"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

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Review: Rescue Me

Title: Rescue Me
Author: Rachel Gibson
Pages: 384
Challenges: Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4/5

Summary from Goodreads:

 She’s 33, unmarried, and stuffed into a Bubble Yum pink bridesmaid dress. And the whole town wants to fix her up with anyone with a dental plan… Who’s going to rescue Sadie Hollowell now? Everyone in Lovett, Texas knows Sadie has always been a ‘notional’ kind of gal. She got a notion to leave town asap , and never visit her daddy (bless his heart). Now, she’s back and got the notion to invite a good-looking, hard-muscled, total stranger to her cousin’s wedding. Better a stranger than some of the losers she’s dated. Vince Haven got his muscles the hard way—as a Navy SEAL in Afghanistan. He’s staying in Lovett to visit his crazy aunt—the proprietor of the local Gas N Go. Before he can get the heck back out of the small town, his aunt makes him an offer he can’t refuse. Maybe he’ll stick around Lovett for a while. Maybe he’ll make a ‘go’ of the Gas N Go. Maybe he’ll rescue Sadie out of that pink dress!

I grabbed this book the other day when I was at Target picking up a few odds and ends.  I had enjoyed the Rachel Gibson book that I read a few weeks ago, and thought this one looked equally as good.  I wasn't disappointed.  As with the other Gibson books I've read, I couldn't get enough of Rescue Me!

This book was darling and cute and sexy all at the same time.  I absolutely LOVED the two main characters Sadie and Vince, and don't think they could have been written any better.  Plus, this book had everything that I look for in a Rachel Gibson novel - a hot male lead, a smart female, a good plot, and lots of action.  I read this book in only a few hours, and couldn't put it down.  I'm starting to remember now why I always loved the contemporary romance genre so much.  I really starting to get sucked in again this year.

I also like how this book tied into the Chinooks series that Gibson also writes.  It was nice to hear about some other characters and catch up on how they were doing.  I definitely think I'll reading some more of Rachel Gibson this year!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Review: The Raven Boys

Title: The Raven Boys
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Listening Time:  11 hours and 8 minutes
Challenges: None
Rating: 2/5

Summary from Goodreads:

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before.

I feel like a traitor for writing this review, because everyone told me how great this book was, and I have to be honest...I just didn't get it.  While I thought it sounded fabulous, and I loved the idea of the story line, once I started listening, I couldn't connect with it.  I don't know if it was the story itself, the narrator, the characters, but something about this book held me back.

I'm pretty sure that if I had read it, I never would have finished it.  The first third of the book was so boring to me, the back story too wordy and long.  I didn't like Blue, and I didn't like any of the Raven Boys.  I just couldn't connect, but I kept listening, thinking that things would get better, and eventually I'd be blown out of the water by how amazing things are.

That never seemed to happen.  I did think the book improved, and got "better" but it never reached that pinnacle point where I couldn't stop listening and had to know what was going to happen.  It was more like a "oh, well I'll just listen to this for a few more minutes and then maybe listen to something else for a while."

Character-wise, I had a really hard time with all the characters, but I did find myself enjoying Gansey.  I thought he was a good character, and I found myself wanting to know what was going to happen to him.  Plus, I'm curious to see where the author takes the whole Blue/Gansey relationship.  It may be the only reason why I try to read the sequel later this year.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Review: Murder is Binding

Title: Murder is Binding
Author: Lorna Barrett
Listening Time: 8 hours and 33 minutes
Challenges: Cozy Mystery
Rating: 3.5/5

Summary from Goodreads:

The streets of Stoneham, New Hampshire are lined with bookstores...and paved with murder.

Stoneham, New Hampshire, was a dying town until community leaders invited booksellers to open shop. Now, its streets are lined with bookstores - and paved with murder…

When she moved to Stoneham, city-slicker Tricia Miles was met with friendly faces. And when she opened her mystery bookstore, she met with friendly competition. But when she finds Doris Gleason dead in her own cookbook store, killed by a carving knife, the atmosphere seems more cutthroat than cordial. Someone wanted to get their hands on the rare cookbook that Doris had recently purchased - and the locals think that someone is Tricia. To clear her name, Tricia will have to take a page out of one of her own mysteries - and hunt down someone who isn’t killing by the book …

What a fun and cute cozy mystery!  This was a really good audio book, and I quite enjoyed it.  This is definitely one series that I will be continuing with!

Tricia Miles is newly divorced and starting over in the town of Stoneham, NH.  Things are going really well until her neighbor ends up dead, and she seems to be the one and only suspect according to the local police.  However, despite everyone being against her, Tricia is afraid to do some investigating herself.

One reason why I really enjoyed this book was because of the atmosphere.  I really loved the idea of the town of Stoneham.  The thought of little used book stores lining the city street, made me wish that the town was real.  I'd love to take a trip there and spend the day perusing the different stores and finding treasures on the various shelves.

Mystery wise, the story was slightly predictable.  I had an inkling of who the killer was about half way through the audio, but it didn't damper my enjoyment.  The writing was wonderful, and the audio was really good.  I loved the narrator and thought she did a good job with the various characters.  I can't wait to see what happens to Tricia in subsequent books, and I'm hoping the hold moves along quickly at the library for book 2!!

Monday, February 25, 2013

What are you reading??

What a long week!  Work just seemed to drag and drag, and by the time I got home each week I was burnt out.  Thank goodness I have a wonderful little boy, and a great husband to come home too.  Otherwise, I may have find myself just driving and not stopping until I hit a beach somewhere. 

This past weekend, we got the spare bedroom all cleaned out, and scrubbed down.  We patched all the holes from the old pictures and sanded them all done.  My brother is home for spring break this week and volunteered to come over and paint the room for us.  I was not turning him down.  I'm so thankful for him offering to help, as I've been in a lot of hip pain and didn't think I'd be of much help in getting it done.  Once the rooms painted, we can start switching over Anthony's stuff and getting him adjusted.  Only 15 weeks to go!

Reading was, I had a pretty good week.  I finished four books this week, which wasn't my best week, but not my worst either.  I didn't get nearly the reading done that I had thought I'd get through, but stuff happens.  Here's what I read this past week:

I absolutely loved three of the books, and hated I Hunt Killers.  All my reviews are up on the blog.

I have another jammed pack reading week ahead of me.  I hope to finish out the month of February strong!  Here's what I have on the list:

I've already started Scarlet, and I'm about 3/4 of the way through Murder is Binding.  It looks like it good be a great week for me!

What are you reading this week?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Review: Club Dead

Title: Club Dead
Author: Charlaine Harris
Pages: 258
Challenges: Mount TBR, Sookie Stackhouse
Rating: 4/5

Summary from Goodreads:

Sookie Stackhouse always found it difficult to date - she's cute, but not many guys are comfortable with her mind-reading abilities. But vampires have no problems with Sookie's talent - she can't pick up much of anything form the undead.

But there's only one vampire Sookie Stackhouse is involved with - at least voluntarily - right now, and that's Bill. But recently he's been a little distant - in another state distant. His sinister and sexy boss Eric has an idea where to find him, and next thing Sookie knows, she's off to Jackson, Mississippi, to mingle with the underworld at Club Dead. It's a dangerous little haunt where the elusive vampire society can go to chill out and suck down some Type O - but when Sookie finally finds Bill, he's not only in trouble, but caught in an act of serious betrayal. Should she save him, or sharpen some stakes?

This is the third Sookie Stackhouse book that I've read this year, and by far my favorite so far.  I'm pretty sure that it had to do with the increase in Eric in this book, or the introduction of Alcide.  Both were equally appreciated.

In this third installment, Bill, Sookie's vampire boyfriend is missing.  Plus he's been keeping secrets from a lot of people, and now it seems that everyone is out to get him and Sookie.  Sookie has to take her talents to Jackson, Mississippi where she hopes to find the clues to bring Bill home.  However, along the way, she finds more trouble than good.  Something that seems to be more and more common the longer she hangs with the vamps.

I'm really beginning to like Sookie as I get to know her better and better with each passing book.  She no longer seems like the ditzy blond I had first seen her as, and I'm liking her better and better.  Plus, I love the fact that she's branching out and meeting more and more Otherworldly creatures.  The introductions of more werewolves and shifters really made the book better I think.  Plus, there was less of stuffy Bill. 

I cannot wait to continue this series, and I'm sorry its taken me this long to get into this series.  I had made myself a goal of reading four of these books this year, but I might go ahead and read the whole dang series!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Review: Fireworks Over Toccoa

Title: Fireworks Over Toccoa
Author: Jeffrey Stepakoff
Pages: 260
Challenges: Mount TBR, What's in a Name
Rating: 5/5

Summary from Goodreads:

Every so often that story comes along that reminds us of what it’s like to experience love for the first time—against the odds, when you least expect it, and with such passion that it completely changes you forever.

An unexpected discovery takes eighty-four-year-old Lily Davis Woodward to 1945, and the five days that forever changed her life. Married for only a week before her husband was sent to fight in WWII, Lily is anxious for his return, and the chance to begin their life together. In honor of the soldiers' homecoming, the small Georgia town of Toccoa plans a big celebration. And Jake Russo, a handsome Italian immigrant, also back from war, is responsible for the elaborate fireworks display the town commissioned. But after a chance encounter in a star-lit field, he steals Lily's heart and soul--and fulfills her in ways her socially-minded, upper-class family cannot. Now, torn by duty to society and her husband--and the poor, passionate man who might be her only true love--Lily must choose between a commitment she's already made and a love she’s never known before.

Fireworks Over Toccoa takes us to a moment in time that will resonate with readers long after the book’s unforgettable conclusion. A devastating and poignant story, this debut novel will resonate with anyone who believes in love.

This is another one that's been sitting on my TBR shelf for a long, long time gathering dust.  I had heard good things about it since its release in hardcover, and at some point and time must have picked up the soft cover edition when Borders was still in business (or so the sticker says on the back of the book).  Why I waited this long to read it is beyond me.

Reminiscent of Nicholas Sparks, Jeffrey Stepakoff has crafted a love story of the greatest proportions.  Fireworks Over Toccoa tells the story of Lily, a young, high society woman in southern Georgia and Jake, an Italian immigrant working as the pyrotechnics man for the 4th of July fireworks show.  Together, the two create a love story that is both moving and touching, heartbreaking and heart lifting, and all together wonderful.  I loved the romance created between these two characters, and my heart lifted and broke with theirs.

After finishing Fireworks Over Toccoa, I had to sit for a few minutes and just let it all sink in.  I had to "absorb" the moment for lack of a better term.  The book left me a little breathless.  I'm happy to see that Stepakoff has another book out called "The Orchard" which I definitely want to check out!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Review: I Hunt Killers

Title: I Hunt Killers
Author: Barry Lyga
Listening Time: 9 hours and 32 minutes
Rating: 1.5/5
Challenges: None

Summary from Goodreads.com

What if the world's worst serial killer...was your dad?

Jasper "Jazz" Dent is a likable teenager. A charmer, one might say.

But he's also the son of the world's most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, Take Your Son to Work Day was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could—from the criminal's point of view.

And now bodies are piling up in Lobo's Nod.

In an effort to clear his name, Jazz joins the police in a hunt for a new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret—could he be more like his father than anyone knows?

I Hunt Killers was released in early 2012 and created quite a bit of buzz in the YA blogging world.  Everyone was talking about how phenomenal the book was.  After reading a review somewhere about the audio, I grabbed it with one of my monthly credits.  I also bought the Kindle version of the books, fearing that the audio would be so good, I'd want to continue the book in print if I couldn't listen.  I've been working my way through my audible back list this month, and I Hunt Killers finally came to the top.  I started it almost immediately after finishing Cinder.

I Hunt Killers is dark and twisted, telling the story of Jazz Dent, the son of a vicious serial killer.  Jazz is trying to convince himself that just because he is the son of Billy Dent, that he is not a natural psychopath.  As Jazz struggles with his own inner demons, a new serial killer is stalking Lobo's Nod, killing in a fashion eerily similar to that of Billy Dent himself.  Soon Jazz finds himself deep within the investigation.

What to say about this book...I think I'm in the minority here when I say, I really, really hated this book and had I not spent an Audible credit on it, I probably wouldn't have finished it.  There are several things I didn't like.  One, I didn't like Jazz and couldn't find any connection with him.  Two, the book grossed me out.  And three, I hated the narrator.  With everything combined, I just couldn't enjoy it.  I don't know if I would have a different perspective if I had read the book myself, but I don't think I would.  This won't be a book that I'll be running to get the sequel.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Review: Cinder

Title: Cinder
Author: Marissa Meyer
Listening Time: 10 hrs and 6 minutes
Challenges: None
Rating: 4/5

Summary from Goodreads:

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

When this book was first released, I had checked it out from the library, but never got around to reading it before it was due.  When I found out that the next book in the series was being released, I decided to download it from Audible.com and give it a try.  I'm sorry that I waited for as long as I did to read Cinder.

This book was completely out of my normal range of reading material, but despite that, I really enjoyed it.  I thought that the twists that the author gave to the story of Cinderella were phenomenal and I was so happy with the outcome.  She really brought the world to life, and I could seriously imagine how everything was set up.  I was frightened and enthralled all at the same time. 

I will say I had a lot of the twists of this book figured out long before they came to light in the book, but it didn't stop my love of the book.  My one issue that I did have was the whole cyborg twist.  It was a bit to science fictiony for me, but I finally got over it as I got to know Cinder more and more.

I've already bought the sequel Scarlet and downloaded it to my Kindle and I hope to read it in the next few weeks.  I can't wait to see what happens to Cinder and Kai!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Review: Safe Haven

Title: Safe Haven
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Pages: 343
Challenges: Mount TBR, Nicholas Sparks Reading Challenge
Rating: 1/5

Summary from Goodreads:

When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past. Beautiful yet self-effacing, Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two reluctant relationships: one with Alex, a widowed store owner with a kind heart and two young children; and another with her plainspoken single neighbor, Jo. Despite her reservations, Katie slowly begins to let down her guard, putting down roots in the close-knit community and becoming increasingly attached to Alex and his family.

But even as Katie begins to fall in love, she struggles with the dark secret that still haunts and terrifies her . . . a past that set her on a fearful, shattering journey across the country, to the sheltered oasis of Southport. With Jo’s empathic and stubborn support, Katie eventually realizes that she must choose between a life of transient safety and one of riskier rewards . . . and that in the darkest hour, love is the only true safe haven.

I have always been a big Nicholas Sparks fan.  There haven't been a  lot of his books that I haven't thoroughly enjoyed.  I have read all but five of his books, and would rate them among my favorites.  This past weekend, I finally settled down and decided to read Safe Haven.  Going into the book, I wasn't 100% committed because I don't really enjoy stories about abuse, but my best friend insisted I give it a try.  I read half of the book Friday night, and at that point I seriously considered putting it down and not picking it back up.  But my guilty book conscience won out, and I kept pushing through.  However, by Sunday morning, I was mad at myself, mad at the book, and wanting to through it at the wall upon completion.

What didn't I like about this book?  One, it was an extremely slow  moving plot.  Nothing significant seemed to happen until the last 30 pages and then it felt rushed and unfinished.  Two, I hated the ending.  I'm not going to go into detail because I won't ruin it for those who haven't read it but seriously Mr. Sparks?  And finally, there just wasn't a single character in this book that I enjoyed.  I couldn't connect with anyone and they all seemed artificial and fake to me.

So there you have it.  Definitely not one of Sparks best in my opinion, but it won't keep me from reading him again.  I mean, we all have bad days right?

Monday, February 18, 2013

What are you reading??

Oh what another long week.  Monday was hubby's grandmother's funeral.  Tuesday I went back to work, and I'm pretty sure that the next four days were the slowest of my entire life.  On Saturday, I spent the day with some wonderful friends wondering around IKEA, and buying all sorts of fun stuff for Anthony's big boy room.  Now I just need to find the energy to start painting.  I woke up on Sunday to a very sick little boy.  The flu's been going around, and it looks like he finally caught it.  I spent the day scrubbing floors and changing pj's.  Hubby gave multiple baths, and watched several hours of Veggie Tales as they laid on the couch together.  He seems to be a feeling a little better, and kept some pretzels down so here's hoping we're out of the woods.

Reading wise, I had a really good week.  I read some great books and was able to mark a few off the hold TBR list.  Here's what I finished this week:

I adored True Love and Other Disasters and The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.  I absolutely hated Safe Haven, which was a disappointment since I normally really enjoy Nicholas Sparks.

This coming week lookings like it should have plenty of reading time available, so I'm looking forward to be able to sit back and relax with some good books.  Here's what the week holds:

I'm not 100% sure yet about Cinder, as it is completely out of my reading box, but I'm going to give it a try as I've heard really, really good things about it!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Review: True Love and Other Disasters

Title: True Love and Other Disasters
Author: Rachel Gibson
Pages: 345
Rating: 4/5
Challenges: Sports Romance, Contemporary Romance, Mount TBR, Woman Authors, Monthly Key Word

Summary from Goodreads:


Hard knocks and hunger taught Faith Duffy not to believe in love. Still, when she married her very wealthy --- and very old --- husband, she became the perfect wife. And then he went to that big bank in the sky, leaving Faith with lonely nights, a pile of money, and a total mess of a pro hockey team. Heck, Faith doesn't even watch hockey!


But most of America and half of Canada is watching Ty Savage. His lethal sex appeal and deadly right hook make him the favorite of fans. For most of Ty's life, he's dreamed of winning the Stanley Cup. The last thing he needs is a bimbo messing up his plans.


Faith loathes Ty on sight, but she can't stop thinking about him all day ... and night. Then a moment of temptation ends with Faith in Ty's bed, and she begins to see there's more to him than sex appeal. Ty discovers there's far more to Faith than beauty and billions. But a relationship with Faith is impossible, and falling in love --- that would be a disaster.

Years ago, I read a book by Rachel Gibson, and remember really enjoying it.  That was back when I read a lot of contemporary romance, before I managed to burn myself out on the genre all together.  However, I decided that this year would be the year I'd slowly work my way back to my reading roots.  True Love and Other Disasters was an excellent place to start.  I remember now why I enjoyed Rachel Gibson so much.

Faith Duffy was married to an older man.  A much older man.  That fact, combined with the fact that she was an ex stripper and a Playboy playmate, left quite a few tongues wagging.  However, Faith's whole life changes when her husband dies and she finds herself the sole owner of a NHL hockey team.  A hockey team with a cranky, but sexy captain that is doing nothing but pulling Faith's strings.

One thing I love about Gibson's books are her male characters.  They always come across as tough as nails, but open up into those incredibly sexy, wonderful men.  Plus, Gibson's female leads are always strong, reliable woman who can hold their won in a man's world.  When the two characters finally come together, it's a little magical for lack of a better term.  True Love and Other Disasters was no exception!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Review: The Bungalow Mystery

Title: The Bungalow Mystery
Author: Carolyn Keene
Pages: 180
Rating: 3/5
Challenges: Mystery Challenge, Pre 1960s Challenge
Summary from Goodreads:
While trying to help a friend out of a difficulty, Nancy has a perilous experience in and around a deserted bungalow, from which only her bravery and quick thinking save her.
The Bungalow Mystery is the third Nancy Drew book I've read this year, and wasn't one of my particular favorites.  Within the first few pages, I had the two mysteries connected and knew who the culprits were.  This took a bit of adventure out of the story.  Plus, I'm beginning to wonder what type of parent would let this daughter run off to search dark houses in the middle of the night!
However, as a child, I think you look at these books in a completely different way.  Rather than viewing Nancy as I do, through a parent's eyes, one would view her as adventurous and cool.  There's so much she can do that other children can't!  I think that is why I  always loved Nancy so much as a child.  I could live vicariously through her adventures.
One thing that these books do point out to me is how dependant I've become on my cell phone.  Nancy is always looking for a pay phone or stuck in a situation in which I think "Wow, if you only had a cellphone."  I don't know if I could ever get out of the situations she's in without my trusty iphone. 
Despite some of my misgivings with this series, I'm going to continue on as I kind of enjoy re-living my childhood through these books.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Review: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

Title: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
Author: Alan Bradley
Listening Time: 9 hours and 53 minutes
Challenges: None
Rating: 4.5/5

Summary from Goodreads:

It is the summer of 1950–and at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, young Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, is intrigued by a series of inexplicable events: A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Then, hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath.

For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. “I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.”

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie was my audio choice for the week.  I've been looking at this title for a long time, but I didn't really want to add it to my TBR pile.  So when I was looking to get my newest audio with my credit, this one popped into my head and I thought I'd give it a try.  Frankly, I'm sad I have to wait until March 6th before I get a new credit because I can't wait to download the next book in the series.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie had everything I look for in a great mystery - a sassy heroine, a well thought out plot, and plenty of twists and turns to keep me guessing.  Flavia de Luce has to be my new favorite character in literature.  She's a spunky 11 year old obsessed with poisons, who wants nothing more than to figure out why the strange goings on around her home have been happening.  I loved the way she went about investigating, and I fell in love with her instantly.  She was adorable and witty, and a true joy to read/listen about.

Another thing that made this such a good listen was the narration.  I absolutely adored the reader of this book, Jayne Entwistle.  I love the voice she gave Flavia, and I thought she did a fine job on all of the other characters also. 

I'm sad that I waited so long to start this series, and for anyone who looks a good mystery with a few twists, this is definitely the one for you.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Review: The Cricket in Times Square

Title: The Cricket in Times Square
Author: Garth Williams
Pages: 151
Rating: 5/5
Challenges: 1960 Children Classics, Mount TBR

Summary from Goodreads:

After Chester lands, in the Times Square subway station, he makes himself comfortable in a nearby newsstand. There, he has the good fortune to make three new friends: Mario, a little boy whose parents run the falling newsstand, Tucker, a fast-talking Broadway mouse, and Tucker's sidekick, Harry the Cat. The escapades of these four friends in bustling New York City makes for lively listening and humorous entertainment. And somehow, they manage to bring a taste of success to the nearly bankrupt newsstand.

As a child growing up, I never read The Cricket in Times Square.  I remember seeing it at the library, and noting the fact that Garth Williams, the same man who illustrated the Laura Ingalls Wilder books and Charlotte's Web, was the illustration, but I never pushed myself to read it.  A few years ago, when I was searching the shelves at Borders, I picked up a few books that I felt I had missed out on when I was an adolescent.  The Cricket in Times Square was one of those books.  When I joined the Pre-1960s reading challenge this year, I knew this would be a perfect book to read for the challenge.

Published in 1960, The Cricket in Times Square, introduces us to Chester Cricket.  Chester has inadvertently found himself in the busy Times Square subway station, where he meets Harry Cat and Tucker Mouse.  I adored all three of these tiny creatures.  Each one has a wonderful personality, and really helped to make the story something special.  Chester, himself, is the cutest little cricket in the world, and I just loved him. 

George Selden actually wrote quite a few other books that also feature Chester Cricket and his friends.  I had not known this before reading the book, and now I'm itching to give them a try.  There's just something inspiring about sitting down and reading a really good children's book to make you smile a bit brighter.  I can't wait until Anthony is old enough to enjoy this one with me.  It's a wonderful story that I look forward to sharing!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Review: Between the Lines

Title: Between the Lines
Author(s): Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer
Pages: 352
Rating: 3/5
Challenges: Woman Authors
Summary from Goodreads:
New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult and her teenage daughter present their first-ever novel for teens, filled with romance, adventure, and humor.What happens when happily ever after…isn’t?

Delilah is a bit of a loner who prefers spending her time in the school library with her head in a book—one book in particular. Between the Lines may be a fairy tale, but it feels real. Prince Oliver is brave, adventurous, and loving. He really speaks to Delilah.

And then one day Oliver actually speaks to her. Turns out, Oliver is more than a one-dimensional storybook prince. He’s a restless teen who feels trapped by his literary existence and hates that his entire life is predetermined. He’s sure there’s more for him out there in the real world, and Delilah might just be his key to freedom.

Delilah and Oliver work together to attempt to get Oliver out of his book, a challenging task that forces them to examine their perceptions of fate, the world, and their places in it. And as their attraction to each other grows along the way, a romance blossoms that is anything but a fairy tale.
I've seen this book floating around the blogosphere for a few months now, and was hesitant to try it.  I'm always leery of books with a lot of "buzz" especially those by big name authors who are trying out something new.  However, after reading so many positive reviews and gaining a bit of curiosity about the plot line I thought I'd give it a try.  The premise was so intriguing and it got me thinking...what if their was a life within the pages of my favorite books and they continued to live lives long after the covers closed?  I had to find out where this was going to go!
I started this book in audio, but quickly decided that it was a book that needed to be read and enjoyed in print.  The illustrations are fabulous and they really help to set the tone of the story.  I picked it up at Target and re-started it, and found that I enjoyed it much more that way. 
Between the lines tells the story of Delilah, a high school freshman that is obsessed with a fairy tale.  She's avoiding her best friend, freaking out her mom, and talking to a book like it's real.  But, for her, the book talks back.  Prince Oliver is trapped within the pages of the story, hoping to get out, and Delilah is the first to hear him and respond.  Soon the two are falling in love, and the book leads us through a series of tries to get Oliver out from between the pages.
I really enjoyed the pacing and plot of this story.  The writing was great, and I wasn't disappointed in it.  Jodi Picoult is an extremely talented writer, and it really shows through in Between the Lines.  I loved this book up until the last 50 pages or so, and then I felt like the book just fell apart and came to an abrupt end.  It didn't leave me with the magical feeling I was expecting.  Because of this, I could only give the book 3 stars.  However, a lot of people really enjoyed this book, so it may just be me!

Monday, February 11, 2013

What are you reading??

I missed my Monday, What are you reading post last week due to a bad case of the flu.  It's the second time I've had it this pregnancy, and let me just say there is nothing worse!  Fingers crossed that I'm all done with that!  Then this past week, we received news that hubby's grandma had passed away, so we've been dealing with everything from that this week.  I'm exhausted, and tired and emotionally drained.  My due date is getting closer, and there's still a lot to be done to get ready for this baby, including re-doing the spare bedroom to move Anthony in.  We have the paint and bedding, it's just finding the time to get it all done.

On a much happier note, we had our BIG ultrasound on February 1st.  After a little bit of poking and prodding by the ultrasound technician, we found out we're having a little GIRL!!  Everything looks great, and the baby is measuring right on.  We're so excited to be welcoming this new little bundle into our lives, and I'm even more thrilled that she'll have such a great big brother to love and protect her as she grows up. 

As for reading, I had a fairly good two weeks.  I got a lot of books read, and reviewed, and I'm even a bit ahead with my written reviews which is awesome!  Here's what I read:


14 was an awesome read, and I can't speak highly enough about The Fault in Our Stars.  I'll definitely be checking out some more John Green.
Here's what I have coming up this week:

I have a lot on my plate, but there looks to be some really good reads out there and I'm looking forward to them!!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Review: The Violets of March

Title: The Violets of March
Author: Sarah Jio
Listening Time: 9 hours 22 minutes
Challenges: None
Rating: 3/5

Summary from Goodreads:

 A heartbroken woman stumbled upon a diary and steps into the life of its anonymous author.

In her twenties, Emily Wilson was on top of the world: she had a bestselling novel, a husband plucked from the pages of GQ, and a one-way ticket to happily ever after.

Ten years later, the tide has turned on Emily's good fortune. So when her great-aunt Bee invites her to spend the month of March on Bainbridge Island in Washington State, Emily accepts, longing to be healed by the sea. Researching her next book, Emily discovers a red velvet diary, dated 1943, whose contents reveal startling connections to her own life.

A mesmerizing debut with an idyllic setting and intriguing dual story line, The Violets of March announces Sarah Jio as a writer to watch.

I downloaded The Violets of March a few months ago from Audible, and never found the time, or the want to listen to it.  I thought the story sounded intriguing and definitely something I would enjoy.  I love nothing better than stories within stories, especially ones that move from the past to the present with an interconnected story.  Finally, this past week, still coming off the high from "14" I decided to check out The Violets of March.

The story started off really strong.  I really liked the main character, Emily, and found her story to be intriguing.  I quickly fell in love with her Great-Aunt Bee, and found myself excited to get to work to see where the book would take me.  However, after a few hours, that high was gone and I thought the book went downhill fast.  While the writing was excellent, the plot of the story left a lot to be desired.  I had the mystery solved extremely early in the story, and spent the next several hours wondering why it wasn't clicking with Emily when I had figured it all out so soon.  The clues were right there in front of her fast!  Because of this, I found myself distracted a few times, and having to rewind the book to catch some things that I had missed.

Another thing that bothered me about this audio was the reader.  I had a hard time connecting with her characters voices.  Sometimes they didn't seem to fit the description that the author was giving the character, especially Emily's best friend Annie.  To me she came off as a haughty snob, but the author described her as this easy going, laid back kind of person.  The two just didn't mesh well for me.

However, despite my dislikes of the book, I'm not going to give up on Sarah Jio.  Her writing was too well  done, and it may just be this particular title that I didn't completely agree with.
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