Saturday, November 30, 2013

RIP Paul Walker

This is mostly a books only blog but I just can't not say something...

Driving home from the BFFs house, stopped at a red light and pulled up Facebook to do a status update on how much fun we had. Saw the news that Paul Walker had died. 

He was one of my longest running celebrity crushes. I loved his movies and own almost all of them. Have watched all the Fast and Furious movies over and over. Have been looking forward to Fast 7 since we walked out of the theater after watching Fast 6 (which we watched back to back - literally twice on the same day!).

This is one of those times when I'm glad that I don't have cable. Hate to hear it said out loud. Reading it is bad enough.

It is so sad and I feel so bad for his daughter.

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay (Blog Tour)

TitleDear Mr. Knightley
Author: Katherine Reay (website)(Twitter)
Pages: 325
Publication Date: November 5, 2013
PublisherThomas Nelson Publishers
Source: Litfuse Publicity Group for blog tour in exchange for an honest review 
Rating: 3 out of 5

Summary from Publisher:

Samantha Moore has always hidden behind the words of others—namely her favorite characters in literature. Now, she will learn to write her own story—by giving that story to a complete stranger.

Growing up orphaned and alone, Sam found her best friends in the works of Austen, Dickens, and the Brontë sisters. The problem is that she now relates to others more comfortably as Elizabeth Bennet and Jane Eyre than as herself.

Sometimes we lose ourselves in the things we care about most.

But life for this twenty-three-year-old is about to get stranger than fiction, when an anonymous benefactor (calling himself “Mr. Knightley”) offers to put Sam through the prestigious Medill School of Journalism. There is only one catch: Sam must write frequent letters to the mysterious donor, detailing her progress.

As Sam’s program and peers force her to confront her past, she finds safety in her increasingly personal letters to Mr. Knightley. And when Sam meets eligible, best-selling novelist Alex Powell, those letters unfold a story of love and literature that feels as if it’s pulled from her favorite books. But when secrets come to light, Sam is – once again – made painfully aware of how easily trust can be broken.

I have to be honest and say that I didn't read much from the summary. I read that a girl loves literature and saw the cover and just wanted it.  It reads much like Daddy Long Legs, a childhood favorite, but was confusing because it was modern. It read like it was from long ago but wasn't. It cracks me up that it mentions it has a "delightful dash" of Jane Austen. She or her contemporaries are on almost every page it seemed to me.

Samantha was a frustrating character for most of the book. I didn't really like her in the least until the last 25 or so pages. She had been through so much in her life but she seemed way younger than her 24 years and her quoting of classic literature got old fast. I think I know what the author was trying to do with her and I could appreciate it but she was so frustrating.

On the other hand I loved the character of Alex until the last 25 pages of the book. It's pretty obvious what is going to happen but the story in between is compelling enough that it held my attention. He was parts swoon and parts flawed and that made for a completely adorable man. He's a best selling novelist and I couldn't help but picture... 

And I wanted to read about the delightful sounding Cole he writes about. I like my men funny and he lacked that but otherwise...swoon.

The best part of the book for me personally was her growing relationship with 14 year old foster child Kyle. His character was so engaging and sad. The foster system in our country is so flawed and the people that are a part of it are so flawed. The stories that you can read are beyond heartbreaking. I enjoyed Kyle's story arc immensely. It gave me hope.

I mentioned before that it read like Daddy Long Legs. I have mixed feelings about books written with letters but I really enjoyed the letters she wrote to Mr. Knightley. They truly show her growth throughout the book.

Although this is marketed as a Christian fiction, the presence of God is limited. He contributes nothing to their lives except in passing. There is a Father that is throughout and he prays and a couple of others pray but it's limited. For those who want God out of their stories, this one is slight. To those of us don't mind Him, it might be a bit too little.

Overall it's a sweet story that lovers of literature will more than likely enjoy immensely. A wide cast of characters keeps the pace moving. Real life - the good, the bad, the ugly - plays out over the pages and pulls a heartstring or two.

3 (or I liked it) out of 5 stars.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

So very thankful for so many things this year.

Faith in a God who knows me and wants the best for me.
My boys.
A house to live in.
Food to eat.
The world's most awesome parents.
My Favorite and his never ending way of making me laugh...and swoon.
A BFF that would take a bullet for me and me for her.
Books to read.
A blog to write about them.
Wonderful blog readers that comment and interact with me about all things bookish.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The One About Being a Whiny Brat

I'll be honest and say that there are about 5 blogs that I read every single day. As in type in the URL and visit without fail. But there are tons more that I love - I just don't have the time to read or to comment on every single day. Some of the people that I started out loving have changed genres or have stopped posting as much or whatever.

I recently had a conversation with a book blogger friend about getting comments. I'm a tiny fish in the huge book blogger pond so I get very few comments. She gets a few more than I do but she is on the blogs like I used to be...she leaves 20 to 30 comments a day on her favorite blogs. I have a few people that consistently comment but not many. So when we got to talking about comments, we were thinking about those blogs that we leave comments on that NEVER reciprocate. 

I was trying to think of blogs that I've stopped reading because I never got any interaction and I realized that there were bloggers that I followed that I've since stopped following...not sure that it was specifically because they never commented on my blog though. 

So for those of you who have ever commented here, I'm you even notice if you comment a ton on another person's blog but they never do on yours or is that being a whiny brat?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Promo Post for The Alchemy BK #3 by Donna Augustine

The Alchemy, Book Three
 Inline image 1
I thought I could be a hero. That was before I helped destroy the world. Now, as I stand among the rubble of what used to be, I wonder how we’re ever going to pick up the pieces.

Everyday is a struggle, and people are getting desperate. Creatures that never should have existed are picking away at the dwindling numbers of the human race. And the knowledge that could be our salvation lies with the senator who reigns supreme on the other half of the globe.


Adding to the Stacks #10

Not sure if I requested this one or not but either way, thanks Doubleday!

The Price of Risk by Christopher Reich - again, not sure if I requested this one or not but it sounds like a great read. A murder mystery that includes the FBI. 

How Full is Your Bucket by Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton - I purchased this one from my favorite thrift. I love how to and self help and business books and this one seems to be all three. Talks about how every interaction impacts all areas of our lives. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013



The lovely Amber from Books of Amber is hosting an impromptu read-a-thon from today through December 1st. I actually read about it on Kat's blog and since I'm half way decent at read-a-thons AND I have a big stack from the library that I am so excited to read plus all the lovelies I actually own, I thought I'd sign up too. I think that might have been the longest sentence ever.

I am not going to make a list of books to read but am going to go down the stack from the library plus one for a blog tour first. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

TitleDark Places
Author: Gillian Flynn (website)(Twitter)
Pages: 368 Kindle
Publication Date: May 5, 2009
PublisherBroadway Books
Source: library loan
Rating: 2 out of 5

Summary from Goodreads:

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived–and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her.

The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details–proof they hope may free Ben–Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club… and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.

As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby’s doomed family members–including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have driven him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town. Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started–on the run from a killer.

After finishing this one, I've now read all of Flynn's novels. Says quite a bit that I've read three by her since I so rarely read all of an author's works now. Too many debut authors I want to try. I didn't even read the summary of Dark Places but found what I was expecting. A dark, disturbing look into the lives of more screwed up people. 

The characters were even less likable than normal. I constantly wanted to throat punch Libby and was amazed that her character was 30 years old. She seemed to be a whiny 12 year old most of the time. Even though I didn't like the characters, I did like the changes in narrators and the way the story was told in flashbacks. It gave the story more depth.

Dark Places was just as gritty and dark as Flynn's other books but for some reason it made me feel like taking a hot, cleansing shower each time I read. Some of the meanness was just too much and seemed unnecessary. 

The wrap up was a bit over the top. It wasn't completely unbelievable but still. Overall, it was just not as rich as her others. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Right Now

Right now I have somehow managed to get 5 books going at the same time. How did this happen?

Right now I am listening to the Christmas musical CD that my kids are doing at church. The same 5 tracks over and over in the car. Yikes. Good news for the church though...if all the children end up sick I can highhandedly perform the entire show! :-)

Right now I am loving the cooler weather. I wish it were even colder.

Right now I am wishing that I was getting more done. I need to eliminate all the little time suckers.

Right now I am planning a new blog complete with new blog name!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Hate List by Jennifer Brown {Thoughts On}

Title: Hate List
Author: Jennifer Brown (website)(Twitter)
Pages: 405
Publication Date: October 5, 2010
PublisherLittle, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: library loan
Rating: 5 out of 5

Summary from Goodreads:
Five months ago, Valerie Leftman's boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The list he used to pick his targets.
Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life.

Not going to lie, this one read for me as a 3 out of 5 until the ending and then bam...the whole thing came together and I loved it. As much as you can "love" a book about a teenage boy killing classmates. Nick and Valerie's Hate List is something that probably too many people compile - if only in their heads - and thankfully few act on it. That Nick started killing the students on the list makes this one very much a story pulled from the headlines, unfortunately. I read this one in just one day. I was drawn into the storyline and the characters.

Valerie was such an untrustworthy narrator for so many reasons. What part did she play in the killings? She is beyond broken and the story reads with newspaper articles that told parts of the story, within her narration. Her mind is pretty scrambled and the way she sees things is probably not always accurate. 

Her family is seriously screwed up - both of her parents blame her for the shootings and she's lost all of her friends. That she went back to the school for her senior year is a point of great wonderment to me. Although she is apparently innocent why go back? And better yet, how can a school open it's doors so quickly after an event like that. Nit picking aside, the story truly did come together for me in the end and I so enjoyed it because it made me think.

Bullying is real and even worse than when I was a teenager. The reasons behind his acts can't be justified but that can, in part, be explained.

I have a hard time reviewing a book like this one because of the fear of spoiling the plot but it was well written with carefully drawn, well developed characters. Whether or not the characters are even likable doesn't take away from the wonderfully written story. I hard story to read but wonderfully written just the same.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Deadline (Newsflesh #2) by Mira Grant {Thoughts On}

TitleDeadline (Newsflesh Trilogy #2) 
Author: Mira Grant (website and here)(Twitter)
Publication Date: June 2, 2011
Publisher: Orbit (website)(Twitter)
Source: library loan
Rating: 5 out of 5

WARNING: if you have haven't read the first in the series, be aware that there are spoilers. Read my review of Feed here instead.

Summary from Goodreads:

Shaun Mason is a man without a mission. Not even running the news organization he built with his sister has the same urgency as it used to. Playing with dead things just doesn't seem as fun when you've lost as much as he has.
But when a CDC researcher fakes her own death and appears on his doorstep with a ravenous pack of zombies in tow, Shaun has a newfound interest in life. Because she brings news-he may have put down the monster who attacked them, but the conspiracy is far from dead.
Now, Shaun hits the road to find what truth can be found at the end of a shotgun.

Oh wow. I wanted to start this one as soon as I finished the first one and that's saying a heck of a lot. I rarely want to read the second book in a trilogy without a bit of break in between. Although I was a afraid that I would like this one a little bit less what with George gone, I was delighted with how she....wasn't.  It was a great way of getting a great character present.

Since Shaun was the narrator of Deadline, I enjoyed his character more than I did before. He has a way of speaking that is jerkish but still on target and usually quite funny.  His progress from beginning of book to end of book was well done and highly believable. 

Becks is a character that I didn't really enjoy in the Feed but feel like I got a better grasp on in this one. There was more to her than met the eye at first glance and her storyline was interesting. She was badass.

Although Feed was highly political, Deadline focused way more on the scientific aspects of the Rising. I'm not the best in science and math so some of it went right on over my head but it was still enjoyable. Grant's world building is stellar. The details in these almost 600 page books are amazing. And even though they are almost 600 pages, they don't feel like they are. The stories move at such a fast pace with such a sense of foreboding that the pages fly right by.

I was afraid that Deadline could't possibly be as good as Feed by oh my word, it was. Another 5 of 5 for me. I'm not sure how Grant manages to keep up the pace over that many pages but the twists and turns are outstanding. And that ending was even more GAH! than the first one. I have Blackout waiting on my pile but as much as I want to see how it ends, I also don't. I want to drag it out a bit more so I'm putting off reading it right away just so I don't have to leave that world and those characters. That is the highest praise I can heap on the series. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Adding to the Stacks #9

Between 2 neighborhood wide yard sales this weekend and my local thrift store, I found 5 books that I don't need :-)

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde - I feel like I read this one for a college course but I am not sure. It was so pretty and only .25. 

Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison - this is one that I've already read but since I got the 2nd in the series recently, I'd like to reread it.

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins - another one that I've read but I am trying to buy all Score on this hardback version.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini - I need more adult literature in my life.

Empire by David Dunwoody - one word....zombies! It has gotten crappy reviews but I'll still give it a try.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Feed (Newsflesh Trilogy #1) by Mira Grant

Title: Feed (Newsflesh Trilogy #1) 
Author: Mira Grant (website and here)(Twitter)
Publication Date: May 1, 2010
Publisher: Orbit (website)(Twitter)
Source: library loan
Rating: 5 out of 5

Summary from Goodreads:

The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beaten the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED. Now, twenty years after the Rising, bloggers Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives - the dark conspiracy behind the infected. The truth will get out, even if it kills them.

EDITED: If you think you've read this review earlier in the week, you did...sort of. After Christina commented but didn't say anything about her own blog, I realized that the wrong draft went live. Ooopies. 

Ever since my friend Mandy got me watching The Walking Dead, I've become a bit obsessed with zombies. I was never really "into" them before that but now, oh yeah. Then while reading Christina's back reviews, I found one for Feed and was immediately intrigued. I looked on my library's website and apparently don't know how to spell f-e-e-d because it didn't show up. Fast forward several months and I am passing through the adult section and happen to glance up to see this trilogy sitting on the shelf. I may or may not have gasped loud enough to make the little old lady down the way glare at me. Just sayin'. Christian's blog is one of 5 that I read every single day so when she rated it so high, I knew that I'd enjoy it too. I loved this book. One of my first 5 of 5's in many a moon.

Feed is an interesting take on the usual zombie tale. Heavily political, it imagines what would happen after an outbreak. The changes that would need to occur and the ways that people would react were portrayed in a very interesting way.

George (Georgia), the main character, is spunky and has a dry wit. Everyone that has read this blog for long knows that I have a Master's Degree in sarcasm so her character was my favorite. George's brother, Shaun, was one of the most fun characters I've read in a long time. He liked to poke zombies and stir up trouble.

In their world, bloggers are the main news sources and there are a ton of regulations and rules to follow. The use of blogging was highly entertaining and I loved this uniqueness in the story. As a blogger I know the time and stress that goes with having a blog and can't even image how hard it would be to tell the news in a straightforward and unbiased way.

I wish I had read this one on my Kindle because I would have marked quite a few quotes. My favorite is from George:

The different between the truth and a lie is that both of them can hurt, but only one will take the time to heal you afterward.
The characters were wonderfully written. A couple of times I was misty eyed over a character. Such a tough living situation and yet they wanted so much to just be ok. 

This one is almost 600 pages but didn't seem that long at all. The pacing was excellent. The action was constant and fast. I enjoyed the political aspect of it but can see where some readers might be thrown off. 

And oh the ending...gah. 

The biggest praise I can heap on this one is that as I closed the book after reading the last page, I wished I had the next one to start right then. That's huge. I rarely want to read the next in a series so quickly.

I loved this one and can't wait to see what happens.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Adding to the Stacks #8

Two new ones this week...

A gorgeous finished copy of Princesses Behaving Badly. I sent my ARC to book bestie, Andi, so I'm even more excited to have another copy of this sent my way. Such a fun collection of stories.

And The Circle of Thirteen by William Petrocelli. Does this cover remind anyone else of The Hunger Games? Anyone? This one sounds soooooooo good!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Right Now

Right now...

It's too early in the morning and I am still adjusting to daylight savings time ending. I hate light in the morning and then once I get used to it, I hate the dark in the morning. It will start getting dark at 6 pm now and it's such a weird transition.

I'm reading...Nowhere but Home by Liza Palmer thanks to the recommendation of book blogging rockstars Betty and Cassie. Enjoying it so far.

I'm listening to...Pitbull on heavy rotation in the car when the boys aren't with me. Just 3 songs but it takes me back to high school when we listened to music too loud and thought we were too cool.

I'm excited about the cooler weather. Being a born and raised Florida girl, I don't actually experience the 4 seasons but I like when it gets a bit cooler. 

I'm obsessed with...zombie books after reading another great one this weekend. As soon as the library opens tomorrow, I'm getting the 2nd and 3rd in that trilogy. Review to come this week.

Friday, November 1, 2013

ARC Envy #15 - Unwrapped Sky by Rjurik Davidson

Every week several of my favorite bloggers post vlogs or whatever of all the great book hauls they've received for the week. Since I'm a tiny little fish in the huge book blogging pond, my mailbox isn't stuffed with all the great ARCs that they get. Dana's ARC Envy is my way of highlighting an ARC that I *wish* had been sent to me too. 

Title: Unwrapped Sky
Author: Rjurik Davidson (website)
Publisher: Tor (website)(Twitter)
Expected Publication Date: April 15, 2014

Judging a book by its cover:  This is actually the UK edition of the cover. Oh the beautifulness!

Know anything about the author?  Nothing.

Why do I want it?  Saw this one on Christina's blog and so loved the cover that I went over to Goodreads to see what it was about. Sounds like a wonderful book. Would make a good birthday present for myself...comes out a few days after my birthday~

Summary from Goodreads:

Caeli-Amur: an ancient city perched on white cliffs overlooking the sea; a city ruled by three Houses, fighting internecine wars; a city which harbours ancient technology and hidden mysteries. But things are changing in Caeli-Amur. Ancient minotaurs arrive for the traditional Festival of the Sun. The slightly built New-Men bring their technology from their homeland. Wastelanders stream into the city hideously changed by the chemical streams to the north. Strikes break out in the factory district.

In a hideout beneath the city, a small group of seditionists debate ways to overthrow the Houses. How can they rouse the citizens of the city? Should they begin a campaign of terror? Is there a way to uncover the thaumaturgical knowledge that the Houses guard so jealously? As the Houses scramble to maintain their rule, it becomes clear that things will change forever in Caeli-Amur.

What ARC are you envying this week?