Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Book Review Discussion: The Selection by Keira Cass

Book: The Selection by Kiera Cass
Genre: YA Dystopian-ish
Rating:★★★★☆
For: Fun
From: Bought for Kindle

Short Synopsis: So there's this prince, and he wants a wife, and so he (and his family) have devised a lottery of sorts where all young women are eligible, despite their class rank, to be part of The Selection. Thirty five girls are chosen from the applicants to come to the castle and take part in the wooing. America, despite her low class rank, is one of them. She is surprised and worried, especially since she is in love with a boy from home. However, when she starts to get to the know the prince, he isn't at all as bad as she expected. In fact, she kinda likes him. Oh dear. What's a girl to do?

My Response: It's a blatant copying of the TV show The Bachelor. But no matter. It's fun and interesting and quite page turning. But yes, there is the beginnings of a love triangle, so be warned should you hate that sort of thing. I enjoyed the alternate universe (country) stuff here, and the class system which seems so crazy to us. I'm intrigued for sure, and want to know how she figures it all out now that things are getting complicated.

Bottom Line: Fun and fluff for the most part, which was perfect for summer reading and given the heavier stuff I've been reading of late.

Let's Talk About: Does it bug you if something is very much a copy of something else? Are you like, oh, cool! I wish I'd thought of that! Or are you like, um, could the author not have disguised that a bit more? I'm not sure where I stand on this. I'll ponder.

Other Reviews:

Just like watching reality tv, I like seeing the cattiness, who is sincere and who puts on a face. If this were a show on tv, I would probably watch. From Cherie Reads

I could not peel my eyes away from the book. There’s bickering and in-fighting and clandestine meetings and lies and secrets and OH MY GOSH WHO COULD WANT MORE? From Anna Reads

But..I feel like there's this bigger story that's waiting to break out in the books (at least I hope so!) about the rebels that attack the castle and the country. From My Friend Amy

The Selection is an incredibly fast read, not requiring much in the way of philosophical thinking or close attention to details, but one cannot discount the fun and entertainment it provides readers. From That's What She Read


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I'd Want With Me on a Deserted Island


Yeah, that's a mouthful! So we always answer the question, what books would we want with us should we happen to be stranded on an deserted island. But today over at The Broke and the Bookish we are thinking what characters. In which case the island would not be too deserted! So these characters would probably be with us on the boat, and they'd be part of the whole sinking scenario and we all survive and are now all on the island together. What a party!

 I'm thinking I'd want:

1. Perry from Under the Never Sky... I think his outdoorsy skills would probably come in very handy, yes?


2. Katniss from The Hunger Games... it's the hunting I'm thinking of here. Plus, she'd probably make a pretty cool friend.


3. Jacob from Twilight... if it gets cold on this island, he's going to keep me warm.


4. Robinson Crusoe... because he's got this gig down!


5. Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings... just because I love him.


6. Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables... for the cheering up factor and all that positive thinking. I'm okay if she brings Gilbert along too.


7. Kvothe from The Kingkiller Chronicles... because I think he'd be a great protector. And he's awesome.


8. Edmund Dantes from The Count of Monte Cristo... he has this island gig thing down too! So, just in case we all want to escape...


9. Shalan from Words of Radiance... because she's a Soulcaster (I think, right?) and that'll be good for us, I promise.


10. Ron from Harry Potter... more magical goodness (even though he might not get it right) but mostly for the funny factor!


Who would you pick to be stranded with?  Link up your list over at the Broke and the Bookish!

(I picked a lot of redheads! I wonder what's up with that!)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Book Review Discussion: Split Second by Kasie West

Book: Split Second by Kasie West
Genre: YA Paranormal
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ★
For: Fun
From: Bought it... somewhere...

Short Synopsis: This continues the story which began with Pivot Point where Addie sees the future and makes a decision about which parent to live with. In this book, we see the consequences of that decision and the changes that happen in her life. In the first book she makes a promise that's awfully hard to keep and in this second book, we find out if she manages to keep it. This second book is also a lot about her friend Laila's story. In fact it flips back and forth from the points of view of each of them. We get more familiar with the world of the Paranormals, and also we learn some interesting things going on the Normal world. It's all very complicated! And I'm feeling crazy here because I can't spoil anything!

My Response: I love this story! And I would suggest reading these books really close together, something I don't normally suggest. They are truly like one continuous book. I had to find my Pivot Point and re-read the ending and a bunch of other scenes just so I could know what was going on. We as readers know more than the characters in this second book and that's really quite an interesting place to be. It's one of those instances where you feel like shouting through the book and into the pages so the characters will know what's up! Laila's story is fun and I enjoyed getting to know her unique personality too and having her own funny love story to follow.

Bottom line: This is a great story with lots of twists and turns and not easily predictable. At least for me. I enjoyed the unique plot and fun romance. Read it.. read them both... together!

Let's Talk About: Stories with two points of view! Like or don't like? I think many readers where bugged about this two point of view story, but as I said, I found it interesting and fun. Sometimes one  point of view stands out and that's the one you always want to be reading, but sometimes you are okay getting a two for one, you know? What's your take on this? Do you enjoy reading two or more points of view, or would you rather we stay in just one person's head?

Other Reviews:

Split Second is a one day sort of read with action and an interesting world and answers all the questions you had from Pivot Point. From Good Books and Good Wine

I'm a sucker for funny, and Kasie West does that very well, whether it's Addie/Laila banter, Laila/Connor banter, or watching Laila and Connor try to ignore their attraction to one another while Laila's brother Eli practices his ability at their expense. From YA Romantics

This book was a fast-paced read. I wanted to book to keep going and have something else happen, but sadly it ended. From Books With Bite

We all need Trevor in our lives. I’m totally being serious. From Deadly Darlings



Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Book Review Discussion: Ezra and Hadassah: A Portrait of American Royalty by Heather Young

Book: Ezra and Hadassah: A Portrait of American Royalty by Heather Young
Genre: Memoir
Rating:★★★★★
For: Review
From: Sent to me for free by the author. All opinions are my own.

Short Synopsis: This book follows the story of Ezra and Hadassah (later called Rex and Heather) as they are taken from their biological parents, placed in foster care, and are then adopted by abusive parents. Heather recounts all the feelings she goes through as things beyond their control continue to happen to them. While her own story is heartbreaking, she focuses even more on the story of her brother who, being mentally challenged, suffered even more at the hands of their adoptive parents as she, being too young and too scared, stood by and watched. Later, when she was able to escape the situation, the paths of her and her brother cross again and what follows is an amazing inspirational end to all that went on before.

My Response: I must admit, I was a little nervous to read this book. Reading about abuse is not my favorite thing, you know? And then when I understood that my LDS church played a big role, I was even more nervous. But I was assured that it might not be what I think, so I gave it a chance. Of course, once started, I couldn't put it down. I was completely wrapped up in this story and anxious to find out what happens with Heather and Rex. It's one of those stories that as you are reading it, you can hardly believe it's true and that someone actually lived this stuff. And how can people do these things to kids? And why... why why WHY do they adopt kids when they have no idea how to deal with them? Why? What can their motivation even be? And why adopt special needs kids at that? I so don't get it but I imagine it happens all the time.

It's also one of those stories that while you are reading it, you wonder, how can this ever end happy? How do people survive such things? But that's the reason for the book in the first place... to show and inspire the rest of us that life, no matter how bad it seems or hard it is, can get better and everyone can come to find peace in the end. And the church, instead of actually being the bad guy in all this, ended up truly helping these kids. It took some time, and it bugs me that it took that time, but church members and leaders pulled through there in the end. Yay for that.

And can I just add here, yay also for Heather's husband! What a saint he must be! My hats off to him!

Bottom Line: I totally enjoyed this book, even with its hard subject matter. It was written in such a way that it wasn't overly emotional, or graphic, or "woe is me." It was direct and matter of fact and I think that made it easier for me to read. At the same time, it drew me in made me feel invested from the very first page.

Let's Talk About: How do you feel about reading hard subject like abuse? Do you tend to shy away from it? Or do you expect, like I did, to somehow be inspired by it? Do you feel like it's a fine line there between the hard stuff and the good stuff? Do you usually feel it's worth it in the end?

Other Reviews:

Ezra and Hadassah is a memoir about endurance in tragic circumstances and, above all, about the roles other people play in our lives, from the villains to the unexpected and beloved heroes. From Literary Inklings

Not since The Help has a book struck me with such force. From Goodreads Reviews

She and Rex are my new heroes along with the good people who finally entered their lives, including some good friends and families, a teacher, a Bishop, and her own husband. From Goodreads Reviews

I especially loved reading about Rex as an adult.It is amazing to see that he grew into such a caring,compassionate,wonderful human being who always looked for how he could help others. From Goodreads Reviews

Monday, July 14, 2014

Book Review Discussion: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Book: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Genre: YA Science Fiction/ Fantasy
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ★
For: Book club fairy tale month
From: The library, sort of

Short Synopsis: After the first book, Cinder, is over, Cinder finds herself and jail with plans to escape. So we follow her story and what happens and how and all that. But we also meet a new character, Scarlet, who runs a vegetable farm with her grandma in France. Only, her grandma has disappeared and she is out to figure out why and whodunnit. She finds help in a very unlikely person... a rough and tough looking street fighter named Wolf. Only, he's shy and quiet for being so rough and tough. It's intriguing. Maybe a little too intriguing. Something is up! Then, things get really interesting when these two stories mesh and collide together.

My Response: Loved it. Totally. Everyone said, READ THIS BOOK! And I just didn't' really rush to follow that command. But I have now,  finally, and it's just really pretty amazing, this creative mash up of fairy tale and science fiction with really cool and unique characters and all sorts of crazy things going on. I especially loved the sidekick "captain" that Cinder hooks on to! What a hoot he is! I hope he's in the next book! Which I hope to get to soon.

Bottom Line: An awesome fun Red Riding Hood re-telling, with spaceships.

Let's Talk About: Side characters! Aren't they the best? Not only was Captain Thorne (I think that's what his name is!) awesome, but so is Iko, the android who has some of the best lines ever. What's your take on side characters? Do you love it when they sort of steal the scenes? Who are some of your favorites?

Other Reviews:

The story buzzes on the page with its energy and excitement. Even the quiet parts have undertones of excitement and impending adventure. From Working for the Mandroid

This is a very entertaining story: full of suspense, romance, humor, and courage From Rhapsody in Books

Perhaps best of all is that you can rely on Meyer to not have men rescue her heroines, in fact they are much more likely to be the ones rescuing the men. From Walking Brain Cells

I was so hooked all the way through the book. It gives you just enough anticipation and info to keep to you intrigued and dying to find out what happens next! From Kami's Library Thoughts

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Mini Bloggiesta is Next Weekend!


Hey everyone! It's time to sign up for next weekend's Mini Bloggiesta!

Make a To Do List and go link up over at the main Bloggiesta site here.

Then spread the word!

We'll be having a Twitter chat on Sunday the 20th at 1:00 Eastern. I hope you join in!

Here's my little tiny To Do List:

** update archive lists
** pin reviews
** catch up on reviews
** update Utah author books read list
** get all Utah Book Month events squared away
** write Utah Book Month posts, if I can
** host the Twitter chat

We'll see how that goes. Have fun!



Friday, July 11, 2014

Music and Movies I Loved in High School

Okay, one more high school post. And then the reunion will happen on Saturday. I may report on that just a bit and then, we'll forget about high school again for ten years, yes? I'm guessing not. But we'll try.

So today I spent time I did not have to make a playlist on Spotify of some of my favorite high school memory songs. I wanted to experiment and see if this playlist even shows up here for you to listen to should you desire! Does it? Can you click and listen even if you don't have Spotify?

Anyway, each one of these songs is tied to a memory... of dances, certain people, events, silliness, driving around in the car, etc etc. I loved the music from this time. It's been so fun to listen to them again today. I'm sure I'm missing a ton that need to be remembered, but I can always keep adding to the list, right? (Wow, if only things like Spotify were at our finger tips during high school! I would have gone crazy! I had to go out and buy a record, a RECORD, or a tape, if I wanted to listen to something whenever I wanted. We listened to the radio a lot though. Yeah, we did have radio back then!)

Are any of these songs your favorites too?

 

As for movies, we went to the theater all the time. But we didn't watch movies at home much because that was just starting. Not very many people had VCRs yet and if they did, let's just say we hung out there a lot! Anyway, some movies I remember seeing in the theater during high school:
The Outsiders

WarGames
Karate Kid
The Right Stuff
Footloose
Return of the Jedi
Top Gun
Amadeus
Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan
Oh my word! I better stop! What a bunch of great movies though, eh? I loved them all. What memories we make going to see them too. So much fun. Ah, the good old days. Sigh.

Alright, here's hoping I survive the big reunion. Wish me luck. It's going to be...interesting!

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