Nov 28, 2012

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies, 1)
Warm BodiesAuthor:  Isaac Marion
Publisher:  Atria
Publication Date:  April 26th 2011
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

From Goodreads:

R is a young man with an existential crisis - he is a zombie.  He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains.  he can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing.  He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams.

After experiencing a teenage boy's memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and strangely sweet relationship with the victim's human girlfriend.  Julie is a blast of color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that surrounds R.  His decision to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world.


Warm Bodies will soon be hitting the big screen in the beginning of 2013, after seeing the trailer, I knew I needed to read it.  The trailer has a funny vibe, that isn't really there in the book, that was a little disappointing.

Warm Bodies is mostly about R, and his "life" as a zombie. Author, Isaac Marion, gives us the daily life of the zombies living in an airport.  They get married and are given zombie children, but really they are not even sure what that all entails since they have no recollection of what relationships are, more less how they feel.  They just shuffle along like idiots eating humans.  When R eats the brain of Perry (not a spoiler, it happens right away) R starts getting Perry's memories.  Most of these memories are of Perry with his girlfriend.  Perry spots the girl, and tries to protect her.  Slowly he starts getting feelings and is able to speak a little instead of grunting.  This starts a change in the undead, that hopefully will lead to a better life for the living.

As I mentioned above, I was expecting some humor, and though there was a little, it wasn't nearly enough.  Warm Bodies is still an interesting read.  R slowly changing into something more human and wanting to find out what is happening is what kept me reading.  I am slightly conflicted with the whole relationship though, because I'm not sure really where Julie (the romantic interest) is coming from.  Why in the hell is she not more frightened? Her reactions to R are a little  unbelievable, in my opinion.   I wish I knew a little more about her so I could understand some of her actions.  I enjoyed the simplicity of the writing, but the world building was lacking.  How did the world become what it is?  What the hell are the bonies?  So many questions and not enough answers. 

I did enjoy Warm Bodies, but it is lacking a complete picture, but since this is a series, I'm sure we will be getting more answers.

Nov 25, 2012

Meant To Be by Lauren Morrill

Meant To Be
Meant to BeAuthor:  Lauren Morrill
Publisher:  Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date:  November 13th 2012
Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

From Goodreads:

Meant to be or not meant to be...that is the question.

It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the-gasp-wrong guy.  Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's queen of following rules and being prepared.  That's why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket.  And that's also why she's chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB ("meant to be")

But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she's partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London.  After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts...from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way.  And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all:  true love.

Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be.


I read a couple of reviews that compared this to Anna and the French Kiss, my favorite contemporary YA book, so naturally I really wanted to read this.  Anna and the French Kiss still remains my favorite, but Meant To Be is a pretty awesome book nevertheless. 

I immediately liked Julia, she is a straitlaced follow the rules kind of girl.  I can appreciate a girl who isn't silly, and is actually interested in expanding her mind. She grew up in a loving home with two parents who were deeply in love with each other, and preached the whole fate thing, MTB (meant to be) is how she expects to find her great love.  Jason is the polar opposite of Julia, he doesn't believe in the MTB, and loves breaking the rules, all in good fun.  Because they are both opposites they really are able to gain new perspectives in how they view life.  Their interactions are really great, and fun.  

Meant To Be is not an insta-love read.  Julia can't stand that she is paired up with Jason, who doesn't take anything seriously.  She came to really learn about London, and see these great attractions especially the ones that have to do with Shakespeare.  She's a huge fan.  Slowly, though without really realizing it she begins to appreciate Jason, and his unorderly approach to life.  Jason remains a mystery to readers.  We get glimpses of this wacky fun guy, but I never felt like I got a really good read on him.  

Meant To Be is a really great YA contemporary.  If you enjoy opposites attract storylines this is a must read.

Nov 21, 2012

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Where'd You Go, Bernadette
Author:  Maria Semple
Where'd You Go, BernadettePublisher:  Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date:  August 14th 2012
Rating: 5 out of 5

Bernadette Fox is notorious.  To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, mom.  Then Bernadette disappears.  It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward:  a family trip to Antarctica.  But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle--and people in general--has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands.  A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.  To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence--creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's role in an absurd world.'


Wow, I just loved Bernadette.  She's quirky and quite a likable character.  Her idiosyncrasies are funny, and heartwarming.

There are so many aspects of Where'd You Go, Bernadette that blended so well together, and made for a enjoyable fun read, which is why it got a 5 star rating from me.  The characters are so creatively done, and the plot...where did she go, has you turning the pages well past bedtime.  A lot of the story is told through email exchanges, letters, and transcripts, which made the story go by much quicker.  Bernadette is a creative genius, who doesn't have the patience or like to be around people, especially the gnats (mothers from the school her daughter goes to).  The gnats are annoying to Bernadette, they want her to participate and volunteer at the school, and look down at her for not.  Obviously she doesn't care about her child..I mean, she doesn't bake anything for the bake sale. *eye roll*  She does quite a few things to show her dislike of the gnats, all which lead to some laugh out loud moments.  Did I mention I love Bernadette.

I really don't like giving away much, even non spoilerish things. So I will end the review with "Where'd You Go, Bernadette is a fun book, with so many great moments".  Read it!

Nov 20, 2012

The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg

The Middlesteins
The MiddlesteinsAuthor:  Jami Attenberg
Publisher:  Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date:  October 23rd 2012
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

From Goodreads:

For more than thirty years, Edie and Richard Middlestein shared a solid family life together in the suburbs of Chicago.  But now things are splintering apart, for one reason, it seems; Edie's enormous girth.  She's obsessed with food--thinking about it, eating it--and if she doesn't stop, she won't have much longer to live.

When Richard abandons his wife, it is up to the next generation to take control.  Robin, their schoolteacher daughter, is determined that her father pay for leaving Edie.  Benny, an easy-going, pot-smoking family man, just wants to smooth things over.  And Rachelle--a whippet thin perfectionist--is intent on saving her mother-in-law's life, but this task proves bigger than planning her twin children's spectacular b'nai mitzvah party.  Through it all, they wonder:  do Edie's devastating choices rest on her shoulders alone, or are others at fault, too?


The Middlesteins is a book that I wanted to read as soon as I heard about it.  I, like a lot people also struggle with food, more accurately my LOVE of food, but I again like most people try to make healthy choices.  Sometimes we do, and sometimes we don't, it is the nature of the beast.   

What I find fascinating with The Middlesteins is how Edie has absolutely no care and restraint when it comes to food, yet she is a women keen to calling people out on their stupidity.  She is an angry women, as well as a selfish one.  I didn't really like her, yet I felt sorry for her.  Author, Jami Attenberg conjured up a dynamic character that angers you yet, you can empathize with.  Her husband, Richard, I pitied.  He's a more likable character even though he is the one who leaves Edie.  I liked that Richard narrated some of the chapters.  It is insightful to see his side of the story.

The story is told through many perspectives.  Edie, Richard, Benny, their son, Robin, the daughter, and even Benny's wife.  Each had their own voice, and you can tell who is putting their input into what is happening.  I enjoyed Ms. Attenberg's writing, it flowed nicely and is simply written.  The Middlesteins is a character driven novel, not much of a plot there, but the characters are very interesting.

I really enjoyed The Middlesteins, it' sad, real and entertaining.  

Nov 16, 2012

As I Wake by Elizabeth Scott

As I Wake
As I WakeAuthor:  Elizabeth Scott
Publisher:  Dutton Juvenile
Date Published:  September 15th 2011
Rating: 2.5 out of 5

From Goodreads:

Ava is welcomed home from the hospital by a doting mother, lively friends, and a crush finally beginning to show interest.  There's only one problem:  Ava can't remember any of them - and can't shake the eerie feeling that she's not who they say she is. 

Ava struggles to break through her amnesiac haze as she goes through the motions of high-school life, but the memories that surfaced take place in a very different world, where Ava and familiar-faced friends are under constant scrutiny and no once can be trusted.  Ava doesn't know what to make of these visions, or of the boy who is at the center of them all, until he reappears in her life and offers answers...but only in exchange for her trust.


As I Wake is a confusing read, but it still draws you in.  Problem is in the end you are still left with unanswered questions. The writing has a repetitive feel to it, and at first it's frustrating but after awhile I got use to it.  It's a very quick read at a little over 250 pages, it just left me thinking WTF in the end.  I'm a fan of Elizabeth Scott's writing, sadly I just didn't enjoy this one.  It's basically about parallel worlds.  Interesting concept, just not executed very well, I think.  

Nov 15, 2012

Unleashed by Cherrie Lynn

Unleashed (Ross Siblings, #1)Author:  Cherrie Lynn
Publisher:  Samhain Publishing
Publication Date:  February 2nd 2010
Rating:  2.5 out of 5

From Goodreads:

It's not enough that Kelsey's husband left her for another woman.  Oh, no.  The "other woman" had to be her best friend Evan's fiancee.  Not only has she lost her marriage, she fears losing Evan to the lingering awkwardness and humiliation that hangs between them.

Evan has no intention of letting that happen.  He's got plans...namely, an extra plane ticket to Hawaii now his that his future wife is out of the picture.  There's only one person he wants on the trip with him, the one who's always been there for him.  The one he should never have let slip away into the arms of a traitorous friend who shattered her heart.

Kelsey is anticipating a week of fun in the sun with the man who's always treated her like a little sister.  No one's more surprised when she discovers that Evan has seduction on his mind-and that she's more than ready for it.

Love is the most powerful healing force of all.  But past demons have a way of ripping open old wounds, and threatening the survival of even the strongest friendship..


This is not a typical kind of read for me so I don't have anything to compare Unleashed with.  I do know that I really didn't love this book, it was just okay to me.  I did a fair amount of cringing as I read this, it was just corny in some parts. I laughed out loud a lot, and read passages out loud to my husband in a whispery Marilyn Monroe kind of voice, which had both us laughing.  I don't think it was meant to be funny though. Anyways, Unleashed is a erotic romance, it did have some hot parts but mostly it was whatever.  I was not a fan of the female main character Kelsey.  She was slightly too immature for me, but Evan is a great character.  Definitely a sweet naughty kind of man.  The storyline is weak, and not very interesting.  Unleashed is the first book in the Ross Sibling series, I will continue with it because I hear that the next two books are better.  

Nov 14, 2012

Midweek Update

Hey Ya'll

What I finished Reading:

Unleashed (Ross Siblings, #1)

Unleashed by Cherrie Lynn
The first book in the Ross Siblings Series. Review should be up soon.

Currently Reading:

The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle, #1)

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
This is my first Stiefvater read, i'm 23% in on my kindle.  It's okay, hoping it picks up.


Ben-Hur by Lew Wallace
One of the classics I've been wanting to read.  I've divided into sections, that I have to read everyday to get it finished in 31 days.

Nov 12, 2012

Vaclav and Lena by Haley Tanner

Vaclav and Lena
Vaclav and LenaAuthor:  Haley Tanner
Publisher:  The Dial Press
Date Published:  May 17th 2011
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

From Goodreads:

Vaclav and Lena, both the children of Russian emigres, are at the same time from radically different worlds.  While Vaclav's burgeoning love of performing magic is indulged by hard-working parents pursuing the American dream, troubled orphan Lena is caught in a domestic situation no child should suffer through.  Taken in as one of her own by Vaclav's big-hearted mother, Lena might finally be able to blossom; in the naive young magician's eyes, she is destined to be his "faithful assistant"...but after a horrific discovery, the two are ripped apart without even a goodbye.  Years later, they meet again,  But will their past once more conspire to keep them apart?


I'm not sure what I expected from Vaclav and Lena...a love story, I guess, one that made me smile in the end.  It's not what I got.  The tone is melancholy and the story that unfolded was hard to read.  Not because it was badly written but because you want these two characters to persevere.

The beginning starts off with a young Vaclav and Lena, and sets up their friendship and dreams. You get the feel of how close they are, yet can sense something is not right with Lena.  As the story goes Lena becomes whole, we find out how much life she has already experienced, and not a good one, at a young age.  The second half you meet up with teenage Vaclav and Lena, and you get the answers that aren't there in the first half.

I enjoyed Vaclav and Lena, it was sad and the characters stay with you.  It's a short read, one I recommend.  

Nov 9, 2012

34 Pieces of You by Carmen Rodrigues

34 Pieces of You
34 Pieces of YouAuthor:  Carmen Rodrigues
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Published: September 4th 2012
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

From Goodreads:

There was something about Ellie...Something dangerous.  Charismatic. Broken. Jake looked out for her.  Sarah followed her lead.  And Jess kept her distance, and kept watch.

Now Ellie's dead, and Jake, Sarah, and Jess are left to pick up the pieces.  All they have are 34 clues she left behind.  34 strips of paper hidden in a box beneath her bed.  34 secrets of a brief and painful life.

Jake, Sarah and Jess all feel responsible for what happened to Ellie, and all three have secrets of their own.  As they begin to confront the darkest truths about themselves, they will also find out what Ellie herself had been hiding all along...


34 Pieces of You is a very somber read.  The story of Ellie is told from multiple narrators, Sarah, her best friend, Jake, her brother and Jess, Sarah's sister.  The best narrator is Jake,  I got a little more about who Ellie was from him.  But to be honest, I never really felt like I knew who Ellie was, I'm still wondering who exactly she was, and since this is a character driven novel, it was annoying.

In the beginning I was having a tough time to figure out where I was timeline wise, because it flip flops and feels like it's everywhere.  The timelines were divided by "Before January", "After November" etc., I would find that I would get confused and go back to see where I was in the previous chapter.

Despite the things I didn't like I was compelled to finish it to find out Ellie's secrets, and finished it in one day.  I did enjoy it, just not as much as I was expecting to.

Nov 7, 2012

Midweek Update

Hey ya'll!

What I finished reading:

The Winter Rose (The Tea Rose, #2)

The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly
Review was posted yesterday, not gonna put a link because it's right below this post. ;)

Currently Reading:

34 Pieces of You

34 Pieces of You by Carmen Rodrigues
Just started this one, only one chapter in.

Nov 6, 2012

The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly

The Winter Rose
The Winter Rose (The Tea Rose, #2)Author:  Jennifer Donnelly
Publisher:  Harper Collins
Publication Date:  November 30th 2006
Series: 2nd Book in The Tea Rose Trilogy
Ratings:  3.5 out of 5

From Goodreads:

It has been twelve years since a dark, murderous figure stalked the alleys and courts of Whitechapel.  And yet, in the summer of 1900, East London is still poor, still brutal, still a shadow city to its western twin.  Among the reformers is an idealistic young woman named India Selwyn-Jones, recently graduated from  medical school.  With the help of her influential fiance--Freddie Lytton, an up-and-coming Liberal MP--she works to shut down the area's opium dens that destroy both body and soul.  Her selfless activities better her patients' lives and bring her immense gratification, but unfortunately, they also bring her into direct conflict with East London's ruling crime lord--Sid Malone.  India is not good for business and at first, Malone wants her out.  But against all odds, India and Sid fall in love.  Different in nearly every way, they share one thing in common--they're both wounded souls.  Their love impossible and they know it, yet they cling to it desperately.  Lytton, India's fiance, will stop at nothing to marry India and gain her family's fortune.


The Winter Rose is the second book in the Tea Rose trilogy, and follows Charles Finnegan.  Charles becomes Sid Malone, a notorious crime lord, he separates himself completely from his siblings, Fiona and Seamus.  I enjoyed The Tea Rose a bit more, but still thought the Winter Rose was a good followup.

Charlie aka Sid Malone is a really great character.  He's flawed and real.  He's definitely scarred by what happened to his family, which we learn about in book one.  Sid is a crime lord but one that helps the poor people of Whitechapel, almost like Robin Hood. He's build walls around his heart to make it easier to be Sid Malone, and refuses to acknowledge Fiona.  Fiona wants Charlie, and he left him a long time ago.  Fiona and Joe, from the Tea Rose are also a big part of the Winter Rose, and even Seamus joins in the second half of The Winter Rose.

One of the great things about The Tea Rose is the romance between Fiona and Joe, so naturally I was expecting to love the romance between Sid and India, but it actually didn't do it for me much.  Sid was great, my problem lies with India.  India is too damn perfect.  I seriously can't stand characters that are goody two shoes, she's smart, brave, independent and loved by all.  *roll eyes* Then all of a sudden she starts making stupid decisions in the second half of the book that annoy me.  But I did enjoy her interactions with her friend Ella.

First half of the book is good, then it starts going downhill a bit in the second half.  Seamus comes into play basically to set up the third book that will be about him, and I found those parts boring, so I will not be reading the third book.

Nov 2, 2012

Mini Reviews

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Me and Earl and the Dying GirlAuthor: Jesse Andrews
Publisher:  Harry N. Adams
Publication Date:  March 1st 2012
Pages: 295
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is basically an acid trip in book form.  Told in first person, we go inside the crazy mind of Greg, and seriously Greg needs happy pills.  He's quite a character...weird, brutally honest, insecure and a pervert.  Author Jesse Andrews writes the way your head process thoughts.  You know like when your driving the same route you go everyday and your mind wanders to the most random thoughts.  Anyway, it's a entertaining read, but if you're expecting a insightful read about death, and cancer look elsewhere. 

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date:  August 21st 2007
Pages: 288, Hardcover
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Stars

Honestly I can't remember that much about Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac, it just isn't a memorable book.  Naomi takes a fall and loses the last 4 years of her memory. In the last 4 years some major changes have occurred in her family and teenage life. None of the characters really stood out for me, and the plot was just okay.  Keep in mind that I am not a young adult so that may have something to do with my dislike of it.