Saturday, May 26, 2012

TBR Intervention (14)

I know it has been a while since I participated--but I wanted you to tell you all that I have missed being part of the intervention (and my TBR pile has grown exponentially too).  So I am not back and ready to get down to business!

But I also have a class that started last week and goes on for the next six weeks--so I won't be able to read as much as I used to in a week.  But even a little bit will make progress on my TBR, right?

Books I Am Committed To Read

My friends have been talking about this series so much that I just had to join in.  It has become our literary soap opera.

Summary (from Amazon):
Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister and supernatural forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the land they were born to. Sweeping from a land of brutal cold to a distant summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, here is a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens.

Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; and a determined woman undertakes the most treacherous of journeys. Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, the fate of the Starks, their allies, and their enemies hangs perilously in the balance, as each endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

My friend read this book and said that it may help me as I am learning to move forward (if you do not know what I am referring to please read taking a break).  I also saw that this book is full of shorter stories which means I do not need to focus on reading the whole thing straight through but can pick through the stories.

Summary (from Amazon):
This Is Not the Life I Ordered is for anyone who has ever felt overworked, overwhelmed, or just plain unlucky (and, who hasn't?!). Through this collection of stories, wisdom, and practical advice, readers will meet four ordinary women who have faced extraordinary life challenges. Together, they have a history of six marriages, ten children, four stepchildren, six dogs, two miscarriages, two cats, a failed adoption, and foster parenthood. Two have lived through the death of their spouses and one was shot and left for dead on a tarmac in Guyana -- which is documented in "Jonestown" airing on PBS' American Experience. T

his book started simply with four friends getting together for "kitchen-table coaching sessions" to talk about their lives. Week by week and story by story, they realized their great advice to each other could help other women struggling with life's myriad issues of work, family, and love, as well as the big questions of life and death. For over a decade, the power and strength of their collective friendship enabled these women not only to survive but to thrive. They invite readers to join them to learn how they, too, can turn "misfortunate" events into joy-filled opportunities. Readers will want to share this book with every woman in their lives!

I got out of the habit of listening to my audiobooks and I have missed them, so I am going to make it a goal to get back into the habit again.  And what is better than Jim Dale to get me back?

Summary (from Amazon):
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

Now I cannot wait to see what you are reading this week!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Follow Friday (19)

Q: Activity! Dreamcast your current read.

My current read:

Now there is already a cast for this book--but I have not watched the show yet because I want to finish the books first (everyone I know who has read the book has told me to finish it first then watch the show), but from everything I have heard it is well cast.

So here is my question for you: what has been your favorite book cast?
For me there are two choices:

Clark Gable is Rhett Butler--I could not imagine anyone portraying that character better!

I have a huge literary crush on Darcy as portrayed by Colin Firth!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dare You To Read: One for the Money by Janet Evanovich

I love having the opportunity to challenge people to read books that I personally found compelling or interesting or just all out fun.  But I want to know what you think?  Have you read the book?  Did it stick with you?  If so, why?  If not, why? _________________________________________________


Genre: Women Sleuths, Mystery, Contemporary Fiction
Order Online:
Author Info: Website | Goodreads
Rating: 4 stars
Borrowed from the library. 

In A Nutshell:
I read this book years ago and thought it was only so-so, but I went to the movie because my friend wanted to go.  After I stepped out of the movie I kept thinking that I liked the story--so why did I not really like the book.  So I tried the book again--this time as an audiobook and loved it!  Every time I had to pause the story, I could not wait to get back to a place where I could turn it on again!

Janet Evanovich put together an interesting and lively group of characters.  I loved the character of Stephanie Plum.  She has smarts--but she also has things that she does not know and needs to learn.  She has determination and a keen sense of what she needs to survive--but she also has a sense of humor and a sarcasm that left me laughing out loud many times as I read the book.

Joe Morelli is a mystery to me.  On one hand he seems like a stand up guy that got caught up in a bad situation, but then I see the way he needles Stephanie about their shared history and he seems kind-of like a player or maybe even a jerk.  So I am still deciding if I like Joe or not, but more than anything I hope he is in the next book because my desire to figure him out is part of what has got me hooked on this series.

And finally the Plum family.  They add something to this book and to this story that is priceless, but I felt like the real magic of the story comes from watching Stephanie interact with everyone around her--that's where all the laughs really came from for me.

There are many times over the course of the story that it is clear that this book is meant to be the introduction to the series.  There is a lot of explanation about the history of the characters and overt displays of their relationships to show how they interact with one another.  It did not necessarily detract from the book, but I am looking forward to future books with the hopes that there will not be as much time devoted to that.

I do wish I had given this book another try before watching the movie--so if you have not read the book I recommend that before the movie.  But if you have read the book--I thought the movie was great!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Short & Sweet: Free Four by Veronica Roth

And to the point! Sometimes it is nice to read a short story or a novella, but it is not always fair to compare them to longer stories with more time for plot and character development.
Genre:  Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Free Online: Facebook 

Author Info: Website | Goodreads
Rating: 3 stars
Novella available for free at link above.  

In A Nutshell:  
I am glad I read this after reading Insurgent because I would not have wanted to have the surprising fact I learned in Insurgent ruined for me.  But I am also very glad that I read this novella because I think it gave me much more insight into Tobias.  The only downside is that it made me crave more written from his perspective!

I just learned about this novella--which meant that I read it after reading Insurgent, and I am not sure that I would have wanted to read this first.  There is an important aspect of Tobias revealed in this novella that is also revealed in Insurgent.  And I am not sure I would have wanted to know that aspect of his feelings about Dauntless before I found out about them in Insurgent.  I enjoyed learning the truth at the same time Tris did.

However, I did really enjoy getting inside Tobias.  I would love to see more stories told from his perspective because in many ways I think they compliment each other well.  Tris seems much more naive and sheltered than Tobias does, but I think that is because she is younger and been away from her family for less time.  In comparison, I think Tobias knows more about what is going on around him but is not always as perceptive as Tris.  Together--I think they give unique, and in important ways, different perspectives on the events going on around them.  And with the complex world that Veronica Roth has created, two different perspectives give us so much more insight into the truth.

I need recommendations!  I want to find more novellas to read.  Do you know of any good ones?  Please share (pretty please with sugar and honey).  :)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Book Addict Reviews: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Genre:  Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian
Order Online:  
Author Info: Goodreads | Website
Rating: 4 stars   
Borrowed book from a friend. 

Note: There may be spoilers to Divergent in this review.  If you have not read Divergent, please see my review

In A Nutshell:  
I do not think I have eagerly anticipated a book this much since the last two Harry Potter books.  I was on a countdown for months waiting for this one to be released.  And all I can say is I was not disappointed--but now I am on another countdown for Book 3 because one again Veronica Roth left me begging for more!

Dauntless is divided--those that have aligned themselves with Erudite are wearing blue arm bands and acting as guards.  Those that have not are in hiding, planning, waiting for the ideal time to show their fearlessness and the leadership to make a stand.

Tris is divided--she is hiding the fact that she murdered one of her best friends from everyone (even the person she loves most).  She is struggling with how to honor the sacrifice her parents made with their lives.  She is not sure how to best handle her feelings for Tobias.

Tobias is divided--he does not necessarily want to tell the world who he is but more and more his true name is gaining him access to information.  He is cautious about his feelings for Tris--and the more he feels that she is hiding something important from him the more he feels he needs to pull away.  But he made the decision to stay in Dauntless based in part on his feelings for her--he cannot throw that away lightly.

What I wanted most when I started the book was more information about Tobias.  I loved that Insurgent allowed me more insight into who Tobias was, where he came from, and how all of that affects how he approaches the world.  As much as I loved Four in Divergent, I found Tobias in Insurgent more interesting and more compelling.

At some points, I was frustrated with the lack of trust between Tris and Tobias.  Every time they going got tough or the answers were not readily given, they seemed to be willing to drop each other or at least believe the worst of each other.  For people who claim the level of love and dedication that they do, it seemed they had very little faith in that love, that dedication or each other.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realize that this wish-washiness is more of a sign of their background.  Tobias had very little experience with true love or true dedication.  Tris, as a Divergent raised in Abnegation, came from a family who displayed love in a way that she either did not fully understand or did not fully meet her need for love.  

And that is probably what I love the most about Veronica Roth's writing.  She reveals a lot of the details in subtle ways.  A careful reading of her books is rewarded with more insight and more connection with the characters and the story she has woven. 

And then at the end she drops a bomb--now I cannot wait to read the next book!

According to Goodreads--Book 3 (still untitled) will not be out until Fall 2013.  I do not know how I can possibly wait that long!  But in the meantime, I just found this short story about Four--and really is there ever enough of him?
Free Four: Tobias Tells the Story

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Book Addict Reviews: Talisman of El by Alecia Stone

Genre:  Young Adult, Fantasy, Mystery
Order Online: Centrinian
Author Info: Website | Goodreads
Rating: 3 stars  
Book given in exchange for an honest review. 

In A Nutshell:  
I love fantasy.  I love adventure.  But more than loving any particular genre--I love a good story written well.  I found all of these things in Talisman of El.  

From the moment I read the summary of Talisman of El, I could not wait to read the book.  In some ways my anticipation scared me; I feared there was no way that it could live up to my expectations.  But it did.  Alecia Stone did an excellent job of weaving a story that excellent dialogue that brings us into the heart of interesting and endearing characters.

Charlie is a character that immediately tugs at your heart strings.  You will be drawn into his story.  The strong use of dialogue will draw you into his character.  And the adventures that he and his friends go on will keep you on the edge of your seat.  I could not put it down--I wanted to be part of the group. 

After reading this book, I want to read more fantasy books!  My friend has been raving about this author--so I want to start: