mornings are quite crisp.  I just don't think there's anything quite like snuggling up in my favorite chair on a chilly fall day and getting lost in a book!

Here's what I read and reviewed this week (click title for link to review):
I also watched and reviewed Masterpiece Theater's rendition of Jane Eyre.  My review is here.  I very much enjoyed it and think everyone should check it out, even if you've never read the book!

Here's what is on my reading list for this week:

The Alchemist's Daughter - Katherine McMahon --- This is a repeat from last week.

Audio of Viola in Reel Life - Adriana Trigiani --- I'm over half way finished with this one and really enjoying it!

Audio of The Wife's Tale by Lori Lansens - I've heard really great things about this one

Lost and Found - Jacqueline Sheenan

Case Histories - Katie Atkinson

That's my week.  What do you have planned?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Review: Second Honeymoon

Title: Second Honeymoon
Author: Joanna Trollope
Pages: 323
Rating: 4/5

"Ben is, at last, leaving home. At twenty-two, he's the youngest of the family. His mother Edie, an actor, is distraught. His father Russell, a theatrical agent, is rather hoping to get his wife back, after decades of family life. His brother, Matthew, is wrestling with a relationship in which he achieves and earns less than his girlfriend. His sister Rosa is wrestling with debt, and the end of a turbulent love affair." Meet the Boyd family and the empty nest, twenty-first-century style (goodreads.com).

This was a wonderfully written novel, filled with well thought out prose and insight.  I flew through the pages of this book, taking in the Boyd family, immersing myself in their lives, and traveling with them on this journey.  It was an extremely thoughtful and incredible ride.

Edie is a mom of three grown children.  Her youngest, Ben has just left home to share a flat with his girlfriend and her mother.  Edie is suffering greatly from "empty nest" syndrome much to the distress of her husband.  Russell, her husband, would like things to return to how they were at the beginning of their relationship when he had Edie all to himself.  I, obviously, have never had to deal with the empty nest.  However, I know how my mom struggled with it when both my brother and I moved out.  It took her months to be able to readjust to it just being her and dad again, and even now, five years later, she still cooks way too much food for two people!

Second Honeymoon is very much character driven and this is where Trollope excels.  Each character is presented with a distinct, but likeable personality.  Even the cat, Arsie, has a terrific personality and I loved the way that Trollope intertwined him throughout the story.  Each characters story is different, and each is struggling with their own problems and issues.  However, Trollope brings all these characters together and at the end all of their stories come together in a beautifully written conclusion.

This is the first book I have read by Joanna Trollope but she has quite a back list that I will be checking out in the future.  I enjoy books that really hit me in the core, and this was definitely one of them.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Movie Review: Jane Eyre

Title: Jane Eyre
Collection: Masterpiece Theatre
Viewing Time: 228 minutes
Rating: 5/5

After a wretched childhood, orphaned Jane Eyre yearns for new experiences. She accepts a governess position at Thornfield Hall, where she tutors a lively French girl named Adele. She soon finds herself falling in love with the brooding master of the house - the passionate Mr. Rochester. Jane gradually wins his heart, but they must overcome the dark secrets of the past before they can find happiness. When Jane saves Rochester from an eerie fire, she begins to suspect that there are many mysteries behind the walls of Thornfield Hall. Her fears are confirmed when Rochester's secret past is revealed, destroying her chance for happiness, and forcing Jane to flee Thornfield. Penniless and hungry, she finds shelter and friendship in the shape of a kind clergyman and his family. But she is soon shocked to uncover the deeply hidden truth of her own past. This lavish and sensual new version of Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel is modern and moody, timeless and romantic. Starring Toby Stephens as Mr. Rochester, Ruth Wilson as Jane, and Francesca Annis as Lady Ingram (amazon.com).

Jane Eyre has always been one of my favorite classic novels.  I first read it my freshman year of high school and try to re-read it every few years.  The first time I read the novel, I had a really hard go at it.  My mom suggested I see the movie first and maybe it would help me to better understand and enjoy the novel.  We rented the 1944 version starring Orson Wells and Jane Fontaine  and it has always remained my favorite rendition of the movie.  However, after discussing it with one of the girls at work, she gave me her Masterpiece Theater version to watch and I have to say that I absolutely loved it. 

Jane Eyre has it all.  It's a romance with a bit of mystery mixed in.  It has a huge creepiness surrounding the whole story.  It's Gothic and beautiful and the perfect movie for a cold and rainy fall day.

This adaptation of Jane Eyre focuses primary on Jane's relationship with Mr. Rochester, a relationship that tends to be brushed over sometimes, with many adaptations instead focusing on Jane's horrible and cruel childhood.  However, the essence of the story will always be the love story between these two main characters.  I can't say enough about Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson's performances as Jane and Mr. Rochester.  The chemistry that these two had on screen was absolutely marvelous and had me glued to the screen.  The love story between Mr Rochester and Jane Eyre is and will always be one of the most hauntingly romantic things I have ever seen or read.

If you have ever struggled with reading Jane Eyre or feel that it's not the novel for you, I'd suggest you give watching this movie a try.  It may just inspire you to pick up the novel.  I know that I'll be re-reading Jane Eyre again in the next few weeks.  There's nothing like losing yourself in the pages of the book, as you imagine yourself walking the hallowed halls of Thornfield.

Finally, I found myself extremely attracted to Mr Rochester in this movie.  The actor playing Mr Rochester is Toby Stephens, who is best known for his role in the 2002 Jame's Bond movie Die Another Day (which I have never seen and probably never will).  However, I was quite taken by his looks and his portrayal of Mr. Rochester and was truly everything I always thought Mr Rochester would be.  His dark broodiness was fabulous for the role and his facial expressions, especially at the end of the movie were quite phenomenal.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Audio Review: Fever 1793

Title: Fever 1793
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Listening Time: 5 hrs and 46 min
Rating: 3/5

August 1793. Fourteen-year-old Mattie Cook is ambitious, adventurous, and sick to death of listening to her mother. Mattie has plans of her own. She wants to turn the Cook Coffeehouse into the finest business in Philadelphia, the capital of the new United States.
But the waterfront is abuzz with reports of disease. “Fever” spreads from the docks and creeps toward Mattie’s home, threatening everything she holds dear.

As the cemeteries fill with fever victims, fear turns to panic, and thousands flee the city. Then tragedy strikes the coffeehouse, and Mattie is trapped in a living nightmare. Suddenly, her struggle to build a better life must give way to something even more important – the fight to stay alive (madwomenintheforest.com).

This is the third book I've read or listened to by Laurie Halse Anderson and so far my least favorite.  Unlike the other two books, I found Fever 1793 to be very slow moving and extremely hard to get into.

Fever 1793 is told through the voice of Matilda, a young girl living in Philadelphia during the yellow fever outbreak of 1793.  Halse Anderson chose to tell this story in first person using the voice of young Mattie.  Because of this, I found it hard to connect with the story because I couldn't connect with Mattie.  Also, I often felt the book shifted from modern to historical voice, most likely not on purpose, but the shift was there.

One thing I will give Fever 1793 was that it was extremely historically accurate.  One can definitely tell that Laurie Halse Anderson thoroughly researched the epidemic and she was able to truly capture the feel of fear experienced during that time of crisis.

Another issue I had with this audio was the narrator.  I just didn't like her voice.  I felt as though it made the story drag.  It was a tough subject and I think a different voice would have made the story less of a downer.

Even thought I didn't like my first take of Laurie's historical fiction writing, I'm still going to give Chains (which I requested at the library) a try.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Review: Chicken Soup for the Expectant Mother's Soul

Title: Chicken Soup for the Expectant Mother's Soul
Author: Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Patty Aubery, Nancy Mitchell
Pages: 344
Rating: 3.5/5

Every year, millions of women wait with anticipation as they watch their test strip change from white to pink, thus beginning the awesome adventure of becoming a mother. This latest Chicken Soup book will find a place in the loving hearts and anxious minds of expectant mothers (and some fathers, too!). Written by expectant mothers, veteran moms and fathers-to-be, these stories tell of the physical, emotional and spiritual joys and challenges of each stage of motherhood, from "barely showing" to the awkward last months, from labor and delivery to watching and caring for Baby. There are stories that offer hope when the pregnancy isn't medically perfect; others offer light-hearted humor to cope with weight gain, morning sickness and other pregnancy woes; and still others offer words of wisdom for the seemingly daunting responsibilities of choosing a name, going through labor and bringing a new life into the world. With stories that relay the insecurities and triumphs of all sorts of different moms and moms-to-be-including multiple births, premature births, adoptions, and single-parent families-this book will tug at the heartstrings and ease the fears of all expectant mother. Chapters include: Special Moments, Delivery Day, Challenges, On Adoption, Advice from Others, For Expectant Fathers and The First Few Years. Chicken Soup for the Expectant Mother's Soul is a must-have on every baby-shower gift list, and an essential requirement for every birthing bag (http://www.amazon.com/).

When I was younger, I was obsessed with the Chicken Soup books.  I read the one's for the Teenage Soul, the College Soul, the Teacher's Soul.  I read all the one's just for anyone's Soul.  Everyone new that the Chicken Soup books were the perfect gift to get me for almost any occaision.  And then, life got busy, I got married, and I fell away from the Chicken Soup books.  However, for my birthday my mom surprised me with this copy of Chicken Soup and I again devoured it in a matter of a few days.

I do think that this edition of Chicken Soup needs to come with a warning - "This book will induce massive amounts of tears and crying in pregnant woman.  Proceed with caution."  There were more than a few times that I had to close the book, go and find a massive box of tissues and cry in a corner for a few minutes before I could go back to it.  Then again, I've found myself tearing up at Hallmark commericals lately, so it's probably just me!

I thought this book had some great stories, but I didn't feel that it was as well rounded as it could be.  It seemed to focus a lot on "miracle babies," and some of the stories themselves scared the bejesus out of me.  There was a lot of talk about premature births, emergency births, babies with near fatal diseases, and the like.  As a first time mother waiting for my baby to be born, it was almost more than I could handle at times.  There were simply a few stories that I started, and then skipped once I saw the content of them.  I may appreciate those stories more after the baby is born and we know all is well and ok.

All in all, this wasn't a bad book and some of the stories touched my heart and a few had me laughing pretty hard.  If you like books like this, I don't think it's a bad one to pick up, but some people may want to wait to read it until after their babies are born!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Audio Review: Something Like Fate

Title: Something Like Fate
Author: Susane Colasanti
Listening Time: 5 hrs and 31 mins
Rating: 4/5

Lani and Erin are bonded for life. One thing that connects them is their fascination of fate. Lani wonders how much of our lives has already been decided and how much we can actually influence. Since the Unknown can unexpectedly change our lives forever, how much can we really control?
From the minute Lani meets Jason, she can't deny the intense connection they share. It feels like she's known him forever. She's not sure if he feels it, too. But it doesn't matter. Because Jason is Erin's boyfriend. Lani is determined to ignore her feelings for Jason, no matter how powerful they are, rather than risk hurting her best friend.
What if the boy who is your destiny is the one person you can't have (susanecolasanti.com)?

I've heard great things about Susane Colasanti all over the blogosphere, but had yet to take the time to read anything by her.  When I saw the library had Something Like Fate available for download I jumped at the chance.  I am extremely happy that I did.

Something Like Fate told the story of Lani, who somehow manages to fall in love with her best friend's boyfriend.  The story is a bit cliched, but Colasanti's use of fate made it more original.  I loved the different references to horoscopes, palm reading and the like.  I also liked how Colasanti created such a strong emotional bond between Lani and Erin, making the events that happen later in the novel that much worse.

One of my favorite things about Colasanti is her character development.  Each character in Something Like Fate was distinct with a strong personality.  My only complaint was that at times, I found Lani to be a bit whiny and at one point I did want to hit her over the head with a saucepan for being so dumb.  However, that may just be me and my hormones :)

I have a few more Susane Colasanti books hanging out on my TBR pile, and I'm hoping the library has a few more on audio that I can borrow. 

Are there any other young adult authors out there with similar writing styles to Colasanti's?  I'm definitely open to suggestions :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Audio Review: Love You Hate You Miss You

Title: Love You Hate You Miss You
Author: Elizabeth Scott
Listening Time: 5 hrs and 8 mins
Rating: 4/5

It's been seventy five days. Amy's sick of her parents suddenly taking an interest in her, and she's really sick of people asking her about Julia. Julia's gone, and Amy doesn't want to talk about it. No one knew Julia like she did. No one gets what life is without her.

No one understands what it's like to know that it's all your fault.

Amy's shrink thinks she should keep a journal but instead, Amy starts writing letters to Julia. As she writes letter after letter, she begins to realize that the past holds its own secrets--and that the present deserves a chance (goodreads.com).

This is the second Elizabeth Scott novel that I've either read or listened to and I was blown away by this story.  Scott is an extremely talented young adult author, and I was again drawn into the story that she weaves.

Amy is a young, troubled teen dealing with the loss of her best friend Julia.  To help deal with her problems, Amy begins writing Julia long letters telling her about how she feels, her frustrations with school, how alone she seems.  These letters truly allow the reader to feel the pain that Amy is struggling with, and my heart truly broke for her.  Listening to this novel on audio seemed to make it all the more painful, because I could hear Amy's heart breaking with every word the narrator read.  By using Amy's letters to Julia, we are truly let into the mind of a teenager that struggles with decisions she made in the past.  We ride along on her road to discovery, traveling every twist, turn and bump.  It's an emotional rollercoaster but one I very much enjoyed taking.

Audio wise, I thought the narrator of this book was great.  It took me a few minutes to get used to her reading style, but once I did it was almost like watching a movie.  I almost felt like was eavesdropping, that how powerfully she read this novel, and how much she made it seem as though she truly was our main character Amy.  The power in an audio book is awesome, and I'm really enjoying them.  Plus they have completely doubled the amount of reading I can do in a week. 

If you are looking for a smart, entertaining, and sharp read Love You Hate You Miss You is definitely the book for you.  I'll be looking for more from author Elizabeth Scott in the coming weeks.

Monday, November 1, 2010

What are you reading (19)?

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 great week it's been.  I had a three day weekend which was wonderful, and it was my birthday yesterday.  The big 29!  Hubby and I went to an early dinner and then saw Red with Bruce Wilson and Helen Mirren.  It was a pretty good evening and it was nice getting out and doing something just the two of us :) Today, we went to my mom and dad's and I helped pass out candy for trick or trick and then my mom had made a huge dinner.  Plus, she surprised me with the best gift ever.  When I was little, my dad had made my brother and I wooden giraffes for our rooms.  You could hang clothes on them and they were also a little bench.  When I was about 14 years old, he gave mine to his uncle to use for a pattern.  Since then, his uncle passed away and there's been a lot of strife within the family.  My dad did not feel comfortable calling his aunt to ask for the giraffe and told me he'd make a  new one for the baby.  I was upset because I really wanted him to have the one I had growing up.  My mom being the most wonderful mother in the world, called and spoke to my dad's aunt and was able to go and pick up the giraffe.  She did this about a month ago and has had it hid in their basement since then.  I wanted to cry when I opened the door and saw it there.  There was nothing that could have made me more happy or made me mom love her even more for being such a kind and loving person.  She's the best :)

This was a great week for me reading wise.  I discovered audio last week, and used it to its full advantage this past week.  I listened to Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson (you can see that review HERE) and The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff (that review is HERE).  I also finished the most wonderful book ever: The Thorn Birds.  I can't say enough good things about it and I'm so glad I took the time to read it.  That review is HERE.

Winter is setting in so I tend to do more reading in the evenings, so I'm hoping for another good reading week.  Here's what I have coming up:

Something Like Fate Audio  by Susane Colasanti

The Alchemist's Daughter by Katharine McMahon

Second Honeymoon by Joanne Trollope

That's my week.  What do you have planned?

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