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Bending the Spine

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman



In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen year- old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...
A sophisticated, layered, and heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make -and the ultimate choice Mia commands.


Audio CD, 5 discs
Published April 2nd 2009 by Penguin Audio (first published January 1st 2009)
ISBN 0143144456 (ISBN13: 9780143144458)
url: http://www.ifistay.com/
series: If I Stay #1
literary awards: British Fantasy Award (2010), An ALA/YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers (2010), South Carolina Book Award Nominee for Young Adult Book Award (2011), TAYSHAS High School Reading List (2010), Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Young Adult Fiction (2009), Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Young Adult Fiction (2009), ALA Teens' Top Ten (2010), Milwaukee County Teen Book Award Nominee (2010), Pennsylvania Young Readers' Choice Award YA Nominee (2011), Florida Teens Read Nominee (2010), Delaware Blue Hen Award (2011)


I’ve been planning this review in my mind for a couple days, since I was far enough in to know how I felt about it.  If I Stay is so tragically beautiful that I’ve not been able to clear the fog of emotions from my mind that Ms. Forman has left me in.  She’s left me feeling very punch-drunk and unsure of myself.

I have read a lot of YA lately, mostly on the paranormal end of the spectrum.  It was a different experience reading this.  It is written in a way that feels real.  Genuine.  Authentic.  Heartfelt.  I can’t really describe just how emotional this book has left me, but to say that at several times I was at the point of tears and had to squelch them since I was driving!

I liked that music was a huge part of the story.  I also like that it never felt snobbish or snooty.  It never felt that Forman was cramming musical terms or song titles or artists down my throat, just that it was a natural extension of who Mia and Adam, and all their friends and family, were.  That if they were to come to life and you were to spend time with them, what you got from the story would be what you got from being around them.  Just very natural and effortless.

The storytelling is fantastic.  There’s the perfect mix of introspection, grief, and memories, both humorous and painful.  If I Stay could have been a disastrous emotional mess (in that it left the readers blubbering, bawling idiots), yet Forman handled it with grace and honesty.  I felt for Mia, I felt for her family.  I agonized over her decision with her.

The ending, though not completely satisfying, was poignant.  Is was as perfect as it could be without feeling cliché, the near perfect conclusion to a near perfect story.  I felt relief that the story was over, and satisfied that it wasn’t nice and neat, that it was still gritty and raw .  I was left with one part of me going “Holy crap that was an awesome ending!” While the rest was, “No! That can’t be all!.”  Bravo, Ms. Forman.  This is your standing ovation.

As I finish this up, I am already well into the sequel, Where She Went.  I didn’t feel that I had to continue the story, Forman wrapped it up nicely.  I wanted to finish it.

tree treetreetreetree
5 Trees: Completely amazing!  Must read!

Get to reading,

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Review: Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

SWEETLY is a modernization of Hansel and Gretel and a companion book to SISTERS RED.

Twelve years ago, Gretchen, her twin sister, and her brother went looking for a witch in the forest. They found something. Maybe it was a witch, maybe a monster, they aren’t sure—they were running too fast to tell. Either way, Gretchen’s twin sister was never seen again.

Years later, after being thrown out of their house, Gretchen and Ansel find themselves in Live Oak, South Carolina, a place on the verge of becoming a ghost town. They move in with Sophia Kelly, a young and beautiful chocolatier owner who opens not only her home, but her heart to Gretchen and Ansel.

Yet the witch isn’t gone—it’s here, lurking in the forests of Live Oak, preying on Live Oak girls every year after Sophia Kelly’s infamous chocolate festival. But Gretchen is determined to stop running from witches in the forest, and start fighting back. Alongside Samuel Reynolds, a boy as quick with a gun as he is a sarcastic remark, Gretchen digs deeper into the mystery of not only what the witch is, but how it chooses its victims. Yet the further she investigates, the more she finds herself wondering who the real monster is, and if love can be as deadly as it is beautiful.

Hardcover, 312 pages
Published August 23rd 2011 by Little, Brown
url: http://www.sweetlynovel.com/
series: Fairytale Retellings #2
It is way past my bed time.  I should be asleep.  I should have been asleep a couple hours ago.  But Sweetly hooked me and I had to stay up and finish the book and write the review while I am still reeling from it.  Yes, it is that good.

My wife has been a huge fan of Jackson Pearce.  Subscribed to her YouTube channel and all that.  I honestly had never heard of her until Rebecca said that she was going to drive to Alpharetta, GA, to the release party for Sweetly.  So, I looked the book up and realized that I had to read this.  No questions, just read.  I bought it and never looked back.

Whiney characters get on my nerves.  It seems that YA lit is full of whiney teenage girls who mope about how crappy their lives are.  Gretchen is not one of those girls.  She is whiney, but she’s had a hard life and so it’s justifiable.  She puts her big girl panties on and grows up once in Live Oak, SC (is that really a place?  I’m gonna have to Google that one…).  There is so much growth in her character, more than most in her situation.  Ansel, who has always been Gretchen’s rock, comes back to planet Earth once they get settled in at Sophie’s chocolatier.  He has some changes happen, too, and makes him all the more endearing.

Things aren’t right with Sophia.  And Pearce is abundantly clear in the way she writes that Sophia has a secret.  And boy is it a doosie.  Ok, so she’s got several, and you’ll just have to read to find out what they are.  You’ll feel bad for her, and you’ll hate her.  I love when an author creates a character that I don’t have to like all the time.  It makes the whole story seem more real.  Kudos, Ms. Pearce.

So, I read Sweetly in about two sittings.  It flowed nicely and quickly.  There were some slow parts, usually when there was character building and such, but when the action happened… man!  You better be prepared to hold your breath and take short breaks to get some oxygen to your brain, because there were several times I just couldn’t breathe!

There is so much awesomeness contained within Sweetly that writing a review without spoilers has been difficult.  Suffice it to say, this is on my Best of 2011 shelf.  Now go out and buy it!

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5 Trees: Wickedly awesome.  A sweet read.

Get to reading,

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dark Territory Giveaway Winner!

I have been so excited, counting down the days to pick a winner!

Contragulations to:

(name links to her Twitter profile)

Read my review of Dark Territory by J. Gabriel Gates & Charlene Keel

Stay tuned for more awesome reviews and giveaways!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Follow Friday (14)

image Q. Do you have a favorite series that you read over and over again? Tell us a bit about it and why you keep on revisiting it?

A. I have never been the kind of reader to reread something once read.  I like the newness of a different story.  Knowing what to expect kinda takes the fun out of it for me.  I have recently found some amazing books that I would want to reread, and they are a series: If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman.  They are vivid and beautiful.  And I want to experience them not as audiobooks (which is how I have read them now), but as actual words on paper.  I want to re-experience the imagery and honesty and grittiness and tragedy. 

Another “series” I want to reread is Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick.  The second book isn’t even out yet!  So, I’ll have to reread book one then book two, once it’s released!  The same is true for Mike Mullin’s Ashfall.  Book two is scheduled for release in 2012 and I’ll have to reread book one before reading it.

And, because I can’t do a Follow Friday without hating on Twilight: I will never read them again.  I would rather burn them instead.

Happy Friday!


Get to reading,
image image
Reviews of If I Stay and Where She Went will be on the blog soon.
image image
Click the book cover of Ashes or Ashfall to read my reviews.

*Follow Friday is a blog-hop hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read*

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Review: Be Now, Buddy What by Dan Spencer

A naked man survives a meteoric plunge from a cloudless sky, and a small-town TV reporter rushes to get the story. The fallen man claims amnesia and, despite widespread efforts, no one can identify him. The press dubs him Buddy What. When no clues surface about his identity and as details about the mystery man are examined, Internet devotees start worshipping him as a celestial being. With trepidation, he accepts the call to become a spiritual guru. But as Buddy What grows into a worldwide phenomenon, controversies follow. Be Now, Buddy What is a satire about fame, the news media, organized religion, the Internet, and people who let strangers into their homes

Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published 2011
url: http://www.buddywhat.com
I finished this book a few days ago, and have had to think about this review.  Because that is what happens after you read Be Now, Buddy What.  You think.
Dan Spencer emailed me about reviewing Be Now, Buddy What and it seemed like a very interesting, funny book.  So I said “yes.”  And I’m glad I did.  What Spencer has created is a witty, entertaining, tongue-in-cheek look at people’s need to belong, to have something to believe in, humanity’s fickleness, and the media’s ruthlessness and tactlessness.
It is abundantly clear that Spencer meant for  Buddy What to be a commentary on society.  Buddy What never chooses to be deified, to be a prophet, etc.  He never picks a title, he is simply a “messenger,”  a facilitator between people and their life awareness.  But people do it anyway.  Buddy simply wants to get people to question how they approach their lives and being.  People and the media jump to all kinds of conclusion, believe and publish what they want to and ignore anything that is counter to their view.  Isn’t that just like society and the media?  Well, maybe not as a whole, but work with me here, ok?
This book will make you laugh and it will make you wonder.  It will offend you and justify you at the same time.  Nothing is off limits, and that is what makes this unique.  You can read it as a work of fiction, or you can read it and think about it and maybe expand your world view a little.  I think that Spencer wrote masterfully.  Reading this is easy and fun.  It’s not what I thought, and I think that’s a good thing.  Thank you , Mr. Spencer, for opening me up the world of Buddy What.
3.5 Stars: Read this, then “Be now.”
Get to reading,
*This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review*

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Review: Matched by Ally Condie

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.
The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow
Audio CD, Unabridged, 8 discs
Published November 30th 2010 by Penguin Audio
ISBN: 0142428639 (ISBN13: 9780142428634)
series: Matched #1
literary awards: YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults (2011), Publishers Weekly's Best Children's Books of the Year for Fiction (2010)
We have here a post-dystopia utopia, ruled by the ever-watchful, all-knowing Society.  Citizens live mindlessly, accepting whatever it is the Society deems as best.  All rules, regulations, and marriages are based on statistics, probabilities, and predictions.  You have to prove your mindlessness to get the best work positions, don’t rock the boat, and live a quiet rule-bound life.  Meals are portion controlled for optimum nutrition, exercise is mandated, leisure time scheduled with Society approved events or outings.  What I pictured was a very stark, yet gleaming white society, with nearly zombie-like residents never questioning, always adhering.  (Zombies would have made this much more interesting!).  But just reading about daily life, that would just be a boring book!
Enter Cassia.  Our heroine of sorts.  Or maybe, the anti-heroine, because she doesn’t really do more than bend the rules, let her emotions guide her, and try to do what’s best for her family and friends.  Somehow, she gets on the Society’s list.  Not the good list, but THE list.  They seem to have it in for her.  And Cassia can feel it.  Something about the way there’s always an official nearby, or the way certain things happen.  Which becomes…predictable.  We’re building toward revolution here, people! …at a slow pace.  Condie is very good at story telling.  She makes it interesting, so that you feel the necessity to give your time to Cassia, Xander, and Ky.
Um, well, I have to be critical here.  Matched struck me as very The Hunger Games without the Hunger Games, if you lived in the Capital.  Now, I LOVE The Hunger Games (except for Mockingjay) and sing it’s praises often.  I do not, however love Matched.  It was very preconceived and outlined and felt like any other book of the same genre just different places and different people.  I liked it, it was easy to read, but hear what I’m saying: there are no new ideas in this.  I am going to read (or listen, whatever) Crossed (book two in the series) because I want to see if Cassia has any growth, any depth to her at all.  There was some slight hints and growth toward the end of the book.  It was good enough to want to continue the story.
My wife warned me that I might not like this since I’m not a teenage girl.  But it looked very interesting and had gotten good marks from reviewers.  I did enjoy it, I just didn’t love it like I wanted to.
3 Star: This is no match made in heaven, but it’s worth the read.
Get to reading,

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Book Haul (4): Playing Catch Up

Bounders, it has been quite some time since I’ve done a book haul post!  I didn’t intentionally not do one, just in the craziness business that is my life, I have just forgotten to.  So, I’m playing a little catch up.

Here’s my most recent acquisitions/borrows/copies for review:
image image image image
Sweetly is finished and review will be posted soon!
image image image image
I will be part of the book tour for The Accidental Activist November 7 & 8, 2011.  My first book tour!  I’m super excited! There’s even a giveaway!  Click the cover of Ashes to read my 5 Star review of the pre-release! (My wife bought me a copy for our anniversary after release day...I love it that much!)

There’s been several others, but you’ve already seen the reviews on the blog!  Hopefully I’ll do these more often to keep you all updated on what I’m reading and what reviews are coming!

Y’all get anything interesting lately?

Get to reading,

*IMM is hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren

Friday, September 16, 2011

Follow Friday (13)

image Q. It's that pesky magic book fairy again! She has another wish: What imaginary book world would you like to make a reality?

A. The first “world” that came to mind is that of the Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare.  It seems so rich and vivid and alive.  Though there is darkness lurking at almost every turn, it just seems…interesting!

I have mentioned it before, but I haven’t read more than the first in the series, City of Bones, but I own the next three books and they are on my TBR list!  I am super excited to get to them!

Or any steampunk world, yeah that would be super cool.

What world did you pick?

Get to reading,

image image image image
*Follow Friday is a blog-hop hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read*

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Review: Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich

Life in Marblehead has had a pleasant predictability, until Diesel arrives. Rumor has it that a collection of priceless ancient relics representing the Seven Deadly Sins have made their way to Boston's North Shore. Partnered with pastry chef Lizzie Tucker, Diesel bullies and charms his way through historic Salem to track them down--and his criminal mastermind cousin Gerewulf Grimorie. The black-haired, black-hearted Wulf is on the hunt for the relic representing gluttony. Caught in a race against time, Diesel and Lizzie soon find out that more isn't always better, as they battle Wulf and the first of the deadly sins.
With delectable characters and non-stop thrills that have made Janet Evanovich a household name, Wicked Appetite will leave you hungry for more
Compact Disc,
Published September 14th 2010 by Macmillan Audio (first published 2010)
ISBN: 1427210454 (ISBN13: 9781427210456)
series: The Unmentionables #1
I have honestly been dying to read a book by Janet Evanovich and when I saw this at my local library, I nearly peed my pants with excitement!  Ok, that’s not really how it happened, but I was still super excited.
I read a few reviews where the reviewers compared Lizzie to Stephanie Plum.  They also said that they were too similar.  Well, since this is my first Evanovich book, I can’t say that I agree, because I don’t know anything about Stephanie Plum.  I can say this: I love Lizzie.  And if Stephanie is anything like Lizzie, I’m sure I’ll love her, too.  And I think that I love Janet Evanovich as well.
The characters were rich and colorful.  I was never bored.  The plot moved quickly, and though definitely not real, was something I could relate to.  The supporting characters added just the right amount of comic relief and side plots.  Glo is freaking hilarious.
There’s so much left to explore and I cannot wait to read the next installment.  Ms. Evanovich, wanna throw me an ARC????  Please?? I’ll get my wife to bake you cookies!
Wicked Appetite is witty, hilarious, well-written, and entertaining.  My only complaint is how quick it went!  And now I’m totally disappointed that I have to wait until 2012 for the untitled sequel.  Boo hiss.
5 Stars: Gobble this one up.  It’s yummy.
Get to reading,

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

WoW (8): The Future of Us by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler

wow Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly blog-hop hosted by Breaking the Spine that features books we are eagerly awaiting!

My pick this week:

The Future of Us by Asher & Mackler

This sounds so interesting.  I mean really, what would it be like to look into your future and see what’s coming?  Is it good? Bad?  Expected?  Different than our life plan?

And, I can remember when the Internet was first started.  And that America Online was one of the few ways to access the ‘Net. 

And, I’m a nerd.

What are you waiting on?


It's 1996, and less than half of all American high school students have ever used the Internet.
Emma just got her first computer and an America Online CD-ROM.

Josh is her best friend. They power up and log on--and discover themselves on Facebook, fifteen years in the future.

Everybody wonders what their Destiny will be. Josh and Emma are about to find out.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Review: Dark Territory by J. Gabriel Gates and Charlene Keel

Star-Crossed Love, Martial Arts, and Supernatural Evil meet at the Abandoned Tracks in the Deceptively Quaint town of Middleburg...When Ignacio Torrez moved from the rough streets of Los Angeles to a small town dead smack in the middle of nowhere, he never expected to find himself in the midst of a gang war. But, he soon learns, these are no ordinary gangs. The wealthy, preppie Toppers on one side of the tracks and the working-class Flatliners on the other adhere to a strict code of honor and use their deadly martial arts skills, taught to them by the wise Master Chin, to battle one another for pride, territory, and survival. When Raphael, leader of the Flatliners, falls for Aimee, a Topper girl, the rival gangs prepare for a bloody, all-out war. The only hope for peace between them lies within the dark territory of the abandoned train tunnels where the tracks cross. Under the direction of the mysterious and frightening Magician, the awesome power within the crossing sends the rivals on a terrifying mystical quest to fight the malevolent force that threatens the existence of Middleburg.

Paperback, 480 pages
Published July 1st 2011 by HCI Teens
ISBN 0757315747 (ISBN13: 9780757315749)
series The Tracks #1
Full Bookish Disclosure: I reviewed Dark Territory after reading only half of the book.  I “knew” what the last half was going to be like, and felt my initial impressions were correct.  I gave it 3 Stars.  Then I finished reading.  Then rewrote my review.  And gave it 4 Stars.  So there you have it.
Knowing what I know about this book, that it was an idea for a TV show, makes this book work.  Somehow, Gates and Keel take a very teen-melodramatic “poor vs. rich” plotline, mix in some martial arts in various forms, some paranormalcy, and basically, kick some tail.
There are a lot of clichés.  Rich vs. Poor, “I hate you because you’re from the wrong side of the tracks (literally),” “your dad fired my dad, so I hate you,” and so on.  Which gets kinda…irritating.  But, I’m not a teen.  I’m 30.  So, maybe I’m a little too far removed from the intricacies of high school to relate to that.  But there have been the two gangs in Middleburg for sometime, so I’m not quite sure I understand why they’re there, other than the previously mentioned clichés.
The main group of characters, all teenagers from the same school, but different socioeconomic classes are typical teens.  Trying to make it in the cut-throat hallways of high school.  It’s real, honest.  The conversations and kidding and interactions and attitudes all felt very teenage.  Even the angst (which I’m not usually a fan of) worked in Dark Territory.  Nothing was forced or faked.  The romantic subtext running throughout the book is reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet, where two kids from different worlds fall in love and fight to be together.  They don’t end up committing suicide or anything, though.
There’s a good vs. evil element that builds, from nearly the beginning of the book.  Whispers on the wind, strange feelings, Kate, the dude in red.  It built, and built, and built, and I really just wanted to get on with it, but it built some more.  Dark Territory would make an excellent book to TV show conversion: all the angst and dramatic effect building are there in it.  The CW or ABC Family could literally just produce from the book.  Not that that’s a bad thing, there’s a lot that’s not left to the imagination, and in a story like this, that’s good.  Gates and Keel spell it out for you.  You’re not going to have to figure it out for yourself.  All the building left me a little exhausted.  But once the war begins, I couldn’t put the book down!  The pace picked up and speed me down the tracks toward the ending.
The ending is a little too neat and tidy.  It still leaves room for the sequel, but can stand by itself.  It’s not all rainbow and butterflies, but close to it.  And I appreciated the lightness of it compared to the darkness that reigned through most the book. 
4 Stars: Cross the tracks and get this one!
Get to reading,
*This book was provided to me by the publishers in exchange for an honest review*


Friday, September 9, 2011

Follow Friday (12)

Q. Have you ever wanted a villain to win at the end of a story?  If so, which one??

A. Oh, gosh, I’m sure there have been.  Hold on while I look through my Read list to see… [3 minutes later] …TWILIGHT!  The whole series needed more fighting and less whining and drama and angst.  It would have been awesome if the Volturi had kicked some Cullen tail.  And killed them all, including the whiney-butt Bella.  Or maybe all of the new vampires distracted them enough for the red-headed (I don't know her name…but you know the one) vamp to kill Bella.  That would have made things a lot more interesting, too!  Or, maybe the werewolves decided the truce wasn’t worth it and attacked the Cullens unexpectedly.  Or, or… yeah you get the idea.

Who’s your villain that needs to rule the book?

Get to reading,

*Follow Friday is a blog-hop hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read*

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Review: The Bourne Objective by Eric Van Lustbader

Facing down mercenaries in Africa, Jason Bourne witnesses the death of an art dealer named Tracy Atherton. Her killing dredges up snatches of Bourne's impaired memory, in particular the murder of a young woman on Bali who entrusted him with a strangely engraved ring­-an artifact of such powerful significance that people have killed to obtain it. Now he's determined to find the ring's owner and purpose. But Bourne never knows what terrible acts he'll discover he committed when he digs into the past.
The trail will lead him through layers of conspiracy to a vicious Russian mercenary, Leonid Arkadin, who was also a graduate of the Central Intelligence training program Treadstone. A covert course designed to create ruthless assassins for C.I., it was shuttered by Congress for corruption. Yet before it was dismantled, it produced Bourne and Arkadin, giving them equal skills, equal force, and equal cunning.
As Bourne's destiny circles closer to Arkadin's, it becomes clear that the eventual collision of these men is not of their own making. Someone else has been watching and manipulating them. Someone who wants to know, Who is the more deadly agent?
Compact Disc
Published May 3rd 2011 by Hachette Audio (first published 2009)
ISBN: 1611138167 (ISBN13: 9781611138160)
series: Jason Bourne
I love the Jason Bourne movies.  They are exciting, full of adventure, and action-packed.  So, when I found The Bourne Objective at my local used bookstore, I jumped at the opportunity to experience the book series.  Now, this is book 8, and before committing to it I asked the lady working the register if she thought I needed to know anything about the previous books to understand this one.  Neither one of us figured I would.  So, I swiped my card for the $6 + tax and rolled outta there with my brand-new-still-in-the-plastic “used” audiobook.
That may have been the worst $6 I have ever spent.
Ok, I’ll be the first to admit, maybe I should have read the other 7 books.  Maybe I shouldn’t have started that far into the series.  Maybe…who am I kidding?  I just shouldn’t have bought it to start with.  And here’s why:
1. There was too much “understood” back story that I didn’t understand.  It really was like I came in on the butt end of an inside joke that no one explained to me.  So, this could totally be my fault, but I’ll never find out, because I’ll never read books 1-7.
2. I’m not a narrator snob, but this dude could not do accents.  At all.  His Russian and Spanish sounded so much alike I would spend too long trying to figure out who was talking, what was going on, etc. that I missed the current narrative.  Much too confusing.
3. This is something I liked: that the editors added sound effects.
4. There were way too many characters, dead and alive, to keep up with.  So many were minor and died, that they really didn’t need brain power devoted to them, but I didn’t know this, so I had to try to remember them.  Even though all, and I mean EVERY, plot lines meet up toward the end of the story, it was still too much.  I needed a Cliff’s Notes for each character’s story to keep up with it all.  The plot was just a little too intricate to translate into audiobook well.
5. I got the distinct feeling that all this mess was happening within a few months of, let’s just go with the movies since I’ve seen them, the first movie when Jason realizes that he doesn’t know anything has amnesia.  Ok, is it just me or does that seem like a way too little time has elapsed for 8 books to take place.  Really?  Hard for me to believe this.
6.  There was no resolution to the story.  Everything that happened was for one purpose, and one purpose alone.  And that purpose was never realized.  Something happened and the whole purpose behind it all couldn’t happen.  Not that I couldn’t happen now, it will never happen because it blew up.  To smithereens.  Yeah, that kinda sucks.
There’s probably more, but I’m going to stop my rant.
1 Star: I didn’t like it.  Period.
Get to reading (anything but The Bourne Objective),

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

WoW (7): The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

image WoW is a weekly blog-hop hosted by Breaking the Spine that features books we are eagerly awaiting!

HOLY FREAKING CRAP I am so excited about this book.  The first in the series, The Lost Hero, introduces new characters into the world of Camp Half-Blood.  You will meet familiar characters again, and a bevy of new ones.  I  fell in love with it as much as I fell in love with Percy Jackson and all his greatness (the books are SOOOO much better than the movie, so read them if you haven’t yet!).  I get giddy like a school-girl thinking about this book!  If only I could get my hands on an ARC…

I am pretty much counting the days until this comes out!  AHHHHH!

What are you waiting for?

In The Lost Hero, three demigods named Jason, Piper, and Leo made their first visit to Camp Half-Blood, where they inherited a quest:

Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
To storm or fire the world must fall.
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.

Who are the other four mentioned in the prophecy? The answer may lie in another camp miles away, where a new camper has shown up and appears to be the son of Neptune, god of the sea...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Review: Breathless by Dean Koontz

#1 New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz delivers a thrilling novel of suspense and adventure, as the lives of strangers converge around a mystery unfolding high in the Colorado mountains—and the balance of the world begins to tilt….
In the stillness of a golden September afternoon, deep in the wilderness of the Rockies, a solitary craftsman, Grady Adams, and his magnificent Irish wolfhound Merlin step from shadow into light…and into an encounter with enchantment. That night, through the trees, under the moon, a pair of singular animals will watch Grady's isolated home, waiting to make their approach.

A few miles away, Camillia Rivers, a local veterinarian, begins to unravel the threads of a puzzle that will bring all the forces of a government in peril to her door.

At a nearby farm, long-estranged identical twins come together to begin a descent into darkness…In Las Vegas, a specialist in chaos theory probes the boundaries of the unknowable…On a Seattle golf course, two men make matter-of-fact arrangements for murder…Along a highway by the sea, a vagrant scarred by the past begins a trek toward his destiny…

In a novel that is at once wholly of our time and timeless, fearless and funny, Dean Koontz takes readers into the moment between one turn of the world and the next, across the border between knowing and mystery. It is a journey that will leave all who take it Breathless.

Audio CD, Published November 24th 2009 by Brilliance Audio on MP3-CD Lib Ed (first published 2009)
ISBN: 142335706X (ISBN13: 9781423357063)
Breathless left me anything but.  All it left me was confused, bewildered.
Koontz weaves a masterful tale, suspense, intrigue, fantasy.  A story that drew me in and left me waiting for the next time I was in my Tribute to hear the next section of the story.  However, in Part Three, Koontz veers of the path, through roads not marked on the map, and got me very, very lost.
*There may be some spoilers, just to warn you*
Henry: this is probably the best part of the entire story.  Henry and his descent into madness.  I wanted to know more about the tormentor, see what happened next, what crazy mess was waiting for Henry.  And then you get to the end of the book, and well, that’s it.  No more Henry.  It was very disappointing.

Grady & Cami: This is where most of the story takes place, with these two.  And the creatures, which when it comes down to it are the beginning of a fantastic horror story that never happens.  This whole story is very vanilla, plain, simple.  It never met my expectations.

Tom: what was the point of his story? None I suspect because he wasn’t a vital part of anything at all.  Nothing.  A waste of words.  The same is true for the various other characters in the plotline.  Koontz weaves their stories together, sure, but spends too much time on them, gives way, way too much back story.  For many of these I just wanted to get to the point, figure out why they were important.

As a whole, there was so much that underwhelmed me, left me wishing there was one more MP3 file left.  I don’t know what Koontz was trying to get at.  It felt as if he wrote the first two parts, and in the midst of Part Three decided to take an entirely different route, wax a little poetic at the end, and conclude the story.  Or he was starting a series, then decided better of it.

There was no conclusion, no wrap-up.  It was a “that’s all folks” moment where it just ends.  There was so much going on for so long, and then nothing is tied up.  Government conspiracy?  Forget about it, you won’t know what it was.  Creatures from the future?  Yeah, but they’re not going to eat your face while you sleep or even tell you why they’re here.  A whole lot of nothing is what happened.  Nothing and then some more nothing, followed by…ugh wait some…, nope I was wrong…nothing.  It was such a disappointment that if this had been my first Koontz book, I would not understand why people hold him in such high regards.  But, since this is not, I’ll give ‘im another try.

1 Star: Won’t take your breath away, but it might leave you breathless and confused.

Get to reading,

Friday, September 2, 2011

Follow Friday (11)

Q. If you could change the ending of any book (or series), which book would you choose? Why and to what?

A. This was a total no-brainer for me.  I don’t think that words can completely grasp my utter and total hatred for Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.  I don’t feel like she was true to her story or true to her characters.  She killed people off for the pure enjoyment of doing it (or because it was easier than trying to keep up with who was where…).  Mockingjay is a bloodbath of the wrong kind.

Ok, I know that this is about revolution and government overthrowing, but geez, the plot seemed to be completely divergent from the other two books.

Ok, so that’s my soapbox.
Get to reading,

Young Katniss Everdeen has survived the dreaded Hunger Games not once, but twice, but even now she can find no relief. In fact, the dangers seem to be escalating: President Snow has declared an all-out war on Katniss, her family, her friends, and all the oppressed people of District 12. The thrill-packed final installment of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy will keep young hearts pounding.

*Follow Friday is a blog-hop hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read*

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Early Review: You Are My Only by Beth Kephart

Emmy Rane is married at nineteen, a mother by twenty. Trapped in a life with a husband she no longer loves, Baby is her only joy. Then one sunny day in September, Emmy takes a few fateful steps away from her baby and returns to find her missing. All that is left behind is a yellow sock.

Fourteen years later, Sophie, a homeschooled, reclusive teenage girl is forced to move frequently and abruptly from place to place, perpetually running from what her mother calls the "No Good." One afternoon, Sophie breaks the rules, ventures out, and meets Joey and his two aunts. It is this loving family that gives Sophie the courage to look into her past. What she discovers changes her world forever. . . .

The riveting stories of Emmy and Sophie—alternating narratives of loss, imprisonment, and freedom regained—escalate with breathless suspense toward an unforgettable climax.

ebook, 252 pages (ARC)
Expected publication: October 25th 2011 by EgmontUSA
ISBN: 1606842854 (ISBN13: 9781606842850)

Kephart writes poetic.  Her words and the way she describes even the simplest things are beautiful.  You Are My Only is written unlike any book I have read.  At it’s basic, it is a story of loss, friendship, growth, and trust.  It is heart wrenching, heart breaking, gorgeous, and wonderful.  I laughed, I was nearly in tears, and I ached for Emmy and Sophie.

There isn’t too much that can be said without spoiling this magnificent literary creation, so I’m not going to say too much.  Just be prepared to stay up all night to finish it.  Seriously.  You kinda figure out the big reveal very early in the story, and I think that might be what you’re supposed to do.  So that you keep reading to see how it ends.  Kephart writes in such a way that made me second guess myself about the characters and the plot, but it’s not frustrating or irritating.  It’s enlightened.

At it’s deeper levels, you will explore humanity and longing.  The need to be held as dear and the need to hold things dear.   The need for purpose in our lives, unconditional love and acceptance.

The cover is my real issue with this book.  It is beautiful and what initially drew me to this story, but really didn’t fit the book.  It looks more like a young lady from the 20s, a flapper if you will.  I had trouble, because of the cover, figuring out what time period I was reading in.  Let me go ahead and let you in on a little secret: this book takes place for the most part in the early 90s (for Emmy) and 2004 (for Sophie).  But you don’t find this out right away.  Knowing this upfront would have provided necessary context desperately required for the first few chapters.  So, there you have it.  Context proper.

The ending, though not what I was expecting, was perfect.  I love it, I related to it.  It couldn’t have been any better.  It left me wheeling, dizzy, and breathless.

I was hooked, stayed up way past my bed time and HAD to finish this.  Just had to, no matter how bad my performance at work would suck the next day.  It was demanded of me to finish this book! [PS: I didn’t suffer at work, I was very productive]

4 Stars: Add this to your TBR list.  Go on, do it now!

Get to reading,

*This pre-release was provided to me by the publishers through netGalley*