Laura Rider's Masterpiece by Jane Hamilton

Laura Rider lives with her husband, Charlie, in Hartley, Wis., where they own and run the Prairie Wind Farm. After 12 years of marriage, Laura decides to stop sleeping with Charlie, and although Charlie’s best talent is lovemaking, she has decided that she’s done with the whole "sex" thing. Upon meeting local public radio host Jenna Faroli, Laura decides that the time has come to fulfill her fantasy and write a romance novel. It just so happens that fate was on her side and there was a chance meeting between Charlie and Jenna. Laura sees this meeting as her chance to experiment and helps Charlie concoct e-mails to Jenna and inspire a friendship of sorts. Little does Laura know that Charlie and Jenna have their own plans that ignite a feisty affair.

I found it a bit hard to get through the first couple of chapters, but eventually the story started to grow on me. I especially liked reading the e-mails between the supposed-Charlie and Jenna. And, although Laura was mischievous, conniving and manipulative (at times) - she was also quite funny and I really ended up liking her.

Overall, I thought this story was fun, and Ms. Hamilton’s writing was witty and smart.

This book has not been released yet, it comes out on April 9, 2009.

Challenge Status (Mar. 09)

The Genre Challenge (completed)
(11/11) ends November 1, 2009

The 2009 Pub Challenge
(5/9) ends December 2009

A-Z Reading Challenge (titles only)
(14/26) ends December 2009

The Whitcoulls List
(3/5) ends November 15, 2009

Casual Classics Challenge
(0/4) ends December 2009

What's in a Name Challenge
(5/6) ends December 2009

100+ Reading Challenge
(37/100) ends December 2009

New Author Reading Challenge
(26/50) ends December 2009

2009 YA Challenge
(6/10) ends December 2009

Romance Reading Challenge
(8/5) ends December 2009

2nds Challenge
(3/12) ends December 2009

TBR Lite Challenge
(2/6) ends December 2009

Numbers Challenge
(3/5) ends August 1, 2009

Read Your Name Challenge
(4/7) ends December 2009

999 Challenge
(37/81) ends December 2009

TBR Challenge
(6/12) ends December 2009

Outlander Challenge
(1/7) ends when An Echo in the Bone releases

Winter Reading Challenge (completed)
(12/10) ends March 20, 2009

eBook Reading Challenge (completed)
(12/10) ends December 2009

Books Into Movies Challenge
(8/8) ends December 2009

The Dream King Challenge
(2/3) ends December 2009

Buy 1 Book and Read it Challenge
(6/24) ends December 2009

9 for '09 Challenge
(2/9) ends December 2009

Just for the Love of It Challenge
(26/6) ends April 30, 2009

On the Porch Swing Challenge
(0/4) ends December 2009

LOST Books Challenge
(0/5) ends at end of LOST series in 2010

EW's New Classics Books
(10/100) perpetual challenge

Chunkster Challenge
(4/5) ends December 2009

(0/6) ends September 2009

(4/15) ends June 20, 2009


Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

In nineteen minutes, you can mow the front lawn, color your hair, watch a third of a hockey game. In nineteen minutes, you can bake scones or get a tooth filled by a dentist; you can fold laundry for a family of five. In nineteen minutes, you can stop the world, or you can just jump off it. In nineteen minutes, you can get revenge.

Nineteen Minutes is set in Sterling, New Hampshire - a town where nothing ever happens – that is until the day that Peter Houghton walks into his high school and in 19 minutes kills and injures several of his classmates and teachers. The story is told through several perspectives and ranges anywhere from when before Peter is born until about one year after the deadly shooting. We hear from Peter’s parents, his old best friend Josie Cormier, who eventually became part of the popular crowd and abandoned her friendship with Peter, Josie’s mom, Alex - also the judge sitting on the case, Patrick the detective who was able to apprehend Peter after the shooting and, of course, Peter himself.

I was so caught up in this book while reading it - there were just so many emotions that I went through (anger, despair, heartbreak, sadness, etc.) The story is written in a way that helps you relate and even sympathize with all of the main characters. I thought it gave good insight into bullying, and the torture that some kids are put through while in school. The peer pressure, the complicated tumultuous life of teens - was perfectly captured.

This book will stick with me for a while, I think.

What are you Reading on Mondays? (Week 3/30/09)

For everyone elses responses, please visit J. Kaye at J. Kaye's Book Blog.

What am I reading this week?

I wasn't able to read The Namesake last week - but hopefully I'll be able to get to it this week. Keeping my fingers crossed.


Giveaway: Girls in Trucks

I am so happy to be hosting a giveaway. Obviously this is my first one so I am a little nervous about it and am not 100% sure I'm doing it right, but I'm sure in the end whomever wins will get their book :D

So on that note, I have 5 copies of Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch available.

I haven't had the opportunity of reading it yet, but I plan on having a review of it up soon. Here is a quick synopsis:

Sarah Walters is a less-than-perfect debutante. She tries hard to follow the time-honored customs of the Charleston Camellia Society, as her mother and grandmother did, standing up straight in cotillion class and attending lectures about all the things that Camellias don't do. (Like ride with boys in pickup trucks.) But Sarah can't quite ignore the barbarism just beneath all that propriety, and as soon as she can she decamps South Carolina for a life in New York City. There, she and her fellow displaced Southern friends try to make sense of city sophistication, to understand how much of their training applies to real life, and how much to the strange and rarefied world they've left behind. When life's complications become overwhelming, Sarah returns home to confront with matured eyes the motto "Once a Camellia, always a Camellia"- and to see how much fuller life can be, for good and for ill, among those who know you best. Girls in Trucks introduces an irresistable, sweet, and wise voice that heralds the arrival of an exciting new talent.

Leave a comment for one entry. And if you subscribe to this blog or already are subscribed leave me a note and I'll give you a second entry.

Rules: Books will be delivered directly from Publisher so contestants can only be from US or Canada and no P.O. Boxes please. Winners will be drawn April 17.

Thursday Thunks (3/26/09)

This is a new Meme I'm picking up for Thursday. I figure like this y'all get to know a little bit more about me (other than what I'm reading).

A little bit about what Thursday Thunks is:

We pick a subject, and your job is to interpret it anyway you want. Write about it on your blog... simple as that. Maybe you can interpret it as a picture - we don't care!

This week we will answer some crazy questions brought to you by THE THURSDAY THUNKERS, the color brown and the number 1.

1. What is your favorite type of soda (if you drink soda)? Coca-Cola - yes I do drink a lot of Coke, there are times where I can actually say that I crave it.
2. Do you believe in astrology? If so, what does your sign say about you? I'm a Leo. That's as far as I know about astrology.
3. Who is John Galt? Who? Wait let me google.
4. What is the last thing you do before you go to sleep at night? I put my book down, turn off my light and snuggle the hubby.
5. Who's your Daddy? My husband likes to think he is.
6. Jelly beans or Jelly Bellies? Jelly bellies (Apple) yum.
7. What do you think about yellow car? Why do car manufacturers actually make yellow cars? I like yellow cars. If nothing else they stand out and you might actually avoid hitting it.
8. Holding on or Letting go? Holding on.
9. What kind of underwear, if any, do you wear? Pretty colorful ones.
10. Who is your daddy and what does he do? My dad is retired so he just sits home watching tv.
11. Spring - is it here yet?? In Miami, there is no spring. There is a slight winter and the there is summer the rest of the year.
12. Does Google Streetview scare you? absolutely
13. What is your favorite brand of ice cream? Haagen Daz
14. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Dulce de Leche
15. Do you ever get tired of your everyday routine? yep - I wanna stay home and read (everyday - forever)
16. What inspires you? My children
17. It’s springtime-do you spend more time outdoors? We do after the rains (which we normally get from April thru May) then it's fun in the sun. The beach, the park, etc.
18. When do you think Bud will let us see the DVD of him and the french twins? never
19. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you, and why? Tuscany
20. Why do you blog? I like to read, I figure why not write about it.
21. What are electrolytes and why are they good for us? They keep you hydrated, right?
22. Do you twitter? Why or why not? I am a member of Twitter but I only twit every so often.
23. What did you dream last night? can't remember
24. What is the strangest thing you've eaten? Aligator (ewww) actually it tasted pretty good until they told me what it was.
25. What was the last picture that you took? my kids this morning in the bathroom (and no they weren't using it) they were just standing on top of the toilet watching me brush my teeth
26. What is your favorite part of spring? all the neat shows we get here in Miami
27. What is one thing that you did this past week that no one knows about? I went to Target and spent a lot of money (haven't broken it to my husband yet)
28. What kind of bandages do you typically have in your household? Spongebob Squarepants band-aids

Thursday Tunes (Brandi Carlile)

Thursday Tunes is once again being hosted by S.Krishna.

I took a Thursday Tunes hiatus for a few weeks, but I'm back! This week I want to share with you another favorite of mine, singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile. I was originally introduced to her music through and episode of Grey's Anatomy with her song The Story. Ever since then, I've uploaded about 15 of her songs. I love her sound, her voice - she is amazing.

Take a listen:

These are just some of my favorites. But there are so many more that just blow me away. I hope you enjoy and enjoy your Thursday. For more Thursday Tunes please head on over S.Krishna's.


Matrimony by Joshua Henkin

Matrimony is the story of Julian Wainright and Mia Mendelsohn’s relationship from when they meet in college up through roughly 20 years later. We are able to follow Julian and Mia, through the heartbreaking loss of her mother to breast cancer, as he struggles to write his first novel, as they move from college town to college town while continuing their education, through betrayal, and eventually the ups and downs of life. Although the story is called Matrimony - there are so many other elements that come to play ... friendship, aging, wealth, loss and forgiveness.

Mr. Henkin is straight-forward in his writing and although there is no definitive plot, the characters are very well-developed and relatable.

This is a story about relationships - between friends, between husbands and wives, between parents and children, between siblings - and how imperfect they can be. It is a coming-of-age story that I found it to be like real-life. Life doesn't always contain a lot of drama and good things will happen and bad things will happen, yet through it all, it moves forward.

I'd like to once again thank Michele at A Reader's Respite for hosting the giveaway that allowed me to win this autographed copy.


Stardust by Neil Gaiman

When Tristran Thorn is sent on a quest to find a falling star by his ladylove Victoria Forrester, little did he know of the magical adventure that would ensue.

After falling in love with the film, and being acquainted with other Gaiman works over the past year, I had high expectations for this novel. But sadly, I must confess, I actually liked the film better - which was quite a surprise to me. Don’t take me wrong, I enjoyed this book immensely, but the film just left out some of the irrelevant characters (i.e. stepmother and sister storyline) and brought a more comedic side to some of the more obscure characters in the book (i.e. Captain Shakespeare, the dead brothers, etc.).

Mr. Gaiman’s writing style had a marvelous balance between melodic poetics and simplistic ease in his sentence structure and wordsmithery.

Stardust swept me away on a magical journey full of dark humor, love and adventure. It was a surprisingly modern and moving fairy tale about finding the missing part of ourselves hidden "behind the wall". Witches, pirates, and a love story... what more can you ask for in a fairytale. It just goes to show that fairytales are definitely not just for children.


What are you Reading on Mondays? (Week 3/23/09)

J. Kaye at J. Kaye's Book Blog started this new meme and I figured, why not. What's another meme right? Plus this one is easy and fun. I like pre-planning what I'm reading at the beginning of the week anyway... so now I can post about it too.

What am I reading this week?

I am finally making it a point to read these guys since I've heard wonderful things about all three of them and I've had them sitting on my shelves for a while now.

What are you reading this week?


We got a facelift!

Whatcha think?

Many thanks to Sharnee for the fabulous template she made for me.

The Side-Yard Superhero by Rick D. Niece

Rick Niece is the President of The University of the Ozarks in Clarksville, Arkansas. The Side-Yard Superhero is his "automythography". What’s an automythography you ask? According to Rick it is "A work of nonfiction that looks reflectively at what we think we remember and how we think we remember it; an iridescent memory based upon truth and fact."

The Side-Yard Superhero is Rick’s account of what it was like to grow up in DeGraff (a small town in Ohio) with about 900 residents. Rick (back then known as Ricky) recounts his job of paperboy (that he kept until he moved out for college) and the neighbors he met on his daily route, along with what it was like growing up in a town where you knew everyone, local Friday hangouts and the carnival coming to town.

Through Ricky we are introduced to several characters:

Fern an elderly woman who worked for a newspaper at the turn of the century and who now resided with her dog. Fern had a tendency of walking around the neighborhood in just her brassiere and pants (this was her normal everyday attire). We meet Miss Lizzie - she was somewhat of a recluse due to the loss of her fiancé during WWI but who could bake the best pumpkin loaf in town. But especially we meet Bernie Jones. Bernie Jones is a boy Ricky befriends on his paper route who is wheelchair bound due to cerebral palsy. Everyday Ricky delivered the paper - Bernie waited in the side-yard of his home so that they could sit together and read Dick Tracy comics, talk about school, life and dreams.

Each chapter is a story of its own. We learn of the Saturday that Rickie took Bernie along with him on his paper route, and the Halloween where he and Bernie helped Miss Lizzie hand out her pumpkin loaf to all the towns trick-or-treaters. Bernie gets his name of Side-Yard Superhero from dressing up like Superman that year. We also read of the year the carnival came to town and Ricky was able to ride Bernie on the teacup ride. I enjoyed reading of the stories that relate to the wonderful support and relationships Ricky and his neighbors had. It makes you think about the importance of your roots. I also found myself looking forward to reading the fantastic poems at the beginning of each chapter.

Overall, I thought this book was touching and insightful. It helps you think of the simplicity in life and the basics of what is important. It’s a story about friendships, promises and growing up. This was just such a nice, feel good read. I highly recommend it .


Spring Reading Thing 2009

Here’s a brief recap of how to be a part of the Spring Reading Thing 2009:

- Make a list of books you want to read (or finish reading) this spring. Your list can be as long or as short as you’d like. (Also, feel free to modify your list during the challenge if it’s not working for you.)
- Write a blog post containing your list and submit it to this post using the Mr. Linky below. (Please do not put your name on the Mr. Linky before you have your post done, and please link directly to your Spring Reading Thing post. If you don’t, your entry will be deleted. Read this post for more information.)
- Get reading! The challenge goes from today, March 20th, through June 20th.
- Check out other participants’ lists and add to your own to-read-someday pile!
- Write a post about your challenge experience in June, telling us all about whether you reached your goals and how the Spring Reading Thing went for you. Oh, and if you don’t finish your books, or if you change your list half-way through, or if you only read two books…it’s OKAY. This is a low-pressure challenge that should be fun. As long as you do some reading this spring (and enjoy it!), that’s good enough for me.

I love challenges like this one! Just do what you want, read what you want. Love it. I plan on reading anywhere from 15 - 20 books for this one.


Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult

Willow O’Keefe is born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) Type III - otherwise known as brittle bone disease. Willow’s bones can break by just sneezing or turning over in bed while sleeping. She will suffer hundreds of broken bones throughout her life span.

After a horrible experience in Disney World, the family consults an attorney and they are introduced to the term "Wrongful Birth". The attorney’s and Charlotte (Willow's mother) believe that Willow’s condition was not diagnosed in time for Charlotte to have the option of whether or not to terminate the pregnancy. Therefore a malpractice lawsuit is filed against her OB/GYN and BFF, Piper.

This lawsuit is the main focus and the one that sets the wheels in motion throughout the story. It is also what makes and breaks these people; including two marriages, friendships, and two innocent girls.

Charlotte O'Keefe has to convince a jury that although she loves her daughter unconditionally, the cost and ability to properly raise her is just something that her family cannot afford and therefore must come from someone else, all by standing up in front of a jury and admitting that if she had prior knowledge to her daughter's condition, she would have terminated the pregnancy.

Written in the same style of "My Sister's Keeper", this story is told from different perspectives (Charlotte; Sean - Willow’s dad; Amelia - Willow’s older sister; Piper - Charlotte’s OB/GYN and best friend; and Marin - Charlotte’s attorney) - yet, all the chapters are written as letters to Willow. To avoid confusion, all characters have their own chapters and their own font-type so that you are aware of who you are living through at the moment.

I’ve read several reviews that say that this story is a remake of "My Sister’s Keeper" and, although there are some similarities, I found the storyline to be very engrossing and something that I honestly could not put down.I also read some reviews that say that the story was too much like Picoult’s other books and therefore predictable, but I did not find this to be true.

I learned so much about OI and, of course, plan on googling to learn more about it. I laughed and I cried and was at war with myself on who was right or who was wrong. I will say that I cried just about every other page for the first couple of chapters, then totally lost it at the end, but what a ride through moral/ethical issues. I hope you enjoy it through your tears, I know I did.

2009 e-Book Reading Challenge Wrap-Up

I have also completed the e-book challenge. I would like to thank my hubby for really helping me complete this challenge - as without him I would've never gotten my Sony Reader and therefore never joined this challenge.

Although the challenge was only for 10 books (see original post), I up'd it to 12. It was loads of fun.

Here's my final list:
1 Disquiet - Julia Leigh (completed 1/01/09)
2 Where the Heart Is - Billie Letts (completed 1/05/09)
3 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon (completed 1/07/09)
4 Secret Vampire - L.J. Smith (completed 1/13/09)
5 The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (completed 1/19/09)
6 Life of Pi - Yann Martel (completed 1/23/09)
7 One Fifth Avenue - Candace Bushnell (completed 2/09/09)
8 Outlander - Diana Gabaldon (completed 2/19/09)
9 He's Just Not Into You - Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo (completed 3/06/09)
10 The Boy in the Striped Pajamas - John Boyne (completed 3/07/09)
11 The Host - Stephanie Meyer (completed 3/11/09)
12 Dirty Little Angels - Chris Tusa (completed 3/14/09)

Winter Reading Challenge 08/09 Wrap-Up

I have completed the Winter Reading Challenge. I originally set a minimum of 6 books for the challenge (see original post) and I doubled that. Hooray for me.

Here's the final list:
1 Just After Sunset - Stephen King (completed 12/30/08)
2 Inkspell - Cornelia Funke (completed 1/15/09)
3 Playing with the Grown-Ups - Sophie Dahl (completed 2/24/09)
4 Doubt - John Patrick Shanley (completed 12/27/08)
5 The Reader - Bernard Schlink (completed 1/03/09)
6 The Thief Lord - Cornelia Funke (completed 1/29/09)
7 Chistmas Jars - Jason F. Wright (completed 1/02/09)
8 Disquiet - Julia Leigh (completed 1/01/09)
9 He's Just Not That Into You - Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo (completed 3/06/09)
10 The Boy in the Striped Pajamas - John Boyne (completed 3/07/09)
11 The Host - Stephanie Meyer (completed 3/11/09)
12 Dirty Little Angels - Chris Tusa (completed 3/14/09)



Dirty Little Angels by Chris Tusa

Dirty Little Angels is told through the view point of Hailey Trosclair - a 16 year old teen living in the slums of New Orleans. Through Hailey we learn of her family, friends and what life is like for a teen who hasn't been dealt the best hand in life.

We also meet an assortment of characters: Cyrus - the over-protective older brother who knows just when to use his set of brass knuckles. Her parents - her father is a jobless, adulterous, alchoholic and her mother - who is suffering from depression due to a miscarriage. We also meet Verma - witty family friend, and then there is Moses Watkins - an ex-con, ex-preacher who is trying to start a drive-through church.

There is so much going on in this short book (drugs, sex and violence). But in the end, it is a book about family - love for one's family; and it will test you and ask you, what would you do to keep and protect your family? To what lengths would you go?

Chris Tusa’s prose is chillingly effective at maintaining a sense of dread, along with a palpable tension amongst his characters. I liked that he is economical in his choice of words to evoke scenes and emotions.

A good story--a little off-beat--but I really liked Hailey, even though there were moments when she wasn't so likable. To be honest, I liked that all the characters were jaded and imperfect - they were real.

I found it to be an absolutely enthralling, exciting, depressing, uplifting, tear inducing, story-telling book.


Musing Mondays

Musing Mondays is hosted by Just One More Page.

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about talking to strangers…

We were all warned as children to 'never talk to strangers', but how do you feel about book-talk with random people? When you see people reading, do you ask what it is? Do you talk to people in the book store or the library? Why or why not? What do you do if people talk to you? (question courtesy of Dena)

I am a psycho... I can't help it. I absolutely do talk to random people about what they're reading. Mostly, it's only if I have read the book already. I'll ask so what do you think so far? or Where are you by? And then of course, I'll give a two thumbs up sign or a meh if it wasn't so good. That kind of thing.

While in New York - I was totally harassing strangers on my subway rides since they do a lot of reading while commuting to work. I don't get that here in Miami. But I do harass most of my co-workers about what they're reading or if they've read anything good and so forth. I've even coerced them all into having a lunch hour book club once a month. It's funny that I've become their go-to girl for books to read and so forth.

So yes, I absolutely am a random person book stalker. What can I say? I love to read and I love to see people reading.

Cornelia Funke Challenge Wrap-Up

I also completed the Cornelia Funke Challenge. Thanks to this challenge I was introduced to Cornelia Funke - as I had never read any of her books. I had been meaning to read the Inkheart series but I had just never gotten around to it.

Although I meant to read a total of 4 books (according to my original post) - I only got around to reading 3. I still consider the challenge completed since there was only a 3 book requirement (hehe). I just didn't muster up the energy to starting Inkdeath. I began reading reviews on it and they weren't very inspiring. Thus, it's sitting on my shelf at the moment - but I'll get to it within the next couple of months (I promise).

Here's my completed list:
1 Inkheart (completed 12/17/08)
2 Inkspell (completed 1/15/09)
3 The Thief Lord (completed 1/29/09)



The Genre Challenge Wrap-Up

I have completed The Genre Challenge. This was such a fun challenge - it got me out of my comfort zone and introduced me to several genres that I normally wouldn't read.

Here is my final list for the challenge:
1- Action : All Together Dead - Charlaine Harris (completed 11/04/08)
2- Detective: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson (completed 12/12/08)
3- Thriller : The Host - Stephanie Meyer (completed 1/12/09)
4- Fantasy : The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman (completed 11/16/08)
5- Sci-Fi : Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro (completed 2/01/09)
6- Mystery : Blindness - José Saramago (completed 1/11/09)
7- Realistic : The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants - Ann Brashares (completed 11/13/08)
8- Crime : Testimony - Anita Shreve (completed 12/04/08)
9- Historical : Outlander - Diana Gabaldon (completed 2/19/09)
10- Romance : The Wednesday Letters - Jason F. Wright (completed 1/04/09)
11- Horror : Just After Sunset - Stephen King (completed 12/30/08)

In my original post there were only 10 categories that I chose, but I added the horror category and decided to go with Stephen King (who better right?). There was also a western category, but I have never been able to find a good western so I didn't even bother with that one. Once again, this was such fun and I hope it's one that gets renewed for 2010.


Cozy Mystery Challenge 2009

Challenge Rules:
1. The challenge runs from April 1, 2009 –September 30, 2009 (6 months)
2. The goal is to read at least 1 cozy mystery for each month, so a total of 6. You can read these all in the same month, one per month, or however you want.
3. It is ok to use books that you are already reading for other challenges, however at least 2 need to be specific for this challenge.
4. You do not need to have a blog to participate
5. You are not required to make a list of books you plan to read ahead of time, but it would be fun if you did. I do ask that you at least create a post for this challenge and link back to this post. Please also note how many books you plan to read for this challenge.
6. You must sign-up before April 1st, so the last date to sign up is March 31st.
7. To sign up for the challenge – please use Mr. Linky below. Behind your name, please put the number of books you plan to read for this challenge in ( ). Example: Kris (6) If you have trouble with Mr. Linky, just leave a comment.
8. At the end of the challenge, If you have a blog, please create a wrap-up post telling others how you did and listing each of the books you read for the challenge and link them to your reviews. I will create a posting regarding the end of the challenge and ask that you sign Mr. Linky and link your wrap-up post. That made sense right? If you don't have a blog, just enter your name and the number of books you did read in ( ). Example: Kris (6).
9. Prizes you ask? Of course! For each person who completes the challenge, I will send you a homemade bookmark. I know – you are overcome with excitement you can join this challenge fast enough!


The Host by Stephanie Meyer

We all know Stephanie Meyer from her Twilight series... but to my surprise, she can write a mean alien book too.

In this story, planet Earth has been overtaken by aliens called “Souls”. These Souls are parasite-type aliens who implant themselves into the human brain and take over - thus the human race is practically extinct.

In comes Melanie Stryder - part of the human resistance and someone who has evaded capture for several years - she is captured by the Seekers (Souls who search for renegade or “wild” humans) and is implanted with a Soul named Wanderer. Wanderer is like a celebrity within the Souls. She is very old and strong and she has lived many life cycles on different worlds. Upon implant, Wanderer is surprised when Melanie’s consciousness refuses to fade away. Melanie fights and is a voice in Wanderer’s head. Through Melanie’s memories Wanderer is able to see what being human is about - the good (love, laughter, friendships) and the bad (fear, jealousy, rage, anger). Eventually Wanderer and Melanie have to learn to live together, and they go off on a very dangerous mission.

I liked the fact that we get to hear Wandarer’s (eventually nicknamed Wanda) point-of-view. It was Invasion of the Body Snatchers - from the unique perspective of one of the Snatchers.

I will say though that the first 80 pages or so were a bit slow and difficult to get through, for me, but once I passed that I was completely hooked and devoured the remaining 500+ pages.

In conclusion, The Host is definitely a must read! You’ll stay up till the wee hours of the night reading it, I know I did. It also leaves a perfect opening for any sequels and Meyer has already mentioned that she is working on a follow-up that will be appropriately titled “The Soul”, as well as a possible third book she would like to call “The Seeker”. If The Host does spawn a series I know they will be loved just as much as the Twilight Series and I can say that I will be one to stand in line to get one of the first copies available.


Booking Through Thursday

Here's this week's BTT hosted by Deb. To read other answers or to participate, click over here.

What book do you think should be made into a movie? And do you have any suggestions for the producers?

As you must already know, I love to read a book that was made into a movie. I love to read and then watch the movies or vice versa. Don't ask me why since I normally am not happy with the movie after I've read the book but I always try (if interested) to buy the book before I watch the movie.
I can really think up a list of books that I'd love to see turned into movies. Books with so much detail or such fantastical plost that I know I would love to see on the big screen:

The Host - Stephanie Meyer
Life of Pi - Yann Martel
Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Outlander - Diana Gabaldon
The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman
The Thirteenth Tale -Diane Setterfield
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan - Lisa See
Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen

I can obviously keep going with this one. But these are just some of the one's that I could think of from the top of my head.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

The story is told through the point-of-view of Bruno, a 9 year-old boy who is sadly naive to what the situation in his country is. When Bruno’s family moves from Berlin, he leaves behind his three best friends and his beautiful 5-story home, making him a very unhappy young man. Bruno detests his new home at Out-With (Auschwitz). At Out-With there are no other children to play with other than his older (12) sister "who is a lost case" and the house only has 3-stories and barely any windows, not to mention they are somewhere in the country and not in a big city like he is used to. His family has to move after The Fury (The Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler) comes to dinner at their Berlin house with a beautiful blonde lady (Eva Braun) to give his father a promotion. At Bruno's new house he can't see all the way across Berlin from his window (like he did in his old home) but he can see into a "farm" surrounded by a tall barbed wire fence with lots of boys milling about. He becomes jealous of these boys because they have lots of friends to play with, and he doesn't, and they get to wear striped pajamas all day, every day, while he has to wear all this fancy clothes all the time. All these are examples of how naive Bruno is, which is beautiful and so sad at the same time.

As any 9 year old would, Bruno loves to explore. So, to keep himself occupied he begins exploring through their backyard. Through these daily adventures he eventually comes to a fence where he meets a young Jewish boy named Schmuel. Although Schmuel is on the other side of the fence, this does not deter the grand friendship that ensues.

I found it a bit shocking how the author mixed innocence with violence in a very peculiar way. The writing style is simple, yet profound. A quick read; because you will not want to put it down, and a heart wrenching ending that will keep you thinking long after you've finished the book. 

On a side note: I also saw this movie about two weeks ago and it does not disappoint. It stayed true to the book on almost everything. It was a little different at the end but it still got its point across. It's a touching story and one that you shouldn't miss out on.


He's Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo

He’s Just Not That Into You is mainly written by self-proclaimed "bad guy" Greg Behrendt who was a consultant on the show "Sex and the City". He bluntly explains why men act the way they do and how women should interpret their actions. We also get the female version through Liz Tuccillo’s words (also a consultant for SATC). What I liked most about this book is that the authors never make the reader feel as if they have to change who they are in order to snag a guy. This book is about learning how to deal with the men in your relationships and realizing when the time has come to cut your losses and just move on.

Overall, a great insight into the way a man’s mind works and also a hilariously funny read. I found myself laughing out loud on several occasions!

Although this book is a self-help book (which did not really apply to me), I can say that I learned one thing from it and that was to realize how much my husband was really into me when we were dating and still is after 10 years.

Some parts that I thought were great:
"My favorite innocent words and phrases that can be used for evil:
1. " I would never do anything to intentionally hurt you"
2. " Fear of Intimacy"
3. " Busy"
4. " Im not ready"
5. "Call me''
True meaning: He does not really like you!"

" Women don't need to plot, scheme, and beg to get someone to ask us out. We are fantastic."

A definite must read for any single girl out there that could use a little inside information and a push in the right direction.


The Mistress's Daughter by A.M. Homes

The Mistress’s Daughter is a memoir of author A.M. Homes’ journey in discovering her roots. She provides great insight into her life as an adoptee and the experiences of reuniting with her biological parents. I was completely engrossed in the story of her reunion with her birth parents which is as riveting (and sometimes as emotionally and factually confusing) as I would imagine the experience itself would be. This book was written in such an honest, straightforward way.

Here are some quotes that I can say really pulled at the heartstrings:

"---I am not my adopted mother's child, I am not Ellen's child. I am an amalgam. I will always be something glued together, something slightly broken. It is not something I might recover from but something I must accept, to live with---with compassion."

"To be adopted is to be adapted, to be amputated and sewn back together again. Whether or not you regain full function, there will always be scar tissue."

"I have a great fear of attachment and an equally constant fear of loss---"

"Did I choose to be found? No. Do I regret it? No. I couldn't not know."

Although the book started out strong and interesting, mostly dealing with her finding her biological parents are and her dealings with them, the middle of the book made me lose interest. The second half of the story dealt with her search involving her lineage and just felt like a never ending discussion of genealogy.

I think, to a reader who is unfamiliar with adoption - this book may not make too much sense for them. But I loved the writing so much. A.M. Homes has a wonderfully unique narrative style that pulls you in and keeps you there. This novel is pretty universal in the sense that it asks questions that all of us do. Where do we come from? Why are we here? What are our connections to the past and history and family?

All in all, if you’re interested in adoption, genealogy or A.M. Homes, this is definitely a book for you.


I Love the BIG APPLE!

New York was so much fun. Although we weren't able to leave on Monday of last week as planned (thanks to that big snow storm) we were able to leave on Wednesday and instead of leaving on Thursday as previously planned, we stayed through until Saturday. Of course, we left the kids home so I missed them dearly, but the hubby and I made the best of it and had a great time.

Highlights of the trip:

We found a great hotel (since the one we had previously booked were not very nice in helping us change the dates) called "The Time" right off of Times Square which was ideal. The location was fantastic (i.e. Starbucks across the street, Times Square right around the corner and the subway station a skip and a hop away).

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We went on the Late Show with David Letterman! What can I say about this? Well, it was soooo cool. We were within touching distance of U2! Yes, they performed for us and they were fantastic. We also met Dave of course and his guest that day was Jon Stewart who was hilarious.

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We saw not one, but two Broadway shows. Yes, I finally was able to mark "Seeing Phantom of the Opera on Broadway" off the Bucket List. We also saw Mary Poppins. They were both so, so good. Although the tickets were pricey, we had excellent seats for both and well worth the money.
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We walked through Central Park.

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We went to the Museum of Natural History. Can I say WOW that place is huge! We were there for a couple of hours and still didn't see the whole thing.
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ChinaTown! Yes, I did things there that I think were illegal so I will not write about them here. But still soooo fun.

I had my very own star sighting. Yes, Cynthia Nixon (better known as Miranda from Sex and the City) was exiting the subway as I was getting on. Super Cool.

And just being there, taking in the sights (the Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall, Ground Zero), eating a hot dog from a hot dog stand. It was so fun and just a great time. I had a blast.

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