Friday, December 28, 2012

Book review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday.

“I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.” January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

I loved this book. I really did.

The story is told in letters between Juliet and her friends (and a few writers who aren't friends at all). Apparently the book was suuuper popular a couple years back, but I never heard of it. I think I just found it in my Goodreads recommendations.

Bad reviews on Goodreads say it is nice, cute, and hokey-ish. Some accuse the authors of not being good writers. I'll admit, it is the kind of story that (mostly) wraps up in the end with a nice pretty bow. And it's somewhat predictable.

But there were three things I really loved about this book:

ONE. Like The Book Thief, this book showed WWII from a perspective I'd never seen before. This one is after the war and in the homes of a country occupied by German soldiers. It showed how  people who weren't Jewish/homosexual/otherthingstheNazishated people. While we're all familiar(ish) with the story of concentration camps and hiding from the Nazis, I'm not so familiar with the everyday lives of those left behind. I loved learning about the occupation, about families sending their kids to the mainland to live with families where there was no occupation, about when an islander fell in love with a German soldier and what that meant for her. I want to/need to investigate the historical accuracy of some of the things mentioned, but if they really happened... wow.

TWO. This book had beautiful language and wonderful characters. I will have to reread it (and actually read it as opposed to listening to it) because there were some lovely phrases I'd like to have written down somewhere. The characters were endearing and funny and sweet and quirky and they were people I'd like to know in real life. I definitely wished for good things for the characters, and you know that means I connected with them.

THREE. It reminded me of old-school romances, like those of Jane Austen. But easier to read and perhaps more well done. All the characters were very proper and it was easy to imagine it took place in that time frame rather than after WWII.

All in all I gave it four stars. (initially it had five, but I'm trying to be more reserved with my five-star stamp of approval)

Have any of you read this book? What did you think of it? I could never remember the name of it to tell anyone what I was reading! 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Book review: Imaginary Girls

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday.

Chloe's older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can't be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby's friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes left floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby.

But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns to town two years later, deadly surprises await. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood.

Real talk: I didn't like this book.

But I finished it.

Why did I do that?

I think, similar to The Maze Runner (reviewed here), the mystery of it hooked me.

There were a few things I liked. (And I hate giving an entirely negative review.)

ONE. The author does a great job with details. Really. The details create an eerie quality essential to the book. Things like the feel of the reservoir when it floods its banks, when Chloe discovers an inhuman talent of another character... It's surreal and creepy and gives the book a haunting mood that made me not want to give up.

TWO. There are some really great characters. I love Pete -- a guy hopelessly in love with Ruby even though she barely gives him the time of day, who you can relate to someone in your life. And just the lives of the young people -- London's friends mostly -- and the way they relate to each other seemed very realistic to me. Hanging out on the green or in a graveyard because where else are teenagers supposed to go to be free from parental inspection?

Things that bothered me included:

ONE. There is a HUGE mystery (which I'll not reveal here because maybe you still want to read it and maybe you'll love it because lots of people on Goodreads do). And one of the things that bothers me most is that Chloe, the main character, doesn't really seem to care. It doesn't bother her at all. She's content just going around buyin sunglasses and eatin popsicles as if something insane and impossible isn't happening.

TWO. Also: Ruby sucks. Chloe looks up to her and always talks about how Ruby is the only one who cares about her and would do anything for her. But from my point of view, Ruby only cares about herself, and the qualities Chloe admires are that Ruby can get people to do what she wants them to and that she's beautiful. So I didn't believe Chloe's admiration or gratefulness, and I wished the author would give us a little more to buy into.

THREE. Oh, and the Ruby is pretty and can get anyone to do anything she wants? Yeah, you really, really get beat over the head with that message. Apparently this is very important and the author did not want us to admit it. Which is ironic because...

FOUR. I needed the author to come out and tell me a lot of things that she just hinted at instead. I felt like I was missing parts of the book, or that I should know something I didn't. It was a very frustrating reading experience.

Once again, I don't know why I kept reading it, since I have no problem putting down most books if I don't enjoy them. I guess I hoped it would get less frustrating and I would get some answers. (Spoiler: I didn't.)

So I guess I'm not really recommending this book, but I am wondering if anyone out there has read it? Please don't reveal spoilers in the comments. But if you have read it, let me know because I'd love to hear your opinions!

Have any of you read this book? Or alternately, do you guys ever get sucked into books even if you hate yourself for it? 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Book review: In Honor

In Honor by Jessi Kirby

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday.

Honor receives her brother’s last letter from Iraq three days after learning that he died, and opens it the day his fellow Marines lay the flag over his casket. Its contents are a complete shock: concert tickets to see Kyra Kelly, her favorite pop star and Finn’s celebrity crush. In his letter, he jokingly charged Honor with the task of telling Kyra Kelly that he was in love with her.

Grief-stricken and determined to grant Finn’s last request, she rushes to leave immediately. But she only gets as far as the driveway before running into Rusty, Finn’s best friend since third grade and his polar opposite. She hasn’t seen him in ages, thanks to a falling out between the two guys, but Rusty is much the same as Honor remembers him: arrogant, stubborn . . . and ruggedly good-looking. Neither one is what the other would ever look for in a road trip partner, but the two of them set off together, on a voyage that makes sense only because it doesn’t. Along the way, they find small and sometimes surprising ways to ease their shared loss and honor Finn--but when shocking truths are revealed at the end of the road, will either of them be able to cope with the consequences?

I've been waiting to read this one for a long time. I read and liked Kirby's Moonglass, and have heard amazing, amazing things about this book. I actually won the book in a giveaway through Goodreads and then never received it.

While Pat and I were getting ready to go home for Thanksgiving, I got the email that In Honor had come in at the library. Perfect timing! I was able to read this whole (short) book in just a few nights.

In Honor is about Honor, whose brother just died in Iraq and who sets out on a mission/quest/road trip and is accompanied by her brother Finn's former best friend Rusty. Thoughts:

1. Kirby did a wonderful job portraying grief. I thought it was so realistic. How it comes and goes. How sometimes you can remember the one you've lost happily and think of the good times and then the next moment your grief hits you like a bowling ball to the stomach. And also the guilt you feel when you realize you've been happy for a few minutes when you should have been grieving.

2. I loved how nature was such a part of Honor's grieving process. She watches the stars and the sunrise and climbs into mountains and has a lot of time for introspection.

3. In my review of Moonglass, I mentioned that I think Kirby's biggest strength is her ability to write great characters. I think that holds true for In Honor, too. I loved Rusty and Honor, the two main characters, but once again, the people who most stick out to me are the minor characters, like Rusty's mom's boyfriend Bru, who I loved. Also his mom, who was wonderful, and a boy Honor meets serendipitously at a campsite during the roadtrip. I love how Kirby uses "minor" characters to bring about change in the main characters -- because I don't know about you, but I know some of the most random people in my life have caused huge changes to who I am, have made me think the most, and sometimes have changed the entire trajectory of my life.

4. Okay, I have to say it: The book is kind of predictable. Some things, you know they're coming probably as soon as you read that description above. And also, some things that happen are just too convenient and probably wouldn't have worked out so easily in real life. But there are lots of small moments and characters along the way that make this story really beautiful and worth reading.

I gave it three stars on Goodreads. I really did like it, and it's definitely worth the read, but probably not one I'll remember forever, and I probably won't read it again unless I'm looking to write grief realistically myself. (must remember this one!)

Oh, and it's probably also worth mentioning -- Kirby reportedly based Rusty off the character Tim Riggins from the show Friday Night Lights. Just FYI. :)

Have any of you read In Honor? What did you think?

Friday, November 30, 2012

Book review: Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday.

Once upon a time, Hazel and Jack were best friends. They had been best friends since they were six, spending hot Minneapolis summers and cold Minneapolis winters together, dreaming of Hogwarts and Oz, superheroes and baseball. Now that they were eleven, it was weird for a boy and a girl to be best friends. But they couldn't help it - Hazel and Jack fit, in that way you only read about in books. And they didn't fit anywhere else.

And then, one day, it was over. Jack just stopped talking to Hazel. And while her mom tried to tell her that this sometimes happens to boys and girls at this age, Hazel had read enough stories to know that it's never that simple. And it turns out, she was right. Jack's heart had been frozen, and he was taken into the woods by a woman dressed in white to live in a palace made of ice. Now, it's up to Hazel to venture into the woods after him. Hazel finds, however, that these woods are nothing like what she's read about, and the Jack that Hazel went in to save isn't the same Jack that will emerge. Or even the same Hazel.

Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen," Breadcrumbsis a story of the struggle to hold on, and the things we leave behind.

I didn't love this book. And here's why:

1. It took way too long to get interesting. If I didn't have it on audio (and if it wasn't the only one that had been loaded onto my phone) I probably would have put it down with a bookmark and not reopened it and then realized it was due and said oh well. Seriously, I didn't really get interested until Chapter 15. Fifteen! Out of 25! That's way too late. Especially since it's billed as a fairy tale, but all those fifteen chapters mostly focus on Hazel's life at home.

2. The best characters in the whole book only have one scene, maybe two. And there's a few other things like this -- things that could have been so much more if the author had pushed a little. Instead, she mentioned them and moved on.

3. Hazel was too thick headed, I think. There were a few times she walked into something, even having been warned, and I was like, what are you doing?

I think those are the top three. I didn't hate the book. It was just all right, though.

Although you all know I love books written for a younger audience, it's possible I was just too old for this and/or too much of a writer myself to enjoy it. (Sometimes I get too wrapped up in the mechanics of the story -- the writer makes me see what's supposed to be happening backstage, makes me look up -- any other writers get that?)

Anyway. It's all right. But certainly not my favorite read of the year.

Anyone read Breadcrumbs? I'd love to hear what you think!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Book review: Tuesdays with Morrie

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday.

Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher, or a colleague. Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, helped you see the world as a more profound place, gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it.
For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago.
Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded, and the world seemed colder. Wouldn't you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you, receive wisdom for your busy life today the way you once did when you were younger?
Mitch Albom had that second chance. He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man's life. Knowing he was dying, Morrie visited with Mitch in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final "class": lessons in how to live.
"Tuesdays with Morrie" is a magical chronicle of their time together, through which Mitch shares Morrie's lasting gift with the world.

Before reading this book, I knew that it was a book everyone loved, and that's about it. I'd heard it described in ways that led me to believe it was life changing, one I'd want to read over and over again.

My feeling after reading?


It wasn't bad. I didn't ever want to quit reading it. But it wasn't life changing, either.

Morrie is wise. I agree with pretty much everything he says. We (everyone) should be more focused on family and people, less ambitious about money and power. What really matters is the way you treat people, the interactions you have with them, the effect you have on them.

But really, of all the lessons Mitch learns from Morrie, that's the only one that stuck with me. I couldn't tell you any of his other wisdom because I don't remember it. (and I read it very recently.)

Maybe I'm seeing it too much through my own creative writing experience.

If you've done any classroom creative writing, I'm sure you've heard the phrase "show, don't tell." And I wonder if maybe that's why none of it stuck with me -- it's great to hear an old man tell me all the things he's learned about life, but I think they would stick with me more if I'd actually known Morrie, if I could see him living his life that way and see what it actually looks like.

I also know that creative non-fiction isn't always completely true. That sounds like stating the obvious, but many may take this book as absolutely true. Morrie was interviewed for national television and you can still find those videos, and Mitch Albom constantly talks about the tape recorder he used. But even if we were both there in the room, my perspective of events might not be the same as Mitch's. So I guess I'm also wary of that (as I would be in any memoir or piece of non-fiction).

So, like I said above, I didn't hate it. But I didn't love it.

Have any of you read Tuesdays with Morrie? Was it what you were expecting?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Book review: The Talisman

The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday.

On a brisk autumn day, a twelve-year-old boy stands on the shores of the gray Atlantic, near a silent amusement park and a fading ocean resort called the Alhambra. The past has driven Jack Sawyer here: his father is gone, his mother is dying, and the world no longer makes sense. But for Jack everything is about to change. For he has been chosen to make a journey back across America--and into another realm.

One of the most influential and heralded works of fantasy ever written,The Talisman is an extraordinary novel of loyalty, awakening, terror, and mystery. Jack Sawyer, on a desperate quest to save his mother's life, must search for a prize across an epic landscape of innocents and monsters, of incredible dangers and even more incredible truths. The prize is essential, but the journey means even more. Let the quest begin...

My dad has been telling me to read this book for as long as I can remember. My dad doesn't read a lot, so when he recommends a book, you know it's going to be good.

I resisted, with the same answer every time: I don't want to read a scary book.

My dad insisted it wasn't scary and I ignored him until I stumbled upon this audiobook at the library.

He was right: it isn't scary. So don't let the typical Stephen King scariness hold you back.

The Talisman is a typical epic journey -- Jack has a quest to find the Talisman, a mystical object in another (dangerous, confusing) dimension, though he doesn't know what it is or exactly where, other than that it's in a hotel on the east coast. He's not even really sure what it will do.

But he has great motivation: he's been told it will save his mother's life.

Jack's journey also helps him connect with his father, who died five-ish years before the start of the book and who could also flip into the other dimension.

But his journey is dangerous, and there are a lot of people out to get Jack.

I liked this book. A lot. I gave it four stars on Goodreads.

I believed Jack as a character, mostly, and believed his motivation to save his mom and understand his father was enough to get him through all the stuff he has to go through -- which is a lot. A lot.

I liked the characters a lot, especially one named Wolf. Wolf is a human/werewolf and has the loyalty of your favorite puppy. He's sweet and innocent and fierce. I loved Wolf.

But all the characters are unique and believable. There's nothing in this book that's like anything I've ever read.

And you find yourself pulling for Jack, and Wolf, and the other "good guys." Which is a sign of a great book -- when you want the characters to succeed.

King and Straub also created such a cool other world. The Territories, the other dimension Jack can visit, is so different from America. The people are different, the creatures are different. There are even regions to the Territories. The Blasted Lands, which come near the end of the book, were especially fascinating.

One quick warning: though the book isn't scary, per se, there is a lot of graphic stuff. Violence, for one, but also detailed descriptions of the violence. And a weird fixation on genitals, which are described often as part of character descriptions. Weird.

But none of that really ever made me want to stop -- and this was a long book. Twenty four full discs. I wished a little bit that I wasn't listening to it sometimes because it would be easier to skip the graphic parts, but I also loved the narrator and the way he read the characters, so we'll call it even.

Have any of you read The Talisman? It's definitely not my "normal" book (if I even have a normal anymore) but I loved it. What did you think?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Book review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday.

It is the story of what it's like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie's letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. 

All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates, family dramas, and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, where all you need is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.

Through Charlie, Chbosky has created a deeply affecting novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.

I went back and forth a few times between giving this book three or four stars on Goodreads. I didn't hate it. But I didn't love it. Maybe I should even actually give it two, which Goodreads says means "It's OK."

Charlie is an interesting narrator. At the start of the book, he seems to only have had one friend, who committed suicide, and now he has no friends. He often stands on the sidelines just observing life.

Then, a mentor-type English teacher challenges him to actually start living.

Charlie makes friends with just the people to help him do that.

I've seen reviews for this book that questioned its appropriateness for a Young Adult audience, or people who were uncomfortable with a lot of the things talked about. 

And it's true that there is a lot of content that many parents might find questionable. Charlie talks about masturbation and date rape. He does drugs. There are some sexual scenes, and some characters do intimate things with people they don't really care for. Charlie drinks and does drugs. And he's only 15 at the start of the book.

If I was a parent and my teen was reading this book, I'd want to have those awkward conversations with them about all of these topics, just to make sure they understood the consequences of sex and drugs and alcohol.


I think this book probably speaks to a lot of teens where they're at, and that's what YA is all about. Young adults go through a lot of stuff. For a lot of teens, deciding whether to drink, have sex, do drugs -- that's the world they're facing.

So I think Charlie is a character they might be able to relate to.

I guess I'm just saying, be prepared for some adult content with this book.

Other thoughts:
1. I related to Charlie's challenge of making sure he lives his life as much as he observes other people living. I'm a wallflower.

2. One thing I really related to was a scene where Charlie gives everyone a perfect gift and they're all shocked. I think that was spot-on for someone who finds him/herself on the sidelines a lot. You have time to notice things and know people, even if they don't know or notice you.

3. Charlie cries a lot. And he thinks too much. He was hard to relate to in most ways, and honestly a little whiny, which my writing teachers always said was a big no-no.

4. I had heard people say they never saw the ending coming, so then I was trying to guess the ending the whole time, and I was waaay off. And now you'll try to guess too.

...This is maybe an awful review. It's kind of a heavy book. It left me more with feelings than with thoughts.

Have any of you read The Perks of Being a Wallflower? What did you think?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Book review: The Chosen One

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday.

Thirteen-year-old Kyra has grown up in an isolated community without questioning the fact that her father has three wives and she has twenty brothers and sisters, with two more on the way. That is, without questioning them much---if you don’t count her secret visits to the Mobile Library on Wheels to read forbidden books, or her meetings with Joshua, the boy she hopes to choose for herself instead of having a man chosen for her.

But when the Prophet decrees that she must marry her sixty-year-old uncle---who already has six wives---Kyra must make a desperate choice in the face of violence and her own fears of losing her family forever.

1. Carol Lynch Williams does a great job portraying the community. What I mean by this: she shows the good, too, not just the bad. As soon as Kyra is "chosen" to marry her uncle, as a reader you immediately start rooting for Kyra to get the aych-ee-double-hockey-sticks outta there. But the author does a great job demonstrating why exactly that's a difficult choice for Kyra.

2. I got really invested in this story. It's really easy to put yourself in the shoes of most of the characters (the non-bad guys, anyway) and wonder what you'd do in their situation. I wanted everyone to get their happy ending. I was thinking about it when I wasn't listening to it. Which covers two of the biggest most important things for me to really like a book: I have to care about the characters, and I know it's good if I can't stop thinking about it.

3. I want to know what happens next. Also a good sign.

4. For any audio-bookers out there, I think this one was particularly well read. Although they pronounced her name "Kee-rah" and I would have said "Kiy-rah."

5. I just find the whole environment and subject fascinating. A really cool peek into someone else's world that might not be real but totally could be. A very different way of living life. And a ticking time bomb of potentially having to marry an old man in your family. Yeesh.

Overall, I really liked this book. It's an easy read -- written in the voice of a 13 year old -- and a quick one. I recommend it!

Have any of you read The Chosen One? What did you think?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Book review: Missing You

Missing You by Meg Cabot

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday.

Ever since a walk home on a particularly stormy day, Jessica Mastriani has had an ability like no other. She became known worldwide as Lightning Girl a psychic who could find the location of anyone, dead or alive. Jess finally had no choice but to embrace her newfound talent, and ended up lending her skills to the U.S. government.

But her work for them has taken a terrible toll, and Jess resurfaces months later a shadow of her former self, her powers gone, Lightning Girl no more. Her only hope is starting over in a new place, a big city where nobody knows her. It's only when Rob Wilkins unexpectedly shows up on her doorstep that she's forced to face her past. Rob, all the way from back home, needs her help. But how can Jess, her powers gone, find anyone, let alone the sister of a man she once loved . . . when she can't even find herself?

Missing You, the fifth and final book in the 1-800-Where-R-You series.

I loved this series. I read it when I was younger and it's one of those that I never forgot about. I even started rereading it earlier this year.

But then I realized there was a final book in the series I'd never read, so I skipped ahead to that one -- Missing You.

Missing you takes place a few years after the preceding book in the series. Jess is at college, away from her hometown, when her ex-bf shows up and asks for her help, thus dragging her home.

It's always great to revisit characters you love. I love Jess and Rob and her family and the whole cast of characters. I think they're what really makes any of the books in this series.

That being said, this book kind of felt like it was written just because everyone kept bugging her to write another one. It seemed like she just wanted to wrap up all the characters' lives and storylines and give it a big pretty bow.

I liked it; it was fun to read. Definitely not the best book everrrr. Or even the best in the series. But I guess it is nice to see all the characters get their happy ending.

Have any of you read this book or series? What did you think?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Book review: Firefly Lane

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday. Holy long description, Goodreads! I shortened it a bit.

In the turbulent summer of 1974, Kate Mularkey has accepted her place at the bottom of the eighth-grade social food chain. Then, to her amazement, the “coolest girl in the world” moves in across the street and wants to be her friend. Tully Hart seems to have it all---beauty, brains, ambition. On the surface they are as opposite as two people can be: Kate, doomed to be forever uncool, with a loving family who mortifies her at every turn. Tully, steeped in glamour and mystery, but with a secret that is destroying her. They make a pact to be best friends forever; by summer’s end they’ve become TullyandKate. Inseparable.

So begins Kristin Hannah’s magnificent new novel. Spanning more than three decades and playing out across the ever-changing face of the Pacific Northwest, Firefly Lane is the poignant, powerful story of two women and the friendship that becomes the bulkhead of their lives.

I really really liked this book.

I have a friend who tried to read it and I guess she didn't get too far. It doesn't start fast and is never really full of action. It's more a story of relationships, of friendships, and of figuring out what you want in life.

But I identified very strongly with Kate, from beginning to end. She starts out as not a cool kid, which was me. And she has a very solid family. (Hi mom.)

The book takes place over 30ish years, I think. That's rare for a book, and maybe even rarer that it's well done. 

As Kate grows up, we see that she's not overly ambitious or competitive in her career, which is also me. She wants to have a family and she loves to write. I kept relating to Kate very strongly. (not that I don't want a career; I'm just more people-focused than ambitious)

These characteristics play out in an interesting and awesome way for Kate. See, she's part of a generation in which women were finally empowered to have a career and want something other than a family. So deciding you didn't want a career at that time was kind of considered going backwards as far as women's rights.

Anyway. This book is thick and it is slow and it is lovely. I really enjoyed it and I cried at the end.

Have any of you read Firefly Lane? What did you think?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Book review: The Book Thief

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday.

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

I loved this book.

I loved loved loved loved loved this book.

But I'm having a hard time reviewing it. So, here are some thoughts:

1. This book does better than maybe any other book I've ever read of showing how meaningful everyday interactions really are. Yes, there are huge things going on, like, you know, World War II and book burnings and Jews being marched through town. But it's all shown through Liesel's everyday life, the relationships she builds, and the way people treat each other.

2. The Book Thief also has some of the most excellent characters I've ever read. I think I fell in love with every one of them. Even the bad guys are so well written that you love them while you hate them.

3. This is not a quick read. Or, it wasn't for me. It is a long book and not overly full of action. But there is a steady, driving desire to know what happens. Make sure that when you pick this up, you have some time to invest in it.

4. I've never read a WWII book told from this perspective before -- just an average German girl. Not a soldier or a  Jew in hiding. Just a girl. I liked it.

5.One thing I wasn't sure I liked was that it often gives away things that will happen several chapters ahead of time. Heck, some of the stuff that happens in the end of the book, it tells you in the preface. I'm not sure I liked knowing what was going to happen.

6. The voice is very unique -- the story is told by Death. This caused the first chapter/preface (not sure which it was) to be confusing for me, and I had to listen to it a couple times. I know I say this a lot, but I'm not sure I've ever meant it more -- push through it. Give this book a full hundred, maybe hundred and fifty, pages before you put it down. Because these characters and this story are worth it.

Have any of you read The Book Thief? I gave it 5 stars and highly recommend it. Loved it. What did you think?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Book review: Me, Myself and Why?

Me, Myself and Why? by MaryJanice Davidson

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday.

Sweet and innocent with a twist of girl-next-door, Cadence Jones is not your typical girl and certainly not your typical FBI agent. Just ask her sisters, Shiro and Adrienne. (Wait. . . best if you don’t ask Adrienne anything.) But it’s her special “talent” which makes Cadence so valuable to the FBI and it never comes in more handy than when she and her partner, George, get tagged to bring down the Threefer Killer. A serial killer who inexplicably likes to kill in threes, leave behind inexplicable newspaper clippings, and not one shred of decent forensic evidence, soon starts leaving messages that seem to be just for Cadence and her sisters. Could it be that this killer knows all about Cadence’s special “talent”?

In the meantime, love blooms in the most unexpected place when Cadence meets her best friend’s gorgeous brother who is in town visiting—and she discovers that he knows her secret too! When attraction burns hot between them, her best friend isn’t thrilled with the romantic development and this time Cadence just might agree!

Suddenly Cadence finds her unbalanced life turned even more upside down as she tries to date a baker who wants to get in her heart and in her bed, dodge a pesky psychiatrist, keep a leash on her sociopath partner, while trying to catch a serial killer who’s now fixated on her.

Some days it’s not even worth getting up in the morning.

Me, Myself and Why was a little hard for me to get into. I think I was well over 50 pages in when I finally started enjoying the story.

From that point on, though, it was pretty good. It was funny and different from anything I've read  before.

The focus is a lot more on Cadence than the crimes, so if you have a weak stomach, I think you'd still be pretty ok. Cadence begins dating her friend's brother (who I was convinced was the killer, although I won't tell you if he actually is...), so there's a lot of focus on that relationship and how her "sisters" affect her ability to date. Personally, I thought the guy was a creep, even outside of thinking he was the killer, just because of the way he treats her when they're dating. But maybe that's just me...

The plot wasn't overly enthralling, but Cadence's "talent" was enough to keep me reading. It's another light, fun book, good for the beach or a road trip or when you've just had enough of reading about higher education administration... but maybe that's just me. :) I gave it three stars.

Have any of you read this one? I know someone who posts book reviews in this linkup did! Tell me what you thought!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Book review: Bittersweet

Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday.

Once upon a time, Hudson knew exactly what her future looked like. Then a betrayal changed her life, and knocked her dreams to the ground. Now she’s a girl who doesn’t believe in second chances... a girl who stays under the radar by baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner and obsessing over what might have been.

So when things start looking up and she has another shot at her dreams, Hudson is equal parts hopeful and terrified. Of course, this is also the moment a cute, sweet guy walks into her life... and starts serving up some seriously mixed signals. She’s got a lot on her plate, and for a girl who’s been burned before, risking it all is easier said than done.

It’s time for Hudson to ask herself what she really wants, and how much she’s willing to sacrifice to get it. Because in a place where opportunities are fleeting, she knows this chance may very well be her last...

Before reading Bittersweet, I'd already read Ockler's first novel, Twenty Boy Summer.

And I gotta say, I liked Bittersweet so much more!

I didn't dislike Twenty Boy Summer, but I think the characters were a little young for me. So onward to Bittersweet!

1. Bittersweet has a lot of awesome themes in it. Hudson, the main character, is secretly practicing ice skating, her former dream, and is also trying to juggle working in her mom's restaurant, a newfound social life, preparing for a huge competition, and (also secretly) coaching the boys' hockey team at her high school. Not to mention trying to stay afloat in classes.

So I think Hudson's story was really easy to relate to -- who hasn't tried to do everything all at once?

2. The characters are awesome. Like I said, Hudson is easy to relate to. Her friend Dani is awesome and the kind of girl you want to be friends with. Her little brother is the most adorable little brother I can think of in any book. And there are some cute boys, too.

3. It wasn't all sunshine and roses for me, though. There were a lot of moments when I was mentally berating Hudson for what she was doing. Some of that is good -- as in, it was a device used by Ockler -- but some of it I think I just wanted to understand more why the character was doing what she was doing. Like when she messes around with one boy when she doesn't even like him. Annoying, but could be a plot device if I'd understood better what she was thinking and feeling.

4. The romantic plotline ends in the very last pages. Which I didn't like for some reason. I didn't hate it either, but having it as the very last thing almost made it feel rushed to me. But maybe that's just me as a writer, not as the average reader? I don't know. I was pretty satisfied with what happened, but I might have liked some more detail and time in the resolution.

Overall, though, I really liked Bittersweet and I gave it four stars on Goodreads! It was one of the books I took to read on the beach and was definitely one of those ideal beach reads you always hope for.

Have any of you read Bittersweet? I'd love to hear what you think!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Book review: Insurgent

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. This is a sequel, so my review may have spoilers to the first book, which I reviewed here. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday.

One choice can transform you--or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves--and herself--while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable--and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

Insurgent was not as great as Divergent, for me.

I still liked it, and I read it quickly, but I definitely didn't get sucked in like I did with Divergent.

Insurgent develops a lot of the relationships we see in Divergent. Tris and Four grow and change now that they're outside of Dauntless. But the focus isn't just on them, which is good. This isn't a romance series, after all.

The relationships between the factions (and the factionless) are also developed much more in this book. And that is really cool -- to see what Amity, Candor and Erudite are like, since we've seen Dauntless and Abnegation. We get to see how they all work and learn more of the minor differences, like what colors they wear and how they style their hair and whatnot.

Tris also has to deal with everything that happened at the end of Divergent -- with her parents and Will, especially. We see Tris grow through her guilt and grief, and it's obvious she has changed, not simply moved on.

There is also a lot of action. But what I remember more about Insurgent is the development of Tris and the world she lives in.

Like the first book, this one makes you think a lot about where you'd be placed and how you'd react to what's happening. And whether you'd be a divergent, too -- and if that's even something you want to be.

Insurgent isn't a filler book. I didn't love it as much as the first one, but it is very good, develops the characters and advances the story.

And it got me psyched for the third book.

Has anyone else read Insurgent? It has a lot of awesome reviews on Goodreads. What did you think?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Book review: Stupid Fast

Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday.

My name is Felton Reinstein, which is not a fast name. But last November, my voice finally dropped and I grew all this hair and then I got stupid fast. Fast like a donkey. Zing
Now they want me, the guy they used to call Squirrel Nut, to try out for the football team. With the jocks. But will that fix my mom? Make my brother stop dressing like a pirate? Most important, will it get me girls-especially Aleah?
So I train. And I run. And I sneak off to Aleah's house in the night. But deep down I know I can't run forever. And I wonder what will happen when I finally have to stop.

Thoughts while reading this book went something like this:

1. Why does he keep comparing himself to a donkey?
2. Wait, now he's a squirrel?
3. Are all boys this weird?

The first chapter was a bit confusing for me. Maybe it would have been better if not on audio. But from there on, the book just got better. Promise.

I think the description to this one is pretty misleading, though. First of all, this line: "Most important, will it get me girls." I don't like books, usually, where all the character wants is popularity/boys/girls. Felton NEVER seems concerned with it, really. I mean, he gets more popular and it affects him, but it's never his motivation for doing anything he does.

Secondly, the description barely mentions that his family is going cuh-razy. And really, that's what makes this book super engaging and unique. Poor Felton's life falls apart all at once, and we just get to watch how he handles or doesn't handle it all.

I loved Felton's voice. It really made me wonder if all boys are that crazy, but he is so so funny. Maybe even laugh-out-loud funny a couple times. Like how he calls his brother Andrew a pirate. Which, by the way, I also loved Andrew, and think the relationship between the two boys is just spot-on perfect. All the characters were really dynamic and fresh -- definitely not characters I've already seen.

I ended up loving this book, despite my initial concerns, and highly recommend it.

Have any of you read Stupid Fast? What did you think?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Book review: Stay

Stay by Deb Caletti

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday.

Clara's relationship with Christian is intense from the start, and like nothing she’s ever experienced before. But what starts as devotion quickly becomes obsession, and it's almost too late before Clara realizes how far gone Christian is— and what he's willing to do to make her stay.

Now Clara has left the city—and Christian—behind. No one back home has any idea where she is, but she still struggles to shake off her fear. She knows Christian won't let her go that easily, and that no matter how far she runs, it may not be far enough....

Abuse is not an easy topic to cover.

I think Deb Caletti does a more than fair job of depicting the complex emotions of someone in an unhealthy relationship in Stay.

Stay goes back and forth in time -- Clara now, with her father, in a little beach town where her history can't catch up with her, and Clara then, when she's beginning, and then in, a relationship with Christian. 

The parts in the present show us how emotionally wrecked Clara is. But then the parts in the past show how she got to be in that position, how she justified staying in an unhealthy relationship, how all the tiny decisions led up to this monumental breaking point, how small acts in their relationship led to this huge, awful, scary monster of a relationship.

Though I've never been in an abusive relationship (thank god), I'd imagine that Stay gives a pretty good perspective on what it feels like to be swept away into a romance you think will be your perfect happily ever after and then end up scared, feeling at fault, and wondering how it got this bad.

Stay is not a light read, but I didn't think it was overly intense, either. Or, at least not as intense as the topic could be. There's definitely a lot of happy, particularly with the chapters in the present. Clara is recovering, and a new romance with a very cute, sweet boy begins, and there is a lot of light to balance the heavy.

Which, I think, is so like life.

Have any of you read Stay? What did you think?

Friday, August 31, 2012

Book review: Winter's Bone

Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday.

Ree Dolly's father has skipped bail on charges that he ran a crystal meth lab, and the Dollys will lose their house if he doesn't show up for his next court date. With two young brothers depending on her, 16-year-old Ree knows she has to bring her father back, dead or alive. Living in the harsh poverty of the Ozarks, Ree learns quickly that asking questions of the rough Dolly clan can be a fatal mistake. But, as an unsettling revelation lurks, Ree discovers unforeseen depths in herself and in a family network that protects its own at any cost.

I grew up on the outskirts of the Ozarks.

I guess, technically, we might be in the Ozarks, but I'm not sure, and I wasn't as country as Ree in Winter's Bone, so I'm gonna go with the outskirts.

I think the fact of growing up so close to the setting of this novel made it way intriguing for me.

Because all through reading the book, it's really easy to forget that this is set in present time. When Ree is hunting squirrels for food and teaching her brothers how to prepare them, it doesn't seem like something that would be happening right now. But then Ree will pull out her walkman and you're reminded that it takes place in the now (although walkmans are old, Ree isn't one who could really afford an iPod, yaknow?).

Winter's Bone gives a picture of life the way tons of people currently live it that many of us have never seen.

Ree is tough. Her mom is not very present mentally and her dad is no where to be found. But even when he is around, it's clear that this girl has had to learn how to survive, how to take care of herself, and how to support two kiddos and her mother while she's at it. Oh, and she's only 16. Pretty sure when I was 16 my dad was still giving me money anytime I wanted to go to the movies.

The story line reeks of desperation, but Ree never really shows it or feels sorry for herself. She just keeps going and does what she has to do. You really get to rooting for her to succeed, even as everything falls apart and it looks like she has very little hope.

The characters are fascinating and real, and very dynamic. A meth dealer could be a very one-dimensional, stereotypical character, but not in this book. You become fond of cookers of Crystal Meth and see them as real people, which is also something many of us don't do often (unless you're my mom, who becomes friends with them as she's busting their labs...). Usually, for me anyway, meth addicts and cookers are just names in the paper or mugshots on the news. The kids are even multi-demensional. Every character in Winter's Bone has at least one surprise up their sleeves that keeps you interested the whole way through.

Winter's Bone didn't become my favorite book in the world. But it did wake me up to a bit of life I'd never have seen otherwise, and shake me out of my middle-class white girl cocoon. I think it's worth the read just for that.

Have any of you read Winter's Bone or seen the movie? I'd love to hear what you thought! Also, here's a fascinating article about how they worked toward accuracy in the movie!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Book review: The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Holy long description, Goodreads! I cut some to make it fit better. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday.

...A portrait of the Jazz Age in all of its decadence and excess, Gatsby captured the spirit of the author's generation and earned itself a permanent place in American mythology. Self-made, self-invented millionaire Jay Gatsby embodies some of Fitzgerald's--and his country's--most abiding obsessions: money, ambition, greed, and the promise of new beginnings... Gatsby's rise to glory and eventual fall from grace becomes a kind of cautionary tale about the American Dream.

It's also a love story, of sorts, the narrative of Gatsby's quixotic passion for Daisy Buchanan. The pair meet five years before the novel begins, when Daisy is a legendary young Louisville beauty and Gatsby an impoverished officer. They fall in love, but while Gatsby serves overseas, Daisy marries the brutal, bullying, but extremely rich Tom Buchanan. After the war, Gatsby devotes himself blindly to the pursuit of wealth by whatever means--and to the pursuit of Daisy, which amounts to the same thing...

So I've always been a bit reluctant to read the "classics." I read the ones I had to in high school, made a half-hearted attempt at reading 1984 (which I made it halfway through), and called it good.

Then I saw the trailer for The Great Gatsby.

And I had to admit, the story actually seemed kind of exciting. I love that era of US culture. And I was hearing lots of people bemoan all the casting choices. So I decided to read it for myself (and of course, by that I mean I listened to it).

My thoughts:

1. F. Scott Fitzgerald certainly did have a way with words. It's one of those books that if I was reading it, I'm sure I would have marked many pages and gone back to copy down some of the beautiful language.

2. When I think of the "classics" I think long difficult to get through. This might just be because I've been too stubborn to read many of them. The Great Gatsby is neither. It's about cheating husbands, love affairs, the wealthy compared to the rest of us, perception of others, and many other things I could definitely relate to. (Well, I haven't had a cheating husband, but the plotline is familiar. :)

3. I'm not good at pointing out theme, but one of the ideas this book seemed to portray is one of my favorites -- that you can never really know what's going on in someone else's life. Only the parts they choose to show you.

In the end I gave this book three stars. I enjoyed it, but I didn't looove it. I think I might read it again, and actually read it, because I love the way Fitzgerald placed his words and phrases. The writing really is beautiful.

Did I fall in love with the story or the characters? No. Was I entertained the whole way through the book? Yes. So it's probably worth your time.

Plus, you know, it is a classic.

Are any of you huge Gatsby fans? I know they're out there! I'd love to hear what you all think of this one.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Book review: Across the Universe

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

I don't read a whole lot of science fiction, so it's hard for me to compare, but this one seems like a really good science fiction book for someone who doesn't read science fiction.

Did that make sense?

The premise of the book is pretty cool. Amy is frozen and stuck on a ship and she'll wake up in a bajillion (ok, like 300) years and be on a new earth.

The terrifying nature of her future in that alone was enough to get me hooked.

But then you add that someone is trying to kill her, and that they might try to kill her parents too, and it turned into a book I couldn't stop reading. Not that I wanted to.

I really liked and connected with both the male and female leads of this book, which is good, because it switches perspectives between the two. Each time we left one, I was reluctant initially to leave them, but soon got sucked into the plot going on with the other, then was reluctant to leave them.

I really liked the characters I was supposed to like and hated the characters I was supposed to hate. I got pretty darn invested in this story and was definitely rooting for Elder and Amy.

There are lots lots lots of surprises constantly coming in this book. I guessed a few, but I missed more than I guessed, so Revis still managed to shock me a few times.

There's also a lot of ethical issues. Elder is the future leader of the ship, and he's faced with a lot of choices about what will be best for him as a leader and for the people he will be leading, and the choices he makes are not black-and-white issues. There's also questions of race and discussion of the benefits and difficulties that arise from difference.

I think I would recommend actually reading this one (as opposed to listening to the audio). The narrators were both really good, but (and this might be hard to explain, so bear with me) when the male character was reading, Amy's voice sounded really whiny and not likeable. But when the book was read by the woman reading Amy's parts, she was kind of BA. The disparity bothered me a bit.

I liked this book! It mostly got so-so reviews on goodreads, but I recommend it as an easy, fun read.

Have any of you read it? What did you think?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Book review: We'll Always Have Summer

We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Because this is a sequel, it will by nature have some spoilers. Read my review for the previous books here and here. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday.

It's been two years since Conrad told Belly to go with Jeremiah. She and Jeremiah have been inseparable ever since, even attending the same college-- only, their relationship hasn't exactly been the happily ever after Belly had hoped it would be. And when Jeremiah makes the worst mistake a boy can make, Belly is forced to question what she thought was true love. Does she really have a future with Jeremiah? Has she ever gotten over Conrad? It's time for Belly to decide, once and for all, who has her heart forever.


I'm just not super thrilled with this series. Which is so weird, since usually I'd stop reading if I wasn't liking it. So I guess I liked this book enough to keep reading, but not enough to look back on it favorably.

Should I even say more in a meh review?

I think this book could have been better. There are a lot of intense relationship issues going on, but I feel like it skates over the serious issues (alluded to in the description as "the worst mistake a boy can make") and focuses on more superficial issues.

I also just don't get the whole Conrad thing.

Like, he's cute, I'm sure, and she loves him, loved him since she was little.

But that seems to be the only thing going for him -- that she always wanted him and never could have him. He never wowed me. He never really treats her well in the first couple books, so I just don't get why she keeps going back to him. I just don't get the love triangle thing.

Maybe that makes it realistic, though. We don't always want what or who is best for us. Not that Jeremiah is perfect for Belly either.

Idk. I'm apathetic.

I know I've asked this the last couple reviews, too, but has anyone else out there read these books? Do you get the Conrad thing?

Friday, August 3, 2012

Book review: It's Not Summer Without You

It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews. Read my review for the previous book here. Linking up with Blonde... Undercover Blonde for Book Club Friday.

Can summer be truly summer without Cousins Beach?It used to be that Belly counted the days until summer, until she was back at Cousins Beach with Conrad and Jeremiah. But not this year. Not after Susannah got sick again and Conrad stopped caring. Everything that was right and good has fallen apart, leaving Belly wishing summer would never come.But when Jeremiah calls saying Conrad has disappeared, Belly knows what she must do to make things right again. And it can only happen back at the beach house, the three of them together, the way things used to be. If this summer really and truly is the last summer, it should end the way it started--at Cousins Beach.

I liked this one much better than I liked the first book, The Summer I Turned Pretty.

I think a big part of it was that this one had more of a plot. The first book was kind of just Belly flailing around and lusting after boys for most of the time. But the characters had something they were all trying to accomplish in the second installment.

This book also gave a better, more well-rounded view on almost all the characters. We got to see some things from Jeremiah's perspective and understand his motives better, and through him we also learn more about Conrad. Not just how Belly sees the boys, but how they see each other and how they really are.

I also liked the role of the parents in this one. Laurel turns into a rock star. I loved her.

The characters really are what shine in the first book, and they're still awesome here. Although I'm still not a huge fan of Belly's. But this one had a much better storyline and plot. If I gave the first book three stars, this one probably gets three and a half.

So I kept reading. As I'm writing this, I already finished the third. I got a little behind on my reviews.

Have any of you read this series? Which book was your favorite?

Friday, July 27, 2012

Beach book recommendations

Hey friends!

Today, my little sister Anna and I are off to New Jersey! As this is being published, we're probably actually in the air, flying to Philly!

Since I typically do a book post on Fridays, I thought it might be fun to leave you with some book recommendations for the beach!

Requirements for a beach book:
  • Light -- not too serious
  • Something you can put down and pick up again without forgetting everything
  • And of course, bonus points are awarded for funny books and for romance!

So without any further ado, here are some of my top beach reads!

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me by Mindy Kaling and Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen and The Secret Life of Prince Charming by Deb Caletti
(Although any book by either author would work. Seriously. Two of my favs.)

My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler (obviously, this one's PG 13) and Matched by Ally Condie

What do I actually have in hand for the trip? 
Well, I'll be starting with these two gems, although I actually have six more (!) packed:

Not sure if either will fit the bill for a perfect beach read, but here's hoping they're good either way!

Happy reading and happy Friday, friends!


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