"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, July 25, 2011

What are you reading (28)?

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!

So its been a long, long time since I've done this meme.  Having a baby is busy work!!  I did get back on the blog this week and posted ten reviews for books that I've read since my last posting so I do feel caught up there.

A lot's happened since the last time I posted.  Hubby got a new job which is about 45 minutes from home but he loves it.  My baby turned six months old last week and he's working on his first tooth.  It has not been a fun time in this house.  I feel horrible for him, and nothing seems to be helping him so if anyone has any suggestions I'm all ears!!

I haven't gotten a ton of reading done.  Normally by the time I get home, get dinner, give Jr his bath and dinner, do a few loads of laundry and then get him to bed, I'm exhausted and can't even concentrate on the pages of the book.  But I haven't done horrible - I mean I have read ten books since March.  In the past few weeks I've been reading more and averaged about six books in the last three or four weeks.

Oh, I forgot to mention I also got a Kindle.  I named her Geraldine and I love her a lot!  I'll be even more in love with her once the library gets up and running to make their ebooks compatiable.

Ok now to the books...lol.

This past week I read Forgive my Fins by Tera Lynn Childs - that review can be found HERE.

This week I'd like to read:

Julie Kagawa
I'm already about half way thru this one and can't hardly put it down.  I've waited way to long to finally read these books!!

Cholie Neill
This one is due back to the library soon so I'd like to read it before its time to return it.  Should be a quick read.

Tara Hudson
I'm really taken in by the cover on this one and think the story sounds phenomenal!

So that's my reading week.  I'm looking forward to it.  And of course I had to post a pic of my little munchkin.  Here he is after some yummy sweet potatoes...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Review: Forgive My Fins

Title: Forgive My Fins
Author: Tera Lynn Childs
Pages: 293
Rating: 4/5

Lily Sanderson has a secret, and it’s not that she has a huge crush on gorgeous swimming god Brody Bennett, who makes her heart beat flipper-fast. Unrequited love is hard enough when you’re a normal teenage girl, but when you’re half human, half mermaid like Lily, there’s no such thing as a simple crush.

Lily’s mermaid identity is a secret that can’t get out, since she’s not just any mermaid – she’s a Thalassinian princess. When Lily found out three years ago that her mother was actually a human, she finally realized why she didn’t feel quite at home in Thalassinia, and she’s been living on land and going to Seaview high school ever since, hoping to find where she truly belongs. Sure, land has its problems – like her obnoxious, biker boy neighbor Quince Fletcher – but it has that one major perk – Brody. The problem is, mermaids aren’t really the casual dating type – when they “bond,” it’s for life.

When Lily’s attempt to win Brody’s love leads to a tsunami-sized case of mistaken identity, she is in for a tidal wave of relationship drama, and she finds out, quick as a tailfin flick, that happily-ever-after never sails quite as smoothly as you planned (goodreads.com).

Forgive My Fins is not deep literature, but its a really cute fun summer read that I fell in love with!!

This is the first book I've read by Childs and it won't be my last.  I just loved it.  Lily is such a cute character and Childs writing just kept me coming back for more.  I can't believe I haven't picked this one up before now!

My favorite character of the whole book though was definitely Quince.  I just knew when he threw that first spitball that I was going to like him.  He was so endearing and no matter what Lily did he never really got angry with her.  He was just adorable!

As for Brody, I thought he was an a**...nuff said.

The one thing that did drive me crazy about this book and the reason why I only gave it four stars was the ad nauseaum mention of "the bond."  At times I felt like I was getting hit over the head with it and by the time I got to the last 30 pages, I didn't really like "the bond" anymore...lol.  Other than that I thought it was such a fun read.

I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel "Fins are Forever."  I can't wait to see what Childs has in store for Lily next!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Review: Ruby Red

Title: Ruby Red
Author: Kerstin Gier
Pages: 336
Rating: 5/5

Gwyneth Shepard has spent the majority of her life listening to her grandmother and aunt boast about her cousin Charlotte, who inherited the family's time travel gene. Now that she is sixteen, she will make her first journey into the past any day, and the entire family is on edge. Even Gwen is a little curious about the specifics of time traveling, a subject her grandmother rarely goes into detail about. But everyone is in for a shock when it's Gwen who slides through time, not Charlotte. Suddenly the entire family is in an uproar, and Gwen is thrust into a world of a centuries-old secret society, mysterious devices, prophecies, and the mystery of a cousin who has disappeared back into time. With the aloof (and devastatingly handsome) Gideon, Gwyneth will have to decipher the mysteries and figure out where she stands as two powers struggle for control throughout time (cover blurb).

I honestly had no clue what Ruby Red was about until I started reading. I simply picked it up because I had seen the cover on a few blogs and thought it looked pretty. I also had no idea it was a translation, and couldn’t believe how well it had been done. I’ve read other translations (or tried to read them) and didn’t feel that they were able to convey the emotions when the translated them from their original text. Ruby Red surprised me.

Ruby Red is a story about time travel. Gwyneth’s family has carried the time traveling gene for generations. The time and date of a person’s birth determines if the will, in fact, inherit that gene. For Gwyneth, she has never worried about because her cousin Charlotte was born with the gene. Charlotte has spent her life in secret meetings, obtaining training about correct dress and speak and how to use a sword. However, when the time comes, Gwyneth is the one that time travels, not Charlotte.

Not only is Gwyneth ill prepared for time travel, she certainly is ready to meet Gideon her time traveling partner from another prominent family. Gideon appears to be stuck up and snobby, but by the end of Ruby Red, I think both Gwyneth and myself had developed quite a little crush on him!!

All in all, I absolutely adored Ruby Red and cannot wait for the second book in the trilogy to be translated and released in the US. It was just so good!!

Review: Fearscape

Title: Fearscape
Author: Simon Holt
Pages: 314
Rating: 5/5


The Vours: evil, demonic beings that inhabit human bodies on Sorry Night, the darkest hours of the Winter Solstice.

It's been a year since Reggie first discovered the Vours, and the Winter Solstice is approaching once again. It will be another night of unspeakable horror for those unlucky enough to be taken by the Vours, because this time, she won't be able to stop them. The Vours have imprisoned Reggie in a psychiatric hospital, where she is subjected to a daily routine of unfathomably sadistic experiments. Her life is a living Hell, but she won't give up. They attacked her brother. They killed her friend. And Reggie will never stop fighting back (goodreads.com).

At the end of The Solstice, Reggie is hauled away to the psychiatric hospital where the evil Dr. Unger lurks. Here Reggie is subjected to hundreds of experiments, visiting fearscape after fearscape. One of the darkest and scariest scenes, for myself, happened while Reggie was still in the hospital and it involved Dr. Unger. That being said, I think that Holton's writing is truly terrifying. The descriptions of the different fearscapesin this book are even more frightening than those in the two previous books. Holton has gone above and beyond in Fearscape to bring the reading to the truly terrifying. I was completely sucked into the story and found myself avoiding dark rooms and for a week straight I went to bed whenever hubby went to bed - never after.

My favorite character in this book has to be Quinn. I think he overcame so much after Reggie freed him from the vour in The Solstice, and it was nice to watch him grow in Fearscape. I also think I might have a tiny little crush on good Quinn...lol.

One of the things that really made this book for me were the surprise twists and turns. Holt took this book in a direction that I never saw coming and I was completely shocked by the end. I thought this was a perfect wrap up to a really good trilogy and one I'll enjoy reading again.

If you like a good scare, pick up this trilogy and enjoy...just don't read it with the lights out!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Review: Hearts at Stake

Title: Hearts at Stake
Author: Alyxandra Harvey
Pages: 248
Rating: 4/5

On Solange’s sixteenth birthday, she is going to wake up dead. As if that’s not bad enough, she also has to outwit her seven overprotective older brothers, avoid the politics involved with being the only daughter born to an ancient vampire dynasty, and elude Kieran Black—agent of an anti-vampire league who is searching for his father’s killer and is intent on staking Solange and her entire family.

Luckily she has her own secret weapon—her human best friend Lucy—who is willing to defend Solange’s right to a normal life, whether she’s being smothered by her well-intentioned brothers or abducted by a power-hungry queen. Two unlikely alliances are formed in a race to save Solange’s eternal life—Lucy and Solange’s brother Nicholas, and Solange and Kieran Black—in a dual romance that is guaranteed to jump start any romance-lover’s heart.

Even fans of the genre who’ve seen it all will find a fresh read with kick-butt characters and family dynamics that ring true for all brothers and sisters—vampire or otherwise (goodreads.com).

I avoided Hearts at Stake for a long time, simply because of the cover.  I thought it was ugly, and dare I say it, made the book look stupid.  However, after reading a few reviews on Goodreads, I felt the need to at least give it a try.  I'm awfully glad I did.

Hearts at Stake is the first book in the Drake Chronicles and tells the story of Solange Drake, the first female vampire to be born not made.  The story is told from two perspectives - Solange and Lucy her best friend who is very much a human.  I absolutely adored the character of Lucy.  I thought she was spunky and fresh and not scared to hold her ground amoung a group of vampires.  Plus, I found her relationship with Solange's brother Nicholas to be adorable.

Hearts at Stake is a fast paced, fun read that at times can be a bit predictable.  The writing is good and I loved the characters.  I look forward to reading more about the Drake family.  Plus, the other covers in the series are so much better!!

Review: But I Love Him

Title: But I Love Him
Author: Amanda Grace
Pages: 245
Rating: 5/5

Tonight was so much worse than anything before it. Tonight he didn't stop after the first slap.

At the beginning of senior year, Ann was a smiling, straight-A student and track star with friends and a future. Then she met a haunted young man named Connor. Only she can heal his emotional scars; only he could make her feel so loved — and needed. Ann can't recall the pivotal moment it all changed, when she surrendered everything to be with him, but by graduation, her life has become a dangerous high wire act. Just one mistake could trigger Connor's rage, a senseless storm of cruel words and violence damaging everything — and everyone — in its path.

This evocative slideshow of flashbacks reveals a heartbreaking story of love gone terribly wrong (goodreads.com).

But I Love Him is a quick read, but there is so much power behind its 245 pages that it left me simply breathless.  I don't think words can even describe how I felt as I flew threw its pages, feeling Ann's emotions, seeing how she surrendered everything to Connor.  I was wrapped up in Connor and how he was a broken, emotionally distraught young man, who didn't understand his emotions, let alone what he was doing to someone else.  By the time I turned the last page I was breathless and exhausted.  This book was that good.

But I Love Him is told from the end of Ann and Connor's relationship to the beginning.  We don't know how or when things start happening.  We can't judge Ann and say "Why would she do that??" because as the reader, you don't have any background to understand what happened before hand.  It made me look at an abusive relationship in a whole new light.  I think so many times, people think "Well I would have left the first time he raised his fist to me."  However, But I Love Him plays with your mind, let's you see exactly how Ann is thinking and what finally changes for her so that she can see the light.

Despite the fact that Connor is the abuser in this relationship, I felt sorry for him.  I could see how his life had made him the way he was.  I understood how confused he was, how the circle of his life as caused him to be the way he is.  Rather than hating him, I wanted to help him.  Make him see the errors of his way.  Help him to get better and lead a different life.

Amanda Grace left me feeling so many different emotions, and I can't say enough good things about her writing.  I look forward to reading more of her works, and But I Love Him will definitely be one of my top reads for 2011.

Review: I Heart You, You Haunt Me

Title: I Heart You, You Haunt Me
Author: Lisa Schroeder
Pages: 227
Rating: 1/5

Girl meets boy.

Girl loses boy.

Girl gets boy back...

...sort of.

Ava can't see him or touch him, unless she's dreaming. She can't hear his voice, except for the faint whispers in her mind. Most would think she's crazy, but she knows he's here.

Jackson. The boy Ava thought she'd spend the rest of her life with. He's back from the dead, as proof that love truly knows no bounds (goodreads.com).

I've read a few different books told in verse, and I'd heard good things about Lisa Schroeder so I wanted to give her a try.  I Heart You, You Haunt Me is a short, fast read that I was able to complete in one sitting.  However, unlike the other books in verse that I've read, I didn't love it.  In fact, I didn't even really like it.

For one thing, I absolutely detested the main character Ava.  I'm not really sure what it was about her I didn't like, but she constantly grinded on my nerves.  I just found her to be a bit whiney and depressing.  Not exactly great character traits for the main person in the story.  Secondly, I thought the book was much too short to fully flush out the story.  Many of the other books I've read in verse have been around 400 to 600 pages.  At a little over 200, I thought this book seemed to be a bit rushed.

I'd looked forward to reading this one for quite a while, so I was disappointed in my feelings about it.  However, I'd like to give Schroeder another chance and see if it was just this particular book I didn't like or any of her books.  Wish me luck!!

Review: Fall Out

Title: Fallout
Author: Ellen Hopkins
Pages: 672
Rating: 3.5/5

Hunter, Autumn, and Summer—three of Kristina Snow’s five children—live in different homes, with different guardians and different last names. They share only a predisposition for addiction and a host of troubled feelings toward the mother who barely knows them, a mother who has been riding with the monster, crank, for twenty years.

Hunter is nineteen, angry, getting by in college with a job at a radio station, a girlfriend he loves in the only way he knows how, and the occasional party. He's struggling to understand why his mother left him, when he unexpectedly meets his rapist father, and things get even more complicated. Autumn lives with her single aunt and alcoholic grandfather. When her aunt gets married, and the only family she’s ever known crumbles, Autumn’s compulsive habits lead her to drink. And the consequences of her decisions suggest that there’s more of Kristina in her than she’d like to believe. Summer doesn’t know about Hunter, Autumn, or their two youngest brothers, Donald and David. To her, family is only abuse at the hands of her father’s girlfriends and a slew of foster parents. Doubt and loneliness overwhelm her, and she, too, teeters on the edge of her mother’s notorious legacy. As each searches for real love and true family, they find themselves pulled toward the one person who links them together—Kristina, Bree, mother, addict. But it is in each other, and in themselves, that they find the trust, the courage, the hope to break the cycle.

Told in three voices and punctuated by news articles chronicling the family’s story, FALLOUT is the stunning conclusion to the trilogy begun by CRANK and GLASS, and a testament to the harsh reality that addiction is never just one person’s problem (goodreads.com).

The first book I ever read by Ellen Hopkins was Crank, and while depressing, I was extremely moved by the story itself.  I was excited to read Glass when it was released, and couldn't wait to get my hands on Fallout.  However, despite my initial enthiusiam, Fallout fell flat for me.  I'm not sure if it was the fact that it was told from Kristina's children's view, or if it was the fact that I was burnt out on the entire story line, but I felt that this particular story seemed to drag a lot more than either of the two prior novels.

One thing I did enjoy about Fallout was the way that Hopkins allowed us to see what happened to minor characters we had seen in the first two books through short news clippings and articles scattered throughout the pages of the texts.  It did help to wrap up a lot of loose ends that remained at the end of Glass.  I also enjoyed Hopkins writing style.  Her poems are always delivered in neat designs and often you'll find that there's almost two poems in one.  However, I did read this on the Kindle, and I felt that a lot of the power of the set up of the book was lost in e book format.  I think from now on I'll be reading Hopkins books the old fashioned way!

My favorite character in this book was Hunter.  I think its because I felt the closest connection to him since he was Kristina's first child and we learned so much about him in both Crank and Glass.  I had a hard time connecting with both Autumn and Summer.  I had a hard time feeling anything towards them.  In fact, they both almost got on my nerves, especially towards the end of the story. 

This was definitely my least favorite of the trilogy and I'm glad it's the last book in Kristina's story.  I'm not really sure how much more of it I can take before I threw a book across the wall, she just makes me that angry!!  If you read Crank and Glass, I would definitely say to read Fallout because it gives a lot of closure to the story, but I certianly wasn't awed by it like I have been previously by Hopkins.

Review: Bitter End

Title: Bitter End
Author: Jennifer Brown
Pages: 359
Rating: 4/5

When Alex falls for the charming new boy at school, Cole, a handsome, funny, sports star who adores her, she can't believe she's finally found her soul mate-someone who truly understands her and loves her for who she really is.

At first, Alex is blissfully happy. Sure, Cole seems a little jealous of her relationship with her best friends, Zack and Bethany, but what guy would want his girlfriend spending all of her time with another boy? But as the months pass, Alex can no longer ignore Cole's small put-downs, pinches, or increasingly violent threats. As Alex struggles to come to terms with the sweet boyfriend she fell in love with and the boyfriend whose "love" she no longer recognizes, she is forced to choose - between her "true love" and herself (goodreads.com).

Last year, Jennifer Brown's debut novel, Hate List was one of my top reads.  I was extremely moved by that novel, and was thrilled to see she had another book coming out.  I downloaded Bitter End onto my Kindle the day of its release and finished it by the next morning.  While I didn't love it like I did Hate List, I was still quite moved by the story and Brown's writing.

Bitter End is a raw, moving teen contemporary.  I thought Brown did a good job of tackling the tough topic of domestic abuse, and at times I felt as though I could feel every bit of Alex's emotions.  One of my favorite things about Brown's books is her character development, and Bitter End was no different.  By the end of the story, I felt like I knew Alex as well as I knew myself.  And I understood why she felt the way she did about Cole.  Cole was a product of his environment.  His father was abusive and degrading to women.  Cole didn't know of any other way to be.  I'm not saying that that is an excuse, I'm just seeing how a person can get to be that way.

All in all, I really enjoyed Bitter End.  The only issue I had was the ending.  I felt there was some issues that were left hanging, but I'll let you see that for yourself!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Review: Jellicoe Road

Title: Jellicoe Road
Author: Melina Marchetta
Pages: 432
Rating: 5/5

"What do you want from me?" he asks. What I want from every person in my life, I want to tell him. More.

Abandoned by her mother on Jellicoe Road when she was eleven, Taylor Markham, now seventeen, is finally being confronted with her past. But as the reluctant leader of her boarding school dorm, there isn't a lot of time for introspection. And while Hannah, the closest adult Taylor has to family, has disappeared, Jonah Griggs is back in town, moody stares and all.

In this absorbing story by Melina Marchetta, nothing is as it seems and every clue leads to more questions as Taylor tries to work out the connection between her mother dumping her, Hannah finding her then and her sudden departure now, a mysterious stranger who once whispered something in her ear, a boy in her dreams, five kids who lived on Jellicoe Road eighteen years ago, and the maddening and magnetic Jonah Griggs, who knows her better than she thinks he does. If Taylor can put together the pieces of her past, she might just be able to change her future (goodreads.com)

For my first Mother's Day, Hubby bought me a Kindle which I have named Geraldine.  I love her!!  The first book I downloaded and quickly read was Jellicoe Road.  And can I just say, it was simply amazing.  I don't understand why I haven't heard more about this book on the blogs.  Maybe I'm just behind, but I couldn't put this down. 

First of all, Marchetta's writing is absolutely exquisite.  I can't think of a better word to even describe it.  The book simply flows, with this gorgeous writing that had me enveloped in layers upon layers of emotions.  I loved every minute of it.  I immediately fell in love with the characters, and was brought to tears by the last page.  It was one of those books in which I immediately wanted to start reading it again. 

I know a lot of people have started this book and given up on it because it was confusing.  DON'T DO IT!!  Stick with it, keep notes, do whatever you have to do.  Once the story is right in your mind, you'll be so happy you stuck with it.  Each of the characters just crawls into your head, and pretty soon you'll feel as though you are hanging out with them.  Their story will become your story.  Trust me on this one. 

I'm looking forward to reading more of Marchetta's writings, but Jellicoe Road will be a book that read again and again and again.  It touched me so profoundly, that I just can't say enough!  It's a story about forgiviness and moving on, friendship and love, life and death. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Review: $#*! My Dad Says

Title: $#*! My Dad Says
Author: Justin Halpern
Pages: 158
Rating: 3/5

After being dumped by his longtime girlfriend, twenty-eight-year-old Justin Halpern found himself living at home with his seventy-three-year-old dad. Sam Halpern, who is "like Socrates, but angrier, and with worse hair," has never minced words, and when Justin moved back home, he began to record all the ridiculous things his dad said to him:

"That woman was sexy. . . . Out of your league? Son, let women figure out why they won't screw you. Don't do it for them."

"The worst thing you can be is a liar. . . . Okay, fine, yes, the worst thing you can be is a Nazi, but then number two is liar. Nazi one, liar two."

More than a million people now follow Mr. Halpern's philosophical musings on Twitter, and in this book, his son weaves a brilliantly funny, touching coming-of-age memoir around the best of his quotes. An all-American story that unfolds on the Little League field, in Denny's, during excruciating family road trips, and, most frequently, in the Halperns' kitchen over bowls of Grape-Nuts, Sh*t My Dad Says is a chaotic, hilarious, true portrait of a father-son relationship from a major new comic voice (goodreads.com).

This past winter, hubby and I found ourselves rolling on the floor laughing at the new comedy starring William Shatner, called "$#*! My Dad Says."  At the time, I had no clue it was actually based on a book and that there was a man as funny and too the point as William Shatner's character.   However, after a little research, I discovered that it was based on a true story and had to get the book.

At times, $#*! My Dad Says had me rolling on the floor laughing.  I one point I had tears falling from my eyes.  However, at other times, I found myself being quite put off by the language used, and found it to be a bit offensive.  I certainly wouldn't recommend this book to just anyone.

Halpern's father is too the point, crude and also, in a strange way, extremely loving.  While at times, I was extremely taken aback by what he had to say, I totally understood the point he was trying to make.  Despite his tough exterior, Halpern's father truly cares about his son and it shows through on the pages of this book.  All in all, $#*! My Dad Says was a decent read, but now one I'll be returning to any time soon.

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