Sunday, April 29, 2012

Birthdays and Books

Spent this weekend celebrating my birthday with my friends and family. Unfortunately that left little time for reading, but I had tons of fun. My whole family came over and even one of my best friends who I haven't seen since December. It made for a really enjoyable day.

Right now I am reading Kimberly Pauley's new book Cat Girl's Day Off and Rosemary Clement Moore's Texas Gothic. I really need to get cracking on these books, because I have deadlines to meet.

I am currently listening to the book The Help by Kathryn Stockett. This has to be one of the best audiobooks I have listened to this year. It is really well done and narrated by multiple narrators. I am really enjoying this listening experience.

Cat Girl's Day OffTexas GothicThe Help

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Audio Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Genre: Teen Fiction, Realistic Fiction
Publication Date: January 10, 2012
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
ISBN-13 Book: 9780525478812
Publisher Audio CD: Brillance Audio
ISBN CD: 9781455869749 (Unabridged)
Length: 6 CDs (Approximately 7 hours 19 minutes)
Narrator: Kate Rudd
Disclosure: I checked out the audiobook from my public library and purchased a copy of the book from Barnes and Noble.  This is my honest review!


The Fault in Our StarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Summary:
Hazel doesn’t think she has anything to gain from attending her Cancer Kids Support Group.  She hates going and would rather stay home watching America’s Next Top Model, or reading her favorite book An Imperial Affliction than go to the support group.  She knows she has terminal cancer, she knows she won’t survive indefinitely and she doesn’t see how a support group will help her deal with that fact.  When she first sees Augustus Waters in support group, she believes that she has never seen anyone as gorgeous as him.  Soon they are becoming friends, and then something more, and Hazel realizes that there is more to her life than she believed before.

Review:
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure I was going to like this book when I first read it.  I love John Green’s work and have really enjoyed his books, but this one was taking me into territory that made me a bit uncomfortable.  It was taking me into the life and mind of a teenager with terminal cancer.  The beauty of this novel is that it does so much more than merely tell a story.  It makes you see the world differently.  Hazel is so much more than a teenager with cancer.  She is a human being with thoughts and feelings.  She refuses to be defined by her disease.

Good stories make you see the world in a new way.  They make you consider the way things are and the way they could be.  A Fault in Our Stars makes you look at the character, their world, and the terrible hands they’ve been dealt and consider their world, understand their world, and wish for something more. 

Green is an expert at dialog.  I can’t tell you how many times I laughed at the insights and witty repartee between the characters of August and Hazel.  The dialogue is sharp and extremely well written, making you want to listen to these two characters converse forever on any subject.  It is intelligent dialogue demanding that the reader pay attention, and even think about what is being said.  I love that John Green doesn’t dumb it down because he is writing for teens, because teens are intelligent, and will be able to appreciate and understand the great dialog in this novel. 

While I can say that I saw the ending coming, it wasn’t disappointing at all.  Green’s writing makes you want to savor every word until you reach the end, and then makes you want to go back and read it again.

Audiobook:
I did listen to this book on audio.  It is produced by Brilliance Audio and performed by Kate Rudd.  Rudd does a wonderful job narrating this story and all the voices are distinct and believable.  The production is exceptionally well done making listening to the book a great way to experience this remarkable novel.  The audio even has a special Q & A with John Green.  I would highly recommend the audio version of this novel.

Overall:
This is a novel that will make you laugh, cry, think, reconsider, and so much more.  I loved this book, and I would recommend it to anyone who loves strong characters and remarkable dialog.  A Fault in Our Stars is definitely a winner in the realistic fiction genre.

Personal Note:
One thing I have learned in my reading is that there are right times and wrong times to read certain types of books.  If you read a perfectly good book at the wrong time, it can influence your opinion of that book.  Sometimes though, we have to read the wrong book at the wrong time because we made a commitment as a reader, blogger, librarian, etc.  Yet, there are the books that surprise you.  You think it is the wrong book at the wrong time, and it turns out to be the perfect book for that time. 

Okay, you probably think I am crazy or drinking or completely incoherent at this point, but any reader knows that opinions about books, no matter how objective we try to be, can be influenced by the mood and the circumstances surrounding the reading of the book.  We are human, and can’t help but be influenced by the events in our lives.

I went into reading The Fault in Our Stars blind.  I had ordered it months ago, and I know I read the review at that time, but I forgot what it was about—I only knew that John Green wrote it and I wanted to read it.  So I checked out the audio and started listening in my car.  Had I remembered before starting this book that it revolves around a person with cancer I might not have picked up this book to read.  You see, one of my good friends just found out that she has cancer and I wasn’t sure I was ready for a book featuring a terminal cancer patient.  The universe works in mysterious ways, and the book that I thought was the wrong book at the wrong time turned into the right book at the right time.


View all my reviews

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Happy Book Birthdays and What I'm Reading

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
I don't do book birthday posts very often because usually I haven't had the pleasure of reading them before they come out.  I am a library user, which means that sometimes those hot titles have to go to several other people before they come to me.  Today though, I have the pleasure of saying, "YAY!!!" and "Happy Book Birthday" for two books I have read recently and absolutely loved.

The first is Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf (My Review)
Breaking Beautiful

The second is Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa (My Review)
The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, #1)


I really enjoyed both of these books and would recommend picking them up if you are visiting a bookstore today. 

What books released today would you recommend?

WHAT I'M READING

This week I am working on several books.  My book group meets on May 6th and before then I have to read both The Help by Kathryn Stockett and Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore.  I have started both books but haven't gotten very far in either.  I know they are a bit of an eclectic mix, but still it should be fun.
The HelpTexas Gothic

Taking priority over those titles is Cat Girl's Day Off by Kimberly Pauley.  I have to finish this one fast for a book tour I am participating in on May 1st.  So far I love the narrator, and I think the ability to talk to cats is so great.  I can tell you have wondered many times what my cat was thinking, although as this book points out, sometimes you are better off not knowing what your cat is thinking.
Cat Girl's Day Off 

What's Playing On Audio
As you know I love to listen to books in my car, but this is the book that is troubling me the most.  I absolutely love John Green's books because he is such a talented writer.  Right now I am listening to the audio production of The Fault in Our Stars which is a wonderful production.  So I love the author, I love the audio, you are probably wondering what is troubling me. The day before I started this book, a good friend was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Although breast cancer can strike at any age, she is relatively young, and we were completely caught off guard by this diagnosis, but she is keeping a positive attitude and taking everything one step at a time. 

When I first started this book and realized what it was about, I wasn't sure I could continue it.  It was hitting too close to home.  Green's protagonist Hazel is smart, witty, and endearingly human.  She is so much more than the disease she has, and John Green makes you see  her as a person, not the disease.  She is Hazel, a girl, a teen, who loves her family, and begins to fall in love with a boy August.  She is a girl who has dreams and feelings--she is not the cancer she carries inside her body, and she refuses to be defined by her illness.  Still I have a feeling that Mr. Green isn't done jerking my heartstrings.  He has made me see Hazel and August clearly, as two teens getting to know each other.  Now I am waiting for the proverbial shoe to fall, and perhaps that is the most painful part of this novel, knowing that it has to end.  

You can see why this might be a difficult time to read this book, but it is also the perfect time too.  I love Green's witty dialog and the debates August and Hazel share.  I love their intelligence, and their desires to be normal.  I love that he makes us see beyond the disease.  Green is a masterful storyteller, I am just afraid of where he is going to take me the next time I hit play in my car.
The Fault in Our Stars 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Q & A With Julie Kagawa Author of The Immortal Rules


A Q&A with
New York Times Best Selling Author Julie Kagawa

After writing the Iron Fey series for so many years, how difficult was it to immerse yourself in a futuristic world filled with vampires, rabids and an enslaved human race?

            It was...very different.  I think the hardest thing for me was the fact that this story does take place in the real world -- a futuristic, vampire-infested world, but the real world nonetheless.  Things had to make sense, for example: how far can a large group walk in a single day if there were no roads, they were going through thick woods, and there were children in the group?  I had to have logical reasons for everything; I couldn't just make something work "because of faery magic," lol.


Just like Meghan Chase in the Iron Fey series, the main character in The Immortal Rules, Allison Sekemoto, is a “take charge and kick butt” kind of girl.  Is this intentional? What woman – real or fictional, alive or deceased – do you look up to or admire?

            Yes, Allison comes from a very different world than Meghan Chase.  Meghan's upbringing was pretty normal; Allison grew up among vampires and monsters, where every day was a fight to live, so she couldn't afford to be weak.  While Meghan had to learn to "take charge and kick butt," Allison's first impulse is stab first, talk later.  

            As for female role models, the first that comes to mind--when it comes to kicking vampire butt, anyway -- is Buffy Summers.  Thank you, Joss Whedon, for making me love feisty, snarky, heroines who can dust all sorts of nasties but who also look good in a cheerleading outfit. ;) 

You mention in your acknowledgements in The Immortal Rules that at the beginning of your writing career you promised yourself you wouldn’t write a vampire book.  What changed your mind?

            Well, there were already so many really good books about our favorite bloodsuckers, so many stories and ideas, I thought I didn't have anything new to add to the masses.  I was actually toying with a post-apocalyptic YA novel when my agent mentioned I might want to try writing a vampire series.  I wasn't intrigued with the idea at first, but then I thought about combining vampires with the post-apocalyptic novel and then rest sort of fell into place.   

Allison claims she hates vampires and believes they are monsters yet when faced with a choice of die or become one, she becomes a vampire.  Would you have made that same decision? 

            Me personally?  No.  I'm like Zeke in the belief that there is something better waiting for me beyond this life, and I just have to do my best until it’s time for me to go.  Besides, I love pizza and Mountain Dew too much to give it up.

Who do you think the most complex character is in The Immortal Rules?

            Probably Kanin, Allie's sire.  He's a vampire who has made his peace about being a monster, yet chooses to live by his own set of moral rules.  He warns Allison about getting too close to humans, yet he does not kill unless he absolutely has to.  He is tormented about something in his past that he refuses to share with anyone.  He is certainly the most mysterious of all the characters, if not the most complex.

How many books will be in the Blood of Eden series?  When will the next book be coming out?

            At the moment, there are three books planned, with the second coming out sometime next spring, after the release of the new Iron Fey series this fall.

Before you starting writing full time you were a professional dog trainer.  Do the professions share any similarities?

            Lol, well you have to think on your feet a lot.  And some of the small dogs could be compared to tiny snapping goblins, but writing requires less dodging skills, though perhaps the same amount of creativity and problem solving.

When starting a new series, like Blood of Eden, do you have the entire series mapped out in detail or do you let the story develop book by book?

            I have a high point that I write toward in each story; I know this and this has to happen, but getting from point A to point B usually develops as I go along.

And for the speed round:
What book have you read and re-read, and read yet again?

            Any of the Harry Potter books.

Favorite song to play when writing a fight scene?

            My "favorites" change daily.  Right now its "Awake and Alive" by Skillet.

Worst job?

            Working a kiosk in the mall during Christmas.  It sold glass figurines, and the maneuvering space around the hundreds of very breakable merchandise was quite small.  I was like a bull in a china shop.

Best vacation spot?

            Walt Disney World

Sweets or salty?

            Sweet.

One thing most people don’t know about you – and would never guess!

            I used to play the flute when I was a kid.  I was really good at it too, but my instructor stopped teaching to have a family, and I never went back to it.    

The Immortal Rules is released tomorrow 4/24/12. Order your copy today! 

Pre-Order your copy of The Immortal Rules from any of these retailers.

 


Don't forget to enter to win a copy of The Immortal Rules here on my blog!

Friday, April 20, 2012

When I'm Not Writing with Glimmer Author Phoebe Kitandis



Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Glimmer author Phoebe Kitandis to my blog.  I loved Glimmer which is a ghost story and mystery all wrapped up in one.  Glimmer came out April 17th.  For more information on this haunting tale check out my review.



Top 10 Things I Like to Do When I’m Not Writing 

1. read (I read an awful lot, mostly non fiction)

2. move around. I like to walk, swim, bike, do yoga, lift weights and run. Note: I run veeeery slooooowly. If there were 5K and 10K races for slowness I would like totally win those.

3. soak in my hot tub, looking at the stars

4. dress up all fancy and go somewhere that scares my introvert side just a little (like a club or a people-watchy cocktail bar). 

5. travel. I’ve been to Singapore, Barcelona, Rome, Santorini, New York and (old) York… and I have a huge list of places I’d love to visit!

6. hang out with friends. I love parties as well as one-on-one coffee dates. 

7. eat and drink interesting things. Especially hot peppers and chocolate (which also go well together!)

8. spend time at home with my family. My husband bakes amazing bread, my other housemate is a DJ who plays great music, and we’re always having funny and/or deep conversations about anything from web comics to politics.  My house is an awesome place to be.

9. pet, feed, and generally be of service to the large, beautiful grey feline who long ago domesticated me

10. stare into space and THINK about writing ;)


Thank you Phoebe for stopping by!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Giveaway: Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, #1)


I loved this book and now you have a chance to win your very own copy!  Check back on 4/23 for an interview with Julie Kagawa!  


To win enter using Rafflecopter below!

Terms and Conditions:

* Contest will run from 12:01 am April 19th through 12:01 am April 24th.
* US and Canada Only
* Must be 13 years of age or older.
*Winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.
*Winner will be announced on this blog on the book's release date of 4/24/12.
*Book will be mailed to you from the publisher.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thank you to Harlequin Teen and Media Master's Publicity for this giveaway.

The Immortal Rules comes out 4/24/12.  Pre-Order your copy of TheImmortal Rules from any of these retailers.

Book Review: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

Title: Immortal Rules
Author: Julie Kagawa
Genre: Teen Fiction, Dystopian, Paranormal Fiction
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
ISBN-13 Book: 9780373210510
Disclosure: I received an ARC for review from the publisher.   This is my honest review!


The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, #1)The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Summary:
Allison Sekemoto has always lived on the fringe in her troubled city of New Covington.  Her world has fallen victim to a plague that has wiped out much of humanity and left vampires in charge, treating the humans like cattle.  Allison has always hated the vampires who rule her city, but when she is on the verge of death, she is offered the chance to live.  Now a vampire, Allison, has to learn what it means to be the monster she hated.

Review:
There are a million vampire books out there, and when I saw that Julie Kagawa had written one, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I love Kagawa’s other work, The Iron Fey series is one of my favorite series, but I wasn’t sure about this switch to vampires.  Personally, I was at the point where vampire novels were becoming cliché and I really wasn’t sure I wanted to read another one.

I should have never doubted Kagawa’s storytelling ability.  While the story isn’t wholly original, girl turned into monster tries to fight her inner demons and save some of her humanity, Kagawa managed to breathe new life (pardon the pun) into this story.  

Kagawa is a master storyteller.  While the story is interesting it is the characters that you love when you pick up one of her novels.  Her characters are fully developed, their feelings, lives, and experiences leap off the page.  Their thoughts and emotions become so real to the reader that you can’t put the book down.  You fall in love with her characters and have to know where the story goes.

Allison Sekemoto was one of these characters.  You understand her life has been a struggle to survive, and much of this is due to the tyranny of the vampires.  You understand her loathing of both them and their pets.  You also understand her self loathing when she becomes one of them in order to not die. 

I also love that Allison is tough.  She doesn’t take things lying down and will fight for what she wants.  I found myself eagerly awaiting the scenes where she would get tough and give the monsters what they deserve—call me a little blood thirsty, but I love a tough, kick butt, female main character.

The pacing of this novel is spot on, and the setting is so gritty and real that you feel like you are there in Allison’s horrible world.  The novel is action packed, moving you from one scene to the next seamlessly. 

Despite the length of The Immortal Rules at approximately 485 pages it is actually a very quick read.  You get so wrapped up in the character and the story Kagawa is telling you don’t notice the pages flying by.  I loved Allison’s struggle and the people she meets along the way. 

The Immortal Rules is the first book in the Blood of Eden series, and I can definitely tell you that I will be back for more.  This book was so much more than what I expected, and is definitely a great addition to the vampire genre.  If you like vampire novels, but are looking for something different with a fantastic kick butt heroine, this will definitely appeal to you.

Overall:
In the end, I am sorry that I ever doubted Ms. Kagawa’s ability to tell a story.  This book was fantastic, and I look forward to reading more about Allison in the next Blood of Eden novel.  If you like vampires, you won’t want to miss this.


View all my reviews


The Immortal Rules comes out 4/24/12.  Pre-Order your copy of The Immortal Rules from any of these retailers.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Audio Book Review: A Brief History of Montmaray by Michelle Cooper

Title: A Brief History of Montmaray
Author: Michelle Cooper
Genre: Teen Fiction, Historical Fiction
Publication Date: October 13, 2009
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
ISBN-13 Book: 9780375858642
Publisher Audio CD: Listening Library
ISBN CD: 9780307707789 (Unabridged)
Length: 5 CDs (Approximately 8 hours 39 minutes)
Narrator: Emma Bering
Disclosure: I checked out both the book and the audiobook from my public library. This is my honest review!


A Brief History of Montmaray (The Montmaray Journals, #1)A Brief History of Montmaray by Michelle Cooper
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Summary:

On her sixteenth birthday (October 23rd, 1936) Sophie FitzOsborn receives a journal from her brother Toby and so begins the story of the royal FitzOsbornes. Sophie, her tomboy sister Henry, and her cousin Veronica live on the tiny island of Montmaray where they are part of the royal family. The castle is crumbling, and the coffers of this tiny island are empty, but Sophie relays the daily life of the Montmaravians in her journal. The finances are dreary and Sophie dreams of going to England for a season, but those concerns are pushed aside when the Nazi’s arrive on Montmaray.

Review:

Historical fiction is usually a good genre for me, but not one that I read often. I love to learn about the lives of people during historical events, and the history itself. That is why this book looked so intriguing to me. Unfortunately, it took this book a long time to really hook my interest. You are almost half way through the book before the Germans arrive, and up until that point Sophia’s journal has only recounted the increasing poverty of the FitzOsbornes, the madness of the king, daily life at Montmaray, and Henry’s desire to be a boy. In essence—it wasn’t holding my attention well. Luckily the audio helped me through it (more about that later).

After the arrival of the Germans, however, the novel begins to pick up pace. The daily life begins to change, the Montmaravian’s desperation to keep the Germans from entering the castle, and the looming war, take on greater presidence, and the action begins to kick up a notch.
The characterizations were wonderful, but overtime Sophia’s hero worship of Veronica is a little hard to take. You know Sophia is an intelligent girl who could stand on her own if only she would step out of Veronica’s shadow. Veronica is sharp tongued and opinionated, but devoted to her tiny country and scholarly research.

A Brief History of Montmaray is the first book in the Montmaray Journals featuring the FitzOsbornes. The second book is titled The FitzOsbornes in Exile (Knopf, 2011) and the final installment is The FitzOsbornes at War which is due out from Knopf October 9, 2012. I am curious about the sequels, because this one leaves you at a bit of a cliffhanger wondering what the future will hold for this feisty family, but the slowness at the beginning of this book has me holding off. Perhaps these will be ones I check out from my library at a later date.

Audiobook:

The audiobook was produced by Listening Library and read by Emma Bering. Bering does a superb job portraying the young Sophie FitzOsborne, and the other characters as well. Her accent reminds me of a very proper English accent, and is soothing to the ear. The production is clean and free of any flaws.

The audio version was a life saver for me, because the slow beginning of the book would have had me putting it down before I progressed even a quarter of the way through the novel. On audio I was able to listen and love these characters. This was a wonderful way to experience this novel.

Overall:

I had a really rough time with this book in the beginning. The pacing was too slow, but you could tell the story was an important one. Once the action picked up, the book turned into a real gem. Overall I would say give it a try—the characters are charming and the story was interesting in the end. If you like audiobooks, this would be a good one for audio.


View all my reviews

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Book Review: Glimmer Phoebe Kitandis



Title: Glimmer
Author: Phoebe Kitandis
Genre: Teen Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal Fiction
Publication Date: April 17, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
ISBN-13 Book: 9780061799280
Disclosure: I received an ARC for review from Teen Book Scene Tours.   This is my honest review!


GlimmerGlimmer by Phoebe Kitanidis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary:
Two teens wake up in bed with each other completely naked with no memories of who they are or their previous lives.  As they begin to investigate, they discover that not everything is as it appears in their small little town, and that sinister forces may be at work.

Review:
I will admit it, I picked up this book because I was intrigued about how these two teens got into this unusual situation.  Then as I read more it starts to feel like the teens have wondered in to a little town that reminds me Stepford Wives.  Everyone is happy, too happy.  Everyone is so laid back and easy going, and the whole idea just sends shivers up your spine.  What is happening in this crazy town?

I love the fact that both of the characters struggle with who they are.  They look at pieces of their lives before the amnesia, and don’t necessarily like what they see, and can’t believe that they would really make those choices.  Elyse especially has this problem.  She doesn’t look on the outside like how she feels on the inside, but more than that, as friends remind her of her former life, she doesn’t like who she was. 

The ghosts are creepy and disturbing and the same can be said of the town.  When ugly things happen you can see just how totally messed up this town really is.

The novel is told in alternating points of view.  Every other chapter switches between Elyse narrating and Marshall narrating.  My one comment on this is that their thoughts seem so similar at times that I forgot who was narrating the chapter and had to go back check.  This was probably my fault though because I was devouring this book so quickly (anxious to find out what happens next) that I wasn’t paying close enough attention to the chapter titles.

Overall:
I love the mystery, the creepy ghosts, and the intriguing plotline.  Definitely original and definitely a page turner, I loved it!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Let's Talk Reading Habits

Last year I set a goal to read 100 books.  While some people can easily read twice that or more in a year, 100 was a real challenge for me.  It came down to the wire, but in the end I read my hundred books.  As I said though, it wasn't easy.  I don't have a lot of time to read.  I work full time, I have a four year old who would rather have mommy read to him rather than let her read her own books, and of course I have my wonderful husband.  To top that all off, I am an incredibly slow reader.  I have always envied my husband's ability to breeze through books.  (I probably would have more than doubled the number of books I read last year if I would let myself count the books I read to my son! :) )

This year, I haven't attacked my reading list with quite as much vigor.  As many of you know we have had a rough year.  Both of my husband's grandmothers died in the same week, my family has been plagued with health issues, as have several of my good friends.  All these combined have left me in the biggest reading slump I have ever experienced.

About four weeks ago my husband and I joined the local YMCA and I started swimming.  I am doing this for two reasons, one I don't want to have any of the health problems that I am destined to get from my family, and two I just want more energy to feel better.  This too has cut into my reading time, but strangely enough it is also helping to end my slump.

According to Goodreads I am only six books behind on my reading goal, and right now I am considering that an accomplishment.  With everything that has happened this year I could easily be twelve books behind or even more--I just haven't felt like reading.  I am slowly chipping away at that number and hopefully that number will drop to zero before the end of the year.

My reading habits are changing though.  Lately I have found myself wanting to read more realistic fiction, a genre I usually don't read unless forced.  I am also reading more nonfiction than I usually do, another genre I usually stay away from.  Strangely, I am reading more books on my iPad rather than physical books--not sure why this is exactly, but it is working for me.  Finally, I couldn't have kept reading at all if it hadn't been for audiobooks.

As many of you know I love my audiobooks.  I always have one with me in the car because I love listening to book.  Even when I haven't wanted to pick up a book to read at home, I have been listening to books in my car.  There is something relaxing and soothing about getting into my car at lunch or at the end of the day and listening to a well read audiobook.  It helps me unwind, and set aside the stress and worries of the day.  Believe it or not I look forward to the time I spend in my car--that little bit of time means so much to me.

I know reading habits change over time, but mine have done a complete 180 in such a short time.  I feel like I am finally getting back on track, but sometimes recovering from stress takes a long time.  I want to read more, and there are such great books coming out right now I would love to read. I just need to find a pace that fits my life, and my needs.  Ebooks on the iPad and audio may be what I need right now, and if I turn to nonfiction and realistic fiction because those are what are appealing to me--I guess that isn't a bad thing either.  The good news is I am still reading and I think I am finally coming out of my slump.  Hopefully, the rest of this year will prove less stressful, and hopefully I can have a happier, healthier, reading year from this point on.

What I am Reading This Weekend:


The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, #1)

 
 Now Playing on Audio:

A Brief History of Montmaray (The Montmaray Journals, #1)

What are you reading this weekend? Any recommendations for some realistic fiction that you think I should read?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Book Review: Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf

Title: Breaking Beautiful
Author: Jennifer Shaw Wolf
Genre: Teen Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Mystery
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Publisher: Walker Childrens
ISBN-13 Book: 9780802723529
Disclosure: I requested to read a copy of this book in e-book format from NetGalley. This is my honest review!


Breaking BeautifulBreaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary:
Allie has no memory of the accident that killed her boyfriend Trip, but others in town don’t believe her.  They believe she is hiding what she knows about Trip’s death to protect herself.  Allie may not remember the accident that killed him, but she knows how incriminating it would be if she let anyone know about the abuse she suffered at Trip’s hand.  She wants to discover what happened that night, but some secrets come with a price.

Review:
Every now and then a book comes along that holds your attention so dramatically that you loath putting the book down.  Something about this book intrigued me.  I can’t even tell you for sure why this book caught my eye.  I think it was a publisher talking about the book during a webinar, but to be honest I can’t remember.  There was something that made me want to read this book and I am so glad I did.

Breaking Beautiful is part mystery part drama.  The main character, Allie, has no memory of the night her boyfriend Trip died.  All she knows is somehow she survived, and now has to deal with the consequences of her own survival and the aftermath of their abusive relationship.  Allie’s story is haunting, and the flashbacks keep the reader intrigued and wanting to know more.  She has a good friend who wants the best for her and a wonderful brother who would do anything to make her happy.  Unfortunately, though, there are those who believe that Allie is responsible for Trip’s death, and want to see her brought to justice.

The characters in this novel are well developed.  I loved Allie’s twin brother Andrew and the relationship they share.  Other characters are equally developed, even Allie’s parents whose actions are both good and bad.  So many people care for Allie, but like so many victims of abuse, she has been isolated in her pain. 

The mystery has just enough hook to keep you reading, but it doesn’t overwhelm the story and the struggles Allie faces.  Wolf’s writing is superb and gripping.  I honestly didn’t want to put this book down—I needed to finish to find out what really happened that night.

Overall: 
I have said many times that I am not a realistic fiction fan, yet I am often surprised by the stories I find in the genre.  This novel is fantastic, and one that I would highly recommend.  A book you won’t want to put down.


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