Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (2)

The Dollhouse Asylum

Mary Gray

240 Pages

Expected publication: October 22nd 2013 by Spencer Hill Press

A virus that had once been contained has returned, and soon no place will be left untouched by its destruction. But when Cheyenne wakes up in Elysian Fields--a subdivision cut off from the world and its monster-creating virus--she is thrilled to have a chance at survival.
At first, Elysian Fields,with its beautiful houses and manicured lawns, is perfect. Teo Richardson, the older man who stole Cheyenne's heart, built it so they could be together. But when Teo tells Cheyenne there are tests that she and seven other couples must pass to be worthy of salvation, Cheyenne begins to question the perfection of his world.
The people they were before are gone. Cheyenne is now "Persephone," and each couple has been re-named to reflect the most tragic romances ever told. Everyone is fighting to pass the test, to remain in Elysian Fields. Teo dresses them up, tells them when to move and how to act, and in order to pass the test, they must play along.
If they play it right, then they'll be safe.
But if they play it wrong, they'll die.

This one sound so freaking good! I'm a big fan of dystopian and am always on the lookout for the next great read!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Book Review: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Twenty Boy Summer
Twenty Boy Summer

Sarah Ockler

290 Pages

Published May 1st 2010 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

According to her best friend Frankie, twenty days in ZanzibarBay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy every day, there's a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there's something she hasn't told Frankie---she's already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie's older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.
Beautifully written and emotionally honest, this is a debut novel that explores what it truly means to love someone and what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every single moment this world has to offer.
When I first picked this book up, I thought I was in for a light, fluffy read full of summer fun and tons of boys. While this book does have plenty of those things, the content goes much deeper than that. Full of grief after the passing of a secret love and a deteriorating friendship that needs to be saved, Twenty Boy Summer brought me to tears but left me at ease emotionally when I turned the last page.

Anna: Our main character, Anna, broke my heart with how strong her grief was for Matt. He was her secret love interest for years, only getting to be his girl for a month before his death. I felt for her, and thought she was a very strong character. She put other people's happiness before hers, still keeping her and Matt's secret. I felt sad when she kept telling herself she couldn't like other boys. I understand where she was coming from, but I think the relationship she and Sam go through really helped her in the grieving process, leading her down the road to acceptance. 

Frankie: Frankie was Matt's sister. She seemed like she was dealing with a lot and not handling it as best as she could, instead seeking out other excitement in life by ways of boys and smoking, as well as other similar things. She had a lot of built up anger and resentment. I felt like if her parents paid more attention to her she might have dealt with her brother's death a bit better, but in the end she did fine.

Sarah Ockler really knows how to tell a story that keeps me engaged. She kept all my emotions involved in this story, taking me on a tear-jerking roller coaster ride that I totally wasn't expecting. The characters and plot line where both believable and felt very real. 

Things I liked:
1) I loved the romance in this book! While I wasn't really feeling Frankie and her boy toys romance, I sure was feeling the love between Anna and Sam. He was so sweet, nothing like most teenage boys who only want one thing. I liked how they moved more slowly than many teen couples having a summer fling, and I loved how she eventually opened up to him, telling him about her past.

2) The descriptions in this book had me feeling like I was on a summer vacation on the beach. I could taste the salty ocean waves, hear the waves crashing on the beach, feel the chill of a delicious smoothie from the stand and even see the glint of a red piece of sea glass poking out of the hot sand. 

3) I enjoyed seeing the characters in this story gradually heal from the pains of their loss. When the beach vacation first began everyone was weepy and quite honestly on the verge of collapse. By the end they were still grieving, but they had a new bounce in their step, a new view on life. 

Writing Style
I loved how Sarah spun this tale of grief, angst and acceptance. Her words had me in a trance, I couldn't stop turning the pages. She made me feel like I really knew the characters, and she even managed to engage all of my senses with her vivid story telling. I know I'll have to pick up more of her work in the future!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Hour 8 Update!

So I started the read-a-thon late and don't feel like I've made much progress. I started off by reading another 75 pages of Seraphina, but despite the rave reviews I'm marking it as a DNF. I just couldn't get into it at all.

Then I started Twenty Boy Summer, which I'm about 75 pages into and loving it so so much. I've been having a picnic at the park with my daughter and playing on the slides! Now she's down for a nap, so I think reading can commence!

Readathon Starting Line


Friday, April 26, 2013

Stacking The Shelves (2)


I got some pretty awesome reads this week that I can't wait to dig into!!


The Luxe (Luxe, #1)

Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, #1)

Dragon Rider

Three Plums in One


I've Got Your Number

Dark Inside (Dark Inside, #1)

Mila 2.0 (MILA 2.0, #1)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Feature and Follow (2)

Alison Can Read Feature & Follow

Q: Is there a song that reminds you of a book? Or vice versa? What is the song & the book?

A: After thinking about this for awhile, I'm ashamed to say no. I love music and I love reading, but I just don't link them together - I keep them separate.

What about you?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (1)


Michelle K. Pickett

288 Pages

Expected Publication June 4th 2013 by Spencer Hill Press

Seventeen-year-old Eva is a chosen one. Chosen to live, while others meet a swift and painful death from an incurable virus so lethal, a person is dead within days of symptoms emerging. In the POD system, a series of underground habitats built by the government, she waits with the other chosen for the deadly virus to claim those above. Separated from family and friends, it's in the PODs she meets David. And while true love might not conquer all, it's a balm for the broken soul.

After a year, scientists believe the population has died, and without living hosts, so has the virus. That's the theory, anyway. But when the PODs are opened, survivors find the surface holds a vicious secret. The virus mutated, infecting those left top-side and creating... monsters.

Eva and David hide from the infected in the abandoned PODs. Together they try to build a life--a new beginning. But the infected follow and are relentless in their attacks. Leaving Eva and David to fight for survival, and pray for a cure.
Monsters? A disease killing everyone? Government systems with flaws? This book sounds right up my alley!

What are you waiting on?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Book Review: The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

The Age of MiraclesThe Age of Miracles 

Karen Thompson Walker

304 Pages

Published January 15th 2013 by Random House Trade Paperbacks

On an ordinary Saturday in a California suburb, Julia awakes to discover that something has happened to the rotation of the earth. The days and nights are growing longer and longer; gravity is affected; the birds, the tides, human behavior, and cosmic rhythms are thrown into disarray. In a world that seems filled with danger and loss, Julia also must face surprising developments in herself, and in her personal world—divisions widening between her parents, strange behavior by her friends, the pain and vulnerability of first love, a growing sense of isolation, and a surprising, rebellious new strength. With crystalline prose and the indelible magic of a born storyteller, Karen Thompson Walker gives us a breathtaking portrait of people finding ways to go on in an ever-evolving world.
The Age of Miracles was a story that had me riveted from the very first page. The concept of the rotation of the earth slowing is a frightening one - and for all we know a real possibility. Told from the perspective of a young girl, Julia, we get to see a firsthand account of how the world begins to turn to chaos and ruin after our routines are torn apart by an ever changing world. 

There aren't many main characters in this story, it is mostly about Julia since it is told from her perspective. There was w hole cast of supportive characters though, like her parents, Seth Moreno, and her neighbor Sylvia. 

I found Julia to be like any other 11 year old girl in the beginning of the story. Childish, boy obsessed and worried about the most mundane things in life. As her world started unraveling faster and faster she was forced to grow up rather quickly, but she dealt with it better than most other kids would have. I liked getting to know this new earth from her perspective. 

As for the plot of the story - that is what the book consists of. There was so much happening to an earth that was going so slow. I kept wondering what happened to set off the slowing, but I never did find out. It was both interesting and terrifying to read about a world so different yet so similar to our own. 

Electricity grew scarce as people grappled for their ever increasing power needs. Days and nights grew to over 36 hours each and never stopped gaining time. Gravity was affected, as was behavior. Everything was different. 

Not only did we get insight on this new world as it was changing, we also got to see how people were dealing with it. Some people went with it, trying to stay up through all the daylight hours, but most stuck to a 24 hour schedule, with difficulty. Relationships were tested and people changed, often for the worse. 

Writing Style
 I loved how the author wrote. Her words were captivating, almost poetic. It amazed me how her words could have such a lyrical quality while still perfectly portraying an young girl. 

This book hooked me from start to finish and I'm sure it'll have my mind racing for a very long time. If you haven't read this, you need to!

Spring Into Horror Readathon!

I just heard about this readathon and I'm glad I'm not too late! I haven't participated in one of these in months but I love them, and this week is full of them. This one goes all week, plus the weekday readathon on Wednesday, plus Dewey's!

For my "scary read" I chose something that doesn't look like horror, more like a dark fantasy. 

A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1)

I'm currently almost finished with this next book, and will finish it tonight. 

The Age of Miracles

The rest I'd like to get to throughout the week. I've included all the books I'm reading throughout the 3 read-athons, so there is a lot. 

Magyk (Septimus Heap, #1)

Jemima J: A Novel About Ugly Ducklings and Swans

Twenty Boy Summer

Seraphina (Seraphina, #1)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, #1)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Book Review: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer

The Wishing Spell (The Land of Stories, #1)The Wishing Spell

Chris Colfer

438 Pages

Published July 17th 2012 by Little, Brown Young Readers

Alex and Conner Bailey's world is about to change, in this fast-paced adventure that uniquely combines our modern day world with the enchanting realm of classic fairy tales.
"The Land of Stories" tells the tale of twins Alex and Conner. Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, they leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about.
But after a series of encounters with witches, wolves, goblins, and trolls alike, getting back home is going to be harder than they thought.
When Alex and Conner are stricken by grief from their father's tragic death, they look for any chance to escape the world for a bit. Imagine their surprise when they fall through a fairy tale book, straight into a world full of goblins, trolls, and the big bad wolf! This was a cute, quick read for me and I can't wait for the sequel. 

Alex: She was so in love with the world she fell into and didn't think of any of the consequences. Although she was the smart one in school, exceedingly so, she didn't seem to have much common sense when it came to tramping through dangerous forests and other terrors in this fairy-tale world. Besides that, I liked how kind she was and her overall personality.

Conner: He was the twin who struggled in school but was better able to keep a level head in the new world, always thinking before acting on some meaningless whim. He was strong for his age and was an entertaining character to read about. 

Mr. Froggy & Others: There was a whole slew of minor characters in this book where you go to learn their stories as well. Mr. Froggy is a man trapped in a frog's body, and he was so lovable  Then you can't forget about Goldilocks, who is running away from crimes that aren't her fault, prissy Little Red Riding Hood, and as always, the evil queen who may not have been so evil after all.

The plot was very much childish, but that is to be expected in a middle grade story. I loved how all the different fairy-tales from my childhood were included in one story, putting interesting twists on all of them. I couldn't help smiling at some of the events in this book. 

Things I liked:
1) I liked getting to know everyone's stories, not just the main characters. I liked seeing the evil queens side of things, as well as the wolves and the whole crew.

2) The quest that Alex and Conner embarked on was an enjoyable adventure. I loved reading about them travelling through woods and into many kingdoms, meeting all the people the thought only existed in stories.

3) I really loved the plot twists, even though I could see most of them coming far before they did. The ending was a perfect twist and exactly what I would have expected.

Writing Style
I was a little bit worried about this at first, seeing as how it was written by an actor, not an established author. I was pleasantly surprised in his story-telling genius. Chris Colfer is really able to  turn words into a thriving story, and because of his wit and style I enthusiastically await the sequel.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Stacking The Shelves (1)


Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

This week I went to a local bookstore and picked a few up, all of which I'm very excited about!
Uglies (Uglies, #1)
The Age of MiraclesDaughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1)

Feature and Follow (1)

Q: If you could hang out with any author (living) who would it be and what would you want to do?

A: I know this answer will be fairly common, but I would love to hang out with J.K Rowling. She is the number on author that got me into reading and writing. I'd love to ask her questions about her writing process while out to eat at a nice restaraunt. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Book Review: Perfect Blend by Sue Margolis

Perfect Blend

Sue Margolis

368 Pages

Published August 3rd, 2010 by Bantam

From Sue Margolis, the beloved author of Forget Me Knot and Gucci, Gucci Coo, comes a clever, capricious novel about lust, longing, and sizing up the competition.
After enduring her share of commitment-phobic boyfriends, Amy Brown trades in her high-powered PR job and designer shoes to embark on the journey of single motherhood. Now, with a rambunctious boy of six and chaotic shifts serving decadent muffins and high-octane brew at a local coffee bar, Amy could use a fix herself—preferably the sexy, smoky-eyed grande type.
No one is more shocked than Amy to discover that Sam Draper is made perfectly to order: hot, sweet, and delicious. There is just one teeny problem. He’s the architect for the neighborhood’s brand-new Bean Machine, her employer’s fiercest rival. Still, Sam is sexy, fun, and really likes Amy’s son, Charlie. Amy can’t resist the steamy passion—or the feeling that Sam is hiding a secret or two. Could there be something rotten in the beans that make up the Machine’s secret blend? Or is it something more personal? Harnessing her untapped yet formidable journalistic skills, Amy blows the lid off a story that will change her life, but will Sam stick around to share it?
Perfect Blend is as addictive as a Frappuccino—but not nearly as fattening.
A Perfect Blend is a chic-lit with plenty of romance and even some suspense and mystery thrown in. Amy is a mother in her thirties who chose to have a child through the miracle of sperm donation instead of waiting for a man, due to a family history of early menopause. This is the story of her and her six year old son's, Charlie, life. 

Amy: The main character of the book really shined for me. She was a very strong and independent woman, and a great mother to her son. She is often worried about Charlie not having a father, but I think she was doing just fine on her own. 

Her dream is to break into journalism as a freelancer and make it big so she can work from home and spend more time with her son. For most of the story she works at a coffee shop, pulling in lots of hours to support her family. 

I loved how she had a flair for interior decorating - all the neat little descriptions she rambled out really added a nice touch to the story.

Charlie: This is Amy's son. Sometimes he was a bit aggressive  but for the most part he seemed to be a well adjusted kid. Some of the things he did really cracked me up, like constantly asking for a pet snake. 

Sam: Ah, no story can be complete without the love interest. Sam and Amy's relationship gets off to a rocky start but they end up falling head over heels for each other in a short span of time. Sam seemed like a really great guy, caring and compassionate, but he did have some issues of his own to get resolved before the end of the story.

Victoria: Although she wasn't a main character, I feel like she had a major role in the story - it just wouldn't have been the same without Amy's insane sister. Victoria is a major control freak, and one of those moms who has to make everything perfect - no sugar for her child, plenty of activities, her kids can do no wrong... THAT mom. 

She's always going around town, trying to be the boss of other people, making them feel degraded. Plenty of conflict with her ensues. 

Brian and Bel: These where two of Amy's best friends, both working at the coffee shop with her, Brian owning it. They were both quirky and kept getting into relationships hat were completely wrong for them, when the entire story it was so obvious that they belonged together. 

I really enjoyed this story and am so glad I picked it up. I haven't read a chic-lit in forever, and this one looked right up my alley. 

Things I loved about this story?

1) I loved all the little tidbits about interior design, coffee, and journalism. I really felt like I walked away from this book just a little bit wiser. 

2) The suspense in this book was a welcome change. While it was like every chic-lit around with a pretty predictable, happy ending, the rest of the story kept me guessing. You just have to read it and see all the scandalous lies for yourself!

3) Speaking of the ending, I absolutely L-O-V-E-D it!! It was so sweet and left me happy inside for the rest of the afternoon. :)

Writing Style
As for writing style, again, I love it. Sue Margolis sure had me hooked right from page one. Her style is witty an conversational, and I'll definitely be checking out more of her books. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

First Post!

Hey everyone!

I've never done this blogging thing, but I want to share my thoughts about books with the entire world and I figured this was the best way to do so. Right now my goal is to read and review 100 books by the end of the year, and we'll see where I go from there. Follow me along my journey!