Thursday, May 23, 2013

(33) A Perfect Romance

Title: A Perfect Romance by Layce Gardner
Publisher: Bella Books
288 pages
Genre: LGBT

Synopsis: Love at first sight. How perfectly romantic!

When Dana meets Ellen she’s not entirely honest because she doesn't want to look foolish. If she explained that she’s wingman to her BFF Trudy, who is trying to pick up men at an AA meeting, then Ellen would quite reasonably want to back away, slowly.

The only way to see Ellen again is to keep going to the meetings and try really hard not to dig herself a deeper hole. But on the day Dana was born the good Lord was handing out shovels and whichever idiot said the course of true love was easy, well, they flat-out lied.

Review: Caution don't read this book while eating or drinking anything or you will wind up with liquid coming out of your nose and spitting food across the room.  I found myself laughing out loud several times while reading this book.

Dana is a clumsy, woman who has a knack for getting herself into trouble. Dana is obsessed with the thought that her girlfriend is cheating on her.  She would like to break up with her if she could only find her.  While she is trying to figure out if her girlfriend is cheating on her Dana finds herself assaulting a police officer, wanted for armed robbery and a suspect in a murder, which are all a big misunderstanding.

Reminiscent of Janet Evanovitch's Stephanie Plum novels, this book is pure mind candy.  I loved it.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Teaser Tuesday May 21, 2013

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!

• 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!

My Teaser this week is from A Perfect Romance by Layce Gardner

"Ellen screamed at the room in large, "She's dying!"

 Dana blinked rapidly six times (a multiple of three), then closed her eyes and saw a series of romantic snapshots of a future with Ellen: Sharing spaghetti noodles from the same plate, Lady and the Tramp style; Ellen and Dana freezing to death in the Atlantic Ocean, lying on an ice floe while Rosie O'Donnell's cruise ship sinks in the background; Ellen seated at a pottery wheel while Dana tantalizes her from behind..... "

Monday, May 20, 2013

(32) Thirteen Reasons Why

Title: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Publisher: Razorbill
288 pages
Genre: YA

Synopsis: Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker - his classmate and crush - who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah's voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out why. Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah's pain, and learns the truth about himself-a truth he never wanted to face.

Review: What can I say about this book other than WOW. Watching this girls world unfold and knowing how it ends before it even begins is like watching the movie Titanic where you know the boat sinks but you still can't believe it happens in the end. Jay Asher has an amazing ability to get you inside the mind of a suicidal young girl.  This book explores how rumors, judgements and the way we treat others has lasting consequences that we may never see.  It can be considered a cautionary tale, to be careful how you treat others because your actions can have dire consequences.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

(31) The Season of Risks

Title: The Season of Risks: An Ethical Vampire Novel by Susan Hubbard
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
286 pages
Genre: YA

Synopsis: Aglow with the promise of her budding friendship with third-party presidential candidate (and closet vampire) Neil Cameron, Ari Montero returns to school frustrated, like most teenagers, that she’s just not old enough—darn it!—to be accepted in grown-up circles. But Ari isn’t like most teenagers. Half human, half vampire, she is destined to remain at the same tender age at which she crossed over. Her desire to achieve instant adulthood leads her to the Miami clinic run by a vampire notorious for his delusions of world domination. There she is injected with a serum that instantly takes her from 15 to 22.

Review: The third book in the Ethical Vampire series.  This series is one of the best new vampire series that I have read. I wouldn't consider this the best book in the series but it did have an interesting storyline.

Ari was 13 when she was turned now she is now in her 15th year although most of her friends believe she is 19 and attending University.  How would you like to be trapped in the same body you had at 13 with the same brain function? Well Ari wasn't thrilled with the idea, so when she learns about a drug that can age her 7 years including brain function she is understandably intrigued.  Of course what starts out as something innocent turns into something disastrous, leading Ari and her family on a roller coaster ride that leaves them in the middle of a political conspiracy with far reaching consequences.

There are a lot of great characters in this series.  My favorite is of course Ari with the new character of Sloan running a close second, I'm hoping that Ms. Hubbard writes some more so we can learn more about these two great characters.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Teaser Tuesday May 14, 2013

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!

• 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!

 My teaser is from Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

" You needed a name to put down opposite Jessica's. And since everyone at school already had a perverted image of me after Justin's little number, I was the perfect choice, wasn't I?" 

Monday, May 13, 2013

(30) Does This Baby Make Me Look Straight

TitleDoes This Baby Make Me Look Straight?: Confessions of a Gay Dad by Dan Bucatinsky
Publisher: Touchstone
256 pages
Genre: biography

Synopsis: In 2005, Dan Bucatinsky and his partner, Don Roos, found themselves in an L.A. delivery room, decked out in disposable scrubs from shower cap to booties, to welcome their adopted baby girl—launching their frantic yet memorable adventures into fatherhood. Two and a half years later, the same birth mother—a heroically generous, pack-a-day teen with a passion for Bridezilla marathons and Mountain Dew—delivered a son into the couple’s arms. In Does This Baby Make Me Look Straight? Bucatinsky moves deftly from sidesplitting stories about where kids put their fingers to the realization that his athletic son might just grow up to be straight and finally to a reflection on losing his own father just as he’s becoming one.

Review: Dan has written a funny, revealing book about what it is like to be a new parent.  He talks about his quest to adopt, his disappointment with one failed adoption and his joy at becoming a father, not once but twice thanks to the same woman.  His stories of parenthood are not for everyone - if you don't like kindergarten humor then this might be a book to pass on but if you have kids and know the crazy weird things they come up with to ask or do then you may appreciate his candidness.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

(29) Envy

Title: Envy (Empty Coffin) by Gregg Olsen
Publisher: Splinter
312 pages
Genre: YA

Synopsis: Crime lives--and dies--in the deceptively picture-perfect town of Port Gamble (aka “Empty Coffin”), Washington. Evil lurks and strange things happen--and 15-year-olds Hayley and Taylor Ryan secretly use their wits and their telepathic “twin-sense” to uncover the truth about the town's victims and culprits.

Envy, the series debut, involves the mysterious death of the twins' old friend, Katelyn. Was it murder? Suicide? An accident? Hayley and Taylor are determined to find out--and as they investigate, the twins stumble upon a dark truth that is far more disturbing than they ever could have imagined.

Review: I had a difficult time getting into this book. The characters were not all that sympathetic and I really didn't care much.  I did however come to enjoy Hayley and Taylor.  As the book progressed and focused more on them instead of the self-absorbed, popular obsessed, label crazed other characters I found myself being drawn in but there were still some major elements to this book that I just didn't like.

The murder of Katelyn seems to be a weight around the town but yet other crimes like cyber stalking, or just plain stalking and even murder of other people just doesn't seem to rate.  There just seem to be a lot of really major issues touched on in this book with a flippant attitude that I didn't really enjoy.  Since this is Gregg Olsens first foray into YA I will give him some leeway.  However he seems to have a lot of disdain for the members of the audience that he is trying to appeal to.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Teaser Tuesday May 7, 2013

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!

• 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!

My Teaser Tuesday is The Guilty One: A Novel by Lisa Ballantyne

" The vast majority of clients have had really difficult upbringings...D'you know how much a damaged child in the care system will cost the state throughout the course of its life?
Irene narrowed her eyes, considering, then shrugged." 

Monday, May 6, 2013

(28) The Red Book: A Novel

Title: The Red Book: A novel by Deborah Copaken Kogan
Publisher: Hyperion
344 pages
Genre: Fiction

Synopsis: Clover, Addison, Mia, and Jane were roommates at Harvard until their graduation in 1989.

Twenty years later, their lives are in free fall. Clover, once a securities broker, is out of a job and struggling to reproduce before her fertility window shuts. Addison's marriage to a writer's-blocked novelist is as stale as her so-called career as a painter. Hollywood closed its gold-plated gates to Mia, who now stays home with her children, renovating and acquiring faster than her husband can pay the bills. Jane, the Paris bureau chief for a newspaper whose foreign bureaus are now shuttered, is caught in a vortex of loss.

Like all Harvard grads, they've kept abreast of one another via the red book, a class report published every five years, containing alumni autobiographical essays. But there's the story we tell the world, and then there's the real story, as these former classmates will learn during their twentieth reunion, a relationship-changing, score-settling, unforgettable weekend.

Review: So many of us try to project that we have the perfect life, when in reality it is anything but.  These four roomates are struggling, Jane with her boyfriend having cheated on her while she was away in the states, Clover with her husband's indifference with their struggle with infertility, Addison, with her rocky marriage and figuring out she has no attraction to her husband, and Mia whose life seems like a fairy tale but her husband is hiding a secret.

I have to be honest I thought the beginning of this book was a bit random and I wasn't quite sucked in right away but I found each story held something more, and I was right, I'm glad I kept reading. Life is messy and this book shows just that.  The mixed emotions, the lies we tell ourselves, the relief when we forgive and move on, etc..its all there. Its a breakfast club for the 40-somethings. We thought that life was confusing in our 20's but sometimes its just as confusing in your 40's.  Thats when you have to decide if you are going through life like a zombie or actually living.  It would suck to go through the rest of life as a, be joyful and play!

Friday, May 3, 2013

(27) Instant Mom

Title: Instant Mom by Nia Vardalos
Publisher: Harper Collins
251 Pages
Genre: Autobiography

Synopsis: Nia Vardalos, writer and star of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, tells her hilarious and poignant road-to-parenting story that eventually leads to her daughter and prompts her to become a major advocate for adoption.

Vardalos chronicles her attempts to have a baby, and how she tries everything—from drinking jugs of green mud tea, to acupuncture, to working with two surrogates. Finally, she and her husband, actor Ian Gomez, decide to try adoption and discover a free service: Foster Family Agencies. Then one day, the social workers "match" her with an almost-three-year-old girl, who she knows, instantly, is her daughter.

Review: Honest, funny and honest Nia Vardalos writes about her struggles with infertility, the overwhelming sense of failure while going through IVF and ultimately her decision to adopt through foster care. Nia and her husband adopt a 3 year old little girl through foster care and became an instant family overnight. If you expect a book that is all sunshine and roses from this point forward you will be mistaken.  Nia shares her struggle to bond with a child whose trust has been broken, to figure out how to parent a 3 year old when she hasn't had 3 years to figure it out.  Nia shares her story with humor and joy, because no matter what her little girl throws at her and her husband they are determined to be a family.  Ultimately uplifting and wonderful, Nia's story shows that love and determination can help you climb the biggest hill.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

(26) Overcome: Burned, Blinded & Blessed

Title: Overcome: Burned, Blinded, and Blessed by Carmen Blandin Tarleton
Publisher: RTC Publishing
294 Pages
Genre: Autobiography

I received this book through as an advanced readers copy. It was released February 20, 2013

Synopsis: On June 10, 2007, Carmen Blandin Tarleton’s estranged husband broke into her rural Vermont home, beat her with a baseball bat, and doused her with industrial-strength lye. Doctors called it “THE MOST HORRIFIC INJURY A HUMAN BEING COULD SUFFER.” Tarleton spent the next three and a half months in a medically induced coma, and when she awoke, it was to an unimaginable reality: she was blind and permanently disfigured, with burns covering more than eighty percent of her body. Her recovery would include months of painful rehab, dozens of surgeries, and total dependence on family, friends, and strangers for physical and financial care. With so much taken away, no one could have anticipated what Tarleton would gain from her experience: an awakening. A purpose. Joy. By sharing her struggles and ultimate victory over catastrophic loss, Tarleton proves that life is a choice—and, in the process, offers a rare glimpse into the best and worst corners of the human heart.

Review: From the opening page I was drawn into this story.  Carmen's story could be anyone's story.  How many people do you know who are young divorced women thinking they found love only to find that their new mate has flaws and keeps secrets? Quite a few I bet.  But of course no one thinks that one day their ex love will come back and bring such a nightmare of pain, loss and agony. This is not so much a book about her struggle but more about survival, and not just survival but victory. That's not to say that Carmen didn't have her moments of doubt, her moments of anger, her moments of despair.

We've all heard stories of people who have overcome cancer and told how it changed their lives, that living so close to death was a wake up call to live. Well this is similar, Carmen used what happened to her to help others.  She chose to share her story, Carmen's determination and strength can teach us all what is important in life, to not dwell on the past, or be overwhelmed by what we have lost and instead focus on the things we love, the things that inspire.  Life is a choice, you can choose to live it or you can choose to waste it being miserable or unhappy...which will you do?

Turns out that today May 2, 2013 I heard on the radio that Carmen received a face transplant.  I wish her all the best!
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