Thursday, October 24, 2013

Froi of the Exiles (Lumatere Chronicles, #2) by Melina Marchetta

I'm finding great difficulty in writing this review. It's been started and erased about 5 times by now. So, I have decided that whatever I write this time will just have to be good enough! Recently I've been giving more thought to what I write and how I write it. Nick and I have been playing around with the idea of me taking writing courses and starting to dabble in writing as a side project. The task that comes with such territory is a bit frightening. In some way or another through most of my life I have written and never finished much of anything. Tons of story ideas tossed around, with no real motivation. Writing isn't easy and never will be. Because of all these thoughts, the act of writing has become much more terrifying to me. Haha. Even just writing this blog. 

I don't have a great readership, and I figure that most of my readers are either friends and family, or people who stumble across the blog with no great interest to continue following. Maybe I'm wrong, but I doubt it. Still, it worries me that some may find my writing style to be less than pleasing. With no real feedback on what happens here it's hard for me to judge. One thing I know I need to work on is not second guessing myself. The reviews I wrote of this book and deleted can't have been all that bad. I was going to review this book and Quintana of Charyn together since I read them back to back, but I realized that it's for the best to keep them separated. Giving spoilers is something that I avoid if at all possible. (At least is if I'm trying to get you to read the book too.) However, as I was writing previously I noticed that it would be nearly impossible not to spoil this book if I followed the review by the next in the same blog. If you choose to read both blogs at the same time I can't stop you, and then it won't be my fault! See? Genius. :) 

The first book in the series hooked me, and this one left me begging for more. Cliffhangers at the ends of books are good to make someone want to continue reading, but at the same time I felt like there wasn't enough of a conclusion to make me feel satisfied at the end. Thankfully I already had the next book available to continue. Apologies to the people who read this when it first came out and were left with nothing until the next was released. Another downfall to the Cliffhanger style of writing, you can't pick up a book in the middle of the series and just enjoy it as a story on it's own. Each novel is too intertwined with the others to allow you to understand much of what is going on. The character development was really good. Marchetta allows you to get to know all of the important ones of a very good basis. She makes you understand what they are feeling. 

When I look for fantasy novels this is pretty much the type I aim for. Maybe a little less heroics and a little more romanticism would better fit my mold, but I really can't complain. There are strange gods that are worshiped, gifted people, curses to be broken, and people to be saved. The details were wonderful. Story lines flowed with ease. There is always a little hesitance when starting a fantasy chronicle that was written by someone who got their start in a different genre.  If you read book one, you really need to finish the rest. It only gets better.

Froi of the Exiles (Lumatere Chronicles, #2) 

Lumatere is finally coming back to life. It's been three years since Finnikin and Isaboe broke the curse and brought their people home. This time has been spent rebuilding what was broken and punishing those who were in the city for their crimes during the exile. Now that Lumatere is beginning to breathe again it's decided that now is time to exact their revenge on Charyn for what they did to Lumatere. Froi is the slave boy they found and brought home with them. For the past three years he has been living on a farm with a noble family and training in combat with the palace guard. 

The decision is that the King of Charyn must die. But how are they to do so? A group of landless men and women from Charyn have settled in a valley on the edge of Lumatere, and they may just have the answer. A plan is set into place that will allow Froi to access the palace without suspcion. The journey there leads Froi to a man named Gargarion who is the first step to learning who he really is. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

I'm way behind again. For real. I've read at least five books without posting at all. It's probably because the books that I have been reading have been super good. A lottery of good books have come my way. Goodreads may be my hero. Now if only the Library would get on board with what I want to read so I don't have to buy any books. :) You know something that I find weird? On Amazon the Kindle version of Bitterblue is more than the paperback version. With the cost of shipping the Kindle version would come out to be the more cost effective method, but I have a Prime membership so I wouldn't have to pay the shipping cost. Purchasing Kindle books is something that I rail on about enough, so I won't bore you with another rant.

Since I have another baby I've gone back to the stingy cheap version of myself. Formula, clothes, diapers, and wipes consume nearly all of our extra spending money. Which really means that I haven't been out just buying five or six books at a time. Honestly, it's for the best. Nick probably won't be excited when he has to build another bookshelf for our ever expanding library. The picture that is the background on the blog is of my actual library. Granted, it's a pretty old picture and there are quite a few more books now. Maybe I should consider updating that. The picture really isn't that great anyway. 

Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Fantasy novels have recently become the things I devour. Literally, I eat them. Okay... Maybe I don't. However, I do read them really quickly. With Goodreads suggesting things to me it's hard not to stay in the same genre for a while. No complaints here though, I love me some good Fantasy. 

Finnikin is from Lumatere, a land which has been under a curse for the past ten years. Half the population in exile and half stuck within the city walls. Those on the outside have given up all hope of ever reclaiming their rightful cities and have taken to living in small camps throughout the nations. All seems in despair. Until Finnikin is visited by a messenger that tells him to visit a community of novices far from where he is. Once he reaches the desolate community he meets Evanjalin, and everything changes.

As they journey across the lands Finnikin's hope for a future in Lumatere begins to reignite. He begins to understand that they cannot settle for anything other than the homeland. Evanjalin leads Finnikin on a path that he never expected to become reality. Along the way they begin to rebuild a nation that is more broken than they ever imagined. 

While I didn't find the book to be as good as some others I've read, it certainly fulfilled all of my needs. A strong female lead, a bit of mysticism, and a love that almost won't be. There came a point in the novel though, that bothered me a lot. I can't pinpoint what chapter is was right off hand, but the language of the story randomly changes. It only changes for one chapter, which made it even more strange and abrupt. Basically the whole story is told from Finnikin's side. He is present for nearly every step and even when he isn't it still feels like it's his story he's telling. That one chapter with a change goes from feeling Finnikin to being Froi. A glimpse is given into the Lumaterean Orphan's mind. This would make sense if it somehow came at the end of the book to sort of make it look like he had been telling the story throughout. However the chapter comes in between a bunch of other stuff. It really killed the flow. It was bad enough that I had to stop and reevaluate where I was at. Other than that small hiccup the story was well formed and moved you along without too many dead spots. What I find sometimes happens in these types of stories is gaps in the adventure. Thankfully she used the fact that Finnikin was telling the story to move past the dead spaces where they had to stay in one place for days due to illnesses that were central to the story.

 I'm excited to get onto the next book in the series. I've already got it loaded on my Kindle and ready to go! I'm fighting with myself though. I need to post a couple more blogs before I start another book. Probably won't happen though. I'm only going to post about three of the other books I've read. One of them is by Elizabeth Berg. Remember how I was reading as many of her books as I could before I got bored? Well.. I barely made it through three of them, and haven't posted about the last one. I also read these amazing books by Kristin Cashore (which are the books that suggested Finnikin of the Rock to me!)

I'm going to go read now. Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta. There will be an attempt to sit back down at the computer and post more later. Getting behind is a real pain the the fingers. :) 

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Love Unlisted by Stephanie Haddad

So I gave up on Elizabeth Berg novels and moved on to a book that I randomly found on my Kindle. I'm not surprised that I have so many books that I've never read just lurking around on my Paperwhite. Honestly though, most of them look like they'd be pretty awful. There I go judging books by their covers. Really, you shouldn't do that. Some books surprise me. However, since I gave up on Mrs. Berg I had to find something to read while I was waiting for Graceling to be available for download from the library. I stumbled across Love Unlisted while I was taking a mommy break. I used to scrounge Netflix for something to watch while on a mommy break, but then I always spent more time looking than watching something. I only get so much time without kids awake or laundry needing to be done. Why waste it on movies?

I'll admit that from the first chapter I was hooked on this book. Grace is a compulsive lister. She has lists about pretty much anything you can imagine. Really Grace seems compulsive about most things in her life. Control, cleanliness, not dating people with small nervous ticks, and her career. With a huge promotion on the line she begins to pave her way to what she feels like is her dream job. That is until Colin so rudely comes into her life. As she begins to come to terms with the fact that she can't control everything Grace learns more and more about who she really is. There are so many changes that she must move through and grow with. Will Grace be able to make it past it all, get her dream job, and find happiness with her unlistable love?

It looks like you can download the ebook on Goodreads. You know me; free is the best price!  I'm going to suggest that you read this. If you like girly love stories where you just don't know how it will all come together... Even though you do know... Because how else does one of these books end? 

Now! I'm on to Graceling since my hold became available yesterday. Just had to finish what I was reading first. I also need to blog about that last bit of Elizabeth Berg stuff that I read. I guess I'll do that while Rylosaur and I wait for our pizza to finish cooking. I don't like pizza. Why do little boys like pizza so much? Why must pizza be so easy to make? Better yet, why must I be so lazy as to not make something else for myself... Oh me.. Oh my! Haha. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Family Happiness by Leo Tolstoy

When I first got  a kindle I went crazy buying those 1.99 classics collections. So I have every book by Leo Tolstoy in one large file. It may be excluding a few very unknown stories. I don't really know or care. Basically the point is that I've had the opportunity to read any of his works for quite some time, but haven't had any interest until recently. I watched a film on Netflix which made me want to read this particular book. Cheerful Weather for the Wedding was the film I watched. It's not particularly an inspiring film. But the main character had a copy of Family Happiness that you could tell she had read many times. So I thought I'd give it a shot. I'm not sure what I expected. I can only tell you that I didn't get it.

I loved the book. Being Tolstoy and all I should probably have expected better than I did. Anna Karenina is a masterpiece. Doesn't matter if I hate the characters, it inspires real feelings in me. I also have a great deal of fun trying to pronounce all the Russian names. Often times I make up a pronunciation that is slightly hilarious and just stick with it. Needless to say foreign languages of any kind have never been a strong suit of mine. The book itself only took me a couple of hours to read, but I really started to bond with the characters. 

It's about a girl on the verge of womanhood who become orphaned of a sort right before she is to come into society. She never gets any great life experience before she falls madly, deeply in love with her husband to be. Everything is wonderful, that is, until she meets society for the first time. There is a deep seeded disdain in the book for the frivolity of the upper class social scene. This feel can easily be traced through to other Tolstoy novels I've read. The experiences that this woman has in society puts great strain on the marriage and changes everything. Once she gives up society she lives with hopes that she can repair and regain the marriage that she had before. When she learns that she will never get that back, she also learns what Family Happiness really is. It's being content with where you are, and living your life for those around you instead of yourself. It's settling down into routine and peacefulness. Apparently it is also giving up all feelings of romance as well. 

Nick and I have read many books about marriage and what to expect after that has happened and a few years have gone by. Gary Chapman calls the first two years the honeymoon phase and then after that everything changes. And not always for the better. I can liken the idea that I was given from Chapman with this book. Once the honeymoon phase is over, you'll have to create a different rhythm to live by. I so wanted the story to end differently than it did. Hopeless romanticism. Really though, if it had ended any other way it wouldn't have been true to reality. Maybe I'll come back and read it again in a few years. Only then I may be more willing to accept what it really means? 

A post about many books by Elizabeth Berg

Sometimes when I find an author that I enjoy I will read many of their books in a row. I recently (today) read the first book I've ever seen by Elizabeth Berg. After reading this one I learned that she had many more books to offer. Being as intrigued as I was by the first, I've decided to continue reading is books by her for at least the rest of the week. The best part is how many of her books are available from the library via Kindle delivery. I'm not certain if I've told you of my severe dislike for borrowing books from the library that goodness knows how many other people have handled. So! I super love their emedia and the ability to borrow books without ever leaving the house. Back to the post subject... I've decided to try something where I create this one post and then add the next book to the same post after I've read it. I'm fairly certain that this will make for a very long post, but maybe it will make it easier for anyone who is considering starting to read books by this author. I don't like to give away huge spoilers or anything, so you could really look through and see if there is a good place among what I've read for you to start? We shall see how it works out. 

Dream When You're Feeling Blue

Kitty Heaney is a 20 something year old woman living at home with her parents, two sisters, and three younger brothers. World War II is being fought thousands of miles away. The story details how those left at home were able to get on with their lives even when they were being notified constantly that more and more friends were losing family members to the fight. It has a stirring patriotic feel as Kitty learns that she can be her own woman, and make her own decisions. She goes to work in a "man's" job at a factory to earn higher wages and to "do her part". When the war is over she has to decide to fall back in to her old role, or to continue moving on her new path.

It's a very interesting look into what the young women would have been going through while their men were away. Her two sisters each had their own struggles that they went through as well. If I had to pick a character that I could most relate to it would probably be Tish the youngest sister. She was out to dance with and write to as many of the soldiers as she could to boost their morale. She also seemed a bit on the edge of what was acceptable, even though I think she is the one who ended up following the rules more than the other two sisters.

The read was easy and good. The largest flaw that I can find is the way the story ends. There is no satisfaction for me in this, and I had to reread a chapter or two because I was 100% lost as to how it actually ended. It was weird. I've been trying to write this post for two days now. I didn't seem to remember how time consuming it really is raising an infant. I can read while I rock her because I can turn the pages by tapping the screen and prop my kindle up for ease of reading, but I absolutely cannot use my laptop. So I'm kind of having to sneak this in between. Any time I get while she is asleep is better spent with Ryland or cleaning the house. If these posts seem unorganized, this is probably to blame. :)

Either way, I'll give the story 3 stars out of 5. I'm not in live with it. I had a bit of trouble trying to relate the characters to real life. I liked the story well enough to read more of her books though. I've already finished another one while I was trying to attempt this review. Since I've got the time I shall review that one as well. If I stop bouncing the bouncy seat while Inez sleeps she will wake up and start screaming like a banshee again. Good thing I can multitask.

The Last Time I Saw You

Can you imagine what you would feel like when your 40 year high school reunion is only a few weeks away?  These days we have so many ways of keeping in close contact (or creeper contact) with the people we knew, sort of knew, or didn't  know at all in high school. I can say that I'm friends on social media sites with people I may never have said more than a few words to in the full 3 years I spent at my high school. For some reason though, we feel that we need to be "friends" so we always know whats up. But, think about coming from a different time. A time when the only ways to keep in contact are by phone, visits, and snail mail? It would be pretty easy to lose contact and not know what happened to everyone in your class.

The story shows a glimpse into the lives of many different people who are attending their 40 year reunion. The popular kids, the nerdy kids, the somewhere in between kids. We know all about the cliques that form in high school. It seems as if they never really go away. Did you have a crush on someone? Don't you still, kind of, have that crush? It's interesting the way that Elizabeth Berg portrays the different kinds of people. It's a bit unrealistic how much change everyone goes through in such a short time. Fiction is fiction, right? I really like Mary Alice. I'm fairly certain that I was like her in high school. But I never got bullied or picked on.

The Last Time I Saw You is another one of those easy reads. You don't have to think about much, or surf through to create your own understanding. That's what makes these books good though. Especially when I don't have time or the ability to concentrate on anything for very long. Easy to pick up or put down without missing much. I liked this one less than the last one, I really didn't get much of a feels from it. I always appreciate having some kind of feeling after reading a book. Doesn't really matter if that feeling is awkwardness, happiness, disgust, anger, or anything along those lines. I finished this book and felt pretty much nothing. I'd have to say that's a bad sign. Could be good though, depends how you look at it. Sometimes reading is there just to be something to do. Does it always have to be about an experience? For me it does. Maybe for you it doesn't?

I'm on to the next book I've chosen from Elizabeth Berg. We'll see how it suits me. She really has written a great many books. Picking at random is a serious gamble. Haha. Hopefully I'll be back with you soon. :)

The Art of Mending

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Guess what?! I'm Back!

I know you've all missed me terribly. Really, you obviously can't imagine a week going by without reading one of my absurd and random postings. Just admit it. :) I'm kidding of course. Every time I leave the blog for a bit and come back I'm surprised by how many views I still get. Either way, I'm back for the time being. There are no guarantees that I won't fall off again, that seems to be my pattern. I really do love posting about my life and the books that I'm reading. Mostly I'd say that it is a form of release for me. 

Things are going swimmingly here on the home front. My beautiful daughter Inez is almost eight weeks old and my amazing son is now an incredibly big four year old boy. My husband to be Nick is still being the most amazing man in the universe, of whom I'm not certain that I deserve. (But I'm going to keep him either way.) It looks like it has been since the end of May since my last post, so I'll update you on what happened in the interim. 

June, July, and half of August I was miserable and very large. It was also very hot. I've only been pregnant twice. Yet, I can safely say that pregnancy does not suit me. The wonder and joy of having children is unmatched by any feeling in the world. The awfulness of building the baby is worth every moment of getting to care for my two most favorite little people. I stopped working at the end of June and have been a stay at home mommy since then. Recently I've begun considering the idea of finding a job, but haven't quite embarked on that adventure yet. For the past eight weeks I have been sleeping very little and loving very much. Getting to know this new little human has certainly been a tiring roller coaster ride. 

It's only been within the past week or so that I've begun to find myself again. Being a baby building machine and a worn out mother tends to cause a loss of interest in things that used to be so awesome to me. Even my birthday was kind of hum-drum. I turned a quarter of a century old. 25. God. I'm old now. 25, two kids, a wonderful husband to be, and no career. It's certainly a place that I never really expected to be in my life. Not that I'm not enjoying it. I just never thought I'd be here. If you ask Nick, he'll say the same. Our life together is incredible; it's only getting better. 

While I've been finding myself again, I have also been deep cleaning the house. Which involves moving furniture, throwing away a bunch of useless things, sorting stuff, and finally putting away those god awful maternity clothes. The more of my old interests I feel the more I realize that I almost lost myself in all the craziness of a new baby. They say that baby blues effect about 80% of women after having their kiddos. The definitely got me. I'm better now. I've read two books in the last two days and it's GLORIOUS! Haha. Being home gives me plenty of time to clean and to read. Now if I can just convince Inez that she wants to take her nap at the same time as her brother my days will be perfect!

Anyway, I suppose the point of all this is to say that for at least the time being I will be posting reviews and tidbits of my life again. I know that I'm much more excited about this than you are. Either way. Onward and Upward!

Be jealous of how beautiful my children are. :)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

I'm behind again! Sheesh. I just can't seem to stop reading long enough to get myself caught back up on all my blogging. Since my body has decided that it is going to be lame and feel awful today, I decided that this would be a good time to get the reviews down for the three books I've finished since The Marriage Plot. The first one I found as a group read on Goodreads and picked it up. I was a bit skeptical about it based on the reviews that I read. In my last post you'll remember that I said I don't read reviews before reading the book, and this is exactly why.  Orphan Train has an average rating of 4.07 on Goodreads, and generally that bodes well. (Assuming that you like things that many other people like.) 

What can I say? I liked it well enough. Parts of the book were extremely likable, and parts were downright unbelievable. The book didn't draw me in well enough to be able to suspend my sense of reality and possibility, so the unbelievable stuff is hard for me to overcome. Molly is a very angst driven foster kid, who finally finds a reason to care in Vivian. Vivian is the old lady who is recounting the story of her life to Molly for a class project as the sort through all the things in the attic that tie her to her own reality. 

I read this two books ago, and it's already fading from me. It didn't leave a great impression. It was all a bit to fantastical for me. And yet I can say that it was an enjoyable enough read that I would happily suggest it to you. It's not going to change your life. Definitely might make you realize how different life is now from what it was in the 1920's. I gave it 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. 

Not really sure what else to say. Maybe now isn't the greatest time for me to be writing a review. Fairly certain that I'm not doing myself or the book justice by this. And thus, again, I will put of the reviews of the next two books. Maybe after a nap I will feel more like being my witty and awesome (narcissistic) self. Until then my readers, I bid you adieu. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

My wonderful husband to be reminded me that I'm falling behind on my blogs again! But lets face it, no one is surprised by that. :) So let me get you caught up on me! Nothing has happened. Unless you count gaining more weight and becoming more uncomfortably pregnant. Ever the pessimist? Maybe not. Things have been really good. Working my last few weeks and I'm more than ready to take that time off to rest and recoup before pushing a new being into the world. It's an ongoing debate with myself about whether or not I'll go insane as a stay at home mommy? I've never had a real opportunity to do something like this. With my first child I ended up going back to work a couple months after he was born and then had multiple jobs for a long time. It's really nice to have this opportunity. Besides, when I'm home I'll have plenty to do, right? Cloth diapers and a baby means lots of laundry.. I'll figure it out.

So lately I've bee reading books from that group I'm in on Goodreads and then adding some random filler items in between. This is one of those books that I just sort of picked up and decided to read. I love the Barnes and Noble bargain priced section. Getting hardback editions cheaper than I even could at half-price books!? Hell yeah, I'll take it. Especially when they are by trusted authors. That last Anita Shreve novel I reviewed should be sanctioned as an accident. Since I got both The Marriage Plot and A Change in Altitude at the same time. When I bought the Marriage Plot the lady at B&N told me that I wouldn't be disappointed and that the only thing she found hard to accept about the book was the end. Which of course made me fret throughout the book that something awful was going to happen to ruin the whole thing. Thankfully it didn't. Normally I'd complain about someone giving me an opinion on a book before I read it, but that isn't fair at all. What am I doing right now? Of course, I'm telling you that the book is wonderful and you should read it. So I won't hold a grudge. Mostly it bothers me because I don't read reviews or even a summary of what a book is about before I start it. I don't like walking in to something and expecting it to be one way or another. However, I can understand those who do. Why read a book if it only gets 2 out of 5 stars on Goodreads? Or if enough people tell you how awful something is, shouldn't you believe them and look for something more enticing? 

I can tell you that I probably end up agreeing with the other reviewers more often than not. Consensus usually shows what's right, but sometimes I just end up loving something everyone hated, or really hating something every one else loved. I really will have to leave things like Twilight, Fifty Shades of Whatever, and Hunger Games to everyone else though. I'm not willing to brave the positive or negative reviews to read any of that crap. No offense. Just Ew. 

Anyway. I have another blog to write after this so I should probably get to talking about the book. The Marriage Plot was a good read. Slow going in the beginning for sure, but by the end I couldn't put it down. I can see why many people wouldn't really enjoy the book. It has tons and tons of huge, ridiculous words for no reason. It's kind of like... Let me put every big word I've ever heard of and throw it in here.. Hell I'll even Google some for good measure! This is really how it felt. At the same time that's what defined a few of the characters. Too smart for their own good. The story parallels between two different college students and discusses their journeys into what could be considered adulthood. Set in the 1980's makes it a little difficult for me to relate to the college mentality and the things those students had to look forward to, but I can say that I could picture it for what it was. 

After finishing the book I went and read some of the reviews on Goodreads for the novel, there was an overall weird mix of reviews. I believe that most people read The Virgin Suicides and then expected this to be just another regurgitation of the same, but it's not. And that's what's great. Each book I've read by Eugenides has been unique and moving in a different way. I see people complaining about the language of the book more than anything else. The language is half the point. Have you ever spoken to a college student who thinks they know the whole of everything? There are a lot of them. It's about being realistic, and not about making you fall in love. I really enjoyed this book and I would suggest it to anyone who is okay with a somewhat taxing read. You won't regret it.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Change in Altitude, by Anita Shreve

Blah, blah, blah. That's exactly how I've been feeling lately. Lacking motivation for even completing the most simple of tasks. It's kind of ridiculous. I'm really starting to wonder how much my mood really does effect the way a feel about the books I'm reading. Although, when I'm feeling down I can pick up a good book and feel a jillion times better. So maybe it's the opposite? What I'm reading effects the way I'm feeling. In all honestly I can tell that whatever I'm reading influences the language I use on a daily basis. Take for instance when I read a few different classical English lit books in a row, I'll begin using much more proper anecdotes. And likewise, when I'm reading modern jargon, I speak in the way that best reflects that.

Strange. Admittedly, I am a little strange. I've never had a problem seeing that part of me. Meh. I think it adds to my charm. I hope so at least. If I'm wrong, don't correct me. Just let me live in my complacent delusion. It'll be much better that way. For me. Not you.

So, A Change in Altitude. In the past I have read many of Anita Shreve's novels and found much to delight in. Plot lines that drew me in, and characters that I could believe in. And that brings me to the latest novel of hers that I read, A Change in Altitude. First of all, I'll tell you what I'm sure you already know. I didn't like it much. The story was set in Kenya. It's about a newly married couple who go to Kenya to work with the locals. The husband, Patrick, is a doctor and Margaret, the wife, a photographer.

I don't know what to write. I walked away from the blog for a few minutes and I'm struggling to come up with what I should say about the book. The most I can really say, is that there are just so many things that are hard to grasp. The first climb made me feel uncomfortable, and maybe this is the point, but the discomfort didn't leave me for the rest of the book. Margaret is a whiny sort of empty character. She doesn't have much to do since her husband works away from home at the hospital for his research. So, she finds something to do. Overall the story line was sporadic and off. The flow and content were really lacking in any kind of comfortable movement. The characters were underdeveloped, and left me wanting so much more.

The end was probably the hardest part to understand. She finished her journey, but it ends abruptly with her realizing how hard she has worked to get nothing but a muddled view of nothing. I don't know. All I can say is that I sill not hold it against Anita Shreve, and will probably attempt to read another of her books soon. Maybe I'll even go back and reread one that I know I enjoyed and review it just to prove to you (and myself) that she is normally awesome.

Now it's time for bed, because this old lady has to go to work tomorrow. And that isn't really ever any fun. I try to pretend like it is though, sometimes it works. Mostly I just end up watching the time creep by, and text my fiance a lot about a bunch of nothing. It's a good thing he loves me. :) I'm often times a very needy individual.

Anyhoo. Happy Reading!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Flora, by Gail Godwin

What a day it's been! Just kidding. I woke up at 10:30 and have done a good deal of nothing so far. Pretty exciting stuff, I know! Today, I really spent an hour or so thinking about all the things I was going to have to do to begin getting ready for the baby shower next month. Cheese and Rice, I got overwhelmed and walked away from the whole setup of planning. I at least set a date, and let people know about it! Baby steps, right? Haha. So when I gave up on the planning I decided that it was also a good time to go get my nails and eyebrows done. Living the high life! It's becoming more and more apparent that I am beginning to have big problems with focus. Yeah. I'll be doing something, and then out of no where "SHINY" distractions. Fairly certain that you can equate this stage of the pregnancy to a form of dimensia. Mostly, I'm just hoping that this mental state doesn't begin to effect my reading beyond the amount of time I am able to spend reading before I have to walk away.

Flora was one of those books that, on a normal occasion, should have been done in pretty much a single sitting. Do I blame the baby, or do I blame the story!? On Goodreads the story has an average reader rating of 3.49 out of 5 stars, and I'll just give it a three myself. This means that I'll blame the story. It's a brand new book that came out on May 7th, which I didn't realize at the time that I started reading it. All I knew was that it was on hold because it hadn't been released in ebook format on the library's website until then. 

The story is about a ten year old girl who loses her grandma and then her father goes off to work for the summer, leaving her cousin from Alabama in charge of her. Most of the story was pretty bland, and the little girl, Helen, was an obnoxious, pretentious girl. Flora on the other hand is the slightly uneducated cousin who lacks self-confidence in anything she does. It doesn't take long for Helen to realize that she can play this to her advantage in some things. The story overall was slow and uninviting, but how inviting could a book about two girls essentially stuck on a mountain for a whole summer be? 

The ending of the book seemed to be trying to make up for the lack of content throughout the rest of it. There was a major onslaught of information that came all sorts of jumbled to give the reader a sort of satisfaction of knowing what ended up happening to everyone. Most of these tidbits I found to be sorely lacking in any necessity. Why do we need to know what happened to so many of the supporting characters? Just didn't make sense to me why. Nor did it flow well. Almost made the story end even more abruptly. 

I'll keep Gail Godwin on the list of authors I can pull from when I need something to fill my time, but as of right now I think I'll walk away from this book and leave it at that. I'm not really certain what I'll be reading next, but I'm hoping it's much better than the last couple of things I've picked up. My luck needs to come back in!

Until we meet again readers, I wish you all the best.

Happy Reading.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

So my fiance and I did something really exciting today! We finally got our rings! :) We worked at saving up and didn't put anything on credit. I'm proud of us. We were successful, and it hardly took any time at all. But, the real point is that I have new bling.. and being a girl I am terribly excited about it. Granted I'm not excited just because it's shiny. I'm excited because it's one more thing that is falling into place for our lives. The Fates have really been on our side. I'm a very lucky woman to have found such a wonderful man.

You should know by now that I very seldom am on topic in the beginning of my blogs. Which means I am going to stop apologizing about my rants. Over time I've really learned that a good amount of why I like or don't like a book is about the environment and how I felt when I was reading it. This is not always true. Some books are just awful. No amount of a great mood can change that. Might make me a little nicer in my reviews though. Who am I kidding, nothing makes me nice about books I don't like. So this all being said I'll tell you a little about what happened in the three days it took me to read this book. 

I worked, I do a lot of that. Most of my reading time was spent on my lunch breaks. You have no idea how many people will look at you with almost sadness when you are pregnant, 20-something, sitting by yourself, eating and reading in a restaurant. It's unfathomable! Haha. I think I just look lonely or something. When I go to Barnes and Nobel no one treats me like a leper, but I spend way too much money. I'll stick to Chic Fil A. So other than work I spent time at home with my loves. Nothing too crazy going on until we went out today. Today we went to a parade. A very noisy, hot, and long parade. A hoard of candy was taken in (none of it good). Then mother's day lunch and the rings. And now here I am. 

There are serious second thoughts about that last paragraph having anything really of value to add to this blog, but we'll let it slide this once. If it's a huge miss I'll leave it out next time. Nothing really exciting happens in my day to day of which you would really care to know. Meh.

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. I'm in a group on Goodreads that is 52 books in 52 weeks or something like that. You should be my friend on Goodreads and join me in the group! Anyway, this is the book that they are reading this week. The library actually had it available to borrow on my Kindle so I jumped on board and started reading it. Finished just in time for the week to be over. Some of the reviews so far that I've read say that the characters are hard to love, and I think maybe that's the point. Maybe we get so lost in the idea that you have to love everyone that you read about, or connect with every thing. But some people are just hard to love. Kind of like it's hard to love your weird uncle who smells like pickles and never changes his jeans? You know what I mean? Well, maybe that's a bit different. Haha. The point I'm really making is that no matter how hard we try to make everyone fit into our molds, sometimes they are just selfish, mean, and downright unlovable.

I think it also makes some difference that it is written by a dude. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that men can't write emotionally driven works. What I'm saying is that they have a very different style of writing. This is a love story of a sort, albeit not a conventional one. It's about realizing that sometimes what we thought was right or wrong for us, might really not be. It's about waking up and realizing the things that you've walked out on, or taken for granted. 

Did I love the book? No, I can't say that I did. But I liked it well enough to recommend that you read it if you haven't already. It's worth the time it takes to read. This is pretty much all I have to say about the book. I finished it a few hours ago and I already have a disconnect from it, which mostly tells me that I can survive without it. Only the really good ones stick around long enough for me to recall very specific details hours later. Although, I can say that I hate the end. Ugh. It was so... Unorganized. And now, really, I'm done.

If you stumble across this blog from Goodreads, or have a Goodreads account, please add me as a friend. I need more friends on there and many more book suggestions. For REAL. Ha! I'm getting to a point where I'm scrounging to find things I want to read right now. 

Happy Reading.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Since I got  myself so burned out on reading books at a radical pace, I've been doing my best to moderate the amount that I read each day. Which basically means that it takes me three days to finish a book instead of 1 or 2. I can't really promise that it's working out because I've learned self control. I'm fairly certain that the only reason I have been able to do it this way is because I'm a tired old lady. Reading on my lunch breaks and the little bit before bed that I can squeeze in before I fall over with exhaustion. Or before Nick goes to bed. He makes it so much more inviting to go to sleep instead of reading. At any rate, I finished Life of Pi last night after starting it Sunday I think? Not really important. Somehow I ended up with a Kindle version that had random pictures in it every once in a while as well. Which is also equally unimportant, but I found it very odd to see pictures in the story on my Kindle. 

Something I've been asking myself is why I even bothered reading Life of Pi? I've had absolutely no interest in the book the entire time it's been out. Not even through all the excitement about the movie or anything. So, why now? I decided that it's because the book I really wanted to read made me go on a waiting list, and so I just picked something to read in the interim. Regretfully enough, it wasn't the best decision I've made. 

There will be no spoilers in this review, but I'll tell you that I'd like to. Pi Patel is a strange, affected character. A boy with a religious zeal not to be questioned. I never really quite decided whether I liked him as a character or whether he was just a bit too outlandish and unrealistic for my tastes. The book itself consists of a few different sections that detail different phases in Pi's life, with a couple of random interjections by the man who is interviewing Pi. The final section is the one that really kind of sealed my initial dislike of the book. It's the story of being a castaway and the sole survivor of the boat that his family was traveling from India to Canada on. Some parts of it were plain ridiculous, and others were far to detailed for any reason at all. I get the idea of wanting the reader to almost be able to feel what is happening, but gruesome descriptions are too much for me. And the end.. The end just made me angry. It made the whole irregularity of the rest of the story begin to make sense and clear up, but still. Lame.

Either way, it is a critically acclaimed novel, and now a full-length film. Many people have really enjoyed it, and I'm sure found greater significance in it than I did. I know that someone mentioned having recently watched the movie and liking it, which I doubt I will ever purposely do. I think that I'll give this a 2 out of 5 on Goodreads. The writing is good, I'll definitely give you that. Yann Martel is gifted with words. I may look into reading some of his other works another time. Right now I'm reading Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter, and it's coming along fairly well. Since the sky has decided to break open and pour down a very noisy and lightning filled rainstorm I'll probably be up a while. Progress is in my future. Happy Reading to you all. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

You know how I disappear for a while?

Well, I did that again. I'd like to think that it isn't possible to burn yourself out on reading, but I think I did. I was reading a lot, almost a book a day and occasionally more than one. And I just needed to walk away for a bit. I didn't really stop reading, I just stopped devouring. Apparently I also stopped reviewing, which does myself no good. 

I'm always surprised when I go away from the blog for a couple months, only to return and see that people have still been reading. It's nice. I guess I should really not just forget about the blog like that. But whatever, life happens.

Speaking of life. The one I'm creating inside my womb is getting really big. 24 weeks pregnant and having an absolute blast. Okay, so that last part was a lie. It's been awfully uncomfortable and distracting. I don't really want to make this a long post like they normally are. Mostly I just wanted to stop by and say hello to all of you readers. I'm reading a book about Nazi Germany right now, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to put it down and I've only barely begun it. It's not very enticing. 

I may instead pick up Life of Pi or Middle C. They both stand to be much more promising than this other. My library loan is only for 7 days though.. And it's already been two I think. I don't know... Just so dull. And I find myself so easily distracted by other things I should be doing. Anyway. This is really all I wanted to do, so I will wish you all happy reading. And maybe I'll be back tomorrow or the day after with a review on either what I'm reading, or something I read in the past couple of weeks. 


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Little Look into Me

I've never really been good at just sitting down and writing about myself or really anything that I can't tie to something else. This lack of ability of mine is probably what motivated me to begin reviewing books in the first place. There is also, of course, my incredible love of any and all literature. Ever since I was a little kid I knew that I was safe in a book. I can't really pinpoint what I mean by that, but I guess it could be that I could get lost in the oblivion of my imagination. In a sense no longer be here and experiencing whatever is actually in my life. I could be anyone! Do whatever I wanted to do. That was my original allure to reading. Since then it's become kind of a quest. 

In junior high I set a goal for myself to read the entirety of the school library. It worked for a while, I read A LOT. What was really the downfall was lack of time and lack of interest in certain books. Never did I want to make it to the Non-Fiction section. I've never been the type to be able to sit down and actually enjoy reading a book of facts. Although, I could probably read a good deal about history. I'm just talking about not wanting to read about general facts. I also have a problem with poetry. I know that I've mentioned in previous posts how I really like books that take the time to create an entire world for you to associate with the characters. You know what poetry does? It spits a few lines at you and tells you to do something with it. I'm not saying I don't understand it... I'm saying I don't see the point. Sorry to all of my beloved poet friends, but I really don't understand. 

The biggest setback I had while attempting to read the entire library was really just the limit of things that I like. When I was younger I couldn't force myself to read things that I didn't want to. If it didn't interest me I'd just walk away from it. Understandable I think, I was 11-14 years old at the time. This was about the time that I really developed my ability to rapidly read through books, and still absorb what I am reading. I know many people who have tried to teach themselves how to speed read, and that there is probably a right way to do it too. Yet, I developed my own style for accomplishing the tasks at hand. Ever since then I've been able to read through books at a somewhat ridiculous pace, and am almost completely unable to slow down and absorb a book at what could be considered a normal pace. It's sometimes a bummer.

People often times ask me if I've ever thought about writing something myself. Pretty much my answer is usually the same: I've given it thought, but what would I write that someone would care to read? My biggest fear of writing is that I'll end up plagiarizing the hell out of someone else's work because I can't remember if I read it somewhere or if I made it up. How do you be completely unique in a world where people have been writing for centuries? You really can't. Many stories have elements of the same things. Maybe you change the names and the order of how things happen, but I bet that its happened in a book sometime before you wrote it. So what's the point? That's cynical at best. But, yeah, I've thought about writing. Almost certain I've attempted to write something before as well. I just never follow through. Maybe one day I'll decide to give it a try. I'll have to keep you in the know. 

Something that I think is pretty nifty. Did you know that if you post your reviews on Goodreads the authors sometimes actually read them?!? Haha. I'm not surprised, but I am surprised when they take the time to comment of what I wrote. So big thanks to Chrissy Anderson and Harry Steinman for both being really great sports about it. I wonder what the authors think when I give their books not so great reviews? I'm just being honest. Take my Molly Ringwald review for example... I was really tough on that book. Mostly because I really didn't like it, but also because I'm not going to lie about how I felt. Then again, at least she was brave enough to try. 

I recently agreed to review a book for an author who just released it. It's called Waiting with God - A 31-Day Devotional with Bible Verses: Where is God? Welcome Jesus into Your Life! by Suzanne E. Anderson. She gave me the book in exchange for reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. I'll also of course post my review here as well. I'm a little hesitant to do the review itself because I'm reading a book that covers a touchy topic. I've very carefully stepped around my views on religion. I don't really feel like that should affect the way I read or the way I review so I avoid it altogether. I doubt you'll hold that against me. Also, I haven't really looked at the book much since it just got sent to me, but am I supposed to read it over 31 days? That will be incredibly difficult for me. Ha. I've decided to finish the book I've already started and then begin this book in the next couple of days. 

This is enough for today. I'll probably have the review for Spin by Catherine McKenzie up tomorrow if I can find the time with work to finish it up. We'll see what happens. Until then, I wish you all Happy Reading. 

Arranged by Catherine McKenzie

Not really sure if I have mentioned this before, but I recently got a new library card, I'm pretty sure I haven't had one since I was about 13? I have a small phobia of library books.... They smell funny, and you have no idea who has had them before you, or who will have them after you. Funny thing is, that I don't have the same problem with going to a used book store and buying books that someone else has owned. I'm going to guess that's because I willfully force myself to believe that only one person has had them before me and I make a great effort to make sure there are no food stains or boogers located between any of the pages before I buy them. Again, this has very little to do with the blog at hand. Excepting of course that I have begun to use the library's online Lending Library to borrow books. Doesn't matter how many people have used them (or eaten while reading) because when it gets to my Kindle it's brand new! Oh the wonders will never cease. No more scrounging to find random free books, let's not get me started on paying for Kindle books again. Now! I have a variety of books that I actually want to read right at my fingertips!

Still, I stumble across gems like Catherine McKenzie. What I was expecting from the book, and what I got are two very different things. Exactly what I was expecting, I'm not really sure, but what I got was a very well written witty story about a woman who is unlucky in love. Anne has just finished another bad relationship, identical to the three that came before. And now she finds out that her best friend is getting married and completing the fairy tale love story that she has always dreamed of. Is it a sign that she found a card for a supposed dating service just a short while before? Is it really time to give up on finding love herself, and let someone else do it for her instead? Maybe it's fate, but maybe its desperation. Whatever it is Anne lets go and gives it a try.

After an all inclusive arranged marriage and honeymoon getaway Anne and her now husband Jack make a go at life together. With an arranged marriage you can expect all kinds of up and downs, and that's exactly what you get. With a compatibility score of 8 (which is perfect) will is be love everlasting, or will the pressures of the world tear them apart? You'll just have to read it to find out. And believe me, you won't be disappointed.

There are some key points in the books that really intrigued me, mostly the idea of giving up on romantic love for the basis of a relationship and using a "friendship philosophy" to found a relationship. I can really see the validity of this. Friendship between partners is what creates a bond that lasts forever. I've seen many of my friends relationships fail because they thought that love feeling was enough, and when that love feeling goes away all they are left with is a hollow shell. Makes sense to me. Why kid myself, I've experienced the same thing myself. What counts is that I've learned that love isn't enough. Which is why Nick and I have taken the effort to read up on things, and to progress past just loving each other and moved into building a strong foundation for forever. 

And really just the second thing that I've thought about the idea of having entered into an arranged marriage. It has worked for centuries in other cultures. The book even mentioned how people here look down on the whole idea. We've been spoon fed the romantic ideas of love at first sight and happy endings from our books to our movies. Would I have had the courage to let someone else decide who would make me happy forever? That's exactly what it would take, courage. I'll gladly admit that I'm a huge chicken when it comes to making any kind of decisions, let alone making someone else decide my marital fate. 

Those are just a couple things that the book made me think about. I'm thinking about posting later tonight with just a general personal update on my life. But, for now I'll leave you to your own happy reading. We are on our way to the library to get Ryland some new night-night stories. I'm doing my best to not be super grossed out by the books at the library, because I know how much Ry loves our reading times at night. But... gross.. Happy Reading!

The Diplomat's Wife by Pam Jenoff

I finished this book Monday night before I went to bed and then just didn't seem to have time to post about it yesterday. I know that you'll all forgive my delay. Even though the delay means that you'll have to read two whole different review from me today. Ahh, doesn't that sound exciting!

Pam Jenoff also wrote a book call The Kommandant's Girl and this is a follow up to that. The Diplomat's Wife follows a secondary character from the original book called Marta. She plays a decent roll in the original and before The Kommandant's Girl ends you think she must be dead. Which brings me to the actual book I just read. It was an unbelievable love story. And I don't mean that in the way that I'm saying that it was so incredibly moving it was unbelievable. What I mean is that every other thing that happens in the story is so unrealistic that it absolutely ruins the story for me. 

I really enjoyed the first book and so I was hoping that this one would be as good, but it was purely ridiculous. One incredible impossibility after another. I'm a reader who can sort of suspend reality in order to allow for certain possibilities to happen to make a love story function, it's me saying a lot that I absolutely couldn't do that for this book. Jenoff has an amazing ability to write. I will never argue with that. I read the book all the way through in one sitting, even with the struggles of imagination I was fighting against. It's hard to tell you why I feel this way in detail without ruining the story for you, so I'm just going to have to leave you with this. 

The fact that I know some people can suspend reality well enough to believe in this story astounds me. Reality is just so... real? It's supposed to be real, this isn't science fiction or fantasy. I can make all kinds of allowances for books found in those genres. 

This is why I like to sit down and write my reviews right after I finish a book. Everything is much more clear and my ideas are more defined. As it is I just finished another book that I'm about to review as well and it is so much more pristine in my mind. I'd say that's because it left a good impression though, and all The Diplomat's Wife did was leave me incredibly unsatisfied and unhappy. Either way, I'll willingly admit that this isn't the best review I've done to date. Happy Reading all! 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

the time keeper by Mitch Albom

Since this will be my third complete blog within the last 24 hours I'll do my best to just stick to the book itself. That may be difficult to do, being me and all. :) 

Mitch Albom gets a good deal of praise. He is a very well received Christian author, and I can rightfully say he should be. I've read some of his other works and they were great. What I really don't like, though, is his writing style. Especially this book. It drove me insane. Ugh. Jumping back and forth, tiny tidbits here and there, having to piece things together. Very annoying. One thing the book did really well was invite the reader to think about time. And not just about time in the sense that it's passing, but time in the meaning of how we use it. Are you asking for more time than you deserve? Are you fighting to run out on your life earlier than the higher beings have planned? 

I won't really go into details about the book at all other than to say that the three main characters are interesting. Father time, an time hungry old man, and a broken teenage girl. All in all I think it probably took me about 2 hours of reading time with plenty of interruptions for play time and make-believe with my wonderful three year old boy. I get the feeling though that this is a book you should take the time to read. Maybe I missed something that would make it more special? It's an incredibly well received book. Then again, not everyone likes everything the same. And I didn't like this book. More than anything it's the writing style that killed it for me. Far too much jolting and jumping about. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I have great affection for books that tend to be a little more long winded. 

The characters really only inspired more dislike for me. An insipid girl who can't pull herself out of a funk created by a bully of a boy. Then again, what 17 year old girl really can? She's realistic-ish but annoying. Really don't get me started on the power hungry, money grubbing old man. Bleck. I understand the message, it's pretty obvious. Don't measure your life by the time that passes, measure it by the way you spend that time. I'm just very underwhelmed. I'll give it 2 out of 5 stars on my Goodreads. Here's to hoping my next random book choice is better! Happy Reading!

The Guestbook by Andrea Hurst

I don't know what it is, but I've had all the best luck about picking books that involve women walking away from broken relationships and finding great strength within themselves. Really, the books just kind of find me I guess. Since I end up with most of them because they were on the FreeBooks list at some point and I just happened to download them and then decide to read them now. Today Nick and I were talking about my habit of not reading anything about the book before I actually begin reading it. That's always been a benefit to me. It really opens my horizons and I'm not going to get turned away from a book just because someone wrote a bad captioning for it. Yet it makes it kind of a gamble. I read really quickly though, so if a book is lame it doesn't take me long to get through the torture and I can get on here and vent to you all about how bad the book was. 

Thankfully the things that I have been reading lately have worked out for me. The Guestbook I settled on reading this morning and finished about an hour or so ago. Nap time is the best time for uninterrupted reading. Monster took a really good nap today! Today was a good day for a lot of things though. We got Ry his first library card, and got me a new one. Which means that we can get him some new bedtime stories and I don't have to read the same books over and over and over again at bed time. Also, I can now download books from the library and have them go straight to my Kindle Paperwhite. I downloaded my first book and will probably commence reading after I get us through dinner and bath time. The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom. I know nothing about it, so we will see how it goes. 

Either way, I know that I get distracted and you aren't really here to read about my day. Which means it is on to the topic at hand: The Guestbook by Andrea Hurst.

Lily is busy living her life as the perfect wife. The gourmet chef, the perfectly dressed woman, the wife who does everything she is told to please her husband of ten years. But she feels as she looks around their home, that it isn't hers. It never has been. Brad makes all the decisions. He chooses the way she dresses. He even sent her to many many cooking classes and schools in order to make her into his image of a perfect wife. Then it happens. Brad leaves his cell phone when he runs out of the house and Lily reads the messages. Brad's having an affair. It was the end, and Lily takes the basics of her life and runs away.

She recently inherited an eccentric bed and breakfast in Washington from her grandmother who passed away. She gets there and begins to see what she can really accomplish on  her own. Then she meets him. But what will she do? In the middle of a divorce and alone for the first time in years she is drowning in her own distrust of men and lack of faith in herself. In this small town she finds what it means to be a woman. Lily makes friends with some of the local women and really begins to establish herself. Bringing the bed and breakfast back to life along with her own love. 

Overall the book was good. If I had to pinpoint anything that I disliked about it, I'm not sure I could. The Guestbook was a quick and easy read. Not the most particularly emotionally involving and some of the things in the story were kind of bypassed. I'd say I feel that way because short reads leave too much time unexplained or really just leave a lot up to you to decide. Can't say that is my favorite style of writing. Give me a story that is written with livid details and can really make me feel like I'm there, and I'm a very happy woman. I don't know what else to say really. It was an okay book and once the other two in the trilogy become available for the kindle I will probably read them as well. I felt enough for the characters to want to find out more about their stories. Maybe I'll keep up with Andrea Hurst. God Bless Goodreads? Anyway. I'm giving this 3 out of 5 stars. That is the end of my chat for now. Happy Reading! 

The Life List: the difference between doing something and doing nothing is everything by Chrissy Anderson

Do you ever think that things can come into your life, or just happen at the perfect moment?

Have you ever wondered or fervently believed that there is someone up "there" who is watching out for you personally? I mean this not in a "God" sense, but more in the sense of a relative or friend who has passed.

I'm going to take a wild leap and say that very many people in the world feel this way. Even if they are going to be slow to admitting it. I don't mind that people are sometimes afraid to admit what they believe in. It's a tough world, and people judge incredibly quickly. I am 100% willing to admit that I believe that both of these ideas are possible, and have happened in my own life. I very randomly met the love of my life, and we have become amazing together. There is also a strong certainty in my heart that my Grandma is up there making sure that I don't mess things up too badly down here. I can almost feel her sometimes. Which is kind of crazy to some of you I'm sure. Also, it's very true that I barely even knew her while she was alive.

You may be wondering how all of these questions pertain to the book that I am writing about, but to be honest these are exactly the viewpoints that Chrissy carries herself. I'm not going to talk about the fact that the author named her main character after herself, and also states that it is a work of fiction. I may address that later though. It kind of bothers me. Anyway, back to the subject at hand. Chrissy and her husband Kurt are the couple that everyone secretly wants to be. The couple that met in high school and survived through college and got married. Both very beautiful people with exciting jobs and a flashy home. Who wouldn't want to be them, right?

Then all of a sudden Chrissy meets him, Leo. And she realizes that perfection on the outside doesn't mean that everything is also perfect on the inside. Then everything breaks down. It's a mess of lies, therapy, separation, divorce, love, hate, loss. Anything you'd imagine an incredibly emotional woman feeling, Chrissy goes through it. Through it all she comes out stronger and more brave than shes ever been. It's all about reestablishing herself without trying to fit into someone else's frame of mind. That liberating moment of personal freedom after so long trying to be who someone else always wanted you to be. And maybe, you'd already convinced yourself that you are that person.

This was a good read. It made me tear up in some places, and become incredibly frustrated in others. I could say it was an emotional roller coaster, but that could just as easily be attributed to my pregnant hormones. Either way. It's not an educational read, and it's not really the most well written (by the book) kind of book. What it is, is real. The language is something that you'd hear spoken on the bus while some lady gabs to her friend sitting next to her. I used to be really uptight about books being written in a certain fashion, but I realize how much I was missing out on. It's really hard to feel an emotional tie to something that makes you feel like you should be analyzing every other sentence to look for the hidden meaning. I really strongly dislike poetry because of that.

I said that I'd consider addressing the author using her name as the character name in this work of fiction. So here I go! I don't like it. If it's fiction then there should be some form of disconnect between who wrote it and who the book is about. I don't want to force this image of a person onto the author. It could really taint anything that I read from her afterward. From what I can tell this book is the first of a trilogy? I don't know. It's so far the only thing that I see out by her right now. It was released in the first half of 2012, and I got it for free from my blog that tells me what books are free on random days. It's 3.99 on Amazon for the Kindle. I'd say that's a fair enough price? I'm not judge of book cost. Then again I loathe and despise paying for Kindle books. If I'm going to buy a book, then I am going to have an actual book to put in my library downstairs. Not everyone agrees with that (Nick!) but I'll forgive him because he's cute. It's late and I have a whole lot of playing with a three year old  to do tomorrow. So I'll leave all of you lovely readers to your own devices now. Happy Reading!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Falling Together by Marisa de los Santos

Please let me start this post off by saying that I have absolutely never been disappointed by anything written by this author, and she really didn't let me down this time. This book was engrossing and captivating in ways that I haven't felt from a book in a long time.

I've recently been reading quite a bit of historical fiction and I decided to take a break from that to read this book from Marisa de los Santos. Honestly I didn't even know this book existed until I went to Half Price Books with my love on Sunday and just happened across it. I bought it without even reading the back or really even looking at anything other than who wrote it. I very seldom do that with any authors. Needless to say, I started reading it that night. Unfortunately I had to put it down and go to sleep since I had to work yesterday. Although, the same considerations didn't come in to play last night as I stayed up much later than my old pregnant lady bed time in order to finish this book. Now it's time to get to the meat of the story.

Pen is an emotional being. A woman who believes in love and the powers of love to transcend all time. The story begins with Pen and her remembering the friends that she loved deeply in college and had separated from 6 years ago. She never forgot them, never stopped missing them, and always kept loving them. Pen is reeling through life sort of dealing with the death of her father, loving her wonderful daughter, and holding onto the love that she holds for her friends and family who are away from her.

Will is one of Pen's friends from college. He used to be a rage-filled person with a tendency to lash out at inanimate objects and relieve his frustrations and pressures that way. These days he is much more calm and writing children's stories in which he addresses his anger in a positive way and shows children how to equally learn to address their own. The past 6 years he has been living without his two best friends, but constantly living with their shadows. He loved them, he loves them still.

Cat is a wild and out, small woman with a mind of her own. She was the glue that held the trio together, and the moment she left it all fell apart.

After 6 years Pen and Will receive an e-mail from Cat asking for their help. But when they show up to the ten year reunion for their college they learn that things are not what they seem. After six years of separation they begin a healing process of their friendship and move through each others lives healing many things other than their friendship as well.

I was really greatly moved by the story and the depth of emotions that I felt for the characters. This is one of those books that you read, and then feel much better about things at the end. Once I was finished with the book I held a feeling of accomplishment and renewal in the way I see my family, my friends, and my love. It's great to read a story and feel much better about things. Perspective can make a really big difference.

I've been gone a while, in case you didn't notice?!

But, here I am coming back to my books and to my blog feeling almost as if I never really walked away. In my previous posting frenzy I was actually not working and that allowed me a good deal more time to be online and to read and post everything to my heart's desire. In November I started a new job and the training and new hours definitely took away from my ability to be here with my not so avid readers. 

It is nice to see that in my absence the blog has continued to gain a little bit of momentum from people stumbling across my blog, mostly from my Goodreads posts. I've kind of been stock piling reviews to write. I haven't been posting, but I can promise you that I haven't stopped reading. So, please prepare yourself for an onslaught of postings over the next week or so catching you all up on the books that I have been digesting. 

Some great life events have happened for me as well lately. NickNack and I have set a date for the wedding and will be expecting our child in Mid-August as well. So it's been pretty hectic in that way as well. I'm not really sure there is much else that I'd like to say in this post except maybe that I am going to do my best to attempt to not walk away from my blog for several months again. Even if people don't read it much, I still really enjoy the feel and process of writing my thoughts about what I'm reading. I've always wanted to be involved in the book industry in some way. I'm fairly certain that unless I force myself to go back to school and move my entire family this is as close as I will ever get. I'm not complaining. It's good enough for me. 

Happy Reading to you all!