Thursday, June 30, 2011

Annexed by Sharon Dogar

Title: Annexed
Author: Sharon Dogar
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Publish Date: September 1, 2010
Source: Library

What's the Story?:

From Everyone knows about Anne Frank and her life hidden in the secret annex – but what about the boy who was also trapped there with her?

In this powerful and gripping novel, Sharon Dogar explores what this might have been like from Peter’s point of view.  What was it like to be forced into hiding with Anne Frank, first to hate her and then to find yourself falling in love with her?   Especially with your parents and her parents all watching almost everything you do together.   To know you’re being written about in Anne’s diary, day after day?   What’s it like to start questioning your religion, wondering why simply being Jewish inspires such hatred and persecution?  Or to just sit and wait and watch while others die, and wish you were fighting.

As Peter and Anne become closer and closer in their confined quarters, how can they make sense of what they see happening around them?

Anne’s diary ends on August 4, 1944, but Peter’s story takes us on, beyond their betrayal and into the Nazi death camps.  He details with accuracy, clarity and compassion the reality of day to day survival in Auschwitz – and ultimately the horrific fates of the Annex’s occupants.

My Two Cents:

Choosing to write about any of those that were hidden in the Secret Annex, made famous by Anne Frank's Diary, would have a tall order. Many students (at least here in the States) are made to read the book sometime during their academic careers. For me, Anne Frank's Diary is still one of my most favorite books that I read during school (I actually read it a few times before we read it in class).  Anyhow, Anne Frank's renown could have made this book a major fail. Although this book is historical fiction, because Anne Frank is so well known, it would have been incredibly difficult to pull it off.

Oh but does Ms. Dogar ever pull it off! She captures the characters of the people in the Secret Annex so well. Anne wasn't shy when describing her fellow Annex dwellers and Dogar captures them perfectly. Anne seemed incredibly real and Peter himself seems true to life. 

As with every time that I read about Anne Frank, I found myself wishing and hoping that things turn out differently in Annexed. Peter as narrator gives a little more insight in his and Anne's burgeoning love and I wanted to hold onto hope that their love would be allowed to fully bloom. I fell in love with the people in the Secret Annex all over again.

Bottom line: If you enjoyed Anne Frank's Diary, this historical fiction does her story justice and is a must read.

My Review:
4 out of 5 stars

Booking Through Thursday (8): Personal Library

This week, Booking Through Thursday asks: What’s the largest your personal library has ever been? What’s the greatest number of books you’ve ever owned at one time? (Estimates are fine.) Is your collection NOW the biggest it’s ever been? Or have you down-sized? What’s the fewest number of books you’ve ever owned (not counting your pre-reading years)?

Oh boy, this is another loaded question! I don't count how many books I own. Ignorance is bliss. About 6 months, the husband and I moved from a spacious suburban apartment to a smaller urban apartment. I love our new place but it meant putting a good chunk of my books into storage at my parents house. I've definitely accumulated a lot more books since moving as well (oh book blogging, how you feed my habit!). I won't even venture to guess how many books I have between the ones in storage and the ones still in my new apartment. That number would be truly frightening!

How many books do you have in your personal library?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Vacation Reading Fail

Drifting Clouds by Caspar David Friedrich

I got back home late last night from vacation. I got a lot less reading done than I wanted (don't you hate when that happens???).

Here's my damage from vacation:
- Finished Annexed by Sharon Dogar
- Finished The Gin and Chowder Club by Nan Rossiter
- Got 85% of the way through with Deal With The Devil, Part 1 by Gunnar Grey
- Finished about 50 pages in Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

What are you reading this week?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Virtual Book Tour: Waking Up With The Duke by Lorraine Heath (Guest Post and Giveaway)

Title: Waking Up With the Duke
Author: Lorraine Heath
Publisher: Harper Collins
Published Date: Will be out July 1, 2011
Source: Received an eARC from Goddess Fish Promotions and the publisher as part of the blog tour.

(Note: Don't forget to follow the blog tour. A random commenter during the blog tour could have a chance to win a $25 gc, you know, so you can buy more books! Click here to see the rest of the book tour stops)

What's the Story?:

From "Renowned for his bedchamber prowess, Ransom Seymour, the Duke of Ainsley, owes a debt to a friend. But the payment expected is most shocking, even to an unrepentant rake—for he's being asked to provide his friend's exquisite wife with what she most dearly covets: a child. Living for pleasure, they will give their hearts to no one . . . Lady Jayne Seymour, Marchioness of Walfort, is furious that such a scandalous agreement would be made. If she acquiesces, there must be rules: no kissing . . . and, certainly, no pleasure. Until love takes them by surprise. But unexpected things occur with the surprisingly tender duke—especially once Lady Jayne discovers the rogue can make her dream again . . . and Ransom realizes he's found the one woman he truly cannot live without."

My Two Cents:

First off, I want that purple dress. Now that that's out of the way, Lady Jayne Seymour only has so much control over her life and what she really wants (a baby), she can't have due to the accident that left her husband paralyzed. When her husband first cooks up the plan for her to spend a little one on one time with his good friend, the handsome and gorgeous Ainsley, Jayne is incredulous but she and Ainsley eventually agree to her husbands plan in order to get that which she most desires, a child of her own and an heir to the Walfort fortune. They don't mean to fall in love but it happens.

It's wholly appropriate that I finished this book on the first real day of summer (June 21); this book is steamy, steamy, steamy. Jayne tries very hard to stay true to her husband and respectful of the rules of the arrangement, but you can easily see why Jayne falls for Ainsley especially in the face of some of the things that her husband was involved in. That aside, Ainsley is ridiculously dreamy. I kind of fell in love with him. He is really interested in trying to help Jayne. He's nice to everyone. He lavishes gifts on those that are less fortunate than himself. There isn't much not to like. When he does fall in love with Jayne, it's the kind of love that just makes you want to giggle with happiness. He really does love her.

One thing that I was a little bit confused about was the story arc about Ainsley's mother. She takes up with a much younger man, which was of course a major scandal back in the day when the story takes place (1860s). It was an interesting story line but wholly separate from the story of Ainsley and Jayne. Maybe it was to give the mother more understanding of the situation? I'm not sure.

Bottom line, this is the perfect novel for when you need to relax and simply escape into a book that will carry you away without thinking too hard. This book is definitely sigh-worthy and a wonderful pick for a summer day!

My Review:
4 out of 5 stars

Tour Schedule list:

June 27: A Bookish Affair
June 28: Black Velvet Seductions Reader's Blog
June 29: Tracy's Treasury of Books
June 30: Reading Romances
July 1: Brazen Bookwork

Guest Post by Lorraine Heath:

Ms. Heath was kind enough to do a guest post for A Bookish Affair. Thank you so much!

My Favorite Romantic Heroes:

It’s such a pleasure to be here and to have the opportunity to share my favorite romantic heroes. I have to admit that I read romance for the heroes. The heroines can be wonderful, but it’s always the hero who calls to me.

I have to start with the hero who got me hooked on romance: Will Parker from Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer. He was such a tormented hero, with so much basic goodness that I immediately fell in love with him before his first scene was finished.

Michael from Wild at Heart by Patricia Gaffney is an unforgettable hero. The story opens in his point of view. With so few words Patricia showed how lost he was in this world where he was now a captive, being studied because he’d been raised in the wild among wolves. They want him to speak but he knows if he does, he’ll become one of them: a man. It’s simply heartrending.

Roarke from any J. D. Robb book. Okay, Roarke is hot. That’s all there is to it. With the Irish in him. It doesn’t seem to matter how many of the stories I read, I never tire of Roarke and his love for Eve. I think he’s a timeless hero.
Brody Talbot from Warrior Ascended by Addison Fox is the Leo warrior and he lives up to his Zodiac sign. Strong, bold, protective—I just loved him.

 I’ve been a huge fan of Anna Campbell since she debuted with Courting the Courtesan, but I thought the Marquess of Ranelaw from Midnight’s Wild Passion was one of her best heroes yet. She opens the story with him and his devious plan to seduce and ruin a woman, and I’m thinking, “How is she going to redeem this guy?” But she did it and the journey was a compelling read.
And okay, I’ll admit that Ainsley from Waking Up with the Duke is one of my favorite heroes. He was so interesting/complex to write. He stayed with me a long time after I finished writing the story which delayed me getting into writing the next story for my editor. But when you run across a yummy hero, you just have to savor him, right?

So who is your favorite hero?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Destination: Montana

Buffalo Trail by Albert Bierstadt

I'm almost on my way out to Montana (where the buffalo roam) for a few days to celebrate my great grandmother's 90th birthday! I'm excited to see my family but I'm really excited to finally be going on vacation because vacation means lots of reading. I may not be packed but as any good reader would know, I already know what books I'm bringing with me.

Here's what I'm bringing with me:
- The Gin and Chowder Club by Nan Rossiter
- Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares
- Deal With the Devil by J. Gunnar Grey
- The Threat Matrix by Garrett Graff

What do you like to read on vacation?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Summer Reading

Beach at Trouville by Claude Monet

Ah, this is the first week of summer although here in DC, it's felt like summer for a few weeks now (ugh, humidity). When it comes to summer, I've noticed that my reading tastes change. I stop having patience for difficult reads. I want something light and fun. I know the term "beach reads" gets a bad rap but that's exactly the sort of thing that I find myself yearning to read. Fall and Winter seem to be the seasons that I can get in the mood to read heavy topics.

Do your reading tastes change with the seasons?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Book Bloggers Don't Matter?


I was playing around on Twitter today and someone tweeted this article by someone who apparently attended BEA last month in NYC and would now like to make some pretty vague (and may I say uninformed) generalizations about us book bloggers.

The author starts out talking about the death of the book. And then moves on to how it's a bad thing for publishers to court book bloggers, which the writer of the article says we book bloggers are "often known as “mommy bloggers” because they are housewives who blog about romance novels, horror/vampire stories and paranormal novels".

Give me a break!

Book bloggers come in many different forms. I am not a housewife. I am not a mother. And anyone who has read my blog thus far knows that I read widely. Even if I were any of these things, I would still take offense; book bloggers don't fit neatly into a box.

She also claims that book bloggers limits the books that get publicity because we all apparently read the same things and therefore reinforce the reading of only romance novels, horror/vampire stories and paranormal novels. I'm going to go ahead and call BS on that sentiment! Because of interacting with my fellow book bloggers, I read much more widely than I ever have before.

Why is it a good thing for the book business as a whole to look towards book bloggers for reviews and promotion? Here's a few reasons:
  • We are readers. We know how to speak to other readers.
  • Many of us are tech savvy. Publishers cannot limit themselves to traditional means of publicity. Social networking has changed the whole game. Book bloggers know their way around the interwebz and many of them know how to get a broad reach.
  • Reviews from real people are worth their weight in gold. If you have a friend tell you to read a book or a business tell you to read a book, who are you going to listen to? I'd choose the friend because I know that they're going to give it to me straight.
  • With more book buying being done online rather than in traditional brick and mortar stores, it is imperative for publishers to reach out to the online shoppers. Book bloggers are a great way to do that.
There is always going to be room for the traditional book reviewers and the traditional publicity but it doesn't do anything to help readers or the book business if publishers were to take as narrow view as the author of the article takes.

 What did you think about this article?

Review: Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Title: Lock and Key
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Published Date: April 22, 2008
Source: Library

What's the Story?:

From "After her mom vanished in a stench of drugs and alcohol, Ruby continued to live in the family house alone. Finally found out, the introspective teenager is sent to the luxurious home of her older sister, Cora, whom she hadn't seen in ten years. Everything there seems unfamiliar, uncomfortable, and supremely weird: her fancy new room; her lavish new wardrobe; the exclusive private school where she never quite fits in. Most mysterious of all is Nate, the friendly boy next door who seems to have a deep secret of his own. Another subtle character-driven teen novel by Sarah Dessen, the author of Just Listen and That Summer."

My Two Cents:

One of the reasons that I got into book blogging for myself is all of the wonderful book blogs that I came across. Before getting into book blogging, I didn't really read YA at all but reading so many book blogs touting the wonderful stories in the YA books that they were reading. Without book blogging, I may have never heard of Sarah Dessen's books. So thank you, fellow book bloggers!

Ruby has to go live with her sister and her husband after Ruby's mom disappears leaving Ruby alone in a dilapidated house. Ruby's sister, Cora, married well and now lives in a luxury that Ruby could have only dreamed about. Even with all of the new good things in her life, Ruby finds herself getting stuck in the old days. Where did her mother go? Why didn't Cora try to step in before? Ruby is fighting her own demons when she meets Nate, the boy next door, who may be fighting demons of his own.

I liked Lock and Key a lot. Ruby is a relatable character and you can really see how much she's gone through and why she is the way that she is. I definitely felt bad for her and for Nate, who is also not in a very good situation. The story is good but I think what I like most is the style. I thought that Dessen did a great job capturing how teens think and why they do what they do. Realism is always very impressive to me.

What I didn't like about this book is how sudden it seemed to end. Without giving too much away, I kind of wondered what happened to Nate once he left. Was life better? Why did he stay in the situation that he was in for so long?

My Review:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Teaser Tuesday: Waking Up With the Duke

Rules to play: Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
This week my teaser is from:

"What does it matter? I love them, Tess, because they are part of you and that makes them mine."

Waking Up With the Duke by Lorraine Heath will be published on July 1st, 2011. It's a sizzling summer read!

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Girl's Guide to Homelessness by Brianna Karp

Title: The Girl's Guide to Homelessness
Author: Brianna Karp
Publisher: Harlequin
Published: April 26, 2011
Source: Library

What's the Story?:

From "'I am an educated woman with stable employment and residence history. I have never done drugs. I am not mentally ill. I am a career executive assistant—coherent, opinionated, poised, and capable. If you saw me walking down the street, you wouldn't have assumed that I lived in a parking lot. In short, I was just like you—except without the convenience of a permanent address.' Brianna Karp's account of her journey through homelessness immerses us in a timely, relevant topic that all too many Americans know about first hand."

My Two Cents:

You know, I always like books that challenge my beliefs and ideals. I picked up this book based on the blurb on the back from one of my very favorite authors, Augusten Burroughs. I had never heard of Brianna Karp or her blog. I live in a city where homelessness is a problem. In order to get from my home to work, I pass many of them each and everyday. The faces don't often change.

In the name of full disclosure, I will admit that I often get frustrated with these ones that I pass. I find myself questioning why they aren't taking a more active role in getting themselves off the street? Why would they spend money on Starbucks/cigarettes/cell phones/ laptops/ (insert other luxury item here) instead of doing something useful?  This book kind of made me really sort of challenged my beliefs. While I still can't get away from being a true fiscal conservative (if I don't have money for something or a dire need, I don't buy it), I can understand that everybody needs an escape no matter what they're monetary status is. It may not be the choice that I make but that doesn't mean that I should be able to judge, something that I will definitely work on.

Brianna Karp tells a compelling story of hard knocks and how living in a trailer in a Walmart parking lot changed her life. She never sought to be homeless but she suddenly found herself having to live in the parking lot because of the things that happened in her life. It made me realize that something like this could happen to many people who never thought they could someday be homeless.

Bottom line: This is a very interesting book. It's been a few days since I finished it and I'm still pondering some of the issues that Ms. Karp speaks about in her book.

My Review:
4 out of 5 stars

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

Just finished:

This was my first Sarah Dessen book and I loved it!

Currently Reading:

I'm participating in a virtual book tour for this one next week through Goddess Fish. I'll two things about this book so far: 1. It's super steamy and perfect for summer and 2. I want that dress on the cover.

Next Up:

I'm very excited for this one.

What are you reading this week?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Book Blogger Hop (6)

This week, Crazy For Books asks a SCARY question:  “How many books are currently in your To-Be-Read (TBR) Pile?”

Hrm... maybe we should have waited to ask this question during Halloween or something. According to Goodreads, my TBR pile currently stands at 763 books. I'm scared for myself, guys.

What's your TBR pile at? How do you keep track of which books you still need to read?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Booking Through Thursday (7): All About Ebooks

This week's question is

With the advent (and growing popularity) of eBooks, I’m seeing more and more articles about how much “better” they can be, because they have the option to be interactive … videos, music, glossaries … all sorts of little extra goodies to help “enhance” your reading experience, rather like listening to the Director’s commentary on a DVD of your favorite movie.

How do you feel about that possibility? Does it excite you in a cutting-edge kind of way? Or does it chill you to the bone because that’s not what reading is ABOUT?

Oh boy, call me a purist but when I want to read, I read. I don't want any of the fancy bells and whistles. I like using my own imagination when it comes to thinking about a book. I think these special features like video and music would take away from the experience of reading. If I want to listen to music or watch a video, I would do just that instead of reading.

The only reason that I own an ebook reader (my Kindle, which now that I have it, I love) is that I got it for a gift. I was very apprehensive to read on something that didn't feel like one of my beloved paper filled books. Ebook readers definitely have their place though. I commute a lot and it's nice for my commute and it's also very nice to travel with but I still don't think that I would be particularly interested in any of these so-called advanced features...

What say you?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

America Pacifica by Anna North

Title: America Pacifica
Author: Anna North
Publisher: Reagan Arthur (Little, Brown, and Company)
Source: Library

What's the Story?:

From "Eighteen-year-old Darcy lives on the island of America Pacifica—one of the last places on earth that is still habitable, after North America has succumbed to a second ice age. Education, food, and basic means of survival are the province of a chosen few, while the majority of the island residents must struggle to stay alive. The rich live in "Manhattanville" mansions made from the last pieces of wood and stone, while the poor cower in the shantytown slums of "Hell City" and "Little Los Angeles," places built out of heaped up trash that is slowly crumbling into the sea. The island is ruled by a mysterious dictator named Tyson, whose regime is plagued by charges of corruption and conspiracy.

But to Darcy, America Pacifica is simply home—the only one she's ever known. In spite of their poverty she lives contentedly with her mother, who works as a pearl diver. It's only when her mother doesn't come home one night that Darcy begins to learn about her past as a former "Mainlander," and her mother's role in the flight from frozen California to America Pacifica. Darcy embarks on a quest to find her mother, navigating the dark underbelly of the island, learning along the way the disturbing truth of Pacifica's early history, the far-reaching influence of its egomaniacal leader, and the possible plot to murder some of the island's first inhabitants—including her mother."

My Two Cents:

Oh boy, where to start? I had originally picked up this book because it seemed like a really interesting premise. Darcy, a young woman, is faced with the mystery of her mother's disappearance on an island that many from America flee too after a sort of Ice Age takes over the mainland making it uninhabitable. And the premise was but it wasn't particularly well executed. This book is gritty, very gritty. Some parts of the book are almost stomach turning, which I don't usually have an issue with when a story calls for something gritty or hard to read but at some parts, the book seemed to be gritty and icky for the sake of being gritty and icky without any higher purpose.

Also, I had seen this book advertised in several places as a Young Adult book. I have a feeling that whoever gave it that grouping did not read the book. This is most definitely not a Young Adult book. While Darcy is an 18 year old, some scenes in the book definitely push this book into the Adult threshold.

Good thing: The world building in the book is wonderful. America Pacifica is an interesting place. Many of the neighborhoods on the island are throwbacks to the cities of the United States, something that I could realistically see happening if we were ever forced to colonize a new place.

The end of the book is what really pushed me to give this book such a low rating. The ending was not satisfying at all. It was also terribly abrupt and really made me wonder why I had put up with the rest of the book. This book was not for me.

My Review:
2 out of 5 stars

Has anyone else read this book? I'd love to chat about it with someone!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Winners of Small Blogs, Big Giveaways!

Congratulations! You’ll receive an email from Reading Romances soon!

1st Winner: xxsquigglesxx
2nd:  Michelle W
3rd: jeanette8042
And the following people will win a giftcard:
Bekka @ Pretty Deadly Reviews, Carol Luciano, Library Lady, Krystal Larson  and  Jessica @ Book Passion for Life
The remaining prizes will go to The Magic Attic!

Stay tuned for more giveaways here on A Bookish Affair to celebrate my 200th follower!

The Mistress's Revenge by Tamar Cohen

Title: The Mistress's Revenge
Author: Tamar Cohen
Publisher: Free Press
Source: I received a copy from the publisher but this did not affect my review

What's the Story?:

From "For five years, Sally and Clive have been lost in a passionate affair. Now he has dumped her to devote himself to his wife and family, and Sally is left in freefall. It starts with a casual stroll past his house, and popping into the brasserie where his son works. Then Sally starts following Clive’s wife and daughter on Facebook. But that’s alright, isn’t it? These are perfectly normal things to do. Aren’t they?
Not since Fatal Attraction has the fallout from an illicit affair been exposed in such a sharp, darkly funny, and disturbing way: The Mistress’s Revenge is a truly exciting fiction debut. After all, who doesn’t know an otherwise sane woman who has gone a little crazy when her heart was broken?"

My Two Cents:

Anyone who has had a bad break-up or knows someone that has had a bad break-up (and who doesn't?) knows what a broken heart looks like. After a torrid love affair, Sally finds herself alone and hurting. She increasingly falls into a self-destructive pattern of remaining obsessed with her married lover, Clive. Sally knew his family before the affair and after the affair, takes comfort in noting the moves and activities of Clive's family even going so far to talk to Clive's wife, Susan, about Susan and Clive's recent marital strife.

Under the guise of healing, Sally begins writing in a journal but all of her writings are directed at Clive and only serve to further help Sally spiral downward. Sally begins following Susan and Clive and Susan's daughter on Facebook. She tries to see Susan whenever possible. She lets her family down over and over again. Yet with all of this, she still seems to be oblivious to how much she is destroying her own life!

It was hard to watch Sally go through everything that she was going through and in some ways, it made me shudder. I've had my heart broken before and through trial and error (oh so much error), I finally learned that the best thing you can do is do what you need to do to move on. Obsession doesn't do anything. Sally's ignoring of her own family was heartbreaking (she forgets her own son's birthday) but anyone that has had a broken heart can understand how one could be so oblivious to the things around her. Although in some parts, Sally's desperation is a turn off, especially because Clive doesn't seem to be that great of a guy.

This was definitely an interesting read. Cohen does a great job at getting inside Sally's head and really making her a realistic character. I can't help drawing the obvious comparisons between the movie, Fatal Attraction, and this book. Sally could definitely commiserate with the wronged woman in that movie.

My Review:
3.5 out of 5 stars

Monday, June 13, 2011

Night Road by Kristin Hannah

Title: Night Road
Author: Kristin Hannah
Publisher: St. Martin's Press

What's the Story?: From "For eighteen years, Jude Farraday has put her children’s needs above her own, and it shows—her twins, Mia and Zach—are bright and happy teenagers. When Lexi Baill moves into their small, close knit community, no one is more welcoming than Jude. Lexi, a former foster child with a dark past, quickly becomes Mia’s best friend. Then Zach falls in love with Lexi and the three become inseparable.

Jude does everything to keep her kids safe and on track for college. It has always been easy-- until senior year of high school. Suddenly she is at a loss. Nothing feels safe anymore; every time her kids leave the house, she worries about them.

On a hot summer’s night her worst fears come true. One decision will change the course of their lives. In the blink of an eye, the Farraday family will be torn apart and Lexi will lose everything. In the years that follow, each must face the consequences of that single night and find a way to forget…or the courage to forgive."
My Two Cents
This is only about the second book of Hannah's that I've read before and I definitely enjoy her writing. I ate through Night Road. The story focuses on Jude, a self-proclaimed "helicopter mom," her two children, Zach and Mia, and Lexi, a girl who comes into the family's life as Mia's best friend and later Zach's girlfriend. Jude is happy to provide a sort of second home and refuge for Lexi until the accident that shatters the family. 

This book did have some twists and turns that kept me guessing but about the last half of the book was totally predictable and the coincidences just seemed a little bit too unrealistic (Lexi almost becomes a cliche because of her background). Yet I kept reading.  Some of the turns just seemed a little bit too unrealistic and that perhaps took away from the book (I'm trying to refrain from spoilers but what happens to Lexi after the accident just seems to be a chain of events to prove a point.

This predictability is not to say that the book is not enjoyable. It definitely is. I would say that this book is akin to a Lifetime movie where you can predict what's going to happen but you continue to watch just to make sure. 

Bottom line: This book is a good, light read but if you're expecting to have your mind blown or your mind changed, this is probably not the book for you.
My Rating:
3 out of 5 stars

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

Just Finished:

Look for this review tomorrow!

Currently Reading:

I'm having kind of a hard time getting into this one. One word for this book: gritty.

Next Up:

I randomly picked this book up at the library. Augusten Burroughs has a review quote on the back of the book. It was enough to make me pick it up.

What are you reading this week?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

In My Mailbox (3)

I got a great bunch of books last week!


What's in your mailbox?

Winner of Treasure Me!

Major congratulations to Dorothy of The Kindled Scholar who won the ebook copy of Treasure Me! Enjoy! 

The winner has already been notified!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Book Blog Hop (5)

This week's question is: Who is the ONE author that you are DYING to meet?

Gosh, this is so hard. I love so many authors that it would be hard to pick just one. Probably my favorite authors which include Isabel Allende, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Augusten Burroughs, and David Sedaris. I would be honored to meet them all. I just can't choose one.

Who would you want to meet?

Bossypants by Tina Fey

Title: Bossypants
Author: Tina Fey
Publisher: Little, Brown, and Company
Source: Library

What's the Story?:
From "In her acceptance speech for Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, Tina Fey announced that she was proud to make her home in "the 'not-real America'." It is perhaps that healthy sense of incongruity that makes the head writer, executive producer, and star of NBC's Emmy Award-winning 30 Rock such a cogent observer of the contemporary scene. Bossypants, her entertaining new memoir, shows that strangeness has been her constant companion. Fey's stories about her childhood in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania are only appetizers for LOL forays into her college disasters, honeymoon catastrophes, and Saturday Night Live shenanigans. Most funny read of the month; the best possible weekend update."

My Two Cents:
There are just some books that you shouldn't read in public. Some because they have embarrassing covers. Some because they make you cry. And some, like Bossypants, that make you laugh until you cry. Let's just say that I'm very glad that I read this book mostly in the comfort of my home. I laughed a lot and hard. I had to keep reading parts out loud to the Husband so he could see what I was rolling on the floor about.

In this fairly short book (ahem, too short for my liking), Fey goes through her dorky childhood and her road to comedy stardom. Fey has some very funny anecdotes. I really liked hearing about her honeymoon. I don't want to give anyway but Murphy's Law was definitely in play during her honeymoon. I also really liked the story behind her coming back to SNL to play Sarah Palin, by far one of the funniest impressions that I've ever seen anyone do.

Fey also briefly touches on some of the sexism present in the comedy business. It was something I was slightly aware of but I wish she would have gone into more detail. She says that it's present but doesn't really say how she coped.

Bottom line, this book made  me giggle, chortle, laugh and guffaw. I think it can be very difficult to write funny things but Fey has a way of writing that is absolutely hilarious. Fair Warning: If you don't want to be stared at in public, keep your reading of this book limited to your own couch.

My Review:
4 out of 5 Stars

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Olive Farm by Carol Drinkwater

Title: The Olive Farm
Author: Carol Drinkwater
Publisher: The Overlook Press
Source: Library

What's the Story?: 

From "When Carol Drinkwater and her fiancé, Michel, are given the opportunity to purchase ten acres of an abandoned olive farm in the South of France, they find the region's splendor impossible to resist. Using their entire savings as a down payment, the couple embark on an adventure that brings them in contact with the charming countryside of Provence, its querulous personalities, petty bureaucracies, and extraordinary wildlife. From the glamour of Cannes and the Isles of Leacuterins to the charm of her own small plot of land-which she transforms from overgrown weeds into a thriving farm-Drinkwater triumphantly relates how she realized her dream of a peaceful, meaningful life."

My Two Cents:

Guys, I think we all have a place that we dream about living out our days in. It might be a beach with an umbrella drink in our hands, a huge bookstore with big comfy chairs or a gorgeous mountain vista. For me, I think I want peace and quiet. I love, love, love city living right now but eventually, I'd love a slower pace of life. With this book, I think Ms. Drinkwater has me convinced that an olive farm would be the place to be.  

The book does drag on in some parts a little bit but I love reading memoirs of people who have been able to do what they wanted to do with their life so that kept me going. It's most definitely inspirational. Drinkwater paints a gorgeous picture of easy (and sometimes not so easy) living in gorgeous Southern France. This is really a vacation in a book. If you can't get away on vacation this summer, this book is just the prescription for you.

Bottom line: this book is a sweet escape!

My Review:
3.5 out of 5 stars

If you could live anywhere, where would you live?

Booking Through Thursday (6): Own or Borrow?

This week Booking Through Thursday asks: All things being equal (money, space, etc), would you rather own copies of the books you read? Or borrow them?

I love owning books, I really do but I want to own books that I will read and not just books to impress people or to take up space (I know space is not supposed to be an object in this case but indulge me for a second). I love being surrounded by books but if I know when I read a book that I'm not going to want to ever read it again, I probably don't want to commit to owning it. Also, I really, really love my library. To me, going to a library is an experience. I love the sights, sounds and smells. I really love being surrounded by other bookish people (they're pretty much my favorite kind of people, hence book blogging and opening the door to meet other bookish people through the interwebz). It's like a mini-treasure hunt everytime I go. I wouldn't want to give that up!

What about you? Own or borrow?

Oh, and for anyone hopping through, I did want to bring to your attention that I have two giveaways going on here at A Bookish Affair right now. Don't be shy about entering! Check it out!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Something Blue by Emily Giffin

Title: Something Blue
Author: Emily Giffin
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Source: Library

What's the Story:

From "Darcy Rhone thought she had it all figured out: the more beautiful the girl, the more charmed her life. Never mind substance. Never mind playing by the rules. Never mind karma. But Darcy's neat, perfect world turns upside down when her best friend, Rachel, the plain-Jane good girl, steals her fiance, while Darcy finds herself completely alone for the first time in her life with a baby on the way.
Darcy tries to recover, fleeing to her childhood friend living in London and resorting to her tried-and-true methods for getting what she wants. But as she attempts to recreate her glamorous life on a new continent, Darcy finds that her rules no longer apply.
It is only then that Darcy can begin her journey toward self-awareness, forgiveness, and motherhood. Something Blue is a novel about one womans surprising discoveries about the true meaning of friendship, love, and happily-ever-after. It's a novel for anyone who has ever, even secretly, wondered if the last thing you want is really the one thing you need."

My Two Cents:

In Something Borrowed, we were introduced to Rachel and Darcy, two women that have been friends for ages. Rachel is painted as a nice girl who tolerates Darcy's antics and Darcy is definitely full of antics. At the end of SoBo, Darcy is pregnant with a baby that does not belong to her fiance. Her pending marriage is called off and Darcy's life is not as perfect or as easy anymore. Darcy flees to London to make a new life for herself, all while crashing in her childhood friend, Ethan's small flat. 

I loved Something Borrowed but I wasn't sure that I was going to like Something Blue as much as I didn't really like Darcy, as she did some pretty deplorable things in Something Borrowed. Something Blue is more a story of a woman realizing that sometimes everything isn't going to be handed to you on a silver platter nor that it should be. It took me about 150 pages to start feeling a little bit for Darcy but eventually I really fell in love with the character.

This is a sweet escape. While it's not necessary to read Something Borrowed before you read Something Blue as SoBl rehashes a lot of what happened in SoBo, it would still be a good idea to read SoBo first as it really builds up who Darcy was before she had her epiphany.

Bottom line, this book is a lot of fun!

My Review:
4 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl by Kelle Groom

Title: I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl
Author: Kelle Groom
Publisher: Free Press, a division of Simon and Schuster
Source: I received this book from the publisher as part of Free Press Blog Tours

What's The Story:

From "At the age of fifteen, Kelle Groom found that alcohol allowed her to connect with people and explore intimacy in ways she’d never been able to experience before. She began drinking before class, often blacked out at bars, and fell into destructive relationships. At nineteen, already an out-of-control alcoholic, she was pregnant. Accepting the heartbreaking fact that she was incapable of taking care of her son herself, she gave him up for adoption to her aunt and uncle. They named him Tommy and took him home with them to Massachusetts. When he was nine months old, the boy was diagnosed with leukemia—but Kelle’s parents, wanting the best for her, kept her mostly in the dark about his health. When Tommy died he was only fourteen months old. Having lost him irretrievably, Kelle went into an accelerating downward spiral of self-destruction. She emerged from this free fall only when her desire to stop drinking connected her with those who helped her to get sober."

My Two Cents: 

My heart broke for Kelle Groom throughout this entire book. Groom was only 19 when she got pregnant and not in the best situation. Her son is whisked away to be adopted by Groom's aunt and uncle. Kelle doesn't get to see him before he passes away from leukemia at less than 2 years old. How could that not be heartbreaking? Couple that loss with a debilitating addiction and you have a situation where many would fail but Groom rises. Her struggle to come to terms with the death of her son is painful to read and stirred my emotions thoroughly.

Every once in awhile, you find a book that has the amazing ability to move you in just a few sentences. This is one of those books. The story matter itself will definitely tug on you a little bit but it's worth fighting through the difficult parts to get to the pearls of some of her lines. Groom's writing is almost poetic in a way. She uses some really gorgeous metaphors and turns of phrase that almost make you feel as if you are floating through her journey. 

The storyline of the book isn't necessarily in sequential order and I found that sort of difficult to keep up with. Even with that minor annoyance, this book is so worth it. This book is raw and real and will shake you up.

My Rating:
4 out of 5 stars

Check out the book trailer below!:

I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl Official Book Trailer from Ben Rock on Vimeo.

Monday, June 6, 2011

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

Just Finished:

Currently Reading:

This book makes me want to know when I can buy a farm in the south of France.

Next Up:

What are you reading this week?

Other things going on at A Bookish Affair:
Two Giveaways!
Treasure Me by Christine Nolfi- Ends 6/10!
Small Blogs, Big Giveaways- Ends 6/13!

Blog Tour: Confessions of Catherine de Medici by C.W. Gortner

Title: Confessions of Catherine de Medici
Author: C.W. Gortner
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Source: Received a copy through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

What's the Story?:

From "The truth is, none of us are innocent. We all have sins to confess.

So reveals Catherine de Medici in this brilliantly imagined novel about one of history’s most powerful and controversial women. To some she was the ruthless queen who led France into an era of savage violence. To others she was the passionate savior of the French monarchy. Acclaimed author C. W. Gortner brings Catherine to life in her own voice, allowing us to enter into the intimate world of a woman whose determination to protect her family’s throne and realm plunged her into a lethal struggle for power."

My Two Cents:

There are many people in history that seem to have only one story about them. For Catherine de Medici, it's a story of scheming and poisoning anyone who dared to defy her. I didn't know much about Catherine de Medici before this book but I did know her reputation for being in love with power and relying on some pretty ugly things to maintain the power of herself and her family.

Portrait of Catherine de Medici

C.W. Gortner is able to humanize the Queen as a person who had seen a lot of trauma in her life. She found herself parentless and in a convent during much infighting in her native Italy. As a young teenager, she is married to a prince of France, Henri who is in love with a much older woman, Diane, who seems to only want to complicate her life.  Catherine eventually becomes a mother, a job that she relishes. She only wants the best for her children which seems to play into her being a little, shall we say, poison happy. She faces many challenges including religious fighting that threatens her family's place on the throne.

Sometimes in seeing the motives for an action, while we may not condone it, things are made a little more clear. Is it right to poison your rivals? Probably not but we can at least see Catherine in a new light and what her thinking was when she committed some of the actions that she did. I really liked this book. As I said, I didn't know much about Catherine besides the tales of the various people that she poisoned to get her way before reading this book but she is definitely an interesting historical figure. I feel like I definitely understand  her a little bit better. 

Bottom line, this book is perfect for any history lover who wants to see Catherine de Medici in a new light and is definitely a good read.

My Review:
4 out 5 stars

This is the last day of the book tour but be sure to go back and look at other posts for the blog tour.


Tuesday, May 24

Author Guest Post & Giveaway at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, May 25

Review at Rundpinne
Guest Post & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Thursday, May 26

Author Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Friday, May 27

Monday, May 30

Review at Broken Teepee
Author Guest Post & Giveaway at Queen of Happy Endings

Tuesday, May 31

Wednesday, June 1

Review & Giveaway at Wendi’s Book Corner
Author Guest Post & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time

Thursday, June 2

Review at Luxury Reading
Author Guest Post (Books of a Lifetime) & Giveaway at Historical Tapestry

Friday, June 3

Author Interview & Giveaway at Confessions and Ramblings of a Muse in the Fog

Monday, June 6

Author Interview at Luxury Reading
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