May 30, 2011

French Lessons by Ellen Sussman- ARC Review

French LessonsFrench Lessons by Ellen Sussman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary:


A single day in Paris changes the lives of three Americans as they each set off to explore the city with a French tutor, learning about language, love, and loss as their lives intersect in surprising ways.


Josie, Riley, and Jeremy have come to the City of Light for different reasons: Josie, a young high school teacher, arrives in hopes of healing a broken heart. Riley, a spirited but lonely expat housewife, struggles to feel connected to her husband and her new country. And Jeremy, the reserved husband of a renowned actress, is accompanying his wife on a film shoot, yet he feels distant from her world.


As they meet with their tutors—Josie with Nico, a sensitive poet; Riley with Phillippe, a shameless flirt; and Jeremy with the consummately beautiful Chantal—each succumbs to unexpected passion and unpredictable adventures. Yet as they traverse Paris’s grand boulevards and intimate, winding streets, they uncover surprising secrets about one another—and come to understand long-buried truths about themselves.


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There are three semi-short stories that are the main meat of this book. The stories are intertwined by the prologue and the epilogue of three french tutors. The stories involve each of the tutors and their students as they spend a day in Paris together.


The French tutors names are Nico, Phillipe, and Chantal. Each of them have very distinct and different personalities. So do their students. I wouldn't say that the book is plot heavy. There is a plot, but it's actually not the main focus of the book. I definitely feel that it's more of a character study, as the focus is on the characters themselves, their lives and interactions.


A few of the characters are likeable, but for the most part I found that most of them weren't and they all were extremely damaged and flawed. You would think that this would lend the story to being extremely realistic and feeling very real-life, but on the contrary I felt that the story was very far-fetched and unbelievable. This is not necessary a bad thing though, it just made the story seem more of a realistic fantasy. And I think this is what the author intended.


It attempts to be a romantic plot but at the same time has a way of disgusting the reader in certain parts of the stories. None of the characters are happy in their current relationships you see, but by the end of their stories they have come to a revelation of some sort.


The imagery in the book is beautiful and Paris makes a great setting for this type of story. I only wish that I knew more about Paris and it's streets and landmarks. I think it would have made the book even more magical for me.


It's true that I don't normally read books like this. But when I entered the Goodreads Giveaway, there was something about the summary that drew me in. And I am glad that I won, because sometimes it is refreshing to read things out of your comfort zone. It helps widen the horizons. In the end, I think it was a great book, definitely interesting, but also slightly depressing. It's a fairly quick read, entertaining, and ultimately quite poetic.


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The book can be pre-ordered from Amazon here: French Lessons: A Novel It comes out officially on July 5th. 

May 29, 2011

Book Review- The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

The Emerald Atlas (Books of Beginning)The Emerald Atlas by John  Stephens
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Summary:


John Stephens' aptly-titled new fantasy trilogy begins auspiciously with a nimble, fast-paced tale of three siblings. Kate, Michael, and Emma have suffered through ten years of odious orphanage "care"; now they have slipped into the care of the eccentric, disturbingly mysterious Dr. Pym. While exploring their new home, the children discover a magical green book. With that discovery, a decade of tedium dissolves into cascades of dangerous time travel adventures and struggles with a beautiful witch and decidedly less attractive zombielike Screechers. High early reader marks for strong characterization and battle scenes.


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I'm not feeling very inspired to write this review. I don't know if it's because I'm just not in the mood, or because the book failed to inspire me. Here's the thing though. I don't have a lot of criticisms, but it just didn't do a whole lot for me. One of the things I look for most in books that I am reading is something, anything in the writing that evokes an emotion in me. That didn't really happen here. I read for pure enjoyment; I read to get completely lost in the story.


The Emerald Atlas was well written however. I did really enjoy the story and the creativity behind the writing. I really enjoyed the scenes with the dwarves. It's a children's book so I don't expect the characterizations to get very deep, but I actually felt fairly connected to the characters here. Emma was my favorite by far and I enjoyed her relationship and attachment to Gabriel.


I don't usually "do" time-travel books. I had no idea this was a time-travel book before I started it. Had I known, I probably wouldn't have read it, but I still enjoyed it. I just thought that certain parts of the book were unnecessarily confusing. And if it was confusing for me as an adult, imagine how it would be for a child. Not to mention, I have a hard time suspending disbelief for time-travel plots. But that's not the author's fault. It's just a personal preference for me.


The action was great and a lot happened. I thought the book was well-paced, but the one thing I didn't care for was the voice. And I've been noticing this in a lot of middle-grade books lately. Why do the authors feel the need to talk down to their readers? Just like a lot of others this one was written with an air of "I'm much more intelligent than you, so listen to what I have to say." I really find that to be annoying. I'm sure most children wouldn't even notice it, but I do. A lot. I never felt that way with Harry Potter. Not with Fablehaven either. Just because one is a child, they do not need to be talked down to. I really dislike that and it makes a book less enjoyable for me.


I did like the action though, the setting was kind of cool, and I like where the series is going. So I will probably read the next book. It was better than most middle-grade books I have read lately. I guess I am just looking for more. It didn't wow me enough. Hopefully that will happen with the next book.


View all my reviews

You can purchase The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens here: The Emerald Atlas (Books of Beginning)

And here is a short book trailer so you can get more of an idea of what the book is about.

May 28, 2011

In My Mailbox #1




This is probably one of the few memes I will be participating  in. I think this one is really important though because it gives readers a chance to see new books and the books I will be reviewing on this blog. I may not participate every week yet, it just depends what I get every week. This IMM is going to be pretty huge though, because it's a build-up of the last couple of weeks. IMM is sponsored by The Story Siren and happens once a week, usually on Sunday.

Won:

Thanks to Random House for an ARC of French Lessons: A Novel by Ellen Sussman.
Thanks to Amber at Me, My Shelf, and I for a signed Oubliette bookmark by Megg Jensen.
Thanks to Kate Milford for a signed copy of her book The Boneshaker.

French LessonsOubliette (Cloud Prophet Trilogy, #2)The Boneshaker
Bought:

The Peach Keeper: A Novel andThe Girl Who Chased the Moon: A Novel by Sarah Addison Allen.
The Juliet Club by Suzanne Harper.
Shine by Lauren Myracle.
The Dark City #1 (Relic Master) by Catherine Fisher.
Putting Makeup on Dead People by Jen Violi.
Blood Magic (The Blood Journals) by Tessa Gratton.
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray(for my Kindle).

The Peach KeeperThe Girl Who Chased the MoonThe Juliet ClubShineThe Dark City (Relic Master, #1)Putting Makeup on Dead PeopleBlood Magic (Blood Journals, #1)Beauty Queens

May 27, 2011

Review of Geisha: A Life by Mineko Iwasaki

Geisha, A LifeGeisha, A Life by Mineko Iwasaki
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary:


The geisha has long been a mystery to those in the West. In her compelling memoir, Mineko, often called the best geisha of her generation, reveals the secretive world that inspired a bestselling fictional counterpart, Arthur Golden's bestselling Memoirs of a Geisha.


Mineko's remarkable story dispels Western myths about the geisha as prostitute and describes a demanding life as a highly trained artist. With an even and objective voice, she tells of leaving home at the age of four to enter a geisha house. Here, Mineko made her fame and fortune as a dancer. Appearing and entertaining at as many as ten parties an evening, she would dance for ten minutes at each and earn tens of thousands of dollars for the night's work. Mineko also covers the importance of appearance, describing the elements of beauty, including the kimono. These garments were a special -- and costly -- part of a geisha's appearance, and could only be worn a few times.


In Geisha, Mineko Iwasaki leads us through a fascinating profession. While a glossary of Japanese terms would have been helpful, nothing detracts from this powerful and intimate glimpse into a mysterious world.


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Okay, so I'm going to be very blunt and honest in this review and probably in the rest of my future reviews. I'm always honest, but sometimes I hold my opinions back a little bit for fear of offending someone. I just can't do it anymore. And when it comes to this review, I have some very strong opinions.


First of all, I would venture to say that anyone that reads/read this book has already read Memoirs of a Geisha. This memoir is supposedly the real story of the geisha that Memoirs was based upon. It was written by Mineko Iwasaki herself with the help of an English translator. Now I can say that I have read both books, and Memoirs of a Geisha beats the pants off of this very informative, but slightly dry attempt at the same.


Listen. I know parts of Memoirs of a Geisha are fictional. But some of the things that Mineko said about the book I find slightly offensive. She has said that Memoirs of a Geisha made the Geisha appear to be a high-classed prostitute. I never had that opinion after reading it. At all. In fact, quite often the author made the distinction between traditional courtesan and Geisha.


Also, I want to talk about the Mizuage tradition. Mineko has stated that it was never a ceremony where a maiko's virginity was auctioned off to the highest bidder. As gross as this is, Mineko is being very misleading and she is/was not speaking the truth. During the time that Mineko was a Geiko, the practice had been outlawed, but before the 60's, it was commonplace. It was officially outlawed in 1959, but carried on for awhile after that.


Now notice for a second the setting for Memoirs of a Geisha. Most of the book was set before World War 2. The whole virginity aspect was still very much a part of Geiko culture then. So like I said, Mineko was being very misleading in her book. I could go on and on about the disagreements I have with the things Mineko has said, but I think by now you get the point.


I didn't dislike reading it, I found it to be very informative. But I also found it kind of dry and written with an air of condescension. Mineko thinks very highly of herself. I'm not saying that she shouldn't be, but I felt I was being talked down to for a good portion of the story.


I gave it four stars, because it was a well-written piece of non-fiction,  and I happen to be very interested in Asian culture, especially the Gaiko/Maiko culture. There is not a lot of information out there, and I will read whatever I can get my hands on. That being said though, I will probably never re-read this, but I will re-read Memoirs of a Geisha. There's actually a story there and quite a few facts. I would recommend reading this if you are interested in Japan or Geisha culture. Otherwise, it could go either way.





View all my reviews

You can purchase Geisha: A Life from Amazon here: Geisha: A Life.

May 24, 2011

Splash into Summer Giveaway!


This is the first giveaway hop I am participating in. I am very excited. I was only going to give away one book, but I was cleaning my shelves today and I found a book that I have an extra UNUSED copy of. So without further ado, here is my contest. I'm actually doing two, and there will be two separate forms to fill out.

Rules for both giveaways:

1. You must be a follower via GFC. I am giving away two hardcovers from my personal stash, so I feel it's fair.
2. You have to be over 13.
3. This giveaway is for US/Canada followers only. I'm sorry but I cannot afford to pay international shipping right now. If you are willing to pay for international shipping, then you may enter.

First giveaway:

I am giving away a hardcover copy of Haven by Kristi Cook. This is not an ARC, it is a finished copy that I purchased from Books-A-Million. I'm giving it away because I know a lot of you want it, and it was not one of my favorites. I hope I am able to find it a better home with one of you.

Haven

Enter to win Haven by filling out the form here.

Second giveaway:

I have an unused hardcover edition of The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown.

The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon, #3)

Great book. It's no Angels and Demons, but it was a fun and compelling read. I obviously do not need two copies.

Enter to win The Lost Symbol by filling out the form here.

Winners will be chosen by random.org on June 1st. Winners will be notified immediately after they have been chosen. They have 48 hours to get in contact with me or another winner will be chosen.

Good luck guys and I hope you win! You can go ahead and enter the next contest by jumping to the next link!

Book Review- Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Summary:


On the morning of her sixteenth birthday, Renée Winters was still an ordinary girl. She spent her summers at the beach, had the perfect best friend, and had just started dating the cutest guy at school. No one she'd ever known had died. But all that changes when she finds her parents dead in the Redwood Forest, in what appears to be a strange double murder.


After the funeral Renée’s wealthy grandfather sends her to Gottfried Academy, a remote and mysterious boarding school in Maine, where she finds herself studying subjects like Philosophy, Latin, and the “Crude Sciences.”


It’s there that she meets Dante Berlin, a handsome and elusive boy to whom she feels inexplicably drawn. As they grow closer, unexplainable things begin to happen, but Renée can’t stop herself from falling in love. It’s only when she discovers a dark tragedy in Gottfried’s past that she begins to wonder if the Academy is everything it seems.


Little does she know, Dante is the one hiding a dangerous secret, one that has him fearing for her life.


Dead Beautiful is both a compelling romance and thought-provoking read, bringing shocking new meaning to life, death, love, and the nature of the soul.


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Let me tell you a little bit about my reading preferences as they relate to Dead Beautiful. If I really enjoy the writing and the writing style, not to mention where the story is going, then the book will usually get a great review from me. But if the book starts to fall apart for me as I'm approaching the ending, then I generally get pretty angry. And start to dock stars. 


That's what happened here. I really enjoyed the story, the mythology, and how Latin and other aspects of education were worked into the book. I really liked attending classes with the characters and learning what they were learning. I've always loved school, homework, and learning. Yes, I'm a nerd. But it's why I read. To expand my knowledge and vocabulary about subjects I normally don't know a lot about. That's where I was with this book until the climax happened. I thought the ending came along rather abruptly. There were no surprises here for me. I knew who the villain was, and it was not kept a secret throughout the book. The one twist that came at the end between Dante and Renee was not surprising either. I was already 99% sure that that was going to happen. Extremely frustrating. 


And I did not care for the ending. It was extremely abrupt. I'm sure that when the next book comes out, the way it ended will be rectified, but apparently book two is not due out until fall of 2012. And honestly, I didn't enjoy it enough to wait that long. It was good, but it didn't blow me away. And truthfully, it probably would've gotten two stars from me, but I did enjoy the writing and most of the characters. 


What saved the book for me was the setting. I really loved the setting. I adore boarding school settings, but this one was super creepy because it involved a scary forest and underground catacombs as well. I also enjoyed the mythology and the originality of the story. So let's be honest. I didn't hate it. It all came down to the ending for me. If it had ended differently, it would at least be getting 4 stars from me. So that doesn't mean you shouldn't read it. You might like that kind of ending. The book is definitely original and for that, it's worth a read.




You can purchase Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon by clicking on the Amazon link. I had purchased the Kindle version from Amazon for my ereader.  Happy reading! 

May 23, 2011

Quick Update on Everything

Hi guys! I have a number of things that I need to tell you real quick.

First, I will be reading The Great Gatsby for the month of June. That's the book that won the classic poll, and I'm really looking forward to reading it. I already have it downloaded to my Kindle and it's ready to go as soon as June hits. I've been wanting to read this one for awhile.

Second, I will be making a trip to the post office today to mail out the books for the winner of my first giveaway. So ladies, be looking for those this week or at the very latest the beginning of next week. I'd appreciate if you let me know in the comments when you received them, but you don't have to.

Third, I am participating in the Splash Into Summer Giveaway Hop. I'm excited and I have some more great books to give away. These are a little more recent than the ones for the last giveaway. That posting will be going up probably at the very beginning of the 25th before I go to bed. So let's say tomorrow night. I am excited to participate as well as enter the other giveaways participating. I love doing the hops. They are a lot of fun.

Fourth, I have been fortunate enough to receive an Advance Reader's Copy of Kings, Queens, Heroes, and Fools by M.R. Mathias which I should be starting today. This is book two of the Wardstone Trilogy and you can find out more information about this epic fantasy series by visiting his website here: M.R. Mathias.

And I think that about covers it for now. Thanks for reading as always!

May 22, 2011

Book Review- Spellbound by Margeaux Laurent

Spellbound: The Awakening of Aislin Collins (Spellbound Series)Spellbound: The Awakening of Aislin Collins by Margeaux Laurent
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary:


Burlington, New Jersey 1734 Something evil has settled here. It lurks in the woods, cloaked by dark magic. Animals have been found slaughtered and men patrol the forest nightly to hunt this unknown malice. They will not find the creature, nor will they be able to kill it. It is not interested in them. It is after me. I am a witch and the creature is the servant of a witch hunter. I am their prey.


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Okay, so the summary of this book really doesn't do it justice. It doesn't tell you hardly anything about what the book is about. So I will try the best that I can, although I really suck at writing summaries which is why I generally just use the one that is given.


This is a historical novel set in New Jersey in the Pine Barrens, which is famous for one thing: The Jersey Devil. If you are into the paranormal and have never heard of The Jersey Devil, you must literally live under a rock. This book however, has very little to do with that legend. Well maybe a little, but I don't want to spoil the book for you.


Being a witch is bad. Really bad. That being said, for as bad as witchcraft was, there certainly were a lot of witches in this book. Slavery is also prevalent and I found it to be quite disturbing. Aislin and her family are witches but they try to hide this. There is a very mysterious man named Lamont who wants to kill Aislin because she is a witch, but we don't figure out his motives until the very end. There is an awful boy named Zachariah who thinks he owns Aislin because he is to be married to her, and he and his family are just awful people. Seriously. His family owns the town so Aislin's parents are pretty much stuck with having to listen to whatever they say. I was angry for a good duration of this book. Aislin is disgusted by him and she is in love with this guy named Greer who is a very mysterious(but hot)individual who appears out of nowhere to Aislin and tells her she is not safe. From then on, he sort of becomes her protector and a large part of her life.


The story sounds very simple, and for the most part it is, but it's very well-written and I really enjoyed it. We are left with a bit of a cliffhanger and I hate that, but most of the story from Spellbound is wrapped up, it just opens at the end with a new plot. There's a little bit of everything in Spellbound. Witchcraft, vampires, shape-shifters, murder, and a really creepy setting to go with it. It was a really fun read.


I have a few criticisms and they are: Grammatical errors. While I try not to pay too much attention to mistakes in grammar, there were a few here that I just couldn't let slip by. As far as sentence structure goes, I had no issues there. It was the spelling  of certain words that bothered me. One thing I noticed time and time again was the incorrect usage of the words past/passed. When past was supposed to be used, the author used passed. And vice versa. Not a huge deal, but something that took away from the magic of the story a little bit since this happened at least 5 times.


Also, some of the dialogue seemed a little bit awkward and forced. The novel was set in historical times, so I think that's what the author was trying to portray, but I felt sometimes that it didn't work. I don't know what I would have done differently to fix it, so maybe I am being unnecessarily picky. Other than that, there really are no complaints.


I enjoyed reading it, great characters, fantastic pacing. I would've worked on going a bit deeper with the imagery since the setting of the novel is so creepy, but I was really impressed with the author's writing skill.




View all my reviews

The book can be purchased from Amazon here: Spellbound: The Awakening of Aislin Collins

It comes highly recommended and if you enjoy reading about witches and other paranormal aspects, I think you will get quite a bit of enjoyment from this one. If I haven't mentioned this before, this is a young-adult novel, but is very suitable for older readers as well. I'm 30. I liked it.

May 21, 2011

Book Review- My Life, the Theater, and Other Tragedies by Allen Zadoff

My Life, the Theater, and Other TragediesMy Life, the Theater, and Other Tragedies by Allen Zadoff
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Summary:


High school sophomore Adam Zeigler, who lost his father to a sudden accident two years ago, thinks the best way to live life is behind the spotlight. As a member of the theater crew, he believes he's achieved it all when he wins the coveted job of spotlight operator. But that was before a young actress, Summer, appeared in his view. Instantly smitten, Adam is determined to win her over. But to do so, he'll have to defy his best friend and break the golden rule of his school: techies and actors don't mix.

Set against the backdrop of a high school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Zadoff's latest is a bromance, a love story, and theater story in one. The politics of love and high school collide as Adam struggles to find the courage to step out of the shadows and into the light.


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Every now and then a novel comes along that encompasses everything you are looking for in a book, right at that very moment. The words capture your mind, and the characters capture your heart. The style of writing is so unique that you are mesmerized, you want to savor every word and take your time, yet you can't put it down. That was this book for me. A tall order to fill, I know, yet it did all that and more. Maybe it's because I was a drama club kid in high school. Maybe it's because I was an actress with a crush on a techie. The guy that did lights actually. Maybe it was just that time in my life when everything fit so perfectly together, I was carefree and had no worries. I loved being on the stage and performing in talent shows and plays and having this amazing camaraderie with all the actors and stagehands. Maybe it took me back to my childhood. Yeah, I think that's it.


Anyway, back to reality. If you can't tell already, I absolutely adored this book. It wasn't exactly what I thought it was going to be, but that's okay. It may have even been better. I loved the protagonist, so much. Adam was exactly the kind of guy I would've had a crush on in high school. Yeah, he had acne. So what? His personality made him adorable. Flawed. Strong but weak, someone who was mysterious and you would definitely want to get to know better. I got him. Totally. And then there were all the other characters. Wow. I have never read a book that felt like everyone I was reading about were actually real people. Like they were existing somewhere at this very moment. Not characters, real life individuals. I don't need or want to talk about story elements in this review. I think that would ruin everything I'm saying. It's not necessary. Trust me..it's all there.


Yes this is a book about real life. There is nothing paranormal here. No fantasy, no fairies or vampires. And God was it ever refreshing. It's funny, a little sad, quirky, etc. It has the ability to put a smile on your face when your head feels like exploding (I had a migraine toward the end of this).


I  could gush and gush and tell you how much you need to read this book, but I'm not going to. All I will say is this. If you ever felt insecure in high school(everyone) or wished you were a little more brave in real life(everyone), then you should read this book. It has my full seal of approval. I only wish I had it to own in hardback instead of a kindle copy. I want this for my collection? Anyone have one they want to trade?


View all my reviews


You can buy My Life, the Theater, and Other Tragedies from Amazon here: My Life, the Theater, and Other Tragedies

And you really should. And then come back and comment and tell me how much you loved it.

May 19, 2011

New Cover for Sleight

My dear friend Jennifer Sommersby has decided to slap a different cover on her book. I liked the old cover, but I think this new cover is fabulous. I love redheads. Wonder why? Anyway, here it is:

Sleight (AVRA-K #1)

Also, the summary for those who have forgotten:

Her mom is dead.
Ghosts follow her around.
Her best friend is an elephant.
And she’s about to meet the biggest game changer of all: a boy. With a secret.

When circus-dwelling Gemma Flannery learns she will be attending public school for the first time in her seventeen years, little does she know that fitting in with her 12th-grade classmates will be the least of her concerns. A pro at hiding her knack for seeing the dead (“shades”), Gemma is grieving the recent suicide of her mentally ill mother, a process eased by the introduction of her first real love interest, the charming and painfully handsome Henry Dmitri, who is harboring his own collection of dangerous secrets. Together, they will be presented with a frightening challenge: to assume their roles as heirs to a 3000-year-old magical text, the AVRAKEDAVRA, a book the über-rich, sleight-of-being master Lucian Dmitri would do anything to get his hands on. As each terrifying layer in her new reality melts away, Gemma unearths truths that her quiet, nomadic life with the Cinzio Traveling Players is not at all what she’d always cherished. Gemma and Henry must rely on each other to stop Lucian’s diabolical plotting that will bring the world to its tired, scab-riddled knees, and are sent on the flight of their young lives, to save themselves, their families, and the world from the darkest kind of destruction.


And a link to my original review: Sleight Review

And a link to buy it on Amazon. Buy it! 

Book Review- Abandon by Meg Cabot

Abandon (Abandon Trilogy #1)Abandon by Meg Cabot
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Summary:


Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.


But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.


Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.


But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.


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When I finished reading this book, I had originally given it 4 stars. I really did like the story. I LOVED the setting. But then I thought about it for a little bit and realized that it wasn't all that special.  First of all, there was almost no character development. And the characters weren't particularly memorable. The characters that I did like (Uncle Chris and Alex) weren't in the story enough and sort-of seemed like an afterthought.


Everything was very cliche. This plot has been done many times before, and in many different ways, and better. And it definitely gave off a Twilight Vibe. Protective guy, slightly clueless girl, star-crossed lovers,etc. I don't know about you, but I'm looking for reading material with a little more substance and originality these days.


Now that I'm done criticizing, I definitely want to compliment the author's writing. I've been reading a lot of beautifully written novels lately. Unfortunately, beautiful writing does not mean substance. But she does write beautifully. She describes things well. Her wording is definitely appealing and I appreciate her style. I've read other books by Meg Cabot and I've liked them better. So I definitely like her. I just felt like something was missing. Sort of like her writing spark was gone for this book.


A lot of authors right now are on a mythology kick. Almost every paranormal aspect has been used and overused, so it was time to move onto something else. I guess they all sat down, had a conference and decided it was to be mythology. Well I say yuck. I love Greek Mythology. But the Greek myths were crazy and unbelievable enough by themselves. We don't need anybody with an idea to come along and twist every Greek myth into a story. Which is why for the most part, I've refrained from reading them. This retelling of Persephone and Hades was okay. It didn't stray too much from the original which I appreciated. It just received a modern update.


So, 3 stars. I know I talk like I hated it, but I didn't really. That's the cynic in me coming out. Will I continue with the series? Perhaps. I won't go out of my way, but if I get sent a copy, I will read it. I think there's a good chance the next book will be better. Maybe it will have more substance. I hope.


View all my reviews

And this is possibly the worst acted book trailer in the history of book trailers, but well, here you go:

And you can buy Abandon and check out other reviews of it here: Abandon 

It's Time to Get Something Off My Chest Day!

Most of you know that yesterday, I was publicly attacked/cyber-bullied, whatever you want to call it, for my Slaughterhouse Five review. I just wanted to address that and bring up a topic that I'm sure a lot of us book-bloggers have dealt with: Hate mail/criticism.

Last week I attacked a fellow blogger for hating on a book that I loved. I tried to be as tactful as possible, but it got ugly anyway. Maybe I should have left it alone, but the reason why I commented in the first place was because she quoted my review in her review. And it wasn't done in a positive way. I have never quoted anyone else's review in my reviews and I never intend to do so. I apologized for arguing with her, but it did get ugly with some of the other commenters and they called my sanity into question, and that's kind of when I wished I could take my apology back. But regardless, I am still sorry to Vinaya for being mean to her, but I'm not sorry to any of the other commenters.

The reason why I am blogging about this now, is because yesterday I was attacked. I can now say I know how this feels and it sucks. I don't think I was anywhere close to as bad as he was, but I still felt the need to address it.

I didn't care for Slaughterhouse Five. It was okay, but I didn't think it was genius and it wasn't for me. So the f*ck what? I was called a moron, stupid, and asked to please not review any books ever again. He specifically asked me to please not review any of his work ever. Not that I ever had any intention or desire to do so. I have enough people asking for my reviews without having to add insane people who will go nuts if I review their book negatively to my list. He went so far as to compare his work to the work of Mr. Vonnegut's. Now if this isn't crazy, I don't know what is.

The point I am trying to make is, this is my blog. I have the right to post any opinion I want here because my words belong to me. If you don't like them, and I know of a few that don't, there's the door. You won't be missed. I don't expect everybody to agree with me.  That would be ridiculous. But I do expect you to respect my opinion as a fellow blogger even if it differs from yours. You can disagree with me and comment tactfully. Saying I respectfully disagree because...usually works! I have since had to block this person, and I had hoped that it would never come to that with anyone. But it's not the first time it has happened to another blogger, and I'm sure it wasn't the last time it will happen to me.

Having differing opinions is what makes us all unique. But that's just the point. We all have different opinions. And not one opinion that anyone has is better or more right than anyone else's. That's why they are called opinions and not facts. You have a right to think I'm stupid. But you do not have a right to express that on my blog. Express it on yours.

I don't want anyone to think that differing opinions are not welcome here. That's not what I'm trying to say at all. But if you've ever listened to or went to a professional debate, you should know there's a way to do it tactfully. I will not allow myself or any other commenters here to be personally attacked. In the future, if this happens, expect your comment to be deleted, and expect yourself to be blocked.

And once again, she may never see this, but Vinaya, I apologize. Have a great day everyone!

In addition, he has since gone on to now publicly attack me on his blog. He has not used my name, and neither will I, but since I'm such a b*tch and you don't wanna mess with me, here's the link: http://roguemutt.wordpress.com/2011/05/19/thursday-rant-worst-book-reviewer-ever/ Feel free to post it anywhere and comment on it all you want. We really need to work on getting him locked up.

<3 Kara

May 18, 2011

May Classic- Slaughterhouse Five

Slaughterhouse-FiveSlaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Summary:


Kurt Vonnegut's absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes unstuck in time after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut's) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden.

Don't let the ease of reading fool you--Vonnegut's isn't a conventional, or simple, novel. He writes, "There are almost no characters in this story, and almost no dramatic confrontations, because most of the people in it are so sick, and so much the listless playthings of enormous forces. One of the main effects of war, after all, is that people are discouraged from being characters..." Slaughterhouse-Five (taken from the name of the building where the POWs were held) is not only Vonnegut's most powerful book, it is as important as any written since 1945. Like Catch- 22, it fashions the author's experiences in the Second World War into an eloquent and deeply funny plea against butchery in the service of authority. Slaughterhouse-Five boasts the same imagination, humanity, and gleeful appreciation of the absurd found in Vonnegut's other works, but the book's basis in rock-hard, tragic fact gives it a unique poignancy--and humor.


____________________________________________


I still have no idea what I just read. This is the classic that was chosen for me to read for the month of May. Sometimes classics and me just don't mesh. I don't know how to explain it. I'll try to explain my interpretation of this book the best that I can, but I'm probably going to end up sounding stupid. Let's put it this way. If I had had to read this in college, and the professor asked us questions about it, my hand would so NOT be getting raised.


Notice I gave it two stars. I had a hard time deciding between 2 and 3 stars. I was conflicted because I enjoyed some parts of the story. I enjoyed the war scenes and the interpretation of World War 2 that was presented. I did not care for the Trafalmadore sections. It just didn't make sense to me and all the jumping around was seriously confusing.


I did enjoy Vonnegut's bluntness and way with words. As depressing as the book was, I also laughed a few times. I know most people love the fact that he writes, "So it goes" on practically every page. I didn't care for it. I found it annoying and after about ten times I began rolling my eyes.


I just definitely think this is a book that men will enjoy more than women. I am wondering just who voted for this book. I have my ideas. I can appreciate it for the good writing and the fact that I read the entire thing, because there are some classics I couldn't even get through ::cough Dracula cough::.


There were some parts of the book that were fun. I enjoyed Billy Pilgrim's voice and it was nice being in the mind of an unusual character for once. But truthfully, the book was just okay for me.


I realize I am probably committing sacrilege by posting this review and rating, but I'm not so much as reviewing this classic as I am explaining how I felt about it. Maybe I will have better luck with the next one.


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You can buy Slaughterhouse Five from Amazon here: Slaughterhouse-Five: A Novel

Please forgive me.

May 17, 2011

Read Between Here and Forever at Your Own Risk

Between Here and ForeverBetween Here and Forever by Elizabeth Scott
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Summary:


Abby accepted that she can’t measure up to her beautiful, magnetic sister Tess a long time ago, and knows exactly what she is: Second best. Invisible.


Until the accident.


Now Tess is in a coma, and Abby’s life is on hold. It may have been hard living with Tess, but it's nothing compared to living without her.


She's got a plan to bring Tess back though, involving the gorgeous and mysterious Eli, but then Abby learns something about Tess, something that was always there, but that she’d never seen.


Abby is about to find out that truth isn't always what you think it is, and that life holds more than she ever thought it could...


_________________________________________________


I won't give Between Here and Forever one star, even though maybe it deserves it. I'm giving the extra star for good writing. I really do like the way Elizabeth Scott writes. But I think the subject matter of the book and the way it was handled was utterly stupid.


When it comes to my reviews I try to be as positive as I can. But sometimes you just come across those novels that piss you off. And that's what happened here for me.


In Between Here and Forever we have a stupid and unlikable protagonist named Abby who I could honestly care less about. Want to know why? It's not just that she has low self-esteem. It's that her hatred for herself reaches unbelievable levels. It goes above and beyond realistic. I was seriously waiting for her to kill herself it got that bad. And no I am not joking. I know suicide is a serious thing and not to be laughed about. I'm not laughing. This character was absolutely ridiculous. She was jealous of her sister, despised herself, and still managed to be self-centered and totally narcissistic. Sound impossible? It should be, but somehow it manages to happen in this novel and I hated it.


The only character to like in the entire novel was Eli and even he wasn't that great. I do like the way his character conflict was portrayed, but that's about it. Abby's parents are unlikable. So is her sister who spends the entire book in a coma. I finished reading the book because it's been awhile since I wrote a negative review and at least it was readable. I just found it infuriating.


That brings me to my next complaint. The plot twist. I could easily spoil it for you, but I won't just in case you want to read the book for it's awfulness. I figured out the plot twist after a couple of chapters. And the thing is, it wouldn't be so bad that that happened if the author hadn't made it appear like it was a huge deal to figure out. The book was pretentious to a point and I just didn't get it. Someone with the IQ of 25 could've figured out what the issue was. I know the book was written for teens, but what does Elizabeth Scott think? That teenagers are that stupid?


I CAN compliment the writing. I appreciate the author's voice. I like the way she writes. Maybe her other books aren't so bad. I'm not going to totally write her off because she writes well. And I don't mind reading novels about real issues. It's not my favorite genre by any means, but I've read some that I've enjoyed. This is not one of them. Read at your own risk.


View all my reviews

You can buy the book from Amazon here: Between Here and Forever, but I don't recommend it.

May 16, 2011

Giveaway #1 Winners Announced!

I did my drawing this morning. I used random.org. And here are the 3 winners:

Kendall who will be receiving a copy of The Mysterious Benedict Society


Nikole  who won a copy of Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood


Jen who will be getting a copy of Suite Scarlett!


Congratulations ladies and I will be emailing you shortly to confirm your addresses! If you didn't win this time, stay tuned because I am participating in the Splash Into Summer Giveaway Hop at the end of the month!

My Book Review of Die For Me by Amy Plum

Die for Me (Revenants, #1)Die for Me by Amy Plum
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Summary:


My life had always been blissfully, wonderfully normal. But it only took one moment to change everything.


Suddenly, my sister, Georgia, and I were orphans. We put our lives into storage and moved to Paris to live with my grandparents. And I knew my shattered heart, my shattered life, would never feel normal again. Then I met Vincent.


Mysterious, sexy, and unnervingly charming, Vincent Delacroix appeared out of nowhere and swept me off my feet. Just like that, I was in danger of losing my heart all over again. But I was ready to let it happen.


Of course, nothing is ever that easy. Because Vincent is no normal human. He has a terrifying destiny, one that puts his life at risk every day. He also has enemies . . . immortal, murderous enemies who are determined to destroy him and all of his kind.


While I'm fighting to piece together the remnants of my life, can I risk putting my heart—as well as my life and my family's—in jeopardy for a chance at love?


___________________________________________


I am seriously conflicted. I've been dreading this review. I'm still confused and at this point I have no idea where this review will lead. Nothing is planned out..not like usual. I gave the book 4 stars, but I'm even confused about that. I'm not sure it deserves it. Oh it's a good book, no doubt, but I definitely didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would.


When I started reading Die Foe Me I totally wasn't into it. And it took me until more than halfway through the book to really get into it. I just felt the pacing was off, the story was slow to get going and I really didn't particularly care for the characters and I certainly didn't care what happened to them.


As things went on, I slowly started to get more interested in the story, but this wasn't a book that I enjoyed from the get go. And I usually do! I usually know within the first hundred pages if this is going to be a book that I'm going to enjoy. And that didn't happen. Part of me wanted to put it down and move onto something else. But I didn't. For two reasons: One, because I talk to Amy on twitter from time to time and I really like her and I felt that I needed to give it an honest effort. Two, because I have really, really been looking forward to reading this. I spent money on it and I just wasn't willing to put it down.


In the end though, I'm glad I finished it. By the time it was over, I did really care about the characters. Especially Vincent, Charlotte, and Jules. Truthfully, I didn't really like Kate that much. I liked Georgia a lot more. Except for her ignorance toward the end, I thought she would have made a much better protagonist. I adored Kate's grandparents and I also really grew to like Jean-Baptiste. Obviously there are a lot of characters in this novel. Not so many though that it becomes hard to follow.


I also have another complaint and this is my last one. The setting. This book was set in Paris of all places. It could've been a beautifully written book. I don't feel like the author used the setting to her advantage. The descriptions were off. They weren't as vivid or as mysterious as they could be. I'm a sucker for a great setting and I was looking forward to reading a book set in Paris and honestly, it was a letdown. And I was frustrated. But that's just me. I know that this isn't an issue for most people.


So in closing, great characters for the most part, a fun plot, once it finally got going, and a great setting that I felt wasn't utilized to its advantage. I did enjoy the writing style. It was lyrical, but it didn't stand out. So you know what I think I'm gonna do? And I hate to do it, but I'm changing my rating to three stars. And it may be my own fault. I may have hyped it up too much. I'm definitely going to read the next one though and see if it gets better.


View all my reviews

You can try Die for Me yourself by purchasing it from Amazon by following that link.

                            Watch Amy Plum discuss Die For Me:

May 14, 2011

Enclave- My Favorite Dystopian of the Year So Far!

Enclave (Razorland, #1)Enclave by Ann Aguirre
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Enclave Summary:


WELCOME TO THE APOCALYPSE


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 she 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.


____________________________________________


Zombies. Yes, that's right zombies. People living in the sewers trying to survive while eating rats and surviving said zombies. An apocalyptic New York City with crumbling buildings and ferocious gangs that rape women to keep their numbers up. A world that has been decimated by a deadly virus. There is no safety anywhere. What would you do? How would you survive?


And that's how I've chosen to quickly describe this novel. It is a dystopian lover's dream. It has all the elements that make a book suspenseful, enjoyable, and a little bit frightening. Amazing characters. Scary monsters. Well honestly, they weren't scary at first. But then they got really scary. And that was about when the book really got going too.


Reading this is like watching an action movie, in that it moves really fast. It's suspenseful and nerve-wracking. I wish it had been longer, but that only means it was amazing. For awhile while I was reading I was only going to rate this book 4 stars. But in the end, when I finished, I decided it was definitely worth 5. I don't know exactly when my mind changed but if I had to guess, I would say it was somewhere around halfway.


Great characterizations in this novel. Awesome character development. Everyone changed and adapted. Their personalities and perspectives changed and it was mesmerizing while it was happening. Very vivid settings as well, but the descriptions weren't over done at all. The author gave you plenty of room to create your own world in your mind. I loved that.


Best part, no cliffhanger. But it's a series, so I'm expecting an entirely new storyline for the next book. But I definitely think this book was a stand-alone.


If you love dystopian novels, apocalyptic storylines, or reading about zombies, I can promise that you will enjoy this one. Even if you are an adult, pick it up. You will love it. It's gotten great reviews and I can definitely see why. It's a popular read, but it definitely needs to get more hype behind it. Because it's one of those novels that live up to the hype. I have been looking forward to reading this for months now. I was afraid it was going to let me down. And it so didn't.



View all my reviews

You can buy Enclave by Ann Aguirre from Amazon by following the link. And please do. You won't regret it. If you hate it, you can come to South Carolina and punch me in the face. That's how sure I am you will like it.

And the book trailer is pretty awesome too even though Fade doesn't look at all how I pictured him.


May 13, 2011

Kara's Blog Hijacked!

I'm Sammie, author of Amaretto Flame! I just locked Kara in the closet, y’all! Now I’m going to take over her blog and talk about ME. I’m going to try to hurry, though, because in order to get her into the closet, I used chloroform and once it wears off, she’s going to be one pee’d off redhead.

A lot of people ask when I discovered that I wanted to be a writer. Well, I didn’t because it was always there. I came from the kind of childhood that produces either writers or Spartan warriors. I walked around for a while carrying a shield and screaming, “THIS IS SPARTA,” but no one really listened. So, there you have it. I started earning real money writing non-fiction (which I still do), and used it to stock my cabinets with lots of coffee and cheese puffs to sustain me while I wrote the fiction.

The non-fiction is pretty cool and interesting. I write for websites, and you KNOW how many websites there are out there, so you can just imagine the sort of topics I write about. Yep – anything and everything. But my heart and soul goes into the fiction I write, which happens well into the night and wee hours of the morning. Sometimes, I need a little assistance and I get this either by listening to some killer music or looking up hot actors for research. Cough *Jensen Ackles* Cough.

All kinds of music can inspire me. I love classic rock and bands like Fleetwood Mac, Bad Company, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Then I can turn around and listen to Lily Allen, Paramore, Hollywood Undead, The Goo Goo Dolls, and Stabbing Westward without blinking an eye. The only genre that really doesn’t lend itself to my work is country, but when I’m writing about a kick-ass heroine, a little Miranda Lambert doesn’t hurt.

Anything can inspire my characters or situations. I once got an idea for a book because of a tiny conversation I had with a boy in my childhood. That particular book happens to be my favorite! Maybe one day you guys will get to read it. *Hears Kara screaming expletives from the closet and starts talking faster.*

I will write until I die, but if I didn’t become a writer, I might have been a rock and roll goddess. Sometimes, when I’m jamming out on Guitar Hero, I think, Yeah. I could do this for real. I mean, if I could sing. And if I could actually play a real guitar. Nah, probably not. If I wasn’t a writer, I think my career would still revolve around books and writing; maybe a teacher or something like that.

Speaking of books, I am a classic connoisseur. I love them all. Jane Eyre was one of the earliest classics I read, and immediately fell in love with it. I can’t count the number of times I’ve read it. Wuthering Heights, Crime and Punishment (Read this at a very young age…for fun. Who does that?), anything Shakespeare, anything Jane Austen, Chaucer, the list goes on and on.

There are a TON of books I think everyone should read before they die, but there are three that are never mentioned. These include My First Two Thousand Years: The Autobiography of the Wandering Jew, Salome: The Wandering Jewess (My First Two Thousand Years of Love), and The Invincible Adam by George Sylvester Veirick and Paul Eldridge. I absolutely loved these books. You know what, I’m going to mention three more: The Empire Trilogy. Mistress of the Empire, Servant of the Empire, and Daughter of the Empire by Raymond Feist and Janny Wurts. So good there isn’t an awesome chart big enough to mention them. Kara is now kicking the door down, so I only have a few more minutes before I have to run, but I’d like to talk a little about my book, Amaretto Flame.

It’s a paranormal romance, and it’s about a group of good witches. More specifically, one of the witches named Olivia. She does something she’s been forbidden to do, and her punishment is to live in a human town for a summer. She meets Jackson Vance, a human, and quickly things start to turn upside down. They get even worse when she realizes the Venator (deadly witch hunters) are after her.

The idea for the book started with my desire to write about a strong, positive witch. I love King Arthur stories, so I was originally thinking something along the lines of Morgan Le Fay. As I sketched out the story and tossed out ideas, it became something different. It turned into a romance between a witch (with mega super powers) and a human, and the worst things that could happen to them. I am immensely proud of it, and it is very close to my heart.

One bit of advice if you decide to buy the book: No matter what you do, no matter when you read it, pay very close attention to what I’m about to tell you.
NEVER…EVER…allow yourself to make the mistake of getting too close to or caring about…

*Closet door comes bursting down, splinters raining over my head.*

Oh no! Gotta go! *Runs for life.*


Amaretto Flame- Another Self-Published Great

Amaretto Flame (Eagleton Coven)Amaretto Flame by Sammie Spencer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:


Olivia has spent her life learning about her enemies, the deadly Venator - including how to kill them. What she knows nothing about is whiskey, playing poker, or rugged, copper-haired musicians. As punishment for a small 'crime,' Olivia is sent to a safe house in a human town and forced to live as one of them for a summer. There, she meets the charming Jackson Vance, and her real education begins. She soon discovers that she's being hunted, and figuring out why means she uncovers a secret that threatens to end everything she's ever fought for.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Let's talk about Amaretto Flame. Or rather, let me talk at you. Once again, I have to say I did not have any expectations going into reading this, and if I had any at all, I didn't have a good feeling. And once again, I was wrong. This book isn't perfect, but I enjoyed it more than I can verbally say.


For a switch, I'm going to talk about the things I didn't like first. Imagery. It's not that it was bad, I would say it was about average, but I have a problem with this. One of the hallmarks of a great book (for me anyway) is fantastic imagery. I like being able to picture a scene in my head and I like the author to show me, but not do it all for me. The small issue I had with Amaretto Flame is the lack of descriptive imagery. I'm not saying it was never there, I just wish there had been more of it.


Next, I want to talk about cliches. I know..it's the dreaded word no author wants to hear. Sorry Sammie. I don't want to spoil the ending, so this one is going to be hard to talk about. I'll try my best.


Things wrapped up too nicely for me. I'm not saying that I wanted it to end unhappily, but maybe what I would've done was twist it a little and make a small unhappy thing happen and then have the rest of it end happily. I can't tell you how it ends because I would completely ruin the plot for you. I really want to say more, but I can't. I try not to do spoilers.


Now that that's over I can talk about the awesome things. Self-published novel that totally rocked. The plot and characters were awesome. I loved Olivia. She was this totally kick-ass likable and lovable character, and I really enjoy that. But she was also totally flawed. She didn't believe in herself and her self-esteem wasn't the greatest, but she also was extremely brave and fought for what she believed in. She would be someone I would truly want to be friends with. If she was real.


Jackson was pretty amazing as well. Not as amazing as Olivia, but he was hot and his personality totally worked for me. He had a bad-boy vibe going for him, but he was also a sweetheart. I loved the relationship build between him and Olivia. Paula was the perfect villain and I hated her. I love how Olivia stood up to her. Paula was a pathetic individual. I loved all the other members of the coven as well.


The Venator. First of all, the name kind of bothers me. I'm not sure why, but it does. Even though Venator is Latin for hunter, there's something about the name that I don't like. I wish I could explain more. But as for the Venator as a villain, they were pretty frightening. The author did a good job of capturing the fear that the Eagleton coven had for them. And I have a feeling that they will only get worse. Because I have asked the author and this book is part of a series.


I loved the plot up until the climax. Then it got a little cliche, but it didn't ruin the story for me or anything, because I really enjoyed reading it. When I started to read Amaretto Flame, I had another book going that I wanted to read more, but once I got into Amaretto Flame, I put the other book down because I got hooked and I couldn't stop reading it. It went by really fast. And I truly enjoyed it. It's been awhile since a book I've read has held my interest this well. It was nice to have that happen for a change.




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                                Book trailer for Amaretto Flame

You can purchase the book for your kindle from Amazon here: Amaretto Flame It's only 2.99. Go get it!

And if you are familiar with Smashwords, you can also purchase it there for 2.99. Buy from Smashwords.

May 11, 2011

Review of Along for the Ride

Along for the RideAlong for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:


It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.


A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.


In her signature pitch-perfect style, Sarah Dessen explores the hearts of two lonely people learning to connect.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Sarah Dessen, I love you. I promised myself that if I read another one of your books and didn't like it, then I would never read another again. This was after I read Lock andKey because I didn't like it very much. I like the way she writes, but I just thought the book was over-dramatic and just kind of ridiculous. I can happily say though, that Along for the Ride was a completely different experience. I really enjoyed it. It wasn't perfect by any means, but I think for me I fell in love with it because of the characters. Because let's be honest here. The book wasn't exactly plot heavy.


I felt like I was reading a character study. Every character was different and had their own problems. Even the secondary characters and I kind-of loved that. Definitely a character-driven novel. But this book definitely redeemed Sarah Dessen in my eyes. She's probably my favorite real-issues author I've come across so far. But I will be honest and here is where I felt the book was lacking.


Sometimes I felt that the conversations and situations were a little forced. There were just a few instances when what I was reading didn't sound very realistic. Sometimes I didn't really like Eli as a character either. And I thought Auden's parents were absolutely awful. So in the end, how did Auden turn out to be such a great person? How did she not pick up any of the negative qualities her parents had? See, that's just not realistic. Teens are a product of their environment, and she just didn't feel real to me. She wasn't damaged enough. I feel like maybe her narrative voice should have been a little more untrustworthy. Honestly I preferred the more damaged characters. And when Auden walked away from Eli, I just thought it was a really unnatural reaction. It did not feel like a normal occurrence of what should happen next in a book. That and I kind of hate reading about babies. Ick.


Still, I can't fault the book for much. It was easy to get lost in and shut out the world for awhile. That's what most of us read for anyway, and this novel did that well. Job well done Sarah Dessen. I hope the next book of yours I read gets 5 stars.


View all my reviews

You can purchase Along for the Ride from Amazon here.
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