Mar 30, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday

"Waiting on Wednesday" is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

I usually don't do "Waiting on" Wednesdays's but I just stumbled upon a book searching the web, and I seriously want to read it now.

Instructions for a Broken Heart
Author:  Kim Culbertson
Publisher:  Sourcebooks, Incorporated
Expected Publication:  May 1st 2011

From Goodreads:

Three days before her drama club's trip to Italy, Jessa Gardner discovers her boyfriend in the costume barn with another girl. Jessa is left with a care package from her best friend titled "Top Twenty Reasons He's a Slimy Jerk Bastard," instructing her to do one un-Jessa-like thing each day of the trip. At turns hilarious and heartwrenching, Instructions for a Broken Heart paints a magical Italy in which Jessa learns she must figure out life-and romance-for herself.

Sounds really good, huh?

Mini Reviews

The Romantics

The Romantic
Author:  Galt Niederhoffer

To say that The Romantics was a huge disappointment is an understatement.  I was expecting the cattiness, but I was also expecting friendship, a closeness between these group of friends.  I kept on reading thinking why are these people friends in the first place if they can’t stand each other.  I thought it was disjointed, and boring. I heard The Romantics was made into a movie. Has anyone seen it?  Maybe it translates better on film.


Invincible Summer

Invincible Summer
Author:  Hannah Moskowitz

Invincible Summer is a lot more than intense than I expected.  Don't expect a nice fluffy beach read.  It's a story about family, first crushes, and disappointment.  I thought the writing was crisp, but the story was lacking a little for me.  I enjoyed the read, but wasn't wowed by it. 

Mar 29, 2011

Top Ten Tuesdays

A weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish

This week's top ten is

Top Ten Authors that Deserve More Recognition

1.  Kyra Davis- Her Sophie Katz series is one of my favorites. Her characters are fun, and the writing is witty, and hilarious.  I know when  I pick up one of her books I'm going to be entertained. One of my all time funny favorite line comes from her book Passion, Betrayal and Killer Highlights..
"Let me make sure i'm interpreting this correctly.  You cheated on your diet, gained a pound, and blame this on a self diagnosed thyroid condition"

2.  Craig Lancaster- 600 Hours of Edward and The Summer Son are such great reads.  I definitely think he deserves more recognition.  He hasn't failed me yet.

3.  Carol Goodman- Her books are such page turners. The Lake of Dead Languages and Arcadia Falls were excellent written books. I still have some of her books in my TBR that I haven't gotten to yet, but I know they will be awesome.

4.  Paullina Simons- The Bronze Horseman is one of my all time favorite books.  A epic story of survival and love.

5.  Chelsea Cain-  Writer of my favorite thriller series, the Gretchen Lowell series. I've yet to read The Night Season (bk 4) but I have read great reviews on it.  Can't wait to read it.  Gretchen Lowell is up there with Hannibal Lector.

6.  Patti Callahan Henry-  If you are looking for beach reads I highly recommend her, especially Driftwood Summer.

7.  Melissa De La Cruz- With all the paranormal YA series out there, the Blue Bloods series is one of the best, IMO. I think she kind of gets lost in the shuffle, and she shouldn't.

8.  Carlos Ruiz Zafon-  I'm surprised how many people have never heard of him.  Shadow of the Wind is one of my favorite books ever.  Seriously if you haven't read it, you need to RUN to your nearest bookstore and get a copy.

9.  Tom Perrota- He sure knows how to tell a story.  A great writer.

10.  Maeve Binchy-  Circle of Friends is the only book I reread.  I'm not a rereader but this book holds a special place in my heart.  After reading it I quickly dived into her other works, and they have all been great reads.  I blame her for my intense desire to go to Ireland.

Mar 27, 2011

Take A Chance on Me by Jill Mansell.

Take a Chance on Me

Take A Chance On Me 
Author:  Jill Mansell
Genre:  Chick Lit, Women's Fiction
Publisher:  Headline Review
Date Published:  February 18th 2010

From Goodreads:

Cleo Quinn doesn't have a great track record when it comes to men, but now Will's come along she's optimistic. Handsome, attentive and an absolute gentleman when it comes to her questionable cooking skills, he could be her Mr Right. Things are definitely looking up for Cleo... apart from one small problem with a rather large ego. Johnny LaVenture, sculptor extraordinaire and her childhood adversary, is back in Channing's Hill and tormenting Cleo as if he'd never been away.

But life never goes to plan, does it? Johnny isn't the only one stirring up trouble and, for Cleo's family and friends, all kinds of sparks are starting to fly. If you think you can put the past behind you, think again...


Lately, I have been in a fluffy chick lit kind of mood, and Jill Mansell has been a great author for me to satisfy the reading mood i'm in. 

Cleo finally thinks she has found the perfect man.  Will is everything she has every wanted and looked for in a man.  When former school tormentor Johnny La Venture comes back to Channing’s Hill for his father’s funeral and subsequently decides to stay to sell off his father’s property, Cleo is not happy. Not at all!  But she is so glad that she has perfect Will around to show Johnny La Venture that she is not the same girl she use to fact, she is so much better, and she has Will to prove that. She snagged him didn't she? Added in with Cleo, Will and Johnny is Cleo’s friends and family that are also going through their own problems, and situations. 

One of the best things about Jill Mansell’s books are her characters.  It’s pretty much a given that if I love the characters I will like if not love the book.  The plot is so much better when you actually care what happens to the characters.  The characters she creates are so fun, and relatable.  I always find myself wishing that these were real people and my friends.  Her books also cover quite a bit of characters, and not just a particular one.  We get a couple of different stories all in one book, and Mrs. Mansell doesn’t sacrifice any of her characters for others.  I always finish her books fully satisfied with a smile on my face.
The only problem with Take A Chance On Me is that the ending is predicable, and typical chick lit. BUT if you prefer great characters over plot than I truly believe that you will love Take A Chance on Me, and by plot I mean a predictable one, not a bad one.

Jill Mansell is creator of wonderful down to earth, spunky, and fun characters.  You will find yourself laughing, and entertained while reading Take A Chance on Me.

Why don’t you take a chance on it. (cheesy, I know but I couldn’t help it)

Mar 23, 2011

John Belushi is Dead by Kathy Charles

John Belushi Is Dead

John Belushi is Dead
Author:  Kathy Charles
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher:  MTV
Date Published:  August 24th 2010

From Goodreads:


Pink-haired Hilda and oddball loner Benji are not your typical teenagers. Instead of going to parties or hanging out at the mall, they comb the city streets and suburban culs-de-sac of Los Angeles for sites of celebrity murder and suicide. Bound by their interest in the macabre, Hilda and Benji neglect their schoolwork and their social lives in favor of prowling the most notorious crime scenes in Hollywood history and collecting odd mementos of celebrity death.

Hilda and Benji’s morbid pastime takes an unexpected turn when they meet Hank, the elderly, reclusive tenant of a dilapidated Echo Park apartment where a silent movie star once stabbed himself to death with a pair of scissors. Hilda feels a strange connection with Hank and comes to care deeply for her paranoid new friend as they watch old movies together and chat the sweltering afternoons away. But when Hank’s downstairs neighbor Jake, a handsome screenwriter, inserts himself into the equation and begins to hint at Hank’s terrible secrets, Hilda must decide what it is she’s come to Echo Park searching for . . . and whether her fascination with death is worth missing out on life.


What can I say about John Belushi is Dead?  Maybe that it is a dark read, and sometimes uncomfortable to continue reading. 

Hilda has a morbid interest in death, especially the deaths of the famous. After her parents both die in a car accident she moves in with her aunt, and befriends Benji, who is just as fascinated with death.  We are introduced to Hilda’s and Benji’s weird attraction to the deaths of celebrities from the very beginning during their trips to visit the sites of some of the killings/overdoses(whatever killed them).  One particular excursion leads them to an apartment of an older man, Hank who lives in the apartment that a down and out actor killed himself many years before. 

I really don’t know why I bought this book, because I can’t even relate to any of it.  I am so not into the whole death thing, not even curious, but I am glad I read it.  Even with it being out of my comfort zone I was enthralled of the whole thing.  How can someone be interested in this kind of stuff, it’s depressing.
As the book progresses you sense Hilda is changing.  I love when by the end of the book the main protagonist learns something about herself, and grows.  Benji freaked me out.  Seriously!  At first I really didn’t understand the connection between Hilda and Hank but as you read you begin to understand.  It’s all part of Hilda’s growth, in my opinion.

After reading John Belushi is Dead I had to pick up something light and fluffy.  Weirdly, I actually liked this book..I liked it a lot.  

Mar 22, 2011

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

The House at Riverton

The House at Riverton
Author:  Kate Morton
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Atria
Date Published:  April 22nd 2008

From Goodreads:

"Grace Bradley went to work at Riverton House as a servant when she was just a girl, before the First World War. For years her life was inextricably tied up with the Hartford family, most particularly the two daughters, Hannah and Emmeline." "In the summer of 1924, at a glittering society party held at the house, a young poet shot himself. The only witnesses were Hannah and Emmeline and only they - and Grace - know the truth." "In 1999, when Grace is ninety-eight years old and living out her last days in a nursing home, she is visited by a young director who is making a film about the events of that summer. She takes Grace back to Riverton House and reawakens her memories. Told in flashback, this is the story of Grace's youth during the last days of Edwardian aristocratic privilege shattered by war, of the vibrant twenties and the changes she witnessed as an entire way of life vanished forever." The novel is full of secrets - some revealed, others hidden forever, reminiscent of the romantic suspense of Daphne du Maurier. It is also a 
meditation on memory, the devastation of war and a window into a fascinating time in history.


The House at Riverton is a mesmerizing story that will keep your attention.

The story is told from Grace Bradley’s point of view, the 98 year old former maid of Riverton Manor.  She’s contacted by a director who is making a film about the tragedy that happen at Riverton in the 1920’s, a Young poet committed suicide on the grounds during a party.  Suddenly memories and secrets that Grace has been harboring come to surface.  Grace comes to the decision 
that it’s time to tell the story…the story of Hannah and Emmaline Hartford, and Riverton.

The House at Riverton is a dark gothic tale that takes readers through a tragic love story, as well as a mystery.  What happened that tragic night a young poet took his life?  Ms. Morton weaves an elegant story of love, betrayal, and secrets.   Her words are elegant, and breathe to life the 1920’s.

I was equally impressed with the key players of The House at Riverton.  Sisters Hannah and Emmaline are different in so many ways.  I can see everyone identifying with one or the other sister.  Grace though, really is the shining character of the novel.  You like her as a 98 yr. old women, and will love her as she recollects her time as a maid at Riverton Manor.

If you love gothic mysteries you will love The House at Riverton.  It has the feel of Ian McEwan’s Atonement.

Mar 21, 2011

The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell.

The Vespertine (The Vespertine, #1)

The Vespertine
Author:  Saundra Mitchell
Genre:  YA
Publisher:  Harcourt's Children's Books
Date Published:  March 7th 2011

From Goodreads:  

It’s the summer of 1889, and Amelia van den Broek is new to Baltimore and eager to take in all the pleasures the city has to offer. But her gaiety is interrupted by disturbing, dreamlike visions she has only at sunset—visions that offer glimpses of the future. Soon, friends and strangers alike call on Amelia to hear her prophecies. However, a forbidden romance with Nathaniel, an artist, threatens the new life Amelia is building in Baltimore. This enigmatic young man is keeping secrets of his own—still, Amelia finds herself irrepressibly drawn to him.
When one of her darkest visions comes to pass, Amelia’s world is thrown into chaos. And those around her begin to wonder if she’s not the seer of dark portents, but the cause.


The first thing that caught my eye was the beautiful cover of The Verspertine.  It really is gorgeous.  The book description then grabbed me, especially it being a historical YA. 

There were some solid good things about The Vespertine, but also some things that weren’t great.  Let me start with what I liked about The Vespertine.

1.    .   The time period was a huge plus.  A little different now and then goes a long way.  Saundra Mitchill did a great job with sticking with the time period, and making readers feel like you were there.  Basically the language, and mannerisms were accurate to the time period.

2.       Nathaniel, the protagonist’s leading man was freaking awesome.  He was a satisfying crush worthy character.  I understood Amelia’s draw to him. Sometimes I don’t understand the romances in YA, some guys just aren’t worth anyone’s time.

3.       Saundra Mitchell’s writing is so clean.  Does that make sense?  Her words flow and create this place I want to be. 

4.       The mystery, and the Amelia’s visions are very interesting and make for a good read. 

That being said I had problems with The Vespertine, as well.  I did not like Lizzy.  I don’t even have a good reason why I just don’t.   Also, though the beginning of the book is entertaining because Nathaniel is in the picture pretty quickly, the mystery part of the book seemed to come in too late for me.  Plot movement wasn’t quick enough for me in the beginning.

Overall, not a smashing hit in my eyes, it fell somewhere in the middle for me.  If you like time period reads I think you will enjoy it.

Mar 19, 2011

Where She Went by Gayle Forman and Giveaway

If you haven't read If I Stay this contains spoilers.

Where She Went (If I Stay, #2)

Where She Went
Author:  Gayle Forman
Genre:  YA
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Expected Publication:  April 5th 2011

From Goodreads: 

It's been three years since the devastating accident ... three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Julliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other.

Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.


Where She Went is the sequel to If I Stay, though it wasn’t as good as If I Stay I thought it was still worth a read if you are a fan of If I Stay.

Where She Went  takes place three years after Mia’s tragic accident.  It’s told in Adam’s point of view, which was a little of a shocker to me, but was really a great decision on Gayle Forman’s part.  We know what Mia was feeling in If I Stay, and now it’s great to know what Adam was feeling and is feeling now 3 years later. 

Adam didn’t make a strong impression in the first book, but in all honestly none of the characters did, but Where She Went changed that for me with Adam.  I was able to see a piece of him, and exactly how he felt, and feels about Mia.  Adam is definitely is a good catch. 

I didn’t enjoy it more than If I Stay, though.  Like I mention in my If I Stay review Mia is really hard character to enjoy for me.  After a while I was tired of seeing Adam put Mia on a glass shelf admiring her.  I don’t know it’s really hard to explain my discomfort for Mia, and  I was able to overlook that in If I Stay because of the plot, I wasn’t this turn around.

Though Where She Went fell short for me, I’m sure that fans of If I Stay will love the continuation of Adam and Mia’s story. 


Since Where She Went is a hot commodity I’m going to giveaway my ARC copy.

U.S  only
There are no MUST but you will get extra points for being a follower here and/or  twitter.
Also extra points for tweeting and/or blog posting about the giveaway.
Giveaway ends March 30th

Fill out FORM to enter.

Mar 18, 2011

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I Stay (If I Stay, #1)

If I Stay
Author:  Gayle Forman
Genre:  YA
Publisher:  Speak
Date Published:  April 6th 2010

From Goodreads:

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.


I heard so many great things about If I Stay that I had no choice but go out and buy it.  I came home after my stop and B & N, and immediately started it. 

Once I started reading If I Stay I thought “Crap, I’m not going to like it” because Mia was too perfect for me.  I really can’t stand goody two shoes characters, but quickly realized If I Stay isn’t about Mia but about her decision, her experience, and her journey.  Once I let go of my dislike for Mia’s Miss America personality I was able to enjoy If I Stay. 

This really is a heartwrenching story about death, trauma and the heartbreaking choice to stay or go.  Some of Mia’s thoughts during her journey did get me teary eyed.  Author Gayle Forman took me on a sad ride, her words flowed, sometimes poetically.  It really makes you think “What would you do?”

If I Stay is a well written book that will pull at your heartstrings.

Mar 17, 2011

Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon

Await Your Reply

Await Your Reply
Author: Dan Chaon
Genre:  Fiction
Publisher:  Ballantine Books
Date Published:  August 25th 2009

From Goodreads:  

The lives of three strangers interconnect in unforeseen ways–and with unexpected consequences–in acclaimed author Dan Chaon’s gripping, brilliantly written new novel.

Longing to get on with his life, Miles Cheshire nevertheless can’t stop searching for his troubled twin brother, Hayden, who has been missing for ten years. Hayden has covered his tracks skillfully, moving stealthily from place to place, managing along the way to hold down various jobs and seem, to the people he meets, entirely normal. But some version of the truth is always concealed.

A few days after graduating from high school, Lucy Lattimore sneaks away from the small town of Pompey, Ohio, with her charismatic former history teacher. They arrive in Nebraska, in the middle of nowhere, at a long-deserted motel next to a dried-up reservoir, to figure out the next move on their path to a new life. But soon Lucy begins to feel quietly uneasy.

My whole life is a lie, thinks Ryan Schuyler, who has recently learned some shocking news. In response, he walks off the Northwestern University campus, hops on a bus, and breaks loose from his existence, which suddenly seems abstract and tenuous. Presumed dead, Ryan decides to remake himself–through unconventional and precarious means.


I was not familiar with Dan Chaon’s work before I picked up Await Your Reply, other than the description of the book I had no idea what I was getting into. 

Await Your Reply is a complex and sometimes confusing book to read.  I had to reread the ending a couple of times to understand what the hell happened.  I googled the ending to see if the conclusion I came to was correct, but didn’t find the answers I was looking for until I came upon an interview with Dan Chaon where he explained to ending to some readers that had questions like me.  I had an “AHA” moment after reading it, then went back and reread the ending again knowing what I now new. 

Alright I’m getting ahead of myself.  First off the book is told in 3 points of view, each chapter is rotated between these three people.  They are all somehow linked but you don’t really find out until the end how.  I kept on thinking I had it, but then would get pushed in another direction until I was completely flabbergasted.  I loved Mr. Chaon’s writing, it reminded me of the simplicity that John Grisham has, very  straightforward movement of the plot.  The story moved at a great pace. 

The characters in Await Your Reply are complicated, and a mystery.  As the story moves along you get to know them.  It was like a courtship, you didn’t feel a attachment until the end when you realized you were sad to let them go.  They really did sneak up on you.

Await Your Reply will leave you scratching your head, but nevertheless you will be entertained.  

Mar 16, 2011

One Day by David Nicholls

One Day
Author:  David Nicholls
Genre:  Fiction
Publisher:  Hodder and Stoughton
Date Published:  June 11th 2009

From Goodreads

Emma and Dexter meet for the first time on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways. So where will they be on this one day next year? And the year after that? And every year that follows? Twenty years, two people, ONE DAY.


“Twenty years, two people, ONE DAY”

I feel in love with this book.

So much goes on between Dexter and Emma. The sexual tension was there, friendship, unrequited love, and so much more. I loved every minute of One Day. One Day follows the lives of Dexter and Emma throughout their twenty year friendship, same day, different year. What a great concept, and it worked brilliantly.

What exactly was it that made me devour this book in one sitting? I believe it was Dexter and Emma. I enjoyed them, I laughed with them, I cried with them, I got mad at them…they were my friends. David Nicholls thought hard about what he wanted Dexter and Emma to be. They were well drawn out characters, you grew comfortable with them. You root for them you even want to yell at them.

One Day is heart wrenching, it’s beautiful, it’s even freaking poetic to me.

Did you know that there is a movie coming out in July of this year of One Day.  Emma will be played by Anne Hathaway, and Dexter will be played by Jim Sturgess.  I can't wait!!

One Day Photo/ copyrighted Focus Features

Audrey, Wait by Robin Benway

Audrey, Wait
Author:  Robin Benway
Genre:  Young Adult
Publisher:  Razorbill
Date Published:  April 10th 2008

From Goodreads

When her ex writes a break-up song about her that rockets up the charts, Audrey is suddenly famous--she can't go out without being mobbed by fans and paparazzi. Readers can take a wild ride with Audrey as she makes headlines, confronts her ex on MTV, and shows the world who she really is. This irresistible, fast-paced novel has a totally hot new paperback cover! Its the song everyones singing. And its about her! But for Audrey, becoming famous overnight equals total, life-changing disaster. .


These are the reviews I dread writing and posting, but I must stay true to my opinions.
Audrey, Wait almost became a DNF for me, but I pushed through, and in the end I should have just quit when I wanted to.

I can’t really pinpoint what really didn’t work for me other than I was bored. Also, I didn’t understand what the big deal was. Someone wrote a song about you, and you become famous. Yeah, the song is not flattering but still you mattered enough to that person that they wrote a song about you. You will forever live in infamy…again what’s the big deal?

I always thought all I needed was a good plot driven book and I'd be happy, but I'm starting to realize more and more that if I don't like or can't understand the main character it just isn't going to be great for me. The plot was different, but her reaction to the song and everything that came with it just grated on me.
I guess it just wasn't for me.

Mar 15, 2011

From Notting Hill With Love..Actually by Ali McNamara

From Notting Hill With Love...Actually
Author:  Ali McNamara
Genre:  Chick Lit
Publisher:  Sphere
Date Published:  November 25th 2010

From Goodreads:

Scarlett O'Brien is in love . . . with the movies. Utterly hooked on Hugh Grant, crazy about Richard Curtis, dying with lust for Johnny Depp, Scarlett spends her days with her head in the clouds and her nights with her hand in a huge tub of popcorn. Which is not exactly what her sensible, DIY-obsessed fiancé David has in mind for their future. So when Scarlett has the chance to house-sit an impossibly grand mansion in Notting Hill ? the setting of one of her all-time favourite movies ? she jumps at the chance to live out her film fantasies one last time. It's just a shame that her new neighbour Sean is so irritating ? and so irritatingly handsome, too. As a chaotic comedy of her very own erupts around Scarlett, she begins to realise there's more to life than seating plans and putting up shelves. What sort of happy ending does she really want? Will it be a case of Runaway Bride or Happily Ever After? The big white wedding looms, and Scarlett is running out of time to decide.
I’m a complete fan of chick flicks, and I’ve seen them all. Two of my favorites are Notting Hill and Love Actually, so yeah I wanted to read this one bad, so bad that I paid quite a bit and had it shipped from the U.K. , sadly it was just okay for me.

My main problem with From Notting Hill with Love Actually was the predictability of it. Yeah, I know the one thing chick lit can guarantee is it’s predictability, but I still thought the movie angle to this one would make it shine all nice and new. It didn’t. Scarlett loves the movies and is positive life should be and can be like the movies, but everyone else in her life seems to think that these romantic movies are all silly make believe fantasy worlds (hate to break it to you Scarlett, but they are). I’m glad I’ve outgrown that notion back in my early twenties, or I’d still be waiting for my Mr. Darcy (Bridget Jones), who liked me just as I was.

It was a sappy read, and I kind of liked that, but Scarlett’s problem with trying to push these movie scenes from real life started grating on me.

I did like the concept and I all in all it wasn’t a bad read, just didn’t give me what I expected. I will give author Ali McNamara another go though, I guess at the closing of the book I still liked her style.

This would make a awesome chick flick.

Top Ten Tuesdays.

A weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

This week's Top Ten is 

Top Ten Characters You'd Want As Family Members

1.  Bridget Jones (Bridget Jone's Diary)

2.  Emma (One Day)

3.  Henry "Hen" Birnbaum (Friend is Not a Verb)

4.  Sophie Katz (Sophie Katz Series)

5.  Mr and Mrs. Spellman (The Spellmans Series)

6.  Benny Hogan (Circle of Friends)

7.  Georgia Nicolson ( Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series)

8. Katniss (Hunger Games)

9.  Carrie Bradsahw (Sex and the City)

10.  Gandalf (Lord of the Rings) 

As you can tell I want family get togethers to be hilarious, and I felt the need to add a little stability, which is why I included Gandalf.  I love that  my stable reliable family member is Grampa Gandalf, the wizard.

Mar 14, 2011

Awesome YA Contest

Contest held by Beth Revis. Yes, you win these beautiful signed books!
Click the banner to enter.

These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf

These Things Hidden
Author:  Heather Gudenkauf
Genre:  Fiction
Publisher:  Mira
Date Published:  January 18th 2011

From Goodreads
When teenager Allison Glenn is sent to prison for a heinous crime, she leaves behind her reputation as Linden Falls' golden girl forever. Her parents deny the existence of their once-perfect child. Her former friends exult her downfall. Her sister, Brynn, faces whispered rumors every day in the hallways of their small Iowa high school. It's Brynn—shy, quiet Brynn—who carries the burden of what really happened that night. All she wants is to forget Allison and the past that haunts her.

But then Allison is released to a halfway house, and is more determined than ever to speak with her estranged sister.

Now their legacy of secrets is focused on one little boy. And if the truth is revealed, the consequences will be unimaginable for the adoptive mother who loves him, the girl who tried to protect him and the two sisters who hold the key to all that is hidden.


Wow!  I knew it, I knew that I was going to love this book.  I whipped through Ms. Gudenkauf's first novel The Weight of Silence, so I had really high expectations for These Things Hidden.  The book did not fail me. 

These Things Hidden is told through 4 perspectives, Charm, Claire, Allison, and Bryn.  From the description you get what the story is about, but you also know there will be twists and turns throughout the story.  With so many perspectives being told you would think one of these characters would fall short, but they are all fleshed out, and written so well. As you read each chapter you slowly realize how these four characters are connected. 

The plot unfolds delicately but timely.  I didn't feel there were any fillers, and I never wanted to yell at the book "let's get a move on".  I wonder if Ms. Gudenkauf figures out where she is going while writing or if she outlines and knows exactly where she wants the story to go.

A very heartwrenching emotional read that is well take a hold of you until the very last page. 
If you love Diane Chamberlain you will love author Heather Gudenkauf. 

Mar 13, 2011

Sunday Salon

This week was jam packed with activites at my kids schools.  There were family picnics, plays, open houses, cheerleading tryouts, and on top of that I got called to substitute at the primary school. 

Family picnic consisted of me and my 4 year old eating at McDonald's with a crazy amount of kids screaming all around us.  What fun!  Then we went to the early showing of Gnomeo and Juliet.  Very cute!

Then the following day was my 4 yr olds pre-k play.  She played a elephant trainer, seriously the best elephant trainer i've ever seen.  :)  She actually came up to me and said it was time to get dressed for her performance. 

This all lead to the most drama filled day..Friday, the day of my daughters 8th grade cheerleading tryouts.  She was a 7th grade cheerleader, but this year there were twice as many girls trying out.  The day before there were some surprises at the high school tryouts, so that rattled some of the Junior High girls.  Around 10:30 Friday night the results came in and the drama finally whooshed out of the house.  My daughter Jaci made the squad!!!  Cheerleading is ruthless around here so i'm definitely glad tryouts are over.   Shout out to Jaci who also got accepted to the National Junior Honor Society.  Induction ceremony was beautiful!

Casa Vasquez has been crazy the last month! So glad it's Spring Break.


I posted before that my laptop suddenly left me for awhile, but Friday my laptop was sitting on my bed ready to go back to work.  Happy days are here again.  C ya old slow desktop, hope you liked the action you had the last month and a half, but I's got to go.

I'm super behind on my reviews. I haven't even written them.  I'm currently reading The Passage, but it's size is so daunting that I'm not making much progress.  Yesterday I picked up Stay by Deb Caletti, and finished it in record time.  Very good, review will be up soon..I hope.

My plans spring break are to read, read and read some more.  I hope to make some progress on The
Passage, and read The Vespertine.  Just read whatever I feel like reading. :)

Hope everyone has a great Sunday, and week ahead!

Mar 12, 2011

On My Wishlist (5)

On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where I list all the books I desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. It's also an event that you can join in with too - Mr Linky is always at the ready for you to link your own 'On My Wishlist' post.

Shut Out

The Peach Keeper: A Novel

Both are from authors I love, and they sound great!

Deception by Lee Nichols

Author:  Lee Nichols
Genre:  Young Adult/Paranormal
Publisher:  Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Date Published:  June 8th 2010

From Goodreads:

When Emma Vaile's parents leave on mysterious business trip, it gives her the perfect excuse to be a rebellious teen. Throw some parties, get a tattoo (or maybe just a piercing), and enjoy the first few weeks of her junior year. Then her best friend stops talking to her, the cops crash her party, and Emma finds herself in the hands of a new guardian—her college-age "knight in J.Crew armor," Bennett Stern—and on a plane to his museum-like mansion in New England.

After enrolling at Thatcher Academy, Emma settles in by making friends with the popular legacy crowd. But she can't shake the strange visions that are haunting her. She has memories of Thatcher she can't explain, as if she's returning home to a place she's never been. Emma doesn't trust anyone anymore—except maybe Bennett. But he's about to reveal a ghostly secret to Emma. One that will explain the visions . . . and make Emma fear for her life

Another book that peaked my interest from reading reviews on blogs (who says book bloggers don’t influence readers). I was a little afraid that I was going to read more of the same paranormal young adult, and I really couldn’t bare it, but surprisingly it was very good, and very paranormal, and despite the paranormal aspect I still loved it. Now I’m not totally against reading paranormals, I just think I need a slight break from it, unless it is an exceptionally good story like Deception was.

Everything from the well developed characters to the plot made Deception a fantastic read. Female protagonist Emma is independent and likeable character. I’m a sucker for a protagonist I can root for. As for the story/plot, it draws you in and you are curious to know what the heck is going on.

I’ve been a fan of Lee Nichols since reading Hand Me Down, but this is completely different from her women’s fiction, and it should be its young adult..haha.

Anyways, add this to the many rave reviews already out there on Deception.

Go and shell out the money for this one, it’s worth it.

Mar 11, 2011

Love at First Click - Elizabeth Chandler

Love At First Click
Author:  Elizabeth Chandler
Publisher:  HarperTeen
Genre:  Young Adult
Date Published:  March 31st 2009

From Goodreads:

I could no longer deny what the heat in my cheeks meant when I was around Flynn. I was falling for my sister's boyfriend.

There's just something about Flynn. Yes, he's a tall, unbelievably gorgeous, dark-haired football player, but . . . he's also sweet and nice and super easy to talk to. It's lucky I'm the photographer for the school paper, because my camera likes Flynn almost as much as I do. Unfortunately for me, so does my sister, and there's no way I can nab Flynn with her in the picture...

Girl code without a doubt flies right out of Love at First Click.  So "Girl Code" has a basic rule, never go after your friends boyfriend moreless your sister's, but honestly in this case I was all for breaking code. 

Hayley is a very likeable character, and her sister, to put it bluntly is a biatch.  Hayley is the school photographer to spends most of her time behind a lens.  She much rather be behind the scenes than to be smack dab in the middle of it all like her sister, she's comfortable that way, but when her crush becomes her sister's boyfriend what is a girl to do?

Flynn is definitely crush worthy!
Love at First Click is pure fun fluff, and a quick read.  You'll read it, enjoy it but quickly forget about.