Monday, December 31, 2012

The Fault in our Stars

 If you haven't read a book in a while, this is a MUST READ. Absolutely one of the best books of 2012. It is up there with Tell the Wolves I'm Home. The author writes with honesty, wit, humor, and sorrow which kept me intrigued throughout the entire story.... One of those books you become obsessed with and can't think about anything else. I listened to this book on audio. The narrator did an excellent job. I would recommend this on audio to everyone. 

Hazel Lancaster is a young teenager living with terminal cancer. She has outlived her life expectancy due to an experimental medication. The story begins with Hazel's mother trying to lift her from a depression; forcing her to go to cancer support group. She would much rather lay around all day watching America's Next Top Model and Top Chef on DVR. To appease her mother, she begins to go. She meets witty, smart, and sarcastic Augustus Waters and her life is changed. He is in remission from cancer; which he traded in a leg for. Immediately upon laying eyes on Hazel, he is smitten.

The two are drawn to each other. They have much in common having known cancer so intimately. They bond over books, poetry, and how they want to be remembered after they die. They relationship is so raw; they talk of death freely as it is a part of life for them. I enjoyed how the two of them spoke to one another; here is an excerpt from their first meeting:

“He shook his head, just looking at me.
- "What?" I asked.
- "Nothing" he said.
- "Why are you looking at me like that?"
Augustus half smiled. "Because you`re beautiful. I enjoy looking at beautiful people, and I decided a while ago not to deny myself the simpler pleasures of existence." A brief awkward silence ensued. Augustus plowed through: "I mean, particularly given that, as you so deliciously pointed out, all of this will end in oblivion and everything."
I kind of scoffed or sighed or exhaled in a way that was vaguely coughy and then said, "I`m not beau-"
- "You are like a millennial Natalie Portman. Like V for Vendetta Natalie Portman."
- "Never seen it."
- "Really?" he asked. "Pixie-haired gorgeous girl dislikes authority and can`t help but fall for a boy she knows is trouble. It`s your autobiography, so far as I can tell."
His every syllable flirted. Honestly, he kind of turned me on. I didn`t even know that guys could turn me on - not, like, in real life.”
John Green

The Fault in Our Stars is a heartbreaking love story fit for both teens and adults. It left me thinking about how I would want to be remembered when I die. This book will stay with me for a long time to come. Do yourself a favor and read it! You won't regret it. I give this book 5/5 stars.

Sunday, December 30, 2012



My latest read is Mudbound by Hillary Jordan. You might recognize this author from my previous post about the book When She Woke.  These two books could not be more different in their themes or setting.
Mudbound takes us to 1940s rural Mississippi. Henry and Laura McAllen move to Mississippi from Tennessee in order to fulfill Henry's dream of being a farm owner. Along with them comes their two young daughters and Henry's father, who is nothing but mean and nasty to everyone. Laura is less than thrilled to be leaving her fancy city life in Tennessee to a farm house in Mississippi without indoor plumbing or any of the common luxuries she took for granted. 

After the war, Henry's younger brother Jamie returns from the war and goes to live on the farm. Once he enters the scene, the plot thickens. Jamie becomes friends with another ex-solider, Ronsel Jackson, a tenant on Henry's farm. Ronsel's parents are sharecroppers and his mother is Laura's housekeeper. Ronsel was one of the first black men to serve on the front lines in the Army. When he returns to Mississippi, he soon realizes that racial prejudices have not changed. He isn't allowed to use the front door of public buildings, ride in the front seat of the car with a white person, or be friends with white people. Ronsel and Jamie bond about the war and the difficulties of being back in Mississippi. They break all of the rules and Jamie's father, Pappy, is less than thrilled about it. He threatens Ronsel and forbids their friendship. One day, Pappy finds evidence that Ronsel has been with a white woman and violence ensues. 

Laura, alone and unhappy, begins to fall in love with her husband's brother, Jamie. She lusts after him and her husband may or may not notice. She sticks up for Jamie's recklessness  and drinking problem that developed as part of PTSD from the war. He begins to notice Laura's unhappiness with living on the farm...

This book was a very quick read. I enjoyed the story and recommend it to everyone who enjoys this genre. The only thing that I would have liked better was more character development. That is also something that I was missing in Jordan's other book. There are many things that I was left wondering about the characters... I was left craving more descriptions about their thoughts and personalities. I give it 4/5 stars for plot. It was a very entertaining book and a must read. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Sharp Objects

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn is my latest read. I love creepy psychological thrillers that keep the pages turning. Camille Preacher, the main character in this story, is a reporter for a crappy newspaper in Chicago. She came to the city 8 years ago in order to flee her dyfunctional family. Camille has a lot of pent up grief that she never dealt with after the too soon death of her younger sister. She and her mother have a difficult relationship because of it. The only attention Camille's mother paid to her in 8 years was during a stay in a psychological hospital. Other than that, her mother is cold, distant, and neurotic. After Marion's death, a new daughter came along...a sister Camille bearly knows.

Begrudgingly, Camille travels to her hometown on her boss's assignment in order report on what may be a serial killing spree. Two girls were murdered within one year of one another. Both girls were found strangled to death with all of their teeth extracted post mortem. Camille is determined to find out the truth behind these murders if only to appease her boss. Being back in her hometown brings out the worst in Camille and requires her to deal with her skeletons. The descriptions of the town were creepy. Seemingly insignificant characters left me feeling uneasy.

Flynn toys with her readers in this book. Initially, the reader is forced to infer details about the plot line. I felt as if I were being dragged along without any of the details that I really wanted to know. The next chapter would be filled with immense detail answering many of my questions. I felt as if Camille, the narrator, could only open up at certain times; other instances appearing closed off and distant. Each page was a different Camille. 

As with Gone Girl, this story is best read without knowing much, if any, about the plot line. This book both entertained and scared me. As I write this, I don't want to be in a room by myself. I was left haunted by the mystery of mental illness and how it can drive people to do unthinkable things to themselves and to others. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

One for the Money


Ok, you guys have heard me say this before. I HATE books with the author's name printed ginormously on the front cover of books. I typically don't even like mystery series. I really just wanted to know what these were about.... plus I like chick flicks based on books. Great for netflixing right? Plus, I like Katherin Heigl.

Stephanie Plum, divorced Jersey girl, recently lost her job in the lingerie business. As she contemplates having to move in with her parents, she begs her cousin Vinny for a job. She convinces him to take her on as a "recovery agent" AKA Bounty Hunter. Her target is an old booty call from high school, Joe Morelli. Stephanie attempts to take in her old flame, a cop accused of murder who skipped bail. Can Stephanie get Morelli in so she can collect her bounty money? Is Joe Morelli really a bad guy?

A little mystery, a little sex, a little humor. Quick and easy listen on audiobook. Now, I am putting the movie on my netflix cue, but I will probably not read up to Notorious Nineteen by Evanovich (most likely not even the 2nd one).

Has anyone read these books? What are your thoughts??

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close


I am the worst blogger. You want to know why? Well, it's for a few reasons. 1) Because I have an addiction to other people's blogs and Teachers Pay Teachers. I can't stop looking at speech therapy blogs and browsing materials online. 2) I can't stop laminating 3) I got engaged YAY! and 4) the book that I have been reading is really bad.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close has been on my night stand for OVER A MONTH. I finally came to the realization that yes I am really busy, but if this book were that good then I would have finished it by now. I just picked it up to read it again and I decided it wasn't worth it. I will just check out the movie. I am over the whole "I will read a book until it's finished" thing. 

This book is about a young boy named Oskar who lost his father on 9/11. He finds a key that belonged to his father and he sets out to find out what it unlocks. I thought the plot sounded intensely emotional and I wanted to hear how a child narrator would explain how 9/11 affected him and his family.

The reason that the book isn't that great is the writing. I think the plot is fantastic. I actually wish that I had enough patience to read the whole thing, but I just can't follow it. The story has parts narrated by Oskar (who may or may not be on the high functioning end of the autism spectrum). His part didn't bother me. There are other sections of the book that are written by Oskar's grandmother. his grandfather, and his father; however, you as the reader are never told that. You just have to figure out who is telling the story. Also, the dialogue is not written with quotation marks! You just have to figure out who is talking to who.

Basically, I am just over this book. If I would have read it start to finish in a more timely manner I am sure that I would have enjoyed it more. The reason I am not that into it is probably my own fault. I am definitely going to watch the movie. Maybe that will spark me into picking it up and finishing it.

I think that where I currently am with my life that I need a very fast paced book.... I think I am going to go pick up a Gillian Flynn book.