Dec 31, 2011

2011 Favorite Reads

  Not necessarily published in 2011.

My 5 star reads this year.

One Day

1.  One Day by David Nicholls

My favorite favorite book of 2011.  

The Tea Rose (The Tea Rose, #1)

2. The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly

Loved the determination of the MC.

Anna and the French Kiss

3.  Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Great YA contemporary.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

4.  Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Inspirational and heartbreaking.

Jellicoe Road

5.  Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Just as good as everyone says.

You Don't Have to Say You Love Me

6.  You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Sarra Manning

Great chick lit.

Rules of Civility

7.  Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Loved that setting, and characters.

A Girl Like You

8.  A Girl Like You by Gemma Burgess

Witty and fun.  The best chick lit book I've read in awhile.

The Lover's Dictionary

9.  The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan

Genius concept, and it worked fabulously.

Dec 30, 2011

Ditched: A Love Story by Robin Mellom

Ditched: A Love Story

Author:  Robin Mellom
Publisher:  Disney- Hyperion
Expected Publication:  January 10th 2012

From Goodreads:

High school senior Justina Griffith was never the girl who dreamed of going to prom.  Designer dresses and strappy heels?  Not her thing.  So she never expected her best friend, Ian Clark, to ask her.

Ian, who always passed her the baseball bat handle first.

Ian, who promised her the most amazing night at prom.

And then ditched her.

Now, as the sun rises over her small town, and with only the help of some opinionated ladies at the 7-eleven, Justina must piece together - stain by stain on her thrift- store dress - exactly how she ended up dateless.  A three- legged Chihuahua was involved.  Along with demolition derby- ready Cadillac. And there was the incident at the tattoo parlor.  Plus the flying leap from Brian Sontag's moving car...

But to get the whole story, Justina will have to face the boy who ditched her.  And discover if losing out at prom can ultimately lead to true love.


When I first read the description of Ditched, I was reminded of the 80's film starring Keanu Reeves, Before Last Night.   Keanu Reeves sold his prom date to a pimp, and that sure didn't happen in Ditched, but the premise is the same..they both lose their prom dates, and can't remember a darn thing.  
I really liked Ditched but there are some serious flaws in it that made it not up to par to, I don't know, lets say Before Last Night.  Why couldn't I like Justina a little bit more?  I think it would have a made a huge difference with my feelings about Ditched.  The fact that she's a kissing bandit (scandalous *rolls eyes*) is ridiculous.  High school kids make out, it's a fact.  Annoying how she replayed how she got this so called reputation.  Yeah, Justina is considered not quite but sorta easy cause she likes to kiss.  Not have sex, not give fellatio but the good ol' nasty deed of kissing.  She was comical at times but mostly annoying.  Ian, is hardly around really.  We get to know him through Justina.    I liked him wish I knew him a little better but that's alright.  My favorite though were the stoner kids that Justina finds herself with that night after getting 'ditched'.  

The best part of Ditched is the shenanigans the stoners and Justina get into.  I think she owes them a dime bag for making her night memorable.  Without them Ditched would have been boring for me.  The conclusion was perfect for me.  I love how teenagers blow things way out of proportion.  That's what Justina did but it's perfect.  It fits her and the dramatics of being a teenager.  

Some parts were funny, some were annoying.  But all in all it was decently good.. I won't wibble wobble with my recommendation for Before Last Night though.  Watch it, and if you end up not liking it at least you got Keanu for an hour and 31 minutes.  Win/win situation.

Dec 29, 2011

The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan

The Lover's Dictionary

The Lover's Dictionary
Author:  David Levithan
Publisher:  Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date:  January 4th 2011

From Goodreads:  

How does one talk about love?  Do we even have the right words to describe something that can be both utterly mundane and completely transcendent, pulling us out of our everyday lives and making us feel a part of something greater than ourselves?  Taking a unique approach to this problem, the nameless narrator of David Levithan's The Lover's Dictionary has consrtucted the story of his relationship as a dictionary.  Through these short entries, he provides an intimate window into the great events and quotidian trifles of being with in a couple, giving us an indelible and deeply moving portrait in our time.


I thought I would have some trouble with how it was written.  I mean I really don't care for verse books, and this is similiar in that we get crumbs a long the way and in the end the crumbs add up to a whole slice.  Honestly, I loved it.  Seriously.  Something about it was so honest and real, and jeez I can see the relation to me.  

One of my favorites

abyss, n.

There are times when I doubt everything.  When I regret everything you've taken from me, everything I've given you, and the waste of all the time I've spent on us.

A very quick awesome read.  At this moment I'm in awe of David Levithan.   I plan to buy my friends a copy for Valentines Day.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

What Alice Forgot

What Alice Forgot 
Author:  Liane Moriarty
Publisher:  Penguin
Publication Date:  June 1st 2010, Paperback

From Goodreads:

Remember the women you used to be...

Alice is twenty-nine.  She is whimsical, optimistic and adores sleep, chocolate, her ramshackle new house and her wonderful husband Nick.  What's more, she's looking forward to the birth of the 'Sultana' - her first baby.

But now Alice has slipped and hit her head in her step aerobics class and everyone's telling her she's misplaced the last ten years of her life.

In fact, it would seem that Alice is actually thirty nine and now she loves schedules, expensive lingerie, caffeine and manicures.  She has three children and the honeymoon is well and truly over for her and Nick.  In fact, he looks at her like she's his worst enemy.  What's more, her beloved sister Elisabeth isn't speaking to her either.  And who is 'Gina' everyone is so carefully trying not to mention?

Alice isn't sure that she likes life ten years on.  Every photo is another memory she doesn't have and nothing makes sense.  Just how much can happen in a decade?  Has she really lost her lovely husband for ever.


What Alice Forgot is a book that makes you think, and reflect back on your life. Anyway I found myself doing that while reading What Alice Forgot.  There is so much truth to the journey Alice takes after she loses her memory of the last 10 years.  

How many times have we looked back at our younger selves and think how much more free and true to ourselves we were.  I know I was.  I know that I was Melissa, not just a mother and a wife.  Through time and responsibities I've changed so much, some for the better and some for the worse.   I loved how Alice couldn't figure out how she became this person that is so not like her.  A decade is a lot of living and I can see how time changes people as their situations change.  Ah..times are always a changin.  

I'm not sure if this is marketed as a chick lit, it certainly isn't to me.  There are hints of it but I think it is so much more than fluff.  Anything that can make you think so much about your life is a good read.   Ms. Moriarty is excellent in showing Alice's confusion, as well as the people around her who didn't know what to do with this new (though old) Alice.  They were perplexed especially Nick.  Nick, what a real character.  He is so much fun, and witty in flashbacks of the younger less jaded him.  As you are reading the present, you think what the hell happened to him?

Also wanted to point out that though the bulk of the book is about Alice, we also get two other small story lines. All done very well. My interest never waned.   Not once.

What Alice Forgot is flawlessly done.  I truly enjoyed it.  

Dec 28, 2011

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

The Future of Us

The Future of Us 
Author:  Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
Publisher:  Razorbill
Publication Date:  November 21st 2011

From Goodreads:

It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives.  They've been best friends almost as long- at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything.  Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh's family gets free AOL CD in the mail, his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer.  When they sign on, they're automatically logged onto their Facebook pages.  But Facebook hasn't been invented yet.  And they're looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.  

By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later.  And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they're forced to confront what they're doing right- and wrong- in the present.


This was a straight up trip to read for me, I graduated 1997, so the references were WOW.  It's hard to believe that during my days, beepers were the rage and cell phones were really big, seriously.  As a senior I had only seen one cell phone, it belonged to my friends older sister who worked for a newspaper.  It had a huge carrying  Anyways, I loved the whole idea of The Future of Us, but I didn't LOVE it.  

Emma and Josh aren't real likable characters, IMO.  Emma is obsessed with getting the details of her life perfect, and is constantly changing things up to see if she can spruce up her life 15 years into the future. And this is all going by snippets she posts on Facebook 15 years later.  She reads these one line statuses and decides she must be miserable.  Whatever!  Josh on the other hand is loving what Facebook says is his future.  He's married to a beautiful girl he goes to High School with, who  he thinks would never give him the time of day in current 1996.  He vacations in exotic places, and seems to live the LIFE.  Except when he starts hanging out with his future wife, he's not really feeling the connection.  Will he eventually feel a love spark.  

Somehow through Facebook they recognize what they mean to each other and how it's better not to be consumed with life 15 years into the future. It gets all  wrapped up in a nice little bow for you.    I feel like they hit the surface only with The Future of Us.  The possibilities were endless, somehow they dropped the ball for me.  

Dec 26, 2011

the Wham Bam Thank You Ma'am Reviews

These will be so short that as soon as you begin, it'll be over. ;)  I have some catching up to do.


Flawless - 4 Stars

I'm a sucker for romances like this....the he/she's out of my league kind.  A great YA remake of Cyrano de Bergerac.  Recommended

American Gangbang: A Love Story

American Gangbang- 3 Stars

A memoir about an ivy league grad entangling himself with the Adult Entertainment business in California.  Very interesting read about the unglamour of the porn business, no matter how hard you want to change the industry, it ends up changing you.  If you are curious about the trivial and actual coming together of a porn, this will interest you.

The Last Letter from Your Lover

Last Letter from your Lover- 2.5 Stars

Interesting enough to finish, but it did have some flaws.  At times the story slowed down, and got boggled down with insights that I cared nothing about.  I preferred the past love story, then the mess of the currents characters.  I would check your local library then spend the cash.

My Name Is Memory

My Name is Memory- 2 Stars

Some parts were good, some weren't.  A lot of WTF moments for me in this one.    I guess it was just okay.  Surprisingly, the characters didn't do it for me.  I felt I should have cared a lot more about them since I've been with them since the beginning and how many deaths.  Again save your money.

A Stolen Life

A Stolen Life- 3 Stars

The writing was awful but she never claims to know how to write a book.  She tells readers from the beginning that everything will be jumbled up and confusing at times.   I gave it 3 stars because I feel her story needs to be told in her words, and that is exactly what you get.  Don't expect a lot of answers.

Pretty Face

Pretty Face- 1 Star

Blah!  I love the idea of a young girl learning to love everything about herself, but this was a major fail for me.    The MC really worked my nerves.  There was nothing empowering about her or her journey. Was there even a journey?

You Wish

You Wish- 3 Stars

I can't remember a darn thing about this one but the gumballs, and pink pony.  Both great as kids but as a 15 year old I would think I would have preferred lipsticks and Corey Haim (RIP), and as an adult, chocolate and Ryan Gosling.  Definitely not memorable, but with a 3 star rating I gave it I obviously enjoyed it.

The Confession

The Confession- 4 Stars

What can I say, I really really love John Grisham.  His writing is so simple.  I love it.  The story he weaves draw me in, his endings aren't always what you want but that's okay.  If you like John Grisham then definitely read it.

She's So Dead to Us    He's So Not Worth It

She's So Dead to Us- 4 Stars

I loved She's So Dead to Us.  The MC whines a little bit too much, but the story is really great.  A very quick read.

He's So Not Worth It- 4 Stars

I liked this one a little bit less than the first.  Why?  The MC is annoying, so many things could have been resolved if people just talked.  Still good though.  I'm really enjoying this series.

Dec 24, 2011

A Girl Like You by Gemma Burgess

A Girl Like You

A Girl Like You
Author:  Gemma Burgess
Publisher:  Avon
Publication Date:  January 6th 2011

From Goodreads:

"I've discovered the secret to successful singledom.  I'm acting like a man. And it's working."

After breaking  up with her boyfriend of, well, forever, Abigail Wood must learn how to be single from scratch.  Her dating skills are abysmal, and she ricochets from disaster to disaster - until Robert, one of London's most notorious lotharios, agrees to coach her.  With his advice, she learns to navigate the bastard-infested waters of the bar scene, and practices the art of being bulletproof.  The new Abigail is cocky, calm, composed..but what happens when she meets her match?


I loved, I mean LOVED A Girl Like You.  I was a huge fan of chick lit a couple of years ago, but since been bored with it.  Occasionally I will read one here or there and I am so glad I do because I get to find gems like these.  

I loved the dialogue, so witty.  I laughed so much while reading A Girl Like You.  I  adore Gemma Burgess's writing, her sense of humor is off the chart.  It was predictable but told in a more exciting way for me.  No insta-love here, it's all done nice and slow.  I read this in one afternoon, and that is hard for me to do now, unless it's freaking awesome.

Abigail and Robert's group of friends are the best.  A fun group of people, what's not to like.  

Read it, seriously.  Definitely one of my favorites this year.

Dec 21, 2011

Likes/Dislikes Review: Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Graffiti Moon
Author:  Cath Crowley
Publisher:  Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date:  February 14th 2012

From Goodreads:

Senior year is over, and Lucy has the perfect way to celebrate: tonight, she's going to find Shadow, the mysterious graffiti artist whose work appears all over the city.  He's out there somewhere-spraying color, spraying birds and blue sky on the night-and Lucy knows a guy who paints like Shadow is someone she could fall for.  Really fall for.  Instead, Lucy's stuck at a party with ED, the guy she's managed to avoid since the most awkward date of her life.  But when Ed tell hers he knows where to find Shadow, they're suddenly on an all-night search around the city.  And what Lucy can't see is the one thing that's right before her eyes.



Shadow is a great complex character. 

Ed and Shadow being the same person...awesome.

Halfway point the story picks up to something kind of fabulous.

Love that Shadow is a graffiti artist and his best friend is a poet.  

There is some good honest deep moments about life and shifting into adult hood for the characters.


The ending was lackluster.

Lucy is seriously boring.

The first half is tedious.

In Summary:

I don't understand all the gushing, really.  Graffiti Moon is a decent good read.  It doesn't warrant screaming off mountain tops for me. 

Dec 15, 2011

Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto

Before Ever After

Before Ever After 
Author:  Samantha Sotto
Publisher:  Crown
Publication Date:  August 2nd 2011

From Goodreads:

Three years after her husband Max's death, Shelley feels no more adjusted to being a widow than she did that first terrible day.  That is, until the doorbell rings.  Standing on her front step is a young man who looks so much like Max; same smile, same eyes, same age, same adorable bump in his nose; he could be Max's long-lost relation.  He introduces himself as Paolo, an Italian editor of American coffee table books, and shows Shelley some childhood photos.  Paolo tells her that the man in the photos, the bearded man who Paolo says is his grandfather though he never seems to age, is Max.  Her Max.  And he is alive and well.

As outrageous as Paolo's claims seem; how could her husband be alive?  And if he is, why hasn't he looked her up?  Shelley desperately wants to know the truth.  She and Paolo jet across the globe to track Max down; if it is really Max and along the way, Shelley recounts the European package tour where they had met.  As she relives Max's stories of bloody boathouses, Shelley begins to piece together the story of who her husband was and what these new revelations mean for her "happily every after."  And as she and Paolo get closer to the truth, Shelley discovers that not all stories end where they are supposed to.


 I started Before Ever After not sure if I was going to like it, just reading the description I knew that this could go either way.  Sadly, it didn't work out so great with me and Before Ever After.

If I had to scale it in a 1 through five, I would give it a 2.  Those two points given for Max's stories  during the tour, and the background characters.  Most of Max's stories on the tours were heartwarming and interesting.  I loved the offbeat places Max took them and then told a great story about.  These parts are the reason I was able to finish it.  Then Shelley and Max are surrounded by an awesome group of characters on the tour.  I loved them.  They were far more interesting then Max and Shelley.  We get them through Shelley's eyes as she goes back to the tour and tells Paolo how her and Max met.  They were just fun and for me, the characters I wanted to know about.  And those are the reasons Before Ever After got 2 stars from me.

I'm just going to get straight to the point about why I didn't like Before Ever After.  Shelley is a very annoying character.  I hated being in her head about everything with the exception of when she was talking about her tour mates.  I also wasn't pulled in by Max's and Shelley's romance.  I felt like I was being told they are so in love.  Paolo is a throw away character, why couldn't Shelley have saw Max on the internet.  I saw no point in him.  

Before Ever After just really didn't do it for me.   

Dec 10, 2011

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

The Paris Wife
Author:  Paula McLain
Publisher:  Ballantine Books
Publication Date:  February 22nd 2011

Fiction novel told in the point of view of Ernest Hemingway's first wife, Hadley Richardson about their life in Paris in the 1920's.  From what I have read Ms. Mclain really did her research, so though this is fiction she kept everything as accurate as she could. 

  • I was mesmerized with the company they kept and how fascinating the conversation must have been.  The glimpses of the salon "get togethers" had me wishing I was sitting there with them.
  • Hadley was definitely a outsider in a way because she was not an artist, but she seemed the only real person among a bunch on egos.  I cared for her deeply while reading The Paris Wife.
  • Paula McLain did a fabulous job describing the settings, and she didn't have to use so much detail.  I love that.  
  • Not a fan of Ernest Hemingway, though I've only read The Old Man and the Sea, it bored me to tears that I could never ever pick up another one of his books.  How does this pertain to The Paris Wife, it doesn't but I want to make clear that any man that could write such drivel must be a pompous ass.  So Hadley won out in the end, in my opinion. 
  • Though she was only his wife for 6 years I would say she did get the best of him, and the best of times.  Can you imagine sipping cocktails with Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, or more like chugging alcohol, which is how Scott and Zelda rolled.  
I really enjoyed The Paris Wife.  I thought it was well written, and never boring. I always found "the lost generation" interesting.  So many personalities trying to best each it must of been exhausting yet invigorating.

Dec 9, 2011

Book Review: Babe in Boyland by Jody Gehrman

Babe in Boyland
Author:  Jody Gehrman
Publisher:  Dial
Publication Date:  February 17th 2011

From Goodreads:

When high school junior Natalie- or Dr. Aphrodite, as she calls herself when writing the relationship column for her school paper - is accused of knowing nothing about guys and giving girls bad relationship advice, she decides to investigate what guys really think and want.  But the guys in her class won't give her a straight or serious answers.  The only solution?  Disguising herself as a guy and spending a week at Underwood Academy, the private all boy boarding school in town.  There she learns a lot about guys and girls in ways she never expected- especially when she falls for her dreamy roommate, Emilio.  How can she show him she likes him without blowing her cover?


The Plot:  

One of my favorite movies is She's the Man starring Amanda Bynes, Babe in Boyland reminded me of the movie.  Yeah, some situations are so far-fetched that they could possibly bother some, but it's all fun.  Babe in Boyland is just reading entertainment, it's not thought provoking or suppose to move you in any way.  I laughed reading the numerous situations Natalie got herself into, also cringed but in a good way during some parts.  Being a guy would be hard..seriously.

The Characters:

Natalie is a normal girl who hasn't found love but feels she knows the basics of romance and love that she could be Dr. Aphrodite, her high school's under cover love advice guru.  I really enjoyed Natalie, she is down to earth and approachable.  Her relationship with her friends are great, and I loved the sections that only involved Natalie and her two best friends conversing.  The main protagonist's crush is perfect.  Emilio is everything you would want in a guy as a teenager.  He's good looking, hard working and compassionate.  I am totally digging him.

The Setting:

Most of Babe in Boyland takes place around both Natalie's High School and the all boy's school, Underwood Academy, she attends posing as a guy.  Interesting reading about the social circles at Underwood Academy.  I figured girls are way cattier than boys, but maybe we aren't so different in those matters.  

Final Thoughts:

I would recommend reading Babe in Boyland if you are looking for a fluff read, and especially if you love the movie She's the Man.

Dec 8, 2011

Who the hell is that?

As this year closes I've been reflecting on this year's blogging and well, I feel like I spent most of 2011 burned out of it all.  I was definitely less driven, and my reviews took a beating because of it.  I would sit down to write a review, and would be stumped on what to write.  The only thing coming to mind would be either "It's great, read it" or "it's bad, save your money".  Slowly I got behind on reviews and couldn't muster enough care to deal with it.  I know that I don't want to stop, but I also know changes have to be made.  First thing that came to mind was the review.  I decided that i'm going to write a review however best I can get forth what I'm trying to say.  One day it may be bullets with random thoughts of why I loved something or didn't(already have that done, posting tomorrow), the next review could be a three paragraph formal review.  Just whatever..

I think I might have stifled myself into what I thought a book blogger should be than who's truly me.   I look back at some of my reviews and i'm stunned of how little of me I actually see.  WTF!  No one but my immediate family and 2 friends (that don't read and care) know about my blog, and none of them read it.  I think if some read it they wouldn't believe it is my blog.  A little about myself and my quirkiness:  I cuss like a sailor.  I dress fashionably but conservatively (my husbands calls it a classy look). Imagine a conservatively dressed women cussing like a sailor..that's me.  I also ramble shamelessly and have been known to do random dancing in odd occasions.  I am also a master bullshitter.  I can bullshit with the best of them.  On the other hand I'm moody, and I hate order.  Tell me to turn left and I will turn right, just because. I totally feel like I am censoring myself and that is something I never do, but for some reason I do here.  

I'm truly hoping 2012 is a better blogging year for me.  I'm  predicting it will be. I hope this doesn't bother anyone, but if it does O fucking well.  Can't please everyone.

Dec 5, 2011

Book Review: Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

Rules of Civility
Author:  Amor Towles
Publisher:  Viking Adult
Publication Date:  July 21st 2011

From Goodreads:  

Set in New York City in 1938, Rules of Civility tells the story of a watershed year in the life of an uncompromising twenty five year old named Katey Kontent. Armed with little more than a formidable intellect, a bracing wit, and her own brand of cool nerve, Katey embarks on a journey from a Wall Street secretarial pool through the upper echelons of New York Society in search of a brighter future.

The Story opens on New Year's Eve in a Greenwich Village jazz bar, where Katey and her boardinghouse roommate Eve happen to meet Tinker Grey, a handsome banker with royal blue eyes and a ready smile.  This chance encounter and its startling consequences cast Katey off her current course, but end up providing her unexpected access to the rarified offices of Conde Nast and a glittering new social circle.  Befriended in turn by a shy, principled multimillionaire, an Upper East Side ne'er-do-well, and a single minded widow who is ahead of her times, katey has the chance to experience first hand the poise secured by wealth and station, but also the aspirations, envy, disloyalty, and desires that reside just below the surface.  Even as she waits for circumstances to bring Tinker back into her orbit, she will learn how individual choices become the means by which life crystallizes loss.


We are close to the New Year and I have been going back through this year's reading and thinking of what will be my top 5 reads, without a doubt in my mind Rules of Civility will be in that top 5.  I loved everything about this novel.

The setting is awesome.  I've always wondered about the 30's, something always peaked my interest and I have been known to give that decade as the decade I would go back to if given a choice (that is a drunken night with friends talking question..I also once said the 20's and has said the 60's numerous of times).  I loved the out of place, hole in the wall Jazz Bars that the characters went to.  The whole vibe was great. It is New York circa late 1930's.....picture it.   With the time setting 1938, during the Great Depression we know there were two distinct classes.  People who lost everything, and people who didn't.  Towles dives deep into the two classes and we see blind ambition, manipulation, and so much more.  I was able to see the how each class thought and what motivated them to do the things they did.  Totally opposites but yet kind of the same. The characters and their journey fit together like hand and glove.  The characters are so fleshed out.  I loved them, I wanted to be them, seriously I  just wanted a part of it.  Definitely a must read!

Dec 2, 2011

You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Sarra Manning

You don't Have to Say You Love Me
Author:  Sarra Manning
Publisher:  Corgi Books
Publication Date:  February 3rd 2011

From Goodreads:

Sweet, bookish Neve Slater always plays by the rules.  And the number one rule is that good-natured fat girls like her don't get guys like gorgeous, handsome William, heir to Neve's heart since university.  But William's been in LA for three years, and Neve's been slimming down re-inventing herself so that when he returns, he'll fall head over heels in love with the new, improved her.

So she's not that interested in other men.  Until her sister Celia points out that if Neve wants William to think she's an experienced love-goddess and not the fumbling, awkward girl he left behind, then she'd better get some, well, experience.

What Neve needs is someone to show her the ropes, someone like Celia's colleague Max.  Wicked, shallow, sexy Max.  And since he's such a man-slut and so not Neve's type, she certainly won't fall for him.  Because William is the man for her..right?

Somewhere between losing weight and losing her inhibitions, Neve's lost her heart- but to who?


I loved this book so much!  It made me smile, and made me laugh.  Neve still considers herself overweight despite losing a vast amount of weight. Her confidence is low, her self esteem is lower, and all she wants is William to love her.  Because she was overweight she never dated or flirted and feels to be able to have a perfect relationship with William she needs to have a "pancake relationship."  A "pancake relationship" is just a practice relationship, you know the first pancake you make is always the throw away pancake.  It's the practice run to see if the griddle is hot enough.  I loved the analogy writer Sarra Manning came up with.  In comes Max the player who likes to play.   I really loved his character. He was playful, fun and cheeky.  Neve's and Max's pancake relationship is da bomb.  

I wish this would be made into a movie..a romantic comedy.

Nov 30, 2011

Book Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author:  Stephanie Perkins
Publisher:  Dutton
Publication Date:  September 29th 2011

From Goodreads:  

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn't believe in fashion..she believes in costume.  the more expressive the outfit-more sparkly, more fun, more wild- the better.  but even though Lola's style is outrageous, she's a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future.  And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket- a gifted inventor- steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.


Lola and the Boy Next Door is a solid 3 for me.  In know way was it better than Anna, but of course that is my opinion.  Things just didn't come together so perfectly for me.  

Lola is unique and I love that about her, but I also think she's immature and melodramatic. First, Lola and Cricket have some past that hurt Lola, so when he moves back it's *gasp* hard for Lola.  When I found out what happened between them both I was like "Seriously".  Such hoopla for nothing, and that it affected her so much made me think she's childish.  It seems like I don't like her but I do like Lola, she just got on my nerves a little.  It's hard reading Lola without comparing it to Anna.  I loved Anna.  I just liked Lola.  Now Cricket did absolutely nothing for me.  He was nice, and caring.  I wanted to get charmed by him just like I was charmed by Etienne, but Cricket doesn't have as much personality.  Cricket was boring. I totally enjoyed Lola's two dads, and best friend.  Great characters that brought something to Lola and the Boy Next door.  I was also very happy to see so much of Anna and Etienne in Lola.  Did I say I love them?!!  

Lola and the Boy Next Door had it's good parts as well as it's okay parts.  It took me 4 days to read it, and I read Anna and the French Kiss in 1 day.  I will read the next companion book because I'm a Stephanie Perkins fan and will always be.  Come on, Etienne was spun in her head and for that I bow down.

Nov 29, 2011

Book Review: Exposed by Kimberly Marcus

Author:  Kimberly Marcus
Publisher:  Random House Books for Young Readers
Date Published:  February 22nd 2011

Sixteen-year-old Liz is Photogirl—sharp, focused and confident in what she sees through her camera lens. Confident that she and Kate will be best friends forever.

But everything changes in one blurry night. Suddenly, Kate is avoiding her, and people are looking the other way when she passes in the halls. As the aftershocks from a startling accusation rip through Liz's world, everything she thought she knew about photography, family, friendship and herself shifts out of focus. What happens when the picture you see no longer makes sense? What do you do when you may lose everything you love most? Told in stunning, searingly raw free verse, Exposed is Kimberly Marcus's gut-wrenching, riveting debut and will appeal to fans of Ellen Hopkins, Laurie Halse Anderson and Virginia Euwer Wolff.


I don't know if I've ever mentioned that I am not a fan of verse novels.  I went ahead and gave Exposed a try, and was left disappointed by it.  

Who is Liz? I don't really think I was able to get a grasp of who she was.  I know she loves taking photos, and she's heartbroken about what is going on around her, but I just couldn't get a sense of her.  I mostly blame myself for feeling that I am not getting enough content with verse.  Snippets into someone's life just isn't enough for me.  

Everything happens and ends so quickly.  Exposed is about a very serious matter, and dealt with in a very mature and realistic way..but darn if I could just let go of my hate for verse.  I felt like I read a rough draft of a what could be a freaking awesome YA novel.  

This isn't quite the review I wanted to give.  Obviously, I can't get around the way it was written and I'm finding it very hard to try to put that aside and just give an honest opinion on the written words. 

To sum it up, I thought Exposed was lacking depth.

Nov 20, 2011

The Sweet Gum Tree by Katherine Allred

The Sweet Gum Tree 
Author:  Katherine Allred
Publisher:  Cerridwen Press
Date published:  December 1st 2005

From Goodreads:

Sweet, tea corn bread, and soup beans-everyday fare for eight year old Alix French, the precocious darling of a respected southern family.  But nothing was ordinary about t he day she met ten year old Nick Anderson, a boy from the wrong side of town.  Armed with only a tin of bee balm and steely determination, Alix treats the raw evidence of a recent beating that mars his back, an act that changes both of their lives forever.

Through childhood disasters and teenage woes they cling together as friendship turns to love.  The future looks rosy until the fateful night Frank Anderson, Nick's abusive father, is shot to death in his filty trailer. 

Suddenly, Nick is gone leaving Alix alone, confused and pregnant.  For the next fifteen years she wrestles wit the pain of Nick's Abandonment, a bad marriage, her family and friends.  But finally, she;s starting to get her life back together. Her divorce is almost final, her business is booming, and she's content if not happy- until the day she looks up sees Nick standing across the counter, He's back...and he's not alone.

Once again Alix is plunged into turmoil and pain as Nick tries to win her love, something she resists with all her strength.  Only one thing might break the protective wall she's built around her emotions- the truth about Frank Anderson's death.  But when the truth comes out and those walls crumble, neither Alix nor Nick is prepared for the emotional explosion  that could destroy as well as heal.

I'm not going to do a quick synopsis because there is a awesome one above.  Going to go straight the business of The Sweet Gum Tree.  I first heard about this book through PBS.  A member was raving about how awesome it was, so I made a quick note of the title, and later looked up the title on Goodreads. There was more raving on Goodreads with a 4 point something rating.  I then put it on my Wl and forgot all about until it came in the mail.  The cover leaves a lot to be desired, and I was sure that I was sent this by mistake.  Yeah, I had completely forgot about this book and that I had put it on my WL.  Disturbed by the cover I decided I would put my trepidation aside and immediately start it.  Now I am not completely in love with this novel like some people, but I sure do have a crush on it.  Is it full of melodrama? yeah.  Is it full of sappy southerness(that isn't a word, is it)? yeah?  But is it awesome nerdy great? HELL YEAH!
I loved the characters in The Sweet Gum Tree.  Alix and Nick are perfect together.  They are opposites.  He's from the wrong side of the tracks, and she's apple pie.  Technically they shouldn't work, but the fact that they do is what makes them so appealing.  I was crushing on Nick.  He was all hard, and tough yet vulnerable and a book lover.  Yep, good ole Nick was a sensitive bad boy who loves to read.  Alix at first grated on my nerves, but just at first.  I was starting to get that "This girl is perfect" vibe which I can't stand.  Nobody is perfect, so I can't stand a perfect character.  Not realistic to me.  She became human after a couple of chapters.
The story was soap opera-ish and like I said above, melodramatic.  I was taken for a ride, a love ride.  There's a lot of mistakes, a lot misunderstandings that could have been avoided but what's life without a little drama. :)  Oh, and you well shed a tear or two.

Catching Up With Some Mini Reviews

Handling the Undead

Handling the Undead by John Ajvide Lindqvist

I really really loved Lindqvist's debut novel Let The Right One In.  I was super excited to find Handling the Undead in my mailbox, and immediately started it.  Sorry to say I was disappointed with Handling the Undead.  A book about the dead coming back sounds interesting, but it was actually very dull.  The beginning was solid, and I thought I was going to enjoy it, but then it just got weighed down by details, and nothing much was happening.  It was much more about what that meant for the family of the dead that just came back.  

My goodreads rating: 2 stars

I gave it 1 star for the great beginning pages, and 1 star for the mere fact that I actually gagged while reading about the decomposed bodies.


Prince of Thieves

Prince of Thieves by Chuck Hogan

If you've seen The Town, well this is the book it's based on.  I love the movie, naturally I wanted to read it to compare the differences.  Prince of Thieves was a great read, but I preferred the movie. There is some differences, most of them came at the end.  I liked the end of the movie better...way better.  The character Jem is seriously a bomb waiting to go off.  We get that sense in the movie, but boy is he even creepier in the book.  Flat out psychopath, seriously.  I also don't understand the appeal of the female lead, Claire.  She seemed weak in the movie, but even more so in the book.   I really enjoyed it.  There is action, and the characters are so detailed.  Charlestown is also very much a main character in Prince of Thieves.  It all worked out into a fleshed out solid read. 

My Goodreads rating:  4 Stars


Nov 15, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's Top Ten is

Top Ten Books That Have Been On My Shelf for the Longest but I've Never Read


1.  A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

2.  We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

3.  The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

4.  I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb

5.  The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta

6.  The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

7.  The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker

8.  Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

9.  Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsey

10.  Saffron Skies by Lesley Lokko

Any of these you recommend that I move right up to the top of my to read list?  

Nov 13, 2011

Book Review: From This Moment On by Shania Twain

From This Moment On
Author:  Shania Twain
Publisher:  Simon and Schuster
Date Published:  May 3rd 2011

From Goodreads:  

When she was eight, Shania Twain was singing in smoky Canadian bars, doing her part to help with her family's severely strained finances. By the time she was ten, the girl born as Eileen Regina Edwards was writing songs and performing in after-hour shifts while most other children her age were dreaming of sugar plum fairies. From these gritty beginnings, the renamed Twain became a living music legend, winning five Grammy Awards and selling 75 million albums. At times heartbreaking, this memoir describes Shania's rocky road from her hardscrabble youth to her present fame. From This Moment On covers events including the tragic car crash, the traumatic breakup of her first marriage, and her first experiences in Nashville.


I’m a huge fan of Shania Twain and her music.  Over the summer I watched a reality show on the O channel chronicling her life and inspirational story, and I had a new found respect for her as a person not just a singer.  

From This Moment On is Shania’s story in her own words, and though sometimes she randomly goes off course she is honest in telling us her childhood and heartbreak over her husband’s infidelity and best friends betrayal.  If you don’t know her husband had an affair with her best friend, and I believe they are still together now.  She is now happily married to her best friend’s ex-husband.  It’s slightly Jerry Springer, but this is how the cards laid out for her and she rolled with the punches. 

I was amazed at how much she has been through.  She had a rough childhood, and then took responsibility for her sister and brothers after her parents were killed in a car accident.  She also talks about her singing career, and the process her and Mutt had in making her hugely commercial hit album Come On Over.
From This Moment On is a really great honest memoir.  If you are a fan of Shania Twain or just a fan of somebody making it through all odds, you will enjoy this book.