Our wireless network is technically called “NSA Surveillance Van.” Chris thinks he’s funny (he’s right).
Most of you know that my husband is a writer. But did you know his newest book was released yesterday?!
If you like 50’s noir crime, then this book is perfect for you. I read it myself and I think it’s awesome! Head over to mentalsweatshop to take a look, and head over to Amazon to pick up a copy!
Title: The Selection
Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: April 24th, 2012
Date Read: May 7-8, 2013
When we got the letter in the post, my mother was ecstatic. She had already decided that all our problems were solved, gone forever. The big hitch in her brilliant plan was me. I didn’t want to be royalty. And I didn’t want to be a One. I didn’t even want to try.
First Impression: You can read all about my very first impression here.
I thought it was dumb.
I was wrong.
When I picked it back up, I did it because I ran out of books and I still hadn’t finished this one. I flew through it in about a day, because it gets so much better than that first chapter. I thought it was going to end up being a vapid, pretty girl’s version of The Hunger Games- with a love triangle. But, as I read further, I really liked it. I got to know the character more than the first few pages, and I was glad I picked up the book again.
Things I Liked: The relationship between all of the contestants was an interesting one to read about. It’s like being backstage on The Bachelor (I am assuming this, because I have never seen it), and it was fun to read. I think that kind of writing takes a little effort too, because the author really needs to study group dynamics in a competitive setting. I was angry and happy and confused by some of the girls, and I loved it. I would have hated it if the book wasn’t told from America’s perspective, but it really was nice seeing it through her eyes. I also really loved that there is a dash of politics in here. Royal secrets, questions about the end of the U.S. as we know it, all that. It is a theme that becomes increasingly important, and increasingly interesting.
Things I Didn’t Like: I am not sure that I like the love triangle. Love triangles are ridiculously overdone, but somehow they always feel like a necessary part of YA lit. I think that this book could have stood without the love triangle, but I don’t know how it plays out in the rest of the series, so I won’t write it off (so punny) just yet.
Overall: I reallllly liked it. That being said, my first impression really sticks with me, so I can’t give it 5 stars. I know that I am not the only one to feel this way about the beginning chapters, but I do wish the others would finish the book.
Title: The Magnolia League
Author: Katie Crouch
Release Date: May 3rd, 2011
Date Read: April 16-18, 2013
By birth, sixteen-year-old Alexandria Lee is a rightful if unwilling member of the Magnolia League– a long-standing debutante society in Savannah, Georgia. Alex is the first in decades to question the Magnolia League’s intentions, yet even she becomes entangled in its seductive world. The members enjoy youth, beauty, and power…but at what cost? As Alex discovers a pact between the Magnolias and the Buzzards, a legendary hoodoo family, she unearths secrets–some deadly–hidden beneath the glossy Southern veneer.
First Impression: Sometimes it takes you a few pages to really get a first impression. I was so impressed by the first couple sentences that I took a picture to send to my friend that recommended the book to me. Here is that picture:
I literally don’t like sweet tea for that exact reason. I used to work at McDonald’s, and they use a pound of sugar for every 4-5 gallons of tea. It’s gross (to me). And that is why I decided to finish this book no matter what.
I know that some of you might not agree with me (my husband loves sweet tea), but I don’t care. This book hooked me because of that sentence. And because it’s about Southern Magic. I capitalized that because it should be a genre. For real.
Things I Liked: Lately, I have been loving books about southern magic wielders. Witches, voodoo queens, all of it. I like everything from Sarah Addison Allen books to the Beautiful Creatures series. I can’t really explain it all that well, but the characters are sassier. And I like that. I also like when you see these southern towns from an outsider’s perspective, and that is another reason I liked this one. And the sass and bossiness that can only come from southern debutantes.
Things I Didn’t Like: Some of the secondary characters. Some of their actions didn’t make a lot of sense when I thought about the information previously given about that character. That kind of lack of cohesiveness makes me angry, because it seems like the author only paid attention to the main character. However, I will admit that since this is a series, I am sure to learn a little more about that character’s personality and motivations that may explain their previous actions.
Overall: I like it a lot, but I don’t know if I loved it. However, I will definitely read the rest of the series.
I feel like I have to be honest with you guys. So, here goes:
I’m pretty sure I am absolutely awful at rating books.
When teachers grade papers, do they grade them on a scale? Does one A necessarily match up to another A? Does one five-star rated book match up to another five-star rated book?
That’s my conundrum. I have read some really spectacular books, and given them five stars. But do some of the other books I have given five stars to really compare?
Should I even be comparing one book to another book?
So, every time I sit down to rate a book, I tend to over think it. In the end, I ask myself whether I really liked it, what I thought was wrong with it, and how much those things weigh against each other. That is sort of the purpose of my reviews, and I often don’t know what my rating is going to be until I get to the end of my review. The whole process kind of makes me antsy. I just don’t like the idea of someone taking my ratings at face value without reading my reviews.
Title: Under The Never Sky
Author: Veronica Rossi
Publisher: Harper Books
Release Date: January 3, 2012
Date Read: April 18, 2013
IN A WORLD OF DANGER
AN UNLIKELY ALLIANCE
AND UNFORGETTABLE ROMANCE
First Impression: If you take a look at how long it took me to read this book, you will notice that the only impression I had time for was the first one. That’s how good I thought the book was. The book is 376 pages long, and I flew through every one of them in no time. I liked the dystopian setting right of the bat, I liked the characters and wanted to learn more about them, and I ended up being too interested to stop reading it.
Things I Liked: I really liked that the characters were independent. I know that a lot of the characters are independent in YA books, but mostly I find that they are in the extremes. Some characters are so independent that they hardly have any friends and we think they are weird until we really jump into the story. Others are so dependent on their friends and family that it often causes problems. I liked that these characters had bonds, but could see the big picture as well. The bonds are important, but so is the big picture. Their feelings are also realistic as well. That’s another thing that YA books do. I know that teenagers are often moody and shallow, but that doesn’t mean that every teenager everywhere is only concerned about what to wear and what their love interest is doing or thinking. These characters are often shallow and selfish. However, the other half are introverted to the point of social aversion- but they are the deepest thinkers ever. Possible? Sure. Realistic? No. These characters seem realistic in a world that is not real (in our reality, anyway.) It makes the whole book and all of it’s newness in terms of setting more real. That’s the ticket. If you want to write me a piece of dytopian literature, then you better take some steps to make sure that I can make some sort of connection to make it seem real for me.
Also, I just liked the story. I love the outsiders-insiders theme.
Things I Didn’t Like: It’s obvious I read this quite a while ago, so I don’t really remember anything bad. Also, I think when I read books so quickly, I might not have picked up on anything I don’t really like. Because, for me, it’s over in a flash. So, moral of the story, I liked it way more than I my have potentially not liked it.
Overall: Looooooved itttttt. (In my head that sounded like a flamboyantly gay man saying “fabulous.”) Great story, great characters, great read.
If any of you are friends with me on Goodreads, you may know that I have been wanting to read Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling. Anyway, I finally got to read it! My handsome husband snagged me this book and I am so glad he did. I loved it and devoured it in less than 24 hours. It was funny (how can it not be?), and real, and made me feel good about me. Her outlooks on life manage to be both realistic and optimistic at the same time, and I freaking love it. How often do those two things come together?
A little background on me and Mindy:
1. I love her. I think if we met, we would be friends. I even tweeted about it once. I believe I actually said ‘best friends’ but, thinking back, that was probably a little presumptuous. I mean, she didn’t even tweet me back.
2. I think she is a genius. She has to be.
3. I love her sense of style, and I find myself thinking about ways I can replicate it and then realizing I wouldn’t have the faintest idea where I would buy half the stuff she wears.
4. I follow her on instagram and I refer to her posts in my daily life.
That pretty much sums it up.
In her book, Mindy talks about reading books a lot, being kind of a weird child, NOT serial dating in high school (or college), being chubby, and having opinions. And all I wanted to do was hug her the whole time.
The best part about reading this book was getting some validation for my views- other people think the same things I think. I’m not crazy. I know it might sound a little insecure when I say I got some validation, but let’s be serious- everyone needs a little validation now and then. I just watched an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch about it.
One of those things is marriage. I know you might be gasping to yourself since I am, indeed, married. BUT, it’s not what you think. Mindy (I feel like I am close enough to her to use her first name, now) talks about divorced people and unhappily married people….AND happily married people. In short, divorced people are mostly nice and even more often feel liberated, unhappily married people warn you against the institution and tell you how much work it is, and happily married people are cool. We are cool because we’re pals.
“My parents get along because they are pals. They’re not big on analyzing their relationship. What do I mean by pals? It mostly means they want to talk about the same stuff all the time.” – pg 185
She continues to stroke my ego by saying this:
“I don’t want to hear about the endless struggles to keep sex exciting or the work it takes to plan a date night. I want to hear that you guys watch every episode of The Bachelorette together in secret shame, or that one got the other hooked on Breaking Bad and if either watches it without the other, they’re dead meat. I want to see you guys high-five each other like teammates on a recreational softball team you both do for fun. I want to hear about it because I know it’s possible, and because I want it for myself.” -pg186
THANK YOU. I would definitely get mad at Chris if he watched one of our shows without me (he wouldn’t dare.) I do high-five my husband all the time (we high-fived during our wedding ceremony.) And marriage IS like a recreational softball team you join for fun. I joined marriage for fun, and because I love Chris. A lot of people look at me weird because I am young and married and educated and childless. I married him because I wanted to, not because I had to.
You get it, Mindy. (If you are reading this, you can read all about my awesome marriage by friending me on Facebook, following me on Twitter or Instagram, or following this blog.)
No, it’s not my birthday. But, it’s my favorite person’s birthday! My husband turns 23 today.
Long ago, I jokingly said to my friend Carrie “I don’t think people should be looking for their other half- people are already whole. We should be looking for the other circle to our Venn Diagram.” On our wedding day, Carrie reminded us of that statement. It is so true. I’m pretty sure our circles overlap almost all the way.
Chris, you are awesome. You are kind and sincere and absolutely hilarious sometimes. I’m so happy that you are here, and today is a good day to remind you of that. I love you.
** You can see what Chris is up to over at Write to Perfect
Today is the first day of classes for the fall semester at my alma mater, SUNY Brockport.
Today is a sad day.
I guess it isn’t that sad, but the truth is that I really miss college. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely do not miss all of the homework and I really don’t miss some of the people. But, I miss actually going to classes. I miss seeing my friends, going to the union for lunch, and watching some of the crazies on campus.
But, we all grow up. Graduation comes, and we move on. So, I guess that’s what I will do. Even though I take every opportunity to go to campus with Chris (this is his senior year!), I guess I will never really be a part of the campus like I used to be.
BUT, I have a bachelor’s degree and now I am an alumna! Woo! I just have to look at the bright side.
Title: The Awakening
Author: Karice Bolton
Publisher: I think this is self published. I have an electronic version, and it doesn’t have a publisher’s name anywhere.
Format: Electronic- Kindle.
Date Read: August 4-6, 2013
Alone in snowy, remote Whistler village, ana tries to build a new life since losing her parents. With a cozy condo, a sweet-faced bulldog and an evening job to leave the days free for the slopes, life slips into a great routine. If only she could shake the guilt for not remembering anything about her parents and banish the night terrors that haunt her every dream.
On a whim, Ana goes out with Athen, a guy she’s just met in the Grizzly Pub. The only problem is that she feels like she already knows him.
Withing 48 hours of meeting Athen and his family, Ana’s world implodes. She falls for Athen quickly, and before she knows it, a past life begins to resurface. As thrilling as the revelations appear at first, she fights the chilling information that Athen is from the underworld. Soon she begins to struggle as her own supernatural gifts are slowly unveiled, and she realizes that the nightmares she’s been having might be premonitions and not dreams at all.
It is up to Ana to decipher between fact and fiction before it is too late, and her new love, Athen, follows on her same fate- one that is lost between two worlds.
First Impression: I will be completely honest- I downloaded this book because it was free and had an interesting title/cover art. I actually found it on a list of free Kindle downloads on Goodreads. As I started reading it, it seemed to be a slow builder, but a lot of books are. I was also not a big fan of the sentence/paragraph structure or the writing style, but I pushed through.
Things I Liked: The story. I thought that the story itself had tons and tons of potential. I haven’t really read a lot of angel/demon books because I have heard that most of them are kind of awful, but like I mentioned before- I didn’t have the slightest clue what the book was about when I downloaded it. The story was interesting, and I think it really could have been developed more.
Things I Didn’t Like: At first it was little things. I didn’t like that the author didn’t bother telling me where Whistler is (I think it’s somewhere in Canada?). I am not from the Pacific Northwest, and I have no idea where anything is located out there. Honestly, I was geographically lost until she mentions Seattle. I also didn’t like the names. I am not usually a stickler about these, but this book bugged me because I had no idea how to pronounce anything! They are almost all names that could be pronounced a variety of different ways. I mean, I will admit then when reading Harry Potter I just sort of mumbled over Hermione. But I would rather an un-pronouncable name that I had to mumble than a name I could say a million different ways. And finally, the big one: the writing style. I will give you some examples of things that bugged me:
1. “All I could hear was light buzzing.” (Page 158)
2. “Well, I’m kind of glad I did. It makes me realize you aren’t kidding about being a bad ass. I only saw the end. It was a big blur right up until you grabbed him.” (Page 161)
3. “They could care less about us.” (Page 185)
1. Light doesn’t buzz. I know some of you might be thinking that she meant “just a little bit of buzzing,” but that doesn’t really make sense in the context of the book. So… 2. That is one of the lamest pieces of dialog I have ever read. 3. If you could care less, you at least care a little. The example of dialog is pretty accurate for the dialog in the rest of the book, and looking back, I honestly don’t know how I got through this book.
Overall: Disappointment. The story seemed pretty good, but even that turned out to be kind of anti-climactic and was slow to develop. I didn’t have the faintest clue about the main plot until I was at 30%. The writing style for me was full of pet peeves, and I thought it was awful. I am not usually so harsh a reviewer, but I really, really disliked Bolton’s use of language and structure. Really. Usually I do a little section on the main characters and how I felt about them in my reviews, but the characters in this book were too shallow for me to even have much of an opinion of them. The dialog made them seem pretentious and naive, and a lot of the time they just seemed creepy. The whole book fell flat for me.
Rating: 2.5 stars. And that is simply for the story’s potential. And even still, I’m being generous.