Thursday, July 31, 2008

New Moon By Stephenie Meyer

In my build up to Breaking Dawn (Saturday morning can not come fast enough), my next review will be for New Moon. This is my least favorite of the three but that doesn't mean I didn't love it. I totally did. I think the problem I had was not enough Edward. I don't want to spoil anything for those of you who haven't read it but a good portion of the book is Bella dealing with life without Edward. She becomes closer to Jacob. I like Jacob, he's a healthy relationship for her to have. They are two teenagers, he wants her, she wants Edward. Edward is the man for Bella, no doubt in my mind. After reading Eclipse (review coming tomorrow) I "got" New Moon. It's a really, really important book in the series.

My initial review from my journal was made on Feb. 4, 2008. It said: "Great story! Sequel to Twilight. I have a crush on a fictional vampire! I can see these becoming an obsession."

Well, I wouldn't say I'm obsessed. . . Let's just say that I am a big fan and leave it at that. If you haven't read New Moon, go get it, but read it after Twilight. They are a series and should be read in order. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Candy Girl by Diablo Cody

I just finished Candy Girl by Diablo Cody. Wow. What a ride. Really, it's a good read. My only caution is you should be very comfortable with the different names for body parts and not be too prudish. Diablo is an interesting gal. I loved Juno so very much and I enjoy her articles in Entertainment Weekly. My friend bought me Candy Girl after I commented that I'd like to read it but was a bit embarrassed to be buying a book about a stripper. With good reason. She was graphic in parts. On the whole though, I think it was a very interesting memoir. I was under the impression that she started stripping for research purposes. I thought the book idea came before the stripping. I was wrong. She was intrigued by the idea and did it. More power to her.

I would never be a stripper. It just wouldn't be a good choice for me. Ever. I get why women do though. For so many it's about money, and they can make good money. For others it is about power, some I'm sure are just desperate for something. If you are willing to read a book that might make you blush and will definitely squick you out, go for it. I enjoyed it. It's just not for everyone.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Building up to the release of Breaking Dawn on Saturday (Woo hoo!), I thought I would go back and review the first three books in the series. I'm starting a day early because I plan to finish my current book tomorrow and should blog about that one then. I keep a journal - I mention it below my blog title- of the books I read. This journal goes back 2 1/2 years now and I wish I had started it when I were younger. It would be quite interesting to see what I had to say way back when. I don't write much in my journal, just the date, title, author and a few lines of my thoughts. I finished Twilight (for the first time) on Nov. 1, 2007. Here is my basic entry:

"Really, really good. I love a good non-scary vamp story. It is a great book. Can't wait to read more."

So, there you go. I liked it. The second reading was completed on Feb. 24, 2008. Here's what I said: "I know, I already read it but I needed to refresh my memory after reading the sequels. To say I love this book is an understatement." Yeah, it is. I love this book. I know I wrote about how it isn't quite at Harry Potter status but it could be. Just not quite yet. Let's see what happens when the movie comes out.

For those of you out of the loop (get in it now), Twilight is the story of a teen aged girl named Bella. She moves to Forks, WA to live with her father after her mother re-marries. At school, she meets an intriguing boy named Edward Cullen. Edward just happens to be a vampire. The resulting story is all about Bella's quest to be with Edward and Edward's quest to protect her. Sometimes he is protecting her from himself. One of the things I loved about this series is the fact that the vampire mythology has been flipped on it's head. It's very, very cool to read something new. No garlic, no crosses, no sleeping in coffins. No sleeping in fact. The movie will be out on December 12th and I know it's going to be a success with fans of the book, I only hope it brings others into the fold as well. Oh also. . . the actors are stunning. Really. I'm totally in love with a fictional character. Again.

For lots of good info on the release of Breaking Dawn and the Twilight movie, check out Twilight Moms.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Such a Pretty Fat by Jen Lancaster

I predicted I'd finish Such a Pretty Fat today and I did! Yeah me! Yeah Jen! Awesome book. In Bitter is the New Black, I didn't feel like Jen was the kind of person who I would get along with until the end. In this book, she is so human and so easy to relate to. Anyone who has ever struggled with weight and can laugh about it will appreciate this book. It's not a diet book. Jen doesn't tell you what to eat or how to exercise. She just shares what she does and what works for her. There are a few scenes that are so funny, I had to bring the book into work to share them. It's refreshing to read about someone who is going through the same things that I do. I've struggled with weight. It's never easy. Jen makes it fun. In the end, she even inspires with her insight into the changes she's made. I totally think Jen could be my friend. Jen? Call me.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Decisions, Decisions

It's always hard for me to figure out what to read next. I tend to try not to read serious books back to back. I often need a break. For example after reading The Memory Keeper's Daughter, I went right into Queen of Babble in the Big City. Easy transition huh?

Well, I have a dilemma. I'm almost done with Such a Pretty Fat, Breaking Dawn comes out on August 2nd. If I want to start Breaking Dawn on the day it comes out, and I finish Such a Pretty Fat on Thursday (estimation), I will need a book I can finish between this Thursday and Friday of next week. If I pick a book I know I can finish, I might finish it too soon. If I pick a book that's a little longer, I might not finish. Do you see my problem??? This only happens once in a great while. Thank goodness. I'm also putting books aside to take on my cruise in September (no hard backs, nothing boring). I put a lot of rules on myself.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Selecting What to Read

How do you choose your books? I have a hard time. I am generally pleased with my selections but sometimes I'm disappointed. I hate spending my money on books I don't care for. I usually pass them on and hopefully they are enjoyed by someone else. The first selection point for me is the author. I have certain authors that I read no matter what. I'll read anything Nora Roberts puts out. It doesn't mean I love all the books, but I love enough of them to know that it will probably be a good read. The same goes for Sophie Kinsella, Meg Cabot (her books for adults, not teens), and Janet Evanovich. If they have a new book, I'll buy it without even knowing the topic. I can count on them. Other authors, I'm working my way through and will probably get to the point where I'll read everything they've got. Authors in this category for me are Phillipa Gregory and Emily Giffin, among others.

The next factor for me is whether it's part of a series I've read. For example, I'm reading the Women's Murder Club series by James Patterson. I don't plan to read every book he's written, but I like that series a lot. I'm also a big fan of the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer so I will definitely be picking up Breaking Dawn. In fact I've already got it reserved. (I just love Edward!)

I also get books based on recommendations. I read reviews in magazines, I listen to my friends, and buy into hype that sometimes surrounds books. I never would have picked up the first Harry Potter book (when they first came out) if I hadn't been hearing buzz about it. Of course the buzz turned into a whirlwind by the 7th book and I was thrilled to be a part of it.

Last but not least, I choose based on the subject. If it looks interesting, fun, intriguing, I'll give it a shot. I have to keep finding new authors to read because sometimes it seems my favorites just don't write fast enough!

How do you choose your books? Share!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster

I just finished Bitter is the New Black, by Jen Lancaster. I've been reading it for a while now, probably 2-3 months. It was my bed-time book. I usually have at least two books going, one to read before bed and one to drag around with me. I chose Jen's book to read before bed because I knew it was a memoir and since I follow her blog, there isn't that anticipation to see if she survives. I know she's still alive, so no tragedy befalls the heroine. The reason it took me so long to finish is because I don't always read before bed. Sometimes I'm just too tired, or not in the mood. I read blogs at night on the computer and sometimes I am done reading and just need to close my eyes.

As for Jen's book, I really loved it. I am enjoying Such a Pretty Fat a little more but I'll review that when I'm done. Jen is a woman who I wouldn't have liked very much when the memoir started. She was mean, entitled, and someone who would have made me cry if I had to work with her. The Jen I read about now could totally be my friend. Bitter is the New Black is essentially a book about a woman who keeps getting knocked down a peg, and then another, until she reaches bottom. Through her struggles, she always looks cute, which is very important. It's one of those books that is supposed to be funny and it is, but it's also heartbreaking because of all she and her husband lost. In the end, they are ok and have learned from their past mistakes. I do recommend picking up one of Jen's books if you want to laugh. A lot. I've got to go out and get Bright Lights Big Ass soon. Jen, if you are reading this? You are awesome!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Twilight vs. Harry

I planned on reviewing the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer, in a couple of weeks, but I just saw the new trailer for the movie and I've got Edward on the brain. I was a little ashamed of being obsessed by a "young adult" book at the age of . . . well let's just say over 30, under 36. I find I'm not alone, thanks to Twilightmoms and other groups. These books are being compared with Harry Potter, but they shouldn't be. They are only similar in that they have enthusiastic fans, are best sellers, and contain a bit of fantasy. Say the name Harry Potter to anyone and you'd get some response. I'd say 99% of Americans know the name. Twilight isn't quite there yet. My parents are good examples. My dad is 70, my mom is younger. They have not read any of the Harry Potter books but they have seen all the movies and know the difference between a muggle and a pureblood. With Twilight, the conversation goes like this:

Me: So the actors playing Bella and Edward are on the cover of Entertainment Weekly.
Parents: Who?
Me: The actors from the Twilight movie.
Parents: What?
Me: You know, the vampire books I'm obsessed with?
Parents: Oh.

This is why the two series should not be compared. At least not yet. I'm not saying I don't love Twilight, I really, really, really do. It just isn't at the level of Harry Potter. I'll gush over Harry at a later time. Really, there will be gushing. In the meantime, I'll go watch the trailer for Twilight again and drool over Edward.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Diablo Cody

I think Diablo could totally be my friend. Really. It seems like back in high school we would have had a lot in common. I really knew nothing about her except that she wrote Juno. I should mention that I thought Juno was a fabulous movie. As an adoptee and a big fan of adoption, I was crying at the end. Great story Diablo! Sometime in the last six months or so she started writing the occasional article for Entertainment Weekly. EW is my favorite magazine because it keeps my pop culture fix at a high level. I treasure each copy - and yes I subscribe. In Diablo's articles I realized that we are pretty close in age and we both love New Kids on the Block. If that isn't bonding I don't know what is. I'm thinking I should read her book even though I'm not terribly interested in life as a stripper.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Electronic Books

So what do you all think? I regularly talk myself in and out of getting one. I'm leaning toward the Kindle, but then again I'm not. I'm terribly fickle! I love the idea of all those books at my fingertips. It would make traveling so much easier to not have to carry around all those books -and I travel with a buttload of books. Every time I go to Amazon and see the pretty Kindle staring back at me I want one. I love technology and I've seen one in person. It's very cute and so very handy! But then again. . . I love books.

Not just the stories, but the book itself. I love the feel of a book. I love the smell of a book. I love flipping through pages. I love the covers and the dedication pages, even the ads at the back of the book for other books. I don't think I could give that up. I adore my bookcase full of books and if all that were sitting on it were a Kindle, I'd be very sad. I also love being able to share books. I regularly read a book and think of who might like to read it next. I don't think you can do that with a Kindle, unless you let your friend borrow it and that could be a costly mistake.

I'm not saying no, I won't get one, but I'm not saying yes either. I don't have the money right now, that's the bottom line. If I did, could I justify the cost just to use it to travel? Could I compromise between electronic books and real books? Maybe I could just buy the actual book of the books I know I want to keep. I don't know. I tell you, I'm conflicted. Anyone have an e-book? What do you think? How do you compromise?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet

I loved this book! I finished it in two days which is normally unheard of in my world. Seriously, finishing a book in two days is how I read when I'm on a cruise or stuck in a car for long periods of time. Never in my daily life. Of course it is a James Patterson book and his nifty short chapters allow for a lot of empty space. Plus, it was an easy read which helped. I don't think it was the best book I've ever read . . . No, I know it isn't the best book I've ever read but I'm still in love with it. I thought the story was great and while the plot certainly could have been fleshed out -hence making a longer book for me to read - it was good the way it was. I'm more in love with the story idea than the actual book. Does that make sense? I'm such a romantic and to think that this romance was meant to be just makes me all mushy inside. Yeah, I'm a mushy kind of girl.

The book starts out with an 8 year old girl, Jane, having ice cream with her imaginary friend, an adult named Michael. You'll need to think of Michael as an angel (even though he's not) to understand how it all works until you read this. Cut to twenty -plus years later and Jane sees Michael again. That's all I'm saying. No spoilers from me. It's terribly sweet and I do recommend it. As always, I'd love to hear what you think!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Queen of Babble

I just finished Queen of Babble in the Big City, by Meg Cabot. Arrghh! This book ended with such a cliffhanger! It's a good thing the third book is already out. I have to get a hold of that soon to see what happens. I read Queen of Babble (the 1st book) sometime last year. I enjoyed it, as I do most of Meg Cabot's books. It was a lot of fun and I loved the character of Lizzie. I also loved Luke. Now, I still think Lizzie is fabulous but I'm not so sure about Luke. I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it but I think there's someone better for her. A lot better. Here's hoping for a happy ending.

The book is about Lizzie, a recent college grad (almost) who is living with her boyfriend in a fabulous 5th Ave. apartment in New York. He's rich, she's not. She struggles to find a job, ultimately finding one she loves where she doesn't get paid. She has to take on an actual paying job to make ends meet. If you remember from the first book, and if you haven't read it please do, she has a talent for refurbishing vintage clothing, specifically wedding dresses. She goes through turmoil with her friends, her work and her love life in this sweet book. If you are fan of Sophie Kinsella or Emily Giffin I would recommend this series to you.

Meg Cabot's books are for the most part lots of fun. I've read almost all of her books for adults over the last few years, and I'll get to reviewing them eventually. I try to alternate between a book that makes me think and a book that I know I'll just enjoy reading. I'm not saying that Meg's books don't make me think, they just make me think about things in a lighter, fluffier sort of way, which is so needed. They are perfect escape books. The only book I've read of hers that I didn't care for was the original The Princess Diaries. I am a huge fan of the movies (which are so different from the book) but I found the book to be not as fun. To be fair I haven't read the rest of the series. In all, I'm a big fan of Meg's.

If you've read the Queen of Babble books, tell me what you think! I'd love to hear other opinions.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Memory Keeper's Daughter

I just finished The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards. I really enjoyed it, although the middle dragged a bit. I thought it was beautifully written and truly a heartbreaking story. My only complaint is that I didn't care for most of the characters. I found I wanted more on Caroline and Phoebe, less on the Henry family. The beginning was completely gripping and the end was so emotional. This was one of the rare moments where I did skim, but it was usually during descriptions of Norah Henry, as I didn't care for her. At all. I did however love Paul at the end. I don't know how he managed to turn out as well as he seemed to. He was an intriguing character and I wish I knew more about him. I definitely recommend the book, despite my issues. I have to be objective right? I'm the reader, I'm entitled to my own opinion as are you. I should mention that I purposely didn't see the movie that was just on TV but I'll have to find it repeating at some point now that the book is done.

I'd love to hear what you thought of the book! Leave those comments and let me know.

Disclaimer: These reviews are strictly my own views. Don't blame anyone else if you don't like what I have to say. That goes for all posts to follow as well.

Why I Love Books

I started out with my love of books quite early. My mom always had books around her. As a teacher it was a huge part of her life. I was always read to, eventually memorizing books before I could actually read them. Books were treated well in our house. To this day, I hate it when I bend the cover of one of my books. This is of course nearly impossible when a paperback is carried around as I tend to do. I have read for as long as I knew how. There were short periods of time when it wasn't as important to me as it is now but I can't remember a time when I didn't have a book started. Most of the time more than one. I am not a fast reader. I average about 30 books a year. I know people who can read 30 books a month. That would break the bank for sure. I am a good reader though, I read carefully, and re-read things so that I really get the characters, and the situations. There are very few instances where I skim, and that happened in a book I just finished.

I generally buy all my books, borrowing from friends on occasion. I buy 99% of my books new because I have germ issues. On the rarest of occasions I'll go to the library book sales but I only buy books that look really clean and have nice neat covers- hardbacks preferred. I'm not as anal as I sound but my germ issues prevent me from going to the library these days. The problem is that I really love the library. My aunt was a librarian and I can't tell you the number of hours I spent in the library. My aunt took great satisfaction in making me work off my fines. Oh, I had lots of fines. Remember I'm not a quick reader? It wasn't until I was out of college that I started having issues with library books.

After I read a book, there are a few things I can do with it. If I really love the book, to the point where I know it's a keeper and I'll read it again, it goes on my bookshelf. If I really liked the book, want to keep it around a little while but not sure if I want to re-read, it goes in a box. If I want to share the book, knowing that I'll get it back, I share it with my co-workers. If I want to share a book and don't care about it, I send it to my best friend who lives in England. If I know I won't read it again, and I don't want to share it with anyone, I donate it to the library for the book sales.

I could go on but why bore you. I'm going to post this and then make an entry for a book I just finished last weekend.