Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Water Wars by Cameron Stracher

The Water Wars is sadly disappointing despite the awesome cover and strong start.

I thought this was going to be a very exciting, engaging dystopian novel, instead I got a rather dry, weak and boring (hate to use that word) book!

The character's lacked depth, the plot was rather plain and did not transition into scenes properly. It was jumbled up and predictable.

It really had the potential to be amazing --- however the writing and inability to connect with characters made for a lackluster read.

The story is told by a female character but it felt more like a male character which added more distraction to an already rather sloppy book.

Stracher needs to skip YA books and stick to adult ones.

Skip on this one -

Grade: F

Synopsis - Publishers Weekly

Fresh water has become a scarce commodity, with most people relying on meager rations of desalinated ocean water distributed by the government. Nations war over extant supplies, pirates thrive, black markets flourish, and desalination companies wield immense influence. Vera and her older brother, Will, have never known anything else. Then they met Kai, the enigmatic son of a water driller, who lives a life of paranoid luxury by comparison. When Kai is kidnapped, Will and Vera embark on a quest to rescue him, going through a series of adventures that take them far from home. Battling pirates, escaping ecoterrorists, and plunging to the heart of a corrupt conspiracy, they learn more about their world than they ever expected, including why Kai is of vital importance. Though characterizations can feel thin and some elements are hard to swallow, it's clear that Stracher has put much thought into the effects of cataclysmic water shortages. His fast-paced, nonstop thriller doesn't hold back in its portrayal of a parched, desperate world.

Monday, March 28, 2011

It's All Relative: Two Families, Three Dogs, 34 Holidays, and 50 Boxes of Wine by Wade Rouse

Quite funny, touching and memorable.

It's All Relative is broken into 35 short stories, dealing with a variety of things, taking place in different years, settings and holidays.

You will be engaged and fully entertained by this well written memoir.

If your family is as crazy as his (and mine) you will relate and laugh out loud!

Grade: A

Synopsis [B&N]

How come the only thing my family tree ever grows is nuts?”

Wade Rouse attempts to answer that question in his blisteringly funny new memoir by looking at the yearly celebrations that unite us all and bring out the very best and worst in our nearest and dearest.

Family is truly the only gift that keeps on giving—namely, the gifts of dysfunction and eccentricity—

and Wade Rouse’s family has been especially charitable: His chatty yet loving mother dresses her son as a Ubangi tribesman, in blackface, for Halloween in the rural Ozarks; his unconventional engineer of a father buries his children’s Easter eggs; his marvelously Martha Stewart–esque partner believes Barbie is his baby; his garage-sale obsessed set of in-laws are convinced they can earn more than Warren Buffett by selling their broken lamps and Nehru jackets; his mutt Marge speaks her own language; and his oddball collection of relatives includes a tipsy Santa Claus with an affinity for showing off his jingle balls. In the end, though, the Rouse House gifted Wade with love,

laughter, understanding, superb comic timing, and a humbling appreciation for humiliation.

Whether Wade dates a mime on his birthday to overcome his phobia of clowns or outruns a chubchasing boss on Secretary’s Day, he captures our holidays with his trademark self-deprecating humor and acerbic wit. He paints a funny, sad, poignant, and outlandish portrait of an an all-too-typical family that will have you appreciating—or bemoaning—your own and shrieking in laughter.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain by Portia de Rossi

Honest and real. The best book, I've read that deals with eating disorders.

Portia, gives an inside look of what it's like to have an eating disorder, the thoughts and feeling the cycle in and out of your head on a daily basis. The constant need for acceptance, self imposed and that of others.

Portia is also honest about her sexuality and her fear of being "outed" --- Her writing is deeply personal and well written. You will easily devour this book within a days time.

I knew very little about her, I discovered who she was, when she was on Arrested Development and now, after reading this book --- I can see past the pretty face and into her heart.

Grade: A

Editorial Reviews - Unbearable Lightness
From the Publisher

“I didn’t decide to become anorexic. It snuck up on me disguised as a healthy diet, a professional attitude. Being as thin as possible was a way to make the job of being an actress easier . . .”

Portia de Rossi weighed only 82 pounds when she collapsed on the set of the Hollywood film in which she was playing her first leading role. This should have been the culmination of all her years of hard work—first as a child model in Australia, then as a cast member of one of the hottest shows on American television. On the outside she was thin and blond, glamorous and successful. On the inside, she was literally dying.

In this searing, unflinchingly honest book, Portia de Rossi captures the complex emotional truth of what it is like when food, weight, and body image take priority over every other human impulse or action. She recounts the elaborate rituals around eating that came to dominate hours of every day, from keeping her daily calorie intake below 300 to eating precisely measured amounts of food out of specific bowls and only with certain utensils. When this wasn’t enough, she resorted to purging and compulsive physical exercise, driving her body and spirit to the breaking point.

Even as she rose to fame as a cast member of the hit television shows Ally McBeal and Arrested Development, Portia alternately starved herself and binged, all the while terrified that the truth of her sexuality would be exposed in the tabloids. She reveals the heartache and fear that accompany a life lived in the closet, a sense of isolation that was only magnified by her unrelenting desire to be ever thinner. With the storytelling skills of a great novelist and the eye for detail of a poet, Portia makes transparent as never before the behaviors and emotions of someone living with an eating disorder.

From her lowest point, Portia began the painful climb back to a life of health and honesty, falling in love with and eventually marrying Ellen DeGeneres, and emerging as an outspoken and articulate advocate for gay rights and women’s health issues.

In this remarkable and beautifully written work, Portia shines a bright light on a dark subject. A crucial book for all those who might sometimes feel at war with themselves or their bodies, Unbearable Lightness is a story that inspires hope and nourishes the spirit.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Midwife's Confession - Diane Chamberlain

I was lucky enough to get an ARC (Advanced Reader's Copy) of this book and I only have ONE word to say "OUTSTANDING!"

If you like authors such as Jodi Picoult and Anita Shreve, you will love, Chamberlain's work.

The Midwife's Confession is filled with intrigue, mystery and excitement. This story is told by various characters in mini-chapters, darting back and forth, from the past to present. Chamberlain does it in such a way that, the story flows with ease

The characters are strong, real and beautiful. The character development is the strongest I've seen in ages -- these are people you would know and trust.

Emerson and Tara are left behind to unravel the plethora of secrets, their best friend, Noelle has left behind. These secrets are so deep and full of scars, that no one in Noelle's life is left untouched, each feeling betrayed and angry.

Noelle leaves a tangled web of lies and as her friends search for the answers to who she really was, they will wish they'd left the lid on Pandora's box closed.

You will be captivated and find that your fingers are turning the pages, quicker than you can read in an attempt to know more.

This book will be released April 26, 2011. If you haven't pre-ordered you copy yet, do so now!

Grade: A+

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Deadly Little Games (Touch Series #3) by Laurie Faria Stolarz .

Deadly Little Games in the third book in the Touch Series. It has the same exact formula as the previous two books but it sorta works for this series.

It is fairly predictable with a bit of freshness thrown in to change it up a bit. I expect the next book to be better because it seems as though, Stolarz will be making the Aunt a more central character and she is very intriguing.

This book isn't going to win any big awards for greatness but it adds to the series and sets up nicely for the next book.

Grade: B-

Synopsis [B&N]
Camelia and Ben have discovered a powerful bond: They both possess the power of psychometry, the ability to sense things through touch. For Ben, the gift is a frightening liability. When he senses a strong threat or betrayal, he risks losing control and hurting people. Camelia's gift is more mysterious. When she works with clay, her hands sculpt messages her mind doesn't yet comprehend.

Before either teen has a chance to fully grasp these abilities, an unresolved family tragedy resurfaces in Camelia's life, irrevocably changing everything she cares about...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Lion Called Christian: The True Story of the Remarkable Bond Between Two Friends and a Lion by Anthony Bourke, John Rendall and George Adamson

Like many others, I was captivated by the youtube video of a beautiful yet large, Lion named Christian and I had to know more about this wonderful creature.

This book is a rather quick, easy and entertaining read. If you love animals, your heart will melt as this story unfolds.

This shocking yet strangely fascinating story will give you the facts in regards to this lion, his owners and his rehabilitation. There are a lot of false stories out there regrading this particular story and if you crave the truth or just want to see adorable pictures of Christian take the time to read this book.

This is one incredible and inspiring story.

Grade: A

Synopsis [B&N]

In 2008 an extraordinary two-minute film clip appeared on YouTube and immediately became an international phenomenon. It captures the moving reunion of two young men and their pet lion Christian, after they had left him in Africa with Born Free’s George Adamson to introduce him into his rightful home in the wild.

A Lion Called Christian tells the remarkable story of how Anthony “Ace” Bourke and John Rendall, visitors to London from Australia in 1969, bought the boisterous lion cub in the pet department of Harrods. For several months, the three of them shared a flat above a furniture shop on London’s King’s Road, where the charismatic and intelligent Christian quickly became a local celebrity, cruising the streets in the back of a Bentley, popping in for lunch at a local restaurant, even posing for a fashion advertisement. But the lion cub was growing up—fast—and soon even the walled church garden where he went for exercise wasn’t large enough for him. How could Ace and John avoid having to send Christian to a zoo for the rest of his life? A coincidental meeting with English actors Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers, stars of the hit film Born Free, led to Christian being flown to Kenya and placed under the expert care of “the father of lions” George Adamson. Incredibly, when Ace and John returned to Kenya to see Christian a year later, they received a loving welcome from their lion, who was by then fully integrated into Africa and a life with other lions.

Originally published in 1971, and now fully revised and updated with more than 50 photographs of Christian from cuddly cub in London to magnificent lion in Africa, A Lion Called Christian is a touching and uplifting true story of an indelible human-animal bond. It is is destined to become one of the great classics of animal literature.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Across the Universe is Revis debut novel and she does a phenomenal job at keeping you enertained.

The concept is great but relationships take quite a while to develop and build. The pacing is slow but as you get to the grit of the storyline, you become absorbed in it.

A lot happens and there are many surprises along the way! I tend to be put off by sci-fi books but this one in particular not only captivated me butx made me yearn for more despite being 350 plus pages long.

This is another dystopian novel at it's best! Dystopian novels are about to replace vampire ones and become the new "it" subject and this one in particular is a great way to immerse yourself in.

This is a great start to what I hope becomes a fantastic trilogy.

Grade: A-

Synopsis [B&N]

A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

Don't let the cover mislead you, there is very little to no romance! It is all about society and the sociological effects that take place when complete trust is placed in the hands of one leader.

This is a great start to what I hope becomes a fantastic series.

Grade: A-

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Night Star [Immortals, Book 5 ] by Alyson Noel

Night Star is an excellent addition to the, Immortals series. The relationship between, Ever and Damon is realistic, the writing is up to par with the first book in this series!

This series is addictive and Night Star has taken the addiction to an entirely new level. I am anxiously awaiting the next installment this summer!

The writing and story is captivating. The main character has grown and is no longer as whinny and annoying as the previous book (Dark Flame). If you were as annoyed with the previous book as I was ---take a chance on this one, because it makes up for it.

Don't expect anything to be solved --- I suspect that will occur in the next and final book,which is due out May 07 , 2011!!!

Grade: A

Synopsis [B&N]

After fighting for centuries to be together, Ever and Damen’s future hinges on one final showdown that will leave readers gasping for breath. Don’t miss this explosive new installment of the #1 bestselling series that’s enchanted millions across the world!

Haven still blames Ever for the death of her boyfriend Roman, no matter how hard Ever’s tried to convince her it was an accident. Now she’s determined to take Ever down…and destroy Damen and Jude along the way. Her first step is to tear Ever and Damen apart—and she has just the ammunition to do it.

Hidden in one of Ever’s past lives is a terrible secret about Damen—a secret that illuminates new facts about her relationship with Jude, but that’s so dark and brutal it might be enough to drive her and Damen apart once and for all. As Ever faces her greatest fears about the guy she wants to spend eternity with, she’s thrust into a deadly clash with Haven that could destroy them all.
Now it’ll take everything she’s got—and bring out powers she never knew she had—to face down her most formidable enemy. But in order to win, she must first ask herself: is her own survival worth dooming Haven to an eternity of darkness in the Shadowland? And will learning the truth about Damen’s past hold the key to their future?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Reckoning (Darkest Powers, Book 3), Kelley Armstrong

The Reckoning is the final book in the Darkest Powers Trilogy. The series itself is pretty good up, until this final book.

The ending leaves you, unsatisfied. Too many plots are left unexplained and unanswered. The closure to this series left me very disappointed and feeling frustrated. The first two books are wonderful, exciting reads and it seems as though, Armstrong lost her passion and just finished up the book.

This third book is rather slow which makes reading it tedious, had I not been committed to the series, I would have not finished this particular book.

Grade: D

From the Publisher [B&N]

My name is Chloe Saunders. I'm fifteen, and I would love to be normal.

But normal is one thing I'm not.

For one thing, I'm having these feelings for a certain antisocial werewolf and his sweet-tempered brother—who just happens to be a sorcerer—but, between you and me, I'm leaning toward the werewolf.

Not normal.

My friends and I are also on the run from an evil corporation that wants to get rid of us—permanently.

Definitely not normal.

And finally, I'm a genetically altered necro-mancer who can raise the dead, rotting corpses and all, without even trying.

As far away from normal as it gets.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Infinite Days (Vampire Queen) by Rebecca Maizel

Infinite days takes place, in a school boarding setting. It is character driven -- with a unique look into vampire life, which is rather hard to do, since there seems to be a plethora of vampire books.

After living 500 years as a vampire, Lenah is turned into an "ordinary" teen girl who has to adjust to a new and modern world, while dealing with her secret past life.

The storyline is quite creative and entertaining, had it not been for Maize's ability to write well, I would have quickly brushed this story off, as there were many parts that drove me crazy.

The set up took, ages to be established. Many of the characters were extremely cliched and the love triangle was rather ordinary and at moments silly.

I will NOT be reading the next book in this series.

Grade: C

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bumped - (Apr. 26, 2011) by Megan Mccafferty

Bumped by Megan Mccafferty will hit the shelves on April 26, 2011.

Bumped is a dystopian tale, that takes place far in the future in which a virus has made adults sterile and the future of mankind lays in the hands on teens.

The premise is great but it falls flat somewhere between all the fabricated "teen talk" and the lack of realism among characters. The teen talk seems forced and unfortunately takes away from the storyline since you're trying to figure out what they are attempting to say.

The book starts off slow and then buildd up and as it built up, I got sucked into this world and was interested until it fell flat again.

I have enjoyed Mccafferty's work in the past and was excited to get my hands on this Advanced Readers Copy. I expected the wittiness and strong character development of her previous books but I was sorely disappointed, however I believe that if you put aside expectations you can find enjoyment in this particular book.

The end of the book, leaves many questions unanswered which makes me think a sequel is in the works and since I was fairly entertained and got a degree of enjoyment from it, I would read it.

Grade: C+

Synopsis [B&N]

When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society. Girls sport fake baby bumps and the school cafeteria stocks folic-acid-infused food.

Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and have never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Up to now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend, Zen, who is way too short for the job.

Harmony has spent her whole life in Goodside, a religious community, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to convince Melody that pregging for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.

When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Vixen (The Flappers Series, Book 1 ) by Jillian Larkin

If you love, The Luxe Series by Anna Godbersen, you will enjoy Vixen, for the most part.

It starts off, strong and then ends in a rather ordinary, "cliff-hanging" manner. This book takes place during the roaring 20s and the characters are put together fairly well. The storyline has the potential to be very, very interesting and I expect the rest of this series to build up as Larkin gets more comfortable in her writing. This is her debut novel and she has done an above average job on it.

It is entertaining, full of drama, with a bit of romance thrown in. The details and the glamour of the 20s is done in a way that pulls you into that decade without the complexities of the area, which make for a fun and easy read.

The next book , Ingenue, is due out later this year.

Grade: B-

Synopsis [B&N]

Jazz . . . Booze . . . Boys . . . It’s a dangerous combination.

Every girl wants what she can’t have. Seventeen-year-old Gloria Carmody wants the flapper lifestyle—and the bobbed hair, cigarettes, and music-filled nights that go with it. Now that she’s engaged to Sebastian Grey, scion of one of Chicago’s most powerful families, Gloria’s party days are over before they’ve even begun . . . or are they?

Clara Knowles, Gloria’s goody-two-shoes cousin, has arrived to make sure the high-society wedding comes off without a hitch—but Clara isn’t as lily-white as she appears. Seems she has some dirty little secrets of her own that she’ll do anything to keep hidden. . . .

Lorraine Dyer, Gloria’s social-climbing best friend, is tired of living in Gloria’s shadow. When Lorraine’s envy spills over into desperate spite, no one is safe. And someone’s going to be very sorry. . . .

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Deception (Haunting Emma) by Lee Nichols

Deception is a fairly average book. The main, character, Emma is likable but something is missing from the story. I feel as though I've read this storyline before, so it isn't unique, which in turn made me lose some degree of interest.

I never felt gripped by this book but I kept pushing through because I really, really wanted to enjoy it however after I finished reading it, I came to the realization that it is just average.

Check it out from the library or borrow it.

Grade: C


When Emma Vaile's parents leave on mysterious business trip, it gives her the perfect excuse to be a rebellious teen. Throw some parties, get a tattoo (or maybe just a piercing), and enjoy the first few weeks of her junior year. Then her best friend stops talking to her, the cops crash her party, and Emma finds herself in the hands of a new guardian—her college-age "knight in J.Crew armor," Bennett Stern—and on a plane to his museum-like mansion in New England.

After enrolling at Thatcher Academy, Emma settles in by making friends with the popular legacy crowd. But she can't shake the strange visions that are haunting her. She has memories of Thatcher she can't explain, as if she's returning home to a place she's never been. Emma doesn't trust anyone anymore—except maybe Bennett. But he's about to reveal a ghostly secret to Emma. One that will explain the visions . . . and make Emma fear for her life.

The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson

Charlotte Gorman is a librarian, a "nerd" and enjoys being casual and comfy. Her twin sister, Ginny is an famous instagram conte...