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Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Tao of Martha

Book #39 Read in 2013
The Tao of Martha by Jen Lancaster

I love Jen Lancaster's non-fiction.  Her books crack me up with her sarcasm and her wit.  In this book, Jen has decided to live 2012 following Martha Stewart's wisdom--regarding cooking, holidays and living.  Each chapter details a task/thought/goal that Jen is working on following Martha's thought process.  Some chapters show more success reached than other chapters.  Along with Martha, Jen details her life--a sick dog, a great and supportive husband, a health scare of hers, in such a way that readers will feel so bonded to her that it will be like chatting with a good friend.  

Several times I laughed out loud while reading this book.  Jen tells of her cat on prozac and since I have a cat on prozac too, I could totally relate.  Her health scare was something that I could relate to as well.  The ups and downs of marriage, while maintaining your sense of humor, seems familiar.  I recommend this book; I enjoyed it a lot.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review through the Amazon Vine program.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Arclight (YA)

Book #38 Read in 2013
Arclight by Josin McQuien (YA)

Arclight tells a tale of people trying to escape the dark so that the Fade (parasitic creatures) do not get them.  Marina is the first person to come back from the Fade and her fellow teenagers do not really know what to make of her.  One Fade breaks into their compound and wants Marina to leave with him.  He tells her that she is still connected to the Fade and Marina wants to go to fill in the missing gaps of her time outside of the compound.  But will what she finds out be a good thing?

This book had good action to it.  The characters were interesting and well developed.  There was humor in it as well as some teenage romance.  Marina was a great protagonist--tough, intelligent and independent.  This book will keep readers engaged the entire time.  I enjoyed it.

I received a copy of this book from the Amazon Vine program, in exchange for a review.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Tapestry of Fortunes

Book #37 Read in 2013
Tapestry of Fortunes by Elizabeth Berg

Cece is still trying to get over the death of her best friend, Penny.  She decides to take a break from her job (self-help author and motivational speaker) and find a new place to live.  She finds that--renting a house with three other women:  Lise, Jodi and Irene.  Cece decides to take a road trip to visit an old flame and the other women decide to go with there--they each have their own past that they want to revisit and/or confront.  This trip draws them closer together and also adds an element of closure to their individual lives.  

This was a good women's fiction read.  The characters were interesting and likable.  Their stories were interesting as well and readers will hope that things work out in a good way for each of the four.  This was a quick read but I enjoyed it.

I received a copy of this book from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for a review.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Clover House

Book #36 Read in 2013
The Clover House by Henriette Lazaridis Power

Callie's uncle passes away and leaves his property, located in Greece, to her.  Callie must return to Greece to process paperwork.  This will force her to be in contact with her mother, whom she has been estranged from for over five years.  Leaving behind a new fiancee, Callie ventures to Greece hoping to find some answers in her uncle's belongings to why her mother has never been very loving. But will Callie find more than she bargained for?

This book bounces back from the present to the past, when Callie's mother was a young woman.  The writing is fine-tuned enough that this is not jarring to readers.  Callie is not the easiest character to like; she is flawed and selfish at most instances.  There wasn't enough background showing the relationship between Callie and her mother to justify Callie's bad choices or the burning desire for answers that she had.  Overall though, it was a good read.

I received a copy of this book from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for a honest review.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Quarantine: The Loners (YA)

Book #35 Read in 2013
Quarantine:  The Loners by Lex Thomas (YA)

This is the first in a dysptopian series.  The school year has just begun when a mysterious virus, carried by teenagers and fatal to adults, causes the government to lock down high schools.  In McKinley High, there is an immediate "Lord of the Flies" atmosphere.  David and Will are brothers and David just wants to keep Will safe,  especially worried as Will has epilepsy.  Will doesn't want to be coddled by his big brother but the two realize that being together is safer than being alone in a school that has immediately segregated themselves into gangs and turfs and turf wars.  On top of surviving that, the government will not let them leave until it is their "graduation day", which is when they turn 18.  If they are not let out in time, they will succumb to the virus their classmates are carrying and die.

This book is gritty and violent.  It shows what happens when humanity and civilization are lost.  It is also hard to put down.  Readers will instantly become hooked into this book and want to see who survives and at what cost.  There are both strong male and females characters so I think the appeal of this book could be universal.  The writing is action-packed and the characters are complex.  I enjoyed it and will continue this series.  The second book comes out summer of 2013.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Reconstructing Amelia

Book #34 Read in 2013
Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

Kate, an attorney, receives a phone call from her daughter Amelia's school saying that Amelia is being suspended for cheating on an English paper.  By the time Kate arrives at the school to pick Amelia up, Amelia is dead--an apparent suicide from jumping off the school's roof.  Kate wants to know why Amelia would do such a thing and begins looking into her daughter's life. . . and finding out that many things were unknown to her about Amelia and her activities.  This makes Kate wonder if it was really a suicide and with the help of a police detective, she reopens the investigation.

This book was an excellent read.  There were many twists and turns in this book that kept me reading.  The characters were flawed yet interesting.  The message of bullying and its effects on teenagers was powerful.  This was the author's first book but I will keep an eye out for more from her.  I heartily recommend reading this book.

I received this book from the Amazon Vine program in exchange for a review.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Starting Now

#33 Book Read in 2013
Starting Now by Debbie Macomber

Macomber is one of my comfort authors.  I love her writing style and her character development.  Her Blossom Street series is one of my favorite series, and this latest installment did not disappoint.  In this book, Libby Morgan is a workaholic attorney who is unexpectedly laid off from her firm.  She finds herself in Lydia's yarn shop and begins to knit hats for preemie babies.  This leads her to volunteering at the hospital, which leads her to handsome doctor, Phillip Stone.  Throughout this book, Libby rediscovers herself and what things she wants in her life.

Starting Now introduces an interesting new character to the Blossom Street canvas in Libby.  It was nice to see the return of character such as Lydia, Brad, Casey and Margaret.  Reading this book was like returning to your hometown--known and accepted.  Macomber's writing style is great for developing romantic plots while including an interesting twist to make this more than "just" a romance novel.  I loved it; I read it in a day.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Comfort of Lies

Book #32 Read in 2013
The Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers

Nathan is having an affair with Tia.  He ends it when Tia announces that she is pregnant and will not have the abortion that Nathan wants.  Nathan decides to try to put his marriage to Juliette back together and ends contact with Tia.  Tia has the baby and gives her up for adoption.  Peter and Caroline adopt the baby and once a year, Tia gets a card with updates and pictures from Caroline.  

Fast forward five years later, Tia sends pictures to Nathan.  Juliette opens the card and is devastated that once again, her husband has kept things from her.  Juliette contacts Caroline and meets her and the young girl.  This sends a series of events in motion--Nathan and Tia get back in contact, they meet their daughter, Caroline and Peter are worried that they want the baby that Juliette probably did not think of as being possible outcomes from her actions.

This book is told in alternating viewpoints--Juliette's, Tia's, Caroline's.  This format allows readers to really understand the feelings and motivations behind their pivotal characters and their actions. This book was an engaging read and I enjoyed it a lot.  I received a copy from Book Browse in exchanging for participating in their upcoming online discussion.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Skinned (YA)

Book #31 Read in 2013
Skinned by Robin Wasserman (YA)

This is the first book in a trilogy.  Lia is killed in a car crash.  However, in the future, where this book is set, it is possible to transplant Lia's brain and memories into a mechanical being, known as a Skinner, to keep Lia alive.  Her parents decide to do this.  Lia is having some problems adjusting to life after being an "org"--organic or human.  She is not used to not feeling anything, not having to eat, not being able to cry etc.  Her family and friends are having problems adjusting as well.  Lia meets a group of mechanical beings who are trying to show her the good things about being this way.  But at what cost?

This book was a decent read.  It was an interesting premise to read about.  The characters could be a bit annoying at times but overall I enjoyed it.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Melissa's March Reads

Melissa's March Reads:

1.  Wonder (YA) (5/5) Kindle
2.  Fever (4/5)
3.  Without Tess (YA) (4/5)
4.  The Raft (YA) (5/5)
5.  Dark Triumph (YA) (5/5) 2nd in series
6.  Pretty Girl 13 (YA) (5/5)
7.  The Secret Keeper (4/5)

30 books read in 2013 to date