"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

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Banned Book Review: Audio of Are You There God, It's Me Margaret

Title: Are You There God, It's Me Margaret
Author: Judy Blume
Pages: 160
Rating: 5/5

"Are you there God? It's me, Margaret. I can't wait until two o'clock God. That's when our dance starts. Do you think I'll get Philip Leroy for a partner? It's not so much that I like him as a person God, but as a boy he's very handsome. And I'd love to dance with him... just once or twice. Thank you God."

A move from the city to the suburbs, sixth grade in a different school, a new group of friends. But Margaret handles it...in her own funny, endearing way (judyblume.com).

Growing up, I read...A LOT.  I went to the library every Tuesday and took out stacks and stacks of books.  I started with Ramona, moved on to The Baby-Sitters Club, and finally landed at Judy Blume.  And I fell in love.  I couldn't read these books fast enough.  I sailed through Just as Long as We're Together, Blubber, and Starring Sally J Freeman as Herself; but none touched me as much as Are You There God, It's Me Margaret.  I read this book over and over and over again, wearing at the library's dog eared and much loved copy.  It was my go to read through later elementary and middle school.  Imagine my shock, as when I was researching banned books that I saw it's name high on the list.  And why was it banned?  What was so wrong with Judy Blume?

Are You There God? It's Me Margaret has been criticized by certain groups for being controversial in dealing with puberty and religious indecision. According to Blume, a woman called her in the early 1980s, and after confirming she was the writer of the book, called her a Communist, and hung up the phone. To this day, no connection between communism and the topics in the book has ever been made, but it was the start of her unfortunate battle with censors.

Having listened to this again, I still see no reason why every girl shouldn't have to read this book.  It's a coming of age story.  What girl doesn't agonize over her first period, her first boy girl party, and buying that first bra.  To me Judy Blume's books are a comfort, like a warm blanket on a rainy day!  I absolutely adored listening to this book again!  I cracked up laughing at work, getting odd stares from my co-workers, as I imagined the PTS's practicing their bust enhancing exercises..."I MUST...I MUST...I MUST INCREASE MY BUST."  I felt like I was 10 years old again, making the discovery of Judy Blume all over again.

Blume currently has five titles on the ALA list of most frequently banned books:  Forever, Blubber, Are You There God, It's Me Margaret, Deenie, and Tiger Eyes.  You can see Judy Talking about her books and censorship here:

Monday, September 26, 2011

What are you reading (32)?

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 can't believe another Monday is here already.  And it's BANNED BOOKS WEEK!!  Make sure you check out my awesome giveaway HERE for a signed copy of Shine by Lauren Myracle in honor of Banned Books!!

Here was my week:

I got to see Lauren Myracle speak about banned books and censorship at the local high school.  She was absolutely amazing and I loved her!!

I also reviewed:
  • The Juliet Spell - Douglas Rees
  • 1st to Die - James Patterson
  • The Shadowing: Hunted - Adam Slater
This week I'm only reading books that have banned or challenged.  Here's my list to pick from:
  • Harriet the Spy: Louise Fitzhugh
  • Deenie: Judy Blume
  • The Outsiders: SE Hinton
  • Summer of My German Soldier: Bette Greene
  • Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry: Mildred D Taylor
  • The Giver: Lois Lowry
  • Charlotte's Web: EB White
These are almost all books that I read when I was in school, so I'm looking forward to going back and re-reading them and sharing them with you!!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

I got to meet Lauren Myracle...Fan Girl Squeal!!!

Back on Monday, I was scanning the library's website, looking to see if there was anything new around when I saw this:

I almost fan girl screamed in my seat at work.  Lauren Myracle was going to be in my town!!  I was so excited I could hardly contain myself as a filled out my time off request.  Here's the thing...not many authors come to my town.  In fact, since I've been blogging, there haven't been any YA authors that have come to my town.  It's very sad.  So I was thrilled to see that Lauren was coming...and to kick off Banned Books week to boot!!  Lauren has had 7 of her 13 books challenged or banned and her TTYL series made the list of Top Ten Banned Books in 2009.

Needless to say, Lauren was absolutely amazing today.  She shared with us a number of emails that she has received regarding the subject matter of her books and how they want to remove them from library shelves everywhere.  She talked about how it made her feel as an author, and why she wrote the things that she wrote.  Why she said the things that she did.    I sat in the crowd, eagerly nodding my head at each point, growing frustrated at the close mindedness of some of the parents that were contacting her.  It was the perfect way to kick off Banned Books Week.

Lauren also showed us the trailer for her latest release Shine, and read a few passages for us.  I haven't had a chance to read Shine yet, but will be doing so in the next week, as it is already causing ripples throughout the young adult community for its content and subject matter.  Afterwards, she signed copies of Shine and I bought two:  One for myself and ONE FOR ONE LUCKY READER (I'll be posting more details in a seperate give away post).

So all in all, it was an awesome start to Banned Books Week!! 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Audio Review: 1st to Die

Title: 1st to Die
Author: James Patterson
Listening Time: 9 hours and 1 min
Rating: 3/5

Imagine a killer who thinks, "What is the worst thing anyone has ever done?"--and then goes far beyond it. Now imagine four women --a police detective, an assistant DA, a reporter, and a medical examiner --who join forces as they sidestep their bosses to track down criminals. Known as the Women's Murder Club, they are pursuing a murderer whose twisted imagination has stunned an entire city. Their chief suspect is a socially prominent writer, but the men in charge won't touch him. On the trail of the most terrifying and unexpected killer ever, they discover a shocking surprise that turns everything about the case upside down (goodreads.com).

1st to Die was my first Patterson audio, and I have to say that it absolutely freaked me out!!  I completely forgot how violent Patterson's novels can be, and 1st to Die was no exception.  I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happened.  There were a few times I had to shut off my MP3 player and give myself a break.  It was that intense.  I'll definitely be checking out more of his books on audio because I think they bring a whole new feeling to his books.

However, the story itself seemed to be a bit lacking.  This was the first in the Women's Murder Club series.  Before this time, all the books I've read of Patterson's were from the Alex Cross series.  I'm actually looking forward to going back and re-reading these in order because I know I've missed some.  But anyways, back to the book at hand.  1st to Die introduces us to Lindsay Boxer, a tough, hard as nails detective, who is trying to solve a serial murder case involving newlyweds.  As the case moves along, Lindsay finds herself problem solving with her three friends: Cindy, Jill and Claire.  Hence, the women's murder club is born.

I loved the girls in the murder club, it was just the whole "mystery" aspect of the book that I found to be a bit absurd.  First off, I had the killer figured out by the time the book was half way over.  It kind of took a lot of wind out of the books sails, but I stuck on to figure out how Lindsay discovered everything.  Secondly, the epilogue threw me for a complete loop and left me feeling a bit sad and upset...not the type of feeling I like to have when finishing a book. 

So, basically, I loved the audio aspect, didn't really like the book itself.  I'm going to try 2nd Chance and see if I like that one any better.  I'll let you know :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Audio Review: Pretty Little Liars

Title: Pretty Little Liars
Author: Sara Shepard
Listening Time: 7hrs and 5mins
Rating: 3.5/5

In the exclusive Philadelphia suburb of Rosewood, Alison is the Queen Bee of her elite seventh grade hive. BFs Aria, Hanna, Spencer, and Emily vie for her attention, even as each of them hides a hideous secret only Alison knows. So when Alison goes missing after a slumber party, never to be seen again, each girl is heartbroken, but also a little relieved. Now it is three years later, and though the four girls have grown apart, they are each still hiding something. Artsy Aria is carrying on an affair with one of her teachers, fashionista Hanna shoplifts to accessorize her trendy outfits, blue-blood Spencer is sleeping with her older sister’s boyfriend, while straight-A Emily is trying to ignore her attraction to a new female classmate. When the girls begin receiving threatening text messages and emails that from someone known only as "A," they must confront the fact that against all odds, it appears Alison is back. Could Alison still be alive? And if so, why is she so determined to uncover all their dirty little secrets? (goodreads.com)

I'm pretty sure I bought Pretty Little Liars when it first was published, and it has sat on my shelf ever since.  I think I own up through book seven.  I've always wanted to read it but something else would come up and it would get pushed farther back on the TBR pile.  So, when I saw this available as an audio book on the library website, I snatched it up and started it the next day at work. 

I loved the audio, and thought it was really well done.  I also enjoyed the story...even though at times it had my jaw hanging to the floor.  These girls are BAD!!  I don't know if I would recommend this for really early YA readers.  It's definitely for the older crowd.

Now, on to the girls.  Pretty Little Liars centers around five friends - Alison who disappears in the first few pages; Emily the sporty, quiet, obiedient one; Aria the funky, insecure one that really pushes the boundaries; Spencer who tries to be a little miss perfect and finally Hannah who is basically the queen B*tch.  Each of these girls has a secret...a big secret.  No one knows what it is outside of the circle...or so they think.  This is where the book gets good, and a bit creepy.  Someone does know, and someone is spying on all the girls, bringing up the past.  Someone with the first initial A...

All in all, Pretty Little Liars was fast paced, attention grabbing, and full of what ifs.  I already pulled the second one off the shelf because I just have to find out what happens!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

eARC Review: The Juliet Spell

Title: The Juliet Spell
Author: Douglas Rees
Pages: 304
Rating: 4/5

Expected Publication Date: 9/27/2011

I wanted the role of Juliet more than anything. I studied hard. I gave a great reading for it—even with Bobby checking me out the whole time. I deserved the part.

I didn't get it. So I decided to level the playing field, though I actually might have leveled the whole play. You see, since there aren't any Success in Getting to Be Juliet in Your High School Play spells, I thought I'd cast the next best—a Fame spell. Good idea, right?

Yeah. Instead of bringing me a little fame, it brought me someone a little famous. Shakespeare. Well, Edmund Shakespeare. William's younger brother.

Good thing he's sweet and enthusiastic about helping me with the play...and—ahem—maybe a little bit hot. But he's from the past. Way past. Cars amaze him—cars! And cell phones? Ugh.

Still, there's something about him that's making my eyes go star-crossed....(goodreads.com)

I was thrilled to receive The Juliet Spell through Net Galley, as it was a title that I had wanted to read for quite a while. I like the Harlequin Teen line of books, and enjoy a wide variety of there titles. The Juliet Spell was no expection.

Miri is a girl with a dream. She is hoping beyond hope to be cast as Juliet in the community performance of Romeo and Juliet by the great William Shakespeare. She puts her wishes into a spell, and magically Edmund Shakeshaft appears in the middle of her kitchen. Edmund is the brother of Shakespeare, and my favorite character in the book. He's quitty, and charming, and pretty much had my heart as quickly as he captures Miri's. I loved how his character was protrayed. He was scared and quizzical, and some of his scenes had me laughing out loud, especially the first time he ever drove in a car. That being said, there were also times when I was so angry and disappointed in Edmund's decisions that I wanted to shake him. But I thought that this love hate relationship made the book that much more real.

I also enjoyed Miri's characters. I did find her to be a bit dense at times, and I wanted to shout through the pages everything that she was missing. But she had a charm about her that made her too likeable to stay annoyed with her. Her love for Edmund was young and fresh, and took me back to that first "real love" I experienced.

There were things about the book that bothered me, but I don't think they took away from the reading. I thought it was awfully strange how everyone, especially Miri's mother, just accepted that Edmund had come from the past and was now residing in her guestroom. I'm pretty sure if that was my mother, she would have riden me the riot act and then kicked Edmund to the curb. I don't think she would have dressed and fed him and helped him to find a new identity.

All in all, I thought The Juliet Spell was a cute, quick read that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys reading YA lit.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday (3)

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each Tuesday is a new topic.  Head on over and check it out!!

 This weeks topic is:

Top Ten Books That I Feel Everyone Has Read But Me

This shouldn't been too hard of a list for me to write.  There are so many books out there that I'm pretty sure I'm the last person to read.  Here we go:

1.  The Hunger Games: Suzanne Collins - I'm not really sure what is taking me so long to read this one.  I've had it on my shelf since when it came out, but I just have never found the time to pick it up.  I'm sure I'm missing out, and with the moving coming out I should get cracking.

2.  The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: Stieg Larsson - I have this one in mass market paperback and I think it's the size I find intimidating.  Or at least that's what I keep telling myself...

3.  City of Bones: Cassandra Clare - Every time a new one comes out in this series, I say to myself, "I should really read this now," but alas I never do. 

4.  The Book Thief:  Markus Zusak - This one is another one that has been sitting around on my shelf forever.  With this one, I'm just so scared I won't like it, that I keep not reading it.

5.  The Help: Kathryn Stockett - I don't even know with this one.  I've let five people borrow my copy of this and they have all raved about it, but yet I still don't read it.  Something may be wrong with me...lol :)

6.  The Kite Runner: Khaled Hosseini - I'm going to be completely honest here.  Sometimes I worry I'll be too dumb to enjoy this book.  I think I read so much YA fiction now, I often feel like I can't understand adult literature now. 

7.  The Giver: Lois Lowry - I'm definitely reading this one for banned books week.  I feel like I'm missing out on so much in the dsytopian genre by not reading this one.

8.  Shiver: Maggie Stiefvater - I own this one, but for some reason, the concept doesn't grab me so I just haven't given it much of a try.

9.  Uglies: Scott Westerfeld - I don't really know why I haven't read this one.  I buy all these books with the greatest intentions to read them right away, and then years later they're still hanging out on the shelves waiting for me to get to them.  I should use this list for motivation!!

10.  The Last Four Harry Potter Books: JK Rowling - I've seen the movies though!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

What are you reading (31)?

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!

Well this is a week I hope not to repeat any time soon.  Work was extremely busy.  We're going through "Lean Training," which is based on the Toyota work model.  It's extremely interesting, and I can see it really helping us, but being on the committee for it is exhausting.  I had training for three days, plus had to stay to take care of some other tasks.  I practically fell into bed each night.  Then on Wednesday night, I noticed that Anthony had a bit of a runny nose.  I didn't think much of it, until Thursday morning when he woke up and couldn't breath through his nose.  My mom and I figured it was either allergies and a head cold.  I spoke with my Dr. and he recommended children's Vicks and a cold air humidifier. 

Well, on Saturday it moved into his chest.  He was ok for most of the day, but by 8 that night, he had really eaten much and I felt that his breathing was more labored.  We packed him up and took him to the Children's Hospital ER.  They gave him two breathing treatments to help with the wheezing, and afterwords, they were able to tell that he had Croup.  He took an oral steroid and is doing almost 100% better today.  He's like a different baby.  We didn't get home though until 2 AM so I was pretty tired today.  Couple that with several nights of little to no sleep and I haven't been a happy camper!!

So that was my week.  Not a ton of reading time.  Here's the rundown.

Reviewed (links attached):
Read this past week:
  • Pretty Little Liars: Sara Shepard (REVIEW TO COME...this was my audio for the week, but I ended up finishing up with the book because I couldn't wait for Monday to keep going with the audio...I was too intrigued)
I'm going to continue reading the books I laid out last week.  I've gotten pretty far in two of them and should have them finished up here in the next day or two, barring that nothing else happens.

I also think I'm going to start looking into books to read and review for BANNED BOOKS WEEK (this is such a powerful week in the reading world!).  I also want to get started on the Word Shakers current review book which you can sign up for at Sheila's blog.

Also, I have some new audio to start.  I finally decided to try some James Patterson (1st to Die ) and Heist Society by Ally Carter.  These are subject to change though depending on my mood...lol

So that's my week...How bout yours?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Review: Welcome to the Great Mysterious

Title: Welcome to the Great Mysterious
Author: Lorna Landvik
Pages: 352
Rating: 2.5/5

Megastar of stage, screen, and television, Geneva Jordan now has a command performance in Minnesota, where she agrees to look after her thirteen-year-old nephew, a boy with Down’s syndrome, while his parents take a long-overdue vacation. Though Geneva and her sister, Ann, are as different as night and day (“I being night, of course, dark and dramatic”), Geneva remembers she had a family before she had a star on her door. But so accustomed is she to playing the lead, finding herself a supporting actress in someone else’s life is strange and unexplored territory. Then the discovery of an old scrapbook that she and her sister created long ago starts her thinking of things beyond fame. For The Great Mysterious is a collection of thoughts and feelings dedicated to answering life’s big questions—far outside the spotlight’s glow. . . (goodreads.com)

This is the second Landvik book that I've read and I had really high hopes for it.  I thought that Welcome to the Great Mysterious started out slow (very slow), got to be really good in the middle, and then kind of left with like a limp noodle at the end.  I'm pretty sure I've never had a book touch on so many emotions at once, and I'm just not sure how that blend worked for me.

The other thing that I think made this one drag for me was the fact that I absolutely hated the main character for about the first half of the book.  I couldn't get over how selfish she was, and I had a super hard time making any kind of connection with her.  She just wasn't my cup of tea.    I disagreed with so much that she did, that it made it hard for me to feel any type of bond with her.  In fact, I really didn't care what happened to her.

I think the other reason why my disappointment was a bit on the huge side, was because I absolutely adored "Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons."  I couldn't read it fast enough.  I thought this book was missing all of the charm that, AHEBB had. 

I'm not going to give up on Landvik yet though.  I still have quite a few of her other books to read and I'm going to give them a chance.  I'm just going to wait a bit before trying again...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

100 YA Books

I've seen this on several blogs today, and just for curiosity's sake I thought I would try it out.  Basically, it showed me that I suck as a YA reader...lol.  I must get reading!!

Bold - READ

1. Alex Finn – Beastly
2. Alice Sebold – The Lovely Bones
3. Ally Carter – Gallagher Girls (1, 2, 3, 4)
4. Ally Condie – Matched
5. Alyson Noel – The Immortals (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
6. Anastasia Hopcus – Shadow Hills
7. Angie Sage – Septimus Heap (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
8. Ann Brashares – The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (1, 2, 3, 4)
9. Anna Godbersen – Luxe (1, 2, 3, 4)
10. Anthony Horowitz – Alex Rider (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
11. Aprilynne Pike – Wings (1, 2, 3)
12. Becca Fitzpatrick – Hush, Hush (1, 2)
13. Brandon Mull – Fablehaven (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
14. Brian Selznick – The Invention of Hugo Cabret
15. Cassandra Clare – The Mortal Instruments (1, 2, 3, 4)
16. Carrie Jones – Need (1, 2, 3)
17. Carrie Ryan – The Forest of Hands and Teeth (1, 2, 3)
18. Christopher Paolini - Inheritance (1, 2, 3, 4)
19. Cinda Williams Chima – The Heir Chronicles (1, 2, 3)
20. Colleen Houck – Tigers Saga (1, 2)
21. Cornelia Funke – Inkheart (1, 2, 3)
22. Ellen Hopkins – Impulse
23. Eoin Colfer – Artemis Fowl (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
24. Faraaz Kazi – Truly, Madly, Deeply
25. Frank Beddor – The Looking Glass Wars (1, 2, 3)
26. Gabrielle Zevin – Elsewhere
27. Gail Carson Levine – Fairest
28. Holly Black – Tithe (1, 2, 3)
29. J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
30. James Dashner – The Maze Runner (1, 2)
31. James Patterson – Maximum Ride (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
32. Jay Asher – Thirteen Reasons Why
33. Jeanne DuPrau – Books of Ember (1, 2, 3, 4)
34. Jeff Kinney – Diary of a Wimpy Kid (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
35. John Boyne – The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
36. John Green – An Abundance of Katherines
37. John Green – Looking for Alaska
38. John Green – Paper Towns
39. Jonathan Stroud – Bartimaeus (1, 2, 3, 4)
40. Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl – Caster Chronicles (1, 2)
41. Kelley Armstrong – Darkest Powers (1, 2, 3)
42. Kristin Cashore – The Seven Kingdoms (1, 2)
43. Lauren Kate – Fallen (1, 2, 3)
44. Lemony Snicket - Series of Unfortunate Events (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13)
45. Libba Bray – Gemma Doyle (1, 2, 3)
46. Lisa McMann – Dream Catcher (1, 2, 3)
47. Louise Rennison – Confessions of Georgia Nicolson (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
48. M.T. Anderson – Feed
49. Maggie Stiefvater – The Wolves of Mercy Falls (1, 2, 3)
50. Margaret Peterson Haddix – Shadow Children (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)
51. Maria V. Snyder – Study (1, 2, 3)
52. Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
53. Markus Zusak – I am the Messenger
54. Mark Haddon – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
55. Mary Ting – Crossroads
56. Maureen Johnson – Little Blue Envelope (1, 2)
57. Meg Cabot – All-American Girl (1, 2)
58. Meg Cabot – The Mediator (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
59. Meg Cabot – The Princess Diaries (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
60. Meg Rosoff – How I live Now
61. Megan McCafferty – Jessica Darling (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
62. Megan Whalen Turner – The Queen’s Thief (1, 2, 3, 4)
63. Melina Marchetta – On the Jellicoe Road (favorite book ever!)
64. Melissa de la Cruz – Blue Bloods (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
65. Melissa Marr – Wicked Lovely (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
66. Michael Grant – Gone (1, 2, 3, 4)
67. Nancy Farmer – The House of the Scorpion
68. Neal Shusterman – Unwind
69. Neil Gaiman – Coraline
70. Neil Gaiman – Stardust
71. Neil Gaiman – The Graveyard Book
72. P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast – House of Night (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 )
73. Philip Pullman – His Dark Materials (1, 2, 3)
74. Rachel Caine – The Morganville Vampires (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
75. Rachel Cohn & David Levithan – Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist
76. Richelle Mead – Vampire Academy (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
77. Rick Riordan – Percy Jackson and the Olympians (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
78. Rom LcO’Feer – Somewhere carnal over 40 winks
79. S.L. Naeole – Grace (1, 2, 3, 4)
80. Sabrina Bryan & Julia DeVillers – Princess of Gossip
81. Sarah Dessen – Along for the Ride
82. Sarah Dessen – Lock and Key
83. Sarah Dessen – The Truth about Forever
84. Sara Shepard – Pretty Little Liars (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
85. Scott Westerfeld - Leviathan (1, 2)
86. Scott Westerfeld - Uglies (1, 2, 3)
87. Shannon Hale – Books of a Thousand Days
88. Shannon Hale – Princess Academy
89. Shannon Hale – The Books of Bayern (1, 2, 3, 4)
90. Sherman Alexie  Ellen Forney – The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
91. Simone Elkeles – Perfect Chemistry (1, 2, 3)
92. Stephanie Meyer – The Host
93. Stephanie Meyer – Twilight Saga (1, 2, 3, 4)
94. Sue Monk Kidd – The Secret Life of Bees
95. Susan Beth Pfeffer – Last Survivors (1, 2, 3)
96. Suzanne Collins – Hunger Games (1, 2, 3)
97. Suzanne Collins – Underland Chronicles (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
98. Terry Pratchett – Tiffany Aching (1, 2, 3, 4)
99. Tonya Hurley – Ghost Girl (1, 2, 3)
100. Wendelin Van Draanen – Flipped

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Review: Chain Reaction

Title: Chain Reaction
Author: Simone Elkeles
Pages: 308
Rating: 5/5

Luis Fuentes has always been sheltered from the gang violence that nearly destroyed his brothers’ lives. But that didn’t stop him from taking risks—whether he’s scaling a mountain in the Rockies or dreaming of a future as an astronaut, Luis can’t stop looking for the next thrill.

Nikki Cruz lives her life by three rules—boys lie to get their way, don’t trust a boy who says “I love you,” and never date a boy from the south side of Fairfield. Her parents may be from Mexico, but as a doctor’s daughter, she has more in common with her north-side neighbors than the Latino Blood at her school. Then she meets Luis at Alex’s wedding, and suddenly, she’s tempted to break all her rules.

Getting Nikki to take a chance on a southsider is Luis’s biggest challenge, until he finds himself targeted by Chuy Soto, the new head of the Latino Blood. When Chuy reveals a disturbing secret about Luis’s family, the youngest Fuentes finds himself questioning everything he’s ever believed to be true. Will his feelings for Nikki be enough to stop Luis from entering a dark and violent world and permanently living on the edge (goodreads.com)?

I've been obsessed with this series since reading Perfect Chemistry two years ago.  I couldn't get enough of these bad boys.  Despite being a book that I should absolutely hate, the Perfect Chemistry books are three books that I absolutely ADORE.  Elkeles is an awesome writer and something about these books is addicting.

The Fuentes brothers are back, and Chain Reaction focuses on Luis Fuentes, the youngest of the three boys.  In both Perfect Chemistry and Rules of Attraction, Luis was the all around good boy.  His brothers always said he wouldn't live the life they had, he wouldn't be involved in the gangs and so on.  So when I found out he had a book coming out, I wasn't sure how Elkeles was going to develop his character.  Despite my hesitation, Luis is my favorite of the three boys!

One of the things I love most about these books is the insane attraction between both the male and female protagonists and how they fight it almost the entire time.  I can't turn the pages fast enough to see what is going to happen next and who is going to end up with who and what kind of trouble everyone is getting in.  I think these are definitely one of those books where you live vicariously through the characters.

I bought this one for my Kindle because I had to have it RIGHT NOW, and we no longer have a bookstore (so crappy...).  I will, however, be getting it to match the other two in the series.  This is a set of books I think I will read over and over!!

Here's the trailer for a little bit more enticement...:)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday (2)

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  Each Tuesday is a new topic.  Head on over and check it out!!

 This weeks topic is:

Top Ten Books That I Read Because of Another Blogger

1.  Dairy Queen - Catherine Gilbert Murdock:  I looked at this one at the library for months and months and kept putting it back, until I saw a review on The Story Siren that raved about this trilogy.  I ended up reading all three books back to back in 2010.

2.  To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee:  I had never read this classic before, and when I read Sheila's review at One Person's Journey, I had to give it a try.  I am so glad that I did because its probably one of my all time favorite reads!

3.  Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson:  This one came from a number of different blogs.  It was around the time of Banned Books Week last year, when an article surfaced that pretty much said this was the "worst book ever written."  The blogging world was on fire regarding this, and I had to see for myself what this book was about.  It was so good, I'm reading it again this year during Banned Books Week!

4.  Twisted - Laurie Halse Anderson:  It wasn't really a recommendation for this particular book that came from a blog, but recommendations to try audio books.  I can still remember what it felt like when I realized that I could listen to books and work at the same time.  I was like an empowered women.  I still feel like I'm getting away with a huge secret at work every time I put my headphones on...

5.  Never Tell a Lie - Haille Ephron:  I found this one when J. Kaye's blog was still active.  I read the review and then ran to the library the next day to get my hands on this book.  There was just something about how she described it that made me have to read it.

6.  Wake - Lisa Mcmann:  This was another one that I looked at 500 times before I actually read it.  I finally read a review by my friend Katie (who sadly doesn't blog much anymore...but she gave it up to be a mommy which is the best job in the world!!).  Once I read the review, I couldn't get this book fast enough and ended up devouring it in less than a day, and followed it up with the sequel Fade.

7.  Perfect Chemistry - Simone Elkeles:  I can't remember what blog I saw this one on, I just know it made me HAVE TO HAVE IT.  Even though, at the time, I thought it sounded like the cheesiest book I've ever laid eyes on.  Ummm yeah, totally wrong about that.

8.  The Iron King - Julie Kagawa:  This one came from The Story Siren.  It still took me forever to read it...but every time she mentioned it, I was like "I really should read that book."  Yeah I really should have read it a lot sooner!

9.  Twilight - Stephanie Myer:  Sadly, this is how I found out about Twilight.  I kept seeing this book with a weird apple on it around the blogs.  This was way before I even had a blog...I just blog stalked.  Finally my curiousity one the better of me and I broke down and read it.  Am I glad I did...well yes...am I sometimes embarrassed by how much I enjoyed it...you bet ya...lol

10. Crank - Ellen Hopkins:  I'm not sure which blog recommended this book, but it raved about Hopkins and her awesome books...awesome is right.  Crank was an amazing book.

Monday, September 12, 2011

What are you reading (30)?

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 can't believe the end has come to another weekend!  I'm sitting here listening to old Britney Spears on Pandora and enjoying my first Iced Pumpkin Spiced Latte of the season.  The baby is in bed, hubby's watching an old movie on TV and life is good :).

Fall weather is starting to hit here in Ohio.  We've had a couple of warm days, but by Thursday, we're only supposed to be in the high 50s.  We've had a scorcher of a summer, so I'm looking forward to the cooler days.  I can't wait to open my windows, air out the house, and enjoy the smell of Fall in the air.  We've been hitting up the county fairs, enjoying the fair food, and hanging out as a family.  Life just seems to slow down once fall comes.  It's still too early to think about the holidays, and too late in the year too worry too much about the lawn and weeding and all that outside stuff!

As for books, I had a pretty good past two weeks for me.  I'm back to enjoying audios at work, which helps to double the amount of reading I can get done in a week.  I've got some pretty good ones (at least I think so...lol) lined up!

Reviewed (links attached):
Read this past week:
  • Welcome to the Great Mysterious - Lorna Landvik (review to come)
  • Chain Reaction - Simone Elkeles (review to come - AMAZING!)
  • Cloaked - Alex Flinn
I'm almost finished with Look Again by Lisa Scottoline that was on my list last week, and The Ghost Orchid by Carol Goodman and Roses by Leila Meacham are both still on my nightstand.  I just seem to keep finding other books I'd like to read first.  Plus I've gotten some really good review books lately, and I'd like to get those done!

Here's my list for the week:

Douglas Rees
This book is set to release at the end of month from Harlequin Teen.  It sounds absolutely adorable and I can't wait to get started on it!!

K.J. Wignall
I've already started this one.  It also comes out at the end of the month from Egmont and so far I'm really enjoying it!!

Adam Slater
The cover of this one completely creeps me out!!

Trinity Faegen
This one is getting amazing reviews, and it's been compared to having the magic of Twilight (not really sure about that comparision but now I can't wait to find out...lol)

I'm not sure yet what my audio book will be.  I was thinking about starting One Tuesday Morning by Karen Kingsbury which deals with a firefighter during 9/11, but I also have Night Road by Kristin Hannah that I'd really like to listen to so I'm not sure.  Have any of you read either one and care to help me out???


Audio Review: Cloaked

Title: Cloaked
Author: Alex Flinn
Listening Time: 6 hrs and 45 mins
Rating: 4/5

I'm not your average hero. I actually wasn't your average anything. Just a poor guy working an after-school job at a South Beach shoe repair shop to help his mom make ends meet. But a little magic changed it all. It all started with a curse. And a frognapping. And one hot-looking princess, who asked me to lead a rescue mission.

There wasn't a fairy godmother or any of that. And even though I fell in love along the way, what happened to me is unlike any fairy tale I've ever heard. Before I knew it, I was spying with a flock of enchanted swans, talking (yes, talking!) to a fox named Todd, and nearly trampled by giants in the Everglades.

Don't believe me? I didn't believe it either. But you'll see. Because I knew it all was true, the second I got cloaked (harpercollins.com).

I've been listening to my MP3 player again at work, so I find myself again turning to audio books to keep me company during a long day.  This week I listened to Cloak by Alex Flinn.  Last year, I read Beastly by the same author and absolutely adored it.  I enjoyed Cloak just as much.

To me the best thing about Cloak was the male protagonist.  I don't read a lot of books featuring a male narrator, and I don't know why because I really like them.  Johnny was an easy to like character, and I found myself rooting for him throughout all of his struggles and challenges.  I really wanted to see him prevail.  I think I always have a thing for the underdog.

The other thing that I really loved about Cloak was the use of fairy tales that weren't nearly as common as the fairy tales used in Beastly.  I absolutely had that story figured out before I even started it.  Cloaked on the other hand, while still predictable, held a bit more mystery. 

Flinn is a very strong writer, and I find myself being sucked into her stories.  They make we want to find a comfy chair, a warm blanket, and an amazing cup of coffee and settle in for a long and enjoyable ride.

As far as the audio itself, the reader was phenomenal.  I absolutely loved him!!  He truly made the story come alive.  This is probably one of the best audios that I have ever listened to, and it is all because of the reader!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Chilren

Title: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Pages: 352
Rating: 5/5

A mysterious island.

An abandoned orphanage.

A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows (goodreads.com).

This is probably the best book I have read in 2011.  I was completely hooked from the very first page.  I was enthralled by the story, and even more so by the pictures that litter the pages of this book.  The old photographs were equally creepy and fascinating, and I found myself looking at them again and again.  I couldn't get enough of them.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is an extremely character driven story.  Told through the eyes of 16 year old Jacob, we learn of a fantasy world that his grandfather told him about.  I fantasy world that his grandfather swears is real.  But Jacob doesn't believe him...at first.

I love Jacob.  I love Miss Peregrine.  And I love the Peculiar Children.  This entire story is just spellbinding.  The writing, for one, is magnificent.  It's smooth and flowing.  It's detailed without being boring.  It's perfect.  I think everyone should give this book a try.  And as an added incentive, I'm posting the book trailer which I really love!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Review: Firespell

Title: Firespell
Author: Chloe Neill
Pages: 246
Rating: 3/5

Lily's parents have sent her to a fancy boarding school in Chicago filled with the ultra-rich. If that wasn't bad enough, she's hearing and seeing bizarre things on St. Sophie's creepy campus. Her roommate, Scout, keeps her sane, but keeps disappearing at night. When one day Lily finds Scout running from real-life monsters, she learns the hard way that Scout is involved in a splinter group of rebel teens.

They protect Chicago from demons, vamps, and dark magic users. It's too bad Lily doesn't have powers of her own to help. At least, none that she's discovered yet...(goodreads.com)

This was a cute, quick read that I enjoyed.  It wasn't ground breaking, but it did keep me interested and turning the pages. 

I found Lily to be a bit annoying at first.  I thought it was almost like the "poor Lily" show, and found the book to remind me of almost every other story I've ever read about a girl that has to go to a boarding school.  Things got to be a bit better once Lily followed Scout into the basement.  From there, the story really picked up the past and had me turning the pages faster and faster.

I loved the idea of magicians and dark magic users.  The entire concept was pretty interesting, and I thought the two sides were pretty well developed.  I'm curious to see what happens with Lily and the dark side and how Neill will handle that relationship.

I'm looking forward to reading the next book in this series, Hexbound, but I won't be breaking down any doors to get to it.  

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