Monday, June 25, 2012

Review: Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Hate List
By: Jennifer Brown
Paperback: 432 pages
Published: August 11th 2009
Synopsis: Five months ago, Valerie Leftman's boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The list he used to pick his targets.

Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life.
So often I read to escape. I read to go to faraway times, alternate realities and places where everyone behaves predictably (either good or bad) Unfortunately life is unpredictable and things happen for reasons we will never understand. This book takes you there and I am happy I went. This story is about bad tragic things happening because right or wrong they do. Thankfully the character Valerie is taken on the journey of recovering as difficult and sometimes impossible it seems, not bogging down on understanding the past. This book reminded me that unfortunately, I need face through fears and consequences of my actions and sometimes the actions of others. I need to move on regardless of my situation. This is a powerful book and is on the “Must Discuss” list when my daughter reads this. This book took me on an emotional roller coaster and spun me around so much there were times I was not sure who was right or wrong, sometimes life is like that. I think this book realistically and thoughtfully addresses bullying and though the storyline is extreme to the nth degree. I could relate to it so much. It really spoke to me.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Summer Listening made easy!

Summer Listening
Wondering what to read this summer? Perhaps you should try these audiobooks you can download for free this summer. Yes! I said Free! check out Each week this summer they will have two books to download one classic and one new title paired together with a common theme.

SYNC Titles
Summer 2012 Schedule
June14 – June 20, 2012
The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch, Read by Dan Bittner (Scholastic Audiobooks)
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, Frank Galati [Adapt.], Read by Shirley Knight, Jeffrey Donovan, and a Full Cast (L.A. Theatre Works)

June 21 – June 27, 2012
by Francisco X. Stork, Read by Carrington MacDuffie (Listening Library)
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, Read by Wanda McCaddon (Tantor Media)

June 28 – July 4, 2012
The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud, Read by Simon Jones (Listening Library)
Tales from the Arabian Nights by Andrew Lang, Read by Toby Stephens (Naxos AudioBooks)

July 5 – July 11, 2012
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake, Read by August Ross (AudioGO)
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, Read by Ian Holm (AudioGO)

July 12 – July 18, 2012
Guys Read: Funny Business by Jon Scieszka [Ed.] et al., Read by Michael Boatman, Kate DiCamillo, John Keating, Jon Scieszka, Bronson Pinchot (Harper Audio)
The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and Other Stories by Mark Twain, Read by Norman Dietz (Recorded Books)

July 19 – July 25, 2012
Cleopatra’s Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter, Read by Kirsten Potter (Oasis Audio)
Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare, Read by a Full Cast (AudioGO)

July 26 – August 1, 2012
Pinned by Alfred C. Martino, Read by Mark Shanahan (Listen & Live Audio)
TBA (Brilliance Audio)

August 2 – August 8, 2012
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, Read by Khristine Hvam (Hachette Audio)
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, Read by Simon Prebble (Blackstone Audio)

August 9 – August 15, 2012
Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy, Read by Rupert Degas (Harper Audio)
Dead Men Kill by L. Ron Hubbard, Read by Jennifer Aspen and a Full Cast (Galaxy Press)
August 16 – August 22, 2012
The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera, Read by Jay Laga’aia (Bolinda Audio)
The Call of the Wild by Jack London, Read by William Roberts (Naxos AudioBooks)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Review: Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Enclave by Anne Aguirre           
Razorland Series #1
Hardcover 262 pages
Published April 12, 2011


In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.

As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.

Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first Deuce thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.

As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known. –

What can I say… WOW! I had to wait a while for this at the library. I picked it up yesterday and it was totally worth the wait. I will warn this is not the best book for the faint of heart there are some gruesome scenes and violence throughout. This is dystopian fiction awesomeness! If you are wondering what to read after the Hunger Games Trilogy grab this one. The next in the series Outpost is expected to be released in September this year. Squee!

I give this 5 out of 5 stars!
While you are waiting for book two to come out in September check out another dystopian favorite Divergent by Veronica Roth  It’s sequel Insurgent will be released in a few weeks May 1st

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Top Ten Favorite Covers

Top Ten Favorite Covers
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

All of these books I picked up because of the cover art.  All of these books I loved, but a few I may not have read if I were not drawn to the cover. Yes, I am that shallow :)

How to Save A Life by Sara Zarr
We have had a very mild winter with no real snow this year. I think this book’s wintery cover grabbed me. I needed to read it.

Wintertown by Stephen Emond
This was on display at my library and realized that I kept walking past it. When I realized the snow was pieces of punched paper I threw it in my bag to check out. 
Very cute.

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
This book is beautiful! You cannot help staring at this cover the key is raised and the title with the made of gears and watch parts is just pure awesome.

Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
This cover is one of my absolute favorites. The fog on cover has this opalescent quality.

Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
This cover is so clever. It is truly creepy.

Fallen by Lauren Kate
I think the blue color and the beautiful dress snagged my attention on this one. I had to have it.

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
I picked this up at a book fair. I love the metallic purple title that is raised over the eerie silvery metallic trees in the background.

Entwined by Heather Dixon
I love the dress! I love the castle in the background! I want to go there even though I cannot dance.

Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
What a sweet cover for a sweet story. I love the heart shaped snowflakes.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
This cover is gorgeous. After this came out my TBR pile was huge but I kept eying this book.  I finally broke down and bought it mainly because it’s so pretty.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Top Ten Books To Save If My House Were Abducted By Aliens

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
(I know it is Saturday!!! Back off)

Top Ten Books To Save If My House Were Abducted By Aliens
Wow this is a toughie!
I decided that I would give my self ten minutes to think of this list and that would be it. I do not think the aliens would give me much time. So I decided to save my sentimental favorites the ones that I could not easily replace and are all easily accessible.

1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte - I love this copy from 1943 with beautiful engravings by Fritz Eichenberg

2. Dracula by Bram Stoker – with illustrations by Edward Gorey a version I absolutely adore

3. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins signed

4. Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle - This was my Dad’s copy. When he worked on a children’s opera based on the book Madeline L’Engle came and I had her sign it.

5. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green signed  - Even though I have never met John Green, I still cherish this signed copy.

6. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green signed

7. Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787 Reported by James Madison - I was in a non-fiction phase when my husband and I started dating. We would go to the (then new) Borders (now gone) and drink espresso and peruse books. I got this on one of our first dates.

8. A ratty wrecked copy of The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton 'cause it is totally broken in and has awesome old book scent.

9. Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien This set of paperbacks were my dad’s and they are totally broken in.

10. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne this book belonged to my grandfather and has awesome old book scent.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why
By Jay Asher
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 18th 2007
ISBN13 9781595141712

Synopsis: Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.
On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.

Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers. –

Last week when I was at the library looking for Jay Asher’s most recent book I finally decided to pick this up. I have avoided reading this for a long time. Frankly I really was not interested in the idea of this book, but I have heard too many gushing things about this book to pass it up. So I stepped put of my comfort zone and checked it out.

What a powerful and thought provoking read I am glad I read this! I think it is important to note, if you begin reading this you HAVE to finish it. It is very important to complete Clay’s journey with him to truly benefit from it. The subject of suicide was seriously hard for me to read about. It would have been easy to put this down and spend my time searching the web for images of kittens in cups. Fortunately, this book handles the subject well and gave me a sense of closure at the end. This book tackles very difficult topics aside from the obvious – suicide. Through Hannah’s tapes we learn of all the hard life situations that lead her toward her decision. At the same time we experience Clay’s viewpoint where he struggles with his guilt and sorrow!  

Unfortunately teen suicide is very real and these situations really do happen. In this book we see parts of both sides. I think it is important to know how are actions can truly hurt people as well as how much our positive actions can really impact someone. It would make an excellent discussion book. (for teens or adults) You definitely should read this.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Review: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Synopsis: Three brothers struggle to stay together after their parents' death, as they search for an identity among the conflicting values of their adolescent society in which they find themselves "outsiders."

When my daughter had to read The Outsiders for her 7th grade English class I pulled out my copy and decided to re read it! The Outsiders is one of my all time favorite books. I have not read this in a long time though I have read it more times than I can count. When I had to read it for school I read it over and over and over. I read it at least four or five times in the time allotted to read it for class. My copy is old and trashed but I love this book! Re-reading it with the soft silky worn pages fitting in my hand I have to wonder why I have not re-read this for so long.

I love hearing Ponyboy’s voice in my head. Of course as I re-read this now I have the luxury of visualizing the characters from the movie in my mind. (This story is one of the times I really do not mind the movie!) The movie (1983) has Matt Dillon, Rob Lowe, C. Thomas Howell, Patrick Swayze, Tom Cruise, Emilio Estevez and Ralph Macchio. I remember when the movie came out and as a tween girl with a huge crush on Matt Dillon The Outsiders became my favorite movie (and still is). I absolutely stand behind the statement the book is always better! (though I am grateful Francis Ford Coppola did not cast a blond for Dally) In the book the characters are much deeper. I love how it captures that the tough guy greaser can be sensitive and to me that truly is touching. Their loyalty is something to desire. It tells us while sometimes we cannot change our circumstances, we certainly can affect the outcome. If you have not read this you should and if you have you should re-read it.

I give this 5 out of 5 stars!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next Door
By Stephanie Perkins
Hardcover, 338 pages
Published September 29th 2011 by Dutton Books
more details...ISBN 0525423281

Synopsis: 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.

With Valentine’s Day approaching I thought I would review a sweet chick-lit romance. This is also featured on the 2012 list of Best of Fiction nominees by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA).

I could not wait to get my hands on this book. I will say though, after reading Anna and the French Kiss (which I LOVED) I was hesitant, I mean, what if this one is not as good?  Stephanie Perkins definitely came through on this one. I loved how Anna and St. Clair show up in Lola’s San Francisco. This is a sweet story I was totally absorbed into Lola’s world. You cannot help but fall head over heels for Cricket. He is seriously crush worthy! Of course in order for Lola to fall for him, she needs to come to terms with who she is and be honest with herself. It is this journey that is so genuine and sincere that drew me into this book. So if you are looking for a sweet Valentine’s Day read look no further!

Mom Disclaimer: I have to say I do not approve of Lola’s relationship with Max! He is a dork!

I give this 4 out of 5 stars

Monday, February 6, 2012

Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars
By John Green
Hardcover, 318 pages
Published January 10th 2012  

Synopsis: Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

Wow! I need to start by saying you will need a box of tissues when you read this.

Normally when reading, I prefer to delve into worlds with monsters and problems that are fantasy and are not mine. The monster in this book is very real and the problems Hazel encounters in this book are legitimate ones. Thankfully they are not mine.

Honestly, I would not have picked up this book if John Green hadn’t written it. As a parent this book was VERY difficult to read. It sent me on an emotional journey of guilt, gratitude, grief, compassion and acceptance.

I am so glad I read this, even as I am writing this half blindly through tear-swollen eyes. This story is heartfelt sweet and touching. It is a very sincere look at a difficult subject that did not leave me with the emotional residue that would scar me. (I cry at commercials) As I reflect on this story I like it even more. If you are looking for a heart-warming story to read for Valentine’s Day (if you are not afraid of shedding some tears) this is a must read!

I give this 5 out of 5 Stars

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano
The Chemical Garden # 1
Hardcover: 358 pages
Published March 22, 2011

Synopsis: Obviously, something went terribly wrong. Genetic mutations have festered, reducing human longevity to twenty-five, even less for most women. To prevent extinction, young girls are kidnapped, mated in polygamous marriages with men eager to procreate. Sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery, a recent victim of this breeding farm mentality, has vowed to break loose from its fetters; but finding allies and a safe way out is a challenge she can only hope she will survive. A dystopian fantasy series starter with wings. –

Books from the YALSA Best Fiction For Young Adult 2012 Nominations right now dominate my “To Be Read List” and this title is listed. So, I picked up Wither (mostly because of the cover) and was immediately sucked in. I was a worried about the premise of the book, I mean really?? kidnapped into a polygamous marriage to procreate… Wow that is extreme, actually it is cringe worthy. Surprisingly, I thought it was written well and not as graphic/explicit as it could have been considering the dark and mature story line. This is a fast paced book and was very hard to put down. I found it easy to like Rhine’s character and even found myself actually liking Linden. While reading this I was completely torn I kept going back and forth between how I wanted the story to go. Should she choose freedom? Linden? Could she get both? One huge problem I had was with the world created in this book. It is so awful! I really cannot see how anyone could overcome the bleak, despairing, corrupt reality DeStefano has created. I can only hope the next book in the series (Fever - Expected publication: February 21st 2012) will suck me in as deeply and keep me invested in the story long enough to see how all the characters manage in such a dismal hopeless existence. Perhaps they will break free creating a healthier happier society. We will see.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
By: Ransom Riggs
Intended Age: YA
Hardcover: 352 pages
Published June7th 2011 by Quirk Press
more details...ISBN 1594744769 (ISBN13: 9781594744761)

A mysterious island.
An abandoned orphanage.
A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows..

On this list, is this bizarre book by Ransom Riggs. Maggie got this for her birthday and I finally picked it up to read. First I have to say this is a very creepy book and the horrific family tragedy that sets Jacob off on his quest is just that horrific. As you well know my love for macabre, I dove in. This book is full of weird, odd and bizarre pictures that the author weaves into the story. I was afraid it would be too dorky or forced ‘cause these pictures are weird! But it actually works. I enjoyed this book far more than I thought it would. I will however caution those fearful of shadows, as you may want to sleep with the light on.

I give this 4 out of 5 stars

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Review: Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Prince
By: Cassandra Clare
Hardcover: 502 pages

Published: December 6th 2011

Synopsis: In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa's powers for his own dark
So I just finished my Christmas present Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare. I loved this book it was definitely a great book to start the new year with.  

First you must know this is book two of the Infernal Devices series and you have to read book one Clockwork Angel first. The series author Cassandra Clare suggests reading them in publication order as the two series intertwine. So if you have not read any of her books you should read them in this order:

City of Bones (Book 1 Mortal Instruments)

City of Ashes (Book 2 Mortal Instruments)

City of Glass (Book 3 Mortal Instruments)

Clockwork Angel (Book 1 Infernal Devices)

City of Fallen Angels (Book 4 Mortal Instruments)

Clockwork Prince (Book 1 Infernal Devices)

City of Lost Souls (Book 5 Mortal Instruments) May 8, 2012 

Clockwork Princess: (Book 3 Infernal Devices) NO SET RELEASE DATE

City of Heavenly Fire: (Book 6 Mortal Instruments) NO SET RELEASE DATE

Now that I have increased your “to be read” pile you’ll need to get crackin’ to catch up by the next release date of May 2012. Clockwork Prince is my favorite of the entire Shadowhunter series so far. So no need to worry, all this reading will not disappoint! The Infernal Devices series is set in Victorian London with a steampunk-ish setting.  It serves as a prequel series to the Mortal Instruments series that is set in Modern day New York City.  Believe it or not as the stories progress they get better.  I love the character of Will Herondale. Oh… Will Herondale closed hart, quotes Shakespeare, constantly tending to the walls he has built around his heart. He reminds me in a way of my true literary crush the brooding Edward Cullen. It is sooo hard to talk about this book without spoilers for the series.  If you are looking for a something new to delve into I highly recommend these!

4 out of 5 stars