Saturday, July 31, 2010

In which I post to you from the beyond!

Okay so not really the beyond, more like from the past!!! LOL. This post is scheduled to go up today to explain what's going on for the rest of the week.

I'm not here.



No really, I'm not! As this post goes up I'm likely on a bus with about 48 children and headed up to the Big Bear Mountains. It's camp week! That means no cell phone service and no internet for a whole week.

*gasp* I know!

So this week I have posts scheduled to go up. They may or may not be every day like normal. It all depends on how much I have done before I leave. I mean, it's a little more important that I remember to pack enough underwear than it is to post a post on Thursday right? RIGHT? Hmmm...

I will respond to all comments and questions when I come back on August 8th! Until then, have a fabulous week and wish me lots of luck!


Friday, July 30, 2010

Blog Tour: The Remains by Vincent Zandri




Thanks to the very kind Dorothy Thompson, I had the opportunity to review this amazing book! This is the first Virtual Book Tour I've participated in through Pump Up Your Book Promotions, and I enjoyed every minute of it. 

See my review below to discover what I thought about The Remains.

Thirty years ago, teenager Rebecca Underhill and her twin sister Molly were abducted by a man who lived in a house in the woods behind their upstate New York farm. They were held inside that house for three horrifying hours, until making their daring escape. Vowing to keep their terrifying experience a secret in order to protect their mother and father, the girls tried to put the past behind them. And when their attacker was hunted down by police and sent to prison, they believed he was as good as dead. Now, it s 30 years later, and with Molly having passed away from cancer, Rebecca, a painter and art teacher, is left alone to bear the burden of a secret that has only gotten heavier and more painful with each passing year. But when Rebecca begins receiving some strange anonymous text messages, she begins to realize that the monster who attacked her all those years ago is not dead after all. He's back, and this time, he wants to do more than just haunt her. He wants her dead.

--From Goodreads

Cover Inspection:
That house on the cover is something out of a horror movie. I love it!

First Thoughts:
This is gearing up to be extremely eerie!

***

My Review:
I can sum up my thoughts on this book in three very simple words.  Masterful. Suspenseful. Amazing.

Before I found this book on Pump Up Your Book Promotions, I had never heard of Vincent Zandri or his other popular books. Can I please say that I am so glad that this has been remedied? From the moment I turned on my Nook and read the first page of The Remains, I was hooked. Completely and utterly committed to finishing this entire book in one sitting no matter what else was going on around me. So, that's exactly what I did!

The Remains is the epitome of the mystery/suspense genre. The story flows beautifully, stringing the reader along with a mixture of past memories and current events combined. I know that in my mind sometimes this can be distracting, but Zandri accomplishes it with such ease. I was never confused, yet always attempting to anticipate what would happen next. Also, Rebecca Underhill is such a well written protagonist that I had an instant connection with her. Her love for her sister Molly, her confusing relationship with her ex-husband, her utter love for art, all of this created a character that I absolutely loved.

When the story started to pick up pace, and Rebecca found herself in danger, I felt myself flinch more than once at the predicaments she was put into. Zandri is an expert at writing scenes that literally buzz with the suspense contained within them. A few times, I will admit, I audibly gasped at what happened on the page in front of me. This in turn caused me to flip as quickly as I could to the next page. What I'm trying to explain here, likely in too many words, is that "page-turner" doesn't even begin to do this book any justice.

Lest I ramble on, I'll simply end with saying that this book is one of my new favorites. I know that I will be buying a bound copy of this book as well so that I can share it around my bibliophile group of friends. If you are a reader of mysteries, a lover of suspense, this is definitely a book for you! Go ahead, give it a read.

To help you along:








Book Details
Title: The Remains
Author: Vincent Zandri
Publisher: StoneHouse Ink
Pages: Paperback; 375
Source: Pump Up Your Book Promotions

Final Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart

[+/-] Click to see Rating.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Calendar of Events - July 29th through August 5th



A new calendar of events will go up every Thursday.

This is due to the fact that July started on a Thursday, so that's how we've broken up the month! Without further ado, let's see what's happening this week!

This week all events are being hosted at Books out of the Bookshelves!

Well we're right back on track this week! Last week was a little off, mainly due to my utter confusion with camp, and all that jazz. Still we're doing well and have some awesome things planned for the upcoming month! Just FYI, next week's calendar is going up without me physically being here, so the links will not be updated until I get home on Saturday.

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Calendar of Events for July 29th - August 5th

Friday, July 30th  - Angela Morrison Guest Post
Saturday, July 31st - Pamela Callow Interview
Sunday, August 1st - Favorite Summer read of July 2010
Tuesday, August 3rd - Cover Guess Contest + Giveaway
Wednesday, August 4th - Jennifer Echols Guest Post
Thursday, August 5th - Mindi Scott Guest Post

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This calendar is subject to change, all changes will be reflected above.

For a full list of events that have happened so far, click the small banner above!

A bit of this, a bit of that.

Yes friends, as the cute little bear suggests I'm off to camp! In less than 2 days now (2 days? Ack! I need to pack!) I will be up in the mountains with a group of YMCA kids for a whole 8 days.

I look forward to going every year. For me it's a time to get back to nature, promote growth in the kids I work with, and just act all around silly! Keep an eye out for pictures when I get back! Generally they involve me giggling, attempting to climb the wall, or dressed up ridiculously on "Counselor Dress Up Day"!



The winner of this month's "Me Mondays" Feature AND a copy of Wherever Nina Lies or a $5 GC is.... MISHA! Congrats Misha! I'll be sending you an email very shortly.

If you've never participated in a "Me Mondays" feature yet, let me break it down. You send questions, I answer them, you win prizes! Easy right? Click here for the opening post.



Are you intrigued my friends as to what next months prize will be? 


Yup, send me a question and you could win a bran new copy of John Green's Looking for Alaska! As always if you are an International reader you can win a $5 GC to Amazon.com instead :).

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In other news I've started doing some blog designing as well! Recently I made a quick background, button and matching header for Bailey over at IB Book Blogging. 

Isn't it cute? Click the button to see the rest of her website!

If you're interested in a new blog background, a button, a header, or just some knowledge, let me know! I'd be more than happy to help, or you can always hire me to completely revamp your blog ;). I promise, I don't charge a lot. I mostly do this because I love pretty blogs!

Well that's it for me for now! Wish me luck at camp ya'll. I'll come back a happier person I promise you that!




Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Book Review: Past Midnight

Let me set the record straight. My name is Charlotte Silver and I'm not one of those paranormal-obsessed freaks you see on TV…no, those would be my parents, who have their own ghost-hunting reality show. And while I'm usually roped into the behind-the-scenes work, it turns out that I haven't gone unnoticed. Something happened on my parents' research trip in Charleston—and now I'm being stalked by some truly frightening other beings. Trying to fit into a new school and keeping my parents' creepy occupation a secret from my friends—and potential boyfriends—is hard enough without having angry spirits whispering in my ear. All I ever wanted was to be normal, but with ghosts of my past and present colliding, now I just want to make it out of high school alive….

Cover Inspection:
At first I totally missed the girl in the background. Then when I saw it, I loved this cover even more!

***

My Review:
If you're looking at the post before this and thinking, "What? There is no way she could have possibly finished this book so fast!", I understand. However I assure you, I really did. Read below to find out why!

Charlotte and her sister Annalise help their parents debunk "ghost stories" by proving their scientific origins. The question is: What happens if there is one that you just can't seem to disprove?

As a reader, and I know I say this often, it is extremely important that I feel invested in the characters if I am going to truly love a story. That being said, Charlotte and Annalise are superb protagonists! Their personalities meld beautifully and you can feel the sisterly chemistry between them. I personally loved Charlotte! She was spunky, sweet and driven. What I was most impressed by was that even the secondary characters, like Avery and Noah, had an amazing story line and were well developed. It's hard not to find yourself drawn into their story.

Past Midnight is a very fast paced and slightly spooky read. I warn you, if you are the type who has nightmares based on horror or suspense movies, you may not want to read this before bed. Although I don't think Mara set out with the intention to scare her readers, some parts of the book will definitely raise the hair on the back of your neck! I had to read another book for a few chapters before bed and even then I had ghosts haunt my dreams for the night. 

As I'm sure you can tell, I absolutely adored Past Midnight! The story is the perfect blend of ghost story, coming of age story, and sweet romance. If you're shaking your head in amazement, don't despair. That is precisely what I felt the moment I reached the ending of the book. Mara Purnhagen manages to mesh all of these topics into a well paced book that will have you reading as fast as you possibly can. 



Beautifully written and deliciously creepy.

Give it a read, you won't be sorry!








Book Details
Title: Past Midnight
Author: Mara Purnhagen
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: Paperback; 224
Source: NetGalley

Final Rating:5 Keys to My Heart

[+/-] Click to see Rating.

Waiting on Wednesday (9)

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine where we share upcoming releases that we just cannot wait for!



Let me set the record straight. My name is Charlotte Silver and I'm not one of those paranormal-obsessed freaks you see on TV…no, those would be my parents, who have their own ghost-hunting reality show. And while I'm usually roped into the behind-the-scenes work, it turns out that I haven't gone unnoticed. Something happened on my parents' research trip in Charleston—and now I'm being stalked by some truly frightening other beings. Trying to fit into a new school and keeping my parents' creepy occupation a secret from my friends—and potential boyfriends—is hard enough without having angry spirits whispering in my ear. All I ever wanted was to be normal, but with ghosts of my past and present colliding, now I just want to make it out of high school alive….

Past Midnight (Harlequin Teen)

Release Date: September 1, 2010

Once again I kind of slacked off on these posts but here is a book that I'm really looking forward to! When it comes to ghosts, I'm your girl. Do I believe in them? Most definitely! It's a family thing, a long story, but if you ever wanted to her it just let me know and I might just oblige ;). Lucky for me I actually have this as a Galley so I do indeed get to read it before it comes out. Still, I cannot wait for it to actually be in a physical book form!


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

This, or that?

I used to play this game with my kids at work all the time, and I thought it would be fun to pop one of these up once in a while for you to vote on!

I'll try to pick two books that are similar to one another and you can join in by choosing your favorite. Lest you worry that I'm saying one is better than the other, I'm not my friends, trust me. In fact I cannot even vote on this one because I love both of these books so much! Still, it'll be fun to see who wins at the end of 24 hours.

So have at it!


Book Review: It Started with a Dare


Self-proclaimed nobody CG Silverman sees her move to an upscale new school as her chance to be somebody different. Her devil-may-care attitude attracts the in-clique, and before CG realizes it, a routine game of truth or dare launches her to iconic status.

While this rebel image helps secure CG’s newfound popularity, it also propels her through a maze of unprecedented chaos, with each new lie and every dare opening doors that, in most cases, were better off left shut.

CG is on a collision course with disaster. Will she be able to keep up the fa├žade? Or will the whole world find out she’s a fraud?

--From Goodreads

Cover Inspection:
That girl on the cover is so sweet! I also love the lollipop addition.

First Thoughts:
Oh CG, so caught up in high school politics.

***

My Review:
Let me begin by saying that this book was so good that I felt the need to email Lindsay Faith Rech at 2 AM to let her know how much I loved her book. In retrospect, I regret that a bit. Since she hasn't written me back I can only assume that my mad, caffeine fueled fan letter scared her away. Lindsay, I'm sorry and I don't blame you. I think I would have scared myself. A word of advice my friends, no matter how much you love a book wait until you wake up and can write coherently before you choose to write a letter! That being said, there was so much to love about It Started with a Dare. Let's get started.

First off, C.G. (Cynthia Gene) is truly a spunky female protagonist. Lindsay takes us deep into C.G.'s head, and the reader gets an opportunity to relive those confusing and popularity driven teenage years. C.G. is witty, she's bright, she pops off the page and will even make you laugh out loud at times! Yes my friends, this is not a book that you'll want to read in front of other people. That is unless they are okay with you breaking into fits of giggles periodically and having no way to explain what was so funny! Portions of this book will most definitely tickle your funny bone, so to speak.

When C.G. decides to remake herself and suddenly becomes popular, the line between what is right and wrong starts to blur. Her apparent discomfort with this at first was endearing. Thank goodness she had a conscience! I also loved the the chemistry that was present between C.G. and the other girls in her group. Each of them were so different and yet fit together so perfectly. Characters like Alona come up in books quite often, the girl whose parents are too rich to care. However into the mix comes bitter, angst driven Grace and self conscious Sammie. Between the four main characters, any person who happens upon this book will find someone to connect with. It is these vivid characters that really drew me into the book and kept me involved well past my bedtime.

The one thing that was difficult for me about this book was the ending. Without saying too much or spoiling things, I'll simply say that I wish C.G. would have learned more through everything that she went through. In the end it seemed a little too perfect how things worked out. Everything was tied up in a perfect little bow. I'm glad that this book addresses as many issues as it does (cyber-bullying included), however I would have liked to see just a little more remorse in C.G. as to the way things worked out. This is a personal thing I know, and it definitely didn't take away from how much I loved the book overall.

Before I ramble on yet again, I'll end with the simple fact that this is a great book! Whether you fall into the same age category as C.G. and her popular counterparts, or happen to be an older reader like I am, it's certain that you will find something to enjoy in this book! I cannot wait to see what else Lindsay Faith Rech has in store for her readers!







Book Details
Title: It Started with a Dare
Author: Lindsay Faith Rech
Publisher: Graphia
Pages: Paperback; 312
Source: NetGalley

Final Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

[+/-] Click to see Rating.

Monday, July 26, 2010

"Me Mondays" July 26th

It's time for another weekly installment of "Me" Mondays! 

Don't know what this is? 

Click HERE to visit the opening post and enter to win fun prizes!


My favorite part of Monday!

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Question # 20 was chosen this week, so let's get to it!

Misha asks:
Any suggestions/comments for a new book blogger?

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Well Misha let me tell you, I'm still fairly new myself! July 17th marked my 3 month mark as a new blogger :). However, I can tell you what I've found out in that amount of time! Here are some things that I wish someone would have told me when I first started out:

1) Read and review what you LOVE! 
If you want to have a niche blog and only review Paranormal Romance, do it. If you're a Manga kind of girl, more power to you! Don't let anyone else dictate what you read. I promise you that people who love what you love will find and follow you.

2) Make friends with other bloggers.
Who better to ask for help promoting, or for advice, or even just for a kind word, than the people around you who have been there before? I've found that the book blogging community is very open and welcoming. Don't be afraid to reach out if you need it!

3) Don't be afraid of "bad" reviews.
This has been debated so many places, but honestly if you disliked a book, say that you disliked it! That's what an honest opinion is for right? Just made sure that you are constructive. Instead of saying "This book sucked." how about explaining what exactly about it made you upset? What didn't you like?

4) Review whatever you have around you.
In a world of book bloggers, it is not always easy for you to be found. Sure, you might not be flooded with ARCs and free books when you start out. That's okay! Read books from your shelves, from your library, from your friends. Review whatever you can get your hands on and show that book blog world what you are made of!

5) DON'T GIVE UP!
Sure, it's easy to feel frustrated when people aren't flocking to your blog and following in droves. I get that. Don't despair! Open a Twitter account, chat with like minded people, ask your friends to give you a follow or help you find people who might be interested. It takes time, but it is worth that time. 


Book blog because you love it, not because you feel you have to.

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Thank you Misha for your question! You have received an extra entry into the giveaway since it was the chosen to be answered!

I will choose the July winner tonight and post the winner tomorrow! Unanswered questions will flow over into August. Thanks everyone for making this such a success!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

More Music for the mind.

My other favorite thing besides books is most definitely music! In fact, every moment I'm not reading is generally spent with some type of soundtrack going on in the background. I choose my favorites, and those are the songs that get played over and over until I hear them in my head long after they are over.



The Temper Trap is amazing. Their voices, the video, the lyrics...all amazing. This song is catchy and I'm not ashamed to say that I listen to it on repeat! You go guys!

Book Review: The Mermaid's Mirror


Lena has lived her whole life near the beach—walking for miles up and down the shore and breathing the salty air, swimming in the cold water, and watching the surfers rule the waves—the problem is, she’s spent her whole life just watching.

As her sixteenth birthday approaches, Lena vows she will no longer watch from the sand: she will learn to surf.

But her father – a former surfer himself – refuses to allow her to take lessons. After a near drowning in his past, he can’t bear to let Lena take up the risky sport.

Yet something lures Lena to the water … an ancient, powerful magic. One morning Lena catches sight of this magic: a beautiful woman—with a silvery tail.

Nothing will keep Lena from seeking the mermaid, not even the dangerous waves at Magic Crescent Cove.

And soon … what she sees in the mermaid’s mirror will change her life.

From Goodreads

Cover Inspection:
The cover concept itself is nice, but what really caught my eye is the aura surrounding the girl!

First Thoughts:
I have such a need to go to the beach now!

***

My Review:
The Mermaid’s Mirror had a ton of potential in my eyes. This was honestly one of the first books dealing directly with mermaids that caught my eye this year, and that alone captured my imagination! Unfortunately the mental bar that I sent for this book might have been a little too high. Despite the imagination that was definitely present behind the story, the plot just tended to drag and it was a bit of a difficult read to get through.

For me, Lena was not an attractive protagonist. Although her character is rather young in this book, I really felt like she was too stubborn for her own good. Constantly leaning towards selfish behavior, the way she dealt with a lot of situations in the book made me extremely frustrated. This problem has always been apparent for me when I read YA fiction. I tend to find that sometimes young female protagonists bring out the worst characteristics of the teen population. I like to give them more credit than that! In a way, I suppose her behavior lent itself to the overall plot, but it was honestly a difficult read for me because of it. 

What really heightened my enjoyment of this book was the setting. The vivid descriptions of the ocean and surfers were wonderful! My favorite scenes in the book were when Lena was learning to surf. I was able to read the words, and feel the sea wind whipping through my hair. I could taste the salt on my lips. In all honesty, L.K. Madigan was spot on with the portrayal of the angry sea versus the calm sea. She captured the surfers and their absolute devotion to the ocean in a perfect manner. As a person who lives by the ocean, and sleeps and breathes salt air, I was extremely attracted to her obvious love for research into what she was writing about.

After a lot of thought, I still would definitely recommend this book as a read. The concept behind it is rather unique, and you may find yourself smitten with it where I was not! Overall it's a very solid story and I applaud L.K. Madigan.







Book Details
Title: The Mermaid’s Mirror
Author: L.K. Madigan
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Pages: Hardcover; 336
Source: NetGalley

Final Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

[+/-] Click to see Rating.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Calendar of Events - July 22nd through July 29th




A new calendar of events will go up every Thursday.

This is due to the fact that the month started on a Thursday, so that's how we've broken up the month! So without further ado, let's see what's happening this week!

This week all events are hosted at 21 Pages!

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This week was a little off, especially because I ran away from my responsibilities for a while (yeah I did) and also because I cannot seem to read calendars. 

Calendar of Events for July 22nd - July 29th

Sunday July 25th - Calendar Post and Summer Treats!
Monday, July 26th - Summer Guest Post: Leah Cypress
Tuesday, July 27th - Review + Giveaway: Bass Ackwards and Belly Up
Wednesay, July 28th - Author Interview: Sheila Nielson
Thursday, July 29th - TBA


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This calendar is subject to change, but all changes will be shown above.

For a full list of events happening so far and links, click the small banner above!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Girls...well yeah....

Work was getting me down. It's the end of the year, my kids are tired and I'm feeling the effects. Long story short? I needed to escape!

So, I've spent a lot of time away from my computer. Hanging with friends, going out, doing things that I usually don't because I'm supposed to be doing "more important" things.

I FEEL SO MUCH BETTER.









Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Eve of Samhain Giveaway!


Isn't this cover absolutely gorgeous?

Well my dear friends who are 18 and over, you have the opportunity to win a copy of this amazing book!

Lisa Sanchez has donated a copy to the "Beach Reads" Summer Challenge! To enter, simply sign up for the challenge, go to Heather's post and leave a comment.

(Open to U.S. and Canada entrants only, ends August 31st with all other challenge giveaways.)

Still not sold? Let me tempt you with the synopsis....


As a college senior and server at Hanaford Park's hottest nightclub, twenty-one year old Ryann Pierce's plan was simple: work hard, make lots of money, and avoid the ass-grabbers at all costs. What she never planned for was Quinn Donegan—the living, breathing advertisement for sinful behavior that waltzed into her life. 

With an angelic face, a hard body and a butt-load of charm, Quinn had a way with the ladies—a lot of ladies. Cursed with a deadly, addictive touch, his trail of indiscretion blazed across five hundred years. Tired and jaded, Ryann is a shocking revelation Quinn didn't see coming. 

Filled with desire, yet unable to touch one another, Ryann and Quinn embark on a daunting journey, battling frustrating physical limitations while exploring their new love. In a race against the clock, Ryann learns she must plead for Quinn's life before…the Eve of Samhain. Determined to end her lover's suffering, not even the danger dogging her every move can keep her from her mission.

HOT. SEXY. MYSTERIOUS.

You need this book.

Cover Confusion.

Have you ever seen a cover and had a sudden deja vu moment? You realize that you have DEFINITELY seen that same cover somewhere before, but then you just can't remember when. You know it wasn't on that particular book though.

I had one of those moments and I've finally figured it out!


Okay so we have all seen Bree Despain's gorgeous The Dark Divine cover have we not? I loved those legs when I first saw this cover, and the nail polish? Gorgeous! Love love love!

Then I was wandering through some different blogs and I happened upon this cover and had a moment of shock.


Being that it says "Copyrighted Material" and that there is another cover present on Goodreads, I really don't think that this cover ended up being used. Still, it totally threw me off! I suppose it just goes to show that even cover designers have to be careful not to use a cover that has already been done. I know I've seen more of these and if I can find them I'll share them as well :).

Just throwing it out there! At least I know I'm not crazy now!






Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Book Review: Ashes to Water


Media Type: Print Book
Title: Ashes to Water
Author: Irene Ziegler
Publisher: Five Star
Pages: Hardcover; 394
Release Date: June 16, 2010
Source: Crazy Book Tours
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Intended Reading Group: Adult
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
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HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers looking for something different and action packed.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
When Annie Bartlett returns home to bury her murdered father, she confronts the woman arrested for the crime, only to discover reasons to fight for the woman’s acquittal. This pits her against her erratic and unwell sister, Leigh, whose very survival may depend on a guilty verdict.

Annie soon becomes snarled in the social and political dynamics of the town, a wrenching attraction to her old boy- friend, and the emotionally difficult business of sorting out her estranged father’s tangled past. Obstructing Annie further are “visits” from her mother, who drowned in Widow Lake when Annie was nine. As her attempts to solve her father’s murder lead to more bloodshed, Annie finds herself a suspect in a plot not of her making, and a threat to the town’s movers and shakers, suddenly very anxious to see her gone. When Annie’s father is finally laid to rest in the lake that claimed her mother, Annie glimpses in his sinking ashes the flashing glints of hope and healing.

In a world that is completely filled with books, piled up in multiple warehouses and waiting for a home, it is difficult for an author like Irene Ziegler to shine. As I am sure you all know by now, I am a huge fan of uncovering those hidden shining gems and sharing them with you! Ashes to Water is without a doubt my favorite hidden gem this year. If the following review happens to make no sense and ends up entirely filled with ramblings, it is only because I still cannot seem to wrap my mind around how much I fell in love with this book. Let us begin shall we?

One of my absolute favorite parts about reading adult literature is being able to connect with the characters on a much deeper level. As much as I adore Young Adult books, I am past the point in which I resonate with those characters in my current life. They can remind me of what I once was, but only adult characters can actually show me who I may or may not want to be. Does that make sense? I hope so.

That being said, Annie is such a fantastic protagonist in this story. Her life as a whole is laid out in this story, and Irene has no qualms with sharing the less than favorable parts about who Annie is. As a character with understandable flaws, she was so easy for me to connect with and I fell in love with her instantly. From the first page I was completely invested in who she was and what she wanted to be. Sweet Annie, a photographer who loves her mother and cannot seem to let her go. Flawed Annie, who needs love and reassurance and is not always sure where to go to find it. I adored her! She made the book for me, and sticks with me even after finishing it. If she were a real person, I do believe she and I would get along quite well.

On the flip side we have Annie's sister Leigh. The yin to Annie's yang, Leigh projects herself as a self assured and confident female figure. Only when you read on do you begin to see the cracks in her shiny exterior, and as the story progresses they just grow more and more defined. Leigh definitely makes her fair share of bad decisions throughout the story. However she is written so that it is hard not to feel for her as a person. She knows the decisions that she makes aren't always the most intelligent, but she only stops to ponder them after they have been made. Leigh knows she needs help. That alone makes her favorable in my eyes.

Lest I make this book sound like some self help book, I must add that on top of all of the inner dialogue is a beautiful and well paced story line. Irene shines in her ability to write a story that will keep you guessing! There is both an arsonist and a murderer on the loose, and it has turned Annie's small hometown completely upside down. People begin to suspect one another, and no one is sure that they actually "know" one another anymore. One part mystery, one part introspective story, this is an exquisite book that will stay with me for a long time. Page turner is an understatement. 

If you haven't decided that you must read it by now, I will leave you with this. There is a twist. Yes, a delicious twist at the end that will make your mouth gape open and possibly leave you wanting to applaud. I need a copy of both this book and the prequel. Stat.





FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

This is the type of song....

That makes me feel like everything in the world can be good and right again. Dear Rufus, I adore you. 


This is the music I listen to when I need a pick me up :). It might be odd to some, but I'm smitten.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Book Review: Girl Parts


"Hello, David. My name is Rose. It’s a pleasure to meet you. We are now entering minute two of our friendship. According to my Intimacy Clock, a handshake is now appropriate…"

David and Charlie are opposites. David has a million friends, online and off. Charlie is a soulful outsider, off the grid completely. But neither feels close to anybody. When David’s parents present him with a hot Companion bot to encourage healthy bonds and treat "dissociative disorder," he can’t get enough of luscious red-headed Rose — and he can’t get it soon. Companions come with strict intimacy protocols, and whenever he tries anything, David gets an electric shock. Severed from the boy she was built to love, Rose turns to Charlie, who finds he can open up, knowing Rose isn’t real. With Charlie’s help, the ideal "companion" is about to become her own best friend.

In a stunning and hilarious debut, John Cusick takes rollicking aim at internet culture and our craving for meaningful connection in an uber-connected world.

--From Goodreads

Cover Inspection:
This cover caught my eye instantly because of the girl in the box! Girl Parts? I was intrigued!

First Thoughts:
This is pretty interesting!

***

My Review:
Girl Parts was definitely a book that I had to take a step back from in order to form a fair opinion of it. Truly, it isn’t like anything else that I’ve read lately! That of course if a good thing in some respects, unfortunately it also doesn’t give you anything to compare it to. So, after finishing I took a few days to step back and think about my initial reaction after finishing.

Let me say this first. The synopsis to this book cleverly leaves out a lot of what the reader will actually find in the book. When I read “…a stunning and hilarious debut…” I really expected something that would have me laughing out loud! I cracked open the book, dove in, and, well I was a little confused to say the least. Girl Parts was definitely nothing like I expected it to be.

Now that I’ve explained my initial reaction, let me say that honestly I really did enjoy this book. David and Charlie are wonderful characters, each completely different and yet linked by their “dissociative disorder”. I really enjoyed reading about each boy, and finding out what their motives were for being with Rose. As for Rose herself, she was fascinating. There is no other word to describe her! Rose makes the book what it is, and I was enamored with her the entire time I was reading.

There really isn’t much more that I can say without ruining the story line. John Cusick crafts a solid book, and I was happy with it. As I said there is a lot that you will find in the book that isn't present in the synopsis. Just know this, if you are going into this book expecting a laugh, you may or may not find it there. I suppose it all depends on your sense of humor. I’m left feeling a little wanting, but hoping that the next book (yes there is a rumor for a second book) will answer all the of questions I have buzzing in my brain.







Book Details
Title: Girl Parts
Author: John M. Cusick
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pages: Hardcover; 240
Source: Around the World Tours

Final Rating:4 Keys to My Heart

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"Me Mondays" July 19th

It's time for another weekly installment of "Me" Mondays! 

Don't know what this is? 

Click HERE to visit the opening post and enter to win fun prizes!


My favorite part of Monday!

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Question #1 was chosen by the powers that be, so let's get answering!

Heather from A Bibliophile's Paradise asks:

If someone could tell you the exact day, time, and how you would die, would you want to know? Why?


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Okay now this, well this is a tough question. Trust me when I say that I've thought it out before (mostly during long nights of random conversations with friends) and I actually do have a well thought out answer! Are you ready?


My answer is YES. Yes I would want to know and here are 4 reasons why.

1) If I knew exactly when I was going to die, I could make sure that I accomplished what I really want out of life before then. I'd have a deadline to meet and I'm good with deadlines.

2) Knowing how long you have on this Earth really puts into perspective your "goals". I would better be able to realize what was really important to me.

3) I could come to terms with my death ahead of time, go through all the grieving and acceptance stages. I would make sure I was proud of my life when it was time to go.

4) This is a big one. If I knew that I would hurt someone immensely by being with them when I passed on, I'd probably be able to avoid a serious relationship. 

Sorry to get all deep on everyone here. I told you I put a lot of thought into this! Blame it on multiple glasses of wine and friends that dig deep when we have long discussions. Still, I think it's good to be introspective! So keep those questions coming no matter how deep they might be.


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Thank you Heather for your question! You have received an extra entry into the giveaway since it was the chosen to be answered!

Keep those questions coming everyone! Each question gets you entered to win!




Sunday, July 18, 2010

Book Review: The Line


An invisible, uncrossable physical barrier encloses the Unified States. The Line is the part of the border that lopped off part of the country, dooming the inhabitants to an unknown fate when the enemy used a banned weapon. It’s said that bizarre creatures and superhumans live on the other side, in Away. Nobody except tough old Ms. Moore would ever live next to the Line.

Nobody but Rachel and her mother, who went to live there after Rachel’s dad died in the last war. It’s a safe, quiet life. Until Rachel finds a mysterious recorded message that can only have come from Away. The voice is asking for help.

Who sent the message? Why is her mother so protective? And to what lengths is Rachel willing to go in order to do what she thinks is right?

--From Goodreads

Cover Inspection:
Creepy. Deliciously creepy.

First Thoughts:
Loving this!

***

My Thoughts:
When I finally received this book and took the time to read the synopsis on the back, I was intrigued. Bizarre creatures? Super humans? Ooh and a mysterious message. It all sounded so good! Then I noticed how very short this book was and I balked a bit. I'm always afraid that a really great story won't fit on such a small amount of pages. Still, I read on.

The Line had such potential right from the beginning. Rachel's fascination with the invisible line that separates her world and the world "Away" kept me interested. I found myself completely bonding with her over an interest in what was on the other side of that line. Rachel is a wonderful protagonist for this story! She is strong, stubborn, and willing to do whatever it takes to make things right. There were moments in the book where the decisions she makes really impressed me. To say Rachel is brave, well that would be an understatement.

Unfortunately as the book progressed, and the immediate threat on the other side of the line hadn't made itself known yet, I felt myself loosing interest quickly. There are points in this book where there just really isn't much of anything going on. There was a lot of character building and explanation being done, which I did enjoy! However since the book is so short it really takes away time from the actual storyline movement. To be succinct, it is a fairly slow read.

It is difficult to fairly review this book without giving anything important away, but I will say that what I was most disappointed with was the ending. This book ended in a way that left me a little saddened. Truth be told, I enjoyed this book enough to hope that there will be another one to sate my need for answers. Rachel and her family drew me in, now I'm going to sit here and wait to see what happens.







Book Details
Title: The Line
Author: Teri Hall
Publisher: Dial
Pages: Hardcover; 219
Source: Around the World Tours

Final Rating:3 Keys to My Heart

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