"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, March 7, 2012

Review: Uncommon Criminals

Title: Uncommon Criminals
Author: Ally Carter
Pages: 298
Rating: 5/5

Katarina Bishop has worn a lot of labels in her short life life. Friend. Niece. Daughter. Thief. But for the last two months she’s simply been known as the girl who ran the crew that robbed the greatest museum in the world. That’s why Kat isn’t surprised when she’s asked to steal the infamous Cleopatra Emerald so it can be returned to its rightful owners.

There are only three problems. First, the gem hasn’t been seen in public in thirty years. Second, since the fall of the Egyptian empire and the suicide of Cleopatra, no one who holds the emerald keeps it for long, and in Kat’s world, history almost always repeats itself. But it’s the third problem that makes Kat’s crew the most nervous and that is simply… the emerald is cursed.

Kat might be in way over her head, but she’s not going down without a fight. After all she has her best friend—the gorgeous Hale—and the rest of her crew with her as they chase the Cleopatra around the globe, dodging curses, realizing that the same tricks and cons her family has used for centuries are useless this time.

Which means, this time, Katarina Bishop is making up her own rules (www.goodreads.com).

I ignored this series for a long time because of the covers. I thought they looked "fake" and boring and made the story appear as though it wouldn't have any depth. Then last year, I was browsing the libraries audio, I picked up Heist Society and through it in my book cart. I started it at work a few days later and was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed it. The characters were wonderful, especially our main character Katarina. I soon fell in love with her and her witty band of followers. I was hooked. I couldn't wait to get my hands on Uncommon Criminals and was disappointed.

In Uncommon Criminals, Kat is back after pulling off one of the biggest heists in the society of criminals. Suddenly she's known everywhere as the girl who did the impossible. And now she's been asked to the impossible again. Find the Cleopatra Emerald and steal it for it's rightful owner. The problem - the Emerald is said to be cursed - and it is the unspoken rule in Kat's family that they will NEVER go after this jewel.

Ignoring the warnings, Kat and her team seem to pull off the impossible, but soon things begin to unravel and it is here that the story because absolutely, 100% un - put - downable!!

Uncommon Criminals held all the same magic that I experienced with Heist Society. It was quirky, and mysterious. It kept me on my toys. I certainly couldn't predict what was goign to happen next. Ally Carter has created an irresistable series that I cannot wait to continue to read.

Speaking of irresistableness, W W Hale is back with a vengenance and more intriguing then ever. I absolutely adore the budding romance between him and Kat and love that Carter is keeping us on our toes. It's as unpredictable as the jobs at hand, which I think, makes it all the better!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Review: The Pregnancy Project

Title: The Pregnancy Project A Memoir
Author: Gaby Rodriguez
Pages: 216
Rating: 3/5

Growing up, Gaby Rodriguez was often told she would end up a teen mom. After all, her mother and her older sisters had gotten pregnant as teenagers; from an outsider’s perspective, it was practically a family tradition. Gaby had ambitions that didn’t include teen motherhood. But she wondered: how would she be treated if she “lived down” to others' expectations? Would everyone ignore the years she put into being a good student and see her as just another pregnant teen statistic with no future? These questions sparked Gaby’s school project: faking her own pregnancy as a high school senior to see how her family, friends, and community would react. What she learned changed her life forever, and made international headlines in the process.

In The Pregnancy Project, Gaby details how she was able to fake her own pregnancy—hiding the truth from even her siblings and boyfriend’s parents—and reveals all that she learned from the experience. But more than that, Gaby’s story is about fighting stereotypes, and how one girl found the strength to come out from the shadow of low expectations to forge a bright future for herself (www.goodreads.com).

Memoirs come and go for me.  Sometimes I found them to really interesting and enjoyable, other times I’m bored with the story being presented to me.  It really depends on two things for me – my connection with the narrator, and the quality of writing.  Both of these things are so important, especially in a memoir because you don’t normally have the same conflict/resolution/happy ending as you would in a work of fiction.

I was first introduced to Gaby’s story through the Lifetime movie (there is really nothing I enjoy more than sitting with my feet up on a Saturday watching Lifetime movies for hours on end…).  I really enjoyed the movie and I was taken with the premise of the project, but I wanted to know more.  I was hoping that Gaby’s memoir would answer my questions.  The next day, I headed to the library, and placed the book on hold.  The minute it came in, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.  I was really interested in the bravery of this young girl.

That night I started reading, I began to learn Gaby’s background story…by page 60 (in a book that is only 216 pages) I was still learning it.  I was quickly becoming bored with the story.  I wanted to know about the project!  Finally, we see where Gaby makes the decision for her project, and the reactions of those around her and she works for approval of her idea.  I liked reading about what the principle and teachers thought of Gaby’s project, and it was interesting to read about her mother’s reaction also.  However, I felt like the book was lacking any real emotion.  I just didn’t see the push and drive that was behind the project.  I read the words on the pages, but I didn’t feel for Gaby. 

As the story progresses, we learn more about the reactions of Gaby’s classmates, but to be honest, I almost feel like the movie gave me a better idea of how her classmates and teachers acted.  I almost feel like the actual part of the book about the project was rushed.  I don’t feel like it was given the time that it needed in such a short book.  I would have rather learned less about Gaby’s background and that of her brothers and sisters, and more of the affects of the project on those around Gaby.  I just never felt like I got a real sense of how her brothers and sisters felt, how her boyfriend was handling the pressure, and how his family was reacting.  I just felt it was a bit glossed over.

Now, I still do think that Gaby’s project was amazing.  And I do see the impact that it had on not only her community but hopefully of the nation.  I just think that this book was almost rushed out and it didn’t get the full time and attention that it deserved.  I just don’t know if Gaby was truly able to really “tell her story.” 

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