Monday, July 14, 2014

My Take: Since You Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Since You've Been GoneSince You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you are looking for a good summer read, then this is it!

This is about Emily, who finds at the start of Summer that her best friend Sloane is gone. Moved. Without a word. She is confused and disheartened and feels lost. Until one day she receives a letter in the mail from Sloane. All it was, was a list of things Sloane wanted Emily to do during the summer time. No return address no explanation to her where abouts, just the list.

Emily, being an introvert/shy personality, is a bit thrown over some of the things Sloane wants her to do. But she feels like if she does these things, it will somehow lead her to her best friend.

As she starts doing some of the easier things on the list, she finds that it is bringing people into her life, that she least expected. And Sloanes list brings her more than just things to mark off a list.

She starts really coming into her own. Discovering who she is, and what she able to do.

This book, which is about two friends, ends up also being about finding friends, love and finding confidence in yourself.

I felt I could totally identify with Emily, in that I am an introvert who was and still is best friends with my "Sloane". A friend who very much is a extrovert, who brought out in me, confidence, support and a lifelong friendship. We balance each other out and bring out, I feel the best qualities in each other.

I connected with, not only the main characters, but the others as well. Dawn, Matthew, even Gideon. Everyone felt true to life, and like people I know or knew in real life.

This is a feel good book that I highly recommend to anyone looking for a book to dive into and get lost in.

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

My Take: Darkness by Erin Eveland

DarknessDarkness by Erin Eveland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

*I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review.

This is tale of good versus evil in such a wonderfully dark and creepy way!

It starts off with the main character Catherine when she is around 6 and lives with her Nana. And goes through the struggle her grandmother has with the strange behavior and activities she sees in her granddaughter. The shadows that seem to come alive.

The rest of the book continues to follow Catherine as she gets older and is now living with her alcoholic mother in a rundown trailer park. And the strange activities and shadows seemingly all but forgotten. That is until one day, the shadows make themselves known once again. And they threaten everything that Catherine holds close.

This was such an on the edge of your seat read. The world building was on point as was the character development.

Artos is the antagonist and he was such a scary, intimidating figure. Along with all the Shadow Creatures. You know how sometimes you see a flash of movement out of the corner of your eye? Well, now I think of these creepy little guys when that happens lol.

Catherine was a likeable character, who you just sympathized with on so many levels. And I can't wait to continue to watch her develop as this series grows.

And I cannot wait to see the direction her friend Nathan takes. That ending though!!!!

This book is dark, and doesn't hold back on that. And that is exactly what I expect and want from a book like this. Anything less would have cheapened the story.

This was a thrilling read!

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

My Take: I, Morgana by Felicity Pulman

I, MorganaI, Morgana by Felicity Pulman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I, Morgana is written from Morgana point of view, which I really enjoyed. Most of my experiences with the whole King Arthur tale is from his perspective, with Morgana being the evil witch.

Now she isn't exactly nice in this telling, but some of her actions seemed explained, almost justified. But not completely.

Her father had declared Morgana as heir to his throne. An honor she took very seriously and to heart. He was killed in battle and unfortunately, her mother remarried Uther who took control of the kingdom. Her mother had become pregnant with Arthur during the time Morganas father had been killed. Her mother is quiet selfish and spends her time with Uther, neglecting her and Arthur.

Merlin took Morgana under his tutelage when she was a child. She was proving to be a quick learner and eager student. And as Arthur got older, she began bring him along. Which leads to future issues when Merlin betrays Morgana, at least in her eyes, by favoring Arthur to become the future king. Which Morgana feels is her right to be the Queen, since her father had named her heir.

So, the rest of the book follows her throughout her life as she seeks revenge on all those whom she feels have wronged her and gain the throne she knows is rightfully hers.

I really enjoyed reading this story through the eyes of Morgana and seeing the differences in how things play out in this tellings.

None of the characters were perfect, nor were they completely evil. They were very real to life in how they allowed their emotions and egos and pride guide them in their decisions. And to watch them play out with unforeseen outcomes. And how they tried to deal with them and even attempts at correcting mistakes.

This just revived my interest into the stories of Camelot and King Arthur.

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Saturday, June 7, 2014

My Take: Floating Boy and the Girl Who Couldn't Fly by P.T. Jones

Floating Boy and the Girl Who Couldn't FlyFloating Boy and the Girl Who Couldn't Fly by Stephen Graham Jones
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I actually give this book a 3.5 stars.

This is a story about a 14 year old girl named Mary. Who at a cousin's birthday party, watched with the rest of the guests as one boy climbed a tree and floated away.

What follows is confusion and ultimately chaos in the small town of Ipswich,Massachusetts. She finds herself going up against a mad scientist and a sudden outbreak that puts all the adults either in the hospital or a mob-like state as they panic with fear. While the youth face other, less sick type of reaction to the outbreak.

I was curious from the start as to what it was that made this floating boy float. Was it magic? What and where did this outbreak come from? I had no idea, but it was a mystery I wanted to solve. And as I read, the mystery grew and I liked it.

I enjoyed the funny little quips and references throughout the book. I laughed at her use of "muggles" to describe her unbearable aunts and uncles. Who doesn't love references to Harry Potter?! It gave it a real world feel. And gave Mary a fun, relatable personality. She was a typical funny teen in that way.

The Floating Boy, as he unfortunately was called throughout the book, was around the same age as Mary. And I was, naturally, curious about him. And once he reappeared after his first sighting, instantly felt attached to him and as the story went on, I wanted to just give him a big hug. He was so sweet and as I learned more about him, I just felt for him.

The overall plot was interesting and something I haven't read before. And I really didn't know how it would unfold, which I appreciate that it didn't feel predictable.

Now, the issues I had with this book was how Mary handled certain situations. I understand that she was only 14, but when her little brother started showing signs of "strange behavior", she didn't act upon it, like how I feel a normal kid would react. Like, call her parents... It just didn't seem like a natural reaction, even despite her issues with anxiety and the issues that came with that. There are a few other little examples, but I feel they would be to much of a spoiler to say here.

Also, I wasn't really satisfied with the ending. It felt a bit rushed and incomplete. I would change my mind on that if I knew there would be a book two. But as it stands, it just didn't feel..right, and it left me with questions, that again, I can't express here without spoiling.

Overall, I did enjoy reading this book and couldn't put it down. I read it pretty quickly in just a few hours.

It is a good read that I think a lot of people can enjoy.

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

My Take: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

LandlineLandline by Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Landline by Rainbow Rowell is an adult contemporary. So, don't go in expecting a typical Rainbow YA experience.

This book is about a married couple, Gorgie and Neal. They have two kids, Alice and Noomi and a marriage that is on rocky ground.

Gorgie has a very demanding and time consuming job as a tv sitcom writer and Neal is a stay at home dad. (I love that!) And it is Christmas time and a show that her and her lifelong friend and colleague, Seth, have been planning for years is finally getting picked up for a pilot. This means she has to work through Christmas break and be away from the family, yet again. Neal makes a decision to head out to his parents in Omaha with the girls anyway. Without Gorgie.

Even though this book is realistic, something mysterious and almost magical happens to Gorgie. And it is something that could save or erase the life she has lived with Neal and her daughters.

The characters in this book felt extremely real. Which really is something Rainbow Rowell does well. She writes characters who are interesting and relatable. That have rich backstories and are just all around well developed, and Landline is no exception. I just love the personalities of the characters, they just come to life on the pages. I LOVE how, again, real the characters are with each other. Noomi, for example, is four and thinks shes a cat and how Gorgie indulges her by meowing back. She is the sweetest little girl! I just adore them all.

The story itself had it's range of emotions. We got to experience how they met and how they ended up where they are. It addresses the very real issues of everyday married life, and just life in general. How we get so caught up in our own issues and day to day routines, that we lose focus on the relationships around us. And how it affects everyone. This book had its share of sadness, but also hope and love. A lot of love.

I think Landline will brings in a whole new audience for Rainbow, and completely satisfy the fanbase she already has. This is another hit for me and just cements my own love of Rainbows work.

I won an ARC of Landline, but all opinions here are my own and honest.

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Review: The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and DisappearedThe 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"The 100 Year Old Man..." is the story of Allan Karlsson, who upon his 100 birthday in the old folks home he now resides in, decided quite suddenly that he wanted nothing more to do with any of it. So, he climbed out the window in his room and left. As simple as that.

He was soon on a journey that sends, not only him, but the reader on an adventure of a lifetime. A run in with a criminal who entrusted the old man with a mysterious suitcase while he goes to the bathroom at the train station, sets everything into motion.

As he meets with people on his journey, we get filled in on the extraordinary life of Allan.

This book is filled with historical, mostly political figures, places from all over the world and a beautiful insight to the man that is Allan.

I thoroughly enjoyed how Jonas Jonasson weaved real historical people and events with the characters he created. It was so entertaining throughout the book to see these people in a very real way. And how Jonas put Allan right smack in the middle of these events. How he allowed Allan to have a direct influence.

This book is rich with story and character development. The humor and wit was perfect and Jonas proved to have the ability with the timing of each twist and turn and humor.

This book is brilliant and entertaining from start to finish.

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

My Take: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night CircusThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"The circus arrives without notice."

What an exciting and curious opening line to a book!

I heard many people talking about this book, and was quickly interested in knowing more myself.

It instantly pulled me from that first line.

Celia, the daughter of Prospero the Enchanter, a great magician, with very real powers that captivate audiences across Europe. Meeting her father for the first time at age 6 when her mother commits suicide, she finds herself thrust into a world of magic and relentless hours of study at the hands of her overbearing father.

Marco is a young orphan who is taken in by Alexander. Another powerful, but more private magician. His, study is less interactive and more secluded consisting mainly of research and book work.

Both are unwittingly forced into a powerful bond in a game that the two caregivers have created. They spend their youth practicing and studying, not knowing who they will be in competition with. Or even how the competition will play out or where or when it will end.

That is, until a rich proprietor by the name of Chandresh Christophe Lefevre comes up with a brilliant idea for a circus. A wondrous magical circus, filled not with clowns or elephants, but wonderously mysterious and talented acrobats, contortionist, illusionists and many others. Not realizing that he is setting the stage for the two young competitors to compete in.

And so, The Night Circus is born.

Erin Morgenstern is able to capture the imagination in a wondrous and beautiful way. The imagery in her descriptions is vivid.

"The towering tents are striped in white and black, no golds and crimsons to be seen. No color at all, save for the neighboring trees and the grass of the surrounding fields. Black-and-white stripes on grey skies; countless tents of varying shapes and sizes, with an elaborate wrought-iron fence encasing them in a colorless world. Even what little ground is visible from outside is black or white, painted or powered, or treated with some other circus trick."

The characters she populates this world with are so interesting and colorful and mysterious. They all added to the overall ambiance and reading experience. I found myself fascinated by each new person I was introduced to.

I did enjoy reading this book, and found it quite poetic at times.

However, I did find the pace of the book in places a bit slow. Not that I didn't enjoy every page, just that I could spend 40 minutes reading, but find I only read a couple of chapters. Which for me, in most other books, I would normally read three or four chapters in the same amount of time.

I suppose I underestimated the density of the book. It is a very descriptive book, with many things going on. Different stories being told. They flowed nicely, but it did cause me to feel slowed down somewhat.

Now, I find this book to be one that you should approach with that in mind. Don't expect to pick this book up and fly through it. Take your time and savor it. You will find a much more enjoyable reading experience. I feel that if I had been able to have that insight when I started this book, I wouldn't have felt the slowness as a downside.

Overall I enjoyed this book and felt the magical wonderment throughout the story.

It is a beautiful story of mystery, love, magic and fun.

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