Monday, September 27, 2010

Tomorrow, When the War Began (The Tomorrow Series #1) by John Marsden


Tomorrow When The War Began is a rather ordinary book. The characters lack development the story plot isn't very entertaining and they story d-r-a-g-s on and on and on...

It borders on unrealistic and as much as I tried I could not "connect" or like one character.
The first 50 pages or so are the best part of the book. It is all downhill from there. I found myself skimming pages and anxiously awaiting the end so that I could start on another book that would captivate me.

I do have to point out that this series must be well liked since there is a demand for it. It has been quite popular for tens of years and has been translated into five different languages. It is also been made into a motion picture. Despite all these positive angles I have to stand my ground and be truthful when saying, I do not like or care for this particular book nor will I be reading the other 10 or so books in this series.

I can't recommend it but if you read it, I hope that you enjoy it far more than I did.


Grade: D

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dark Flame (The Immortals) by Alyson Noel


Dark Flame is book 4 in The Immortals series.

It picks right up where Shadowland finishes and sadly it does not measure up to my expectations. The plot and characters are becoming stale and the storyline doesn't really seem to be moving anywhere.

Dark Flame is sadly disappointing but since I enjoy the series overall I will read the next two installments and hope for the best.

Grade: C

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Hunger Games - by Suzanne Collins


I have ONE question. Where have I been hiding and why hasn't anyone told me about this trilogy?

I stumbled upon it quite by accident and I sure am glad I did!

It is exciting, engaging, brutal and beyond entertaining. Collings narrative quickly draws you in as you enter into a life or death plot. The characters are well developed, the scenes are detailed, sharp and at times violent.

Katniss and Peeta are impressive characters, who are complex and realistic. This post apocalyptic world is tragic and full of despair but in some ways reminiscent of our past (Roman Games, anyone?).

Be prepared to get lost in this book for hours.


Collins doesn't leave you with a cliff hanger ending yet manages to keep you wanting more.


Grade: A






Synopsis
Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games." The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When Kat's sister is chosen by lottery, Kat steps up to go in her place.

NARRATED by Carolyn McCormick

Monday, September 20, 2010

Cum Laude by Cecily Von Ziegesar


Cum Laude is the first book I've read by Von Ziegesar and I'm not too sure if I like her writing style.

Nothing much happens in terms of the plot. The characters have over the top names (Tragdy and Shipley). The college "experience" and characters are very stereotypical. Many of the experiences are not true to life (at least they weren't for me and many other people I know).

It lacks originality but it is a rather easy, fast read.

Check it out from the library or borrow it.

Grade: D+



From the Publisher


They're here for a higher education . . . and you won't believe how far they'll go.

Dexter College is a small liberal arts college in the quiet town of Home, Maine. But it won't stay quiet for long with this group of freshmen. There's Shipley—blonde and beautiful, the object of envy and more than a little lust. Determined to assert herself and to shed her good-girl image, she buys cigarettes and condoms, because that's what every self-respecting college girl does. Her edgy roommate, Eliza, came to Dexter to get noticed, and she has the attitude and the mouth to prove it. Then there's Tom. Handsome, privileged, used to getting his own way, he's a jock-turned-artist who thinks his paintings will change the world. Sensitive Nick, Tom's wake-and-bake pot-smoking roommate, wants to follow in the footsteps of his boarding-school hero. And then there are brother and sister Adam and Tragedy Gatz. The freckle-faced farm boy lives at home with his parents and his little sister, who does all she can to stop him from being a wuss.

As Shipley, Eliza, Tom, Nick, and Adam find out, that first year of college is more than credits and cramming. Between the lust and the love, the secrecy and the scandal, they'll all receive an unexpected education. It's a time of shifting alliances, unrequited crushes, and coming of age. Find Yourself is Dexter's motto. And they are determined to do just that.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron


If you only read one book this year, let it be this one! Cameron captures the essence of a dog brilliantly.

Cameron weaves a beautiful story of a dog on a quest as it searches for purpose and meaning. If you have ever had a pet you will easily understand the humanity he puts into this dog's personality.

A Dog's purpose is told from the dog's perspective and when you look into the eyes of your pet, you will want to hold them a little bit closer.

You will laugh and shed a tear or two but most of all you will feel the love that one soul has for another.

This book will make you contemplate your own purpose in life. Cameron gives pet lovers/owners a gift of love, understanding and laughter.

A joyous book that is destined to be a classic.

Grade: A++

Synopsis:
From the Publisher


This is the remarkable story of one endearing dog’s search for his purpose over the course of several lives. More than just another charming dog story, A Dog’s Purpose touches on the universal quest for an answer to life's most basic question: Why are we here?

Surprised to find himself reborn as a rambunctious golden-haired puppy after a tragically short life as a stray mutt, Bailey’s search for his new life’s meaning leads him into the loving arms of 8-year-old Ethan. During their countless adventures Bailey joyously discovers how to be a good dog.

But this life as a beloved family pet is not the end of Bailey’s journey. Reborn as a puppy yet again, Bailey wonders—will he ever find his purpose?

Heartwarming, insightful, and often laugh-out-loud funny, A Dog's Purpose is not only the emotional and hilarious story of a dog's many lives, but also a dog's-eye commentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bonds between man and man's best friend. This moving and beautifully crafted story teaches us that love never dies, that our true friends are always with us, and that every creature on earth is born with a purpose.

Friday, September 17, 2010

I am Legend by Richard Matheson


I am Legend is quite a thriller. It is frightening, exciting and easy to read. The main character, Robert is portrayed wonderfully. He is flawed, raw and real.

This vampire book revolves around what is believed to be the last survivor of a plague that has left many dead and many others undead.

Matheson wrote this 170 page story in 1954 and it captures isolation, fear and vampiric lore at its very best (The rest of the book is a collection of short stories).

This melancholic, post apocalyptic book will chill you to the bone and leave you wanting so much more.

The novel is vastly different from the movie and once you read it the movie will seem tame and uneventful.

Trivia: Three films have been made based on this book. The Last Man on Earth (1964). The Omega Man (1974). I am Legend (2007).


Grade: A+

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Linger (Wolves of Mercy Falls, Book 2) by Maggie Stiefvater


Linger is not nearly as good as Shiver but the characters are still well developed and remain true to themselves.

Linger does not seem as well written as Shiver. It also takes a l-o-n-g time to build up. The pacing is tediously slow.

This book is more of a transition book so it lacks a lot of the excitement and build up to something great. It leaves you with a huge cliffhanger which is disappointing since most of the book was rather flat.

Despite all the negatives, I will read the third book because when Stiefvater finally builds to the end she leaves you wanting to find out what the future holds for her characters.


Grade: C


Synopsis [B&N]


In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love - the light and the dark, the warm and the cold - in a way you will never forget.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Last Night at Chateau Marmont: A Novel by Lauren Weisberger


Weisberger's best book, since the Devil Loves Prada!

Last Night at Chateau Marmont is fun, fast and witty. The main character, Brooke is wonderful, realistic and someone you can easily relate to.

The storyline is one we've all seen in celebrity headlines which makes this book so much fun to read because you get to see the other side of the story rather than the one put out by tabloids.

A perfect beach read.

Synopsis:
From the Publisher

Brooke loved reading the dishy celebrity gossip rag Last Night. That is, until her marriage became a weekly headline.Brooke was drawn to the soulful, enigmatic Julian Alter the very first time she heard him perform “Hallelujah” at a dark East Village dive bar.Now five years married, Brooke balances two jobs—as a nutritionist at NYU Hospital and as a consultant to an Upper East Side girls’ school, where privilege gone wrong and disordered eating run rampant—in order to help support her husband’s dream of making it in the music world.Things are looking up when after years of playing Manhattan clubs and toiling as an A&R intern, Julian finally gets signed by Sony. Although no one’s promising that the album will ever hit the airwaves, Julian is still dedicated to logging in long hours at the recording studio. All that changes after Julian is asked to perform on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno—and is catapulted to stardom, literally overnight. Amazing opportunities begin popping up almost daily—a new designer wardrobe, a tour with Maroon 5, even a Grammy performance.At first the newfound fame is fun—who wouldn’t want to stay at the Chateau Marmont or visit the set of one of television’s hottest shows? Yet it seems that Brooke’s sweet husband—the man who can’t handle hot showers and wears socks to bed—is increasingly absent, even on those rare nights they’re home together. When rumors about Brooke and Julian swirl in the tabloid magazines, she begins to question the truth of her marriage and is forced to finally come to terms with what she thinks she wants—and what she actually needs.



Grade: A

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sleepless by Cyn Balog


Sleepless is a rather unique and cute story. It is well written and fast paced. The original plot and and characters keep you entertained.

Sleepless is told from alternating views. This fresh faced storyline is quite enjoyable with the exception of the quickly wrapped up ending.

A sweet book. I look forward to reading more from Balog.

Grade: A-





Synopsis

Eron DeMarchelle isn't supposed to feel this connection. He is a Sandman, a supernatural being whose purpose is to seduce his human charges to sleep. Though he can communicate with his charges in their dreams, he isn't encouraged to do so. After all, becoming too involved in one human's life could prevent him from helping others get their needed rest.

But he can't deny that he feels something for Julia, a lonely girl with fiery red hair and sad dreams. Just weeks ago, her boyfriend died in a car accident, and Eron can tell that she feels more alone than ever. Eron was human once too, many years ago, and he remembers how it felt to lose the one he loved. In the past, Eron has broken rules to protect Julia, but now, when she seems to need him more than ever, he can't reach her. Eron's time as a Sandman is coming to a close, and his replacement doesn't seem to care about his charges. Worse, Julia is facing dangers she doesn't recognize, and Eron, as he transitions back to being human, may be the only one who can save her. . . .

Even once they've become human again, Sandmen are forbidden to communicate with their charges. But Eron knows he won't be able to forget Julia. Will he risk everything for a chance to be with the girl he loves?

Cyn Balog's follow-up to Fairy Tale has more wit, more supernatural delights, and more star-crossed romance! Teen girls will love this story of a Sandman who falls in love with his human charge.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

uncharted terriTORI by Tori Spelling


Another easy, entertaining read by Spelling.

I am simply compelled to read her life stories and find her rather interesting. She seems a lot more "normal" than one would anticipate.

She is honest, open, funny and a surprisingly articulate.

Grade: A-


Synopsis [B&N]

Welcome to Los Angeles, birthplace and residence of Tori Spelling. It’s not every Hollywood starlet whose name greets you on a Virgin Airways flight into la-la land. But Tori Spelling has come to accept that her life is a spectacle. Her name is her brand, and business is booming. Too bad when your job is to be yourself, you can’t exactly take a break. Tori finally has everything she thought she wanted—a loving family and a successful career—but trying to live a normal life in Hollywood is a little weird. With the irresistible wit, attitude, and humor that fans have come to love, the New York Times bestselling author shares hilarious, heartwarming, and candid stories

Friday, September 3, 2010

Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison by Piper Kerman


Kerman's memoir is vivid and incisive. This first person narrative is compelling and engaging. I was absolutely fascinated with this book.

The view of drug sentencing and living in a minimum security prison is chilling. You will think twice before even considering committing any type of crime that could land you in prison.

This is a rare book that will NOT be able to put down.

Kerman's writing is honest and eye opening. This would make an excelent choice for a book club.

Grade: A


Synopsis [B&N]

A compelling, often hilarious, and unfailingly compassionate portrait of life inside a women’s prison

When Piper Kerman was sent to prison for a ten-year-old crime, she barely resembled the reckless young woman she’d been when, shortly after graduating Smith College, she’d committed the misdeeds that would eventually catch up with her.Happily ensconced in a New York City apartment, with a promising career and an attentive boyfriend, she was suddenly forced to reckon with the consequences of her very brief, very careless dalliance in the world of drug trafficking.

Kerman spent thirteen months in prison, eleven of them at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, where she met a surprising and varied community of women living under exceptional circumstances. In Orange Is the New Black, Kerman tells the story of those long months locked up in a place with its own codes of behavior and arbitrary hierarchies, where a practical joke is as common as an unprovoked fight, and where the uneasy relationship between prisoner and jailer is constantly and unpredictably recalibrated.

Revealing, moving, and enraging, Orange Is the New Black offers a unique perspective on the criminal justice system, the reasons we send so many people to prison, and what happens to them when they’re there.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens


Still Missing is Stevens first novel and she does a spectacular job. I have never become so emotionally drawn or involved with a character before.

Stevens writing puts you into Annie life, makes you feel the anguish, fear and emptiness that is inside her. That is her life.

This novel is mentally captivating. The abduction that takes place is so realistic that you fear for your own safety.

This is one story you won't be able to unravel and when the plot thickens and the truth is revealed you are surprised, shocked and left heartbroken.

Annie is an unforgettable characters and this book is impossible to put down and will leave you haunted.

Run out and buy your copy today.

Grade: A+



Synopsis [B&n}

On the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a thirty-two-year-old Realtor, had three goals: sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever-patient boyfriend. The open house is slow, but when her last visitor pulls up in a van as she’s about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all.
Interwoven with the story of the year Annie spent captive in a remote mountain cabin — which unfolds through sessions with her psychiatrist — is a second narrative recounting the nightmare that follows her escape: her struggle to piece her shattered life back together, the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor, and the disturbing sense that things are far from over.
The truth doesn’t always set you free.
Still Missing is a shocking, visceral, brutal, and beautifully crafted debut novel about surviving the unsurvivable — and living to bear witness.

The Mothers by Brit Bennett

The more time he spent around her, the more he realized how rarely he thought anybody else was actually good. Nice, maybe, but niceness was ...