Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Review: Fifty Shames of Earl Grey

Summary (from Goodreads)A shrewd, laugh–out–loud parody of E. L. James' bestselling Fifty Shades of Grey series: 

Young, arrogant, tycoon Earl Grey seduces the naïve coed Anna Steal with his overpowering good looks and staggering amounts of money, but will she be able to get past his fifty shames, including shopping at Walmart on Saturdays, bondage with handcuffs, and his love of BDSM (Bards, Dragons, Sorcery, and Magick)? Or will his dark secrets and constant smirking drive her over the edge?

Review: A delightful parody that will have you bursting out laughing. Shaffer does a fabulous job making light of 50 Shades, as well as Twilight. Readers will fall in love with Anna's inner "guidette" and her blatant naiveté (see also, stupidity). The outrageous lengths Earl Grey will go to in order to catch Anna's attention, only to dump her are equally amusing. Easy and thin, this is the perfect afternoon, easy read for all.

Formats: e-book, paperback, audiobook

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Review: The Great Escape (#7)

Summary (from Goodreads): Where do you run to when your life has fallen apart?

Lucy Jorik is a champ at never embarrassing the family she adores—not surprising since her mother is one of the most famous women in the world. But now Lucy has done just that. And on her wedding day, no less, to the most perfect man she's ever known. 

Instead of saying "I do" to Mr. Irresistible, Lucy flees the church in an ill-fitting blue choir robe and hitches a ride on the back of a beat-up motorcycle plastered with offensive bumper stickers. She's flying into the unknown with a rough-looking, bad-tempered stranger who couldn't be more foreign to her privileged existence. 

While the world searches for her, Lucy must search for herself, and she quickly realizes that her customary good manners are no defense against a man who's raised rudeness to an art form. Lucy needs to toughen up—and fast. 

Her great escape takes her to his rambling beach house on a Great Lakes island. Here, she hopes to find a new direction . . . and unlock the secrets of this man who knows so much about her but reveals nothing about himself. As the hot summer days unfold amid scented breezes and sudden storms, she'll also encounter a beautiful, troubled beekeeper; a frightened young boy; a modern-day evil queen; and a passion that could change her life forever. 

In this dazzling follow-up to her New York Times bestseller Call Me Irresistible, Susan Elizabeth Phillips tells the funny, touching, enchanting story of a young woman searching for her destiny . . . and of a damaged man who doesn't believe in second chances.

Review: Gah. I'm usually such a fan of Phillips but, man, did this feel forced. Both Lucy and her bad boy biker love interest -- Panda -- felt hollow. The story did redeem itself 3/4 of the way through, when they both felt like real characters, but by that point many readers will be lost. Instead, I'd offer up Breathing Room (by Phillips) as a better do-the-opposite-let-loose story line.

Formats: e-book, hardcover, paperback, audiobook

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Review: Ten

Summary (from Goodreads)And their doom comes swiftly. 

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury. 

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

Review: Ten blows horror/suspense out of the water. Vibrant and very vivid, you’ll think you’re on the island trying desperately to avoid death from an unknown killer – most likely one of your new friends. Well written, Ten demands visceral reactions from its readers as instinct to hide or turn the page and go deeper into the mindset of each character. Simply put, it’s gleeful terror in perfection.

Formats: e-book, hardcover

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Book Review: Farewell to Charms (#3)

Summary: (from Goodreads) Desi Bascomb is a princess substitute prodigy--she's the fastest employee ever to advance to level three in the Facade Agency, and the youngest to ever be a full-time sub. But now with all eyes on Desi, the only thing she wants is a moment alone to talk to Reed, who's a Facade legacy and secretly a sub for princes. As Desi trains for her new role, she spies more than a few cracks in Facade's perfect appearance. But uncovering the agency's dark past might require more than a princess sub can handle by herself. Desi is no damsel in distress, but sometimes a girl needs a knight in shining armor.

Review: Leavitt has created a whimsical and magical series, yet, Farewell to Charms falls flat. Readers enchanted by Facade, Desi, Meredith, and Reed will find that all the build-up, secrecy, and romantic tension told in the previous two novels comes to a point in this latest book. And promptly falls off a cliff. While still enjoyable I have to recommend it, but don't be expecting the same gleeful anticipation as the last two Princess for Hire books.

Formats: e-book, hardcover

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Running: An Introduction

I must confess.

I'm a runner.

I'm not an expert, or advanced (yet), but I put one foot in front of the other just like the best of them. I just happen to go slower and shorter distances.

I caught the running bug freshman year of high school. I loved it and I was hooked.

[insert awkward picture of teen with braces here]
Pictures are all at my parent's house, and therefore unavailable at present. 

Then senior year hit and suddenly I stopped.

Over the years I've started. Then stopped. And tried again. It wasn't until the Awesome 80's 5K that it truly stuck. It made running real.

Mere minutes after finishing
Rank: 1139

It's taken me many stops and starts to get to this point. A point of peace, of knowing in my heart of hearts this is something that will be part of my life for the rest of my life. And the best part? I'm just getting started.

Question of Note: Do you struggle with your passions too? What thing or things do you do for yourself that you couldn't live without?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Book Club

Four friends.
Attempting to read and discuss...
Book Club will never be the same. 

I couldn't help posting this. I saw it and just laughed and laughed. Happy Sunday!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Review: Ready Player One

Summary (from Goodreads)It's the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place. Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. 

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune--and remarkable power--to whoever can unlock them. 

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday's riddles are based in the pop culture he loved--that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday's icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes's oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig. 

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle. 

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt--among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life--and love--in the real world he's always been so desperate to escape. 

A world at stake. 
A quest for the ultimate prize. 
Are you ready?

Review:  The imagery and detail was beyond amazing. Ready Player One is one of those books that you can SEE while you're reading the book, like you're watching a movie, or transported outside of yourself and into Wade's world. That being said, coupled with it being a dystopian... I found it pretty depressing. The quest to find Halloday's egg, while noble, becomes an obsession and the Oasis (the Internet on steroids) is transformed into a diseased drug that sucked me in too much.

A great statement on how society escapes and disregards human connection, I offer Ready Player One with caution. Read with a flare of detachment, and be open to the geek inside of you to roam free for a while.

  ****Audiobook Recommended****

Formats: e-book, hardcover, paperback, audiobook

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Review: Jane Austen's Guide to Happily Ever After

Summary: Using Austen's books, characters, and real life as a guidebook, Kantor has created an amusing, no-nonsense way to raise women's awareness of honoring oneself and cherishing those around her.

Review: While I found the tips to be delightfully inspiring (if not self-explanatory), what I found most enjoyable was the character analysis. Kanton's way of describing Austen's characters, their worlds, and manner of livelihood was almost like reading a non-fiction fan-fiction. For me, it opened a whole new way to experience Austen, and has forever changed my perception on many of my favorite characters. If anyone is a fan of Austen -- single or coupled -- I would recommend a gander!

Formats: e-book, hardcover

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Review: Poodle Springs (#8)

Summary(from Goodreads): Philip Marlowe marries a rich, beautiful society lady who wants him to settle down. But old habits die hard, and Marlowe soon is back in business, enmeshed in a case involving pornography, bigamy, and murder.

Review: My least favorite of mine in the Marlowe series, possibly because Chandler only wrote half of it. While Parker picks up the pieces and arranges them nicely, fans of Chandler will detect the subtle differences. More dialoge, a too tidy [happy] ending, past characters making too many appearances... etc.

Despite this, it is a fairly decent noir mystery. I suggest reading another Chandler novel to leave a good taste in your mouth.

Formats: paperback, mass marketaudiobook

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Review: Forgotten

Summary: (from Goodreads) Each night at precisely 4:33am, while sixteen-year-old London Lane is asleep, her memory of that day is erased. In the morning, all she can "remember" are events from her future. London is used to relying on reminder notes and a trusted friend to get through the day, but things get complicated when a new boy at school enters the picture. Luke Henry is not someone you'd easily forget, yet try as she might, London can't find him in her memories of things to come.

When London starts experiencing disturbing flashbacks, or flash-forwards, as the case may be, she realizes it's time to learn about the past she keeps forgetting-before it destroys her future.

Review: It all went wrong so fast! What should be a great premise for a story, did not turn out the way I had expected it What I can say with assurance is, "Forgotten" leaves a LOT of questions waiting to be answered.

Formats: e-book, hardcover, paperback, audiobook

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