This book! Man. I had no idea what to think. S'okay; Bruiser is this tough melancholic loner that has caught Bronte's eye. Bronte being the sister to
This book! Man. I had no idea what to think. S'okay; Bruiser is this tough melancholic loner that has caught Bronte's eye. Bronte being the sister to the very alpha-male jock, Tennyson. This is definitely not acceptable. I mean, Bruiser's name is Bruiser. Duh. But still, Bronte's a fixer and she sees something deep within and wants to bring it out.
On a completely personal side note. I TOTALLY get Bronte. I so would have done the same in high school.
The thing is, Brew (a more human name once the two realize that he's well, human) has a deep secret which forces him not to let his guard down. He takes on the from the people he cares about.
How clever of a plotline is that?
The book is told in multiple characters, which I'm usually not a fan of because MOST OF THE TIME each character sounds the same. And here, maybe they do. I don't know. I wasn't paying much attention because the whole premise was wicked cool. I mean, it throws in the question of codependency and what one person feels and who is actually feeling it and MAN!
I loved me some Brew.
Although sometimes I wanted to punch him because really there's only so much someone should take.
The book kinda reminded me of Powder. Did anyone see that? I couldn't even tell you if it was a great movie or not seeing as I saw it as a kiddo. But it did leave an impression on me.
Another totally awesome and wonderful thing? I got to MEET Neil Shusterman about the same time I was reading this book. I stumbled upon his tour at the local B&N, which NEVER HAPPENS. Seriously. Authors are afraid of Florida, I think. He's such a cool guy and read from his newest book UnWholly. ...more
Every day I wake A new body I am in Never my own space
Aiight. Check out this crazy plot. (And before I begin, a quick *squee* fangirl cry because it's D
Every day I wake A new body I am in Never my own space
Aiight. Check out this crazy plot. (And before I begin, a quick *squee* fangirl cry because it's David-freakin'-Leviathan and I love him and feel even more warmth and fuzz and fangirl giddiness because I met him a couple of years ago and he is SUCH an amazing down to earth author which is awesome!)
Now. The plot. "A" wakes up every morning into a different body and "A" exists there for that day, making the decisions of that person for that day. Immediately, you might want to associate it with Meyer's Host, but it's not like that. Not really. Because "A" doesn't get a choice, this is just the normal existence. Also, "A" doesn't interact with the person's body that has been kidnapped. This isn't an ideal existence, obviously, and "A" tries to live by the ideal do no harm, meaning, DON'T MESS UP THAT PERSON'S LIFE THROUGH SOME RASH DECISION.
*whew* Let me tell you, trying to write that paragraph without using a gender was tres difficile. Because, you now, "A" doesn't HAVE a gender. One day "A"'s a girl, the next a boy. (Also, "A" is a self given name).
Interestingly enough, this idea behind gender associations as well as sexual and racial identity is one of the reasons why David (I'm pretending here that David and I are on first name basis terms) wrote the book. That reason alone is one of the reasons why he is such an amazing young adult writer. He gets these notions and then writes books based on these notions for teens who need to spend time thinking about these things. Fantastic!
I have to admit that this would be hands down a five-star book EXCEPT the ending sorta irked me. I mean, sure, I get that this is an incredibly tough premise to wrap it up argh! It bothered me something fierce. (So please, if WHEN you read this find me on twitter @ReadingThruNite so we can chaaattt!)
Bottom line, loved the concept, loved the author, REALLY liked the book.
Okay, let’s just get this out right away because it’s surely not a spoiler but TOTALLY relevant to the ahmazingness of this book.
The kids in The FaulOkay, let’s just get this out right away because it’s surely not a spoiler but TOTALLY relevant to the ahmazingness of this book.
The kids in The Fault in Our Stars have Cancer. All of them. They all meet in a survivor’s support group, but it’s one of those survivor groups where some are surviving with Cancer. Like Hazel. She’s this cool kid who lugs around an oxygen tank because she was diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer and there were tumors in your lungs but some miracle treatment shrunk them and things look better even though she feels like she’s a walking grenade because her life expectancy is so short.
Needless to say Hazel does not like to get close to people. Why bother. She’s got one foot in the door of death. She’s perfectly content reading her books and watching ANTM (um, America’s Next Top Model, who are you people who don’t know that?!?). BUT, her parents, being good parents that they are encourage her to go to the before mentioned support group. And that’s when her life gets a bit messy.
Hazel meets Augustus. Intelligent, witty, in-remission, Augustus. (He sticks cigarettes in his mouth but doesn’t light them, you know for the POWER of it; love this kid!). Hazel is in this thing where she can’t stay away from Augustus but also doesn’t want him to get uber close because well - she’s gonna die, and his cancer has an 80% survivor rate. Augustus is fierce and pretty much tells her she’s crazy, he wants to be around her.
Oh and then, to make this an even MORE beautiful book than what it already is, there’s a book that Hazel ADORES and gives to Augustus to read and he GETS IT too (readers, how important is this? We all have those books that we wish the world would get). Aaand, Hazel has questions about the end because like life there’s not really an end and there’s characters that go on without a story because theirs story was the one being told. So, Hazel and Augustus go on this mission to find out what happens to the other people. Really? How amazing is that? How many times have you wondered what happens to the people in your books, you know? Blows my mind at the adventure and romanticism.
This book reminds me (as always) of the brilliance that is John Green.
The Audio Version
I don't consider myself much of a book cryer you know? I don't know why, and maybe it's more to do with the fact that most books I read probably aren't all that sad, but I don't tear up...MUCH LESS get a full fledged stream of tears.
I owe part of that with this book because of the narrator. Her inflections were right on. Her voice was right on. The separation of the characters - AMAZING. Much like Khrystine Hvam, after I finished listening to THIS audio, I began looking for other audios that Kate Rudd has done. (I'm thinking maybe Holly Black's Tithe trilogy?)
Oh and #winning there's even a Q&A with John Green at the end....more
The Girl She Used to Be is one of those books that end up on my shelves and I'm not quite sure how (I of course blame other bloggers). I grabbed it raThe Girl She Used to Be is one of those books that end up on my shelves and I'm not quite sure how (I of course blame other bloggers). I grabbed it randomly when I put together a stack of books I'd like to get through this summer. Admittedly, the premise is not a book that I normally would have gone for.
Our main gal, Melody, has been in the witness protection program since she was six years old. Her folks stumbled upon a mafia killing and that was that. Since that moment, Melody's life has been tumultuous to put it lightly. She has been shifted and moved around and given multiple personae since that fateful morning. After all, convincing a six year old that she is no longer 'Melody' is difficult to do, and once you're in the program, if you're identity is revealed, it's time to create a new one.
When we first meet Melody, she is in her young adulthood and bored with her mundane life. Her parents were murdered by the mafia family, so she has little faith in the program. Plus, because she feels that the program took away her life, she acts fairly whimsical and calls upon them to create a new identity when she can't handle the normalcy of her current lie.
Melody is a tragic character. Immediately we understand her despair. Unable to begin any long term relationships for fear of causing turmoil in another life because of her fate, she is constantly an observer of the lives and families surrounding her. What heartfelt scene is when she is hanging out in the local Hallmark following the patrons and their card choices just to get an idea of what it would be like to have those connections.
Melody no longer has her regular Program official, and instead, gets a newer younger version. They quickly form an odd relationship as he escorts her to the place of her new identity. Then, one night in the secluded hotel room a man breaks in and calls Melody by her real name. She soon discovers that Jonathan is the son of the Mafia father-figure that is perusing her. He wants her to come with him and confront his family.
Melody is tired of running and agrees to go with Jonathan. They end up building this amazing relationship on these horrible circumstances and the days leading up to meeting the mafia family are romantic and cleverly mushy.
As I was saying, what an odd story. But man did I love it. I read this book in one day, and only a couple of sittings. (I had to do life-in-the-way sorta things). Of course, the whole time I realized how far-fetched the story was. Surely something like this wouldn't happen in real life. But even though it was unrealistic, it was written so well that I bought it nonetheless.
I love how the theme of identity was questioned. Melody spent her whole life not having an identity, not ever really know who she was and Jonathan spent his life living an identity created by his family and not the one that he desired. Obviously that's the bond that brought them together. It was impossible not to root for their love, even though the whole time you suspect it will end badly....more
Oh what to even make of this book. I’m really going to be brutal here, I think, because I enjoyed this book about as much as I enjoy getting a splinteOh what to even make of this book. I’m really going to be brutal here, I think, because I enjoyed this book about as much as I enjoy getting a splinter. It wasn’t painful to read, but man was I annoyed most of the time. I perserved because I just knew it would be better to eventually be done with it. I couldn’t just set it aside because I still had some small ounce of hope that it would redeem itself.
Truthfully, the PRIMARY reason why I gave this book a go was because it had Picoult’s name attached to it. I’m a sucker for her books. Can’t help it. We’ll move on. BUT that wasn’t the ONLY reason. The concept was unique and TOTALLY up my highway.
Check it out: Delilah is this nerdy shy girl who spends most of her time reading. (Already a winner of a protagonist for me!) She stumbles upon this fairy tale book (#winning) and adores it, reading it over and over again. Alternatively, we (as in, me, the audience) get to read the fairy tale as well….but the kicker is when the book (the book in the story) closes, the characters continue to live. Um, hello, a la Six Characters in Search of an Author by Pirandello which is MY ALL TIME FREAKIN’ FAVORITE PIECE OF LITERATURE/PLAY EVAH.
Prince Oliver, the protagonist in the fairy tale is bummed. He is so sick and tired of living the same story over and over again. Plus, the stupid princess actually thinks that they’re in love. Yup, she’s so dumb she just can’t figure out that it’s a story. Oliver is dying to get out of the story and into a new setting but he can’t seem to get anyone to notice him from the outside. But he’s relentless and…
One day, Delilah hears Oliver.
And the story moves back and forth from Oliver in the fairy tale trying to get out and Delilah in the Real World trying not to look crazy.
The writing though, oh the writing. I don’t want to harsh anyone’s dream of being a writer, and had this been turned in for a school assignment, it definitely would have gotten an “A” but to publish it a book and call it a bestseller? Well, perhaps that’s why Jodi Picoult’s name is the larger name on the book…because I don’t know if it would sell quite as well without it.
On the plus side. It’s a quick read. Like a day. And there were purty pictures. That helped....more
Wuthering Heights gives- New meaning to the cliche Mis'ry loves com'pny
[Below there will be spoilers and rambles. Read at your own risk].
THIS BOOK. Ohh
Wuthering Heights gives- New meaning to the cliche Mis'ry loves com'pny
[Below there will be spoilers and rambles. Read at your own risk].
THIS BOOK. Ohhhh, THIS BOOK. If I had the energy whilst reading it I would have chucked it clear across the room. I persevered looking for redemption and instead found nothing but an onslaught of narcissism.
This is my second time reading WH, but my first time around hardly counts. Like many others, WH was required reading in my high school English class. It was sold as a tragic love story. More than likely, I read the cliff notes because I went through a period of academia where I wasn't, well, academic. The description of "tragic love story" however is one that has attached itself snugly onto Emily Bronte's only work. Surely that association is in part why this book is utterly despicable.
Need proof? This is verbatim from the back of my copy:
"A brooding Yorkshire tale of a love that is stronger than death, it is also a fierce vision of metaphysical passion in which heaven and hell, nature and society, and dynamic and passive forces are powerfully juxtaposed. Unique, mystical, with a timeless appeal, it has become a classic of English literature."
Totally misleading. Walking into WH one expects a love story, albeit a tragic one, but a love story nonetheless. Instead we are introduced to perhaps the most self-centered and codependent couple in the history of literature.
In a nutshell: Heathcliff is an orphan and gets picked up by Catherine's older brother. He is raised amongst the Earnshaws but not treated as family. He is immediately taken with Catherine, the temperamental young sister who grows into an insufferable and selfish woman. Catherine and Healthcliff have an unnatural connection and Things Happen that ultimately put Catherine in the arms of Edgar Linton - the man across the moor even though Catherine admits to Nelly, the family servant, "I've no more business to marry Edgar Linton than I have to be in heaven; and if they wicked man in there had not brought Heathcliff so low, I shouldn't have thought of it. It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him; and that, not because he's handsome Nelly, but because he's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same; and Linton's is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire." (75)
Healthcliff, devastated and vengeful ends up marrying Linton's sister, Isabella. Catherine is more than a tad bit put off by this curve ball and Edgar fluffs up in manliness and there's fights between them all which causes Catherine to fall into a great depression, refusing to eat. Oh yeah, and evidently she's preggers and dies during childbirth.
Interestingly enough, I had to reread the death by childbirth because I completely missed the fact that she WAS pregnant. I did some googling to see if I was the only moron who missed that one and thankfully I wasn't. As it turns out, back in the 1800's it was sorta taboo to discuss being pregnant, therefore it would be even MORE taboo to write about it. (This had something to do with the untimely deaths of women during childbirth). So, yeah, there were clues in the text, but it could easily have been misconstrued with Catherine's depression.
Let's move it further along because Catherine is dead and now Heathcliff has a whole lifetime without her to make everyone around him miserable. Isabella escapes but not before SHE becomes pregnant. This is important because the Catherine's baby, also named Catherine and Isabella's baby, also named Linton, end up miserably married to each other later down the road thanks to Healthcliff's devious plan to make Edgar pay for taking Catherine away from him.
Now if you thought that Catherine and Healthcliff were miserable individuals, reading the lives of little Cathy and little Linton will want to run to your doctor and get a prescription of Zoloft.
If Heatlhcliff is the most vengeful character if literary history, then Linton is quite possibly the most pathetic. He is sniveling and sickly and weak. And sure dear ole' pops, Heathcliff preys on this and emotionally rips him to shreds daily but man alive, how he treats little Cathy in the end is disturbing and next to Catherine, one hated character.
This book was like playing emotional russian roulette. You didn't know which character was going to make you want to jump off a cliff next.
I haven't really read any creative license sequels, IE - books that use the characters from classics and tell a different perspective, but would love to find one where Wuthering Heights is told through the character of Hareton, Cahty's cousin and eventual second husband. He's an endearing character and ultimately is what makes Wuthering Heights a bit worthwhile. ...more
Didn't it seem like last summer there were a plethora of mermaid books hitting the young adult market? I figured they were just trying to be the nextDidn't it seem like last summer there were a plethora of mermaid books hitting the young adult market? I figured they were just trying to be the next Big Thing since the paranormal genre tends to be monopolized by vamps or zombies. Part of me, out of plain curiosity, wanted to check out the finned friends to see what was going on. Another part was fairly disinterested.
I finally caved when I saw the cover for Lies Beneath and here's a couple of noteworthy things I found out:
First, when **I** think of mermaids, I picture Ariel, The Little Mermaid.
Mermaids are suppose to be sweet, gentle, beautiful, and have an amazing voice.
Instead they're not.
Oh yeah, pretty eeevilll. The mermaids are absolute vixens. AND there's three of them who have a brother, Calder, who desperately wants to GET AWAY from them. Or at least not have to be with them, which I guess is part of their rules. But Calder can't do that until he joins his sisters and seek revenge on the Hancock family. Mainly killing one of them off since the grandfather is the reason why their mom died.
Of course there's gonna be some lurve. Calder meets Lily Hancock and even though merman aren't really suppose to get serious with humans, it happens. And let the family drama begin.
Overall there were a handful of thumbs-ups for Lies Beneath. I dug that the narrator was male AND a merman. Also, clever-clever to create such manipulative creatures. Sure, sure, I get that sirens are mermaid kin but I wasn't expecting them to be that callous and manipulative. In an interview, Brown refers to the mermaids preying on humans as their form of popping anti-depressants. I loved that reason.
So yeah, oh GoodReads I gave Lies Beneath two stars, but I'd actually up it to two and a half....more
“Mawidge...mawidge is what bwings us togewer today... Mawidge, the bwessed awwangement, that dweam wiffim a dweam... ... Ven wuv, twoo wuv, wiw fowwow“Mawidge...mawidge is what bwings us togewer today... Mawidge, the bwessed awwangement, that dweam wiffim a dweam... ... Ven wuv, twoo wuv, wiw fowwow you fowever..”
Hands down my favorite quote from the whole tale.
Er, well, at least one of them.
It’s interesting having watched the film so many times [enough at least where I feel as though I’m competent to answer some mad crazy trivia] but having little recollection of reading the book. And then the experience of rereading the book when I am much more familiar with the FILM only adds to it. Because, truly the story comes to life in a way that books don’t normally do for me.(1)
The Princess Bride Timeline
I was probably in elementary school, nearing the 4th or 5th grade when I first saw The Princess Bride: The Film. I wasn’t completely boy-crazy in real life, but my eyes were definitely on some Bop Magazine beaus. So lemme tell you, when Westley whispered “As you wish” he was golden in my book.
And then one day, while frequenting the used bookstores (Mom felt that the cost of new books in addition to how quickly I devoured them would put her in the poor house) I found a copy of The Princess Bride: The Book. Man oh man was I incredulous. MY FAVORITE movie had a book? I even wrote to Mr. Goldman(2) vehemently declaring – which means there were plenty of exclamation points – that he was MY FAVORITE AUTHOR EVER.
High school went by and both The Princess Bride: The Book & The Movie were nestled safely in the back of my brain until The College Years when I stumbled upon People Like Me and we would greet each other with: Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die. Followed by an ambush of giggles.
Now I’m an adult and I fell in love all over again with The Princess Bride: The Book, but for different reasons entirely. There were so many things that I didn’t really pick up on as a kid. Like Goldman as the narrator. And how the author Morgenstein is a total fake out. Because really….that just hit me like a torched R.O.U.S. I seriously had to search out the netosphere double checking the facts of that one. Brilliant man. Absolutely freakin’ brilliant.
There are some books that people read as a child and then reread only to find that the memory of the book was sweeter.  In this case, the book allowed me to fall back into the world of Westley and Buttercup and stay there at my own pace.
My only meh about the experience, and it truly could have been avoided if my curiosity didn’t get the best of me was the addition of Buttercup’s Baby. Not a fan. At. All.
_____ (1) I think the cast for the film version was tres magnifique. Andre the Giant? Um, hell yeah. (2) Sad face. He never wrote back. I was dismayed for quite some time. (3) I admit, this normally happens with television shows more than anything ...more
I was UBER excited to find the second in Shultz's series available on NetGally since I devoured the first one last year. I have to admit, it pleased I was UBER excited to find the second in Shultz's series available on NetGally since I devoured the first one last year. I have to admit, it pleased me in the same guilty-pleasure sorta way. I read it in a day and had no problem falling back into the story line. [Side tangent - I find series dreadful for this main purpose. If it's been any extended length of time it takes me forever to fall back into the voice of the series. I wonder why this is different than when I'm watching a television show that's been off season??]
You might recall, or if you've already read Spellbound, what immediately separates THIS paranormal romance from the rest is THERE ARE NO LOVE TRIANGLES. Praise the YA heavens for that one, right? And guess what, folks? There's still drama. Yeah, that's right. We don't have to deal with chapters filled with pining looks and eventual unrequited love. Rather, Emma and Brendan are lifelong soul mates. Like the kind books are written about - which is in fact how they found out that they were soul mates. Emma also recently found out that she was a witch and the timing couldn't be more than perfect since one of her besties is all into Wicca as well.
Unfortunately, a revengeful girl from Brendan's past has come back to town to put an end to the merriment. Not only is she pissed because Brendan didn't want to be with her, she believes that Emma's blood has magical qualities that will essentially make her invincible.
I know, I know. The plot summary sounds a little fluffy right? And it might be, but fluffy in that cool whip fluff which is yum and not that weird cheap jarred fluff sold in the can aisle of the grocery store which seems a bit, er, questionable.
Quite frankly this is a wonderful lay at the beach spring into summer read. It's fast-paced which means you won't fall asleep under the sun to wake up deep friend....more
LOVE the concept of this book something fierce: take ONE DAY from TWO PEOPLE'S LIVES for a random amount of years and observe it in a snapshot. SeriouLOVE the concept of this book something fierce: take ONE DAY from TWO PEOPLE'S LIVES for a random amount of years and observe it in a snapshot. Seriously! Kudos for Mr. Nicholls for writing a book like this. It is such a curious way of looking at someone'(s)' life and honestly I wish I had been clever enough to think of it. I mean, not to write. Gawd knows I have no desire to become a writer. But, how nifty would it have been if I had a collection of letters to myself or a pictures of a day: same day different year? Yeah, yeah, I surely could START doing it now. But, *le sigh*, let's face it. I'm a dreamer with no follow through. Oh arch nemesis of mine!
So now you know I loved the concept hard but let me tell you the Truth about the book itself. It lost its magic after the novelty. The characters were blerg and oftentimes I wanted to b1tchslap our dear Dexter. Plus...Dex and Em; Em and Dex. Seriously? Ad naseum.
Come, I will tell you why. But firstly, let me make it obvious: there will be spoilers. So, if you haven't seen the movie OR read the book BUT plan to do one or the other, move along. - - - >
Okay. Dexter. Seriously? Does a guy like Dex exist? He's SUCH an arse. Oooh looky me, I'm famous. I'm on the tele. COME ON Nicholls. I just can't believe that someone can be that irredeemable for that many years of his life. When did he finally grow up? When he was forty? Sure, sure money might make others more selfish than us middle class folks, but even when his mom is on her death bed?! Yeah, yeah, tell me that everyone handles grief differently. I get that, but still! Dex is handsdown one of the most detestable characters I've ever had to bear.
Which leads me to bring up Emma. Emma wasn't terrible, she wasn't plain, but she was a little whacked with her affection for Dexter. Once again, I continued to ask myself who pines for a man for that many years? I'm all about crushes, you guys, but this was some hardcore pining that only left her devastated.
It's like the premise was to show polar opposites and how their friendship and love could survive the test of time. Except, realistically it was more about the redemption of Dexter. And I think he spent way too much time offering sacrifices and praying to Narcissus.
The obvious question that you are probably asking yourself then is: why continuing listening for over thirteen hours? The answer is simple enough...even though the characters didn't interest me, the writing was actually pretty good, the dialogue chipper, and the storyteller was British (which always makes my ears warm and tingling). ...more
first - AHHHH, look at that cover?! Isn't that just one of **the** most beautiful covers you've ever seen? Fabulous!
I'm a lover of all things crazy. Afirst - AHHHH, look at that cover?! Isn't that just one of **the** most beautiful covers you've ever seen? Fabulous!
I'm a lover of all things crazy. And especially mental illness crazy. If the setting is in a psychiatric ward or old school insane asylum, I'm sold. Sign me up, close the deal, finalize the deed. Because of this reason, obvs I was the perfect candidate to read this book.
Sabrina is diagnosed with schizophrenia and after one shattering incident involving her and her school mates, her parents determine that there is no other way to help her but to commit her to a hospital. Sabrina is seriously devastated. She gets that she's different, that she sees the world differently, but why is it a problem now? Then she meets Alec, another patient in the hospital who claims that all the doctors are brainwashing them. They are normal and must stick together. Alec and Sabrina risk a lot to be together, including reality.
There were so many brilliant and realistic things about this book. James did a stunning job creating Sabrina and her illness. He captured how it facilitated her artwork and her views of the world, how magical and yet still disconcerting it was to walk in this unreal world. I immediately reminisced on lectures about Carl Rogers, an amazing therapist and theorist, who believed that if we wanted to work with schizophrenics we needed to join their world rather than force them into ours. James opened the door to that world. Kudos. Seriously.
BUT - and there's always a but, isn't there? Although James characters are fleshed out and realistic, the actual plot and grandiose ending was so over the top I couldn't help but cringe. I won't give away anything relevant because there are parts of the experience worth reading, especially since it only took me a couple of hours. I'm hoping to find something better out of this author in the future. It looks like he's written a lot. Any suggestions for those of you who have read books by him??...more
Max and Zoe, like many other infertile couples, spend years attempting InVitro. Each go aroThe Short of It
Who has the rights to embryos?
The Long of It
Max and Zoe, like many other infertile couples, spend years attempting InVitro. Each go around though, they end up disappointed, and Max finally says ‘enough is enough’ and asks for a divorce. Zoe is devastated.
Then let’s move forward, in an attempt to stay sober and get his life back together, Max joins his brother and sister-in-law’s evangelical church. Meanwhile, Zoe falls in love with Vanessa, a high school guidance counselor.
Things might have gone along smashingly…both exes doing their own thing. EXCEPT there still remains a couple of frozen embryos at the clinic and it was never settled in the divorce agreement whose property they were. Zoe and Nessa want to begin a family and need the eggs. Max wants to give them to his brother and sister-in-law, who also have fertility issues.
The Thoughts about It
Alrighty then! EVERYONE knows that when you pick up a Picoult book you’re planning on tackling an Issue. Her books are dramatic and fierce and pulls at your heart strings. I often refer to them as my Lifetime Movie books. There’s gonna be some CONTROVERSARY. And it’s usually done in such a wonderful way that even if you are absolutely devoted to one camp, you can kinda get the other side. (I did say kinda people because let my opinion be known – I do not believe that frozen ANYTHING prior to conception is a baby. In fact, I don’t think I necessarily believe that anything that cannot survive outside of the womb (read: 9 weeks preggers?) is a baby. Life begins at birth. *stepping down for soap box*)
So here are some of the Issues that are raised in Sing You Home:
· Who gets the frozen wanna be babe? · Where does life begin? · What of same sex parents? · Depression and anxiety when you don’t fit in?
For the record I have OPINIONS about ALL of these topics, plus many more. I’ll refrain from going into them because I doubt that most of you care really.
BUT I do have to make a comment on how Picoult handles the relationship between Zoe and Vanessa. Can I just say, LOVE IT. Truly, it was written remarkably well. I love the fact that Zoe, who has OBVIOUSLY been attracted to men prior, points out that it’s ABOUT THE PERSON. Not only do I get that, I live it. Hands down awesome when Zoe told her mom. And the relationship was absolutely REAL. I mean, there’s even a bit of commentary about how roles need to be renegotiated because gender issues don’t exist. Man, Jodi Picoult is astute. Nothing is overlooked.
Plus her characters are thorough, full of faults. Which I lurve! Sure there were times I wanted to hit Max upside the hand but he wasn’t this caricature of a man who hits rock bottom. Max really is that guy.
Sing You Home. The highest praise I can give for this book is it’s a book you want to read WITH someone. I yearn for someone to discuss this book with. Why am I not a part of a book community in real life? Oh yeah, because not many people I know read. Such is another topic completely.
[ed. note - I was so passionate about the story itself I completely forgot to mention THERE'S A CD that goes along with the book. How cool is that? Each chapter has a song devoted entirely to it. Multimedia man, at its finest!]...more
Annie just finds out her husband is in love with someone else and wants a divorce rightThe Short of It
Home holds the heart and answers.
The Long of It
Annie just finds out her husband is in love with someone else and wants a divorce right around the time her daughter graduates high school and goes off to Europe for the summer. Having always identified herself through her husband and daughter, Annie does the only thing she can think of – pack up her bags and return to the small town she grew up in.
Much like stereotypical small towns, not everyone gets out, including her high school sweetheart, Nick. Nick’s wife recently committed suicide and he is having trouble raising their daughter, Izzie, solo. Doing what she knows best, Annie offers to babysit and learns more about her owns self and what she wants in a family.
The Thoughts about It
S’okay, if you’ve been reading this book blog for sometime it might strike you that this book is SO FAR AWAY from what I normally read you might be scratching your head going, “huh”? I get it. It WAS weird for me to read it. But I had a handful of Hannah’s books dropped off at my house by a family member and I knew that I should read AT LEAST one to discuss. Figuring it would be a quick read I decided to give it a fair chance.
And I did give it a fair chance. I kept my snark in check. I didn’t roll my eyes even though there were parts that tempted me to do so.
Y’know what it reminded me of? Hope Floats, that flick with Sandra Bullock. Nothing in the story shocked me. Nothing made me think. It was a book I could curl up with right before bed and it wouldn’t give me nightmares or even make me stay up all night reading it. It would nicely lull me to sleep.
Does that mean I thought it was dull? *shrug* You take what you will with it. I’ve heard that many folks love them some Hannah…maybe I’m just not part of that norm. I think the next time I want some chicklit I’ll go for Sophie Kinsella. I need more chuckles and less drama. ...more
Initially, I was intrigued by this book because a review (from where?) I read explicitly said: "Heyyyy. If you like folklore then this book is for youInitially, I was intrigued by this book because a review (from where?) I read explicitly said: "Heyyyy. If you like folklore then this book is for you." I immediately jumped up and down in my head thinking: "They're talking to meeee!". So I requested it and Ba-Da-Bing, upon my doorstop it came.
What we have here is a story of unrequited love, of desperation, of abuse, of longing, and of magic. And it all takes place in this quaint town called Canandaigua where "restless spirits seem to clamor in the scan breezes on hot evenings."
Grant, after a rocky marriage where wifey finally left because he just couldn't emotional connect, returns home. As it happens, Echo, the "one that got away" is returning to visit her family.
The Ellis family is still suffering from the loss of Luke, even though it has been many years since his mysterious death. His sisters are dealing with the devastation. Maya is in an institution and Melanie continues to blame herself even though she has a family now. Leila finally kicked dirtbag Victor out of the house, and although she never could be with the man she loved, she could watch her grandson grow up.
There's about three other love entanglements with other back stage characters.
Allrighty. This book is going to be yet another one that the crowd adores and I am the Cheese Standing Alone. Such is life. I'm still not quite sure about the positive reviews. I found the characters to be nondescript, the dialogue swaying between bland and over-the-top, and not enough of the folklore that I was enticed with.
But really, how do I honestly feel? Heh.
I don't want to be terribly harsh in this review but if I wasn't reviewing this for the LT program I think I would have set it aside. Ouch, right? There were too many story lines all trying to feed into one and another without any specific plot truly being developed. I guess that's what bugged me. It lacked depth. I didn't find the writing beautiful, I found it tiresome.
Also, do adults really keep their feelings hidden as often as it is portrayed in this book? It moves beyond the "I'm shy and I don't want to get hurt" and into this compulsive, my love for you is a secret that I will take to the grave. For example, our *leading* characters Grant and Echo have known each other since they were kids. Always had eyes for each other even though neither said the L-word. At 17 and right before she moves off to college, Echo and Grant make love for the first time. Echo announces that she is in love with Grant and Grant, feeling too much, can't speak. So, what does the girl do? She takes off running, leaves town the next morning, and when he tries to explain on a phone call she just decides to tell him it was a mistake and that she's seeing someone else. IN WHAT WORLD DOES THIS HAPPEN? I was probably done with the novel as soon as this was discovered - a mere couple of chapters in.
I say skip it, but everyone else in the world seems to say love it. ...more
Love Story is not an adored novella because of its originality. Oliver the nth is a preppie Harvard athlete with daddy issues up the arse. I mean, howLove Story is not an adored novella because of its originality. Oliver the nth is a preppie Harvard athlete with daddy issues up the arse. I mean, how can Ollie compete with Daddy Does It All Perfectly - or as he refers to him, sonavabitch or Stony Face. Jennifer is the witty working class artiste who is studying music at Radcliffe. They meet, they fall in love, they marry, and Jenny dies of a rare form of leukemia. Don't scream, don't scream! I didn't give anything away because (a) you're not going to read this story because of the plot and (b) Ollie opens his story revealing Jennifer's death.
So why read this if not for plot? Oh my gods, the writing, of course! Segal writes both simply and eloquently; humorously and sentimentally; nerdy and literary. You gets me?
My emotional reactions (SPOILERS - DO NOT PASS GO!)
I didn't know what to think when I first opened this book. I had not heard a gosh darn thing about it until one day whilst reading Bookmarks they mentioned it as an all-time must read in the literary romance category. Romance normally doesn't pull at my strings. But I decided to take the risk. I found it on Bookmooch and Bam.
When I opened it and found out in the first page Jennifer was going to die, I thought: Oh well, okay. Now I know, I won't tear up. I'll be emotionally detached because I can prepare myself. Boo on the author for doing that!
And then I met Jennifer - Jenny - Jen through the eyes of Ollie and man alive did she kick butt. I was giggling and nodding my head at her shaming "Preppie" in this teasing-but for real sorta way. She was totally someone I would hang with.
Ollie's relationship with his dad was also interesting. In every scene he dogged daddy viciously. "Yes sir", "no sir", while never giving the man an opportunity to talk. Now, I realize that we walked into this relationship while Ollie was twenty and I am sure that there were tons of built up frustrations that the poor young Ollie went through to turn him into this bratty and disrespecting young man - but *still* I had to agree with Jenny when she kept on reminding Oliver that his dad loved him. But you know what was great? I mean, why this was so important to my love for this book? Even though Segal didn't go into detail about Ollie's life growing up in the shadow of his dad, you got it. I mean really got it. This book is a small book. A quick read. But the characters SPRUNG alive. I have read books that push 400 pages and I still don't feel a thing for the people involved.
Which leads me to the ending. I knew Jenny was gonna die. Didn't I tell you, it opened that way? But when I realized I had only twenty or so pages left and knew the inevitable was coming I wanted to slow down my reading. I grew angry. Was I really going through my own process of dying? Mental check - yup, I denied that the author would end on that note, I bargained with myself...maybe I could stop reading and pretend that all ended well...anger - yup that was easy (don't kill off Jenny!!). Finally I just accepted the fact that I had to keep reading. And then, most surprisingly - grief. I teared up. I teared up having known that it was not going to end well to begin with. I teared up after spending only 130 pages with these people (and the font size was not ultra small, people).
Meet Jennifer and Oliver.
I waved the envelope at hear. She immediately recognized the letterhead.
"Hey - Harvard Law school! Have you been kicked out?" "Guess again, you optimistic bitch," I yelled. "You were first in the class!" she guessed. I was now almost ashamed to tell her. "Not quite. Third." "Oh," she said. "Only third?" "Listen - that still means I make the goddamn Law Review," I shouted. She just sat there with an absolute no-expression expression. "Christ, Jenny," I kind of whined, "say something!" "Not until I meet numbers one and two," she said. ...more
Crazy Beautiful is dubbed as a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, one of my all time favorite fairy tales mainly because I have always had a thing forCrazy Beautiful is dubbed as a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, one of my all time favorite fairy tales mainly because I have always had a thing for the underdog. I'm one of those people who, pushed into a philosophical conversation, will claim that there are very few truly awful people in humanity. And my addendum would clarify, that those truly awful people are only awful because they cannot be any other than that due to their own cerebral make-up (read DSM-IV personality disorders).
In this re-telling, Lucius is the "Crazy". He is a dual amputee after some chemical explosion that he caused blowing off not only his hands, but decimating a good portion of his family's house. His story is drawn out and prior to the "oh, so that's why you're crazy" realization, there is no implication from his behavior that he is a torn individual. In fact, he's pretty likable in that misunderstood way. Aurora is the "Beautiful". She's a tragically beautiful character, inside and out. Her mother recently died of Cancer and she lives with her father and has this amazing paternal relationship with him where they never argue, respect space, and interact how I have only recently grown to interact with my mother as an adult. Sorta over the top for me and not a convincing portrayal of a fifteen year old's relationship with daddy.
And that pretty much sums up the story. Maybe I was more disappointed because I had such high hopes for the story? The tempo was too fast, the characters too flat, and the internal dialogue too TOO.
"It's an unnecessary addition because everyone knows this. I refuse to use the word loser when talking about another but I do know that in my old school it was only the friendship-challenged kids who ever spent time chatting with the men in the blue." (49)
Did you read that people? "Friendship-Challenged"??? What fifteen year old...hold that...what person refers to others as friendship-challenged??
I did have a chuckle because there's this scene (?) where Lucius and Aurora are trying out for the musical Grease and the author spends a good time summarizing the plot line. I am not knocking this. I imagine that there are plenty of my students who have not seen this Olivia Newton John meets John Travolta masterpiece. I only chuckle because I still feel quite young and it made me realize that I might just be getting to be OLD! *gasp*
I cannot knock the author too terribly. I mean, I imagine that most of my girls will squeal delightfully over this story. I only hope they don't ask me if i like it. I might just have to be a tad bit evasive....more
"The shop owner did not try to push the book on any of her customers. She knew that in the wrong hands such a boo could easily be dismissed or, worse,"The shop owner did not try to push the book on any of her customers. She knew that in the wrong hands such a boo could easily be dismissed or, worse, go unread. Instead she let it sit where it was in the hope that the right reader might discover it." (74).
When I set this book aside, the very first thought that came to me was: If I were to die today and this was the last book I ever read I would be content. Not focusing on the morbidity of that thought, could you hear my jaw drop in the netosphere? Did the extended sigh break the sound barriers?
"An hour or two went by. It must have been a good conversation, because the next thing he knew Alma had told him to close his eyes. Then she kissed him. Her kiss was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering. He felt his body shaking. He was scared he was about to lose control of his muscles." (62)
Merely having read 24 pages of The History of Love, I stopped to jot down these thoughts in my book journal: "Am immediately caught by the beauty of the language. I wish I could hold myself within the words because they are so soft and so inviting. I know that they would be velvet against my skin."
This is the story of Leo Gurskey, a Polish curmudgeon who loved and lost and has been exclusive, elusive, and somewhat bitter since. In the midst of World War II he is but a young lad of maybe ten who meets Alma, the love of his life. Alma, his breath, life, and half. And then Alma leaves to the states, fleeing from Hitler's reign.
"Once upon a time there was a boy who lived in a house across the field from a girl who no longer exists. They made up a thousand games. She was Queen and he was King. In the autumn light, her hair shone like a crown. They collected the world in small handfuls. When the sky grew dark they parted with leaves in their hair." (11)
They are in their teens. Leo promises to love her forever. And he does. No matter that Alma has a new life in the new world and Leo is left empty watching his son grow up with another father.
"Perhaps that is what it means to be a father - to teach your child to leave without you. If so, no one was a great father than I." (164)
This is also the story of Alma, the young girl in present time whose parents named her after the heroine, Alma, in the book The History of Love which was purchased by Alma's father and given to her mother during their courtship. This is the story of how Alma seeks out the author of The History of Love, seeks out the Alma that she was named after because her mother is devastated and heartbroken and empty because the love of her life - Alma's father - died.
This is also the story of the author of The History of Love, Zvi Litvinoof and his undying love for his wife, who is not Alma.
This is the story of Misha, a young boy who has been friends with the young Alma in search of the Alma that she was named after. But Misha has realized that he is in love with Alma. And Alma doesn't know what that means.
This is the story of Leo's son and his life as a writer. And his life with hidden secrets.
Finally, this is the story of the book The History of Love and how this one tiny piece of work could change so many lives through so many decades. ...more
Benny and Desiree ("Shrimp") have very little in common besides they're visits to the cemetery. Benny is a hardworking farmer who has conBrief Summary
Benny and Desiree ("Shrimp") have very little in common besides they're visits to the cemetery. Benny is a hardworking farmer who has concerns about his harvest and finances. He has very little time for any extracurricular activities and desires an equally hardworking woman to run the household. Desiree is mourning the loss of her husband and a relationship that was stable but not passionate. She is well-read and slightly pretentious without meaning to be. And because of one misunderstanding, Benny and Shrimp begin a relationship.
Aw, this book was exactly what I needed to read. It was simple, beautifully written, and had strong believable characters. The conflict of two mismatched people falling in love is hardly new in the literary world. In order to "pull it off" you need to have strong characters. Benny & Shrimp were just those characters.
In fact, I was saddened when it came to an end. And what an end (Shhh...I won't give it a way, but it was a total cliff hanger). But guess what? Evidently the author is going to make a sequel. I'll be sure to check it out. ...more
Let It Snow features three short stories all set in the same town during Christmas Eve/Christmas Day.
The Jubilee Express by Maureen Johnson - JubileeLet It Snow features three short stories all set in the same town during Christmas Eve/Christmas Day.
The Jubilee Express by Maureen Johnson - Jubilee (Julie) is looking forward to a wonderful and romantic Christmas Eve with her perfect boyfriend Noah. It is after all, their one year anniversary. Life couldn't be more lovely until Julie's next door neighbor rushes over and plans are unexpectedly changed. Julie's parents, while in the pursuit of purchasing the newest Flobie (the Christmas craze), were arrested when a riot broke out. Instead of spending a delectable holiday with Noah, Julie is packed up and sent on a train to spend Christmas with her grandparents. And then, if that doesn't make matters worse, the train smacks into tons of snow. Coming to a sudden stop, Julie is stuck in the train with twelve cheerleaders and a boy named Jeb. What to do, what to do? Julie decides to walk to the Waffle House across the way wherein she meets another boy Stuart and agrees to go home with him to avoid cheerleader-ness giggles. Mourning her unfortunate luck, Julie tries to make the best of it.
This is not going to be a favorable review because I ultimately found the overall story unbelievable. Christmas magic or not, there were a couple of major fallacies that I could not overlook. (1) it is snowing horribly outside, you are a high school girl with no idea where you are at, and you are going to hop off of the train without telling anyone and just trudge through to the Waffle House, (2) once in the Waffle House, you're going to agree to go home with a complete stranger, albeit a stranger your own age so that makes it safer, to spend the night in a warm home, and finally (3) while all of this is going on you're not calling your grandparents - elderly people !!! - who are awaiting your arrival to tell them "Oops. Train stalled; I'll be late. But I'm safe". Do you see why I had some problems here? I couldn't really enjoy the story because I kept rolling my eyes thinking now way would that happen! And the sad part is? I kinda liked Julie as a character. I mean, there were some funny moments. I haven't read anything else by Maureen Johnson and don't know if I will.
A Cheertastic Miracle by John Green
- Meet JP, The Duke, and Tobin. Three best friends hanging out watching James Bond movies on Christmas Eve. Then, Tobin receives an urgent phone call from Keun who is working a the town's Waffle House: [paraphrased] "Dude, you're never going to believe this! Cheerleaders just showed up here and they're stranded. You heard me. For the night. Their train stalled. You have to come up here now. Don't be an asshat." What starts out as a leisurely and quiet night turns into mayhem, near death moments, and freezing cold weather. The Duke (our only female protagonist) agrees to go along with the pursuit of cheerleaders because of her undeniable adoration for the Waffle House hash-browns. As the night wears on, the mission isn't about obtaining the cheertrophy, but staying alive from snow, bullies, and each other.
This short story does not make me love John Green any less (alternatively, it doesn't make me love him any more either). I mean it was definitely John Green. I love his narration, especially because the main character is a guy, and quite honestly there just aren't enough leading male protagonists in YA lit. Especially romance-love-driven novels. Also, if you haven't noticed Green does a phenomenal job incorporating nicknames for his characters "The Duke" rather than Angie (I think? I can't remember her real name right now). Plus it's just pure zany. The romance (and there is romance) isn't necessarily the impetus to the story line. In this case it centers around friendship and adventure. Still, it wasn't enough for me. I cannot fangirl rave. I fear it's just because I'm not a short story kinda girl. I can think of only a handful of short stories that truly left me in awe.
The Patron Saint of Pigs by Lauren Myracle
- Addie is miserable. It's Christmas Eve and she's heartbroken. A week earlier she and her boyfriend, Jeb (ring a bell?) broke up because she stupidly made out with another boy at a party. In a desperate move, Addie sent Jeb an e-mail begging him to meet her at Starbucks to talk about their relationship. Jeb never showed. To make matters worse, her two closest friends just told her that they thought she was self-centered. Her? Self-centered? Whatever. In fact, she'll even prove to them how unselfish she is: she'll pick up Tegan's pet pig.
This was perhaps my least favorite story. I mean, I didn't really believe The Jubilee Express, but at least I smirked a couple of times. The Patron Saint of Pigs best part was the description of the cute little teacup pig. In fact, I had to go on a youtube fiesta and seek out cutesy snorting piglets. I looked up Lauren Myracle (don't you love the spelling of that name?) and realized that she also wrote Kissing Kate, which I also did not find favorable. Maybe this author just isn't my kind of YA.
I really liked that characters were introduced in the stories and then carried over into the next. Or an older character that we had already met popped up again. Very cool.
I don't get the all warm-fuzzy-holiday-miracle-love-conquers-all. Perhaps that's why this selection didn't WoW me like most. (Does this make me a Scrooge?)
John Green was the reason why I chose this book, and John Green is the only author that I will continue to seek out again having read this book.
Yay for teacup piglets!
I am discouraged to read more short fiction. ...more