Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday!

This week's Top Ten Tuesday list hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
is all about the Top Ten Words/Topics That Instantly 
Make Me Buy/Pick Up A Book
  1. Young Adult - Of course I couldn't make this list without first including YA!  Whether it be a bookstore or the library, that's usually the section in which you'll find me browsing through the books. 
  2. Dystopia - Obsessed doesn't quite cover it.  I'm a dystopian genre nut!  What does that say about me?  The fact that I can never turn down a dark and gloomy, end-of-the-world kind of book?  I enjoy dark stuff, it keeps me thinking. 
  3. Paranormal Romance - Ever since I was a little girl, the signs have always been there.  While most girls favored Disney movies like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, mine were Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.  I've always taken a liking to romance stories with a twist, or better yet, romance stories where one of the characters isn't completely human.  Now as an adult, I almost always choose a paranormal romance novel over a regular romance novel.  Again, what does that say about me?  Not sure, but I'm happy with it.
  4. New - You know when you're happily walking through the library in search of your next read and you pass the shelves holding the books that have those colorful, eye-catching labels slapped across the spine labeling those books as "New"?  That's exactly what I'm talking about.  I return home from the library toting AT LEAST one of those new novels 85%-90% of the time.  There's something about the possibility of me being the first person to read that particular copy that makes me want to read it even more.  And besides, who doesn't love a NEW book?
  5. The name of any author of any book I've read before and loved - This one mostly pertains to me actually buying a book, especially right now with me living in Brokeville.  I'm more inclined to buy a book of an author I really like, just because I know I'm taking less of a chance with my money  Don't get me wrong, I love reading books by debuting authors!  *points to #4* That one says it all.  When you get right down to it, once you find an author that you feel you have a connection with, it's always easier to buy one of their books over and over again.
  6. Cover Art - Y'all know you've read a book based on the cover.  Of course you're taking a major chance, but I'm a sucker for a book with an amazing cover.  For example:
    I bought these two books about three years ago, I think the reason why is.... *coughcough* obvious.  Funny thing is, I still have yet to read them.  They have been taking up the same space on my bookshelf ever since I bought them, only because I fear that the story inside won't do the cover justice.  I need to quit being preoccupied by other books and finally read them!
  7. Ireland - I enjoy reading novels based in Ireland.  Ireland is beautiful and I hope to visit someday!  Plus, I love daydreaming about those cute Irish boys in the books. *wink*
  8. Beach/ocean - Especially in YA novels, my curiosity is piqued if the beach is portrayed in the cover art. 
  9. Mystery - I love when I'm kept on the edge of my seat while reading a good mystery!
  10. Dark - While I'm a sucker for some sappy romance, I also like to occasionally take a walk on the wild side and read a dark novel that lacks a happy ending.
Do you have any words or topics of your own?
Please do share if you do!

 Lots of bookish love,

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Book Review: The Storyteller

Book being reviewed: The Storyteller
I give this book:
4 out of 5 owls. 

The Storyteller

Anna and Abel couldn’t be more different.  They are both seventeen and in their last year of school, but while Anna lives in a nice old town house and comes from a well-to-do family, Abel, the school drug dealer, lives in a big, prisonlike tower block at the edge of town.  Anna is afraid of him until she realizes that he is caring for his six-year-old sister on his own.  Fascinated, Anna follows the two and listens as Abel tells little Micha the story of a tiny queen assailed by dark forces.  It’s a beautiful fairy tale that Anna comes to see has a basis in reality.  Abel is in real danger of losing Micha to their abusive father and to his own inability to make ends meet. Anna gradually falls in love with Abel, but when his “enemies” begin to turn up dead, she fears she has fallen for a murderer.  Has she?

Award-winning author Antonia Michaelis moves in a bold new direction with her latest novel: a dark, haunting, contemporary story that is part mystery, part romance, and part melodrama.

There is so much that can be said about this book and I just don't even know where to begin.   I guess I can start by saying that this book is completely out there in a multitude of ways, ways that one might say shouldn't be considered young adult content.  It's possible that the adult content within the book is due to the author being German. I know different countries have different viewpoints on what is adult and what isn't.  Usually young adult novels written by American authors stick to story content that most Americans would deem appropriate for a young person to read, and, in my opinion, The Storyteller definitely crosses that thin line.

Don't get me wrong, in no way am I bashing the book, I'm just stating my opinion after having read a countless number of young adult novels.  This book consists of a somewhat detailed rape between the two main characters, Anna and Abel, and also another somewhat detailed account of a sexual interaction between the two.  This book is very dark, and the light and happy moments are few and far between.

The relationship between Abel and Anna is a strange one.  As much as I liked the book, I didn't really like either of the main characters (I know, this makes absolutely no sense).  There were so many times I wanted to knock some sense into Anna.   I know they say love is blind, but in Anna's case, I think she lost every single one of her senses when it came to Abel.  The first red flag for me was when I knew Anna had fallen deliriously in love with this boy, but she didn't know ANYTHING about him. Seriously, NOTHING about him.  He continually lied to her and never revealed any of his dark secrets when she would question him.  I just didn't understand how she could let it all go so easily and love him unconditionally.

Then there's the major problem of him actually raping her.  Because of the way the book was written, you didn't find out who the REAL Abel was until the last few pages of the book.  Truthfully, I actually liked that the reader is left in suspense and confused until the very end, but I kept thinking that because of the fairytale that Abel told all throughout the book, there might be a paranormal factor that played into his raping Anna, as if he was possessed by some sort of evil.  Not that that would excuse him from taking Anna's virginity by rape, I just hoped that there was more to it than what met the eye... and there wasn't a paranormal factor, he had the choice and he didn't stop himself.

Then in the aspect of most YA novels having a hero who comes to the aid of the lead female character, Abel wasn't the hero.  Now, of course, he could be considered Micha's hero after sacrificing himself for her on top of murdering anyone who he thought could be directly involved with his little sister being taken away from him.  But as for him ever saving Anna? I think it was Anna who continually came to Abel's rescue throughout the book.

And Abel being a murderer is another factor I don't quite understand.  Anna had her suspicions that Abel was the murderer and still chose to love him despite those suspicions.  I think Anna was living in her own fantasy world that was fueled by the fairytale.  Gitta's "little lamb" nickname for Anna was perfect because she was naive like a young child would be and ignored all those warning signs about Abel that were practically slapping her in the face over and over again.

In all honesty, I think Anna and Abel connected and their relationship bloomed more through the fairytale Abel told, while living solely on hope in the real world.  I, too, read through hoping that something more would come, that these two would actually run away with Micha and live happily ever after, and maybe, just maybe, Abel didn't actually rape her, maybe Abel isn't the murderer. Yeeeaaaah.... that didn't happen.  As I recall, as soon as I finished reading the last page, I shut the book, then proceeded to stare off at nothing while trying to wrap my brain around what just happened.  Two days later and I still can't comprehend the dark ending of the book, or all the dark content within the book.

That all aside, I still loved the book.  It didn't end in the usual happily ever after way that makes you want to dance around while singing and smiling to yourself like an idiot.  Not that I've ever done that, but you know, there are those books out there that have that effect on you.  This book left me speechless and sad, confused and angry.  Such a strange combination for a book that I actually enjoyed reading.  I guess what I'm getting to is, if you choose to pick up this book, just remember that it isn't an easy read.  You may cry, feel like screaming, and become angry all while hanging onto that hope that it will turn out better in the end. Trust me, it won't.

Confused and in need of some lighter reading material,
until next time, Bookworms,

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Top Ten Books I Thought I'd Like More/Less Than I Did

Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly meme that's hosted by 
The Broke and the Bookish that consists of different
Top 10 book-related lists each week.
This week's Top 10 Tuesday list is all about
books you've read in which you actually like more 
than you thought you would, or the books you liked less 
than you thought you would. 

I'm trying to put this one together last minute today while it's still
Tuesday since I was introduced to this lovely little gem of a meme 
this morning.  I've had many books that either
surprised me, or books that have disappointed me.
I figured I'd share.
 So here it goes!

Books that I thought I'd like more than I actually did

1. Mockingjay
I actually gave this one 5 stars on Goodreads simply
because I absolutely adore the Hunger Games series
as a whole.  But I was sadly disappointed with Mockingjay.
I might get some backlash for this one.
2. Shiver
So many of my lovely friends absolutely adored this
book.  Myself?  Not so much.  I was bored throughout
the whole book.

3. Beautiful Creatures
Another one I might receive some backlash for.
*blows kisses to my book-lover besties*
Don't get me wrong, there were some parts of the book
I did enjoy, but to be honest?  I don't remember
much of the book AT ALL. 
Although, I do plan on seeing the movie!

4. The Woods
 I'm a HUGE Harlan Coben fan.  The man
has a knack for writing mysteries that keep
you on the edge of your seat.  I've read many of his
books, so I immediately bought The Woods when it came out.  
Yeah, well, I kinda wish I could get my money back for this one. 
I guess every great writer has their mediocre novels.
5. Evermore
 I had friends that loved this book and others
that didn't so much.  I figured I'd give it a chance.
I had hope that I'd be on the side of liking it.
Again, I was disappointed.  I never
even read the other books in the series.

6. I Am Legend
Because I liked the movie, and because
the movie scared the bajeesus outta me to
the point where I actually had nightmares,
I had hopes for the book. 
Let me tell ya, the book is nothing like the movie.
I wish I could actually take this one back, as
in, never having read it.  EVER.

7. Extras
I actually feel like weeping for this one!
I dove right into the Uglies books.  I was
obsessed with them for a week or two. 
The first three were just that darn good.
Then Extras came along and ruined it all for me.
Such a sad, horrible shame.
Read the first three books, however, they are amazing!

8. The Enemy
I love zombies as much as the next zombie freak,
but steer clear of this one.  Trust me.

9. Blue Bloods
Highly disappointed, but these books are still like crack.
I didn't like them much, but I still wanted more.  I've 
read most of them.  I know, it's weird.  I'm weird.  Whatevs.

10. We'll Always Have Summer
And to think I was so excited to read this one when 
I picked a copy up at Barnes & Noble.
Can I get my money back?  Maybe?

 Books I thought I'd like less than I did
1. The Lightning Thief
Here I was thinking I had picked up some silly
kid's book.  Boy was I wrong.  I blew right
through all these books and they're still some of my faves!
The movie, however, not so much.

2. Talyn
 So there I was one day, scanning through
the clearance bin at Barnes & Noble, when
I came across this wonderful book.
I really didn't think I'd like it for only being
$2 at B&N, but oh was I very much mistaken!
I read this book in a day, then turned right around and
read it again.  That's how much I loved this book.

3. The Hobbit
I love, love, LOVE The Lord of the Rings movies.
The books I didn't love so much, only because
there was so much to them and they're hard
to keep up with.  So I was scared to read The Hobbit.
I am so, so unbelievably glad I did.  It's a top favorite of mine.

4. Storm Front
The Dresden Files!!!
I was a bit iffy about this one when a friend
insisted that I read series.
But now I'm insisting that YOU read them.
Go.  Now.  READ.

5. Graceling
This one was a surprise to me.
I came across it at the library and figured, eh, why not?
Big puffy heart these books.

6. Amy & Roger's Epic Detour
 Holy sweetness, Batman, this is such a great read!
I figured I might like it, but I didn't think
I'd love it as much as I do.  This book is perfection.
In fact, I might reread it soon just to relive Amy
and Roger's journey again.

7. Dead Until Dark
 These books really aren't the greatest, by no means.
I love True Blood so of course I wanted to read them.
Yeah, well, I blew through these like a drug addict
trying to find her next fix.  No joke. 
Literary crack.

8. The Bronze Horseman
 I was so pleasantly surprised by this one.
Again, one of my all-time faves.
Such an amazing and emotional read.

9. There'll You'll Find Me
 I just reviewed this one.
It's a super sweet little story that I really
liked much more than I thought I would.

10. Book of the Dead
I picked this one up at a used book store for a 
really cheap price.  I figured because of the price,
I wouldn't have wasted much money if it wasn't good.
Surprise, surprise!
It was actually an all around good read.

So that's my list that I've come up with so far.
Have you read any of these?
What are your thoughts?
Or do you have any books that would would make
your Top Ten?  Do share!

Lots and lots of bookish love,

Monday, April 22, 2013

Book Review: There You'll Find Me

Book being reviewed: There You'll Find Me
I give this book:
5 out of 5 owls!

 Grief brought Finley to Ireland. Love will lead her home.
Finley Sinclair is not your typical eighteen-year-old. She's witty, tough, and driven. With an upcoming interview at the Manhattan music conservatory, Finley needs to compose her audition piece. But her creativity disappeared with the death of her older brother, Will.

She decides to study abroad in Ireland so she can follow Will's travel journal. It's the place he felt closest to God, and she's hopeful being there will help her make peace over losing him. So she agrees to an exchange program and boards the plane.

Beckett Rush, teen heartthrob and Hollywood bad boy, is flying to Ireland to finish filming his latest vampire movie. On the flight, he meets Finley. She's the one girl who seems immune to his charm. Undeterred, Beckett convinces her to be his assistant in exchange for his help as a tour guide.

Once in Ireland, Finley starts to break down. The loss of her brother and the pressure of school, her audition, and whatever it is that is happening between her and Beckett, leads her to a new and dangerous vice. When is God going to show up for her in this emerald paradise?

Then she experiences something that radically changes her perspective on life. Could it be God convincing her that everything she's been looking for has been with her all along?

Some would disagree with my rating of 5 out of 5 owls for this book, but I would have to stand firm behind this decision.  My decision is mainly based on how much I can relate to Finley and her story.  While I haven't lost a loved one, I have, however, been through some very trying times over the last year and a half which lead to some of the most difficult days I've faced thus far in my life.  Also like Finley, I didn't rely on my faith in God while going through those hard times.  I was stumbling along blindly in the darkness never searching for His light to lead the way.  I eventually hit my breaking point and turned to my faith to pull me through.  It hasn't been easy, but I've realized that I don't have to face my hardships alone, all I need is prayer and to have faith.  And you know what?  I've been much happier and have found an inner peace since then.  Just like Finley.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not some crazy, Bible-thumpin' Christian who's going to condemn you to hell for not believing, that's not me.  I was just simply saying I could relate to Finley's story and her renewed faith in God.  So please, if you don't believe, don't degrade me or tell me how I'm believing in a god that doesn't exist.  I respect you, you respect me -- to each their own.  Besides, this was still a great book to read!!

The two characters that I absolutely adored most in the book were Mrs. Sweeney and Erin.   I knew there was something more to Mrs Sweeney than that surly, mad at the world demeanor she first portrayed.  That bad attitude was something she used as an armor to protect herself from the world.  She knew people judged her for the mistakes she made without anybody really knowing why she made the choices she did.  All she ever cared about was protecting her sister and her son, but most never knew that. 

I won't deny the fact that I shed some tears when Mrs. Sweeney died.  It was sad that she finally received her sister's forgiveness at the very end of her life, but I'm glad she still did nonetheless.  She was able to pass on into the next life with a clear conscience and with more love in her heart than she had felt in years.  Life isn't always fair, and in Mrs. Sweeney's case, it most definitely wasn't.  She deserved to pass on with her soul at peace.  

Poor, poor Erin.  This girl was one of the sweetest characters I've ever seen in a book.  She was so kindhearted and nice to everyone, yet she was the most bullied by Beatrice and her crew.  Even though there was obviously a romantic connection bubbling between Finley and Beckett, I was silently hoping Beckett would take Erin as his date to the dance.  What better way to get back at the bully than to be the date of the most popular movie star on the planet?   Beatrice's evil ways knew no bounds when she wanted something exactly her way.  Erin being Beckett's date showed Beatrice that she couldn't control everyone's lives.  

Erin was also the first to hone in on Finley's possible battle with an eating disorder and the poor girl tried so hard to help Finley, to get Finley to talk to her, but Finley wouldn't because she was in denial.  Erin seemed to be mistreated the most in the book, it seemed she was even mistreated by Finley sometimes.  Not that I think Finley would intentionally hurt her, just that the eating disorder caused Finley to act selfishly at times which can hurt those closest to you.  

And because I usually do, we'll touch base on the lead male character, Beckett.  The Irish-born, American-raised, famous movie star had his moments where I felt I was being swept off my feet right along with Finley.   Between the accent, the charm, his devastatingly good looks, it seemed Beckett Rush had it all.  You eventually find out that this heartthrob is carrying around a ton of problems that have been weighing him down for years.  

Like Finley, Beckett was also in denial.  He lived each day thinking that he had to do what he was told and live this fake life that the media portrayed because his dad had convinced him that that's how he was suppose to live.  It was amazing to watch the two main characters come together and help each other while figuring out who they themselves were. 

Just for the inspirational aspect alone, I would highly recommend this book.  But I would also recommend this book simply because it was a refreshingly good read, and there were also many lines in the book that brought me many good laughs.  Jenny B. Jones is a very talented writer with a very quirky sense of humor.  If you pick up a copy from the store or a library, I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did!

Happy reading, Bookworms,

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Fanatical Bookworm is Back!!!

So I've had this post written for the last few days now, but
due to the tragic events that occurred in Boston, I
had decided to withhold posting out of respect to those who
were involved.  I can only imagine what they are going
through, whether it be a loss of a loved one or if they 
themselves had been physically injured.  My thoughts
and prayers go out to all of those who were effected.

Now with the explosion that occurred out in West Texas, 
my rant/explanation below of my time away from blogging
seems silly compared to what others are going
through at this time.  And once again, my
thoughts and prayers go out to all those
who are suffering at this time. 

With that said, I decided to post today since I
have reviews ready and waiting to go!

That's right, I'm back.  Back to reading the books I love, back to blogging and reviewing the books I love to read.  I've missed my little corner of the bloggerverse.  And admittedly, reading and reviewing books has always been two very selfish hobbies of mine that I do for my own happiness and to bring a smile to my face.  And if anything I've ever written has brought a smile to another's face, then I'm glad others can benefit from my own selfish habit.  No shame, no shame at all in any of that.

As for my year long hiatus?  Let me just start by saying 2012 was one heckuva bad year.  I've had bad days, maybe even weeks, but I can officially say 2012 was just one bad thing after another.  I can't even begin to tell you how relieved I am that I've got that year behind me. 

My bad year started off with me finding out many things that led to the downfall of my marriage and ultimately, a divorce.  After being left with no money, dealing with mountains of lawyer fees, court dates for custody, and more rock-bottom moments than I'd like to count, I can finally put a smile on my face and say that I have learned many lessons that have made me into a much stronger woman and mother.

I know, I get it, most people would say that it could have always been worse and I should be grateful.  My kids are healthy and I've still got custody of them, I myself am as healthy as a horse, and I've had some amazing blessings come my way even when I thought everything was lost.  Today I can say that and actually feel grateful, but I did have moments over the last year where I truly felt that nothing would ever get better.  I had lost hope at times. 

You know how I knew I was down in the dumps?  I didn't feel that passion for books anymore.  That is a huge red flag for me, because even on bad days I could usually pick up a book and forget about whatever problems were bugging me at the time.  Last year I had too much to worry and stress over and I just couldn't grasp that urge to read, which I think added to my depression.  I wasn't myself and I hated it. 

Here I am now, still struggling but happy.  I have my two young 'uns that I love with everything I've got, a new outlook on life and more knowledge in what I want and DON'T want in a relationship, my faith in God is stronger than ever, I've got a year under my belt in a Vet Tech program while holding a 4.0 GPA, and I even have a new look to go with the new me after chopping off 16 inches of my hair for the first time ever.  Now with my passion for reading having returned on top of wanting to blog again, I'm back as a stronger, happier me!! 

With that all said, I've got a few reviews I'm working on and I'm excited to share them with y'all!

Lots of love,