Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Scorpio Races

A book that your mom loves.

My mother handed this book to me a year ago, as we were getting ready to go to my first Texas Teen Book Festival. In fact, she pushed it into my hands with a delighted smile and insisted I read it. But while we read a lot of the same books, I was a little hesitant to pick it up anyway. I can't say why other than she didn't give me much of a feel for the book, I didn't know what I was going to be stepping into. But she loved it, my sister loved it, I would give it a shot. A year later. After a lot of bugging. It was worth it.

Oh wow should I have read it sooner. I have yet to read any of Stiefvater's books, taking my time to pick up her Shiver trilogy until I can get all three books and not have to wait in between, so this was my introduction to the writer, and what a meeting it was. Maggie takes a myth that has fascinated her for most of her life and pieces bits of it together from different legends, and makes it her own. And she does so beautifully. Being both a horse lover and a lover of myth, there was no other path but love for me to take, and Maggie's amazing writing style simply helped make the trip easier.

The capaill uisce (Irish pronunciation CAPple ISHka) are a race of water horses that wash up on the beaches of this small island. They have done it for hundreds of years, having formed some sort of bond with the men of the island who sacrifice a bit of blood for the honor of riding these fierce creatures. Only, sometimes the bit of blood isn't enough. The Scorpio Races, which are run every November, are bloody, chaotic events in which the men ride their barely held mounts a little too close to the water to tap into the magic of the creatures for speed. Sean Kendrick was nine years old when he watched one of the horses nearly tear his father in half during the race, but that didn't stop him from racing when he got older, and now he is the four time winning champion of the races. But he wants to own the horse he races for the man that owns half the island, no longer in fear the beautiful animal he has formed a bond with will be torn from him. Enter Puck Connelly, a girl who is used to fading into the background and likes her privacy there. Her older brother is leaving for the mainland, leaving her and her younger brother behind, and in a last ditch effort to keep him close a little longer, she proclaims she will ride in the races as well, the first girl to do so ever. Only she doesn't like the beasts that tore her parents from her the year before, refuses to ride one, and instead thinks riding her regular horse in the races will be a good idea. What unfolds is an incredible story about what the races are really about, what people need when they think they need nothing, and how much  can truly change in a matter of week, even on a tiny island.

So apparently, since I have spoken out about first person a little too many times, the universe has decided I will be given many example of why this particular point of view is in fact awesome and beautiful, and here are some authors that know what they are doing! The Scorpio Races alternates between Sean and Puck, each telling their stories from their view points and giving you insight into two very different, but kinda similar people. You know what the best thing was? They didn't overlap. I hate it when the author feels you need the same scene from both characters point of view, it is redundant and boring. Stiefvater has no qualms moving on, not letting you see that one scene from Sean's point of view so you know what was going through his head, because hey, she already told you what happened. I love it!

SHe also does a great job of introducing just enough myth into the real world that you can believe that somewhere out there is an island where water horses come onto land in storms to eat flesh before melding back into the sea. In fact, it is kind of a perfect book for someone that loves horses to dip their tow in the water of fantasy. I myself used Peter S. Beagle's short stories to introduce me to the world of fantasy and have never looked back, but boy am I wishing Maggie had written a couple decades earlier so that I could have been introduced to her wonderful imagination sooner!

Definitely give the book a try. Give Stiefvater a try. Let me know what you think of it! Do you love it as much as I did? Do you love it as much as my MOM did? Let us know!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The 100

A book based on or turned into a TV show.

I will admit, when I saw this book laying on the table at the 2014 Texas Teen Book Festival I picked it up simply because we had watched the show and enjoyed it. I wanted to read more behind the characters, maybe read more of the story before the show covered it, and compare them. I also got to meet Kass Morgan and talk to her for a little while as I waited for my sister to get another author's autograph. She was thrilled to find out that each week my husband, son, and I would sit down and watch the show with excitement. She asked me about my opinion of the character and story and I told her I loved both. She personalized my book with a little note to my family - To the Bowles, Happy Reading! (and watching =) ).

I am so wishing I had read the book before meeting her! I want to tell her how much more I loved the story she had laid out, the background of the characters being a bit more heartbreaking than the show gave them. There is more romance in the book, since nearly everyone is part of a couple, but that gives more room for heartbreak! And I love Bellamy more in the book, and from the beginning. I was also a just as annoyed by Clarke's indecision in the book, but hey, there is room for her to grow.

The book has more drama, especially since the story line only follows the main characters. With Clarke, Wells, and Bellamy all on Earth you only know what they know. You only have their little bits of back story to tell you about the world on the ship. The only character in space is Glass and since she is not yet an adult, she doesn't have the inside story on anything. You only know what she sees as she tries to stay out of the way until her pardon can be formalized. There is so much of what is going on that is a mystery to the reader. And I love it! It puts you on the edge of your seat and keeps you guessing on what is going to happen, who is going to survive, how will things work out.

If you liked the show, definitely give the book a try. I don't think too much will be spoiled since usually there is a divergence between the two mediums. If you haven't seen the show but enjoy post-apocalyptic survival stories, really give it a try. This story promises to have twists and mayhem aplenty! Let me know what you think!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

A book that was made into a movie.

This book was given to me last year for All Hallow's Read by my mother. As I had already read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies she thought that I would enjoy this one as well from the same author. I have to say, it was an interesting read. But in all honesty not really my cup of tea.

Presented as a biography by a man (Seth Grahame-Smith) after he was given the real, secret, journals of Abraham Lincoln by a mysterious man named Henry along with a bundle of letters, all speaking of the untold half of history surrounding this former President. Smith proposes that the truth of Abraham's life was surrounded by vampires from the time he saw his father consorting with one which lead to his mother's death through his years of hunting the creatures until he led the Union to defying them as the vampires fought to keep slavery going as their meal ticket. I'll not give you much more, but I will say that vampires are thick in every aspect of Lincoln's life.

While I find Lincoln an incredible man in history, rereading his story in this new way was a tad on the boring side. But mainly that is because the author so seamlessly (in nearly every event) inserts the creatures into Lincoln's life. In almost every event of the man's life I could easily believe vampires were involved, with the exception of only a few events where I was rolling my eyes because, come on, of course we are going to say that was a vampire thing. So I must say the book is well written, I'll give it that. And I was able to breeze through it as an entertaining read. I just don't think I would ever pick it up to read it again. Maybe I wouldn't be too quick to recommend it to others.

But, hey, that's just my opinion. Give it a read if it's up your alley. Tell me what you think about it!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The 5th Wave

A book with a number in the title.

I picked this book up at the 2014 Texas Teen Book Festival, and it's a signed copy at that! I am sure the only thing that kept me from reading it right away, since it sounded like an awesome read. I could hit myself for not picking it up sooner!

The Earth is invaded by aliens! But no one sees a single one. From the moment the mothership appears in orbit above the Earth, humans are left in waiting for what the visitors will do. With each new wave of the aliens' attack humans are shocked, unprepared for the way their enemy chooses to strike, and the numbers of the dead increase with astonishing speed.
Cassie, the first narrator of the story, is left in fear that she may be the last person on the planet, but still determined to keep the promise she made to her younger brother that she would find him.
Zombie, his nickname and you're not getting his real name or it would ruin the surprise, is another narrator telling the story of a teenager near death turned into a soldier.
Others are followed through third person story telling alternating with these two first person view points; others like Sammy, Cassie's brother, and a Silencer sent to kill her. But don't worry, Yancy does an incredible job of weaving the voices together in a way that just works.

This books is just awesome. Yancy is a great writer, able to tell a story from a teenage girl's point of view in a way I am a little envious of. Then he manages to make you laugh at the most random moments, and isn't that how the end of the world needs to be, laughing in the face of hopelessness? He, also manages to take a theme that may seem over-worked, Cassie has a ton of references to alien invasions to think about on her journey, and puts a spin on it that is still fairly new! The humans were not expecting what happened! And they are in no way prepared for the 5th wave!

I recommend everyone give this book a chance! I am recommending it to my mom, husband, and son as soon as I get done with this post! And the minute I can get my hands on the second book, The Infinite Sea, you can bet I will be quick with a new post! All the praise possible to Rick Yancy for this amazing story!


We took our son to see the movie, as an Us and J day. Both my husband and I had read it, but I think it is just a little too advanced for our nine year old son, but we thought the movie would really interest him. Well, he loved it. He is so ready for the next one to come out and was asking about the book, which now sits on his shelf for when he is ready to tackle it. What did we think?

It was amazing! There were very few differences between the book and movie, little things that you notice but mostly can live without. Although, I have to say that for the next half hour all my husband could talk about was how upset he was that they hadn't included the bomb they used. My one flaw had to do with Evan Walker, something I won't relate to you, but it made me a little sad that they changed it, even though I could completely understand why. And the casting! Oh the cast was just about perfect for each character, especially Vosch!

All in all it was a great movie made after a great book! Take the time to enjoy both!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Five: Out Of The Dark

A book with magic.

This was one of the books I picked up at the 2014 Texas Teen Book Festival, and immediately from the description on the back of the book I thought it sounded like a cross between Supernatural and maybe Teen Wolf (keep in mind I have never seen Teen Wolf). Yeah, it was kinda like that.

The book is narrated by Paige, a sixteen year old runaway who left home when her parents discovered her magical abilities and tried to send her off to some treatment facility to get rid of the evil spirits obviously possessing her. Paige feels a strange pull to Seattle where she finds Jonathan hiding out in the Underground, she is overjoyed the cute boy has abilities, too. They are soon joined by Alec, Halli, and Seth, making them a ragtag, magical Scooby gang, except none of them can go near a computer due to their magic.  When Jonathan is turned into a warewolf and Seth finds a case at a local high school, the gang is thrown maybe a little more than they can handle. Paige tells the story of how they worked to protect others while she tried to figure out how to protect themselves.

I will say the story is rather interesting. It has a fairly interesting plot with quiet a few wrenches thrown into their gears that promises a lot more to come in the future for this brave lot. However, the execution isn't the best.

Maybe it's because it is written in first person, know that I am not a fan, but the style of the book kept bothering me. Not only is Paige a teenager, like most kids she is incredibly self-centered, and it's not until near the end that she finally starts to consider what it must be like for Jonathan to be a monster rather than how it all affected her. Even then it was only for a brief moment before the pity party settled back around her and she seemed to be looking for a cure for nearly selfish reasons! I am not Paige's biggest fan.
Writing in first person became a problem also because of the writer. Anderson randomly threw big words into the mix that really pulled me out of the zone. Sure I used a ton of big words as a teen, I knew kids that loved to impress others with big words. I get that it is possible. However, here it felt more like Anderson got tired of using the word "said" too often, picked up a thesaurus, and picked a word at random to put in the space left. It caused hitches in my reading.

I just couldn't help but think through most of reading this book that it would be better suited for my 9 year old son. I believe the main reason Anderson felt it was better suited for young adults was because the characters where in their teens and once Jonathan is turned into a warewolf they use the word lust a few times. So I am going to hand this book to my son, see if he wants to read it in a year or two, and leave it at that. Normally with young adult, even teen marketed books, I am able to recommend it to readers of nearly all ages, that is not the case here. This one I recommend for the younger crowd, strictly teens. But give it a chance if you are in that group, it is an interesting story line that promises more to come.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Everything, Everything

A book published this year.

Madeline Whittier has SCID (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency) which means besically that she is allergic to the world. She lives with her mother, thankfully a doctor, inside a vacuum sealed home, only visited by her nurse and the occasional tutor willing to go through a thorough medical background check, physical, and an hour long decontamination before even stepping foot in the house. She has lived like this since she was diagnosed at five months old, only a month after her father and brother were killed by a truck driver. It's just her and her mom, studying through online tutors, and books. Lots of books.
The day Olly and his family move in next door is the beginning of the end for Madeline. Starting with a few long distance antics over a stone bundt cake, soon the new neighbors are emailing back and forth to get to know one another. It's enough. Until it isn't. Soon Madeline wants so much more from the world than she has been given. "Wanting just leads to more wanting. There is no end to desire."

I loved this book. I loved the way it was formatted, with little charts, drawings, inserts, one line chapters, all of it. It is the book of an eighteen year old, and the way Yoon decided to write it is wonderful. I enjoyed the characters even though Olly is just a little too perfect. I think I found Madeline a little more awesome than most. And I loved the story. There may have been a little cheesy, but there were perfects moments throughout that just made it wonderful.

I think this book was great. I recommend everyone give it a chance. And I am deffinetely going to be looking out for more of Nicola Yoon's books!

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Bone Garden

A mystery or thriller.

The Bone Garden is both a mystery and thriller revolving around the West End Reaper of Boston in 1830 and a skeleton found in a woman's backyard in present day Boston. Most of the story takes place in 1830 Boston, at a time when women were dying in childbirth (or soon after) and a vicious killer was on the prowl in the West End. It follows young Rose Connelly as she struggles to keep her niece safe from numerous people trying to find her for various reasons, and Norris Marshall as he tries to rise above his farming background to become a doctor while most of Boston sees him as a killer. Their story is unraveled through the letters of Oliver Wendell Holmes to the original occupant of a house now owned by a very curious Julia Hamill looking for the truth behind the body she unearthed in her garden. While Julia may not have been my most favorite person, her determination to find out the story of the bones she discovered made her a little more interesting. Although I have to side with old Henry when he finally complements her in saying "Look who grew a spine." Young Rose on the other hand is an instant favorite as she struggles to do what is best for her niece after her sister's passing, even as she fells in love she keeps a level head when it comes to protecting young Meggie.

I must say, I don't think this book can really be considered a "Maura Isles" book since the ME makes only two, very brief appearances in the present day story, and even then it is to hand the scene off to someone else. And while her name is what drew me to the book int he first place, the story did not let me down in keeping me interested. I will simply have to look for another of Gerritsen's books while my favorite ME and Detective combo!

While I am not normally a fan of mystery, this book helped pull me a little deeper into the genre. The ups and down and twists and turns in this story are many. I had just as much trouble trying to figure out who to trust as young Rose with Gerritsen effectively throwing me for loops with each new chapter. But then that kept me turning the page, now didn't it. Such an incredibly well written tale about love and death that had me frustrated with so many people and rooting so hard for the few worthy ones. I will say that her portrayal of the medical scene in the US at the time is what will effectively give me more nightmares than the West End Reaper as Gerritsen did a great job of painting a portrait of the past to tell her story in. I think she did a lovely job of weaving in just enough history to make the story that much more believable. 

I really loo forward to reading more of Gerritsen's work and encourage everyone to pick up this book!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Treatment

A book with a love triangle.
I was so incredibly happy upon getting home from vacation, where I read The Program, to find that I had in fact bought The Treatment the weekend before leaving home; along with about 20 others so that's how I forgot.

I was so excited to pick it up and start immediately, even though I was scared it would have me crying and too eager to finish for my own good. I was so right. I finished the book in one day, but managed to contain most of the tears by frantically turning the pages.

This book begins almost immediately after the first one ends. We find Sloane and James in an abandoned parking lot just across the border and having been unable to meet up with their friends. We later find out what happened to those friends, along with the safe house they were originally heading for. The Program is closing in on them. What follows is a roller coaster of a chase where The Program gets a lot to close for comfort, Sloane and James are forced out of their comfort zones and thrown for trust loops, and of course Realm has to return just to through a psychopathic monkey wrench into everyone's plans. This last reason is why I choose this book to fill the "love triangle" list item, because at times that aspect seemed more important than the actual chase.

I did have a few issues with this book, parts that were disappointing after the almost flawless nature of the first book, but I was able to overlook them to keep reading the book, far too interested and invested in the story to slow down. However, I will say that the ending was a small bit of a let down after the crazy roller coaster that was Sloane's life before, during, and after The Program. And like I said, the focus at times seemed to be more on the relationships of the characters than on the drastic nature of what The Program wants to do to those characters if it gets its hands on them. This leads to the characters making some pretty stupid decisions that only luck gets them out of, but hey, it's fiction.

It doesn't mean I wouldn't recommend it, because I so do! I believe firmly the book was worth it's flaws. I was, after all, impressed with James attitude change over the course of the novel. Although Sloane does nothing to help her boyfriend with his trust issues, she does see the error of her ways just in time for James to come back to make everything better. Sort of. And wow is Realm not the guy everyone thought, but then I must say, I never really liked him anyway.

I look forward to picking up the last book in the series, a prequel I am told, The Remedy, as soon as I can. I would love to find out how this all started, things so bad that parents would willingly let their children be "erased" to simply keep them alive. This series did bring up some very interesting questions. Would you be willing to have your child's memories, things that possibly make them who they are, to be taken from them just so they stay alive? At what point is it more humane to let them kill themselves over us killing their souls? How desperate would you be?

I would love your take on these books, if you have read them. I would really recommend that you give them a chance if you haven't! Young is one hell of a writer.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Spirit Animals Book #1: Wild Born

A book by an author you've never read before.

Jareth found this new book in the school library and got so excited by the fact that not only was it an AR book, but it also has a code to play an online game based on the story. So I decided to start reading it in the car on our way to Florida, got a little bit in here and there when his begging for a chapter at the end of a long day at Disney had finally worn on me, and we managed to finish the book just an hour from home on the return trip. The only thing was, he wasn't the only one begging me to keep reading. My husband also got caught up in the story and was eager to hear the story. Now we are all interested in picking up the next book in the series to find out where the story is going, what challenges will be thrown in front of the young characters, and what will happen to the world in which they live as the great beasts are pulled into the fray.

If you have children, I highly recommend that you take a chance with this book. Our school has it listed as almost a fifth grade reading level, but Jareth is having no trouble keeping up with it and he is only in the third grade, so I say take the challenge and read it with them to enjoy the story yourself!

The Program

A book that made you cry.
Wow, this book was something else.
When teenage suicide becomes so prevalent it is seen as an epidemic, The Program is developed to watch teens, flag them when they seem depressed, and take them in for treatment. The treatment is to erase the memories The Program deems dangerous to the teenager, things that may have led to their depression, people that may have made them sick. Sloane has front seat tickets to the illness infecting youths when her brother kills himself, her best friend is flagged and taken for six weeks only to return with no memory of Sloane or even her boyfriend, Miller, who is next to be infected. When James, Sloane's boyfriend, her brother's best friend, is flagged, Sloane begins falling as well and finds herself in The Program against her will.
Underneath the pain of not being able to show any emotion in fear of being perceived as ill, the characters in this world are trying to not only play at being seen as happy, but maybe even trying for a few moments of actual happiness. And Suzanne does an incredible job at capturing it all with characters just as jaded and complex as the youths of today. Her writing invoked every emotion on the scale as she told a painful love story through the eyes of a trouble teen. I found myself unable to put down the book, choosing to wear sunglasses as I read in public to hide the tears as James and Sloane, both with no idea who the other is, try to fight their way through the after effects of The Program side by side with very little memory of their past.
Suzanne also does an amazing job of showing the parents in this novel. When I was suffering through my first bouts of depression I remember my father's reluctance to even acknowledge a problem. Later when it became too hard to ignore, I listened to him argue for getting me help in whatever way he could and I worried what that meant for me, who was then trying to hold it together not only for myself but a dear friend of mine. We helped each other through the worst of it together and I could not even begin to imagine loosing her to something like The Program, erasing memories of me because I may have made her ill. Like Sloane I clung to my small circle of companions to help get us all through the toughest years. I can fully sympathize with Sloane as she looses her grip on her emotions while too many eyes waited for her to misstep.
This book was so close to home for me, and it made my heart ache at every turn as Sloane made her way through it all. Suzanne's wonderful writing made it amazing, made it a fantastic read that I didn't want to put down late into the night. The next book is already sitting on my shelf waiting to be picked up! And I recommend everyone give these books a chance!


A book with a one-word title.
I saw this book when I was younger, when I was struggling to come to terms with my own depression. I was visiting the notion of self-harm and the title caught my attention, and I steered clear. I think one of my sisters picked it up and read it, I never asked. This year I am writing a book in which the main character self harms for NaNoWriMo. I thought I would get my hands on some titles that deal with the same issues and found this one in a thrift store. I picked it up a few months back and have only now gotten myself to pick it up and get through it.

I am both angry that I took so long to read this one, and astonished by how much this short novel impacted me. Let me begin by saying that yes, the main character Callie cuts herself, but no, she has no idea what compels her to do it. There are only two instances in the book when she does any actual cutting, but I recommend people that can be triggered by such events approach this book with caution. Callie is the narrator of the story, so we see it all from her point of view, but she is so confused by why she is doing this to herself that the reader, in the position of therapist for young Callie, is left trying to make their way through her emotional distress with her. That is another aspect of the book that captivated and astounded me, the way Patricia weaves the reader into the story as well.

Patricia spent three years researching and writing this novel, and it shows in her incredible grasp of not only Callie and her struggle with cutting, but some of the other girls in the hospital with her as their stories are revealed through what Callie knows about them.

I recommend everyone give this book a try. Especially those that know people who are self-harming, the reasons may not be as simple and straight forward as one might think. Not everyone can control their emotions or keep themselves together. Patricia does a wonderful job of showing this to the reader.

Dismantling Evan

A book set in high school.
I got to meet Venessa Kimball at the Texas Teen Book Festival and got a moment to talk to her about her books. While I am interested in picking up them all, this one appealed to me at this time because of the subject matter.

Evan is a high school senior when her parents move her from California to Texas to try and give her a new start on life. This decision is spurned by her breakdown while trying to interview a bullying jock for the school newspaper, her one outlet. Even is diagnosed with bipolar, something she will deny to her dying day, and given medicine and encouraged to seek counseling int his new town. While trying to deal with the new stress this diagnoses brings into her house, Evan meets a circle of friends that she desperately wants to be a part of, one that closely protects one Gavin Ferguson, a boy bogged down by so many mental labels Evan wonders how his own brother Brody can keep up with them all, let alone with his brother int he absence of their father.

I must say that Venessa did not disappoint when it came to this story. I think she did a great job at writing high school students in all their drama as they try to make their way through life. Evan is a believable teen, even being a little annoying sometimes, and at times I saw some of myself and my own experiences in her. Most of all I liked how Venessa captured Evan's bouts of depression, insomnia, and almost manic episodes as she deals with her diagnosis and illness. 

This book did a wonderful job of setting up the stage as I work my way into the world of depression, self harm, and teenage angst for my NaNoWriMo novel in November. I am so glad I picked up this book and I look forward to reading her other ones and digging further into her writing style.

Bad Blood

A book written by someone under 30
Not only is Zoe Douglas under 30 years of age, but she is a friend of mine, a former college classmate whom I met in short story writing class! When she asked me to do a quick check of her book and give her a little feedback I may have been way too excited, I just love getting to read something someone I know has written. This book was not a disappointment.

Bad Blood is the story of angels, called kalendes, and demons, known as sinnach, as the the latter group fights to find a way to Earth and the unsuspecting humans living there. The story begins in middle of the war but the beginning of the battle for some new recruits as they struggle not only to fight the enemy but to discover the truth about everything that is going on int heir world as people lie, motives become muddied, and sides become unclear. So much more of the story must soon come as Zoe works to tell her version of events relative to forces people have talked about forever.

I will say this. The story does slow down a bit in some places as Zoe tries to give the reader so much more information than may seem necessary at the time being, but will soon become vital to the story unfolding. If the reader will only hang in just a little longer when this happens, I truly believe it is worth it. This book is something else! I eagerly await the next one to find out the grand tale Zoe is planning on telling us.

Give this book a try, I think Zoe has a new vision of how things are working out beyond our realm and a wonderful way of telling it.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Hollow City

A book with nonhuman characters.

The sequel to Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs does not fail to once more weave an incredible tale around discovered pictures that captivate the reader almost as much as the story does. In the first book we are introduced to the band of peculiar children with special talents, and with the beginning of this book the children are fleeing their home in an effort to find others like them to help them and their caretaker Miss Peregrine. That's all I will tell you to avoid spoilers from the first book.

I can however tell you that these books are amazing! Numerous people have told me they have hesitated to read the first book due to the creepy pictures interspersed among the pages. And even I must admit I was among that number at first. But finally picking up the book was the best thing I could have done! Each picture is one that friends of Riggs have found over the years in various places. He went through their collections, found ones that intrigued him, and wrote a story around them. He does this so well that it would seem that the pictures were taken for the story! And there are some weird pictures!

In this book we met a few animal peculiars, which let me check off the list item for nonhuman characters. Well, and of course the story has the terrifying hollowgast, hideous shadow monsters that go unseen to all but those few peculiars like Jacob Portman, the story's protagonist who has been thrown into this previously unheard of world. 

So if you haven't picked up this series, you must! I recommend it for everyone.

A Room With A View

A book that is more than a hundred years old.

A Room With A View was a slightly difficult story to read as it was a little slow going. I greatly enjoyed A Passage To India back in high school even though it was a little slow to start as well, so when I found this one loosing my interest I had to remind myself that I really do like Forester's writing and to just push through. Sure enough I ended up enjoying the ending of the whole thing.

 I am not much for classics, I will be honest, but a hundred years ago is not so hard to relate to the older I get. In fact, I was very astonished to discover that this particular book met that goal on my list. Wow' now I feel old. But I was glad tht it did, because it was a lot easier to read than some of the other older books were that I had considered.

So here is another item off my list for the year and another classic I have always wanted to read. And once more Forester delivered a story that I enjoyed. If you haven't read any of his work, I think this is a good place to start. Let me know if you have read it and what you thought!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Bobby Singer's Guide To Hunting

A book a friend recommended.

David Reed is a script coordinator for the show Supernatural and has even wrote a few of the episodes himself. So when he picked up his pen to write a companion book to the show, telling the story of Bobby Singer a little more in depth, it was an excellent idea! Reed takes a character that has grown in importance throughout the show, one who is greatly loved (and missed) by fans, and gives him a tough case that makes him take a closer look back at his life as he fights loosing his memories to a monster he can't even remember encountering. Through his nostalgia we find out more about the crotchet old hunter than we are allowed since the show is very focused instead on Dean and Sam Winchester. By reliving his memories, Bobby tells the reader about how he started hunting, a story he never felt comfortable with elaborating on in the show since it all started with heartbreak. The reader is also privy to some of the hardest memories in Bobby's catalogue including what exactly happened in Omaha between him and Rufus Turner, and the details of the last time he saw John Winchester and his boys, something that is only hinted at in the series when Dean seeks the old hunter out after years of silence. Underlying all of this is a memory Bobby refuses to let surface, the only thing we are left mostly in the dark about, but maybe for good reason.

As a fan of the show, and admittedly a reader of fan fiction (hush, some of it is really good!) I loved getting the chance to read this addition to the show. It gave the fan in me a little more info about one of my favorite characters that is actually fact based. I mean come on, a show writer wouldn't lead us astray, right? Let's hope, even if it means that now I feel even more heartbreak for the character that meant so much to the Winchester brothers.

So why does it fulfill this particular goal? Well because every week our closest friend gather for dinner, every other time being here at my house. At some time during the night the conversation usually dissolves into talk about the latest episode of one of the shows we all have in common: Supernatural. A couple of weeks ago one of the woman in attendance hands me this book and says "oh my gosh, I couldn't put it down, you have to read it." She said it only took her two days to read it. This is a woman with a full time job and two toddlers. If she flew through it with what little time she has, of course I am going to be interested! So I read it! Loved it! And this week I will be passing it on to another woman in the group so she can love it as we did. That's the great thing about gathering with people I. Your fandom and who like to read, you get to pick up new books! Because while I love the show, I may never have gotten around to picking up this book, or at least no time soon. And I am so glad I got the chance.

So find a friend, ask what they would recommend. You never know when you will find something new to love. And always think of someone else who will like any book you really enjoy, pass on the joy!

Onto the next item on the list!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Rats Saw God

A book that you read in one day.

Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas is a coming of age story about a young man named Steve York. He was a straight A student with a small group of friends and a girlfriend he was completely in love with. But somewhere along the way things went bad and he finds himself in the guidance office stoned, alone, and barely passing. When it is brought to his attention that he is one credit shy of graduating with his class he is given the option of writing a 100 page story to make up for it. Through this project he finds himself reliving the events that led him from a hopeful high school freshman to a distraught senior.

Rob Thomas does an amazing job with this book. I loved everything about it. The characters are believable and real, even to the point where you kinda love them all just because they are people, you can't hate everyone for no reason. There is no clear antagonist in the story because Steve feels apathy for everyone, even his father whom he seems so determined to hate, he just can't work up a good enough reason to do so. The plot is completely real, as well. When you are in high school you feel like everything is IT, the center of the universe, the end of the world. Steve has this egocentric mentality, but it doesn't drive you crazy and make you want to bash him over the head with his own book, because it just is. That's how he is supposed to be at that age, and it is perfectly written as normal.

Then you have the tone of the novel. You know something big went down to make this kid go from taking a final on the last of his junior year in Texas to moving across the country for his senior year of high school. Yet the book is humorous. It's wonderfully written and hopeful, even though the kid telling the story already knows how things turn out, because he is true to the story and writes things as he remembers them. Meanwhile he is slowly building his life back up and making it work. So even through the tough bits and the shocking bits, I found myself laughing often. 

I recommend everyone read this book. Everyone! It didn't make me miss high school or even be glad that I am no longer in that drama. No, instead it allowed me to relate to another person. Simple as that. It was a beautiful story wonderfully written that I think anyone can enjoy. I look forward to discussing it with my husband as soon as he gets a chance to read it. So until then, have you read it? What did you think? Let me know!

2015 Reading Challenge

A New Year means a new reading challenge! Of course if you are on Goodreads, as I am, you have already been hit with the chance to commit to the challenge by entering the numer of books you want to read this year. Have you picked a number yet? 
At the beginning of the year I found a list on Pinterest and went ahead and pinned it to look at as soon as I could finish the book I had started back at Halloween time when I had time to read and thought I could finish a book. Of course, then came NaNoWriMo, the holidays, moving time, and the book got put on hold. Which was a shame, because it was such a great read! So I finally finished it yesterday and looked at the pin I had set aside. The list is long (well, 52 can be long when you haven't been reading enough lately) but I am determined to finish this year!
So, I am going to post my list here. Maybe you can join me in the list, or you have one of your own? And as I read the books, and review of course, I will let you know which list item the book covers. I really look forward to the diversity that is this list!
Take a look at the list. Do you have suggestions for books? Because I can use your help in finding some! Thanks!

*NOTE* Some books could cross of multiple items, but I am looking for the challenge, so each book will only stand for one list item. Except for trilogy which will have three books, obviously.

A book with more than 500 pages
A classic romance
A book that became a movie
A book published this year
A book with a number in the title
A book written by someone under 30
A book with nonhuman characters
A funny book
A book by a female author
A mystery or thriller
A book with a one-word title
A book of short stories
A book set in a different country
A nonfiction book
A popular author's first book
A book from an author you love that you haven't read yet
A book a friend recommended 
A Pulitzer Prize winning book
A book based on a true story
A book at the bottom of your to-read list
A book your mom loves
A book that scares you
A book more than 100 years old
A book based entirely on its cover
A book you were supposed to read in school but didn't 
A memoir
A book you can finish in a day
A book with antonyms in the title
A book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit
A book that came out the year you were born
A book with bad reviews
A trilogy
A book from your childhood
A book with a love triangle
A book set in the future
A book set in high school
A book with a color in the title
A book that made you cry
A book with magic
A graphic novel
A book by an author you've never read before
A book you own but have not read
A book that takes place in your hometown
A book originally written in a different language
A book set during Christmas
A book written by an author with your same initials
A play
A banned book
A book based on or turned into a TV show
A book you started but never finished