Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson (ARC)

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Advanced Readers Copy
Publisher: Viking
Format: Trade Paperback, 288pp
Age Range: Young Adult
ISBN: 978-0-670-01110-0

**I received this book as an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Lia is a teenage with alot of issues, the worst of which is that she is anorexic and she cuts. Lia has recently been released from her second stay at New Seasons and now lives with her father, step-mother and step-sister. This book starts at the time in her life when her former best friend dies in a hotel room after calling Lia thirty-three unanswered times. Cassie and Lia hadn't been friends for some time and Lia didn't answer her call, now that Cassie is dead Lia is haunted by her friends death. Lia struggles with her weight, her self-esteem, her family and her guilt.

I had some trouble getting into the story at first because of the way it was written, it truly felt like a young adult book. Some young adult books don't feel distinctly young adult, but this one did. Once I got into the swing of the writing there was a lot about this story that felt real to me. I felt like I was looking into the thoughts of someone with Anorexia, at least as I would imagine they would feel in certain moments. My favorite aspect of this book was seeing into Lia's thoughts with the words crossed off in the sentences, things that she thought but wouldn't say aloud. Another aspect of the book that got to me was the statement ... When I was a real girl. It was used throughout the book and everytime I read it, it struck a cord with me.

--Spoiler warning:
I really liked the fact that ultimately it was her love for Emma (her step-sister) that brought her back into the life of the living. She loved her so much and she wanted to be around to be a role model for her, and teach her how to knit.
--End Spoiler

This book was completely different than anything I've ever read. I liked the end more than the beginning, but that may have been due the time it took to get into the writing style and being Young Adult. It was really well done and I would recommend it as a good read for young teenage girls.

This book fits in the following Categories/Challenges for me:

  • Hogwarts Reading Challenge
  • RYOB Challenge
  • Monthly Mixer Mele Challenge
  • New Authors Challenge

Sunday, April 25, 2010

House Rules by Jodi Picoult

Personal Rating: 3/5 Stars
Mini-Group Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Pub. Date: March 2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Format: Hardcover, 532pp

Received free copy from for the House Rules book club event.

Jacob, an 18 yr old boy obsessed with crime scenes, has Asperberger's syndrome. The affect that this diagnosis has on his family, from the time of his birth, is deep rooted and causes fractures in their family unit. Theo, Jacob's younger brother, feels alienated from school friends and invisible at home. Emma, who's husband left shortly after the diagnosis, is having a hard time making ends meet and keeping the family afloat. She writes an advice column from home, that gives her the ability to be with Jacob at all times. Oliver is a young lawyer just making his way in the world with a big case thrust his way that will either provide him opportunity for success or huge failure as a lawyer. Rich is a police detective who is tough to call emotionally but ultimately seems to want to do whatever it takes get his cases solved.

The book is written from four different perspectives: Theo, Jacob, Emma, Oliver and Rich. This give the reader a more reliable source of the truth as it occurs, and how it affects everyone involved in the story. All of these characters come together on a case that with change everyone's lives involved forever.

I was chosen to lead a House Rules Book Club event from In return for a copy of the book, and another by Picoult and Cookies provided by Lucy's Cookies, I hosted a House Rules Book Club with a few of the girls from the WoWO book club (a mini-WoWO book club event) on Saturday night.

This event was hosted by many book clubs across the globe and they provided resources to the book clubs for the event. I was grateful for the free stuff but I expected the event to be more interactive at the time of the event. I logged in at 7pm with my group and we attempted to get other groups to talk but it didn't really happen that way. So we went off on our own and had a really great time.

Some of the topics discussed were (Contains slight spoils) :
  • Favorite Character: Oliver
  • Emma was a great mom and did the best she could given the circumstances
  • Theo's character seemed to be too good to be doing the things he did all on his own without peer pressure involved. We didn't think that he would aware of why he was breaking an entering like he was, and that he wouldn't have done it on his own accord (based on his character as we knew him)
  • We felt that Rich was only thrown in to throw you off from Oliver and Emma's relationship and that he could have been left out of being a narrator without any detriment to the story.
  • We thought Henry was an Ass.
The book brought out opinions and had us sharing stories that made us laugh so hard that we cried. Any book that can do that makes for a great book club book and I'd recommend it to book clubs for a good discussion book. The Reading Guide provided by was a bit wordy but we were able to break it down for the discussion and include our own topics.

My personal thoughts about the story was that it was well written, which is expected from Jodi Picoult. She is a master in writing about controversial topics, and she is a favorite author of mine. I however felt this one was very similar in concept to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon, which is one of my favorite books. The story lines were different, the points of view changed for a more well-rounded story but the concept for me was too close.

If you read House Rules and liked it, you will love Mark Haddon's book. If you haven't read it and like the topic on House Rules, I'd like to suggest it to you as a must read.

The girls and I will definitely be doing more mini-Bookclub meet ups in between the larger more formal WoWO Book Club Meetings.

This book fits the following Categories/Challenges for me:
  • Hogwarts Reading Challenge
  • Romance Reading Challenge
  • Monthly Mixer Mele Challenge
  • RYOB Challenge
  • Thriller and Suspense Challenge

Friday, April 23, 2010

Book Blogger Hop: April 23-29, 2010

Hosted by Crazy for Books

It's Friday! Time for another Book Blogger HOP!!

This is for ALL BOOK BLOGGERS (NEW AND OLD) and READERS! Let's make some new friends and have fun! It's FRIDAY!!!

In the spirit of the Friday Follow, I thought it would be cool to do a Book Blogger Hop to give us all book bloggers and readers a chance to connect and find new blogs that we may be missing out on! So, I created this weekly BOOK PARTY where book bloggers and readers can connect to find new blogs to read, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs that they may not know existed! So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start PARTYING!!Your blog should have content related to books, including, but not limited to book reviews.

If you start following someone through the Hop, leave a comment on their blog to let them know! Stop back during the week to see other blogs that are added! And, most importantly, the idea is to HAVE FUN!!

OPTIONAL TWIST: On your blog hop post, tell us about some of the other great blogs you've found while Hopping around!

DISCLAIMER:The Hop isn't just for you to throw your link in there and not visit any other blogs. It's all about networking and finding new blogs that are of interest. So, in the spirit of the Hop, try to make some time to visit other blogs and don't post your link if you are not planning on visiting other blogs in the Hop that week. This is a weekly event, so if you don't have time this week, that's fine! We'll see you next week!If you sign MckLinky, please share the love and POST ABOUT THE HOP ON YOUR BLOG! How else will anyone else find out about it and come join the party?

Please use the following format when entering your link below (be careful - I don't always have time to go in and edit your link!!):

NAME OF BLOG (How long you've been blogging; what genres you PRIMARILY review)
I know a lot of us read all different genres, but if you had to choose ONE OR TWO genres that you review more often than others, what would they be??

Crazy-for-Books (21 months; contemporary fiction/mystery)

So, let's do the Hop!


Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Pub. Date: September 2004
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Format: Paperback, 192pp
ISBN-13: 9780743273565

In 1902's West Egg, NY life is very different than Nick Carraway, newly transported from the west, is used to. His neighbor Jay Gatsby lives an extravagant lifestyle that intrigue's Nick until Nick gets swept up in the drama that comes with this type of lifestyle. His cousin Daisy and her husband Tom are also living this lifestyle and what develops between all the characters in this story is crazy and unbelievable yet could be right out of the pages of today's tabloids.

I am so glad I read this story, it was nothing like I expected it would be and I was so pleasantly surprised. This is a classic story that was true to the time it was written and is even true to society today, it is truely a timeless classic. A complex story of interwoven characters that is better than most stories written today. The twists and turns to the story were great and now I'd like to see the movie, to see these characters come to life. Each character was developed nicely and were wonderful in their own flawed way.

This book fits the following Categories/Challenges for me:
  • Hogwarts Reading Challenge (Muggle Studies)
  • The Romance Reading Challenge
  • Monthly Mixer Mele Challenge
  • New Authors Challenge
  • PBT Favorite Tag
  • PBT BINGO Favorites Challenge

Friday, April 16, 2010

Supernatural: Nevermore by Keith R.A. DeCandido

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Pub. Date: July 2007
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 336pp
Supernatural Series, #1

This is an in-between the series book to the Supernatural T.V. Show on the CW. This episode fits in Season 2 between "Crossroad Blues" and "Croatoan."

Sam and Dean are asked to do a job for Ash, in NYC. One of the band members of Scottso is being haunted by a woman screaming "Why won't he love me?" While investigating this haunting they put together that a few eerie incidents are related to the stories of Edgar Allan Poe and they decide to investigate.

DeCandido did an excellent job getting down the personalities of the Winchester boys as well as incorporating past story-lines from the T.V. Series. As I was reading I found the book a bit Cliche' at times but then I realized, that's exactly what the T.V. Show is.

A couple of my favorite quotes:

  • p178, "A while back Aldo had himself a girlfriend who was a real 'rycher." Sam squinted. Dean rolled his eyes. "He means a Queensryche fan, not the first officer of the Enterprise."
  • p186, "A Marine and a Navy guy walk into a bathroom together. They both take a piss, and then the sailor goes to the sink. The Marine heads for the door, and the sailor says, 'Hey- in the Navy the teach us to wash up after we take a leak.' And the Marine turns around and says 'Yeah? Well, in the Marines they teach us not to piss on our hands.'"
  • p.191, Dean says "you're right, with me it'd be only the one night, maybe two." He grinned. "But it'd be a helluva night." (Ain't it the truth!)
I'd also like to say that there were extra things in the book that really lead to the whole experience. The Acknowledgements (and I don't always read those), the Historian's Note and the Author's Note with a Music set list of recommending listening while reading were all very cool features.

The only thing that I didn't like about the book would be the parts that were from the ghost's point of view. I could have down without knowing how she felt while haunting the house.

The book fits the following Categories/Challenges for me:

  • Hogwarts Reading Challenge (Care of Magical Creatures)
  • Books About TV
  • RYOB Challenge
  • Thriller and Suspense Reading Challenge
  • Monthly Mixer Mele Challenge
  • New Author Challenge
  • PBT Favorite Tag and BINGO game

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Someone to Watch Over Me by Judith McNaught

Rating: 1/5 Stars

Mass Market Paperback
Pub. Date: October 2003
Library Loan

Leigh and Logan have the perfect marriage, or so Leigh thinks. They are both extremely successful in their chosen fields and they have worked hard for what they have. One night when Leigh is suppose to meet her husband at a cabin on land he purchased to build on, she ends up in a car accident that puts her in the hospital. Unable to contact her husband or locate the cabin the police and Leigh are unsure what to make of him missing.

Leigh slowly learns that her marriage isn't anything like she thought it was and nothing was as it seemed. The good become evil, the evil become good, who can she trust?

Let me start by stating that I am SHOCKED beyond belief that this is the same author who wrote Every Breathe I Take. I read Every Breathe I Take last year and I absolutely loved it. I gave it 5 stars and was so surprised that I found a new author in a romance genre. I am by trade not a romance reader, but have found myself reading them lately for one reason or another (never by my choice alone!) but this one was one I was really looking forward to based on the other book and the fact that it has a romantic suspense twist.

Everything about this story was cliche' and corny and down-right predictable.

Spoiler alert:

I don't know what the deal was with Leigh and Michael's "Romance" but I had real problems with this aspect of the story. It seemed so forced and odd, I just don't understand it. She loved her husband the days before and she finds out the truth about him and their marriage and instead of taking it slow she gets forced into another marriage in a minute, I say forced because to me it didn't read like love it was more obsession on his part and desperation on hers, it was just weird for me. Everything about this relationship was just wrong for me!

End Spoilers.

I really hope that Every Breathe I Take is more McNaught's current style (written in 2006) and that it's so good because she has grown over the 3 years! I will give her another try but I'm so shocked that I could rate the first one a 5/5 Stars and then the next 1/5 Stars, it was so completely unexpected for me!

This book fits in the following Categories/Challenges for me:

  • Hogwarts Reading Challenge (Muggle Studies)
  • Romance Reading Challenge
  • Thriller and Suspense Reading Challenge
  • Monthly Mixer Mele Challenge

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

Rating: 2.5/5 Stars

Pub. Date: February 2010

Library Book

Ronnie and her brother are products of a divorced family unit and Ronnie holds a lot of anger towards her parents but especially her father for leaving the family. When Ronnie was younger her father taught her the piano and she was a prodigy but now she refuses to play the piano and is an all around rebellious teenager. One summer, her mother forces her to stay with her father for the summer and Ronnie is not pleased with the prospect of spending the summer in North Carolina with her father. While in North Carolina, Ronnie's life unfolds in ways she never expected, at the end of the summer she has changed by leaps and bounds.

I was apprehensive when my friend asked me to read this book so that we could go see the movie together but I'll read anything for a discussion and for the bonus of seeing the book turned to film. I was apprehensive because I had read in Entertainment Weekly magazine that the book was written specifically for Miley Cyrus. If I have my information correct, Miley Cyrus had asked Disney for a movie similar to "A Walk To Remember" and Disney went to Nicholas Sparks and asked him to write it, and here we are. Now says that Miley did a great job in the film, so I'm looking forward to seeing how she did in the movie. But the book fell short for me.

The story was well written, as Nicholas Sparks is the master of this kind of story, and it was a nice story but it was very predictable. It felt like a story I've read a thousand times so in that aspect I was bored with parts of the story. But there were parts of it that I enjoyed and I was interested to see if my plans for the characters were the same as Sparks' plans - and they were. I can definitely see Miley Cyrus playing the part of Ronnie and with's review of the her in the movie, I look forward to the movie.

This book fits the following Categories/Challenges for me:
  • Hogwarts Reading Challange (Charms)
  • Romance Reading Challenge
  • Monthly Mixer Mele Challenge

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Twenty to Make Bracelets Book Giveaway

I wanted to tell you about this great book giveaway from FAVECRAFTS.

If you like crafting like I do, you won't want to miss this one. I've never made a bracelet before but I've been wanting to try it. This would be a great way to start. I really like the bracelet on the cover too.

Twenty to Make Bracelets By Amanda Walker

Try out these 20 bracelet patterns that include all kinds of materials from leather to glass beads. It's a nice variety of simple classy designs with a wide variety of hues from silver to topaz to gold and blue.

Use your imagination to create unique jewelry.

Click here to enter

Good Luck!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

Rating: 4/5 Stars

We'll I finally read and finished Eclipse! I can't believe I made it through and thoroughly enjoyed the story in the process. Let me explain a bit why I am so surprised. When I first read Twilight I was intrigued by Bella, Edward and Jacob but I seriously could not stand Bella. Then I immediately went on to New Moon without a break and enjoyed Bella and Jacob without Edward so much that when I then immediately went on to eclipse and Edward was back and Bella was so desperate for him, I just couldn't take it anymore and just about threw the book out the window. I didn't throw it out the window but I did stop reading it.

I recently watched New Moon and it reminded me how much I enjoyed it when I read it and I must admit I have fallen in love with Jacob's character (and yes Taylor Lautner too). It has been at least a year now since I read New Moon and thought enough time had gone by that I was ready for Eclipse, especially with the movie coming out this summer. And boy am I glad I decided to pick it back up! Bella still annoyed the heck out of me, in the beginning, but by half way I was enthralled with the story line.

The rest of this review will most definitely have spoilers in it, so if you haven't read the book please stop reading here and come back once you've read the book.

Where to start! First the one thing that really bothers me about this series. Bella's NEED for Edward is very odd, but I did like how the author with help from Jacob's character admitted how unhealthy this relationship was for Bella. I keep hoping to find out that Bella and Edward has the predestined imprinting that the werewolves have and that's why she's so crazy for Edward, because it really is just crazy.

I loved the Vampires and Werewolves working together and thought that these scenes were very well done. I liked how they got along and at the end had some respect for each other and I hope to see them work together in the future. I do not like how Bella chose Edward over Jacob, but that's just because I'm on Team Jacob 100% but I did like how Bella finally admitted that she had feelings for Jacob. Until now I felt really bad for Jacob seeming so desperate for someone who only thought of him as a friend and now that we see that she does love Jacob after all, it somehow seems OK to me that she chooses Edward (I still love Jacob more!).

I really hope that Stephenie Meyer gives Jacob a love that can be returned how he deserves! And this is how I know I'm starting to adore this series because I'm beginning to care about the characters, more than I'd like to admit.

And one more thing before I end this review....

(Thank god he's 18 years old or this would be creepy!)

Go Team Jacob! ;-)

This book fits in the following Category/Challenges for me:
  • Hogwarts Reading Challenge (Transfiguration)
  • Romance Reading Challenge
  • Finish that Series Challenge
  • Monthly Mixer Mele Challenge
  • PBT April Tag: Favorite

Saturday, April 03, 2010

March Wrap-Up

My apologies for being late with my Wrap-up for last month but April sneaked up on me!

The Month of March brought me several new authors and had me visiting some old favorites as well. I had my first book giveaway and we had another fun and successful WoWO Book Club Meeting. I also paid tribute to my online friend Gale, may she rest in peace, with a promise of being a better online friend to those that are still with me.

I entered a new challenge called the Hogwarts Reading Challenge and it is proving to be a heck of a lot of fun.

In March I finished the following (Click links to see reviews):
My favorite book of the month was easily The Help by Kathryn Stockett, and I highly recommend it.

I joined a challenge starting on April 5th in my PBT book group on that I'm really excited about for the month of April. It's a bingo game where each square represents a tag from one of the top shelfari tags. I am in a group of 5, I'm very excited by my group and can't wait to get started. Our group name is officially the Bibliophiles IN Game Obsession and each book I read for a square to get bingo I'll be reviewing here on the blog and will include in my challenge listing.

Some of the books in my short TBR pile for April are:
  • Meow is for Murder by Linda O. Johnston
  • Putting on the Dog by Cynthia Baxter
  • South of Broad by Pat Conroy
  • Wintergirls by Lauri Halse Anderson
  • Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
  • Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
  • Supernatural: Nevermore by Keither R.A. DeCandido
* clover photo above borrowed from