Thursday, June 30, 2011

Theme Thursday-July 4th

Theme Thursdays is a fun weekly event hosted by Reading Between the Pages that will be open from one Thursday to the next. Anyone can participate in it. The rules are simple:
  • A theme will be posted each week (on Thursday’s)
  • Select a conversation/snippet/sentence from the current book you are reading
  • Mention the author and the title of the book along with your post
  • It is important that the theme is conveyed in the sentence (you don’t necessarily need to have the word)
This week’s theme is

JULY 4th (Celebrations, Independence, Freedom, Flag, Fireworks etc)

 My snippet comes from Specials by Scott Westerfeld. 

Specials (The Uglies)"The skyline of New Pretty Town was aglow, rockets shooting high and bursting into vast, sparkling flowers of red and purple. The fireworks were back."

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Review: Across The Universe by Beth Revis

Across the UniverseSeventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.
Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.- Summary from Goodreads

I have to say, I really enjoyed this little dystopian YA. The story line was a bit different than anything I've read in this genre lately. I'm not a fan of sci-fi normally but this was like a light sci-fi read. Just enough Star Trek thrown in to make it a little different than all the other teen romances out there plus a little mystery to keep things interesting. The science mentioned was delivered in a way that made sense for the story and without boring the hell out of me. I like that our heroine, Amy, was just a run of the mill teenager, nothing really special until she wakes up on a ship where her difference from everyone else makes her special. Let's hear it for the different girls!

I was fascinated by life on this giant spaceship. It's just so weird and creepy and I wanted to hear more about it. I'm excited to continue on with the story and see where things go from here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Websites

This week the Top Ten Tuesday list is all about our favorite bookish websites, apps, etc.

1. Goodreads- This is a no brainer. If you haven't heard of or used Goodreads yet, well, you better get on that. It's fabulous. Plus, they give away books! That's reason enough.

2. Library Thing- This one is similar to Goodreads and I admit I don't use it as much but they also give away books through their Early Reviewers program and for that, they make my list.

3. Net Galley- I'm new to this one since I've only had an e-reader for about a month but again, they give away books. (Are we sensing a pattern in my list?) If you read e-books, this is a great place for you.

4. Shelf Awareness- I love their newsletter because it's chock full of bookish news and ads for awesome upcoming releases. Oh, and the occasional link to request free ARCs! (There I go with the free books again.)

5. Barnes & Noble- Sorry folks, no free books here but since I got my nook I find I spend a lot more time on this site.

6. Amazon- I tend to use this one in conjunction with Swagbucks. I use swagbucks to search and earn points which I redeem for free Amazon gift cards which I then use to buy books. Been working pretty well for me so far.

7. Flashlight Worthy Books- This site is full of bookish lists and a great place to hunt down awesome book recommendations.

8. Calibre- This program has been invaluable to me since I got my nook. I could NOT figure out how to sync most of my books to the nook until I downloaded calibre. I LOVE this program.

9. Project Gutenberg- And we're back to the free books. If you are a classic lover with an e-reader this is a great place to load up on free classic lit. Yay!

10. Your local library site.- The original free book site, even if you have to give it back in a few weeks. Gotta love the library!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Review: The Solider's Wife by Margaret Leroy

The Soldier's Wife

A novel full of grand passion and intensity, The Soldier's Wife asks "What would you do for your family?" "What should you do for a stranger?" and "What would you do for love?"
As World War II draws closer and closer to Guernsey, Vivienne de la Mare knows that there will be sacrifices to be made. Not just for herself, but for her two young daughters and for her mother-in-law, for whom she cares while her husband is away fighting. What she does not expect is that she will fall in love with one of the enigmatic German soldiers who take up residence in the house next door to her home. As their relationship intensifies, so do the pressures on Vivienne. Food and resources grow scant, and the restrictions placed upon the residents of the island grow with each passing week. Though Vivienne knows the perils of her love affair with Gunther, she believes that she can keep their relationship and her family safe. But when she becomes aware of the full brutality of the Occupation, she must decide if she is willing to risk her personal happiness for the life of a stranger.
- Summary from Goodreads

I couldn't put this book down. I would pick it up and thinking I would just read a couple of chapters and then go back to chores or whatever other task needed to be done. After what felt like a mere 10-15 minutes I would look up and see that an hour or two had gone by and I'd devoured half the book. Luckily for me, the book is composed of 7 small parts because it was only when I reached that page signaling the beginning of a new part that I was OK with putting the book down.I was so drawn into the story that when I wasn't reading, I found myself thinking about the book and when I could go back and sit down with it.

The story is about a mother, Vivienne, who is left with her daughters and  a sick mother-in-law on the island of Guernsey while her husband is fighting the Germans in WWII. After the island is occupied by German forces, Vivienne finds herself inexplicably drawn to an officer who takes up residence next door. As their affair progresses, Vivienne is faced with the harsh realities of war and the moral dilemma that stems from literally sleeping with the enemy.

I found Vivienne incredibly easy to relate to. She's just the average woman and mother trying to get by,who wants to keep her head down and stay out of trouble for the sake of her children. I get that. Like Vivienne, I'm not a big fan of drama and I try to just stay out of it the best I can. So, I completely understood her thought process. I found it very similar to what I imagine my own would be if I was faced with similar circumstances.

The language of the story was beautiful and the description of the small island made me want to plan a vacation there. It sounded beautiful and I was upset along with Vivienne when the beauty of the island becomes marred by the war.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking to get swept up in a great story. It's one I'm likely to pick up and re-read in the future.

*Disclaimer- I was given a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Review: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Never Let Me Go Publisher: Vintage
From the acclaimed author of The Remains of the Day and When We Were Orphans, a moving new novel that subtly reimagines our world and time in a haunting story of friendship and love.

As a child, Kathy—now thirty-one years old—lived at Hailsham, a private school in the scenic English countryside where the children were sheltered from the outside world, brought up to believe that they were special and that their well-being was crucial not only for themselves but for the society they would eventually enter. Kathy had long ago put this idyllic past behind her, but when two of her Hailsham friends come back into her life, she stops resisting the pull of memory.

And so, as her friendship with Ruth is rekindled, and as the feelings that long ago fueled her adolescent crush on Tommy begin to deepen into love, Kathy recalls their years at Hailsham. She describes happy scenes of boys and girls growing up together, unperturbed--even comforted--by their isolation. But she describes other scenes as well: of discord and misunderstanding that hint at a dark secret behind Hailsham's nurturing facade. With the dawning clarity of hindsight, the three friends are compelled to face the truth about their childhood—and about their lives now.

A tale of deceptive simplicity, Never Let Me Go slowly reveals an extraordinary emotional depth and resonance-and takes its place among Kazuo Ishiguro's finest work-
Summary from Goodreads

This is going to be a difficult review for me to write. I'm not sure exactly how to describe this book. It was strange and yet I enjoyed it, though I'm not sure what the point was. The story is about three children who grow up in a boarding school/orphanage type place where they're expected to crank out artwork for some unknown reason. It's an almost idyllic childhood despite there being absolutely no parents, just caring teachers called Guardians. 

Later, things take a rather disturbing turn and yet these characters just take it in stride. I kept thinking that at some point one of these three will realize how wrong the situation is and lead a revolt, a rebellion, an uprising, anything? The whole book felt like something big was just around the corner except we never quite got there. The longer I let my thoughts on this marinate, the more it really bugged me. I'm afraid I'm already giving to much away but  it really bothered me that there was no real resolution to the problems in this book. As a whole I enjoyed the book I was just a bit unsatisfied.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Reasons I Love Book Blogging

This week's list is:

Top Ten Reasons I Love Book Blogging

1. It gives me a place to talk about all the books I love and even the ones I don't love as much. 

2. I have connected with so many awesome people, people who read as much as I do and obsess over their favs. My kind of people! It's great.

3. Since becoming a stay at home mom, blogging gives me a sense of structure, something to do everyday besides chores, because chores are super-lame. 

4. Gives me an excuse to ignore chores when I'm feeling super lazy. "Can't do laundry right now, I got a review due and need to finish this book."  It's not always true but the excuse makes me feel better about slacking when I just can't put a book down. 

5. My kids think it's cool. My oldest likes to ask how many followers I have once a week. It's usually the same number but he still asks and is obligingly impressed each time. 

6. I get introduced to so many, many awesome-sauce books that I may not have noticed or picked up without other blogger's recommendations. 

7. How cool is it the first time you get a legit comment? That moment was like super fantastic. I couldn't believe anyone actually read what I was posting let alone striking up a discussion about it. 

8. The first follower was an equally fantastic moment. Someone not only read but wanted to hear more? WHAT? Why? I'm surprised everyday that I even have 1 let alone the 221 I have today. 

9. I had no idea that people would actually send you books for free. The first email I got asking me to review a book made me so ridiculously happy and I can't even explain how I felt the day I got a random package from a major publisher with my first ARC in it. I was so excited, I called my mother because I had to tell someone! 

10. Being introduced to this entire community! Sure, this goes along with number 2 but it was important enough to be reiterated. This whole community of intelligent, well read, kind and generous people is just the best.

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The New Bookshelf Dilemma

So, I decided it was time for a new bookshelf. I have 2, both of which were packed and my little bookshelf even had books stacked two deep. It was time. After lugging one shelf up three flights of stairs only to discover it was broken and needed to be lugged back down the stairs and returned, I finally got my new bigger better bookshelf built and set up. Yay.

Now I'm a bit sad because the new, big bookshelf is looking a little naked. It took some of the strain off the little bookshelf but it's still looking pitifully empty. What's a book lover to do? I guess it's time to buy more books! Before you ask, I promise I absolutely, positively did not buy a new bookshelf just to have an excuse to go out and fill it with new books. That would just be silly, right?

Review: Shopaholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella

Shopaholic Takes Manhattan (Shopaholic Series)
The irresistible heroine of Confessions of a Shopaholic and Shopaholic Ties the Knot is back! And this time Becky Bloomwood and her credit cards are headed across the Atlantic.…

With her shopping excesses (somewhat) in check and her career as a TV financial guru thriving, Becky’s biggest problem seems to be tearing her entrepreneur boyfriend, Luke, away from work for a romantic country weekend. And worse, figuring out how to pack light. But packing takes on a whole new meaning when Luke announces he’s moving to New York for business—and he asks Becky to go with him! Before you can say “Prada sample sale,” Becky has landed in the Big Apple, home of Park Avenue penthouses and luxury boutiques.

Surely it’s only a matter of time until she becomes an American TV celebrity, and she and Luke are the toast of Gotham society. Nothing can stand in their way, especially with Becky’s bills miles away in London. But then an unexpected disaster threatens her career prospects, her relationship with Luke, and her available credit line! Shopaholic Takes Manhattan—but will she have to return it?-
Summary from Goodreads
June means summer and summer means warm weather. Something about the warm and the summer makes me want to sit outside in the sun and read fluffy chick-lit. So, that's exactly what I've been up to. After finishing up Confessions of a Shopaholic, I had to continue the series and see what else my friend Rebecca Bloomwood could get herself into. Turns out, she got herself into quite a bit of trouble. A little too much trouble.

Becky is always over the top in her quest for the perfect, well, anything, but at a few times I felt things were getting a little too over the top. At one point she decides to ship her luggage to a hotel for a weekend getaway with her boyfriend so she can impress him with how lightly she can pack, bringing only her makeup and no spare clothes in case of, you know, an emergency. Of course, chaos ensues and I just find myself wondering how the Becky who can be so smart about somethings can be such a brainless twit sometimes.

I found myself being more and more annoyed by Becky this go round but I still can't help but love her. So, I'm sure I'll be continuing on with her story but I may need a small break before the next one.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday Blog Hop: TBR Lists

Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Crazy-For-Books and is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read!

This week's question is:

“How many books are currently in your To-Be-Read (TBR) Pile?”

 Well, according to my Goodreads 'to read' list, I have 61. However, that's an incomplete list. I probably have another 50 books on my wishlist on Amazon. I have 14 on my immediate TBR list that need to be read within the next 2 months and I have several hundred on the list in my head which gets added to daily, if not hourly.  It's a problem. 

How many of you have the same problem? I'd bet most of us, right?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Theme Thursdays is a fun weekly event that will be open from one thursday to the next. Anyone can participate in it. The rules are simple:

* A theme will be posted each week (on Thursday’s)
* Select a conversation/snippet/sentence from the current book you are reading
* Mention the author and the title of the book along with your post
* It is important that the theme is conveyed in the sentence (you don’t necessarily need to have the word)

This week’s theme is


My theme this week comes from Shopaholic & Baby by Sophie Kinsella. 

Shopaholic & Baby (Shopaholic Series)

"My heart gives an almighty thud. Shit. I should have thrown the test away. I'm so stupid." 



Thanks for stopping by! Please leave a link so I can reciprocate your visit and have a happy Thursday!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Review: Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

Confessions of a Shopaholic (Movie Tie-in Edition) (Shopaholic Series)
If you've ever paid off one credit card with another, thrown out a bill before opening it, or convinced yourself that buying at a two-for-one sale is like making money, then this silly, appealing novel is for you. In the opening pages of Confessions of a Shopaholic, recent college graduate Rebecca Bloomwood is offered a hefty line of credit by a London bank. Within a few months, Sophie Kinsella's heroine has exceeded the limits of this generous offer, and begins furtively to scan her credit-card bills at work, certain that she couldn't have spent the reported sums. In theory anyway, the world of finance shouldn't be a mystery to Rebecca, since she writes for a magazine called Successful Saving. Struggling with her spendthrift impulses, she tries to heed the advice of an expert and appreciate life's cheaper pleasures: parks, museums, and so forth. Yet her first Saturday at the Victoria and Albert Museum strikes her as a waste. Why? There's not a price tag in sight.
It kind of takes the fun out of it, doesn't it? You wander round, just looking at things, and it all gets a bit boring after a while. Whereas if they put price tags on, you'd be far more interested. In fact, I think all museums should put prices on their exhibits. You'd look at a silver chalice or a marble statue or the Mona Lisa or whatever, and admire it for its beauty and historical importance and everything--and then you'd reach for the price tag and gasp, "Hey, look how much this one is!" It would really liven things up.
Eventually, Rebecca's uncontrollable shopping and her "imaginative" solutions to her debt attract the attention not only of her bank manager but of handsome Luke Brandon--a multimillionaire PR representative for a finance group frequently covered in Successful Saving. Unlike her opposite number in Bridget Jones's Diary, however, Rebecca actually seems too scattered and spacey to reel in such a successful man. Maybe it's her Denny and George scarf. In any case, Kinsella's debut makes excellent fantasy reading for the long stretches between white sales and appliance specials. -Summary taken from Goodreads

I've seen the movie based on this book and I was surprised how much they had changed, and not for the best. I loved Becky as a Londoner as opposed to a New Yorker. Isla Fisher is darling but book Becky had the witty English humor thing going for her. She was lovable despite her irritating spending habit. However, most of the time I just wanted to shake her and scream that buying something that is 'buy one get one free' isn't like making money. Self control, people! 

By the end of the book I felt like Becky was a friend of mine and yet, I was constantly saying to her. "No! You don't really need that. Stop! Just STOP!" So, I had a bit of mixed emotions because I loved her but her constant spending just drove me crazy! I'm sure I'll be picking up the rest of the books just to see what kind of mess she gets herself into and then out of. It's fun, easy to read, summer, chick lit. Good times.

Oh, I also have a sneaking suspicion that Ms. Kinsella has or had a spending problem of her own. Some of Becky's reasoning sounded as though they could have come from some of the shopaholics in my own life. A lot of it felt all to real except, of course, for the unlikely way Becky gets out of her tough situation. I could only wish that my debts could be settled so easily buy the sudden appearance of a fantastic job for which I'm wholly unqualified for and paid a ridiculous amount. That really happens, right?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Aww Moments

This week's Top Ten Tuesday post is all about the:

Top Ten AWW Moments

1.  Katniss & Rue in The Hunger Games- Katniss holding Rue as she dies and singing to her just broke my heart. 

2. Another Hunger Games moment, this one actually coming from Mockingjay. "You love me? Real or not real?" "Real" Awwwww Love that moment there at the end between Katniss and Peeta. 

3. In Little Women when Professor Bhaer comes to the house and proposes to Jo and says something about his hands being empty and she puts her in his and says "Not empty now"That's a clutching my heart kind of AWWW!

4. When the Chairman finally confesses his love to Sayuri in Memoirs of a Geisha and you find out he's loved her just as long as she's love him. Yeah, it's a bit of a strange relationship but it's still very sweet.

5. Old Noah reading to Allie to bring her back from her Alzheimers in The Notebook. Yes, this book is pure cheese but I'll admit I was a blubbery mess. Young love is great but a love that lasts a lifetime and beyond is just...AWWW!

6.  When Anne and Gilbert finally get together in Anne of the Island. It's so sweet and one of those moments you've been waiting for the entire series.

7. Gerry's letters in P.S. I Love You. Planning an elaborate scheme to comfort your wife after you've passed away? Awwww

8. Adam begging Mia to stay in If I Stay. His whole speech just broke my heart. Also including her granpa telling her it's ok and he understands if she wants to go. Awwww

9. Harry going to the Mirror of Erised to hang out with his parents in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. It was just so sweet and so sad.

10. Harry & Ginny and Ron and Hermione finally figuring out what's up and getting together in Half Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows. We all saw it there. I don't know what took them so dang long.

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