Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Eve and Adam by Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant


I read this in 2 sittings. 

It. was. awesome. 

I loved the concept immediately and had marked it on my TBR list along with the hundreds of others I may never get around to reading -but then a miracle happened, and it showed up on my front door compliments of MacMillan Book Publishers.  It's always exciting to get an advanced copy from a publisher - it's 10x more exciting when it's a book you not only are dying to read BUT LOVE. Holy crap, I love it when that happens!

Eve and Adam is a story about 2 modern-day teenagers who find out they aren't exactly like every other normal person out there and discoverWAY more than what they bargained for. From page 1 it starts out with a bang and doesn't let you off the ride until you turn the last page.  It was exactly what I needed to escape into this last weekend as I came off a super intense work week.  At one point Sunday evening my husband asked me if I wanted to watch one of our favorite shows together and I completely turned him down because I wanted to finish the book.  150 pages later, I was so extremely satisfied with everything this book was. I. Loved. It.  The next day I brought it in to work to give to my friend Debbie who I knew would fall just as in love with it as I did. 

Great premise, great writing, great ending, great, greAT, GREAT! 

Eve and Adam comes out in stores next Tuesday, October 2nd! Pre-order your copy here! 

Description: Sixteen-year-old Evening Spiker lives an affluent life in San Francisco with her mother, EmmaRose, a successful geneticist and owner of Spiker Biotech. Sure, Evening misses her father who died mysteriously, but she’s never really questioned it. Much like how she’s never stopped to think how off it is that she’s never been sick. That is, until she’s struck by a car and is exposed to extensive injuries. Injuries that seem to be healing faster than physically possible.

While recuperating in Spiker Biotech’s lush facilities, she meets Solo Plissken, a very attractive, if off-putting boy her age who spent his life at Spiker Biotech. Like Evening, he’s never questioned anything... until now. Solo drops hints to Evening that something isn’t right, and Emma-Rose may be behind it. Evening puts this out of her mind and begins her summer internship project: To simulate the creation of the perfect boy. With the help of Solo, Evening uncovers secrets so big they could change the world completely.   Rating: ****   Recommend: Absolutely!  And no, just cause I received an advance copy, does not mean my opinion of this book was swayed in any way, nor was I compensated for my review (haha, now that's kinda funny.)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

You know as I was walking into work this morning, with my book in hand, I literally thought to myself - "This morning has already started out crappy with terrible news from the dentist, but there's just something comforting about holding a book in your arms to make your troubles disappear." Is that weird? Does anyone else ever feel that way? I guess that's why we read oftentimes anyway, isn't it? To escape the realities and difficulties of life?  Or maybe gain a new perspective that makes you realize that your life isn't really all that difficult after all?  I digress.

After a long wait from the library, I finally picked up my copy of Insurgent. I absolutely loved Divergent, and was so excited to pick up right where I had left off! BUT the problem was - my memory sucks! AND so I spent several of the first chapters trying to remember what was going on - who was who, what factions each person belonged to, and what the characteristics of each faction was! Ugh.  I kinda wished I would have read them back to back, I think I would have enjoyed it all that much more.  But even still - Insurgent did not disappoint!  I totally loved it!  What is with me and these dystopian YA novels?  I NEVER would have thought that I would get into these type of books!  And to top it off, I'm dragging many of my friends right along with me ;-)  I'm really looking forward to book #3 of the series, which is as of now still untitled and expected to come out fall of 2013.  There's no chance I'll remember anything by then, so I'll have to re-read the series or a whole lotta reviews on Goodreads in order to get up to speed.  Seriously, if you haven't started this series yet - I highly suggest doing so - and remember that I was the one who told you too before all the hype finally comes around and a movie is made ;-) (Uh-hum, sisters).

Description: One choice can transform you--or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves--and herself--while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable--and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

"New York Times" bestselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian "Divergent" series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

Rating: ****

Recommend: Absolutely!  I'm loving this series big time! AND so is my book club!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Love at the Speed of Email by Lisa McKay

I have no idea why this book has such a high rating on Goodreads.  Ms. McKay if you see this review - please don't be pissed.

Y'all - this book was gouge-your-eyes-out-with-a-pencil boring. (Please refrain from bitching me out for writing my honest opinion.)  It was our August book club pick and I honestly thought I would enjoy it since it's a memoir of how Lisa and her husband met via the Internet & email correspondence.  Trust me! I have nothing against meeting a man online - I DID IT!  This has nothing to do with that at all - but everything to do with feeling like I was reading someones travel journal. I swear, just when something started to get super interesting, we were back to talking about where she's flying to.  Ugh. I just couldn't get into it - and yes, I did finish the entire book.  I was annoyed, plain and simple.  It reminded me why I rarely read memoirs.  This month, our book club pick is Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand and I'm REALLY hoping I enjoy it.  On my way to Seattle, I noticed a woman reading it and I took that as a good sign (fingers crossed!). But until then - I'm currently reading Insurgent, book 2 after Divergent by Veronica Roth.  Review coming soon!

Description:  "Lisa looks as if she has it made. She has turned her nomadic childhood and forensic psychology training into a successful career as a stress management trainer for humanitarian aid workers. She lives in Los Angeles, travels the world, and her first novel has just been published to some acclaim. But as she turns 31, Lisa realizes that she is still single, constantly on airplanes, and increasingly wondering where home is and what it really means to commit to a person, place, or career. When an intriguing stranger living on the other side of the world emails her out of the blue, she must decide whether she will risk trying to answer those questions. Her decision will change her life."

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

If y'all haven't heard of The Fault In Our Stars then you need to come out from the rock you've been under!  This one's been on book club lists for quite a while now and was a pick for our own book club back in July.  I had been dying to get my hands on a copy, and was completely enraptured by the story of Hazel and Augustus and their individual battles with cancer as teenagers.  I know, I know - there's lots of tear-jerkers out there involving a kid with cancer - but the way that John Green lays it out makes you sincerely care for these kids.  I finished this book with so much more respect and truly more in awe of how people can be so brave and strong.  It was a wonderful story....but the ending - well - let's just say I wanted to throw this book across the room when I finished it. 

Description: "Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind."

Rating: ****

Recommend: For sure!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sweetwater Creek by Anne Rivers Siddons

I read this a couple months back but am just now getting to my review!  I was determined to finally pick something off my very own shelf this time.  I don't know why, but even with shelves and shelves of beautiful novels - I still find myself perusing the new fiction at the library and bringing it home to read.  I wonder if there's a support group for people like me?

This was the first one on my shelf, so I grabbed it and dived in on a Saturday morning.  It completely drew me in and as bizarre as it got in some places, I think I really liked it? Pretty sure. Yeah, liked it.  I think.  It was a little weird though.   One thing I did really enjoy was all the detail of raising Boykin hunting spaniels.  I've been toying with the idea of raising labs myself and it gave me a glimpse into what that business would look like.

Description:  From bestselling author Anne Rivers Siddons comes a bittersweet and finely wrought story of friendship, family, and Charleston society.

At twelve, Emily Parmenter knows alone all too well. Left mostly to herself after her beautiful young mother disappeared and her beloved older brother died, Emily is keenly aware of yearning and loss. Rather than be consumed by sadness, she has built a life around the faded plantation where her remote father and hunting-obsessed brothers raise the legendary Lowcountry Boykin hunting spaniels. It is a meager, narrow, masculine world, but to Emily it has magic: the storied deep-sea dolphins who come regularly to play in Sweetwater Creek; her extraordinary bond with the beautiful dogs she trains; her almost mystic communion with her own spaniel, Elvis; the dreaming old Lowcountry itself. Emily hides from the dreaded world here. It is enough.

And then comes Lulu Foxworth, troubled daughter of a truly grand plantation, who has run away from her hectic Charleston debutante season to spend a healing summer with the quiet marshes and river, and the life-giving dogs. Where Emily's father sees their guest as an entree to a society he thought forever out of reach, Emily is at once threatened and mystified. Lulu has a powerful enchantment of her own, and this, along with the dark, crippling secret she brings with her, will inevitably blow Emily's magical water world apart and let the real one in--but at a terrible price.

Poignant and emotionally compelling, Anne Rivers Siddons's "Sweetwater Creek" draws you into the luminous landscape of the Lowcountry. With characters that linger long after you've turned the last page, this engaging tale is destined to become an instant classic.

Rating: ***

Recommend: Hmmm...I would say if you're into dog stories you might really like it.