Monday, July 29, 2013

15 Day Book Blogger Challenge Day 4

What is the last book you flung across the room?
Ohhh, another tough one. I think I have two for completely different reasons. Most recently, I read Fool Me Twice, which I reviewed here. As you can see from my review, I was really liking the book and then it just ended. And it was a crap ending! Ughhhh, so frustrating. That one deserved a hard fling across a room. The other one that came to mind was Catch-22. Somehow I made it through all of my schooling (all 18 years of it) without reading this "classic." I should have appreciated it while I could have. I hated this book. I thought it was stupid. I hated the characters and felt like I missed something. You can check out my goodreads review because I don't find this book worthy of re-reviewing.
Unfortunately, (or maybe fortunately for people around me and the objects in my living room) I read most of my books on my Nook tablet which is far too precious to fling. But I definitely have the urge now and again. Done any book flinging yourself?

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Under the Dome

Title: Under the Dome

Author: Stephen King

Date Read: July 19, 2013

Summary: On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester's Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener's hand is severed as "the dome" comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when -- or if -- it will go away.
Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens -- town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician's assistant at the hospital, a select-woman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing -- even murder -- to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry. But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn't just short. It's running out. goodreads

Review: Oh Stephen, you've done it again. Sucked me into a ridiculously long book (1,200+ pages) and kept me interested the whole time. I think that's what makes our relationship work. Granted, sometimes you can get a little out of control with the number of characters in each book but I can overlook that. Especially since you have great character development, even for the characters that only live for about four pages. I see you continue to repeat the normal themes from other books and while that would bother others, I find it endearing. I tend to be interested in your view of religion and politics and how you can portray them in each of your stories in a different way.

This particular tome gives us a glimpse at how quickly a society can deteriorate under poor guidance. It took this town about a week to fall apart, mutiny, and find a solution. Granted, that is extreme and they were cut off from the world, but I think it is relatively accurate of how a dictator can quickly destroy a nation. It was also interesting to see what a person will do when they know there are no consequences. And by interesting, I mean terrifying.

"A refusal to face the orderless, reasonless beast, that can arise when frightened people are provoked."

Things quickly became out of control when the Dome came down and Stephen, being his clever self, used multiple points of view, which allowed us various glimpses into the different happenings around town. They also provided us with information that other townspeople didn't have which added to the suspense. It all eventually came down to good vs. evil and seeing who chose which side. In the end, we see that we all make evil decisions as some point, but you either feel guilty and try to make amends or your conscience looks the other way and you go deeper to the dark side. One of the best ways this was portrayed was when two of the main "evil" characters slowly started to rot from the inside out. Gross, but very fitting.

I've heard that people either love or loathe King, and I seem to fall under the former category. If you can deal with a little bit of gore and supernatural, I definitely recommend this thriller. And to you Stephen, thanks for entertaining me and I assure you, I will be back for more.

*Sidenote: They have recently come out with a TV show based on this book. I have recorded it on our DVR but haven't seen it yet. It seems to have a note of cheesiness from what I have seen though.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

15 Day Book Blogger Challege Day 3

Day 3: Who are your blogging BFFs?

I'm about to expose myself as the loser that I am, but truthfully, I don't have any blogging BFFs. Yet! I'm relatively new to this whole bloggy world and I'm slowly starting to discover blogs I like to follow and try to comment relatively frequently. Unfortunately, I'm more like the random (possibly creepy...) commenter than BFFs. I'm currently accepting applications for blogger BFFs if anyone is interested. Some of the book blogs I have recently started reading are listed below.

1. The Broke and The Bookish This is actually one of the first book blogs I started following and probably the reason I started a blog of my own. I really like the various contributors because there are usually posts for everybody.
2. Good Books and Good Wine: This is the blogger who actually created this little challenge and I cannot thank her enough for giving me some writing prompts to supplement my reviews.
3. Bitches With Books: A fellow challenge participant.
4. The Girl and Her Books: This is one of the newer blogs I've started following
5. Tripping Over Books: Recently reviewed Monster Calls which is now on my TBR list.
6. Enchanted by a Book: I'm so ready for Divergent too, girl.
7. Ashley's Book Corner: This is a blog that seemed like it started out around the same time mine did but she has way more followers than me.

I'm always looking for new blogs to follow so if you have any recommendations, let me know. Also, submit BFF applications below ;)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Rare Book Haul

As a self confessed bibliophile, you would assume I have "book hauls" all the time. Oh, I wish. The problem is a serious lack of income that I can dedicate simply to my obsession. This tends to result in a lot of library books and ebooks. I absolutely refuse to buy an ebook. If I'm going to spend money on a book, you can be sure that I am going to line my library with it one day. So, it is a rare occasion I actually have a book haul.
Luckily for me, I'm going on a semi-vacation tomorrow. What is a semi-vacation you ask? Well, it's essentially a 14 hour road trip to my favorite place on earth where I will spend the next five days meeting with wedding vendors and finalizing details. While there will be work (oh, will there be work!), I will also be at my favorite place on earth which may actually result in some time in the sun and on the water. *fingers crossed*
Which leads me to the necessity of a dead tree book. As you know, I'm a hard core Nook convert but my tablet is not so easy to read in the sun with my shades on. What is a girl to do? Obviously the answer is head over to her local B&N and drop some justifiable bucks. Here my friends, is what I got!
Sorry about the iPhone pic
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society- This book has been on my to-read list for awhile even though I'm not entirely sure where I heard about it. But it sounds like it involves WWII and books. Two of my fav subjects so I'm sure I'll enjoy.
Gone South- This was technically my "free" book because I had never heard of it before and needed a third book to get the deal. Being a girl in the South, I appreciate a good southern novel and a civil war era home.
Night Circus- Another one that has been on my TBR list forever. A love story set in a dark circus? What's not to like?!?
Now, my initial intention was to buy John Greene's The Fault in Our Stars. This is a book that has been talked about a lot and has rave reviews so I figured it would be worth the dollars. The problem is that it is currently only available in hard back which I did not think was necessary (no experience with this author and I may actual disagree with all the rave reviews then I have an expensive hardback I don't like. Not necessary.) Then I started slowly perusing for other options and of course I stumbled upon the
table. I love a good deal and there were two books that were one my to-read shelf anyway so I decided to go for it. Yes, I ended up spending close to twice the money, but I have 3 BOOKS! (Anyone else use this weird logic when it comes to book buying?) Now I'm set for the entire weekend and can lay in the sun and read until my hearts content. If my vendors cooperate that is...


Friday, July 19, 2013

15 Day Book Blogger Challenge Day 2

*Today is going to be my first day incorporating some gifs into my blog, let me know what you think!

Day 2: What's your bedtime reading ritual?
Oh, reading rituals! Mine have actually varied a lot over the years. In high school, I read every night until bed. Depending on the book, this could stretch for many hours which was not very conducive to getting up early. In college, I rarely read prior to bedtime or at all for that matter because I was surrounded by required reading. In grad school, I finally got back into my routine of reading for fun. I returned to my old ways of reading right before bed and it was a great way to help me relax from the day and transition into nighttime. More recently though, I tend to read on the couch in the evenings while my fiance watches TV. I'm sure he thinks I look a little like this:
I've actually become pretty adept at reading with TV or video games in the background. I used to be too easily distracted to be able to do that. I also don't usually care about what the fiance is watching on TV, so I'm sure that helps.
When it's time to go to bed, we tend to watch a little TV together rather than reading. Plus, that allows for extra snuggle time which is one of my favorite past times (other than reading, obviously.)
He's usually just as enthused as me. Not.
If he is out of town though I almost always read before bed because TV can keep me up too late if I'm watching something I'm too interested in. I'm sure my rituals will change again at some point (probably when I have kids) but for now, my plan is working.
Do you do anything unique or weird with your reading rituals?

Monday, July 15, 2013

15 Day Book Blogging Challenge

As you may have noticed, the reviews around here have been a little sparse. That may be due to the 1,200+ page book I'm working on finishing (almost there), the fact that I have only 46 days left to finalize everything about my wedding, or that I have very little else going on. Whatever the reason, I'm sorry about the lack of content. In order to spruce up the ole bloggie here, I figured I would participate in a blogging challenge created by April over at Good Books and Good Wine.

I'm starting a little late so I will probably just post when I have a lull in book related banter on my end, but I will link up with every post. You can get the low down and all of the challenge related info here.

And for my first post, 15 book related confessions!

1. I love to read and am constantly reading, but I don't have a lot of people to talk about books with. Hence the blog. My dad and I read some of the same books so he is always good for a recommendation but I really don't have very many people to talk books with. That is super lame so I mostly interact with other bibliophiles on the Internet. (Loser alert...)

2. I'm hesitant about recommendations to friends. Ok, this is weird. I know it and I own it. The thing is, due to numero uno, my friends are rarely looking for books that I enjoy reading and are more looking for quick beach reads. While I have plenty of those to give out, the books I love and would like to recommend to people, they aren't usually interested in. If only I could get one to read The Book Thief. Come on, people!

3. The first two were kind of pathetic so let's make this one fun. I aim to read 100+ books a year and last year was my first year to accomplish this! This year I'm well on my way and am around 54 so far.

4. I read the majority of my books on my nook. I love dead tree books and own too many, but my nook is my go-to for reading.

5. I'm a bad reader/supporter of the reading community and have been known to use

6. I never buy ebooks and will refuse to for the rest of my life. I get the majority of ebooks from my local library and when I want to buy a book, I go to the Book Dispensary, a book sale, or my trusty B&N. I just think spending money on something that you can't put your hands on is a waste (especially if it's free at the lib!)

7. Speaking of Barnes and Noble, it is my happy place. If I could visit one daily, I would.

8. I enjoy listening to ebooks but haven't recently due to my car's cd player hating me and no longer working. Anyone else driving a car from 1996?

9. I totally judge a book by the cover. Not to say I won't read a book with a boring cover, but if I'm perusing the library or a book store, the only way I'm going to pick up a book I know nothing about is if it has a good cover.

10. I always finish a book. There is one exception referenced here but I will conquer it one day.

11. I hate covers that have the movie characters on them. There is probably a fancy phrase for what this is called but I am not having it! I'm looking at you Nicholas Sparks.

He's hot but I'm still not having it.


12. In that line of thought, if I purchase books in a series, I will always buy all of them and they better be in the same format. No going back and forth between hard backs and paper backs. I do this even if I don't really like the end of the series (Sookie Stackhouse for one) but it brings my reading OCD into play and I just can't handle it.

13. I used to be a dog-earer but no more! I now have a lovely bookmark, that is actually the word love (barf, I know), and I use it with all of my books.

14. I will like a book simply based on the characters. I'm not one of those readers that focuses on how well the writing is and the symbolism and yada yada yada. If I like your characters, I will like your book. Not to say I won't hate your book or judge you for poor writing but I am more forgiving if you have great characters and a good story.

15. My TBR on goodreads list consists of 100+ books. I think this is relatively low because I know that there are far more books that I want to read but it's also a little embarrassing due to the fact that I'm obvious missing out on 100+ books.

Well, these are my confessions (did you sing that like Usher while reading that because I totally did) and they are completely random. I look forward to linking up with April and all of the other posts this challenge will create! Do you have any confessions?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday (2)

Alright folks, it's time for a another Top Ten Tuesday from the lovely bloggers at The Broke and Bookish. This week's theme:
Top Ten Best/Worst Movie Adaptation Experiences

Let's start with the best shall we?

1. Harry Potter: As you know, I'm a serious Harry Potter fan. I love all of the books and was a little weary of how a movie would live up to them. I was very pleasantly surprised and to this day, I will watch all of them any time they are on (my least favorite probably being Prisoner of Azkaban or Deathly Hallows pt. 1.) While I think the movies lack a lot of detail that makes the story great, I think they are epic in their own way and I may or may not still cry when I watch them.

2. The Notebook: Still one of my all time favorite movies. I may even like this movie more than I liked the book. I don't remember much about the book but Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling get me every time. This is another one I may or may not cry during...

3. Holes: This was a very fun/cute book done by Louis Sachar that was made into a movie and starred Shia LaBouf. I think Shia did a great job of portraying the awkward, gangly, weird main character who is also very lovable and makes you want to cheer for him. Overall, I think this movie was cast very well and I still enjoy watching it when it comes on tv.

4. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: I loved this trilogy and while it was very dark at times, it had great twists and turns. The movie was so good and Mara Rooney really encompassed Lisbeth which was difficult because she was a very odd and deep character. This movie is on the dark side but very good!

5. Time Traveler's Wife: This is one of my favorite books and I actually really enjoyed the movie. I'm a big fan of Rachel McAdams (The Notebook, ahem) and I thought the way the director created the different points in time in a way that was easy to follow was really well done. Great movie!

And the worst movie adaptation experiences:

1. Twilight: I didn't really like these books. They were OK but the writing was horrible, the love story was hard to believe and they were way over-hyped. Then the movie(s) came along, and oh my, they made the books look like literature. I hated these movies. I think Robert Pattinson has moments where he is cute but he looked like freak in the movies and was uber creepy. Don't even get me started on Kristin Stewart who has the emotional depth of a puddle. Yuck. Hate!

2. Water for Elephants: This is another R-Patz movie but I didn't hate it nearly as much as Twilight. My feeling toward this one was more of disappointment. I looooooooved the book and created this world in my head that the movie didn't even come close to. Bummer.

3. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants: This was another disappointment for me. I really enjoyed the books and connected with the characters but did not enjoy the actresses' portrayals of them. I thought the girls in the movie were too goody-goody while the book characters were more real.

4. The Lovely Bones: Another book I really enjoyed that the movie ruined. I remember this movie being really trippy and out there while I didn't get that vibe from the book at all. I would definitely recommend the book though!

5. One Day: I wasn't a big fan of this book but I thought the movie was boring and didn't allow you to connect with the characters the way the book did (even though I didn't particularly like the characters in the book.)

Do you agree or disagree with any of these? What would be on your list?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Little Island

Title: Little Island

Author: Katharine Britton

Date Read: July 5, 2013

ARC Book

By the water
Have fun!
These are Joy’s grandmother’s last words—left behind on a note. A note that Joy’s mother, Grace, has interpreted as instructions for her memorial service. And so, the far-flung clan will gather at their inn on Little Island, Maine, to honor her.

Joy can’t help dreading the weekend. Twenty years ago, a tragedy nearly destroyed the family—and still defines them. Joy, Grace, her father Gar, and twins Roger and Tamar all have their parts to play. And now Joy, facing an empty nest and a nebulous future, feels more vulnerable than ever to the dangerous currents running through her family.

But this time, Joy will discover that there is more than pain and heartbreak that binds them together, when a few simple words lift the fog and reveal what truly matters…. goodreads

Review: I really liked this book and definitely recommend it! This story takes us to a lovely inn in Main run by the Littles. The setting was idyllic and I connected with it personally because it made me think of my family's vacation home. I could picture myself sitting on the Adirondack chairs and enjoying the breeze coming of the water. While the setting is ideal, the Littles' lives and history are not. The Littles' lives changed 20 years ago when the twins were in a car accident that killed a family friend. This event sent their lives spiraling into different directions and Little Island allows us to see how this event affected the family 20 years later. As the story progresses, little secrets (no pun intended) are slowly revealed, which change the view of the past greatly. I enjoyed hearing how each family member saw and interpreted things differently and how it affected them in their own ways. I loved the ending and the hope it signified for future changes as well as the possibility for mending broken hearts and relationships. If you are looking for a good book with some interesting turns, I would recommend checking out Katharine Britton's Little Island.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Random Rant

I have been an e-reader convert for years now. I love having all of my books at my fingertips and the ease of shoving them all into my oversized purse. While I will never give up DT (dead tree) books fully, I'm usually seen with my nose in a nook. Until today that is.

Note the alive, vibrant, working nook.

As a book lover, I tend to spend a lot of free time reading. As a therapist, I spend a lot of my working time talking. So, when I have a lunch break, sometimes I turn anti-social and check out by spending my hour reading and living in whatever fictional world I'm currently visiting. This works great most of the time. The problem arrises when I don't get much of a lunch break so I go two or three days without reading and I am re-reading the Harry Potter books which are hardback (aka not on my nook.) This creates the perfect storm of not charging my nook, because I assume it has it's charge since it hasn't been used in the last few days, and not looking at it for an extended period of time, which is not common. Alas, 20 minutes into my lunch hour, I got this:

Dead nook.
What a bummer! And of course I don't carry DT books around with me so I was stuck with no book to read during lunch. Very depressing. My question is, what drained the nook in two days without any use? It must have been angry with me for not using it... Ok, random rant over.

World War Z

I read World War Z months before I started the book blog but saw the movie this weekend and thought I would review both for your enjoyment. First (as always), the book.

Title: World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

Author: Max Brooks

Date Read: March 31, 2013

Summary: The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. World War Z is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.

Ranging from the now infamous village of New Dachang in the United Federation of China, where the epidemiological trail began with the twelve-year-old Patient Zero, to the unnamed northern forests where untold numbers sought a terrible and temporary refuge in the cold, to the United States of Southern Africa, where the Redeker Plan provided hope for humanity at an unspeakable price, to the west-of-the-Rockies redoubt where the North American tide finally started to turn, this invaluable chronicle reflects the full scope and duration of the Zombie War.

Most of all, the book captures with haunting immediacy the human dimension of this epochal event. Facing the often raw and vivid nature of these personal accounts requires a degree of courage on the part of the reader, but the effort is invaluable because, as Mr. Brooks says in his introduction, “By excluding the human factor, aren’t we risking the kind of personal detachment from history that may, heaven forbid, lead us one day to repeat it? And in the end, isn’t the human factor the only true difference between us and the enemy we now refer to as ‘the living dead’?”

Note: Some of the numerical and factual material contained in this edition was previously published under the auspices of the United Nations Postwar Commission.

Eyewitness reports from the first truly global war

“I found ‘Patient Zero’ behind the locked door of an abandoned apartment across town. . . . His wrists and feet were bound with plastic packing twine. Although he’d rubbed off the skin around his bonds, there was no blood. There was also no blood on his other wounds. . . . He was writhing like an animal; a gag muffled his growls. At first the villagers tried to hold me back. They warned me not to touch him, that he was ‘cursed.’ I shrugged them off and reached for my mask and gloves. The boy’s skin was . . . cold and gray . . . I could find neither his heartbeat nor his pulse.” —Dr. Kwang Jingshu, Greater Chongqing, United Federation of China

“‘Shock and Awe’? Perfect name. . . . But what if the enemy can’t be shocked and awed? Not just won’t, but biologically can’t! That’s what happened that day outside New York City, that’s the failure that almost lost us the whole damn war. The fact that we couldn’t shock and awe Zack boomeranged right back in our faces and actually allowed Zack to shock and awe us! They’re not afraid! No matter what we do, no matter how many we kill, they will never, ever be afraid!” —Todd Wainio, former U.S. Army infantryman and veteran of the Battle of Yonkers

“Two hundred million zombies. Who can even visualize that type of number, let alone combat it? . . . For the first time in history, we faced an enemy that was actively waging total war. They had no limits of endurance. They would never negotiate, never surrender. They would fight until the very end because, unlike us, every single one of them, every second of every day, was devoted to consuming all life on Earth.” —General Travis D’Ambrosia, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe goodreads

Review: This book reads like an interview but the author does a great job of getting the reader hooked, then scaring the crap out of them. I think the format of this book and the various interviews is really what brought me into the story. It was interesting to follow this disease as it spread and try to find patient zero. I'm not a huge zombie fan and I'm definitely not a doomsday prepper but I feel as though something like this is actually possible. Maybe not the zombie aspect, but how many times has our society had a serious outbreak in a virus and caused a world wide health scare? Luckily, most of those scares have been contained but a lot of lives were lost throughout the process and I think this book gives a glimpse of what it must be like when those outbreaks happen and people have to contain them. I think the chance of a disease doing this in the future is not too far fetched which is what makes this book a little creepy.

Now the movie (I know, I know. This is a book blog, who cares about the movie but I'm reviewing it anyway.)
I really enjoyed the book and was only looking forward the the movie because of the lovely Brad Pitt. Luckily for me, my fiance dragged me along to see it this past weekend and I surprisingly loved it! If you are looking for an action movie, it doesn't get much better than this. There was non-stop action, suspense, and drama from pretty much the opening scene. While most action movies forget about the relationships, this one actually made you feel for Brad's character and his family even though they received very little screen time. The movie and book had different story lines but the same overall premise; zombie apocalypse. Usually, I don't like when the movie strays so much from the book but this one was done so well, I didn't even care. I would definitely recommend going to see this movie if you are looking for a thrill ride. And it's surprisingly not as gory as I expected!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, one of my favorite book blogs. I'm going to try to do this weekly but I'm not always good at remembering what day it is so these posts may be a day (or two) late.

And for my very first TTT post, I'm totally going to change the rules... This week's theme is books that intimidate you. While perusing my TBR list, I realized I don't really have any super intimidating reads left. That may be because I went through a phase of reading a lot of classics that used to intimidate me and conquered my fear or it may be that I look forward to the big, scary books and don't let them intimidate me. Either way, I'm changing my TTT to intimidating books I've read in the past (with a few exceptions) so here goes!

1. War and Peace: At a whopping 1,200+ pages, I would say this is probably on most people's intimidating read list. I read this book back in 2010 and it definitely took a very, very long time to get through. I really enjoyed the "peace" parts of this book and Russian society but hated the "war" parts which were very dry and descriptive.

2. The Casual Vacancy: Ok, I know, this is a weird one. But I grew up on Harry Potter and it is one of my all time favorite series which puts Rowling wayyyy up there on my favorite authors list. I knew this book was as different from HP as it could be but it got a lot of crap and I didn't want to be disappointed with my old pal, J.K. I think being ready for how different the book would be from Harry helped me enjoy the book for what it was.

3. Fahrenheit 451: This may actually be a intimidating read for the future. I read this book in 9th grade and remember hating it. I'm don't remember anything about this book or why I hated it but this is one I would like to try again now that I'm older and more mature (at least that's what I tell myself.)

4.  Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: This was another one I had to read for school. This book came along in college and to this day, it is the only book I've never finished. I'm weird about finishing books and usually push through them whether I like them or not but this one stopped me in my tracks. One day, I might give this one another go.

5. Anna Karenina: Russian literature, need I say more?

6. The Brothers Karamazov: ditto to above.

7. Wuthering Heights: I knew it was a classic and the type of writing/dialogue that indicated.

8. The Great Gatsby: Yes, I know this is a super short book everyone should read. Somehow, I made it to 25 without reading this book and there was so much hype built up around it, I didn't want to be disappointed. I wasn't!

9. Atlas Shrugged: This is another long book that I had heard about and knew there were political underpinnings but had no idea what it was about. This is probably one of my favorite intimidating reads because it turned into one of my favorite books.

10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: As stated above, this is one of my favorite series and I knew that as soon as I read this final book, the story would be over. I would never be able to return to Hogwarts (for the first time) or follow Harry on anymore new adventures. Luckily, I can always return to the world of wizards and witches (which I am currently doing by re-reading the series again) but it will never be the same as the first time.

What are your most intimidating reads and why? Read any of mine?

Double Crossed

Title: Double Crossed

Author: Ally Carter

Date Read: June 28, 2013

ARC Book

Summary: The worlds of Heist Society and the Gallagher Girls collide in Ally Carter’s fast-paced, high-stakes and tantalizing new novella. Get a behind the scenes glimpse as Ally delivers an irresistible thriller that is full of her signature style and savvy twists.

Macey McHenry—Glamorous society girl or spy-in-training?

W.W. Hale V—Heir to an American dynasty or master thief?

There are two sides to every coin. Whether these two can work together is a tossup.

Born into privilege, Macey and Hale are experts at mingling with the upper class. But even if they’ve never raised an eyebrow at the glitz, neither teenager has ever felt at home with the glamour.

When Macey and Hale meet at a society gala, the party takes a dangerous turn. Suddenly they’re at the center of a hostage situation, and it’s up to them to stop the thugs from becoming hostile. Will Macey’s spy skills and Hale’s con-man ways be enough to outsmart a ruthless gang? Or will they have to seek out the ultimate inside girl to help? NetGalley

Review: This is a very short novella that has a good basis for a book but very poor development. I'm not familiar with Ally Carter's work and I tend to feel a little gypped when it comes to novellas but this book left me with more questions than answers. I think Macey and Hale are two very unique characters that obviously have interesting backgrounds but we are never privy to what those backgrounds are. We hear a little about Macey's "school" but have no idea what type of school it is or how she was recruited for it. We hear a little about Hale and some of his past heists but that's about it. I think the basis of these characters are intriguing but the book left a lot to be desired. It was hard to follow some of the story because things jumped around a bit. One thing I did enjoy, the story was not predictable when it came to the love/relationship aspect. In novellas like this, one usually assumes the male and female leads will develop a romantic relationship but that's not the case in Double Crossed. It actually seems like the main characters begin to develop a professional respect for one another and their unique skills but we never get to find out where that leads. Overall, this was an interesting read but I wish it would have been a full story rather than just a novella.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Crumbs Aren't Enough

Title: Crumbs Aren't Enough

Author: Raquel Whiting Gilmer

Date Read: June 27, 2013

ARC Book

Summary: With $80,000 in student loan debt, an alter ego named Crazy Charlie, and more than her fair share of hang-ups, Charlie Bennett is on a mission: a mission to feel better about herself.
By all accounts this shouldn’t be too difficult. After all, Charlie has graduated from the best universities, has good friends to keep her sane, and an impressive résumé to boot. But her poor choices in men (and therapists) have left Charlie feeling fat, fretful, and fed up. She knows something has to change—she’s just not sure what. When the elevator doors open and Jack Hudson appears with his perfect smile and perfect teeth, Charlie thinks she’s found her answer. A Taye Diggs lookalike who sees through Charlie’s imperfections, Jack could be The One—and not just because he can make strawberry shortcake from scratch.
But as their relationship develops without any sign of a commitment, Charlie is left grabbing for crumbs yet again. After a startling voicemail leaves her reeling with fresh uncertainties, she and her mission are put to the test: Can Charlie convince herself that she deserves the full meal? NetGalley

Review: This is a love story but in a non-traditional way. Yes, there are different relationships and the novel revolves around Charlie trying to find love, but when it comes down to it, this story is about Charlie finding the love she has for herself. Charlie has a lot to offer men in relationships but she does not see her self-worth so she finds herself settling for whatever she can get, i.e. the crumbs. This novel allows us to see all of the good traits Charlie possesses way before she sees them herself which at times, makes us want to shake her, but I think the author did a good job of telling the story this way. To the reader, sometimes it is obvious what the right choice should be but we forget that when we are in the situation, and our feelings are involved, it is much more difficult to see clearly. When we remember what it feels like to be stuck with a tough decision and how hard it can be to see the best answer, we can commiserate with Charlie and some of her not-so-good choices. We've all been there. The character development in this story was very well done. We see that Charlie is flawed (she is aware of it herself) but we want her to succeed because she is so easy to relate to. It is refreshing to hear that she has supportive, caring friends who look out for her best interest as well. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Charlie progress through different relationships and learn new things from each one while realizing that what you thought you want, is not always what you need.

"I broke things off with [him] because I didn't want to settle for good. I wanted great." -Charlie

The only issue I had with this book was the weird focus on various races. The author focused a lot on racial stereotypes which irked me. The therapist was Latina so Charlie inferred things based on that. She couldn't be with Michael because he was white and he couldn't want a black woman. I don't know, I thought it was poorly handled and wish the racial differences could have been addressed (if the author really wanted them to be) without the stereotyping and assumptions that happened in this book.