Monday, January 27, 2014

My Take: Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Attachments is an adult contemporary novel by Rainbow Rowell

Endearing. Quirky. Funny. Warm-fuzzy comfort in the form of a hardcover. 

That sums up my instants thoughts on this book. 

This book is set in the late 90's and centers around Lincoln. A sweet, somewhat socially awkward, smart guy. He has acquired many degrees, plays Dungeons and Dragons, had his heart torn out by his first and only love, and has moved back home with his Mom. He is so sweet and loveable and is tall, with broad shoulders! I love a man with broad shoulders guys! I just want to hug him! 

He gets hired at a newspaper as an IT guy, to monitor the work emails and internet usage.  When an email gets "flagged" as inappropriate, he is suppose to send out warnings to the sender. 

Enter Beth and Jennifer, whose emails to each other get flagged. A lot. As he reads through the email, he finds the emails draw him in. The interaction between the two friends is so endearing to him. He does struggle with this. He knows it is wrong on so many levels, but he feels this apprehension to sever the only contact with them. I know, I know. How very stalker and creepy...right? But no! It was written in a way that I think a lot of people can relate to. It doesn't read as creepy. HONEST! Lincoln is just...he is just...It's innocent I tell ya! 

The story unfolds through the emails, as well as through Lincoln's personal story. We get to be a little voyeuristic with Lincoln, and I think that was really interesting and fun. And it was really well done. The flow was perfect throughout the book. 

Jennifer, I really liked her. She is a nice person with a crappy Mom, who left her with this constant sense of foreboding and doubt. But it didn't leave her being a dull and unlikeable character. In fact, it was quiet the opposite. I felt more attached to her.  She is married to a  man who is perfect for her. A man who sees what a great person she is. And is very patient with her inner struggles. 

Now, Beth. She is another great character in this book and the one the Lincoln really feels a kindred spirit type of thing for. She works as a movie critic for the newspaper. Beth is witty, clever, so caring and just a really good friend and person. Her friendship with Jennifer is so authentic and wonderful. She is in a relationship with a rocker guy who is less than attentive to Beth. It was so fun to read Beth's emails talking about a really cute guy she has seen in the office. (so giddy!!)

I loved how so many chances for them to meet, left me feeling excited and giddy. And without giving any spoilers away, to find out, how paths come so close to crossing.  

The chapters where Lincoln is with his friends were so well done. I enjoyed seeing him with people he was comfortable with. And the scene in chapter 80 had me cracking up. Lincoln had been not showing up as often to the D&D nights and Dave pointed out that "Either you're in the game or not, Troy has been dragging your unconscious dwarf on an earth sled, just to keep you in the campaign. You're a constant drain on his magic."  Dave, Lincoln and Troy continue on like that for the rest of the page. That whole interaction between the three was just hilarious. 

This book, I have to say, is the first book that I felt I could fall in love with the lead man. Yeah, I have swooned over the hot hunk in other books. Or really liked the male leads. But Lincoln is seriously someone I feel I could fall in love with. That I want to fall in love with. 

The sincerity and lack of fear in showing his vulnerable side makes him endearing. And the fact that I feel he isn't afraid of stepping up and being a man and "protecting" his loved ones makes him feel like a total package. 

I love this book. I love Lincoln and Beth and Doris and Troy. I just love it all. 

Attachments has definitely leaped to my top favorites list. 

I give this novel an obvious 5 out of 5 stars! 

Have you read this book? If so, tell me what you thought of it! 

Thanks so much for stopping by.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

My Take: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl  is a contemporary novel by Rainbow Rowell. 

It is set in a college in Nebraska, where twins Cather and Wren (That would be Catherine, the estranged mother couldn't be bothered to give them two actual names.) are set to start their first year.

Despite being twins, they couldn't be more different. Cather is an introvert who prefers the world of imagination, whereas Wren is completely extrovert, who thrives on being in the middle of any social scene. 

But they both were extremely close growing up and both loved The Simon Snow Series. Think of Simon Snow as Fangirls version of Harry Potter. The two girls are so in love with Simon Snow Series, they write fanfiction for it. Mainly Cather, who ultimately is the main author. Her fanfic ends up gaining a huge audience. Thousands, tens of thousands! This is where Cather thrives, this is where she feels calm. This is the backbone of Cather's life and the link throughout the book. 

As college approaches, she finds her relationship with Wren strained. Distant. And then Wren decides to not room with Cather, which sends Cather into this state of loneliness, frustration and sadness. Cather does not feel equipped for life on her own without her built in friend. Her codependence on that sisterly relationship left her ill equipped for the social necessities of college life. 

But she is forced to learn how to be more independent. To "make nice" with these strangers who insist on being friends or at least friendly with her.  To grow as a person, no matter how resistant she feels about the whole thing. To live outside of her head. She meets her roommate, Reagan and Reagan's "boyfriend" Levi. Who play a pivotal role in Cather's life as just Cath, and not MagiCath or twin Cath. Just Cath. Just.

I did find I could identify with some of Cathers personality. Being somewhat of an introvert myself, who loves dreaming away about fantastical worlds. But, (and this is kind of a pretty big but), I felt frustrated by her lack of ability to adapt to the changes around her. Her absolute resistance to some very basic and what I felt were simple changes. It felt like pulling teeth with her sometimes and it left me feeling moments of annoyance. Not in any breaking way, but just like "Really Cath? Come on!" 

I felt the way she dealt with the last big assignment for her fiction-writing class wasn't accurate to Cather. Who I felt was very studious and serious about her education.  I just didn't buy that little story line at all. But it was a very minor issue I had.

Her growth throughout the book, as slow as it may have seemed, can, I feel, be related by so many people.  I sympathized with her on so many levels. I appreciated, her efforts at times. And I just adored the scene where this was said:

"And then she kissed my receding hairline and cried, she imagined him saying. In her imagination, Levi was Danny Zuko, and his roommates were the rest of the T-Birds. Tell me more, tell me more." 

The realness of this chapter, of the moment that was happening, and how I could so identify with her on that level had me laughing so hard! There was something very real about Cather and the other people in this book.

Dad and his struggles of being a single working parent of twin girls! The trauma of the abandonment of his wife, mother of his girls.  The complicated relationship between him and Cather and Wren.

Levi, what a great guy! He was such a likable character that I felt I would love to know in real life. He wasn't some perfect hottie who said all the right things at the right time. He was just a breathe of fresh air. 

Wren. What can I say about Wren. I was not happy with this chick at all. And rightfully so. I wanted to understand her, but I just couldn't. When dealing with a novel, you don't get all the meaty parts you can get with a trilogy or a series. There just isn't enough time for all that extra. So, without getting a Wren POV, I was left feeling frustrated with her for most of the book. 

No, this wasn't a story about Wren, or Levi, or Dad or Mom. 

This was a book about Cather. No. One. Else. This was her story. Her coming of age, love story. Her breaking out of her shell (albeit, against her will) story.

And it was beautiful. 

I give this book a 5 out of 5 stars!

Have you read Fangirl? Leave me a comment below what you thought of the book!

Thanks so much for stopping by!


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Bout of Books 9.0 Wrapup

So as many of  you know, this past week I have been participating in bout of books read-a-thon.

I started off reading The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy and was doing pretty good. I finished the book, then found by the middle of the week I was moving at a snails pace with my reading. Mostly life happening, but also, I found that I was not able to enjoy my second book, The Darkest Craving by Gena Showalter. I love this series (Lords of the Underworld), but felt I was rushing and missing a lot of the story. 

Note, this read-a-thon is not some mad dash, it is very laid back actually. But I still felt a self-imposed push to read as much as possible. It is all my fault *sigh*. lol

Anyway, I decided on an easier read and picked up my Pretty Little Liars Wicked box set by Sara Shepard. It is I believe the second box set in the series. 

And yup! That did the trick! I picked it up on Wednesday evening and finished it Thursday evening. So, Friday morning I woke up and picked up my sons graphic novel, Neon Genesis Evangelion.  And had it read by late Friday afternoon!

I then grabbed book 2 from the Pretty Little Liars set, Killer on Friday night, and completed it on late Saturday afternoon. I took a break to go out and visit with the real worlders on Saturday night.

Then I ended bout of books with Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell on Sunday!

I felt at first I wasn't doing so well, but after some chit chat with others on twitter, I realized I needed to not worry about it. Looking over my reads this week, I did pretty freaking good! And I enjoyed what I was reading. And THAT, my friends, is what it is all about! 

Recap of books and pages read:

The 5th Wave: 458
The Darkest Craving: 53
PLL Wicked: 311
PLL Killer: 322
Neon Genesis Evangelion: 513
Fangirl: 73

Which gives me a total of  *drum roll* 1730 pages read for bout of books read-a-thon!

Not to shabby if I do say so myself.

Did you join in on the bout of books read-a-thon this week? If so, how did you do?

Also, if you have read any of the above books, let me know which ones and how you liked them!!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

My Take: Yellowcake by Margo Lanagan

Yellowcake is a collection of 10 short stories by Margo Lanagan.
I enjoy short stories and had a couple people tell me to try this book out. So, I hopped on my Nook and did just that. 

Before I get started, I will share the blurb from GoodReads:

" The stories range from fantasy and fairy tale to horror and stark reality, and yet what pervades is the sense of humanity.  The people of Lanagan's worlds face trials, temptations, and degradations. They swoon and suffer and even kill for love. In a dangerous world, they seek the solace and strength that comes from family and belonging. 

   These are stories to be savored slowly and pondered deeply because they cut to the very heart of who we are."

Ok, now, I purchased this book, like I said and started on it right away. That was back in late August. I read the first story, The Point of Roses, twice. I was still slightly confused. And yet, I pushed forward to the second story, and sat the book down. 

It wasn't until Christmas Booktube-a-Thon, December 20-22 that I chose to pick it back up to finish it. I felt like I was forcing myself to read this book. I felt lost/confused by many of the stories, and genuinely uninterested in the rest. I felt that for some of the stories, they felt muddy. Like I entered into the middle of a conversation that no one was willing to fill me in on. 

Out of the 10 stories I only liked three. 

Fine Magic, Into the Clouds on High and Ferryman. Those were very clear and interesting. The characters felt whole and the emotion was easily obtained. I ended each of these three stories feelling something. Like with Fine Magic, I felt anger towards the man. What right did he have to take that revenge. Into the Clouds on High left me feeling sad, my heart actually ached, as did Ferryman.

I can see the talent that Margo has with her writing, even though I do not particularly like the content within the stories. She does have a unique point of view and way of telling stories. She isn't afraid to go down that dark and twisted road and tell a disturbing tale of dismembering a giant human or other such taboo instances. And I can truly appreciate that. 

However, having said that, I still can't say I enjoyed this book. Overall, I struggled to complete this book, and only being able to say I like 3 out of 10 stories is disappointing to say the least. 

 I give this book a 2 out of 5 stars.

If you read this book, please let me know what your thoughts are. Let me know if you enjoyed it, or if you felt like I did. I welcome all opinions! 

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Bout of Books 9.0!

Bout of Books

Update: Bout of books is now over. So, to see how my week went with this read-a-thon click HERE! 

I am really excited to be participating in Bout of Books read-a-thon!
This is my first time joining in on this event, and I can't wait!

If you are doing this read-a-thon, leave a comment below letting me know where to follow you! Otherwise, what are you waiting for! Sign up!

Below is the information for this read-a-thon:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 6th and runs through Sunday, January 12th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 9.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

My goals:

The Darkest Craving by Gena Showalter. I have started already, but only 29 pages in.

 The Pretty Little Liars Box Set by Sara Shepard

I have had this set for oh about 2 years or so. I have read the first four books and thought this would be a great time to pull the next four out and read them. They are easy quick reads. I love the show as well, so would like to see the similarities and differences between the two.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Friday, January 3, 2014

My Take: The Lords of the Underworld by Gena Showalter

I stumbled upon these books about three years ago and have been hooked ever since!

"Long ago, twelve immortal warriors-each more dangerously seductive than the last--stole and opened Pandora's box, unleashing the evil from within. Now they carry that evil within themselves. Violence, Pain, Death, Disease, Disaster, Misery, Doubt, Promiscuity, Defeat, Lies, Secrets, and Wrath. When a powerful enemy returns, they will travel the world in search of a sacred relic of the gods-one that threatens to destroy them all."

This is a paranormal/romance series by Gena Showalter that takes us through the lives of these immortals. There is something for everyone in this series. From intense fighting scenes, to romantic moments.  There truly are so many layers to this series as a whole that keeps you turning the next page and going out and buying the next book. 

Each book focus' on one of the twelve Lords, while still getting to know and familiarize with the others.  As well as being introduced to so many other interesting characters that will play a huge part in the Lords lives. 

Gena Showalter is such an amazing author! I love how she takes a romance type of series and turns it into so much more. There is actual substance and depth to this series. A constant war is happening inside each Lord and constant war/danger going on around them. The world is wonderfully built and so engaging. I am more invested into what is actually going on in this world than what is going on in the bedrooms.

Though the romance can get pretty exciting, ( and trust me it does), I feel those moments in the books are authentic and not forced. It feels like a natural progression in the lives of the people we are reading about. 

I find I am truly attached to many of the Lords. 
 This is a series I will hold onto and revisit for years to come. 

I give this series a 5 out of 5 stars!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My Take: Benny Imura Series by Jonathan Maberry

This is My Take on Benny Imura series by Jonathan Maberry.

I want to first start this My Take off by pointing out the cover art. It is just amazing.
They say you can't judge a book by its cover, and in most cases that is true. However, these covers truly represent the books perfectly. 

They show fear, anger, the struggle, just all the emotions one would expect in a zombie book. Then the muted colors with shock of red being a common theme throughout adds to the feeling of a world in ruin. 

This isn't your basic hack and slash, blood, gore and zombies zombies zombies. I mean, those things are there, don't get me wrong. Many a zom attacked and many a zom was killed. No, this is a zombie tale where the human element is the focus. 

The zombies, all blubillion of them, take pretty much the backseat in this series. Focusing instead on the lives of those who are struggling to survive in what is left of their world.  Mainly, 15 year old Benny, his older brother, 34 year old Tom and Benny's friends, Nix, Morgie and Lou. 

The series starts off fourteen years after the zombie outbreak, so for Benny and his friends, they have pretty much only known this world. The world consists of small communities of survivors scattered through out the world. A world that is without technology, so communication is limited to the few traveling merchants, and zombie bounty hunters. But for the most part, each settlement is pretty isolated from the world outside their own fences. 

But for Benny and his group, that all changes when one fateful day, a jumbo jet flies over them while they were outside of the fence. Now remember, this is the first time they have seen anything like this. So, new hope blooms that maybe not all of the world is overcome with death. Or that maybe the world is making a comeback. This one jet, sets the characters into motion to search for answers, and maybe discover that not everything is lost. 

As the story unfolds, they discover new places, people and learn that zombies aren't the worst things to fear in this world. That there are much worse things to be frightened of. Bigger wars to be fought. 

The characters Jonathan Maberry created in this series are well developed and you can see the growth of each one as time goes by. And they all feel authentic and true in how they deal with their circumstances. The world he created is so believable, and scary and chaotic that you're left with this sense of anxiety, sadness, frustration. Which is a good thing when dealing with an apocalyptic zombie world. I just really felt the emotions of what was happening in this series. I had to, a few times, put the books down and walk away because I would get so invested in the story. But I would end up turning right back around to read more. The suspense was to great to stay away, I just had to know what happens next. And that is what makes a great story to me. It was most definitely a page turner for me. 

So, if you like zombies, and enjoy a good ole' apocalypse with a human touch. Then I highly recommend this series. 

I give this series a 5 out of 5 stars!

Have you read this series? Tell me your thoughts on it!

Thank you so much for stopping by!