Monday, March 31, 2014

Love Letters To The Dead- Ava Dellaira

Title: Love Letters to the Dead
Author: Ava Dellaira
Source: For review from the publisher
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Rating: 4/5

Goodreads Summary:
It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more; though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was; lovely and amazing and deeply flawed; can she begin to discover her own path.

I read this in the beginning of March but it has taken me this long to process my thoughts and feelings about this book. It is so good. Oh my goodness. I cannot believe how much I liked this book. Laurel story starts with her doing an English class assignment of writing a letter to a dead person. She starts by writing a Kurt Cobain because she loves him just like her sister May did. She is trying to process the death of her sister May and in order for her to do so she starts writing letters to people like Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin and Heath Ledger to name a few. These are all people who remind Laurel of her sister May. 

The night that May died, Laurel was there but she cannot tell her parents what happened. She starts writing down what happened to her leading up to May's death and the aftermath of her death to work out for herself what happened. She meets a boy who knew her sister and gives her a new perspective of who her sister was and allows her to understand May. 

All of the characters in this novel are amazing and flawed. They are all deep and intricate, you really do not know any of the characters. You think you do, but then another side of them is revealed and it tilts your entire view of this character on it's head and makes you rethink everything. 

This book comes out tomorrow and you need to pick this up as soon as it comes out. This is a book I will need to re-read at some point because there is so much I feel like I have left to discover about this story that I overlooked the first time because I was so engrossed and my sense were overloaded with so many emotions. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Book Thief Movie

I finally watched this movie. I never seen it in theaters because I am terrible about keeping up with movies. I bought this on blu-ray and I love it. This movie stuck very close to the novel, the major plot points were all touched on in the movie. I was hoping that the movie would change a little bit (I am thinking about Rudy. Sigh) but it didn't. I am glad in a way it stuck so closely to the book but I was so sad. If you have read the book you know what scene I am talking about. I know it's coming but it still gets me every time.

This is a movie someone who has not read the book will enjoy. The information given is enough to go by to understand the plot and fall in love with Liesel and everyone else on Himmel street. I watched this with my fiancee who has not read the book and he enjoyed it.

This is a very dark movie, I love how the darkness translated from the book to the movie so well. The lighhearted moments were captured so well. If you buy the blu-ray version (I recommend it) there is an awesome extra where Markus Zusak talks about the film.

5/5 for this movie. I absolutely adored it and once I am emotionally read I will re-watch it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Shadowhunter's Codex- Cassandra Clare

Title: The Shadowhunter's Codex
Author: Cassandra Clare
Source: Borrowed from the library
Series: Companion/ reference novel
Rating: 3/5

This is going to be a mini review for this book since this is a reference companion to the Moral Instrument series. These are my thoughts in short form of what I thought of this novel.

I felt like this did have some additional information about the shadowhunter world, but a lot of the information is revealed during the series anyways. This was just some background information about the shadowhunters history and the history of other downworlders.  There is a completely seperate story that happens in the margins of this novel which is quite amusing. The different characters occasionally blended together and I had a hard time at times telling the different between the narrators. Clarys was easy to pick out but everyone else sort of blended together at times. 

The big thing that bothered me about this book was it did not really add anything to the story.  This is a book I could have not read any still understood what was going on in the series. It took almost 100 pages for this to become interesting. This is something I think that would have been better reading this bits and pieces. I read this as a novel and read it front to back. If I would have read this as a reference book. If you are a fan of the series this would be a nice addition to a collection but its not a must have for me.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (113)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

This has been a completely awful week. I have not posted all week because as soon as I got home from work this week I just wanted to mindlessly sit in front of the TV and do nothing productive. I hope next week gets better.

Remembrance- Michelle Meadow (free on kindle)

Ignite Me- Tahereh Mafi

Borrowed from the Library
The Impossible Knife of Memory- Laurie Halse Anderson
Meant To Be- Lauren Morrill
Night Film- Marisha Pessl

What did you get this week?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Wedding Update

I will not have a stacking the shelves this week since I hauled absolutely nothing this week so I thought I would do a wedding update instead since as of yesterday my wedding is officially three months away.

I sent out my invites out at the end of February since I refused to pay the additional price for stamps (I am cheap) so they went out a little early. We had our buck and doe last weekend and it was stressful but a whole lot of fun. We had a pretty good turn out which was completely awesome. I left my fiancée in charge of paying the rest of the money owed on the decorator, photographer and bring some more money to our venue to get some things out of the way since he is off until tomorrow. In April I am going for my dress fitting which I am surprisingly nervous about. I am bringing everything to see how everything will look together. I am pretty nervous but excited. I feel like I have so much to do, but there is a lot of things that cannot be done until we get closer to the date.

Let me know if you enjoy these more personal post so I know if I should post again.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Don't Even Think About It- Sarah Mlynowski

Title: Don't Even Think About It
Author: Sarah Mlynowski
Source: Netgalley for review
Series:  Stand alone
Rating:  3/5

Goodreads Summary:

We weren't always like this. We used to be average New York City high school sophomores. Until our homeroom went for flu shots. We were prepared for some side effects. Maybe a headache. Maybe a sore arm. We definitely didn't expect to get telepathic powers. But suddenly we could hear what everyone was thinking. Our friends. Our parents. Our crushes. Now we all know that Tess is in love with her best friend, Teddy. That Mackenzie cheated on Cooper. That, um, Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper.
Since we've kept our freakish skill a secret, we can sit next to the class brainiac and ace our tests. We can dump our boyfriends right before they dump us. We know what our friends really think of our jeans, our breath, our new bangs. We always know what's coming. Some of us will thrive. Some of us will crack. None of us will ever be the same. So stop obsessing about your ex. We're always listening.

I am a big fan of Sarah Mlynowski. I love her adult novels and I am a big fan of her Magic In Manhattan series so I was eager to get my hands on her newest novel. This novel is about a group of teenagers who get a flu vaccine that causes them to hear each other thoughts.  The narrator comes from the teenagers affected as a whole. A good amount of the novel addresses the group as a we.

The novel starts by giving a brief view into the lives of the main characters before they have the flu shot. We get a brief look at these characters before everything they think about is known. Once they receive the shot, there is no secrets between them. They can read everyone's mind and soon things they never wanted to know about each other and their families comes out.

The concept of this story was interesting, but I felt like the characters were lacking a little. There was no characters that stood out for me, they all sort of blended together. There was not one point of view I was more eager to get back to above all the other characters. I felt a lot of indifference towards all of these characters.

The plot was very predictable. I never felt like I was surprised in anyway about this story. This book is pretty fluffy. The big thing that bothered me in this novel was Tess slut shaming Sadie because Teddy was not interested in her in that way. I know there are teenage girls that actually act and think this way, but it really bothered me. I thought it was too harsh and a little over the top.

I did not love this novel, but it was a fast read. If you like Mlynowski's other young adult novels I would recommend this. If you are only a fan of her adult books, I would possibly recommend skipping this one. It does feel very juvenile at times.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Sekret- Lindsay Smith

Title:  Sekret
Author: Lindsay Smith
Source: Received for review 
Series: Yes
Release Date: April , 2014
Rating: 4.5/5

Goodreads Summary: 
Yulia's father always taught her to hide her thoughts and control her emotions to survive the harsh realities of Soviet Russia. But when she's captured by the KGB and forced to work as a psychic spy with a mission to undermine the U.S. space program, she's thrust into a world of suspicion, deceit, and horrifying power. Yulia quickly realizes she can trust no one--not her KGB superiors or the other operatives vying for her attention--and must rely on her own wits and skills to survive in this world where no SEKRET can stay hidden for long.

The story starts with Yulia making her way through the black market to get supplies for her mother's illegal clinic. She is on a constant high alert as her father always taught her to hide her thoughts and control her emotions. She is captured by the KGB and so is her mother and young brother and they use this leverage to make Yulia cooperate. She quickly learns to trust none.

Yulia was the perfect character for this story, she was smart and quick witted. She knew how to protect herself and was constantly on high alert. She never completely trusted anyone in the KGB and she did not trust even her own family completely. Her constant awareness of her environment made her an interesting character to have a prescriptive through. I liked the other teens who were involved in the KGB spy program also. There were some there on their own free will while others, like Yulia were captured and forced to work with the KGB. There was a lot of secrets of Yulia's own family that the author barely scratched the surface of in this first novel. I am curious to see which characters are going to continue to be apart of the story.

There was a helpful chart (at least in my edition) that showed common nicknames of Russian names which helped throughout the story. There was also a brief explanation of how Russian names are read as a woman's name would be read completely different from a man's name even if they have the same last name. There was a lot of research and though put into this plot. The race to space between the US and Russia was highlighted in this novel as well as the assassination of JFK along with some magical realism mixed in. 

I enjoyed this novel a lot and I will certainly be pushing this novel on everyone I know who enjoys historical fiction. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (112)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

I got another book off NetGalley that I was highly anticipating. I am still going strong with my book buying ban this week which I am quite proud of myself about.

For Review
The Truth About Alice- Jennifer Mathieu

Borrowed from the library
Clockwork Angel: The Graphic Novel- Cassandra Clare

What did you get?

Friday, March 7, 2014

If We Were Having Coffee...

This awesome conversation was created by Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner and she was inspired by Ashley at Your Super Awesome Life.

I love reading these post so I decided to do one of my own since I have been slacking quite a bit on my blog for the last few months. I love blogging, but I feel like I do not have anytime or energy lately to put any effort into it.

If we were having coffee I would tell you how excited/nervous I feel about my wedding. I have sent out the invites and I have gotten some response's back. I am excited to start this new adventure as a married couple but I am terrified of getting there. It has been very stressful in planning the wedding while working full-time. I can admit a few times I wanted to give up and call the entire thing off. I would ask you if you have any advise to keep myself from panicking so much about every little detail.

I would also ask you how to balance my time better. I feel like I get home from work and I do not have time to do anything else. If I decide to make dinner and manage to do a few things around the house I am completely wiped and I have no energy to read or do anything.

What advice would you give me if we were having coffee and what would you tell me?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Where the Stars Still Shine- Trish Doller

Title:  Where the Stars Still Shine
Author:  Trish Doller
Source: Borrowed from the library
Series:  Standalone
Rating:  4.5/5

Goodreads Summary:

Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She's never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love--even with someone who seems an improbable choice--is more than just a possibility.
Trish Doller writes incredibly real teens, and this searing story of love, betrayal, and how not to lose your mind will resonate with readers who want their stories gritty and utterly true.

This is the second book that Trish Dollar has written. I loved her first book, Something Like Normal and I also loved her most recent book just as much. I love how she makes her characters realistic, none is perfect in her novels and they all have their flaws. I thought she portrayed Callie really well.
Callie has been on the run with her mother since she was in Kindergarten. Her mother never stays in one place for long. They are finally caught and Callie learns her dad is not who her mom made him out to be. While her mom is awaiting trial for kidnapping her, Callie goes to stay with her dad and his new wife, Phoebe and learns to be a normal teenager.
Callie has a hard time trying to find middle ground between her parents, as she becomes more comfortable with her dad she feels like she is betraying her mom. Callie has a lot more hidden inside then she lets on. When she meets Alex, she starts to get comfortable with her new life. She starts making friends and gets a job at a local store. I loved Callie, she was flawed but she admitted when she made a mistake.  Alex was so sweet and his own story was filled with sadness just like Callie.  I loved the dynamic between them .
I cannot say too much about the plot without giving things away. I liked discovering the secrets of both of their pasts as a I read this novel, it made me love them both so much more. I highly recommend both this novel and her first novel. I love the writing and the story. If you have not picked this up you need to.

Monday, March 3, 2014

February Wrap Up

This month was a little bit of a fail in the reading department. I did not get a ton of reading done and I read a lot more borrowed books than owned books sadly. I am trying to improve in March. On a positive note I finished my TBR and bought no books.

The List
Not a Drop to Drink- Mindy McGinnis
The Perks of Being a Wallflower- Stephen Chbosky (re-read)
Jessica Z- Shawn Klomparens 
Sever- Lauren DeStefano 
Nightshade- Andrea Creme
The Tyrant's Daughter- J.C. Carleson
Habibi- Craig Thompson (Need to finish)

The other goals I setting for myself this month:
1) Buy less books than I read
2) Donate one book
3) Re-read at least one book

Books I own: 5

Borrowed: 6
E-Books: 2
Total: 11

Habibi- Craig Thompson 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower- Stephen Chbosky (re-read)
The Tyrant's Daughter- J.C. Carleson
Jessica Z- Shawn Klomparens
Not a Drop to Drink- Mindy McGinnis

Sever- Lauren DeStefano
Babyville- Jane Green 
Reconstructing Amelia- Kimberly McCreight
Hollow City- Randsom Riggs
Where the Stars Still Shine- Trish Doller
Nightshade- Andrea Cremer

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (111)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

I got one pre-approval from NetGalley this week which I am pretty excited for. It looks like it is going to be good. I did not buy a single book in the month of February! I am going to see if I can continue this trend into March. I also un-hauled one book which was Nightshade by Andrea Cremer. I liked it, but I do not see myself re-reading it so I am donating it.

For Review
The Here and the Now- Ann Brashares

What did you get this week?