Sunday, July 31, 2011

Where She Went - Gayle Forman

Where She Went
Where She Went
By Gayle Forman

I don’t know how it happened but somehow I managed to forget post my review for this book after I finished it, which is really sad because it was a great book.

**Warning** This review may contain spoilers for If I Stay (my review here)

I had high hopes for Where She Went but I was also very concerned that it wouldn’t live up to my hopes. Forman didn’t plan on writing a sequel, If I Stay was supposed to be a solo act. When a sequel appears after the success of a book, I tend to be a bit skeptical and concerned that they are just bleeding the story for all they can. I can honestly say that is not what happened here. The day I started Where She Went I almost finished it in one sitting but as I neared the end I had to set it aside for a night because I didn’t want to rush the ending. I had to process, absorb, enjoy.

In the 3 years that passed since the end of If I Stay, Mia and Adam found lives for themselves that were not exactly where I thought they would be when I picked up the book (which was refreshing). Old pain was revisited and new pain dealt with but this time we heard it through the voice of Adam I instead of Mia. There were some predictable moments but overall the story was a true look at life after a tragedy and getting back on track after you fall apart.

It seems obvious to me that Forman wrote this book out of her love of the characters and not any other reason. Mia and Adam still had a story and it played out in a fantastically genuine way.

**Source: ARC from publisher

Friday, July 22, 2011

Night Road - Kristin Hannah

Night Road
Night Road
by Kristin Hannah

Night Road is a story about a family.  A mom, dad, and brother and sister twins as well as the girl who comes into their lives to be an unlikely addition.  I expected most of the book to be about the mother, Jude, but I was surprised that a good amount of the story was dedicated to the friend, Lexi, and her relationship with the twins, Mia and Zach. 

My feelings about the book overall are mixed.  I quickly because invested in the characters and wanted to know what would come of them but part of me just wanted to get to the end and find out instead of enjoying the story.  I wouldn't necessarily call the book predictable but there were a few moments I saw coming from a mile away.  I was also annoyed with a couple of the turn of events.  They were just a bit...cliche...and overdone.  I often felt a disconnect between some of the moments that were supposed to be extremely emotional and the actions that went with them.  Whether it was a random joke in the middle of devastation or a character describing the things being felt while claiming numbness to all feeling.

The dull perspectives of the characters which was supposed to create a certain feel for the book end up just making the story fall flat. 

Was it a unique story?  Not really.
Did I ever get bored?  Yes.
But...Did I want to know how it ended? Yes, I really need to know what happened to everyone.

**Source: ARC from publisher

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Possible Facelift

Me: a book hoarder
I have been thinking about changing my blog layout for some time now, playing around with different ideas.  I am a creature of habit so any change is difficult for me and I knew it was going to be a long process.  I was thinking about creating my own headline because I have pieces of an image in my head of what I want, I'm just having trouble getting them out.

My very elementary sketch
I'm quite possibly one of the least artistic people you will ever meet so my doodles amounted to nothing.  My brother is actually really talented with comic style drawings.  When we were growing up, he would draw all the time and I was always so jealous.  He gets it from my grandma who was an amazing artist.  You can actually see a couple of her pictures hanging in our living room in the first picture of this Harry Potter Party  post

A bit blurry but still hilarious!
But I digress, after my awful doodles I texted my brother to see if he would consider putting his talent to my uses with doodles of his own.  He was at work and one of his work friends thought it was a hilarious idea.  I sent him a couple of my ideas, explaining that in the first one my idea was was hoarding a stack of books that a little kid was trying to grab and I was kicking him away. They thought this was pretty funny and his coworker actually drew a couple things that my brother sent to me.  Although I don't think they will end up being a permanent part of my layout (but who really knows) I still HAD to share them with you.

The book falling off the top of the pile is Harry Potter!

This one took me some time to figure out.  I didn't know why the girl was holding a monkey and even after my brother told me it was a kid with a hat it took me 5 minutes of staring at it to see anything but a monkey and realize the kid has head down and he was being held by his backpack.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at The Printed Page.

This month's Mailbox Monday blog tour is hosted by Gwendolyn at A Sea of Books.

Check out the blog and post all the new books you acquired last week.

The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma (from publisher)

From author's website:
The Map of Time: A NovelSet in Victorian London with characters real and imagined, The Map of Time is a page-turner that boasts a triple play of intertwined plots in which a skeptical H. G. Wells is called upon to investigate purported incidents of time travel and to save lives and literary classics, including Dracula and The Time Machine, from being wiped from existence.

What happens if we change history? FĂ©lix J. Palma explores this question in The Map of Time, weaving a historical fantasy as imaginative as it is exciting—a story full of love and adventure that transports readers to a haunting setting in Victorian London for their own taste of time travel.

Bitter Bitch by Maria Sveland (from publisher)

From publisher's website:
On a miserable January morning, Sarah is sitting on a plane to Tenerife, Spain—without her husband or her children—for a week–long vacation. At the age of thirty, she’s just realized that she’s very angry with her life, her choices, and her family—and that she hates who she has become. For plane reading, she carries a copy of Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying and suddenly wishes it were 1975 instead of 2005—although she wonders how things have gotten so bad that all she craves is a full night’s sleep instead of a zipless f**k.
Bitter Bitch: A Novel
Sarah never intended for things to turn out the way they have; she just dreamed of love like everyone else. But now she’s sitting on the plane, thinking about all the injustices she’s suffered... about how thoroughly fooled she was by the storybook promise of love—the one that makes us want to start a family... about all the women she knows who, like her, were drained of all their energy and sentenced to a domestic prison—an inheritance passed down directly from generation to generation, from her restless mother’s eczema–covered dishpan hands to her own nervous over–achiever complex.

Angry and candid, Bitter Bitch is a wild, uncompromising novel, at the heart of which is one of the most important women’s issues: How can we ever have an egalitarian society when we can’t even live in equality with those we love? 

The Very Thought of You by Rosie Alison (from Atria Galley Grab)

From publisher's website:
The Very Thought of You: A NovelEngland, 31st August 1939: The world is on the brink of war. As Hitler prepares to invade Poland, thousands of children are evacuated from London to escape the impending Blitz. Torn from her mother, eight-year-old Anna Sands is relocated with other children to a large Yorkshire estate which has been opened up to evacuees by Thomas and Elizabeth Ashton, an enigmatic, childless couple. Soon Anna gets drawn into their unraveling relationship, seeing things that are not meant for her eyes and finding herself part-witness and part-accomplice to a love affair with unforeseen consequences. A story of longing, loss, and complicated loyalties, combining a sweeping narrative with subtle psychological observation, The Very Thought of You is not just a love story but a story about love.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Saturday Snapshot

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce from At Home with Books.
Photos can be old or new as long as they aren't random photos you found online.

A beautiful day at the lake on the 4th of July.
My brother was showing off.
Yes, that is my finger in the upper left corner.  I was on a boat with my iPhone...I did my best.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Final Countdown!

Here are a few more things that threatened to make me late for work this week.  Thanks a lot Shelf Awareness! If I end up jobless I am calling you.

HP7 Countdown: Bookstore Fun; Astounding Props; Magical Sets

Seroiusly! I can't believe I am missing some of these!!

HP7 Countdown: London Premiere; 8 New Video Clips

P.S. I couldn't even get 30 seconds into the first video without misting up. Holy crap I am going to be a mess at the movie!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Mailbox Monday

Happy 4th of July!!!

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia at The Printed Page.

This month's Mailbox Monday blog tour is hosted by A Sea of Books.

Check out the blog and post all the new books you acquired last week.

In the Sea There are Crocodiles by Fabio Geda (from publisher)

From publisher's website:
In the Sea There are Crocodiles: Based on the True Story of Enaiatollah AkbariWhen ten-year-old Enaiatollah Akbari’s small village in Afghanistan falls prey to Taliban rule in early 2000, his mother shepherds the boy across the border into Pakistan but has to leave him there all alone to fend for himself. Thus begins Enaiat’s remarkable and often punish­ing five-year ordeal, which takes him through Iran, Turkey, and Greece before he seeks political asylum in Italy at the age of fifteen.

Along the way, Enaiat endures the crippling physical and emotional agony of dangerous border crossings, trekking across bitterly cold mountain pathways for days on end or being stuffed into the false bottom of a truck. But not every­one is as resourceful, resilient, or lucky as Enaiat, and there are many heart-wrenching casualties along the way.

Based on Enaiat’s close collaboration with Italian novelist Fabio Geda and expertly rendered in English by an award- winning translator, this novel reconstructs the young boy’s memories, perfectly preserving the childlike perspective and rhythms of an intimate oral history.

Told with humor and humanity, In the Sea There Are Crocodiles brilliantly captures Enaiat’s moving and engaging voice and lends urgency to an epic story of hope and survival. 

The Reservoir by John Milliken Thompson (from Amazon Vine)

From publisher's website:
The ReservoirOn an early spring morning in Richmond, Virginia, in the year 1885, a young pregnant woman is found floating in the city reservoir. It appears that she has committed suicide, but there are curious clues at the scene that suggest foul play. The case attracts local attention, and an eccentric group of men collaborate to solve the crime. Detective Jack Wren lurks in the shadows, weaseling his way into the investigation and intimidating witnesses. Policeman Daniel Cincinnatus Richardson, on the brink of retirement, catches the case and relentlessly pursues it to its sorrowful conclusion. As the identity of the girl, Lillie, is revealed, her dark family history comes to light, and the investigation focuses on her tumultuous affair with Tommie Cluverius.
Tommie, an ambitious young lawyer, is the pride and joy of his family and the polar opposite of his brother Willie, a quiet, humble farmer. Though both men loved Lillie, it’s Tommie’s reckless affair that thrusts his family into the spotlight. With Lillie dead, Willie must decide how far to trust Tommie, and whether he ever understood him at all. Told through accumulating revelations, Tommie’s story finally ends in a riveting courtroom
Based on a true story, The Reservoir centers on a guilty and passionate love triangle composed of two very different brothers and one young, naive girl hiding an unspeakable secret. A novel of lust, betrayal, justice, and revenge, The Reservoir ultimately probes the question of whether we can really know the hearts and minds of others, even of those closest to us.
Tighter by Adele Griffin (Amazon Vine)

From Amazon:
TighterWhen 17-year-old Jamie arrives on the idyllic New England island of Little Bly to work as a summer au pair, she is stunned to learn of the horror that precedes her. Seeking the truth surrounding a young couple's tragic deaths, Jamie discovers that she herself looks shockingly like the dead girl—and that she has a disturbing ability to sense the two ghosts. Why is Jamie's connection to the couple so intense? What really happened last summer at Little Bly? As the secrets of the house wrap tighter and tighter around her, Jamie must navigate the increasingly blurred divide between the worlds of the living and the dead.

Brilliantly plotted, with startling twists, here is a thrilling page-turner from the award-winning Adele Griffin.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Final Countdown!!

Although this post is not about Europe, I did have their song running through my head as I wrote the title.

I thought I would share a few things that have made me nearly late for work recently...really I should know better than to read Shelf Awareness in the morning when I am in a hurry because that is when I find something like this:

Oh HP #7 Part 2 you are the epitome of bittersweet.

Also, McGonagall is a badass!! She only has one line in the video below and you can still tell she doesn't mess around!