Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Big Girl Panties: A Novel by Stephanie Evanovich

Big Girl Panties is, Stephanie Evanovich's debut novel and she does not disappoint.

Holly is a "big" girl and Logan has the " perfect" body. Their lives couldn't be more different.
Holly had a difficult childhood, is a loner and a widower, while Logan is outgoing, dedicated to his work as a personal trainer to the rich and famous and quite the ladies man.

Logan and Holly both find themselves bumped from first class sitting into coach. They both form opinion of one another and Holly uses her humor to make fun of herself and her body. Logan finds himself offering to train her and is rather surprised when, Holly takes him up on his offer.

Holly gives it her all in her training sessions with Logan and they soon find themselves forging a friendship and being major players in each others lives.

Expect a fun, easy, entertaining yet predictable read.  If your a fan of Jane Green's Jemima J, this is a book for you.

Grade: A

Friday, December 27, 2013

Perfect Ruin (The Internment Chronicles) by Lauren DeStefano

I absolutely loved, DeStefano's Chemical Garden series and when I saw she had a new series out --- I had to give it a try.

I was mildly interested and the book just doesn't measure up to her previous work. Leaving me disappointed and ambivalent about reading the rest of this series.

Perfect Ruin is a slow read with decent characters and an interesting plot. Morgan is a teen age girl who lives in Internment, a floating city in the sky. All citizen's are matched with a partner and grow up knowing who they will marry.

There are many rules in this society, it is heavily controlled by the king. Couples have to wait in a queue and be approved to have children. There is only so many people allowed in, Internment so people have to die in order for others to be born.  The very most important rule is that no one is allowed on the edge and jumping can result in death , disfigurement or worse.

When, Morgan is young her brother attempts to jump from the edge and as a result is left blind. This has life altering affects for her family. Despite this life is rather ordinary for young, Morgan until the unthinkable happens in, Internment. A young teen girl from her class is found murdered on the train tracks and life for, Morgan changes drastically as she finds out that life on, Internment isn't as well constructed as it appears to be.

Grade: C+

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Orphan Train: A Novel by Christina Baker Kline

The Orphan Train is a historical fiction novel that flips back and forth from present day to the past. I discovered a part of history, I had no idea existed.

There are more than 70 years between the two main characters. At first glace they appear as different as night and day but as you dig deeper you find that these two strong characters have more in common then they do with their own peers.

Both characters are orphans. One is a 91 years old woman and the other is 17 year old girl who is about to faze out of the foster system. They are brought together by circumstance and their stories weave together to create a mesmerizing and unforgettable story.

Vivian lost her family shortly after immigrating from Ireland to American and was forced to ride the orphan train in hopes that she would find a family that would love and treasure her. Her story on the train and life afterwards is beautifully constructed and will keep you enthralled.

Molly is in the foster system and has jumped from one unsatisfying family to another. She isn't shown true tenders and love and is struggling to find her niche in life.

Together, they learn from one another and form a bond that will warm your heart and give you faith that friendships can be forged despite large generational gaps.

My only complaint was that this book ended way to soon and was far to short. I was left wanting more, more, more!!!

Grade: A+

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Coming Clean: A Memoir by Kimberly Rae Miller

 Coming Clean is a well written, cringe worthy read. 
Kim is the child of hoarders and has been shamed by their lifestyle her entire life.  Her writing brings forth mental pictures of the chaos and claustrophobic rooms inhabited by boxes, trash, paper, furniture, people and assorted objects.

Miller documents the mental illness and day to day life of hoarders. She shares her personal story and darkest secret in an understanding and forthcoming manner. You can actually feel what she is going though, the frustration, disappointment and embarrassment. 

You get an insiders perspective of what it's like to have parents who are hoarders. If you are a fastidious house keeper like me and don't hold on to things... this book will make you squirm and have more compassion for those who can't seem to toss out what seems like a simple piece of paper.

I was completely mesmerized, aghast and you will be too.

Grade: A

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Coreyography: A Memoir by Corey Feldman

Feldman writes an interesting and revealing memoir. He covers most of the basics we see/hear about from child actors.  The sex abuse, misuse of financial monies, drug abuse and the pitfalls of being famous. He glosses over the Michale Jackson issue and paints Corey Haim in a bad light.

Feldman uses a larger degree of censorship, making this much hyped tell all ...a bit lackluster. In many ways he reveals more about, Corey Haim then himself.  Feldman scurries from topic to topic in a rushed frenzy, touching briefly on movies and life experiences.

My heart breaks reading about the abuse both Corey's suffered but Feldman reveals information about Haim that should have remand buried with him. This book is a bit on the dark side and while well written not very impressive, since he doesn't give full details about himself. For example, he never tells us how or why he got into acting, nor does he discuss plastic surgery, things that fans want to know.

An intriguing ready for, The Two Corey's fans.

Grade: B

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Champion: A Legend Novel by Marie Lu

Champion is the final installment in the Legend trilogy and like every other book out there .... the ending is contrived, predictable and expected.

This series stated out so strong --- with so much promise and it ended in a rather ordinary manner.
The book starts off a few months after the second one ended. Day and June are separated from one another and living very different lives.

The county is about to go to war, a plague is taking the lives of citizens and a shocking kill reveal takes place. The storyline is strong, entertaining and when war breaks out --- exciting!

Marie Lu introduces us to a new Antarctica. The technological advances that take place there are perhaps one of the most interesting parts of the book, that could be a story all on its own. Friendships are forged and sacrifices are made.

An over all good book, with a strong storyline but the ending brings it down to mediocre.

Grade: C+

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Spelling It Like It Is by Tori Spelling

I've never watched, Tori Spelling's reality shows but I remember her from 90210 and for some unknown reason, I actually like her. She just seems "real" to me, which is why I had to pick up and read another one of her books. I am a closet, Tori Spelling fan.

Tori gives another look into her private life. She discuss the difficulties with her 4th pregnancy, the sets backs in her career and her life with Dean and their children. Her book is entertaining, surprisingly well written and funny.

This book gives more insight to her life than her previous ones --- she pretty much lays it all out and divulges more information that I would share with just a few individuals. Indulge in this guilt free pleasure, today.

Grade: A

Friday, December 6, 2013

Revealed (House of Night) by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Revealed is the 11th book in the House of Night Series. It is surprisingly interesting, especially since the last few books in the series have been on a downward spiral.

You must read all the books in the series before this one ---- or you will be lost.

This book reveals background information on, Neferet's past, giving a better understanding of who she is and who she has become. Neferet is, Zoey's nemesis and this reveal makes for an darker more intriguing storyline.

There are twist as turns and for the first time in ages, you can't see things coming. The writers have (finally) really stepped up there act and imagination. Expect multiple story lines and point of views.

Neferet is more dangerous than ever and everyone needs to step up their game! This book will make you excited to read the next and supposed final installment.

There are glaring editorial errors that might drive you a bit crazy but if you know the characters and story lines from the previous novels, you can easily fix the errors in your head as you read along.

Grade: B-/C

Monday, December 2, 2013

Illegal: Reflections of an Undocumented Immigrant (Latinos in Chicago and Midwest) by Jose Angel N.

Publish date: February 25, 2014

llegal: Reflections of an Undocumented Immigrant will not be published until, February 15, 2014. I was given an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book and I have nothing but high praises for it.

This was an emotional read for me. My father and his siblings were brought over to the United States (legally), when he was just few months old. Their young lives were a constant struggle. They lived in  poverty, didn't learn english until they started school, worked the fields and faced racisim to a degree, I will never understand. 

Jose Angel N arrived in the United States (illegally) and on his very first day on US soil he was caught and returned to, Mexico. He crawled back through a tunnel in San Diego, Ca and eventually made his way to, Chicago. Will only a 9th grade education, he made it his mission to learn english and get a GED. He attended college and and graduate school. These great feats made it possible for him to become a translator. He was successful but had to turn down promotions because his illegal status and lack of documentation made it impossible for him to travel.  

He lived in constant fear of being found out --- he was living the american dream yet he feared the simple things we take for granted, such as ordering a beer at a ball game or flying on a plane.

Illegal gives a different perspective of undocumented workers.  He shows that not all those who are undocumented are a strain on society, lack drive and are unproductive. He details the struggles, embarrassments and difficulties of what it is like to be an illegal immigrant.

Jose Angel N is an inspiration and if his life story doesn't move you ---then I don't know what will.

Grade: A

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...