Friday, December 30, 2011

Perfect (Impulse #2), by Ellen Hopkins

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Everyone has something, someone, somewhere else that they’d rather be. For four high-school seniors, their goals of perfection are just as different as the paths they take to get there. Cara’s parents’ unrealistic expectations have already sent her twin brother Conner spiraling toward suicide. For her, perfect means rejecting their ideals to take a chance on a new kind of love. Kendra covets the perfect face and body—no matter what surgeries and drugs she needs to get there. To score his perfect home run—on the field and off—Sean will sacrifice more than he can ever win back. And Andre realizes that to follow his heart and achieve his perfect performance, he’ll be living a life his ancestors would never have understood.

Everyone wants to be perfect, but when perfection loses its meaning, how far will you go? What would you give up to be perfect?

A riveting and startling companion to the bestselling
Impulse, Ellen Hopkins's Perfect exposes the harsh truths about what it takes to grow up and grow into our own skins, our own selves.

 A wonderful companion piece to Impulse told from four other points of view.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Impulse (Impulse #1), by Ellen Hopkins

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Three lives, three different paths to the same destination: Aspen Springs, a psychiatric hospital for those who have attempted the ultimate act -- suicide.

Vanessa is beautiful and smart, but her secrets keep her answering the call of the blade.

Tony, after suffering a painful childhood, can only find peace through pills.

And Conner, outwardly, has the perfect life. But dig a little deeper and find a boy who is in constant battle with his parents, his life, himself.

In one instant each of these young people decided enough was enough. They grabbed the blade, the bottle, the gun -- and tried to end it all. Now they have a second chance, and just maybe, with each other's help, they can find their way to a better life -- but only if they're strong and can fight the demons that brought them here in the first place.

What can I say about Ellen Hopkins that I haven't already said before? She is brilliant and I can't get enough of her work. She is not afraid to tackle tough issues faced by teenagers and her writing is sublime.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Noise, by Darin Bradley

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This haunting debut from a brilliant new voice is sure to be as captivating as it is controversial, a shocking look at the imminent collapse of American civilization—and what will succeed it.

In the aftermath of the switch from analog to digital TV, an anarchic movement known as Salvage hijacks the unused airwaves. Mixed in with the static’s random noise are dire warnings of the imminent economic, political, and social collapse of civilization—and cold-blooded lessons on how to survive the fall and prosper in the harsh new order that will inevitably arise from the ashes of the old.

Hiram and Levi are two young men, former Scouts and veterans of countless Dungeons & Dragons campaigns. Now, on the blood-drenched battlefields of university campuses, shopping malls, and gated communities, they will find themselves taking on new identities and new moralities as they lead a ragtag band of hackers and misfits to an all-but-mythical place called Amaranth, where a fragile future waits to be born.

My thoughts are as jumbled as the plot of this novel. There was a lot of back-and-forth between previous events and the present time, which normally doesn't bother me, but it made this story difficult to follow.

If you don't know your Biblical and Mythological history, you're going to be lost. As I am a scholar of neither, I had to look up several of the references made.

Bradley has a unique way of weaving a story together, and if I hadn't been so confused at times, I probably would have enjoyed it more. That being said, it's a compelling read about a social collapse. Shockingly violent at times, but it IS dystopian fiction, so it's not unexpected.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ascend (Trylle Trilogy #3), by Amanda Hocking

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The final book in the Trylle Trilogy..

With a war looming on the horizon, Wendy's fate seems sealed.But everything she sacrificed might be in vain if she can't save the ones she loves. Her whole life has been leading up to this, and it's all coming to an end.

The final installment of the Trylle trilogy was not as intriguing as the first two books. It was very short and rushed. A disappointing finale to a decent series. 

Characters that played an integral part of the storyline in the first two books suddenly disappeared without explanation. Strained relationships became happy-happy-joy-joy within a matter of paragraphs. Wonderful relationships fizzled for no apparent reason.

There weren't as many grammatical errors in this book, but the plot left much to be desired.


Spoiler after the jump.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Torn (Trylle Trilogy #2), by Amanda Hocking

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When Wendy Everly first discovers the truth about herself—that she’s a changeling switched at birth—she knows her life will never be the same. Now she’s about to learn that there’s more to the story…

She shares a closer connection to her Vittra rivals than she ever imagined—and they’ll stop at nothing to lure her to their side. With the threat of war looming, her only hope of saving the Trylle is to master her magical powers—and marry an equally powerful royal. But that means walking away from Finn, her handsome bodyguard who’s strictly off limits…and Loki, a Vittra prince with whom she shares a growing attraction.

Torn between her heart and her people, between love and duty, Wendy must decide her fate. If she makes the wrong choice, she could lose everything, and everybody, she’s ever wanted…in both worlds.

Hmmm.  I'm not sure what I think about this.  Still a compelling story, but starting to annoy me.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Bible for Dummies, by Jeffrey Geoghegan and Michael M. Homan

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Ninety percent of Americans own a copy of the Bible, and while it's the most widely read book, it's also the least understood. Regardless of your religion, understanding the Bible brings much of Western art, literature, and public discourse into greater focus--from Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper painting to the Wachowski brothers' The Matrix movies.  People have historically turned to religion to deal with tragedy and change, and with the right insight, the Bible can be an accessible, helpful guide to life's big questions.

The Bible For Dummies appeals to people of all faiths, as well as those who don't practice any particular religion, by providing interfaith coverage of the entire Bible and the often fascinating background information that makes the Bible come alive. You'll find answers to such questions as: Where did the Bible come from? Who wrote the Bible? How is the Bible put together?

Follow the history of the Bible from its beginning thousands of years ago as tattered scrolls to its status as the bestseller of all time.
The Bible For Dummies covers these topics and more: Ten people in the Bible you should know; The Hebrew Bible; The Apocrypha's hidden treasures; What's new about the New Testament; Israel's wisdom, literature, and love poetry; The Bible's enduring influence; The prophets: more than fortunetellers.

Discover the world's all-time bestseller in an entirely new light. Whether you're interested in broadening your spiritual horizons, uncovering the symbolism of Western culture, or gaining a deeper understanding of the book you grew up reading,
The Bible For Dummies has all the information you need to navigate this ancient and fascinating book.

Growing up in a non-religious household, I didn't have a need to read the Bible. Unfortunately, that also meant that I didn't understand the influence it had on art and literature. In all honesty, the Bible scares me: it's a huge book, with a lot of information, written in old language.

I was thrilled when I found this Dummies book! The authors do a remarkable job providing clear, concise information without trying to convert you to one religion or another.

My head is overflowing with Bible trivia now, and I can guarantee that I will use this book as a reference in the future.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Switched (Trylle Trilogy #1), by Amanda Hocking

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When Wendy Everly was six-years-old, her mother was convinced she was a monster and tried to kill her. It isn't until eleven years later that Wendy finds out her mother might've been telling the truth. With the help of Finn Holmes, Wendy finds herself in a world she never knew existed - and it's one she's not sure if she wants to be a part of.

I initially purchased Hocking's Trylle Trilogy books because she found great success as an Indie author and was then signed with a major publisher.

The book started out strong, with a female character who didn't take lip from anyone. Unfortunately, like in so many other YA romances, the protagonist quickly loses her sense of self once she falls in love. That annoys me to no end. Grrr. Her backbone seemed to come back at the end of this book, so there's hope for books 2 & 3.

I think that Hocking is quite talented, though her writing needs some strengthening. There was a lot of "telling" rather than "showing" the story and the pacing went from slow to fast, slow to fast, rinse and repeat. There were a handful of grammatical errors that made me cringe, but I can't fault her too much since she's self-published. Working with a professional publishing house should help her find her voice.

I will read the rest of the Trilogy because the story is compelling and I'm looking forward to finding out what happens.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ravenous: A Food Lover's Journey from Obsession to Freedom, by Dayna Macy

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What should I eat? How much should I eat? What does it mean to be nourished? How can I, a food lover and lifelong overeater, learn to be satisfied? These are the questions Dayna Macy asks in her debut memoir, "Ravenous."

Like the author, I have struggled with obsessive eating my whole life and wondered "why?"

I am grateful that the author doesn't have any "secret" at the end of the book. I find that refreshingly honest in a genre where authors like to wrap things up with a pretty bow at the end; real life is rarely like that. Other reviewers were disappointed that there was no "secret" and gave the book a lower rating for it. Macy, however, made it very clear that there IS NO SECRET. She knows she's not the first person to figure this out, and she does not claim to be the first to discover journaling and portion control.

There were several passages that really spoke to me and helped me reframe how I think about food and what I put in to my body. I will be doing further reading on Ayurvedic practice, as Macy's description of the healing properties have really intrigued me.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Child Called "It" (Dave Pelzer #1), by Dave Pelzer

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This book chronicles the unforgettable account of one of the most severe child abuse cases in California history. It is the story of Dave Pelzer, who was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother: a mother who played tortuous, unpredictable games--games that left him nearly dead. He had to learn how to play his mother's games in order to survive because she no longer considered him a son, but a slave; and no longer a boy, but an "it."

Dave's bed was an old army cot in the basement, and his clothes were torn and raunchy. When his mother allowed him the luxury of food, it was nothing more than spoiled scraps that even the dogs refused to eat. The outside world knew nothing of his living nightmare. He had nothing or no one to turn to, but his dreams kept him alive--dreams of someone taking care of him, loving him and calling him their son.

Good lord. For such a harrowing topic, you would think that you'd feel some sort of emotion when reading this book. Everything is written with a clinical slant: "mom did this and then this. then the next day, mom..." over and over again, throughout the entire book. It's supposed to be from the point of view of an abused child, but the voice is way too adult and therefore comes across too business-like.

I don't really understand the point of this book. It's a recap of all sorts of horrible abuse, but that's about it. No understanding as to what made is mother turn into an abuser, nor why his father ignored the situation.

It's a shame that this was so poorly written. It could have been very compelling.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tamar: A Novel of Espionage, Passion, and Betrayal, by Mal Peet


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When her grandfather dies, Tamar inherits a box containing a series of clues and coded messages. Out of the past, another Tamar emerges, a man involved in the terrifying world of resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied Holland half a century before. His story is one of passionate love, jealousy, and tragedy set against the daily fear and casual horror of the Second World War -- and unraveling it is about to transform Tamar’s life forever.

From acclaimed British sensation Mal Peet comes a masterful story of adventure, love, secrets, and betrayal in time of war, both past and present.


I purchased this book as part of the Kindle Daily Deal and wasn't quite sure what to expect. I'm really glad I decided to buy it, though.

The book starts in the middle of the story, where we learn how the protagonist got her name. From there, the story alternates between the mid-1940s to 1995. It alternates between multiple POVs, which I think really makes the book stand out.

Like most wartime historical fiction novels, this was not always an uplifting read. It's hard to read about people doing atrocious things to other people. The closer you get to the end of the war--and therefore the book--the more uncomfortable the situations. I felt very nervous for the characters and was very upset with how some of the scenes turned out.

At times, I felt like it was very obvious how the story would play out, but Peet kept me guessing and questioning my assumptions until the end.

Definitely a worthwhile read.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lover Enshrined (Black Dagger Brotherhood #6), by J.R. Ward

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Fiercely loyal to the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Phury has sacrificed himself for the good of the race, becoming the male responsible for keeping the Brotherhood's bloodlines alive. As Primale of the Chosen, he is obligated to father the sons and daughters who will ensure that the traditions of the race survive, and that there are warriors to fight those who want all vampires extinguished.

As his first mate, the Chosen Cormia wants to win not only his body, but his heart for herself. She is drawn to the noble responsibility behind the emotionally scarred male. But Phury has never allowed himself to know pleasure or joy. As the war with the Lessening Society grows grim, tragedy looms over the Brotherhood's mansion, and Phury must decide between duty and love....

Another amazing read in Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series. This one focused less on the romance between Phury and Cormia and more on what was going on around them, with the Brotherhood as a whole. A lot happens in this book in regards to the war between the vampires and the lessers. I liked the change of pace, since the Romance genre isn't really my thing. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Flirtin' With the Monster: Your Favorite Authors on Ellen Hopkins' Crank and Glass

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Flirtin' with the Monster pulls back the curtain on Ellen Hopkins' smart and daring books Crank and Glass and explores their appeal and originality through a compilation of serious yet fascinating essays. 

In addition to fan essays, Flirtin' with the Monster takes a deeper look at the issues behind Ellen Hopkins' bestselling novels by allowing the real teenage girl who inspired the meth-addicted main character to contribute an essay.  

Reading this collection of essays after reading the Crank trilogy was a disappointment. Ellen Hopkins' writing is powerful, and I expected these essays to speak to that power (and therefore be strong themselves). Instead, I noticed grammatical errors and "fluffy" writing from a judge.

I did enjoy reading "Kristina's" and her family's essays. They provided an additional insight into Kristina's addiction and how her family coped. And is still coping.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Glass (Crank #2), by Ellen Hopkins

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Crank. Glass. Ice. Crystal. Whatever you call it, it's all the same: a monster. And once it's got hold of you, this monster will never let you go. 

Kristina thinks she can control it. Now with a baby to care for, she's determined to be the one deciding when and how much, the one calling the shots. But the monster is too strong, and before she knows it, Kristina is back in its grips. She needs the monster to keep going, to face the pressures of day-to-day life. She needs it to feel alive.

Once again the monster takes over Kristina's life and she will do anything for it, including giving up the one person who gives her the unconditional love she craves -- her baby.

The sequel to Crank, this is the continuing story of Kristina and her descent back to hell. Told in verse, it's a harrowing and disturbing look at addiction and the damage that it inflicts.

Another amazing book in the Crank trilogy. Ellen Hopkins is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. Her books are quick -- yet powerful -- reads.

It's hard to relate to and root for a character like Kristina: she's rude, shallow, and abandons her baby. The way Hopkins weaves the story, however, makes you feel for her and hope that she turns her life around. My heart broke as Kristina made bad decision after bad decision. She knew what she was doing was wrong and was powerless in the face of her addiction.

This book hits close to home: I'm terrified of what my children will have to face when they're teenagers.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lover Revealed (Black Dagger Brotherhood #4), by J.R. Ward

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Butch O'Neal is a fighter by nature. A hard-living ex-homicide cop, he's the only human ever to be allowed in the inner circle of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. And he wants to go even deeper into the vampire world-to engage in the turf war with the lessers.

I probably shouldn't be reading this series back-to-back-to-back; they are all starting to blend together. Thankfully, I am completely in love with the world that J.R. Ward has created.

I have never been a fan of the romance genre, and some of the passages border on the absurd. Seriously, how is it that all male protagonists have huge penises? It also drives me crazy when an author -- especially a WOMAN -- gets the details of losing one's virginity completely wrong. There is no "barrier" halfway inside the vaginal canal. The hymen is on the OUTSIDE of the vagina. GAH. How hard is it to Google such a simple fact of human anatomy?

With the exception of the romance ridiculousness, I have yet to come across another paranormal series that has captured my attention like this.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Drink, Slay, Love, by Sarah Beth Durst

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Pearl is a sixteen-year-old vampire... fond of blood, allergic to sunlight, and mostly evil... until the night a sparkly unicorn stabs her through the heart with his horn. Oops.

Her family thinks she was attacked by a vampire hunter (because, obviously, unicorns don't exist), and they're shocked she survived. They're even more shocked when Pearl discovers she can now withstand the sun. But they quickly find a way to make use of her new talent. The Vampire King of New England has chosen Pearl's family to host his feast. If Pearl enrolls in high school, she can make lots of human friends and lure them to the King's feast -- as the entrees.

The only problem? Pearl's starting to feel the twinges of a conscience. How can she serve up her new friends—especially the cute guy who makes her fangs ache—to be slaughtered? Then again, she's definitely dead if she lets down her family. What's a sunlight-loving vamp to do?

This book had so much potential, but fell a bit flat. There were enough compelling moments to keep me going, though I did think of flouncing at several points. The story was predictable, but cute.

Teens will probably enjoy it. It wouldn't recommend it for adult readers of the YA genre, though.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Crank (Crank #1), by Ellen Hopkins

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In Crank, Ellen Hopkins chronicles the turbulent and often disturbing relationship between Kristina, a character based on her own daughter, and the "monster," the highly addictive drug crystal meth, or "crank." Kristina is introduced to the drug while visiting her largely absent and ne'er-do-well father.

While under the influence of the monster, Kristina discovers her sexy alter-ego, Bree: "there is no perfect daughter, / no gifted high school junior, / no Kristina Georgia Snow. / There is only Bree." Bree will do all the things good girl Kristina won't, including attracting the attention of dangerous boys who can provide her with a steady flow of crank. 

Soon, her grades plummet, her relationships with family and friends deteriorate, and she needs more and more of the monster just to get through the day. Kristina hits her lowest point when she is raped by one of her drug dealers and becomes pregnant as a result. Her decision to keep the baby slows her drug use, but doesn't stop it, and the author leaves the reader with the distinct impression that Kristina/Bree may never be free from her addiction.

Wow. Talk about a powerful, haunting, moving book.

First of all, the writing is sublime. I've never read a novel in verse before, and the way the words flow across the pages helps to tell the story. Forget reading everything left-to-right. Top-to-bottom sentences add a whole new layer of complexity. I am in awe of Ellen Hopkins' writing style and can't wait to read more of her works.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Room, by Emma Donoghue

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To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, ROOM is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.

I'm always leery of reading a best-seller, since I hate having high expectations only to end up reading a disappointing book.

This is not one of those times.

I can't say enough good things about Room. It's poignant, heartbreaking, hopeful. I cried at several points.

I read almost all of it in one sitting and am completely bummed that it's over.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Boy Proof, by Cecil Castellucci

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Feeling alienated from everyone around her, Los Angeles high school senior and cinephile Victoria Jurgen hides behind the identity of a favorite movie character until an interesting new boy arrives at school and helps her realize that there is more to life than just the movies.

I started this book thinking that I would read a couple of chapters and then go to bed. Wrong! I know that I'll regret my decision to stay up late in the morning, but it was totally worth it.

Boy Proof is a quick read about a geek girl. It is incredibly true-to-life and I connected with Egg, the main character. I'm so glad that I don't have to go through high school again.

Over the course of several hours, I laughed, I cried, and I smiled with happiness and relief. Two thumbs up!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut

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Kurt Vonnegut's absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes unstuck in time after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut's) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden.

Don't let the ease of reading fool you - Vonnegut's isn't a conventional, or simple, novel. He writes, "There are almost no characters in this story, and almost no dramatic confrontations, because most of the people in it are so sick, and so much the listless playthings of enormous forces. One of the main effects of war, after all, is that people are discouraged from being characters."

Slaughterhouse-Five is not only Vonnegut's most powerful book, it is also as important as any written since 1945. Like Catch- 22, it fashions the author's experiences in the Second World War into an eloquent and deeply funny plea against butchery in the service of authority. Slaughterhouse-Five boasts the same imagination, humanity, and gleeful appreciation of the absurd found in Vonnegut's other works, but the book's basis in rock-hard, tragic fact gives it a unique poignancy - and humor.

I'm not quite sure why this is considered one of the best books ever written. It was good. I enjoyed reading it. But I can't say that it blew me away and my life is forever changed.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Limu: The Blue Turtle, by Kimo Armitage

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Limu was different than all the other Hawaiian sea turtles - he was blue! But while other turtles made fun of him, Limu still had fun growing up in the sea, bodysurfing the big waves, laughing with seals and making friends big and small. Follow Limu’s adventures, as he discovers that no matter what he looks like on the outside, others like him because of the good turtle he is on the inside.


The moral of the story is one that parents teach their kids: beauty is on the inside. Yadda yadda yadda.

What I disliked about the book was the clear lack of editing. Three sentences in a row end with the word "water." Within a span of four pages, Limu has "never seen so many different types of seaweed before."

My son loves this book, so we read it over and over and over, and I cringe every time I get to these two sections.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

1984, by George Orwell

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Thought Police. Big Brother. Orwellian. These words have entered our vocabulary because of George Orwell's classic dystopian novel, 1984. The story of one man's nightmare odyssey as he pursues a forbidden love affair through a world ruled by warring states and a power structure that controls not only information but also individual thought and memory, 1984 is a prophetic, haunting tale.

More relevant than ever before,
1984 exposes the worst crimes imaginable--the destruction of truth, freedom, and individuality.  

 I can't believe it's taken me this long to read 1984, when most people I know read this in High School. Though -- considering how depressed I feel after reading this novel -- perhaps it's best that I haven't read it until now.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

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It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery....

Narrated by Death, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a young foster girl living outside of Munich in Nazi Germany. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist – books. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor's wife's library, wherever they are to be found.

With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, Liesel learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids, as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

If I could give this book more than five stars, I would. Zusak's writing is a work of art and the way he describes the world during WWII is a complex mixture of beauty and ugliness. He plays with the senses. Can you imagine "tasting a sound with your ears?"

The characters are real. They laugh, they cry, they make mistakes.

This book is not for the faint of heart. Set during the reign of Adolph Hilter, this book deals with the cruel reality of war. You learn right off the bat that the narrator is Death -- I really, truly love the way he is written -- so you know that this is not a book full of rainbows and puppies.

It's not quick or light, but totally worth it. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Dead until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1), by Charlaine Harris

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Sookie Stackhouse is a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. She's quiet, keeps to herself, and doesn't get out much. Not because she's not pretty. She is. It's just that, well, Sookie has this sort of "disability." She can read minds. And that doesn't make her too dateable. And then along comes Bill. He's tall, dark, handsome - and Sookie can't 'hear' a word he's thinking. He's exactly the kind of guy she's been waiting for all her life.

But Bill has a disability of his own: He's a vampire. Worse than that, hangs with a seriously creepy crowd, with a reputation for trouble - of the murderous kind.

And when one of Sookie's colleagues is killed, she begins to fear she'll be next ...

I have never been so happy to finish a book.

I wanted to read the series before watching True Blood on HBO. I should have just watched the show.

There were too many plot holes and I found myself wondering if I had missed something. So I re-read several parts, and it still seemed like things popped up out of nowhere. There was not enough motivation behind her characters' actions to make sense.

I also find it completely unacceptable that a book from a Big Name Publishing Company is sent to press with so many grammatical errors.

The sex scenes? Awful. Horrendous. It seriously made me wonder if Harris had ever had sex, or watched porn, or read anything about sex before. It felt like I was reading a thirteen-year-old virgin's expectation of what sex is like. As written by said thirteen year old. I much preferred Stephenie Meyer's fade-to-black scenes in Breaking Dawn, lame as they were.

Hopefully the show is better.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Brother Odd (Odd Thomas #3), by Dean Koontz

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Loop me in, odd one. The words, spoken in the deep of night by a sleeping child, chill the young man watching over her. For this was a favorite phrase of Stormy Llewellyn, his lost love, and Stormy is dead, gone forever from this world. In the haunted halls of the isolated monastery where he had sought peace, Odd Thomas is stalking spirits of an infinitely darker nature

Through two New York Times bestselling novels Odd Thomas has established himself as one of the most beloved and unique fictional heroes of our time. Now, wielding all the power and magic of a master storyteller at the pinnacle of his craft, Dean Koontz follows Odd into a singular new world where he hopes to make a fresh beginning—but where he will meet an adversary as old and inexorable as time itself.

St. Bartholomew’s Abbey sits in majestic solitude amid the wild peaks of California’s high Sierra, a haven for children otherwise abandoned, and a sanctuary for those seeking insight. Odd Thomas has come here to learn to live fully again, and among the eccentric monks, their other guests, and the nuns and young students of the attached convent school, he has begun to find his way. The silent spirits of the dead who visited him in his earlier life are mercifully absent, save for the bell-ringing Brother Constantine and Odd’s steady companion, the King of Rock 'n' Roll.

But trouble has a way of finding Odd Thomas, and it slinks back onto his path in the form of the sinister bodachs he has met previously, the black shades who herald death and disaster, and who come late one December night to hover above the abbey’s most precious charges. For Odd is about to face an enemy who eclipses any he has yet encountered, as he embarks on a journey of mystery, wonder, and sheer suspense that surpasses all that has come before.

I finally got around to reading book #3 in the Odd Thomas series. 

I loved the first two and I expected this to be just as wonderful. And it was. Up to a point. Then I wondered what all the fuss was about. The end was anti-climactic, which is unusual for a Dean Koontz novel. 

I'm hoping that the fourth book is better.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

MetaGame, by Sam Landstrom

Barnes & Noble

Life is a game, literally. Winners earn immortality, while losers are condemned to aging and death. D_Light, a gifted player, knows this all too well and he’s willing to do anything to win—even kill. It is no wonder then that when given the chance to enter a MetaGame—an exclusive, high-stakes, anything goes contest—he’s quick to jump at the opportunity. The MetaGame starts out well enough for D_Light, the first quest being to hunt down a dangerous fugitive, but through his own ambition, the tables turn and D_Light finds himself the renegade. 

I do not usually delve into the world of sci-fi and I am certainly not a gamer (much to my husband's chagrin), but I could not get enough of this book. Landstrom creates a world that seems all too plausible in the far (near?) future. The characters are realistic, and arrogant, and flawed, but you can relate to them. Their names consist only of handles you'd find on the internet. No "Jennifer" or "Joshua" plain vanilla names.

There were several "Oh no!" moments, and I couldn't read fast enough to read what happened next. I was disappointed when I got to the end of the book. I wanted to read more and find out what they did a few years later.