Friday, June 28, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday - I just love BOOKS!

Happy Friday everyone! Its Feature and Follow Friday hosted by Parajunkee. Check them out to see how to participate! This week's topic is:

Q: What is your preferred reading format? Hardcover, eBooks, paperback, etc?

This is a pretty great question. I generally prefer paperbacks, (1) because I prefer the feel of a book in my hand and (2) I prefer them over hardcovers because I can fit multiple books in my purse more easily when they are smaller. I do like buying hardcovers though. it think they are prettier and look nicer on my shelf.

However, I have taken to reading on my kindle as well. (Dont worry I didnt buy this kindle. I know you're thinking why would I buy one if I previously didnt use it. I got it through a special promotion at my bank - I know. Weird) I've read two books so far on it and I'm reading two more now. I mainly use it to buy books that I'm unsure of or know that I wont get through if I have to hold the gigantic thing in my hand and be intimidated by it (e.g. A Game of Thrones). It has actually become quite convenient for me because I dont have to wait until I get home to pick something up and read. I can read at work in my down time, I can read at my mom's house when my niece is ignoring me (8 month old babies can be extremely snobby!), I can read when my arms are too tired to hold up a book.

The fact still remains though, I will never fully convert to the kindle. Apparently most other people dont either. According to the image above, only about 15% of people who buy e-readers actually stop buying print books all together. I like having my books in my hand in all their beautiful wondrous glory, regardless.

How about you!? Do you like paperbacks, hardcovers or e-books? Or do you like something else entirely that I dont know exists!?


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Review: Anna and French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

ISBN: 9780142419403
Released: December, 2010
My copy: Purchased
Series: Yes, Anna and the French Kiss #1
Page Count: 372 pages

Anna can't wait for her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a good job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. So she's not too thrilled when her father unexpectedly ships her off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair, the perfect boy. The only problem? He's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her crush back home. Will a year of romantic near-misses end in the French kiss Anna awaits?

  • Well written, the writing flowed and kept me interested which made for a very easy, quick read.
  • Anna is hysterical and so relatable. I found myself laughing out loud at her and several times crying - yes, crying - with her. Plus she's a blogger/reviewer! Maybe not of books, but how many of you cant love her just for that?
  • The romance was  a believable high school romance and then some. I can honestly say I felt my heart flutter many times and I maybe, possibly, almost *coughswoonedcough*. Ahem.
  • Etienne wasn't perfect. And neither was Anna. Etienne was short. Anna has a gap in her teeth. I like it when a character doesn't make me feel like a waste of space.
  • The whole "love interest has a girlfriend" thing was a first in the bookish world for me. And  I loved it. Don't get me wrong, Etienne was definitely almost a scumbag, but it was handled decently well, but I liked that it was a premise that happens all the time. Hell, its happened to me, to friends of mine, to people I've heard about in passing.
  • Anna didn't decide the day after she met Etienne that she was in love with him. Basically what I'm saying is that even though it killed me sometimes that Anna and Etienne weren't together when I wanted them to be, I thought the story was paced well. I just loved this book!

  • The only thing I can honestly think of was that the ending was a little too tidy for me. It wrapped up nice and neat after not being so nice and neat pretty much the entire time. Otherwise, I cant think of anything I disliked in this book.


I know what you're all thinking - well those of you who haven't read this one yet.  Anna and the French Kiss? Really? Seriously? I know it sounds silly. Even my own non-reader fiancĂ© made a face at the title and cover when I picked it up off of my shelf to read. But I saw the reviews, I'd been told I had to read it, and I did, and now I am wondering why the hell I took so long! I am also wondering: (1) why did I stop reading romance, when I clearly adore it?; and (2) why do I keep telling myself I'm not into contemporary YA? I mean, I really, really enjoyed this book. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't epic or life changing and it was definitely just a fun, quirky read, but it actually had some depth to it, and Stephanie Perkins crafts characters that I want to be friends with. Like - you-can have my friends, can I have Rashmi and Josh and Meredith and Etienne. I would date him but he has better hair than me.

And even though the ending kind of annoyed me, the fact that this book had me up until 2:30 a.m. at night when I had a 13-hour work day starting at 9:00 a.m. the next day kind of cements the 5-star rating. And let me tell you: I do not stay up late. Oh no. Not this girl, not on the week days. But Stephanie Perkins got me. And I'm exhausted, but it was worth it! I even woke up excited about this book, so I cant be mad at myself for how tired I am right now. Read it - please. You'll love it.

(5 stars)

Have you read Anna and the French Kiss? What did you think? Do you agree or disagree?


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - Best Books I've Read This Year

Yay! Happy Tuesday, everyone! How are you all? Enjoying this wonderful day, I hope. :) Well, lets get right to it!

This week's topic is:

Top Ten Five Books I've Read So Far In 2013

1.     Across the Universe by Beth Revis - LOVED this entire series. My favorite series this year thus far!

2.     Anna and the French Kiss  by Stephanie Perkins - Just finished reading this two days ago, and it is my only other 5 star rating this year. I loved this book!

3.     A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini - A breathtaking, eye opening read. I was so pleasantly surprised by this one and I'm so glad I read it.

4.     Cinder by Marissa Meyer - Another one I'm so glad I randomly picked up. I'll be suffering in silence until the next book comes out. :(

5.     The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter - Cant wait to read the next in the series! Definitely one of the best this year.

I didn't go ten this Tuesday because I've only read 22 books this year and it would be silly to list half of them as my favorite.

What are your top books so far this year?


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Harry Potter Read-Along/Discussion [2]

RECAP - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Chapters 5-10

When we last saw Harry at the end of chapter 4, he was leaving the hut on the rock without so much as a backward glance to his aunt, uncle and cousin. Hagrid whisked Harry a hidden wizarding shopping district (my own shoppers-heart flutters at the thought). He takes Harry to the wizarding bank called Gringotts that is run by Goblins and guarded by dragons, and after taking a small sack of coins from Harry's vault, they remove a grubby brown-paper-wrapped package from a vault that Hagrid wont say a word about.

Harry gets fitted for robes, his wands chooses him (which happens to be the brother wand to the one that chose Voldemort) and Hagrid gifts him with a snowy owl that Harry names Hedwig. A month later, Harry is off to Hogwarts via the Hogwarts Express which picks up at platform 9 3/4 (which is another hidden wizard thing). He ends up riding in a car with Ron Weasley, the youngest of the Weasley family that Harry meets on the platform, who is as fascinated by Harry as Harry is by him.

Upon arriving at Hogwarts, Hagrid takes all of the first years students across the lake to the front door of the school, where they are herded inside and are sorted into their House by the Sorting Hat! Harry is in Gryffindor along with all of the Weasleys and that annoying Hermione girl, though the Hat tells him he could do great things in Slytherin!

Harry begins his classes and realizes that the greasy Professor Snape really just does not like him, and Harry really does not like the snobby Draco Malfoy. A few days after Harry gets settled into his classes, the first year students begin their flying (broom) lessons, and Harry is beyond excited. There is just one little mishap with Malfoy, and Harry ends up breaking the rules and flying on his broom without supervision. Professor McGonagall catches him and Harry is sure he will be expelled, but they let him join the quidditch team as the seeker, being the youngest player at the school in 100 years!

Malfoy does not like this, challenges Harry and Ron to a midnight wizard's duel. Somehow Hermione and Neville get dragged into Harry's first adventure at Hogwarts, and when they find out that Malfoy tricked them and sent Filch the caretaker to catch them, they RUN, almost getting caught several times. While hiding from Filch, the four students accidentally go into the room in the third floor corridor that was forbidden by Dumbledore on their first day. It just so happens to be housing a giant three headed dog, and after they run for their lives and safely make it back to their dormitory, they realize that the dog was guarding a trap door in the floor.....


  • From what Harry has heard about Slytherins, he is absolutely adamant that he not be sorted into that house, as several other students hope as well. Do you think some of the kids who are actually sorted into Slytherin have the same feelings as Harry did? I mean, their traits and potential all say that they should be in Slytherin, but maybe they still don't want to be there? Like Neville, maybe their traits and potential don't show themselves, and they don't know that they would do best in that house?

  • Snape is beyond being tolerable even from the very beginning of the book. He is a snotball, point blank, but he is horrible to Harry. We all know why, but we also know Snape's big secret at the end of the series. What my thought process is, is how can adults treat children so awfully? The Dursleys, Snape, don't they have compassion!? I know they were written this way but, am I the only one who is really bothered by this?

  • Do you think Dumbledore and McGonagall bent the rules for Harry having a broomstick because he deserved it and truly was going to be an asset to his quidditch team? Or do you think he was an asset, but he was also Harry Potter, the boy who lived, son of James Potter, and he sort of got some special treatment?

I keep finding myself speeding through this book because I love it and I just want to finish and get to the next books but I have to remind myself to take my time and use my head. Its so fun and lighthearted (even with the mean spirited grown-ups) and even sometimes downright silly and I just love the magic of this first novel. It literally just makes my heart happy every time I pick up this book.

I'm only about half way through the book and Harry and his three classmates have already had their first adventure, and it warms my heart to know that there will be many more to follow. I cant wait to finish reading this and move on to the next book. Have any of you re-read this one this year? What were your thoughts upon revisiting with Harry on his first trip to Hogwarts?

Cant wait to hear from you guys!


Friday, June 21, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday

Yay, its Friday - thank God! How is everyone spending their weekend? Well I work tomorrow (booooo) but I'll be hanging out with the cutest baby ever on Sunday (my niece, yay)!

This week's Feature and Follow question is:

Q: What is your favorite literary quote?

I thought about this one all night last night and couldnt really decide because there are so many, especially all my faves from Harry Potter. However, I was reading one of my current books last night: A Game of Thrones and came across something I loved.

How many of you have friends or family who always ask you or tell you that you read too much? Well I get it all the time, sometimes teasing, sometimes genuine intrigue as to why I'm so involved in reading and blogging. The teasing gets to be annoying sometimes, dont you think? We're all adults here. You like TV - I like books, so back off. :)

Well anyhow, in A Game of Thrones, one scene has a character named Jon asking one of my favorite characters, Tyrion, why he reads so much. Tyrion goes on to explain:

and Tyrion adds "that is why I read so much, Jon Snow."

LOVE it. Its the truth of my life. To me, intelligence is the most attractive trait, knowledge is the most powerful weapon. So that, my dear friends, is why I read so much. :D

What is your favorite literary quote??


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Review: I am Legend by Richard Matheson

ISBN: 9780765318749
Released: first published in 1954
Series: No, Stand-alone
Page Count: 161 pages

Robert Neville may well be the only survivor of an incurable plague that has mutated every other man, woman, and child into bloodthirsty, nocturnal creatures who are determined to destroy him.
By day, he scavenges for food and supplies, desperate to find any other survivors who might be out there. But all the while the infected lurk in the shadows, watching his every move, waiting for him to make a mistake...

  • Matheson didn't make the main character out to be superman. He was a terrified sole survivor of a plague and his existence was mostly believable.
  • Very well written. I often find that books written long ago (such as this one that was written in the 50s) are not always as simple and easy to understand. Sometimes they are stuffy and unreadable but this was an intelligent read without being stuffy.
  • I felt like I was in the story, and I found my heart beating with terror during certain scenes, and my heart breaking with loneliness in others.
  • Reminiscent of Stephen King. Or King is reminiscent of Matheson. And I love King's writing but am not a huge horror fan. Nonetheless - love. <3
  • Closer to classic vampire literature. No sparkly vampires or vampires that wear daylight rings. It was refreshing.
  • Some questions were left unanswered or some holes in the story which left me a little confused.
  • Awfully depressing. This was likely the intended affect but it was pretty rough.
  • The medical jargon was confusing and tedious. It was few and far between, but when it was there, it was several pages long and I found myself skipping over parts of it.
  • Finally, I still cannot understand the difference between living vampires and dead vampires, and why they have different ways of being killed. If anyone knows, please fill me in! It was extremely frustrating considering many parts of the story focused on this and I just did not get it!

    THOUGHTS: 1/2
My copy of this book was the "I am Legend and Other Stories" version. I chose to only read I am Legend. I am not a huge fan of horror novels, though I do love sci-fi, so I suppose that's why I did enjoy this read. I don't think there is much I can say about a classic like this because it is much before my time. I don't necessarily think it is really fair to even review this book. But here I am, nonetheless, and I did enjoy it though there were a few slow and confusing parts for me. But hey - everyone has different tastes.
I give this one 3 1/2 stars. I enjoyed it aside for some of the missing pieces and slow parts. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys horror or is a fan of Stephen King. I can easily see where King got some of his inspiration.

Has anyone read this book or plan on reading it? Do you agree or disagree with my review? Would love to hear from you!


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - Summer TBR List!

Greetings, on this wonderful Tuesday! How are you all? I'm much better this week, plus, I dont have work at my second job tonight, so I get to sit around, read, blog and play the Sims after I get out of my day job - woo!

This week's topic:

Top Ten Books At The Top Of My Summer TBR List

I'm going to go solely based on what I actually have on my shelf:

10. Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi - It would be nice if I ever got around to reading this series, huh?

9. The Second Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares - Finished the first in this series a few weeks ago, and I really enjoyed it. Looking

8. The Giver by Lois Lowry - I've actually already read this.... 3 times. Its one of my favorite books ever, and since the release of the final book, I've been wanting to re-read the series as a whole.

7. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare - Another raved about series I havent yet gotten to.

6. Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter - Really enjoyed the first installment and first e-novella, so I'm anxious to read this one.

5. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey - The reviews on this baby make it hard not to pick it up immediately. Definitely one I want to read soon though!

4. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray - I have a friend who has read this several times and it makes me want to read this one every time I look at my TBR shelf.

3. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - Finally bought this one, and now I am dying to read it.

2. A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin - Got half way through this one a few years ago, but it was too time consuming. Now I'm feeling like I can dedicate more time to the series, I'm dying to get into this one.

1. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling - HAHA! And HP makes another list. BUT, I am actually re-reading the first book in the series right now, and I am going to be reading the rest this summer (and posting recap/discussions every Sunday on several chapters at a time) so this series really is number one on my summer TBR!

So what are your top ten summer TBR reads?


Monday, June 17, 2013

Harry Potter Read-Along/Discussion [1]

Welcome to my first ever discussion post as a part of my summer re-read of the Harry Potter series!

The Low Down: As I'm sure many of you have seen in my post here on my blog about a week ago, I'm going to spend my summer reading the Harry Potter series all over again (along with many other books on my TBR). I'm going to go the slow and methodical route, taking a few weeks to read each book, and hopefully be done by the end of August - we shall see!

I will be posting every Sunday with a discussion on whichever chapters I have read thus far, plus additional posts to discuss the movies, Pottermore, and a final "review" of each book (as if anyone is worthy to "review" Harry Potter). On another note, I've also been a horrible fellow-blogger and have neglected to participate in the Harry Potter Moment of the Week hosted by Leah at Uncorked Thoughts. I love her idea, I just sometimes forget to post. But since this summer is going to decked in HP, I will be participating each Thursday, and hope you all will too!

This should prove to be a very Harry Potter-esque summer for me and hopefully you guys too! :)

So far this past week I have read chapters 1-4 of the Sorcerer's Stone, so I'll provide a little recap and give you my thoughts and ask you for yours!

Recap - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (aka the Philosopher's Stone), Chapters 1 - 4

We meet the Dursleys, Petunia and Vernon, with their son Dudley, who are as "normal" as normal can be. (Now I don't necessarily think having a big jerk of a child who you let throw tantrums 24/7 and do whatever they want is considered normal, but I had a much different family dynamic...)

Anyhow, Uncle Vernon sees our friendly wizards and the beginning of our story, thinking of them as people while, unbeknownst to Vernon, they celebrate the vanquishing of You-Know-Who as the community simultaneously mourns Harry's parents killed by Voldemort, and "worship" Harry as the Boy Who Lived. Famous baby-wizard Harry ends up on his Aunt and Uncle's doorstep, and though they want nothing to do with the Potter family, especially the baby, they do the right thing and take him in.

Ten awful years later after sleeping in a cupboard under the stairs his whole life and his aunt and uncle treating him like a peasant and a freak, Harry starts to get letters a few days before his 11th birthday. From who? The chapter is called "The Letters from No One." We know this is quite the opposite. They are letters from Professor McGonagall at Hogwarts granting Harry acceptance into Hogwarts! His uncle wont let him have the letters and upon thinking (knowing) he is being watched, Uncle Vernon goes bat-sh*t crazy and runs away from their home so the letters will stop coming. But they don't. They get delivered every where they go until they go to a little hut on a rock in the middle of the sea and Vernon thinks he has won! But then Hagrid, a big giant man the size of two men, shows up to finally take care of the delivery himself.

Harry hasn't a freaking clue what Hogwarts is. His aunt and uncle have hidden his wizard-ness from him his whole life. Weird things had always happened to him, like the disappearing glass at the zoo on Dudley's last birthday and his hair growing back within a day, but he never guessed anything like this was possible! Hagrid fills Harry in, tells him that he is a wizard, Voldemort killed his parents, and now he gets to go away to a wizard school and get away from the Dursleys. By the end of chapter 4, Harry is in awe and hopes its not all a dream when he wakes up, and it isn't! Hagrid finally leaves with Harry in  tow to buy his school things, and Harry leaves without so much as a second glance at his family.


The first book in the Harry Potter series is very likely my favorite because of how much there is to learn upon re-reading. For example, as we meet the Dursleys, we run into a lot of aspects we know to be much more substantial in later books. The "weird" people in the streets being witches and wizards celebrating Voldemort's "death", Professor McGonagall's Animagus status, Dumbledore's silver "put-outer", good ol' Mrs. Figg. Things that as a fan, you know right off the bat when you go back into this book after reading it even just once. What I'm getting at is that it goes to show you how well put together this series is. Everything connects, even from the first few pages of book one.

Also, I never realized how much this first book makes me laugh. There are all sorts of silly little jokes and anecdotes adding to the magic of it all.

  • When I read this book for the first time a million years ago, I didn't know Harry. And all I could wonder was how his aunt and uncle could treat him so horribly - I remember being truly appalled by it, especially growing up with loving parents. But through all their fear and loathing for anything abnormal, they took Harry in and raised him. Dumbledore thought it would be best for Harry to be raised with Muggles, outside of the wizarding world, away from fame, and his family raised him, though they may not have loved him. Do you think this was the best choice for Harry? Do you think it would have been better for him to be raised by a friend of the Potters, possibly Lupin, and just grow up with the fame, at least knowing who he is (notwithstanding the deeper reasons we uncover in later books)? Or do you think Dumbledore made the right choice?

  • Here's a weird question, mainly for those of you who don't live in England or anywhere near there in Europe-ish.... When you read, do you read (in your head) in a British accent? I've found that I do both. I also hear Hagrid's actual voice and accent in my head, but sometimes I catch myself just reading in an American accent, not a British one.

  • What's in a name? In the first chapter when McGonagall and Dumbledore are talking about Voldemort's timely demise, McGonagall refers to him as "You-KNow-Who" and Dumbledore implores her not to, and to call him by his name. Other than the fact that Voldemort is just plain scary and powerful, why is the entire wizarding community afraid of even saying his name? What is it about saying the name of something that makes it scary? Don't you think that just gives it more power?

  • Aunt Petunia is very candid with the fact that she hates her "freak" of a sister. Much later on, we find out why, and that it has just a bit more to do than with Petunia not being the golden child at home. Do you think it was easy to tell she was jealous at first or did you think it purely meanness driving her hatred?

  • Its almost heartbreaking when Harry wakes up convinced he is dreaming and thinks he will have to go back to his normal miserable life. This is my favorite thing to daydream about - what would you have done if you suddenly got a letter by owl post to your muggle home saying you were accepted into Hogwarts?

I'd love to hear what you have to say on all of these topics? Leave me your thoughts in comment form, or feel free to post your thoughts on your own page and link in the comments section so we can all discuss together. I don't know about you, but HP is my favorite thing to discuss ever!

Also, I'd love feedback since this is the first post I've done regarding my HP re-read! Thanks! :)


Friday, June 14, 2013

Feature and Follow - Create-a-poem

Happy Fridayyy! How was your week? Mine was hell, with Sean in the hospital since Sunday, but never fear - he is doing better, and hopefully coming home tomorrow :) Hope your week was much better than mine!

This week's Feature and Follow is different. Its not just a discussion question. It's:

Activity: Spine Poetry. Create a line of poetry with your book spines (take a picture). Not feeling creative? Tell us about your favorite poem.

Now unfortunately, though I am feeling rather creative, with the crazy week I've had, there was no time to work on this beforehand, and I'm at work with no access to my books. So I guess I will go with the favorite poem aspect:

                                     By E.E. Cummings
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
I just love this poem. And you know, its not for any of its likely hidden meanings and what not, because poems never just mean one thing. Its just beautiful and sweet and its how I feel about my fiance, and I want it read at my wedding. Sappy? Yes. But I still love it. There are a couple of other poems that I really love by Jill Scott, and I have her first book, with all my faves book marked, but of course I dont remember them or have the book. So, if you're into poetry, look up Jill Scott - she is awesome! Her music is great too :)
I'd love to see your creativity if you got to create a spine poem. If not - what's your favorite poem!?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Review: A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

ISBN: 9781594483851
Publisher: Penguin Group [USA] Inc.
Release date: May, 2007
Series: No - Stand alone
Page count: 372 pages

A Thousand Splendid Suns is a breathtaking story set against the volatile events of Afghanistan's last thirty years, from the Soviet invasion to the reign of the Taliban to post-Taliban rebuilding, that puts the violence, fear, hope and faith of this country in intimate, human terms. It is a tale of two generations of characters brought jarringly together by the tragic sweep of war, where personal lives, the struggle to survive, raise a family, find happiness, are inextricable from the history playing out around them.
Propelled by the same storytelling instinct that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once a remarkable chronicle of three decades of Afghan history and a deeply moving account of family and friendship. It is a striking, heartwrenching novel of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love, a stunning accomplishment.

  • The writing was absolutely beautiful, believable, gripping, wonderful.
  • I liked how Hosseini consistently uses Farsi in his writing. I'm pretty sure I know a few words now just from reading this book.
  • The backstory of Afghanistan's history provided a very clear lesson for someone like me who only knows the history as far back as the Taliban goes. Its easy to lump all those of middle eastern descent together until you learn more about them - and something tells me this novel only skims the top.
  • Its very easy to take your life for granted. Reading a story like this, though it is fictional, you realize that people really do live like this. Its heartbreaking and inspriring at the same time. I dont think I will ever feel right complaining about my boyfriend/husband not listening to me anymore.
  • It had a sort-of happy ending. This book did not have very much to be happy about, trust me. I was angry and cried very many times, but at the very least, Hosseini gave me an ending that was believably sad yet happy enough to make me want to cry tears of joy at the same time.

  • So many years were skipped over at a time in some parts of the book. I know - imagine how long this book would be if they told me everything that happened - but I feel like so much of Mariam was missing, so much of what made her who she was.
  • Some of it was just so awful. It truly depressed me - to the point that I had nightmares! (Okay, I had a dream I had to marry someone I didnt want to - like Mariam - and I woke up almost in tears). I know that the message of the book couldnt truly be understood without the hardships these women endured but... come on Mr. Hosseini. Give me a break!

This was a wonderful tragic tale of endurance, hope through unimaginable darkness, finding love and making sacrifices.  I cant even imagine half of the things the characters in this book went through. Can. Not. Imagine.

A Thousand Splendid Suns also is a huge history lesson. I feel so enlightened after reading this book. Its so easy, being from America, to be ignorant of the Middle East other than the fact that some majorly awful things happened caused by people from there. But they are people too, who endure things we couldnt even begin to imagine.

One thing I found interesting about this book is how it includes a scene where Laila and Tariq see on TV that the World Trade Center had been hit and President Bush declared war on Afghanistan. I am from New York. Some of my family worked very close to the Towers and saw people jumping from to their deaths from the building. My father was stranded in Manhattan unable to contact us for hours after the towers fell. Thank God I didn't lose anyone in the attacks but many did and  New York City still mourns its losses. I remember it all vividly, and as I was reading this book, I was a little nervous as it got closer and closer to  September 2001, wondering if and how he would mention this horrible event that was so close to home for me. I couldnt help but wonder if he would skim over it or say horrible things that would piss me off. For the most part, it was skimmed over. I was almost mad.... and then I continued reading and realized that it was portrayed the way that it was for most people in the Middle East. Seeing it on TV and shrugging sadly, knowing that so many people lost their lives,  then moving on. I think we as Americans discriminate, some people call people of middle eastern descent "terrorists" and hate these people for something they didnt do.

Okay, let me get off my soap box. What I'm getting at is that I am happy with the way this, and other Afghan history, was depicted in this book in a way that was respectful to such a sensitive subject and truthfully portrayed the other side.

So aside from my depressing rant there, I loved this book and it was so well written, so enlightening, inspiring... This is my first Khaled Hosseini novel, but I cant wait to read The Kite Runner and And the Mountains Echoed!

     RATING: ★★★★
I enjoyed this one so much. It fell a little short of the five star mark but I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in Afghanistan's history or literary fiction. Great read!

Have any of you read this one yet? What did you think? Do you agree or disagree with my opinion?


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - Just Beachy

Happy Tuesday, once again! My life has been tumultuous and messy these past few days. My fiancé has been in the hospital with multiple blood clots caused by a minor surgery he had a few weeks ago. Its been super scary, but now he is on the mend and doing much better and I'm able to focus on things other than sitting around and being a nervous wreck and harassing the nurses. So what better to get back in the swing of things than with Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!? This week's topic:
This one was a toughie for me because I don't read on the beach very often. I don't get sun-burned very easily and sometimes I tan too easily (I know some of you are wondering how that could be a problem, haha!?) but it would be my luck that I'd fall asleep with the book splayed over my chest like this guy down here and have a book tan line.... actually that sounds pretty cool, now that I think about it! :)
Also, everyone has very different definitions of what a beach read is, which makes this topic even cooler. I've seen interpretations of this topic today that I would never have thought of! Great job, fellow bloggers, on your creativity! :)
My definition of a beach read is something that reminds you of summer or the beach or the water, or a memory you have of a summer, or something you like to read on your summers off (if you're a student or a teacher, or get to take time off in the summer)...

Lord of the Flies by William Golding- Set on a beach. Well a really scary island without any grown-ups, but this one definitely made me think of the beach, just not in the most fun way... :/

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares - This one has summer written all over it. Only one of that characters in the first installment actually visits the beach, I think, but it is all about summer and traveling, etc.

Three Sister's Island Trilogy by Nora Roberts - This one is set on an island on the east coast. Not always warm but definitely has beaches! :) And its a romance trilogy. I don't necessarily love the idea of a gigantic epic read while on the beach (unless it is HP haha). Summer is supposed to be light and fun, especially when you're lying around on the beach, so why not have your books that way too?

Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling - Don't you guys even say anything! One - HP must be on every list ever :) Two - this doesn't remind me of summer or beaches, its just that I decided recently to re-read the series this summer, so if I make it to a beach this year, I'll definitely be reading this one while lounging around on it.

Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan- Again, not necessarily beachy or summery, but Percy is the son of Poseidon, the sea god, so we see lots of ocean and water action throughout this series, which I love.

What are your favorite beach reads?! Please give me some recommendations for the summer! :)


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Review: Shades of Earth by Beth Revis

ISBN: 9781595143990
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: January, 2013
Series: Across the Universe #3
Page Count: 369 pages


Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They're ready to start life afresh--to build a home--on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience.

But this new Earth isn't the paradise Amy had been hoping for. There are giant pterodactyl-like birds, purple flowers with mind-numbing toxins, and mysterious, unexplained ruins that hold more secrets than their stone walls first let on. The biggest secret of all? Godspeed's former passengers aren't alone on this planet. And if they're going to stay, they'll have to fight.

Amy and Elder must race to discover who--or what--else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. They will have to look inward to the very core of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed--friends, family, life on Earth--will have been for nothing.


  • SoE transports us to a whole new world on Certauri-Earth and Revis gives us more of her world-building talent last seen in A Million Suns. Her descriptive passages are so vivid and transport you into the world until you are practically seeing it with your own eyes - and all of this is happening without the descriptions being too long or tedious. Revis is a master!
  • Eldest and Amy develop even further, and I can hardly see the children in them any more. Elder is a true leader. Amy finally starts to learn independence.
  • Eldest and Amy's romance definitely develops further too. It takes up a little more time than in the first two, but I didn't mind that. I mean, she couldn't quite give him a  key to her apartment and a toothbrush in her bathroom, but things definitely went to the next level. Once again, I was completely comfortable with this book without the romance, and that's not something you find often with young adult novels lately.
  • After books one and two, I've found that I had started to feel like I was part of the ship, so through most of this book I thought of it as "us" (shipborns...and me) and "them" (earthborns)
  • *****spoiler***** I am so glad that the "aliens" were not scaly green aliens. When Revis tricked us and made us think they were, I was so sorely disappointed, and I was so freaking relieved when it turned out they werent. I loved the mystery and betrayals behind it all, and finding out what the truth really was!****end spoiler****
  • The ending... many people didn't like it - they said it was predictable. Yes, it was predictable, if this was any old novel that wasn't this amazing. But Beth Revis was throwing curveballs every which way so I truly didn't know how this one was going to end. I was so relieved when it ended the way it did.
  • All the clues and mysteries from this book and A Million Suns were so amazingly put together and believable. At certain points I wondered just how is she going to make this make sense? and then she did it and she blew my frickin' mind again!

  • Revis' descriptions are to be rivaled with - but some of the scenes in this one really turned by stomach. Just....EW!
  • The first half of Shades of Earth moved a little slower for me, slower than the first two books, at least. I guess in reality it was paced pretty normal, but compared to the mind-blowingness of the first two, it was just a tad slow. Half way through, though, I was back to being mind-blown.
  • I was anticipating the waking of Amy's parents probably almost as much as she was, and I was a little let down. Her mom seemed like a little bit of a nerdy-ditz, and almost unimportant after everything was said and done. Her dad was a huge a-hole. I mean, no one is perfect, so I guess I couldn't expect her parents to be, and I think maybe I was feeling the same way about them as Elder was - that Amy talked them up so much, and they were completely different people than she made them out to be.

I just loved this series as a whole. I think this installment moved slower for me and I wasn't as hooked as I was with the first two but it was still an absolutely fantastic ending to this series. There were minor things I didn't love about the series in general which I outlined in the "what I didn't like" sections of each of my reviews. I loved that this series didn't focus on the romance aspect at all and was more than enough of a story to survive without it. Love Love LOVE the Across the Universe trilogy, and I am secretly praying that it will be made into a TV series because SO much can be done with this one after much.

     RATING: ★★★★
4 star rating, I loved this last book in the trilogy, just not as much as the other two. I recommend this to all sci-fi and young adult lovers who can do without the cheesy romance.

Have any of you read this series? Please tell me what you thought? I am eager to discuss this trilogy with anyone who has read it! Agree or disagree?!


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Harry Potter Re-Read

Good God, how many times have I re-read Harry Potter? Okay... well I have a confession. I've read it in full....ONCE. I've started reading it THREE times. But only read the series in its entirety ONE time. I know... shame on me. My first time ever reading it, I ended up in the middle of book 5. Second time, the whole way through, third time I only got to book 4 before I got distracted by other reads. Yet I delve into a discussion of the Harry Potter books or movies every chance I get, and I literally feel so nostalgic to be back at Hogwarts that my heart aches. Its like being homesick. Is that weird? No, to the contrary,  I think its quite right. :)

I've been wanting to try at another re-read but didnt want to just rush through them. I want to chronicle my journey through the books (and movies) this time. I dont want to review the books per say... I dont think I could review them objectively because I love them so much.

What I am going to do is start from book 1 again, and I guess "journal" my way through, chapter by chapter.. or maybe seveal chapters by several chapters. I feel like these books have so many hidden gems, and as much as I want to devour them and fly right through them, I want to truly enjoy, explore and understand everything there is to gain from the Harry Potter series as a whole - oh and hopefully blogging through my re-read will hold me responsible to read the series the whole way through!

So my goals in this regard are:

1. First and foremost, obviously, read all 7 books this time.

2. Take notes while reading each book so that I can write better in-depth discussions of the same.

3. Watch each movie after reading each book and discuss the same.

4. Research and discover more about the series as I read each book, chronicling my opinion, hidden meanings, and additional information that Rowling provided to her readers subsequent to the publishing of her last novel.

5. Post a discussion at least once per week on whatever chapters I have read that week, most likely on Sundays.

I know this will probably take months. I dont generally enjoy the thought of taking several months to read a book, but who wouldnt want to be at Hogwarts for months at a time?

I'd love to invite you for a read-along, but I dont know how long each book will take me, especially once I get past book three, haha! I'm mainly doing this for me, but would love a partner, or two, or ten :)

But seriously, if any of you are re-reading or will be re-reading, or even reading for the first time, this series - please please join in the discussion with me. Harry Potter is my favorite thing to discuss and reminisce about and I would love to hear your opinions and knowledge on the books, and discuss our favorite things!

So stay tuned as I begin my journey through the world that is Harry Potter! :)


Friday, June 7, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday - It's Not Me... It's Definitely You

Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly feature hosted by Parajunkee. Visit her site to find out how to participate!
New followers, please consider following via Bloglovin' or Twitter (or both!) rather than GFC due to the rumors about it's discontinuance. Let me know you're following and how, and I'll come pay you a visit! :)
This week's question is:
Q: Have you broken up with a series? If so which one and why?
Oh goodness, yes. I think I've broken up with many, many series. Some that I still love but just cant get back into, some that I never loved but read just because I'm like that and cant seem to say no to a series. Here are some of my most notable series break ups:

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer - Probably the most notable break-up of my existence. I loved this series, I actually still do feel fondness for it. I read it twice, went to all the midnight premieres of all five movies. Then I started branching out and reading much more and realized that Twilight is not the cream of the crop. So... I had to end things. I don't think I'll be revisiting that series for a long time.
The Virgin River Series by Robyn Carr - This one is also quite notable. I loved this series, and again, am still fond of it and would even recommend the first few to fellow romance lovers. However, this series has something like 20 books in it, and somewhere around book 10, it started getting old and monotonous, etc. Carr has since begun a new spin-off series... hopefully this one is a little less predictable.
Eragon by Christopher Paolini - This happens to the one book that I did not like that I vowed to never pick up again. This wasn't a bad book, don't get me wrong, it just so happened to be a big mash up of all my faves (HP, LotR, etc.) and that wasn't quite my thing. I bought the second book because I don't like to leave things open and tend to read books I hate for this very reason, but I see myself donating this book to the library very soon. So I can honestly say... Eragon, Its not me. Its YOU!
Have any of you broken up with a series? Which ones!?
Oh and how many of you are super excited for next week's activity in place of a question!? I love the little variation and opportunity for creativity! :)
Leave a comment if you follow, and I'll follow back :)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - Travel Books

Happy Tuesday! I start my five-day vacation tomorrow, so this really is a happy Tuesday! :)

Top Ten Tuesday is an awesome list-making feature that certainly appeals to my type-A personality. Who doesnt love lists!? Its hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Visit them to find out how to participate! This week's top ten:

Top Ten  Five Books Featuring Travel In Some Way (road trips, airplanes, travelogues, anything where there is traveling in the book!)

1. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger - uh.. TIME TRAVEL! The best kind of travel, duh.... except when you cant control when and where you go. Then you end up with a tragic love story that leaves me crying my ugly cry at the movie theatre.
2. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling - They do all sorts of travel in this series - travel by the Hogwarts Express, bewitched Ford Anglia, broomstick, Apparation, Port Keys, Floo Powder - you name it, they had it!
3. Across the Universe by Beth Revis - Intergalactic Space Travel! One of my favorite series made this method of travel one of my favorites!
4. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares - The pants travel. And so do three out of the four main characters. This book is what made me want to go to Greece.
5. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert - This book is centered around traveling to different countries, learning new things about the world and yourself. LOVE this book!
There are so many other wildly popular books that have a focus on travel.... unfortunately I just havent read them yet. What are your favorite travel books?

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Armchair BEA Wrap-up

We've come to the end my friends. Had a great time participating in this past weeks' Armchair BEA. This post will be a short one. My favorite part about this was getting all the advice from long-time bloggers and making some new friends!

The only complaint I had was  with the linkys and the timing  of when they were available. I know putting this whole thing together takes so much work an  organization though, so its completely excusable.

It was great experience as a first timer, and thank you to all of my fellow bloggers!

What was your favorite part about Armchair BEA this year?


Saturday, June 1, 2013

Armchair BEA: Keeping it Real & YA Lit

Welcome to this last day of discussions for Armchair BEA! I've had such a great time these past few days meeting new bloggers and learning new things. Today's discussion topics are: Keeping it Real and Children's/YA Literature
Gee, what the hell do I know about keeping it fresh? I've been blogging for about 6 months and if I've run out of idea already, then we have got a problem!

How do you continue to keep blogging fun? How do you not only grow an audience, but how do you keep them coming back for more?

Fun for who? Me or the readers? For me... thats a good question. A few years back when I was blogging, it came to a point where it wasnt fun for me anymore and that is why I left. So far this time around, everything has been pretty good, knock on wood. But I think I came into this with expectations that sometimes it wont be fun, and it'll be more a mix of fun and responsibility. What do I want to gain from this blog? Obviously, as most bloggers, a following, blogging friends, new book ideas, bookish news, and maybe one day far far in the future, a profit (or at least enough for me to run the thing without paying out of pocket). I'm not going to get any of that if I dont take responsibility for my blog.

How do I keep it fun for the readers? As of right now, I'm basically trying to produce the one thing this blog is actually about - REVIEWS. And aside from that, posting discussion topics and trying to participate in or provide fun things for them, which in turn... I hope, keeps them coming back. :)

Again, as a new blogger, I'd rather take this opportunity to ask what YOU do to keep it fresh, and what can I do to keep readers coming back?

FINALLY! The topic I've been waiting for all week, as many of my YA bloggers probably have been also. :) I dont even think I need to discuss my love for YA. Before posting the pictures of my favorite Children's and YA reads... why do I love children's/YA so much? Frankly, even at 23 years old I feel like I connect with it better than most adult novels. They are always unique and fun and though some of them tackle very tough subjects, they still manage to be more readable and less stuffy than the adult novels I read sometimes. They reach multitudes of audiences from children to teens to young adults to senior citizens. Its an amazing genre with so many subgenres that I fear I'll never have the pleasure of reading them all.

So anyway, without further adieu:


These are just some of my favorite children's, middle grade and young adult books. I LOVE LOVE LOVE them ALL!

What kid's books do you love and why?