Friday, July 31, 2015

Movie Review: Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart

Movie: Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart
Original Title: "Jack et la mécanique du coeur" 
Director: Stephane Berla, Mathias Malzieu,
Screenplay: Mathias Malzieu
Original Release: October 2013, France
U.S. Release: 2014

Movie Review:
Steam punk for older kids!  This was a fascinating movie to watch with my children.  My 8 year old wasn't the least bit interested but my 10 year old loved it.  The images and storyline were both very different from what they usually see so I was really glad we watched it.  It did have some scenes that pushed the boundaries of what we normally let the kids watch, especially my 8 year old, but I was able to explain it for the most part.

The basic storyline is that Jack's heart was replaced with a clock when he was a baby.  In order to keep the clock working Jack is supposed to avoid strong emotions.  This becomes very difficult however as he deals with loss, school yard bullies, and falling in love.

I would definitely recommend this move for YA fans who like animated movies, fans of Tim Burton's work, and those who enjoy the steampunk genre.  While it's not exactly steampunk it definitely has elements running throughout.

Posted By: Sheri

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Book Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) 
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA, 562 pages
Publication Date: September 2, 2014

From Goodreads:
Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?

I know many of you read this book months ago, but I just finished it.  One of the things I love most about this series is the way in which friendships develop.  Sarah Maas finds a way to make me believe that each of the characters is worthy of friendship and love no matter how broken, violent, and manipulative they might be.  

The world building was as rich and interesting as I have come to expect and the new characters were as interesting as the ones developed in Crown of MidnightThe relationships among the witches and between Mannon and Abraxos were particularly interesting and unexpected.

Even though I enjoyed this book I found it incredibly difficult to read because there was so much self-loathing and so much violence.  My recommendation:  for fans of the series you have to read this book but be prepared for some very dark moments.

Posted By: Sheri

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Book Review: Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

Lair of Dreams (The Diviners #2)
Author:  Libba Bray
Publisher:  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Expected Publication Date:  August 25, 2015
*ARC received from publisher via NetGalley

From Goodreads:
After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O'Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. Now that the world knows of her ability to "read" objects, and therefore, read the past, she has become a media darling, earning the title, "America's Sweetheart Seer." But not everyone is so accepting of the Diviners' abilities...

Meanwhile, mysterious deaths have been turning up in the city, victims of an unknown sleeping sickness. Can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld and catch a killer?

I really liked this book and here's why:

1.  The plot.  A sleeping sickness where the victims go to sleep, get trapped in a dream, and never wake up.  Creepy and compelling.  Along with that you have X-Men type abilities and a government conspiracy.  And this is how a series should be done.  You have the main mystery wrapped up but then other plot lines continuing throughout.

2.  The setting.  I love that it takes place in New York in 1927.  Libba Bray does a fantastic job of creating a setting that I can picture when I close my eyes.  The setting is a living thing that adds to the plot of the book.  The dialogue, the description of the city, the history…well done.

3.  The characters.  What a diverse set of characters, including an interracial couple, a same-sex couple, and a Chinese/Irish character with a disability.  I do believe there are too many POVs, however, and I'm a reader that loves multiple POVs.  There are seven main characters and then there are a few more POVs too.  It was just too much and there were certain characters that I love that were barely in the book (like Jericho).  

What I didn't like:

I already mentioned the too many POVs.  Other than that, I was disappointed with Evie's backslide as a character.  In the first book, she's shallow and silly, but she grows throughout the novel.  In Lair of Dreams, Evie has become a media darling, and is so concerned about her image and being famous.  She parties and drinks.  A lot.  And she barely has anything to do with the sleeping sickness mystery.  And the romance…yes, a love triangle has emerged.  The romance is not the focus of the novel at all, but still.  Her reasons for staying away from one guy are noble, but I still didn't like it.  

Posted by:  Pam

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Series Review: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
Author:  April Genevieve Tucholke
Publisher:  Dial, 360 pages
Publication Date:  August 13, 2013

From Goodreads:
Nothing much exciting rolls through Violet White’s sleepy, seaside town… until River West comes along. River rents the guest house behind Violet’s crumbling estate, and as eerie, grim things start to happen, Violet begins to wonder about the boy living in her backyard.

Is River just a crooked-smiling liar with pretty eyes and a mysterious past? Or could he be something more?

Violet’s grandmother always warned her about the Devil, but she never said he could be a dark-haired boy who takes naps in the sun, who likes coffee, who kisses you in a cemetery... who makes you want to kiss back.

Violet’s already so knee-deep in love, she can’t see straight. And that’s just how River likes it.

GORGEOUS WRITING.  I don't usually notice the writing, but the prose is beautiful.  It adds to the atmospheric and dreamy quality of this book.  

Dark and disturbing but also seductive in the sense that Violet (and everyone) is drawn to River, that crooked-smiling liar, even though he may be evil.  

I loved the fact that Violet is so eccentric, wearing her dead grandmother's clothes, etc.  I loved the setting, the old rambling house on the sea and the small town of Echo.  

Very unique paranormal elements to this book.

Really enjoyed this one.

Between the Spark and the Burn
Publication Date:  April 14, 2014

From Goodreads:
The crooked-smiling liar River West Redding, who drove into Violet's life one summer day and shook her world to pieces, is gone. Violet and Neely, River's other brother, are left to worry—until they catch a two a.m. radio program about strange events in a distant mountain town. They take off in search of River but are always a step behind, finding instead frenzied towns, witch hunts, and a wind-whipped island with the thrum of something strange and dangerous just under the surface. It isn't long before Violet begins to wonder if Neely, the one Redding brother she thought trustworthy, has been hiding a secret of his own...

Again, absolutely beautiful writing.

Still just as creepy, but a different setting as the group searches for River.

Just when I thought it couldn't get any weirder, it did.  So much madness. Unexpected twists and turns, I have to admit I did not see certain things coming and she took some characters in directions I wasn't prepared for and I'm still not sure what to think about.

So good…but I have to admit, there were times when I was confused about what was happening.  There are scenes where I'm pretty sure the characters were having sex, but not positive.  

The ending.  Open.  

I. Have. So. Many. Questions!  

I definitely recommend this series, and if you read it, contact me so we can discuss!

Posted by:  Pam

Monday, July 27, 2015

Book Review: Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman

Legacy of Kings (Blood of Gods and Royals #1)
Author:  Eleanor Herman
Publisher:  Harlequin Teen, 384 pages
Expected Publication Date:  August 25, 2015
*ARC received from publisher via NetGalley

From Goodreads:
Imagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn, and in their ashes, empires rise.

Alexander, Macedonia’s sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world but finds himself drawn to newcomer Katerina, who must navigate the dark secrets of court life while hiding her own mission: kill the Queen. But Kat’s first love, Jacob, will go to unthinkable lengths to win her, even if it means competing for her heart with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince. And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander’s unmet fiancée, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.

Eleanor Herman has written an AMAZING fantasy book based on Alexander the Great.  I loved reading the notes at the end of the book detailing all of the historical detail.  

The book is written from many POVs, including Alex, the prince who wants to prove himself to his distant father; Heph, his best friend who is loyal, but proud; Kat, the peasant girl who has an affinity with animals; Jacob, her best friend who she also loves but who makes an absolutely horrible choice; Cyn, Alex's older half-sister, who wants to be a warrior instead of a wife; and Zo, a princess who is supposed to marry Alex, but who is in love with a soldier and makes a decision that puts her life in danger.  The characters are complex and well-written and the author does an impressive job switching back and forth between them.  Usually when I read a book with multiple POVs I'm more interested in some versus others but that wasn't the case here.

Magic, political intrigue, battles, kidnappings…I loved it!  

Posted by:  Pam

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (104)

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.

Resonance by Erica O'Rourke.  Already read it and loved it.  See review here.
From NetGalley:

Posted by:  Pam

Friday, July 24, 2015

Series Review: Avalon by Mindee Arnett

Author:  Mindee Arnett
Publisher:  Balzer & Bray, 418 pages
Publication Date:  January 21, 2014

From Goodreads:
Of the various star systems that make up the Confederation, most lie thousands of light-years from First Earth-and out here, no one is free. The agencies that govern the Confederation are as corrupt as the crime bosses who patrol it, and power is held by anyone with enough greed and ruthlessness to claim it. That power is derived from one thing: metatech, the devices that allow people to travel great distances faster than the speed of light.

Jeth Seagrave and his crew of teenage mercenaries have survived in this world by stealing unsecured metatech, and they're damn good at it. Jeth doesn't care about the politics or the law; all he cares about is earning enough money to buy back his parents' ship, Avalon, from his crime-boss employer and getting himself and his sister, Lizzie, the heck out of Dodge. But when Jeth finds himself in possession of information that both the crime bosses and the government are willing to kill for, he is going to have to ask himself how far he'll go to get the freedom he's wanted for so long.

Publication Date:  January 20, 2015

From Goodreads:
Jeth Seagrave and his crew are on the run. The ITA, still holding Jeth’s mother in a remote research lab, is now intent on acquiring the metatech secrets Jeth’s sister Cora carries inside her DNA, and Jeth is desperate to find the resources he needs to rescue his mother and start a new life outside the Confederation. But the ITA is just as desperate, and Jeth soon finds himself pursued by a mysterious figure hell-bent on capturing him and his crew—dead or alive.

With nowhere to run and only one play left, Jeth enters into a bargain with the last person he ever thought he’d see again: Daxton Price, the galaxy’s newest and most fearsome crime lord. Dax promises to help Jeth, but his help will only come at a price—a price that could mean sacrificing everything Jeth has fought for until now.

Action-packed sci-fi adventure, I can see the comparisons to Firefly.  That said, the plot took priority over character development.  The book is told from Jeth's POV and while I feel like I got to know Jeth, I don't feel like I got to know the other characters very well.  This is one of those book series that would have been better as a TV show or a movie.

The implant technology was pretty frightening, with slaves and soldiers wearing these rubbery implants with tentacles attached to the backs of their heads.  It can make the person a mindless slave or make them obedient (and make them stronger and able to heal faster).  It also lets them communicate non-verbally, like a hive mind.  

A lot of deaths but I didn't care that much about them.  And some of the deaths even occurred off screen, so to speak, with Jeth just hearing about it.

The ending…hmmm…I can't really say anything because I don't want to include spoilers, but it's just weird and I didn't get it and I don't think it was explained very well.  At all.  Very rushed and underdeveloped.

I liked this series, but I didn't love it.

Posted by:  Pam

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Book Review: Fairest by Marissa Meyer

Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles, 3.5)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends, 222 pages
Publication Date: January 27, 2015

From Goodreads:
In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.  

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series

Writing the POV of the "bad guy" or in this case the "evil witch" is often a dangerous endeavor because the bad guy suddenly becomes multi-dimensional and the back story can produce too much empathy for the villain.  Fairest walks the line really well.  Levana is without a doubt a horrible selfish person, but she had truly horrible things done to her.  To be honest I had given very little thought to what made Levana tick in this series.  While she is a central character in the previous books I wasn't that interested in her since I thought I understood her motivation.  Having read Fairest I am much more interested in how things will proceed and I can't wait for the next installment, Winter, to be published in November.  If you like stories about revenge, desperation, and greed then Fairest delivers.

Posted By:  Sheri

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Book Review: Resonance by Erica O'Rourke (Dissonance #2)

Resonance (Dissonance #2)
Author:  Erica O'Rourke
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, 448 pages
Publication Date:  July 21, 2015

From Goodreads:
As a Walker between worlds, Del is responsible for the love of her life—and the fate of millions—in this thrilling sequel to Dissonance.

Del risked everything to save Simon, and now he’s gone, off in another world with no way for Del to find him.

She’s back at the Consort—training to be a Walker like everyone in her family. But the Free Walkers have other plans for her. This rebel group is trying to convince Del that the Consort is evil, and that her parents are unwittingly helping the Consort kill millions of people. The Free Walkers make Del the ultimate promise: if Del joins their fight, she will be reunited with Simon.

In agreeing, Del might be endangering her family. But if she doesn’t, innocent people will die, and Simon will be lost to her forever. The fate of the multiverse depends on her choice...

Loved this take on parallel worlds, with Walkers dedicated to protecting the Key World, which means they cleave other worlds that are unstable.  Is it murder when all of the Echoes (the other versions of the Originals from the Key World) disappear?  That's what the Free Walkers (rebel Walkers) believe.  This brings up all sorts of ethical questions, about whether Echoes are real, whether they are alive, whether the ends justify the means.  

The romance…so sweet.  Love love love Del and Simon together.  This is the perfect example of a couple who are a team, a couple trying to save an infinite number of worlds so they don't have time for all of the usual teenage drama.  No silly misunderstandings or fights, no love triangle.  

High stakes, unexpected twists and turns, nice combination of plot and character development…highly recommend this incredible conclusion to a fantastic duology!

Posted by:  Pam

Monday, July 20, 2015

Reading Goals This Week

This week I'm going to try and get through as many of the duologies that I have bought and are sitting on my shelf (or Kindle).  I've read the first book for all of these but I haven't read the second (and final) book yet.  The main reason I haven't is because I need to reread the first book and I'm just not excited to do that.  But I decided that instead of starting a new series (I LOVE starting new series for some reason) I really want to finish these.

Dissonance and Resonance by Erica O'Rourke

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea and Between the Spark and the Burn by April Genevieve Tucholke

Avalon and Polaris by Mindee Arnett

Starglass and Starbreak by Pheobe North

Have any of you read these duologies?  

Posted by:  Pam

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (103)

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.


From the library:

From NetGalley:
The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

Posted by:  Pam

Friday, July 17, 2015

Book Review: No Kissing Allowed by Melissa West

No Kissing Allowed
Author:  Melissa West
Publisher:  Entangled Embrace
Expected Publication Date:  July 28, 2015
*ARC received from publisher via NetGalley

From Goodreads:
No kissing. No touching. And definitely no falling in love...

Armed with her besties, an embarrassing number of shots, and her list of 10 Wild Things To Do Before Adulthood, recent grad Cameron Lawson is partying it up before she starts her dream job at New York's biggest ad agency. Her last task? Hook up with a random guy. And while it's so not her style, the super-sexy guy sitting next to her is definitely game. No names. No details.

At least, that was the plan.

On her first day of work, Cameron discovers her hook-up is none other than Aidan Truitt—her new boss's boss. Talk about failing the “no fraternizing with coworkers” policy on an epic level. Especially when Aidan makes it clear their one night was only the beginning. Falling for him could cost her everything, but sometimes the only way to get what you want is by breaking a few rules…

Cute, feel good book with a fairly low level of angst.  I liked that Cameron knows who she is when it comes to relationships.  She's not a causal relationship type of person and she's honest about that.  In fact, Cameron doesn't play games and she talks with Aidan about what she wants and how she feels.  That was a breath of fresh air.  I also liked how important family was to Cameron.  She's close with her family and she likes to spend time with them.  

Aidan…I liked him, he's a good guy, but for some reason I wasn't head over heels for him.  His issues, having a jerky dad who left his mom and therefore he never wants to get married or have children…I didn't exactly buy it, but I guess it doesn't have to take much to make a guy commitment shy.  :)

No Kissing Allowed definitely made me smile.

Posted by:  Pam

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Book Review: The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley

The Carnival at Bray
Author:  Jessie Ann Foley
Publisher:  Elephant Rock Productions, Inc., 256 pages
Publication Date:  October 1, 2014

From Goodreads:
It's 1993, and Generation X pulses to the beat of Kurt Cobain and the grunge movement. Sixteen-year-old Maggie Lynch is uprooted from big-city Chicago to a windswept town on the Irish Sea. Surviving on care packages of Spin magazine and Twizzlers from her rocker uncle Kevin, she wonders if she'll ever find her place in this new world. When first love and sudden death simultaneously strike, a naive but determined Maggie embarks on a forbidden pilgrimage that will take her to a seedy part of Dublin and on to a life- altering night in Rome to fulfill a dying wish. Through it all, Maggie discovers an untapped inner strength to do the most difficult but rewarding thing of all, live.

I wanted to love this one, but I didn't.  It had a lot of the elements that I like: complicated family dynamics, American girl in a foreign country, cute foreign guy, road trip.  Add to that a 1990s setting with music and specifically Nirvana playing an important part of the story, and I thought I was going to love it.  But I never felt that connection that I wanted to feel. Also, it's not a good thing when you're wondering what in the world the guy sees in the main character.  

The book is written in limited 3rd person POV, but there's one critical scene where the author chose to tell it from an outsider's perspective and so the reader is watching and not even getting any dialogue.  I have no idea why the author chose to do that, but it just made me feel even less connected to the characters.  So while I liked this one, I didn't love it.

Posted by:  Pam

Monday, July 13, 2015

Book Review: Spark by Rachael Craw

Spark (Spark #1)
Author:  Rachael Craw
Publisher:  Walker Books Australia, 464 pages
Publication Date:  July 1, 2014

From Goodreads:
Evie doesn’t have a choice.

One day she’s an ordinary seventeen year old, grieving for her mother. The next, she’s a Shield, the result of a decades-old experiment gone wrong, bound by DNA to defend her best friend from an unknown killer.

The threat could come at home, at school, anywhere. All Evie knows is that it will be a fight to the death.

And then there’s Jamie. irresistible. off-limits.

I liked the concept, genetically modified people who are either protectors (Shields) and tethered to a Spark (someone who needs to be protected) until the Shield has killed the Stray (someone just as strong as a Shield but who is activated and is compelled to kill the Spark).  However, there was SO MUCH INFO DUMPING.  When Evie first finds out who (or what) she is, there are pages and pages of it.  Too much information, too many acronyms.  

After that it got better, but I still have so many questions that weren't answered. Things that didn't make sense that continued to bother me the whole book.  For example, if two Shields are genetically perfect for each other, being together increases their power individually.  So why wouldn't the corporation that created them want them to be together?  No, instead, the corporation picks other people for them and even may pick someone who dampens the Shield and actually deactivates them.  What????  Um…the corporation would want to use its assets, not let them go, and would also want its assets to be as strong as possible.  That made no sense. Also, something happened between Jamie and Evie when they were fourteen, some sort of humiliating experience and it's never explained.  It's danced around, alluded to, but never explained.  

Interesting sci-fi but it could have been executed better.  And honestly, the writing was awkward.  I know it sounds like I didn't like it, I did, but from the reviews I read, I was expecting so much more.  

Posted by:  Pam

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (102)

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.


From NetGalley:
No Kissing Allowed by Melissa West
These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

What books did you add to your shelves this week?

Posted by:  Pam

Friday, July 10, 2015

Book Review: Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid

Never Always Sometimes
Author:  Adi Alsaid
Publisher:  Harlequin Teen, 320 pages
Expected Publication Date:  August 4, 2015
*ARC received from publisher via NetGalley

From Goodreads:
Best friends Dave and Julia were determined to never be cliché high school kids—the ones who sit at the same lunch table every day, dissecting the drama from homeroom and plotting their campaigns for prom king and queen. They even wrote their own Never List of everything they vowed they'd never, ever do in high school.

Some of the rules have been easy to follow, like #5, never die your hair a color of the rainbow, or #7, never hook up with a teacher. But Dave has a secret: he's broken rule #8, never pine silently after someone for the entirety of high school. It's either that or break rule #10, never date your best friend. Dave has loved Julia for as long as he can remember.

Julia is beautiful, wild and impetuous. So when she suggests they do every Never on the list, Dave is happy to play along. He even dyes his hair an unfortunate shade of green. It starts as a joke, but then a funny thing happens: Dave and Julia discover that by skipping the clichés, they've actually been missing out on high school. And maybe even on love.

I'm torn about this book.  The first half of the book is told from Dave's POV and I really liked Dave.  He's smart, a good guy, and he's in love with his best friend Julia. For some reason they've created a bubble around themselves, never really getting to know the rest of the people in their high school.  Everyone else is a cliche, and they're above that.  But Dave starts realizing that he's been missing out and people he assumed were one way are actually more complex than their stereotype.  I loved that.  

But then the POV shifts to Julia after a certain event and then I just didn't like Dave. At all.  Sure, he was confused and he didn't know what to do, but I just didn't like how he handled things.  It made me so sad and maybe it was realistic, but I hated it.  I'm not saying that I wanted things to end differently, I think it ended the way it should have, but I hated HOW it happened.  I know this is really vague, but I don't want to spoil it.

The other thing that bothered me about the book is the dialogue between Dave and Julia.  It didn't ring true.  It's like they were always on, trying to be smart, witty, etc. and it didn't seem to fit two people who had been best friends for five years.  It read more like dialogue between two people who were being filmed, trying to be interesting and fun.  

Don't get me wrong, I did like the book, but I'm a little heartbroken by what happened.  Maybe that's a good thing, that I can feel so strongly?

Posted by:  Pam

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Book Review: Mosquitoland by David Arnold

Author:  David Arnold
Publisher:  Viking Children's, 336 pages
Publication Date:  March 3, 2015

From Goodreads:
I am a collection of oddities, a circus of neurons and electrons: my heart is the ringmaster, my soul is the trapeze artist, and the world is my audience. It sounds strange because it is, and it is, because I am strange."
After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the "wastelands" of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland.
So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.

Roadtrip, quirky characters, gorgeous writing…Mosquitoland was a pleasure to read.

Mim is wise beyond her years, incredibly smart, sarcastic, with perhaps some sort of mental illness, and dealing with family who apparently do not tell her anything. Slowly the back story is told, although there were still many questions I had that were never answered.

Alternately funny and sad, I enjoyed this one.  I would have liked an epilogue, but the ending fit.

Posted by:  Pam

Monday, July 6, 2015

Book Review: Happiness for Beginners by Katherine Center

Happiness for Beginners
Author:  Katherine Center
Publisher:  St. Martin's Griffin, 320 pages
Publication Date:  March 24, 2015

From Goodreads:
A year after getting divorced, Helen Carpenter, thirty-two, lets her annoying, ten years younger brother talk her into signing up for a wilderness survival course. It's supposed to be a chance for her to pull herself together again, but when she discovers that her brother's even-more-annoying best friend is also coming on the trip, she can't imagine how it will be anything other than a disaster. Thus begins the strangest adventure of Helen's well-behaved life: three weeks in the remotest wilderness of a mountain range in Wyoming where she will survive mosquito infestations, a surprise summer blizzard, and a group of sorority girls.

Yet, despite everything, the vast wilderness has a way of making Helen's own little life seem bigger, too. And, somehow the people who annoy her the most start teaching her the very things she needs to learn. Like how to stand up for herself. And how being scared can make you brave. And how sometimes you just have to get really, really lost before you can even have a hope of being found. 

All. The. Stars.  

All. The. Feels.

I fell in love with this book.  Happiness for Beginners is the perfect combination of romance, humor, and finding yourself. Helen is HILARIOUS and so relatable.  

And Jake.  Move over, top book boyfriend, Jake has taken your spot.

After reading it, I went out and bought every single book this author has written.


Posted by:  Pam