Sunday, 27 November 2011

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Goodreads Summary: Somewhere in South America at the home of the country's vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of Mr. Hosokawa, a powerful Japanese businessman. Roxanne Coss, opera's most revered soprano, has mesmerized the guests with her singing. It is a perfect evening until a band of terrorists breaks in, taking the entire party hostage.
But what begins as a life-threatening scenario slowly evolves into something quite different. Friendship, compassion, and the chance for great love lead the characters to forget the real danger that has been set in motion and cannot be stopped.
Ann Patchett has written a novel that is as lyrical and profound as it is unforgettable. Bel Canto is a virtuoso performance by one of our best and most important writers.
Why I Read This Book: I have no idea why I read this book. It is not at all the type of book or author I normally read, but I read it on a Top Whatever book of Whatever Something and added to my TBR and read it.
Review: To be honest I didn't really like this book. I liked the idea of it, but it was really boring. I really had to push myself to finish it because I got tired of reading it. Not that it was a bad book, it just seems that the two somewhat exciting parts of the book are very rushed and the rest of it is just really boring. There was nothing else wrong with it except that. I liked the characters, and the plot, but I just didn't connect to the emotions the way I knew Patchett wanted the reader to because it was very very slow paced.
Rating: This is going to be my first half star book rating, and it's actually making me reconsider how cut and dry my ratings are. I normally give a book that I didn't really care about 3 stars and call it 'neutral' meaning I liked it fine, but if I had never read it my life wouldn't be missing anything, and I feel that this book was just slightly on the side of disliking it a bit more than that, however I didn't find that I "didn't like" it either. So, my rating is:

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Lovely Blog Award

I'm very excited today to have learned that I was given this lovely blog award! I have only been writing this blog for a little while now and to know that at least one person thinks it is nice is very rewarding :)

The point of this is for each person that is awarded to then highlight some blogs that they also like, and then give the award to them as well.
The blogs I have chosen are as follows:

Unabridged Andra
Alison Can Read
Books, Biscuits & Tea
Crazy For Books
The Broke and the Bookish

These blogs are some of my favorite, who I looks to for memes, new ideas (for both blogging and book reading), and I trust their reviews. If one of these people said a book was good, I would probably end up adding it to mt TBR list. I hope you feel as good about being selected as I do!

Thanks so much to The Best Way Out Is Through for thinking of me when making her favorites list. It is HUGELY appreciated :)

Monday, 14 November 2011

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Goodreads Summary: Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home. As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near - misses end with the French kiss Anna - and readers - have long awaited?

Why I Read This Book: The one is so popular around the blogosphere, and has such great reviews, I couldn't not pick it up. Also, I love me a little teen contemporary romance :)

Review: Oh Anna and the French Kiss, how did I love thee, let me count the ways! No particular order:

  • The setting! Paris, I love it! I took a school trip to Paris when I was 17 (Anna's age in the first half of the book) and the nostalgia for the places she visited was overwhelming. I could just picture me and my best pal Anna (yes, that is the real name of my real life friend who I went with!!) exploring the places described in the book. I love reading books set in places I have traveled.
  • Short chapters! This propels you in to reading longer than you had planned! You get hooked in a book, and since the chapters as short, you keep going "I'll just read one more, then go do whatever I'm supposed to be doing"
  • The characters felt very real, I mean, there was drama a plenty, but it wasn't just for entertainment, I could picture myself and people I know making those exact decision when we were that age. Sometimes the "he-said-this-but-means-this-so-she-did-that-when-she-should-have-done-this" seems fake, and you groan at the poor choices authors make, but here I could see myself ignoring some situations and then blowing up in others just the way Anna did, because she's 17-18 and that's how 17-18 year old's act! I also liked the realistic teen drinking scenes, because yes, that is exactly what happens when high school students drink!
Overall, I really really liked this book, and I totally understand all the hype surrounding it. It was quick, fun, and charming to read, I loved it!


Sunday, 13 November 2011

2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge

Hello! This post is about a reading challenge I'm deciding to join. This one lasts for the full year, so I'm hoping I don't drop off on participation. School got very busy this semester, so the Fall Into Reading Challenge I was participating in fell to the wayside unfortunately. Also, this one doesn't have as much structure to the reading list, as I kept straying from it!

You can get all the reading challenge details here:

My TBR list is very long, so I'm not going to pretend like I'm going to get through it, so instead on my Goodreads I keep a list of books that I already own that I haven't read yet. I update this list every time I get a new book, so I'll add the link, but I'll also write it out to make it my official challenge list :)

1) Love The One You're With - Emily Giffin
2) The Truth About Forever - Sarah Dessen
3) Bloodline - Richelle Mead
4) Marked - P.C. Cast
5) The Struggle - L.J. Smith
6) Divergent - Veronica Roth
7) Under the Dome - Stephen King
8) Lola and the Boy Next Door - Stephanie Perkins
9) The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner - Stephenie Meyer
10) Artemis Fowl - Eoin Colfer
11) Matched - Ally Condie
12) Bumped - Megan McCafferty
13) Chasing Harry Winston - Lauren Weisburger
14) Shiver - Maggie Stiefvater
15) Bitter is the New Black - Jen Lancaster
16) A Game of Thrones - George R.R. Martin
17) Club Dead - Charlaine Harris
18) The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
19) Slash - Slash
20) The Carrie Diaries - Candace Bushnell
21) Twenties Girl - Sophie Kinsella
22) Beauty Queens - Libba Bray
23) Uglies - Scott Westerfeld
24) Forever - Judy Blume
25) Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk
26) Something Borrowed - Emily Giffin
27) Bad Taste in Boys - Carrie Harris
28) The Nannie Diaries - Emma McLaughlin
29) The Debutante Divorcee - Plum Sykes
30) Running with Scissors - Augusten Burroughs
31) The Life of Pi - Yann Martel
32) A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini
33) The Guernsey Literacy and Potato Peel Society - Annie Barrows
34) The Glass Castle - Jeannette Walls
35) The Color Purple - Alice Walker
36) The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd
37) Let The Great World Spin - Colum McCann
38) Water For Elephants - Sara Gruen
39) Bossypants - Tina Fey
40) Then He Ate My Boy Enhancers - Louise Rennison

My goal is to read 100 books in 2012, so picking 40 for this list shouldn't limit my selection by too much :)
Look forward to seeing everyone else's list, and posting reviews about these ones!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Not At All Book Related

So, if you remember in this post here I mentioned these awesome gym straps... well, I finally found a picture of them and I had to share:
Lifeline USA Jungle Gym XT
If you are thinking about having anything at home to workout with, get these!! They are AH-Maz-ing!!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Top Ten Tuesdays (8)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. There is a new list topic weekly to write, and tons of other bloggers participate, and  you can jump around and see what everyone else thinks! This weeks list is as follows:

Ten Books That I Read That Were Outside Of My Comfort Zone (whether you liked them or not)

1) The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
This was the first book of this type I had read, and I LOVED IT
The Hunger Games

2) Harry Potter Series - J.K. Rowling
These are not the typical books I would have read, the first 4 were already out before I started to read them, and again, I LOVED THEM!!
Harry Potter Boxset (Harry Potter, #1-7)

3) Twilight Series - Stephenie Meyer
This was the first vampire book I read, and I liked it, and read a lot more of them now.
The Twilight Saga (Twilight, #1-4)

4) The Pillars of the Earth - Kenn Follett
Not normally a book I would have read, but I was on vacation and borrowed it, and I enjoyed it.
The Pillars of the Earth  (The Pillars of the Earth, #1)

5) Freakonomics - Steven D. Lewitt
This book was popular for a little while, and I picked it up to feel socially relevant, it was interesting, but not good
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

6) A Million Little Pieces - James Frey
Again, this was very popular once upon a time, so I read it, but it wasn't my type of book. I liked it, but it lost its luster when it turned out not to be totally true
A Million Little Pieces

That's all I can think of. I have a lot of books on my TBR list that are outside my comfort zone, but I guess I haven't gotten around to reading many of them!! I should stop picking all of the same types!!

Suggestions are welcome :)

Monday, 7 November 2011

The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening by L.J. Smith

The Awakening (The Vampire Diaries, #1) 
Goodreads Summary: Elena Gilbert is a pretty, popular teen who was orphaned when her parents were killed in an accident. Despite the tragedy, her life has always been normal and wholesome. Until the beginning of the school year, when two new vampire brothers show up to shake the peaceful universe at Robert E. Lee High.
Why I Read This Book: I have wanted to watch the TV show for awhile now, but I prefer reading the book version to things first, so since these are such quick reads, and I found this for $4.99 at the bookstore, I figured now was the time to start.
Review: I may be reaching my vampire saturation point, but I still really liked this book. I read the version that has the TV show characters on the front, which usually makes me picture those characters, but for this I didn't. I always pictured Elena as Cordelia from Buffy. It did kind of anger me that Elena is described as this beautiful blond girl, and they didn't use one for the actress. I liked the love story of the book, and also liked that because Stefan is a vampire, he drinks Elena's blood. This makes sense to me. This story is very similar to the majority of teen romance book plots, and since it was written quite awhile ago, it isn't littered with pointless sex descriptions to describe not sex. I hate when books try to make teens who are just kissing sound like they are having life's best orgasm. I mean, there was a little bit of this, but not too much. Overall, I liked it, it is pretty similar to a lot of the vampire books I have read before this, but how different can teen vampire love books really be? And since this is one of the older ones, it's bound to have been ripped off a little bit.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Jess the Crafty Girl

I finally started my sister blog, the one where I'm a crafty lady! Check it out here if you're interested in that sort of thing, and follow!

And don't worry, this is the only shameless self promotion I plan to do : P

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Top Ten Tuesdays (7)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. There is a new list topic weekly to write, and tons of other bloggers participate, and  you can jump around and see what everyone else thinks! This weeks list is as follows:

Top Ten Books I Had VERY Strong Emotions About (cry, laugh, hurl across the room, etc.)
This one isn't too hard, as I cry at everything... haha

1) Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert
I passionately loathed this book. I can't even get into why without feeling rageful.
Eat, Pray, Love

2) Confessions of Georgia Nicholson Series - Louise Rennison
LOL funny. So funny. Incredibly funny. If you can get over the fact they are very immature (which I can).
Fabbity-Fab! A Big Box of Georgia (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, #1-3)

3) Claiming Georgia Tate - Gigi Amateau
Love this book, cried, of course
Claiming Georgia Tate

4) The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
So many emotions over this book.
The Kite Runner

5) Harry Potter Books 4-7 - J. K. Rowling
Cried like a baby through the last 4 books of the series
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6)

6) The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
Shocking book, with makes you think
The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)

7) How I Paid For College - Marc Acito
I love this book, and everyone always says they have never heard of it. If I have one blogging goal, it is to have everyone read it. Its so hilarious.
How I Paid for College: A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship & Musical Theater

8) Knocked Up - Rebecca Eckler
Funny, funny, oh so funny. I can't wait to read the next 2 she has out, which I recently found out existed
Knocked Up: Confessions of a Modern Mother-to-Be

9) Summer Sisters - Judy Blume
My favorite book, so I feel a whole lot of things for this one
Summer Sisters

10) My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Piccoult
Although I consider myself to be an ex-Jodi Piccoult fan, this one always tugs my heart strings
My Sister's Keeper