Monday, November 30, 2015

November Wrap Up

I knew my good reading habits of October couldn't last! I only read three books this month. I was actually doing pretty good until Thanksgiving started creeping up and I suddenly was hosting dinner and family. I do not handle stress well. Needless to say reading took a back seat to my stressful hosting. Hopefully now that things have calmed down I can get back to reading and finish my Goodreads challenge. I'm soooo close!!! Here's what I did manage to read.

Fairest (Lunar Chronicles 3.5)
Very sad but good addition to the Lunar Chronicles.

The Well Rested Mother
Fun coffee table book. Well worth the 10 minutes it took to read.

Unravel me (Shatter Me 2)
The feminist in me wants to kill this book. The editor in me wants to take scissors to it. But the romantic in me wants to swoon!

And that's it. So sad. For December I plan on finishing Ignite me (Shatter Me 3). Need to get this series over with! I also plan on finally starting the Throne of Glass series with the first book being a book club pick! Other than that I have no books that I HAVE to read! Wahoo!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Review: Fairest

Title Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles 3.5)
By Marissa Meyer
Genre YA fantasy/scifi
Pages 222

This bridge book between Cress and Winter tells the story of Queen Levana and how she became the unassuming sister to the heir of Luna to its cold-hearted queen.

First Sentence
She was lying on a burning pyre, hot coals beneath her back.

What it has going for it
To be honest with you, even though I adore this series, I didn't have high hopes for this one. I didn't think it would be awful or hard to read but I just wasn't looking forward to it. Well, I sat down to read a few chapters and ended up reading the whole book. Of course I loved it! Don't get me wrong, it's hard to watch poor Levana become the cold-hearted beotch she is at the beginning of Cinder, but it was still entertaining. And interesting. I liked seeing how everything is fitting together. I loved seeing the start of the plague and the wolf soldiers. I loved getting a small glimpse of Winter and seeing where she falls into things. I can't wait to read her story. Meyer is an expert at weaving all the little details together into a beautiful piece of art and this book was no exception.

What's lacking
You can't really root for anyone is this story. It's Levana, for heavens sake! Seeing where she's coming from makes you a little sympathetic but she's still pretty awful. It's hard to read a book where you're not rooting for the MC.

Yea or Nay?
Is this one necessary to enjoy the series as a whole? I haven't read Winter yet, so I can't say for sure but I definitely would recommend it. It's very interesting to have all the little details that are only hinted at in the other books explained in full.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Review: Unravel Me

Title Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2)
By Tahereh Mafi
Genre YA Paranormal/Supernatural
Pages 461

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.
She's finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch. (From Goodreads)

First Sentence 
The world might be sunny-side up today.

What it has going for it
Oh, boy! These books truly drive me crazy!!!! I don't even know why I'm finishing this series. The writing. OK, I know most people think it's the most beautiful, poetic writing they've ever heard, and, yeah, there's a sentence or two worth admiring but, guys, these books could be like 200 pages smaller if it would just tell the freaking story and stop with all the fluffy, endless stream of words that make me want to strangle myself!! What? I'm supposed to be talking about the good stuff this book has going on? Oh yeah, um...there's this one scene, a certain romantic scene near the end that was absolutely beautiful. I was breathless. I also keep reading, I suppose, because I would like to see where the story goes. That's about all there is to say about that.

What's lacking
Well, I already mentioned the writing so I won't say anymore about it. I will, however begin now to complain about the characters. Juliette is the most over-dramatic, whiny, self deprecating, annoying character I've ever read about! Oh my freak! I want to reach into the pages, slap her face and say: "Hey, you are a woman! You are powerful! You have two men madly in love with you and guess, what? You don't need them! Girl, you have got to figure out how wonderful and amazing you are all by yourself! You don't need these men or Omega Point or anything else to make you mean something. You're that all on your own! Now quit whining and get out there and kick some ass!!!" Or something to that effect. Ugh, at least she sort of snaps out of it from time to time in this one, but the minute a man walks into her life (Adam, Warner, Castle, Kenji, Anderson) she falls apart. Grr! These books are incredibly sexist!

Yea or Nay?
Uh, I seem to be the only one, (once again) who has a problem with this series. So, go ahead and read it. Just look forward to men belittling women, way, way, way too much flowery writing and weak pathetic woman. Enjoy!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Review: The Well-Rested Mother

Title The Well-Rested Mother
By Brittney Smart
Genre Non Fiction Coffee Table Book
Pages 38
You might be wondering what this book is and why you should read it. Let me help you out on both counts.
First, The Well-Rested Mother is an anthology of arguably underwhelming insights that I’ve gained as a person and as a parent (specifically, a mother) of five young kids. And by “insights,” I of course mean, “random thoughts and stories that may or may not have anything to do with child-rearing or parenting.”
This book is meant to be lighthearted, faintly amusing, and spattered with gentle sarcasm and self-deprecating humor. Likely it won’t change your life, improve your ninja prowess, or make those last stubborn five pounds magically disappear.
As for the reason why you should read this book, that’s an easy one. It’s because you’ve already read a hundred books about improving your life, being better in areas X, Y, and Z, losing weight, being happy, making millions, and being more productive. This book isn't one of them, so you can consider it a valuable branching-out experience. An expansion of viewpoints. An exceptional sample of literary mediocrity. (From Goodreads)

First Sentence
I know now that I know nothing about cars.

What it has going for it
If you didn't read the synopsis of this one, go back and read it. It's hilarious and explains far better than I could what this little gem is. And what it is, is a delight to read. Short and sweet with fun insights from a mom that are both relatable and humorous. The best part was, I finished it and sort of thought I wouldn't be thinking of it again but I was wrong. I have been thinking about it all day. And one thing is for sure. I wish Brittney and I were friends.

"And as much as I'd like a visible six pack and a definitive glute-hamstring separation, I'm not willing to put in what it takes.
But there's good news, and I'll share it with you. I've discovered a little thing I like to call "Abs of Faith." You might have them too:
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1)
And, as far as abs are concerned, that's starting to be good enough for me."
(Location 330)

What's Lacking
I wanted to see this one in hardcover form. With pictures and silky paper. The ebook was good enough but I wished it was a real-life coffee table book. That's really my only complaint.

Yea or Nay?
I'd highly recommend this one. It's a quick ten minute read that will leave you smiling.

My thanks to the author for a copy of this book to review.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Book Banter #5 Tom Hiddelston

Time for another Book Banter! Are you bored yet? No? Of course you're not. You love this stuff. Alright. This weeks topic is Tom Hiddleston. Yeah, OK, he's not book related but it's still a fun topic for Suey and I. She adores him. His looks, his personality etc. I, however, just don't get it. I mean, I get his personality is great but his looks...not so much. So here we go.

Smile: While I agree that he might not have the typical look of a heart throb, (though it can be argued that his untypical look is quite heart throbby enough) you can’t deny that he has one of the best smiles in existence. And I, for one, think that smile supersedes anything he might lack otherwise. (Though I could still argue that his eyes, his dance moves, and his general classic tailored polished look has a lot going for him too!) But his smile! It’s so contagious. It’s so brilliant and beautiful and bright. Seeing that for the first time in the theater watching Thor, I pretty much totally forgot Thor (who DOES have every single “normal” heart throb attribute going on in his favor) because of that Loki/Tom smile.

Why, yes...I suppose he does have a nice smile...once he opens those thin pursed lips of his to reveal it. (check out more of my thoughts on Suey's blog) 

Of course we none of us know what Tom Hiddleston is like in real life. All the celebrities put on a face for us no matter who they are or what they’re doing. But I feel that Tom must, he MUST truly have the charm that he exudes for us all. That charm, I think even more than the smile, is what has made so many of us fall for him. He is charming as himself, he’s charming as Loki, he’s charming as whoever he is in that haunted house movie (even though I haven’t seen it I’m pretty sure he’s charming, in creepy way, am I right?). It doesn’t matter the role he’s playing, or the face he’s presenting, he can’t help but be charming. The style he sports, the gentlemanly manners he practices, the ideas he professes to…. all charming and perfect.

Uh, can't really argue against his charm, though, no, he's not charming in Crimson Peak. He was creepily disgusting. Yuck! Plus, I think he's type cast into a well mannered gentleman and us girls fall all over ourselves for it but lets not forget he's just acting that way. He's not actually royalty from another plant or a gentleman from the distant past. He's probably not as charming as we think. He can probably burp the alphabet with the best of them.

So I’ve only seen him in a couple of movies and I really haven’t seen him sing yet except random YouTube clips. But what I HAVE seen makes me tend to declare that he is one amazing actor. And I can’t wait to see him in more stuff, especially the upcoming singing one! I find it interesting when someone like him plays a role for someone like Loki and we all fall in love with Loki, the villain, and a pretty awful sad sorry mean old villain too, then that says something for the way that villain is acted. Know what I mean? He’s amazing. AMAZING! I don’t know how else to say it. Just. . .amazing.

Tom sings? Hmmm, who knew? Not me. I'll have to check it out. I actually have only seen him in a few movies but personally, I'm not blown away by his acting. I think he acts the same in all his movies. Not to say he's not a good actor just not versatile. But that's just me. 

So, there you have it. If you want to know what I really can't stand about Tom, you'll have to check out my thoughts on Suey's blog. There's pictures! 
Also, it's Suey's birthday today! Wish her a happy birthday while you're there! 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Review: The Happiness Project

Title The Happiness Project
By Gretchen Rubin
Genre Self help
Pages 292

Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. “The days are long, but the years are short,” she realized. “Time is passing, and I’m not focusing enough on the things that really matter.” In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project.
In this lively and compelling account—now updated with new material by the author—Rubin chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. Among other things, she found that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that money can help buy happiness, when spent wisely; that outer order contributes to inner calm; and that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference. (From Goodreads)

First Sentence
I'd always vaguely expected to outgrow my limitations.

What it has going for it
I've been hearing about this book for years it seems like. I was intrigued. I'm not the most happy, optimistic person in the world so I thought it might have at least a line or two of advice. Mostly the book reads as a autobiography of Gretchin Rubin for a year. She organized each month to have a certain goal and then had smaller goals each month to reach her ultimate goal. Mostly, I thought her goals were great and each were things I think most people would benefit by reaching for. I've heard some nasty reviews on this book and poor Gretchin herself. Things like: "She's a privileged rich girl who doesn't understand the real trials of life". Ouch! I, however, think those people missed the mark. The goals that the author sets for herself are totally doable for anyone, in any situation of life. Things like de-cluttering, exercising, being kinder to you spouse and kids, and focusing a little more on things that make you happy all sound doable to me. I particularly liked how she talked about how happiness comes from growth. I couldn't agree more. When I'm not learning something knew or growing and maturing, I feel stagnant and grouchy. That idea I can get behind!

What's lacking
Like most of these books, I didn't find any mind blowing revelations. There was nothing new and groundbreaking. Which isn't surprising, considering the author researched happiness from books that have already been written. Still, it offered her opinion and everyone has an opinion and sometimes that opinion coming from a certain person is just what you need. My biggest issue with the book was that I didn't feel like the author really changed much in the whole year and I don't think she's going to stick to any of her goals so...what was the point?

Yea or Nay?
If you enjoy these sorts of books and are looking for some ways to be more happy, I'd recommend this one. If you need something more drastic, maybe skip it and go straight for a trip to Bali to meditate your way to happiness....I think I might need to do that.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Review: Me Before You

Title Me Before You
By JoJo Moyes
Genre Adult Contemporary Romance
Pages 369

Lou Clark used to have plans to see the world and go to school. Now she still lives at home in a small box room with no windows, dates the same man she's dated for 7 years and works at the local diner. In a small town known only for it's tourist attraction, not much happens. But when Lou loses her job and finds a new one as a companion for a paraplegic everything she has settled for is going to change.

First Sentence There are a 158 footsteps between the bust stop and home, but it can stretch to 180 if you aren't in a hurry, like maybe you're wearing platform shoes.
My Jarbeled Thoughts
I know I usually try to break up me reviews into "what I liked" and "what I didn't like" but with this book....nope, I just can't do it. I read this book for book club so I thought I'd get an early start. I was worried it would take awhile to read. It didn't. I flew through it. So I guess if you demanded I tell you what I liked I would tell you I liked that this book was so incredibly readable. The writing was practically flawless. So, there you have it. That's what I liked about it...sort of. Grrr!

This book was like driving in a snow storm and coming up on a red light, but when you tap on the break your car doesn't stop...and then everything slows down and you're just staring at the inevitable wishing you could open the car door and bail but you can't, you're are just sitting  there helplessly slamming the break to the floor and watching IT coming.

The funny thing is that somehow, as you're reading, you think that well, maybe everything will be OK. Maybe it will turn out, but you know it won't. You know exactly what's going to happen and it's painful and emotional and wretched and there's nothing you can do about it! Sigh! Honestly, I can see why this book was such a huge success. It's a great discussion book. I'm quite excited to discuss it in book club. Hopefully others felt the feels and will vent with me.

And the whole story is readable. It's interesting. You're into what's going on with each individual character. The story is interesting and funny and entertaining. See? It wasn't all bad.

On a side note, I found it highly amusing that the author writes chick lit and that some people referred to this one as chick lit. What?! I'd hardly call this chick lit.

So, bottom line, It's readable and draws up some interesting questions that make for great discussion, but it's so horrifically sad, in the guise of bittersweet.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Review: Real Live Boyfriends

Title Real Live Boyfriends (Ruby Oliver #4)
By E. Lockhart
Genre YA Contemporary
Pages 225

Ruby is back for the final installment in her series. Finally having a real live boyfriend is working great for Ruby. But when Noel leaves for New York for a month something changes. Suddenly everything is falling apart again. Can Ruby figure out what happened with Noel and keep the panic attacks at bay?

First Sentence
A definition: A real live boyfriend does not contribute to your angst.

What it has going for it
Ah, Ruby. I relate to you too well. I absolutely loved the ending to this perfect series. This book, as well as the rest of the series, always have these laugh out loud moments that just get me. I know that phrase is overused but there's no other way to explain it. You're reading along and something happens and you burst out laughing. You can't help it. I love it! This one was written so well that I honestly didn't know what was going on with Noel and was so worried. I loved Noel and I really didn't want to see them break up. It was sweet and sad and romantic and just perfect!

What's Lacking
Absolutely nothing!

Yea or Nay?
READ THIS SERIES!  Seriously, you'll love it! Even if you don't love it, I guarantee you'll like it.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Review: We Were Liars

Title We Were Liars
By E. Lockhart
Genre YA Contemporary
Pages 242

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth. (from Goodreads)

First Sentence Welcome to the beautiful Sinclair family.

What it has going for it
Since I loved Lockhart's Ruby Oliver series I knew I had to try some of her other books. I started with this one because of all the buzz it got. Lockhart's writing is beautiful. It flows along and grips you in its grasp, evoking all sorts of emotions in you.

What's lacking
Sadly, the emotion this books evoked in me was sadness. What a sad, sad, SAD story!  Why did I read that? What redeeming lesson was to be learned? Why? Why?! Argh!

Yea or Nay?
I can't recommend such a sad story. One without a reason for all the sadness.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

October Wrap-Up

October is over. My favorite month of the year. :( Oh well, November is my second favorite month, so it's all good.  I actually read quite a bit this month. Check it out.

Storm Siren
All the right ingredients but something fell flat for me.

The Fill In Boyfriend
Nothing new or unique enough.

Real Live Boyfriends (Ruby Oliver 4)
Perfect ending to a perfect series.

We Were Liars
So beautifully written but oh so SAD!

Me Before You
Still trying to wrap my head around this one.

The Happiness Project
All in all a good read. Nothing really groundbreaking or anything.

Wow! Can you tell that I have not felt like blogging? I promise reviews are coming. Favorite of the month was Real Live Boyfriends. Least favorite was Storm Siren.