Monday, December 9, 2013

Hi readers!

Sorry things have been a little quiet around here. I feel like I've been reading my regular amount yet I don't have any new reviews for you. I don't know what the deal is! Maybe I'm reading slower, or bigger books (I'm looking at you Gone With the Wind), but whatever it is, I've fallen a little behind. And I'm sorry for that. 

I've got a few good reviews coming up because I fell in love with the two books I've read recently but I haven't written the reviews yet. And I don't know when exactly I will. That's because I have a problem. An amazingly, awesome, spectacular problem. It's the holidays and I'm going on my honeymoon which will launch me into a mini hiatus. I've been busy preparing for both of these events and can't wait but they do put a damper on my blogging time. 

I will try to update and review as I go but I'm not making any promises. I'm going to enjoy my time with my husband and family and if I get any reviews done before I leave, I'll post/schedule them but if not, honestly I'm not really going to worry about it. 

I just wanted to let you know that I will be back in action in 2014 (for sure) so excuse my short absence and I'll see you on the flip side!

Oh, and

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Doctor Sleep

I didn't really look at this cover art until
 I finished the book but it is super creepy
when you take a second to look at it. 
Title: Doctor Sleep
Author: Stephen King
Read: December 1, 2013
Series: The Shining #2 (technically)

Summary: Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.

On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”

Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of devoted readers of The Shining and satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon. goodreads

Review: Did anyone ever predict King would come back with a sequel for The Shining? I never did! I think that is one of his most famous, well done books and I never thought he would touch it again. Personally, I didn't really need to know what happened to Danny. I was so satisfied by The Shining and that story that I didn't actually look into the future for him. This is weird because usually I can't get enough of characters in good books but I just didn't ever wonder about Danny Torrance. Turns out, I may have been the only one. 

King brings Danny, now Dan, back to life in Doctor Sleep and he does it by creating another unique story with hints of The Shining's (TS from here on out) greatness in it. I really enjoyed how King referenced TS throughout the book, whether it was through similar locations, memories, or still lingering fears. Dan starts out exactly where you would expect him to if you were to think past the last pages of TS. He is person who has used alcohol to cope with the traumas of his past and avoid the scary things that have happened and from time to time, still happen. Luckily for him, he finds AA and starts to build a life where his special ability (his shining) can help people rather than just scare the crap out of him. 

Along the way, The Shining (and good ole Tony) connect Dan and a little girl named Abra. I loved Abra! Not only was she extremely talented as far as her ability to shine goes, she has one hell of a personality for a little girl. Part of this I think she gets from her Momo (great-grandmother) who I also enjoyed, but she makes the feistiness all her own and it is bad news for the True Knot. Personally, I didn't really connect with the True Knot aspect of the story. I really enjoyed the ghost/haunted hotel aspect of TS but didn't enjoy this antagonist as much. Yes, they were scary. The tusk?!? Terrifying. Yes, they feed on children and cause nightmares. I just wasn't as impacted by them as I was by the Overlook Hotel. 

Eventually, Dan, Abra, and the True Knot come together and Dan and Abra decide they have had enough, The True Knot is going down. This is where Abra gets a little scary and a lot feisty. She goes toe to toe with these beings that have been around for centuries and she does not show any desire to back down. She does show her maniacal smile, which Dan appreciated and understood, but The True Knot did not seem to give her the credit she deserved. But once again, the child of King's book comes out and kicks some ass which keep the reader entertained and invested in the outcome of the children with The Shining. I think I still prefer TS to Doctor Sleep. I prefer the Overlook to The True Knot but I definitely prefer Abra to Dan. So maybe it's a toss up. Either way, if you're a fan of King or a fan of The Shining, check out the sequel just for fun!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

In this edition of Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the ladies at TB&TB) we have
The Top Ten Things I'm Grateful For

  1. My husband. Yes, it's cheesy but I've been married for almost 3 months and am loving it. I've been with the kid for about 8 years so I've been thankful for him for awhile but it never hurts to repeat it. He has unlimited patience (which I do not, ahem) and he puts up with my crazy. And let me tell you, my crazy is never lacking. He loves me more than I can fathom and I'm lucky to have him for the rest of my life. (Love you if you're reading!)
  2. My parents. I don't know how I got so lucky but I'm pretty sure I have the best parents in the world. My dad has always been my rock and one of the few people who can calm me down when I get worked up (honorable mention to the hubby here as well because he has perfected this skill.) My mom is the one who usually gets me worked up and who I inherited my crazy from but she's had my heart since day one. I realize how rare it is to genuinely enjoy hanging out with your parents (and maybe their friends...) and I appreciate them more than they'll ever know. I still try to show it as often as I can but I know I fall short.
  3. My siblings. I have a sister who is two years younger than me and a brother who is six years younger. Growing up, I was not very close with them. Ok, let's be real, I was hell on wheels and they were in my war path every day. Since I've matured a bit, our relationship has gotten so much better. I'm sad I wasted 12/16 years living with them but now I look forward to spending as much time as I can with them. They amaze me every day with the people they have grown up to be and I'm so proud of them. (And I fully take credit for their tough skin, sense of sarcasm, and ability to dish it out as well as receive it.)
  4. My dog. We rescued Bowman, our black lab, about a year and a half ago and I had no idea how big of a hole our life had until he filled it. He is a complete spaz and not the smartest but he gives the best cuddles and will love you if you give him a belly rub.
  5. My education. I worked very hard for 18 years of my life to earn two degrees and a diploma and I'm grateful that I was able to do so. Without my education, I don't know where I would be or what I would be doing. I learned a lot throughout my years in school and that education and experience makes me who I am today. 
  6. My job. This is a tricky one because I actually hate where I work but I love the work that I do. It may sound conceited to say I make a difference every day but I do. I know that because I've seen children change over the course of a handful of sessions into functioning human beings. Kids who have been abused, neglected, and hurt are capable of unimaginable resiliency and I help them find that within themselves. That's something special and I'm lucky to be able to do it. 
  7. Good books. If I'm not working, eating, or cuddling with my husband, I'm reading. It's my escape. It's how I can handle #6 without burning out. I can shut out the real world and get lost in a place that is completely imaginary (or at least removed from my reality.) It's a hobby but it's also a way of life and book are always in the back of my brain. Like when can I get a few more chapters/pages in?
  8. My friends. I was lucky enough to find a group of girls in college and grad school that I really connected with. Currently, zero of my best friends live in the same town as me but our friendships have grown despite the ridiculous distance between us. I also have a couple girls in town who I know would be down for drinks after work if I needed them and I'm lucky to have that because sometimes I REALLY need them. 
  9. My health. This one is cheesy but it's something I take for granted. Yes, I could lose a few lbs (I'm working on it) and I could be healthier but I have full control of my body and am lucky to have that.
  10. Manzanita Island. This is where I got married and where I vacation every year of my life. I have more memories here than any other place and it's been in my family for over 100 years. I'm lucky that my husband understands the magic of this piece of land (because some people don't) and has fully embraced it the way I have. My children will grow up there knowing their cousins and the children of my friends who I grew up with. It's a special place and my favorite place in the world. If only it was closer and not freezing cold 9 months out of the year...
So there you have it! I have a lot to be thankful for and I really enjoyed writing this list. What are your top ten things your thankful for?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Depraved Indifference

Title: Depraved Indifference
Author: Robert K. Tanenbaum
Read: November 18, 2013
Series: Butch Karp #2

Summary: In his second novel starring New York Assistant D.A. Butch Karp, the author of No Lesser Plea presents a gritty and suspenseful thriller centering on Karp's dogged pursuit of a master terrorist. goodreads

Review: I hate it when I read the second book in a series without reading the first! I actually have the first Butch Karp book but just hadn't read it yet. This book was pretty good as a standalone but there were spoilers from the first book which is a bummer. This story follow ADA Karp and his girlfriend Marlene (also a district attorney) while they are trying to solve a murder of a police officer. The reader is privy to the info from the beginning of the book and but the story follows Karp as he tries to gather evidence and build a case against the murderers.

This story also surrounds the history of Yugoslavia and the Croats and Serbs which is a topic I know nothing about. At times this made it more confusing because it was hard to follow who was allied with who but the author did a good job of giving the history lesson to go along with the story. There were a lot of characters in this book which, once again, caused me to have a hard time following it but I enjoyed the main characters and will probably go back and read the first book (even though I know parts of what happens.)

Friday, November 22, 2013

These are my confessions

Forgive me readers, for I have sinned. Ok, I don't know if it's really that dramatic but I do have some confessions.

1. I got called out! An author requested that I review his book of poems because "I like all genres and will read anything." Turns out, that's not necessarily true. Poetry! That is my one exception. Poetry is not for me. I don't get it, I don't enjoy it, I can't review it. I guess I'll have to amend the "about me" section to reflect this. Thanks for finding the loop hole!

2. Goodreads is currently holding voting for the best books of 2013. Thinking that I read a lot and definitely have an opinion about books, I headed over the to exercise my right to vote. Lo and behold, I have not read a single book that is available for voting in the semi-finals. Not one! In any category!!! Granted, I'm currently reading one (thanks Doctor Sleep for helping me feel relevant) and I have a few on my TBR list but I couldn't vote because I hadn't read them. What am I doing with my reading life?!? This could be due to the fact that I rarely buy books that are brand new in hardback (with the exception of the recent Doctor Sleep purchase, ahem) and I have to wait for them to be available for free download from somewhere. I actually have a handful of these books available to me but just haven't read them. Enough excuses, I'm going to work harder to read more relevant books rather than just going down the alphabetical list in my nook for my next book. (Keep an eye open for those reviews...)

3. I added about 100 books to my TBR shelves based on the Goodreads nominations. No shame in my game.

4. I have lived in the South for the better part of my life and I have never read/watched Gone With the Wind. I don't even know the premise of the story other than Scarlett and Rhett are involved. Until recently, I thought Tara was a person. I know. It's shameful. But I'm currently remedying this situation and really enjoying GWTW so far. (So much for being more relevant...)

5. I still suck at Twitter. Even when I try.

What are your confessions? Bookwise or in general?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Books I Would Recommend to my Sister

It's been quite some time since I did a TTT but I thought this topic was fun. I have a sister who is about 2 years younger than me, Amelia (or Amy) and to tell you the truth, we don't have a lot in common. We have gotten along much better since we've been in our 20s but growing up, we were more enemies than sisters. Now that we have a good relationship, I love talking with her and sharing different experiences. The one thing that has always set us apart is that I'm the book fiend while she is more creative and artistic. She likes to read but not as much as I do (most people don't read as much as I do...) but if she were interested in expanding her bookish repertoire, this is what I would recommend. And if you want more TTT, head over to The Broke and the Bookish to see what they recommended!

1. Harry is on my recommendation list first for everyone who ever thought they would like to read more books. I'm pretty sure my sister has read one or two of these but I would tell her to read them all! This series is something my dad and I have always shared and I would love or Amy to join in with us. 

685403 2. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: This is one of my all time favorite series and another one I recommend to just about everyone. I think Amelia would enjoy this book and I'd want her to feel what it is like to be completely immersed in this fictional world and care so much for the characters. Plus, Jamie makes these big books worth it if nothing else. Swoon.

86678483. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness: This is a very fun fantasy book that is really well done. Amy read the Twilight series and I think this is so much better than that. Plus the sequel is out so the story doesn't have to end there!

8306857 4. Divergent by Veronica Roth: I love this series and it's different from the rest of the books because of the dystopian aspect. I think Tris is such a independent, admirable female lead which I think there can never be enough of. 

5598113 5. The Bridal Quaretet Series by Nora Roberts: This is one of my favorite romance series. It is also a series my mom and I share and like with Harry, I would love for Amy to enjoy this with us. 

18619684 6. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger: This is one of my all time favorite love stories. It's more serious than the fluffy romance novels of Nora Roberts but it is heart wrenching and amazing all at the same time. Plus the movie stars my fav Rachel McAdams. 

7250052 7. On Folly Beach by Karen White: I love the way this story is told through flashbacks and memories. It's also fun that it is set her in South Carolina where Amelia and I grew up. This is also on my recommendation list for my mom.

3063499 8. The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks: I think a lot of Sparks' novels are redundant and feel the same to me. This one had a lot of the same themes as his others but I enjoyed it so much more for some reason.

 9. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen: I loved this book and the setting of it was unique which added more to it. I really connected with the characters and didn't want the book to end. 

19063 10. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: This one would be the long shot. It's a beautiful story with amazing characters but it is a little more serious than my other recommendations. If Amelia were willing to give this a shot, I think she would love it (as would everyone else.) 

Monday, November 18, 2013


7778981Title: Halo
Author: Alexandra Adornetto
Read: November 16, 2013
Series: Halo #1

Summary: Three angels – Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, the youngest and most human – are sent by Heaven to bring good to a world falling under the influence of darkness. They work hard to conceal their luminous glow, superhuman powers, and, most dangerous of all, their wings, all the while avoiding all human attachments.

Then Bethany meets Xavier Woods, and neither of them is able to resist the attraction between them. Gabriel and Ivy do everything in their power to intervene, but the bond between Xavier and Bethany seems too strong.

The angel’s mission is urgent, and dark forces are threatening. Will love ruin Bethany or save her? goodreads

Review: When I went to Goodreads to get the summary info for this review, the first thing I noticed was that all of the reviews gave this book a 1 out of 5. All of them. What? How the hell did this book end up on my nook with reviews like that? The only options are: I downloaded it for free when I first got my nook and was non-discriminatory about free books (now I know better...) OR it made it's way onto Listopia and I just blindly downloaded based on that. Either way, I'm ashamed for having this in my possession.

The book started out okay. I'm open to the idea of angels on earth and the battle between good and evil. I really enjoyed Lauren Kate's Fallen series which has a similar premise. Unfortunately, this book does not hold a candle to the Fallen series. I strongly disliked Bethany (or Beth to her human friends.) She was overly naive even though she was well versed in all academic subjects. She made stupid decisions that should not have been possible if she was really the type of angel they made her out to be. Then, lo and behold, her stupid decisions affect everyone and screw everything up.

The two highlights as far as characterizations go were Jake and the Woods family. Jake is obviously evil incarnate but he is fun and interesting and much more dreamy than the over-protective, obsessive, goody two-shoes Xavier. In all seriousness though, Xavier's family was the highlight of the book for me. I loved the description of this family with 6 kids and a dinner with them. The mom is surrounded by chaos but manages it and stays calm throughout, just like any mom with a lot of kids has to learn to do. I enjoyed the descriptions of the children who were all at different ages and stages but forced to interact with each other. I loved it all! Best part of the book. I will give honorable mention to the cover though. It's pretty and ethereal.

This book was just lacking for me. I didn't hate it but I sure didn't enjoy it. I didn't care what happened to any of the characters and it felt like the story just drifted along. There were a lot of inconsistencies as far as story line goes. Like she is an angel but she sins like a human? I feel like that was random and convenient. There is at least one more book in this series that I will not be reading. If you are really into the angel/demon thing, check out Kate's Fallen from above.

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Million Little Pieces

1241Title: A Million Little Pieces
Author: James Frey
Date Read: November 10, 2013

Summary: At the age of 23, James Frey woke up on a plane to find his front teeth knocked out and his nose broken. He had no idea where the plane was headed nor any recollection of the past two weeks. An alcoholic for ten years and a crack addict for three, he checked into a treatment facility shortly after landing. There he was told he could either stop using or die before he reached age 24. This is Frey's acclaimed account of his six weeks in rehab. goodreads

Review: To be honest, I picked up this book because I LOVE a good scandal. (PS Scandal the TV series is phenomenal. Check it out!) If you don't remember how all of this went down, let me remind you. Frey classified this book as a memoir from the very beginning. This was his downfall because it turns out, it's not really true. At all. Granted, he had some substance abuse problems and did time in rehab but all of the arrests and severity of drug abuse was grossly exaggerated and manipulated. In addition to lying to the general media, his publishers, and his readers, he also lied to Oprah Winfrey. Lied to her face! When Big O found out about this, she essentially crucified him on her show for lying and making her look like a fool (because she adopted this book for her book club and brought him on the show to brag about him.) Oh goodness, 2006 was a bad year for James Frey. But it did get him a lot of publicity (really bad publicity) and that's how this book ended up in my hands. Going into reading this book, I was aware of most of the scandal but not the extent to how much be made up or altered so my review is based on knowing some of it is lies but believing big parts of it (which now I know was pretty naive...)

The story follows James through his stint in rehab with a lot of flashbacks to his history with drugs and alcohol. He is made out to be this total bad ass who doesn't care about anything and is looking for pain and punishment in the form of substance abuse. The stories, such as serious dental surgery without anesthesia, make him sound like a bad ass but there are parts that don't totally ring true whether you think it's a memoir or know he lied. From what I know of substance abuse, most addicts can't tell you what they did last night much less their entire substance use history and details of how it affected those around them. First red flag. Then he goes on to ignore all of the statistics and studies surrounding the 12-step program and make a decision to be sober which just so happens to work for the rest of his life. I think most people know how unlikely this is but I have to admit that there are people who go cold turkey and get control of their lives. Most of them aren't life long drug addicts or alcoholics who have reached the pointed Frey did, but whatever. We'll let that one slide.

When it comes down to it though, and you can let all of the exaggerated stories go, this is actually a relatively enjoyable book for what it is. James was an ass hole his whole life but starts to finally come around in rehab and make connections and friendships that he has never been able to do before. He reconnects with his family and somehow manages to survive everything he has been through and come out on the other side of it ok. This book gets relatively graphic at times but in a way that feels honest (ironic, I know) and adds to the story rather than deters from it. The writing is very odd with random words capitalized and very few commas but it helps the reader understand the chaotic thoughts that go through an addict's head. Parts of it were just ridiculous, like his relationship with Lilly and successfully breaking the big rule of rehab and not being kicked out, but part of me wanted to believe all of it. I wanted to believe that someone could overcome this level of addiction simply by deciding not to do drugs anymore. To believe that he was able to pick of the million little pieces of his life and move on with his friends and family and be successful. To believe that there are people like the employees at the rehab who look out for people with addictions and mental health issues and do what's best for them. I want to believe and at parts, I did. But then I come back down to reality and am extremely disappointed that James Frey made bad decisions, which negatively colored a book that could have impacted people in a positive way. I enjoyed this book for what it was and will always wonder which parts were actually true (you know, other than the proof that he was not arrested all those time or when he created a sick, made up relationship with a girl who actually was killed by a train). I may or may not also pick up his follow up book to this which centers around his friend Leonard. I liked Leonard and would like to find out what happened to him before he died. Granted, I may never know because Frey lies like a rug but it still may be interesting because whatever else Frey is, he's a good story teller.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

My History with Goodreads (gifs)

What? You didn't think I'd be the only blogger to not discuss the Goodreads fiasco, did you? You must not know me at all. But let's back up a bit because this is not all about Goodreads. I think Goodreads is just where it allllll started.

In December of 2008, it was the middle of winter and I just wanted to curl up with a good book. Who am I kidding, I live in South Carolina and it was probably 65 and sunny and didn't resemble winter at all. But that's beside the point; I was looking for a good book!  The two people in my life who recommend books for me the most are my parents but I'll give an honorable mention to my paternal grandmother as well. These three people each introduced me to some of my favorite series (Dad gave me my first Harry Potter book after he read it, Grandmother gave me the Gentlemen Bastards and the Kingkiller Chronicles, and good ole Mom led me to Nora Roberts, most notably, the Bridal Quartet. I'm lucky to have these people.) But in 2008, for whatever reason, they failed me!

When those three couldn't provide a good recommendation, I started looking around to friends for some ideas. That is when it hit me. I have no one to talk books with. Yea, yea, yea, my three musketeers are good for recommendations but not really book talk. How was it possible I was such a book lover without a book community? This realization was heart breaking! But I quickly realized I had to fix that so I went to the world wide web, and lucky me, found Goodreads. If any of you remember when you found Goodreads, you may remember it was life changing. There were bookies everywhere! And Lists! Oh, the lists! I finally had a way to keep track of all the books I read in one place and rate them accordingly. It was love at first sight. But then I discovered there were millions of other people, like me, who just wanted to talk about books. Rate books, review books, bash books, everything a bibliophile could ever dream of. I finally had my book lover community!

Flash forward about five years. This happened. Goodreads became part of the "Amazon family." I'm not a huge hater of Amazon but I know a lot of people who are. From what I understand, Amazon can be a little manipulative when it comes to their reviews. A lot of my Nook friends were also up in arms because they didn't know what it would mean for them. I wasn't alarmed by this event but I think it was the first step down the slippery slope.

Most recently, this happened. I understand that Goodreads doesn't want to create an environment for author bashing but to delete people's posts and reviews with no warning? That's a little ridiculous. I'm part of the party that believes in negative reviews. I think book reviewing is nothing if it isn't honest so if I don't like a book, I'm going to say so. I also recognize that there were a lot of authors attacking reviewers due to these negative reviews and readers attacking right back. That's not what the book community should be about in my opinion and I think something needed to be done about it. I just don't think this was the way to handle it.

They also kind of made this change under the radar without informing everyone which led to a lot of posts being deleted unknowingly. As far as I know, none of my reviews were deleted (but since they don't inform anyone, I may have not realized it yet...) but if they were, I would be incredibly upset. I know how much work I put into my reviews and I use them to keep track of a number of things. To have all of that disappear without a chance to back it up, I'd be livid.

To me, these are all bad signs. I think Goodreads may be spiraling and I know a lot of people who have already jumped ship. The problem is, Goodreads has everything and it is not easily replaceable. I haven't found a place to review and keep track of my books as well as participate in a community with discussion boards and challenges. This is disappointing.

But the light at the end of all of this is blogging! I started this blog in order to keep track of my books and meet people. Granted, I did it before Goodreads' screw ups but I think this is an answer to a lot of my Goodreads problems. This is my space and I'm allowed to say what I want when I want (which is pretty cool.)

But it is also a medium that I can meet other people through and learn about new books I want to read. I want to thank Goodreads for being there all those winters ago and giving me a place to be a book nerd. Without it, I would have never discovered The Broke and The Bookish  blog and everything that comes from being a book blogger.  I'm not sure how long Goodreads will be around and I will more than likely continue to use it until it isn't. Goodreads has been an important factor in my reading life but I'm glad I moved on (and moved up, IMHO) to the blogger world where freedom of speech is appreciated.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Four Past Midnight Mini-review #4

Here it is! The final mini-review and the wrap up for Four Past Midnight!

Review for The Langoliers
Review for Secret Window, Secret Garden
Review for The Library Policeman

Four Past Midnight Title: Four Past Midnight
Author: Stephen King
Date Read: October 17, 2013

The Sun Dog

Summary: In The Sun Dog, the concluding novella in Stephen King's best-selling Four Past Midnight, the source of terror is a simple Polaroid camera owned by a 15-year-old boy in the small town of Castle Rock, Maine. No matter where Kevin Delevan aims the camera, it produces a photograph of an enormous, ugly, vicious looking dog. In each successive picture, the menacing creature draws nearer to the flat surface of the Polaroid film as if it intends to break through. When old Pop Merrill, the town's sharpest trader, gets wind of this phenomenon, he envisions a way to profit from it—but the Sun Dog, a beast that shouldn't exist at all, turns out to be a very dangerous investment. goodreads

Review: This was my least favorite story in the book. It may be because I was distracted by other things but it felt like it took a long time for me to get through this one. I didn't really connect with any of the (three) characters. I thought Pop's trips to the "mad hatters" were random and didn't add to the story line. A couple of times I thought to myself (and made notes of it), "I'm not scared and I don't really care what the dog ends up doing." I think that is a bad sign. Once again, this may have been more due to me being to distracted to connect with the book but overall, not my cup of tea.

You can look back through the mini reviews here, here, and here. In the end, I rated the book as a whole, a 3/5. I really enjoyed some of the stories while other left me just feeling meh (like the one above.) Like I mentioned in the first review for this book, all of these stories seem to center around reality vs. imaginary (it's all just in your head.) At some point, each of the main characters questions what reality is and whether what is happening to them can actually be happening. Unfortunately for each of the characters, it really is happening but if it wasn't it wouldn't be King now would it? I'm still a life long King fanatic but the more suspenseful/scary the story, the more I enjoy it.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

Title: Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
Author: Fannie Flagg
Date Read: October 27,2013

SummaryIt's first the story of two women in the 1980s, of gray-headed Mrs. Threadgoode telling her life story to Evelyn, who is in the sad slump of middle age. The tale she tells is also of two women -- of the irrepressibly daredevilish tomboy Idgie and her friend Ruth, who back in the thirties ran a little place in Whistle Stop, Alabama, a Southern kind of Cafe Wobegon offering good barbecue and good coffee and all kinds of love and laughter, even an occasional murder. goodreads

Review: I saw this movie a very long time ago and all I remembered about it was the story of Idgie and Ruth. Don't get me wrong, I love Idgie and Ruth, but the best part of this book were all of the colorful characters. This book is told through a series of flashbacks and stories which I though gave it a very unique perspective. I fell in love with the main story teller Mrs. Threadgoode. She had a spark that I thought was special. But the characters get even better from there. Dot Weems gave us a look at the local gossip through Weems Weekly which I thought was very typical for the south. We love us some gossip! She's also extremely feisty and has a good sense of humor throughout. One time she tried to sell her husband through her column and I laughed out loud. Who hasn't been there? Flagg does a good job of characterizing all ages. I found myself relating to Stump as he interacted with his first crush. I think everyone remembers what it was like to be at that awkward age and the author does a good job of portraying that. 

Now let's get back to Idgie and Ruth. Idgie is everything that a strong female lead should be! She's smart, compassionate, tough as nails, and generous. I love that she found Ruth and they made a life together in their own little part of the world. I see Ruth as Idgie's opposite and they complement each other throughout. Ruth is kind, endearing, and caring but she learns to stick up for herself throughout this book and I think she has Idgie to thank for a lot of that. I understand how a movie could be made around these two but the book is soooo much better than (what I remember of) the movie. 

This book addresses everything from race and culture in the south, to religion, to women's rights, to mental illness. It covers it all. It also provides different perspectives of all of these topics which helps the reader to understand (to the best of their ability) what it was like for a black man to go through the same situation as a white woman and get a completely different experience out of it. The reader starts to see how different life can be for someone based on their race or social status. They may handle the same situation but get grossly different outcomes. Sometimes it's hard to remember that and I loved the way Flagg reminded us through this novel. You all already know I have a soft spot for well done "southern novels" and now I just have to add this one to the list! (I may have to watch the movie again.)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


9481431Title: Glamour
Author: Penelope Fletcher
Series: Rae Wilder #1
Date Read: November 2, 2013

Summary: Rae Wilder has problems.... Supernatural creatures swarm the earth, and humanity is on the brink of extinction. Stalked by a handsome fairy who claims she is like him, demonkind, Rae thinks maybe it was a mistake breaking the rules by going over the Wall into demon territory. Plunged into a world of dark magics, fierce creatures, and ritual sacrifice, she is charged with a guarding a magical amulet. The changes to her mind and body are startling, but rather than accept her purpose she struggles against who she is destined to be. Throw in a big lust for a vampire who can't keep his hands off her, and life starts to get complicated. Rae is forced to make the ultimate choice: to live and die human, or embrace her birth-right and wield magics that could turn her into something wicked, a force of nature nothing can control. goodreads

Review: I'm pretty sure this was a free book from Barnes and Noble because I can't figure out how else it would get on my nook (you may notice this happens a lot... maybe I should try to keep track better.) First thoughts-- the cover. Oooooh pretty! The colors are wonderful and very pleasing to the eyes. Unfortunately, that's about where my praise stops. I wish the cover had anything to do with how good the book is because in that case, this book would have been better.

Initially, I was drawn in. A lot happens in the first few pages and Rae seems like an interesting character who obviously knows very little about the world around her. I guess that being that oblivious could be endearing if she used the info she found out to complete the puzzle but she just doesn't. It's like she asks random questions but they are never fully answered. I understand this is the first in the series but the majority of the questions and background info was not covered which means this cannot be a stand alone book (which I think every book should be, regardless of if it's in a series or not. Otherwise, the next book is really just a continuation of the story in the first rather than adding to it. I digress.) This book also felt very rushed. Not only did very few questions get answered but all of the action happened in about a day. That's a lot of info and a hell of a 24 hours for one person.

Now, my real issue with the book. The stupid insta-love, all boys are obsessed with the main character because she's beautiful, love triangle thing. I HATE THIS STORY LINE!!! I'm looking at you Twilight! Yes, Rae initially seems like a bad ass and I'm sure the fairy things makes her attractive but everyone she meets falls madly, deeply in love with her. I respect that she doesn't just go with Breandan's plan of destiny for her but by doing so she creates a love triangle with a vampire and a fairy. WTF? I was not happy with this.

Like I said, I thought this book had potential. I liked parts of Rae's personality and the premise of her being in a school to learn to fight demons. But nothing was fleshed out enough to make a complete story. My advice to this author, slow down and answer the initial questions in the first book then add more questions and info in the following ones. Not that I will read them but I'm just trying to help.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Four Past Midnight Mini-review #3

Stephen King is one of my favorite authors and this time of year, I can't get enough of a good thriller. Luckily, I had this grouping of four of King's novellas already on my nook so I didn't have to look very far to satisfy my cravings. I'm going to do the review for this book a little differently. Since it's actually four small books (about 200 pages each), I think I will do mini reviews for each and then a summary at the end. Changing things up around here, look out!

Four Past Midnight Title: Four Past Midnight
Author: Stephen King
Date Read: October 17, 2013

The Library Policeman

Summary:   Set in Junction City, Iowa, "The Library Policeman" is the story of Sam Peebles, a middle-aged businessman who happens to have some overdue books. It seems a minor offense—but not to Junction City's malevolent monster of a librarian. What follows is spine-tingling suspense as only Stephen King can deliver it. goodreads

Review: This was my favorite short story out of all of them. I think the part that got me the most is, I specifically remember each library I belonged to growing up and the impact they had on me. I never had the negative feelings about one like Sam did but when it was revealed what those feelings were related to, it was completely understandable why he would avoid/dread libraries. I did connect with Sam on one level though; I remember being frightened of certain librarians. It was always the old lady librarians. You know the ones with the beaded glasses chain and the sweaters? They always intimidated me. I don't know if it was because they knew if I owed money or because I thought they would lecture me if I brought books back late (which I almost never did) but I did not like interacting with them. So much so that to this day, I use the self checkout at the library (not to mention it is a bazillion times faster.) Anyway...

I also really enjoyed the main characters and Dave's story especially. I thought it was well done and added a lot to the main story line. It helped us to really understand who he was as a person rather than the reputation that he had throughout the town. Initially, I really didn't like Sam but as the novella progressed, I started to like him more and more. I'd like to think this was intentional.  Maybe King made him more appealing as the story continued and the different weights were lifted from his shoulders. It's more likely though that I may just be imagining that. This story puts a good, scary spin on libraries and librarians which is rare to hear about in the book blogger community and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Friday, November 1, 2013


Title: Crashed
Author: Timothy Hallinan
Date Read: October 24, 2013
Series: Junior Bender #1

Summary: Junior Bender is a Los Angeles burglar with a magic touch. Since he first started breaking into houses when he was fourteen years old, he’s never once been caught. But now, after twenty-two years of an exemplary career, Junior has been blackmailed by Trey Annunziato, one of the most powerful crime bosses in LA, into acting as a private investigator on the set of Trey’s porn movie venture, which someone keeps sabotaging. The star Trey has lined up to do all that’s unwholesome on camera is Thistle Downing, America’s beloved child star, who now lives alone in a drug-induced stupor, destitute and uninsurable. Her starring role will be the scandalous fall-from-grace gossip of rubber-neckers across the country. No wonder Trey needs help keeping the production on track.

Junior knows what that he should do—get Thistle out and find her help—but doing the right thing will land him on the wrong side of LA’s scariest mob boss. With the help of his precocious twelve-year-old daughter, Rina, and his criminal sidekick, Louie the Lost (an ex-getaway driver), Junior has to figure out a miracle solution.

Review: I've read a handful of Hallinan before and have never been overly impressed or disappointed. Most of his books for me are just ok. Relatively entertaining, but I could take them or leave them. This one was different though and I think it was because I really liked Junior. I'm not sure exactly what it is about him that I like. He's a crook, so normally you would assume his moral compass is skewed but you quickly realize it actually isn't. Sure, he steals from people. But he also has a big heart which is apparent when you start to meet his fellow crooks and his family. A lovable crook, who knew!?!

I also really enjoyed Thistle. Yea, she was a hot mess. But it was completely understandable how she got there. I'm sure I'm not the first and I won't be the last to comment on this, but she reminded me of Lindsay Lohan. A child who star who was misguided from a young age and is just looking for something she can't find. But Thistle is crazy talented and a fighter which is why she is also endearing. 

Most of the extraneous characters were relatively enjoyable. The plot was a little weird. It centers around an adult film and crime in LA but it's easy to get hooked in this story once you meet Junior and Thistle. You want the best for both of the main characters and the author does a good job of taking you on a ride in order to figure out where they will end up. I would recommend this over all of the other Hallinan books I've read at this point! 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

15 Day Book Blogger Challenge Day 14

Tell us Your Deal Breakers

I think I have identified these a handful of times but just for fun, let's do it again. This time in list format!

1. Lack of character development: If the characters suck, for me, the book will suck. I don't have to like the characters but they have to be at least well thought out and developed. Otherwise, reading that book will be like poking myself in the eyeball.
2. Instalove: A la Twilight. I hate Twilight. I don't get the whole "we meet and fall instantly in love and are soul mates" thing. I like to believe in soul mates. I can even believe in love at first sight to an extent. But if there is no build up to the relationship, it leaves me feeling like I missed a chapter. Or five. I like a good, slow burn!
3. Bad plot: If I don't care where the book is going or can't figure out where it has been, I'm not going to be a happy reader. I'm okay with predictability. I think there is a degree of that in all books. Plus, I like to guess where it is going and being right is always nice. But I have to care whether the characters are going to get to the end of the book and if all of their hard work is worth it.
4. Too descriptive: I get bored to easily with too many dry descriptions. I love to hear about new worlds and I think a lot of description is necessary for that (for good examples, see Harry Potter and the Gentlemen Bastards series.) But if I find myself skimming, it's no bueno. I'm looking at you Tolstoy! (I loved the peace but hated the war parts of that book for this exact reason.)
5. Too many characters: I can handle quite a few characters. If I know how they relate to the main characters or they have their own mini sub plot that I don't necessarily have to keep track of, I can dig a lot of characters. But there is a breaking point. And it usually comes for me when there are a million characters, they have ridiculous names, and they disappear for huge parts of the book just to pop back up in the end. Where the heck have you been all this time? Drives me crazy!

These irks will pop in and out of my reviews as you will see. And while while they may drive me crazy, I rarely DNF. Even the worst of the worst I bite the bullet to get through. I know, it's like torturing myself and there are so many good books out there I shouldn't waste my time. But I do. It's my thing. Leave it alone and let me complain and be judgmental here in my part of the world.

Do you have any deal breakers? Or agree with any of the above?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Four Past Midnight Mini-review #2

Stephen King is one of my favorite authors and this time of year, I can't get enough of a good thriller. Luckily, I had this grouping of four of King's novellas already on my nook so I didn't have to look very far to satisfy my cravings. I'm going to do the review for this book a little differently. Since it's actually four small books (about 200 pages each), I think I will do mini reviews for each and then a summary at the end. Changing things up around here, look out!

Four Past Midnight Title: Four Past Midnight
Author: Stephen King
Date Read: October 17, 2013

Secret Window, Secret Garden

Summary: Recently divorced writer Mort Rainey is alone at Tashmore Lake--that is, until a figure named John Shooter arrives, pointing an accusing finger. goodreads

Review: Unfortunately, this is one of those cases where I saw the movie, before I read the book. I hate it when I do this because it ruins the book for me. Luckily, I hadn't seen this movie in a very long time by the time I read this book, but I remembered the overall gist of the twist. King does a good job of blurring the real and the dream/unreal/fantasy lines again. It makes the reader question with the characters what is actually going on which I believe adds to the thriller. I noticed a lot more coincidences while reading this book that I don't think I would have caught had I not seen the movie. I loved seeing how the "coincidences" played out and the characters started to discover them. Very cleverly done!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Safe Haven

7812659 Title: Safe Haven
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Date Read: October 19, 2013

Summary: Love hurts. There is nothing as painful as heartbreak. But in order to learn to love again, you must learn to trust again. 

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.

Review: Let me start out by saying, yes, this book is entirely predictable and entirely typical Nick Sparks. It has all of his major themes, grief, military vet, abuse, fires, yada yada yada. But it still grabbed me. I really enjoyed Katie and totally fell for Alex. Who could resist a dedicated father who puts his kids well-being first while still being totally emotionally available (despite being a widower)? Sparks did a great job of telling Katie's background through detailed flashbacks and I think these were what made you respect Katie as a character. You saw what she went through and how she had to be unbelievably strong to survive. 

This book is going exactly where you think it is going until the very end. I didn't see that coming. I think that twist was unlike other Sparks novels I had read but it was well done and fit into the story well. If you are looking for a love story a la The Notebook, Safe Haven will not disappoint. And now I can't wait to watch the movie :)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Liebster Award

I have officially won my first bloggy award! I'm very thankful that Megan at My Library Life of Living Through Books nominated me. I love finding new followers (hey Megan!) and the Liebster award is all about discovering new blogs (which you know I'm also all about!) As you know, I've only been blogging for a couple months so it still surprises me when I find out people actually stop by this little piece of web space. This award is given to bloggers by fellow bloggers who have less than 200 followers to get a boost in exposure and hopefully give readers a chance to see some of the smaller blogs that are out there doing great things around the web.

Here are the rules: 

1. Link back to the blogger that tagged you.
2. Nominate 10 others and answer the questions of the one who tagged you.
3. Ask 10 questions for the bloggers you nominate.
4. Let your nominees know of their award.

And here are Megan's questions for me:

1. Do you manage how long you spend working on your blog, how do you?
I haven't been blogging very long so I haven't become overwhelmed yet. I typically try to write reviews soon after I read the book. This helps me keep up with them but it also helps me review better because I tend to forget aspects of the book with time due to the number of books I read (hence, the review blog.) I think the best thing I have done to manage my blog is start scheduling posts. I try to post around three times a week and I've gotten to the point where I review a book quickly after reading it and then schedule it for whenever I have the next opening. This helps me to keep on track and be regular about posts. 

2. When you were starting your blog and the thoughts you had about how you would carry on with it, has it proved more difficult and/or time consuming than you first thought?
I didn't have big aspirations for my blog so I don't think it is harder or more time consuming than I imagined. I had a personal blog at one point and I became overwhelmed finding interesting things to talk about and lost steam. With my book blog, there will always be book reviews to write. But I would like to expand my posts beyond reviews with things like memes and award posts :) 

3. How often do you get into a book niche where you just read the same genre or get caught up in books that have reoccurring aspect? i.e. magic, vampires, innocent girl falls for bad boy, list goes on.
This actually doesn't happen for me very often. If you have been around this blog for any point of time, you will have notice that my tastes are very diverse. I will read anything from romance, to thriller, to suspense, to supernatural and sci-fi. I rarely discriminate. That being said, I sometimes get bogged down with reading book after book that I don't enjoy. I have a huge TBR list and I tend to just grab a random book when I finish one and sometimes that does not turn out so well. When that happens, I return to an author or series that I know I will enjoy to get back into the swing of things. 

4. We all get into a reading ditch/slump/block, how do you get out of them?
Oops, I just answered this one in the last question... To expand upon that, my go-to's for getting out of the reading ditch tend to be simple, quick reads like Nora Roberts or Jodi Picoult. I also love my series to get out of the slump. I save up books in a series so it doesn't end too soon and I don't have to deal with series hangovers. Right now I'm still holding onto the Outlander and Game of Thrones series. Both of those series contain very long books but I love them so if it's a big ditch, I'll dive into one of those. 

5. What do you hope to get from your blog?
I love the sense of community! I'm actually doing a post on this soon but I realized at some point that I'm a serious book nerd with no one to talk books to. This made me a sad book nerd. Goodreads filled this space for a long time but I realized I wanted more. That's where this blog comes in. I follow a lot of blogs and loved that I shared opinions and passions about similar things and decided to stop being the creeper who just reads and doesn't comment (even though I still do that with plenty...) and create a blog where I could build that community for myself. 

6. When reading a book what do you want to see, what makes it good?
For me, it's all about the characters and relationships. As you may have noticed, writing is not my forte. I don't claim to be a writer and I have no desire to be one. This usually translates to me having very little opinion on what makes something "literature" vs. crap. That being said, I can tell crap from phenomenal writing. I don't know all of the fancy terms and didn't major in English but I've got the basics. Now, back to the characters. If I can connect with the character (hate or love) and am fully invested in seeing what is going to happen to them (even if it's predictable), you've got me. That's all I really need. I can forgive crap writing and even some plot holes if the character development is well done. 

7. Cover, Title or Synopsis or all three?
I'd have to say all three. The cover is usually what catches my eye but if I'm in B&N and the books only show the binding, then the title can get me. I won't pick up a book unless one of these stands out. I think it's very important and if this isn't the case for everyone, what makes you pick it up? I judge a book by it's cover when it comes to laying my hands on it, but when it comes to checking it out or buying, it's synopsis all the way. If it doesn't sound interesting and has an awesome cover, no way. I love getting to be judgey when it comes to my books!

Those were great questions and I really enjoyed answering them. Good job, Megan! Now I have to come up with ten of my own. I'm thinking 5 bloggy questions, 5 random. Let's see here...

1.  How did you pick your blog name?
2. Do you have a favorite genre and why? Are you willing to read outside of that genre?
3. Do you read a series straight through or space them out?
4. Favorite author?
5. Do you enjoying reading or writing more?
6. Tell us 3 random facts about yourself?
7. Where would you travel if you could and why?
8. If you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
9. Cats or dogs?
10. What is you favorite blog to read?

Ok, that's about as random as I can get in one sitting. Now for nominations! I follow a lot of blogs and I have no clue how many followers these bloggers have. There's also a chance they've been nominated before. Here are 5 blogs I read that I think you should check out!

Well, this has been fun. Thanks for the nomination Megan! If any followers have a blog and want to answer these questions, I nominate you! Just leave a comment to let me know you did it so I can see your answers!