Monday, March 31, 2014

Book Review: Cress by Marissa Meyer

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) 
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: February 4, 2014

 From Goodreads:
Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite. She can’t let down her hair—or her guard.

In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker—unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

I have been looking forward to reading this book for weeks now and I enjoyed every page, almost.  I love the new character Cress and I loved learning a little more about Lunar society but I want more! The slow pace in which this world is revealed is driving me crazy but it does keep me coming back.  With so many characters, Marissa Meyer decided to develop the different storylines in separate chapters.  On the one hand it made it easy to keep track of which storyline was the focus but on the other it made the book seem kind of choppy and I would rush one set of chapters in order to return to another character. 

As always I am particularly interested in the ways in which female and male characters will be presented and the relationships between them.  On the whole I continue to be pleased with Meyer's choices.  That said, with all these wonderful female characters I don’t understand why there aren’t more conversations between them and why they can’t develop genuine friendships.  Furthermore is there a significance to the fact that both Cress and Cinder were so in need of female friendship that they create and rely upon computer  generated friendships, (Cinder and Iko; Cress and “little sister”) yet when they have the opportunity to form female friendships with actual humans they are often awkward and uncomfortable?  I worry this aspect of the story reflects an underlying shift in society where women increasingly maintain and develop computer mediated relationships with other women rather than face to face personal interactions. 
Onto the male romantic heroes in the story.  Here I applaud Marissa Meyer for creating interesting, emotionally connected, and flawed characters.  Of course Captain Thorne represents the typical relationship phobic, good looking, sarcastic male lead but Emperor Kai and Wolf are nice alternatives.  Wolf’s response to the events that develop in this book were a little too simplistic but I appreciated what was being communicated (TRYING NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS).

This third book in the series has much to recommend and for those who haven’t started the series I would still strongly recommend all of the books but you might want to wait until we get the release date for book four, Winter, so that you don't have to wait like me.

Posted by: Sheri

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Book Review: The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel

The Break-Up Artist
Author:  Philip Siegel
Publisher:  Harlequin Teen
Expected Publication Date:  April 29, 2014
*ARC received from publisher via NetGalley

From Goodreads:
Some sixteen-year-olds babysit for extra cash. Some work at the Gap. Becca Williamson breaks up couples. 

After watching her sister get left at the altar, Becca knows the true damage that comes when people utter the dreaded L-word. For just $100 via paypal, she can trick and manipulate any couple into smithereens. With relationship zombies overrunning her school, and treating single girls like second class citizens, business is unfortunately booming. Even her best friend Val has resorted to outright lies to snag a boyfriend.

One night, she receives a mysterious offer to break up the homecoming king and queen, the one zombie couple to rule them all: Steve and Huxley. They are a JFK and Jackie O in training, masters of sweeping faux-mantic gestures, but if Becca can split them up, then school will be safe again for singletons. To succeed, she'll have to plan her most elaborate scheme to date and wiggle her way back into her former BFF Huxley’s life – not to mention start a few rumors, sabotage some cell phones, break into a car, and fend off the inappropriate feelings she’s having about Val’s new boyfriend. All while avoiding a past victim out to expose her true identity.

No one said being the Break-Up Artist was easy.

A cute and fun read, this book also tackles some serious issues about being a good friend, romantic relationships, and self-image (and whether you need a boyfriend in order to be happy).  Becca goes to a high school with a population made up of 65% guys and 35% girls.  So it's basically pretty tough to have a boyfriend and those who do sort of lord it over those who don't.  Enter Becca…the break-up artist.  Her best friend ditched her in middle school because of a guy (and now she's Queen Bee, part of the school's power couple), her sister got dumped six hours before her wedding, and she watches her parents basically act like siblings.  Thus, she's rather jaded when it comes to love and feels like she's doing a service by breaking up these couples.

Although I knew Becca was basically a good person, sometimes it was hard to like her because she makes some pretty horrible decisions, mainly because she thinks she knows everything.  But she felt real.  People make mistakes, sometimes they do selfish things, and the author does a great job creating complex and gray characters. Becca schemes, she plots, and everything spirals out of control. But she does grow up and learn from her mistakes.  

I enjoyed this book, it was a refreshing change, not the typical contemporary romance.  So if you're expecting that, you won't get it, but you will get an entertaining book with a unique and clever plot.

Posted by:  Pam

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (38)

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!  It is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Pam's Weekly Haul
From the Library:
The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan
Legacy by Cayla Kluver
Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
Sapphique by Catherine Fisher

Disruption by Jessica Shirvington
#16thingsithoughtweretrue by Janet Gurtler
Nil by Lynne Matson

From NetGalley:
The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

What did you add to your shelves this week?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Discussion Question: Thoughts About Star Ratings?

Nicole at The Quiet Concert recently posted about star ratings and it made me think about mine.  I actually don't include them on my blog, and I'm wondering if I should.  How much do the star ratings influence you versus the content of the review?  Sometimes I'll read someone's review and they gush about the book and then they rate it 3 stars.  What???  

I do find the average star ratings helpful on Goodreads and Amazon.  If I'm trying to figure out if I want to read a book, I look it up and if the average is close to 3, I'm less likely to read it (unless it's a favorite author or part of a series that I love--then I don't care).  If the average is over 4, I'm more likely to read it.  Is that fair?  Is an average of 3 really that bad?

Also, I like to look at the distribution of those ratings to get a sense of if everyone just likes the book (a lot of 3s) versus most people either hate it (1) or love it (5).  That's generally useful information to me.  

Below is a screen shot of my ratings for this year.  As you can see, I give mostly 4 or 5 stars.  Am I an easy rater?  I mainly pick books that I'm almost certain to like, which I think is why my ratings may be rather high.  

How do you feel about star ratings?  How much do they influence you?

Posted by:  Pam

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Audiobook Review: Beautiful Redemption by Garcia and Stohl

Beautiful Redemption (Caster Chronicles #4)
Authors: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Publisher: Little & Brown Publishers, 456 pages
Publication Date: October 23, 2012

Narrator: Kevin T. Collins and Khristine Hvam
Listening Length:11 hours and 21 minutes
Audiobook Publisher: Hachette Audio

From Goodreads:
Is death the end . . . or only the beginning?

Ethan Wate has spent most of his life longing to escape the stiflingly small Southern town of Gatlin. He never thought he would meet the girl of his dreams, Lena Duchannes, who unveiled a secretive, powerful, and cursed side of Gatlin, hidden in plain sight. And he never could have expected that he would be forced to leave behind everyone and everything he cares about. So when Ethan awakes after the chilling events of the Eighteenth Moon, he has only one goal: to find a way to return to Lena and the ones he loves.

Back in Gatlin, Lena is making her own bargains for Ethan's return, vowing to do whatever it takes -- even if that means trusting old enemies or risking the lives of the family and friends Ethan left to protect.

Worlds apart, Ethan and Lena must once again work together to rewrite their fate, in this stunning finale to the Beautiful Creatures series.

In this final book, Ethan and Lena end up happily in one another’s arms even though they have lost many loved ones along the way. I enjoyed learning a little more about the Far Keep and the world inhabited by lost souls.  I was glad to see some folks destroyed and some others happily moving forward.  All of this to say, a final book seemed somewhat unnecessary since I felt that book three was too long.  If I had been the editor, I would have made the series three books and simply combined books three and four.   
In terms of the narrators, which is a critical part of an audiobook, Kevin Collins continues to charm me but I was distracted by the new voice narrating Lena’s parts (Khristine Hvam) of the books.  On the one hand I understand why audio books choose to have different narrators when there are different points of view but I really don’t like the technique in a long series particularly when one narrator is responsible for 95% of the content.

Regardless, I DID IT!  I listened to all five books and am truly glad I made it through.  I have to admit there is something inherently interesting about the fact that this series has been translated into so many languages and got a movie deal.  Even though I enjoyed the books I don’t actually understand why THIS series and not some of the others out there?  Any insight people can provide I would love to hear!
By the way I do not currently plan to start listening to Dangerous Creatures, the related series about Ridley and Link but am curious what people think about it.

Posted By: Sheri

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: April Releases

Waiting on Wednesday features upcoming releases and is hosted by Breaking the Spine. This is our monthly post, where we pick books that are coming out in the next month that we just cannot wait for. That we're absolutely dying to read. 

April Releases:

The Taking by Kimberly Derting (April 29)

From Goodreads:
When sixteen-year-old Kyra Agnew wakes up behind a Dumpster at the Gas ’n’ Sip, she has no memory of how she got there. With a terrible headache and a major case of déjà vu, she heads home only to discover that five years have passed . . . yet she hasn’t aged a day.

Everything else about Kyra’s old life is different. Her parents are divorced, her boyfriend, Austin, is in college and dating her best friend, and her dad has changed from an uptight neat-freak to a drunken conspiracy theorist who blames her five-year disappearance on little green men.

Confused and lost, Kyra isn’t sure how to move forward unless she uncovers the truth. With Austin gone, she turns to Tyler, Austin’s annoying kid brother, who is now seventeen and who she has a sudden undeniable attraction to. As Tyler and Kyra retrace her steps from the fateful night of her disappearance, they discover strange phenomena that no one can explain, and they begin to wonder if Kyra’s father is not as crazy as he seems. There are others like her who have been taken . . . and returned. Kyra races to find an explanation and reclaim the life she once had, but what if the life she wants back is not her own?

Memory loss?  Girl who hasn't aged?  Maybe who was taken by aliens?  So excited for this one!

A Few More We're Excited About:
The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith (April 15)
Don't Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout (April 15)
To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han (April 15)
What I Thought Was You by Fitzpatrick Huntley (April 15)
The Treatment (The Program #2) by Suzanne Young (April 29)
Toxic Heart (Mystic City #2) by Theo Lawrence (April 8)

What books are you excited about?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Book Review: Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott

Fire & Flood (Fire & Flood 1)
Author:  Victoria Scott
Publisher:  Scholastic Press, 304 pages 
Publication Date:  February 25, 2014

From Goodreads:
Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can't determine what's wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She's lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she's helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It's an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother's illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there's no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can't trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?

The best part of this book, what really sets it apart, is the main character, Tella.  She is pretty hilarious and I enjoyed reading her inner monologue.

"I'm discouraged to see my new threads aren't a wardrobe improvement.  I briefly consider making Madox my Toto and clicking my heels together.

There's no place like Nordstrom, there's no place like Nordstrom."

I also liked that Tella is just a regular girl.  Now don't get me wrong, I like my badass female main characters, but it does get a bit old reading about these girls who can kick ass.  Especially if they're also petite.  I mean, come on, really?  But here, Tella is not strong, she can't fight, she likes shopping and nail polish.  So I could definitely relate.  And the Pandoras.  What a cool, unique idea. cute.  There's another Pandora that ends up playing a big part near the end…love him!

I enjoyed the other characters as well.  We slowly get to know each of them, their reasons for being there, etc.  There are definitely a lot of good people, which makes sense given that they are all there, risking their lives to save someone. It will be interesting to see how this plays out as the series continues because there can only be one winner. 

The romance…it grew on me.  I still don't feel like I know Guy very well, but he does reveal more about himself as the book goes on and his actions definitely speak volumes.  This may be one of those books where it would have worked better if we got his POV occasionally.  I think it's hard to write a strong, stoic, doesn't talk much guy and have the reader love him without getting into his head a least a little bit.

The whole time I was reading this book, I just wondered why.  If the people who started this race are so smart and can cure anyone's disease, why make people risk their lives for it?  What are they getting from it?  Who does this benefit?  This was really bugging me because it just didn't make sense, but in the very end we find out and it actually does so I was glad to see that.  And it makes me excited about reading the next one.  I really enjoyed it.

Posted by:  Pam

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Book Review: Acid by Emma Pass

Author:  Emma Pass
Publisher:  Corgi Children's Books, 431 pages
Publication Date:  March 11, 2014

From Goodreads:
The year is 2113. In Jenna Strong's world, ACID—the most brutal controlling police force in history—rule supreme. No throwaway comment or whispered dissent goes unnoticed—or unpunished. And it was ACID agents who locked Jenna away for life, for a horrendous crime she struggles to remember. But Jenna's violent prison time has taught her how to survive by any means necessary.

When a mysterious rebel group breaks her out, she must use her strength, speed, and skill to stay one step ahead of ACID, and try to uncover the truth about what really happened on that terrible night two years ago. They have taken her life, her freedom, and her true memories away from her. How can she reclaim anything when she doesn't know who to trust?

Strong, gritty writing, irresistible psychological suspense, and action consume the novel as Jenna struggles to survive against the all-controlling ACID.

This book hooked me from the very beginning.  Jenna is in an all-male prison for murdering her parents.  She's tough, with a shaved head, scars on her face, and a tattoo on her neck.  How different is that from the usual female MC?  A doctor at the prison helps her escape and she gets a new face, hair, and is moved to a different part of London where she has to pretend to be married.  Why?  She doesn't know, they won't tell her.  Then she meets a certain guy and they're on the run from ACID.

There was a lot to like in this book.  The world was interesting, with cognitive realignment (basically wiping your memories and giving you new ones), LifePartner program (where your spouse is picked for you and people marry really young), and England being completely separated from the rest of the world.  Jenna is a strong character, and I love when characters are on the run, hiding out, etc.  But this book didn't wow me, for a couple of reasons.  One reason is the love story.  I just felt like we didn't get to know the guy at all.  He was nice, but sort of meh.  

And then there were so many coincidences.  The way they met, seeing something on the computer, and so many other things.  Just didn't buy it at all.  And then the pacing was uneven.  There's one part where the action completely stops, new characters are introduced, and there really wasn't any reason for it.  The book then gets back on track and the last part is filled with action, but Jenna makes so many bad decisions it just gets a bit ridiculous.  My understanding is that it's a stand-alone, which I liked, and everything does wrap up, except for one thing, which annoyed me.  What was the point of that?  The book was pretty good, I enjoyed it and I was entertained, but I just felt like it could have been so much better.  

Posted by:  Pam

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (37)

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!  It is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Pam's Weekly Haul
Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas
The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare by M.G. Buehrlen
Death Sworn by Leah Cypess
Elusion by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam

From NetGalley:
The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel
Sheri's Bounty of Books
Origin (Lux #4) by Jennifer Armentrout
Solving for Ex by LeighAnn Kopans

The Iron King (The Iron Fey#1) by Julie Kagwa

What books did you add to your shelves this week?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Movie Review: Austenland

Movie: Austenland
Director: Jerusha Hess
Screenwriter: Jerusha Hess and Shannon Hale
U.S. Released: August 2013

Book: Austenland
Author: Shannon Hale
Published: May 29, 2007

I came across this book at my university library when I was looking for audiobooks to listen to while caring for my newborn son.  As my sleep-deprived memory recalls, the book was funny, sweet, romantic, and very British even though the main character is not British.  Given all of this, I had high expectations for this movie.

Keri Russell was a wonderful choice for Jane Hayes, the romantic American obsessed with Mr. Darcy, and JJ Field as Henry Nobley was divine.  Unfortunately, most of the other choices were less notable and frankly seemed rather odd to me if one is judging on how much the characters reflected those found in the book.  On the other hand, as characters in a movie, I am always drawn to actress Jennifer Coolidge who played Elizabeth Charming.

The film is about an Austen (Mr. Darcy) obsessed mid twenties woman who decides to spend her entire life savings to go on vacation at an Austen theme park.  Before you dismiss this destination as ludicrous you should know that even official historical landmarks directly related to Austen's life regularly stage "reenactments" for fans to participate in.  Upon arriving, Jane is immediately thrown together with a supporting cast member but finds herself drawn to Mr. Nobley.  What then develops is the typical love triangle with an atypical story line.  Having read the book I knew what to expect but I thought the screenwriter and director did a great job making sure the audience understood Jane's dilemma: does she embrace a possible real love or does she continue to embrace her idealized Mr. Darcy.  I thought the last scene in Jane's apartment was by far the most true to Austen's own stories and would have loved a few more scenes between Jane and her chosen love.

Posted By: Sheri

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Audiobook Review: Beautiful Chaos by Garcia, Stohl, Pruneda

Beautiful Chaos (Caster Chronicles #3)
Authors: Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl, Paz Pruneda

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company, 516 pages
Publication Date: October 18, 2011

Narrator: Kevin T. Collins
Listening Length: 16 hours and 15 minutes
Audiobook Publisher: Hachette Audio

Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home, strange and impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena's Claiming. Even Lena's family of powerful Supernaturals is affected - and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What — or who — will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?

For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He's being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it isn't by Lena - and whatever is haunting him is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Even worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself — forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn't know why, and most days he's too afraid to ask.

Sometimes there isn't just one answer or one choice. Sometimes there's no going back. And this time there won't be a happy ending.

I've continued my listening commitment to the Caster Chronicles series.  I still absolutely love the narrator Kevin Collins.  I enjoyed the complexity of this story compared to book two, Beautiful Darkness.  This book focuses on "fixing" the order after Sarafine and Abraham's failed attempt to turn Lena into a dark caster.  All of my favorite characters are back plus we get to know a few more.  Some bright spots in a rather dark story would be: Link's evolution into a Linkubus, two of the aunts moving in with Ethan, and the friendship between Liv and John Breed.  Some of the more disturbing parts were Ridley's struggle returning home, the character Abraham, Aunt Prue, Marion's trial, and the decisions Amma makes.  Some of my favorite parts are when Ethan and Lena travel back in time to learn about their families and the references to Southern culture and small towns.  The ending of book three definitely has me wanting to immediately start the final book, Beautiful Redemption

I have to admit it's been hard to maintain my focus sometimes given the length of these books and there is listening time.  For those of you who also enjoy audiobooks, how important is the narrator in keeping your interest even when a story starts to drag? 

Posted by: Sheri

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Book Review: The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa

The Forever Song (Blood of Eden #3)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publisher: Harlequin Teen, 416 pages
Expected Publication Date: April 15, 2014
*ARC received from publisher via NetGalley

From Goodreads:

Allison Sekemoto once struggled with the question: human or monster?

With the death of her love, Zeke, she has her answer.


Allie will embrace her cold vampire side to hunt down and end Sarren, the psychopathic vampire who murdered Zeke. But the trail is bloody and long, and Sarren has left many surprises for Allie and her companions—her creator, Kanin, and her blood brother, Jackal. The trail is leading straight to the one place they must protect at any cost—the last vampire-free zone on Earth, Eden. And Sarren has one final, brutal shock in store for Allie.

In a ruined world where no life is sacred and former allies can turn on you in one heartbeat, Allie will face her darkest days. And if she succeeds, triumph is short-lived in the face of surviving forever alone.

This is a stunning ending to an incredible series. Dark, riveting, heartbreaking at times, I was on the edge of my seat the entire book. Allie is absolutely devastated by Zeke's murder. Even though she has fought and fought against being a monster, with him gone, she definitely goes over to the dark side. All she cares about is killing Sarren. This makes Jackal very happy since he's perfectly fine with being a vampire and killing people.  And then…well, I can't really tell you more than that because it will spoil things.

The characters really make this book stand out.  Allie is an amazing heroine.  She's strong, she's a survivor, but she also fights to keep her humanity and she just never gives up.  And she's badass with her katana.  Jackal (who I never expected to like, but amazingly, I did) is hilarious with his snarky comments, and I enjoyed how he and Allie bickered so much with Kanin playing the part of the annoyed father.  Those moments of humor were definitely needed because the book is intense.  And Zeke, my heart broke for him.  And for Allie.  I actually had tears in my eyes during some parts of the book.  

There's so much action, a ton of fighting scenes, a road trip, and some tender moments as well.  What each character did was so true to who they were.  The ending…just brilliant.  I highly recommend this series.

Posted by:  Pam

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Book Review: Third Degree by Julie Cross

Third Degree
Author:  Julie Cross
Publisher:  Flirt, 240 pages
Expected Publication Date:  March 25, 2014
*Received ARC from publisher via NetGalley

From Goodreads:
I used to be “Isabel Jenkins, child prodigy.” As lame as that sounds, at least it was an identity. But now I’m not sure what I am. I just failed the most important exam of my life—the emotional readiness test required to get into a medical residency program—and it turns out my parents can’t stand each other. Now I’m trying to figure out how to pick up the pieces of my life, and that means re-enrolling as a college freshman, but this time I’m shutting the books and majoring in being eighteen.

But so far, my roommate hates me and I’m not into the party scene. The only good thing about school has been getting to know my insanely hot RA. Marshall Collins makes me wonder about everything I missed while I was growing up too fast. Pretty soon we’re hanging out constantly, but for the first time, I find myself wanting more than a no-strings-attached physical relationship. And the lesson I really need is one Marsh definitely can’t teach me: love. Because I’m going to be alone forever if I don’t learn fast.

I really enjoyed this coming-of-age novel about Izzy, an eighteen year old genius who has an M.D. and is an intern who suddenly has to figure out what to do after she flunks her psych evaluation (the emotional readiness test) so she isn't accepted into any residency program.  She enrolls in college to be a normal eighteen year old.

Izzy definitely has issues.  She's had such an unconventional life (college at the age of twelve) that it's hard for her to connect with other people.  Having a roommate, meeting people her own age, dating...she hasn't experienced any of that.  Enter Marshall, hot RA.  Loved him, he was such a good guy with an amazing family (and by the way, Izzy and Marshall's parents both are fairly present in this novel even with the college setting).  Marshall doesn't have any weird hang-ups, he's just a normal guy who is perfect for Izzy.  She's uptight, he's laid back.  No insta-love here, instead they become friends as he helps her navigate college life.  There's angst and some issues, but this New Adult novel is a breath of fresh air compared to the others I've read.  Izzy is so smart but so dense at the same time that it was entertaining to read about her fumbling her way through social situations.  The love story between Izzy and Marshall is so sweet and well done, it just made me smile.  

Posted by:  Pam

Monday, March 17, 2014

Series Review: Just One Day, Just One Year


Gayle Forman wrote an amazing book about a young woman finding herself during her first year of college and then followed it up with a good book about a young man dealing with young adulthood.  Who didn't daydream about the perfect soul mate you could meet while studying abroad when you were 18?  Well, I certainly did and the story in Just One Day could not have been much better until things fell apart and they lost one another.  Watching Allyson struggle with her first semester in college was heart breaking and I was so glad that Gayle Forman had her choose some unexpected classes in order to move on with life rather than having her try to fall in love with someone else.  I loved the new friends, especially Dee, and empathized with her and Melanie as their childhood friendship was put to the test.  I enjoyed Allyson's second trip to Europe almost as much as her first trip but for very different reasons obviously.  The first book ends in a cliffhanger where things between Allyson and Wilhelm could go either way moving forward. 

In Just One Year Gayle Forman picks up with Wilhem's story on the day he lost Allyson.  I just didn't connect with Wilhem's story at all.  This is probably because of his relationship phobia and the various references to former girlfriends he failed to commit to but I think it was also because I didn't particularly appreciate the story of his parents and his relationship with them which definitely takes up a good portion of this book.  The other serious limitation in this book is that Allyson doesn't show up until the last chapter!  I'm not kidding.  I expected the majority of the book to focus on Wilhem and his year but I really thought we would at least get a couple of chapters with Allyson and Wilhem together and I was so wrong. 

As much as I hate to say this, I would only recommend Just One Day and would recommend that you skip Just One Year UNLESS you really want to find out how Wilhem grows up away from Allyson.  I seriously hope that Gayle Forman considers a third book where Allyson and Wilhem travel the world studying and performing Shakespeare.  That is a book I would definitely read.

Just One Day
Author: Gayle Forman
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Publication Date: January 8, 2013

From Goodreads:
When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

Just One Year
Author: Gayle Forman
Publisher: Dutton Children's
Publication Date: October 10, 2013

From Goodreads:
When he opens his eyes, Willem doesn’t know where in the world he is—Prague or Dubrovnik or back in Amsterdam. All he knows is that he is once again alone, and that he needs to find a girl named Lulu. They shared one magical day in Paris, and something about that day—that girl—makes Willem wonder if they aren’t fated to be together. He travels all over the world, from Mexico to India, hoping to reconnect with her. But as months go by and Lulu remains elusive, Willem starts to question if the hand of fate is as strong as he’d thought. . . .

The romantic, emotional companion to Just One Day, this is a story of the choices we make and the accidents that happen—and the happiness we can find when the two intersect.

Posted By Sheri

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Movie Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Movie Released: October 12, 2012
Director: Stephen Chbosky
Screenplay: Stephen Chbosky
Length: 102 minutes

Author: Stephen Chbosky
Publisher: MTV Books and Pocket Books
Publication Date: February 1, 1999

Movie Review:
So I knew nothing about the book or the movie before I started watching it, except what I learned in the preview.  I LOVED every minute of the movie.  I thought the actors were fabulous, loved the music, and loved what they were dealing with.  Then I started SOBBING not in the way that makes you want to turn off the movie but in the way that reminds you just how crappy life can be for some people.  If you haven't seen this movie I would strongly recommend it, and if you have, I would say see it again.

Posted By: Sheri

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (36)

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!  It is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Pam's Weekly Haul
From the library:
Panic by Lauren Oliver
Slayers by C.J. Hill
Numbers by Rachel Ward
Doomed by Tracy Deebs
The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

Ruins by Dan Wells
Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott

From NetGalley/Edelweiss:
The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa
Catch a Falling Star by Kim Culbertson
Tabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert-Martin

Sheri's Bounty of Books
Onyx (Lux #2) by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Opal (Lux #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Beautiful Redemption (Caster Chronicles #4) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3) by Richelle Mead


What books did you add to your shelves this week?