March 31, 2012

Meg-A-Readers Blog Hop!

Hello everyone!

As you might know, I'm a HUGE Meg Cabot fan, so when I found out that Mandy@The Romantic Bookie and Diana@Miss Little Drama Girl were hosting a Meg Cabot Blog Event, I had to join.

Here are the details (according to The Romantic Bookie's sign up page)
Because Meg's having TWO books released this year, and both within a two month period, we will be combining Meg-A Readers Blog Hop with both those releases! 
It will start May 15th (one week before the release of Underworld (the second in the Abandon Trilogy) and end on July 21st (roughly a little over a week after the release of Size 12 and Ready to Rock (the fourth in the Heather Wells Mysteries). 
Throughout those two months we are hoping to get as many bloggers, to each host a day, where you will write all about your love for Meg!

Here are your options:
You can either:
  • Post a review about any of Meg Cabot's books. 
  • Write about how Meg's books came into your life, and what impact they have had. 
  • If you've met Meg, tell your story. 
  • Or we have decided a fun one would be to do an "interview". While we don't want you all pestering Meg for an interview, she is a busy woman after all, and we do want her to finish her next projects, and possibly visit us in our towns!!! :), Diana and I have come up with the idea of doing an "interview" with your favorite Meg Cabot character. Now, we know this will be tricky, but a lot of fun!! :) (If you choose to do this, please, email us (my email is: and let us know what you plan on doing :). 
  • Of course, if you want to and have the resources, you are welcome to host a Meg Cabot giveaway! Those are always fun! 
  • And then we will also be posting a list of books that have been approved by us that you can do a review on that have similar subjects as Meg's two new releases. We are planning on having anyone interested post a review on a Mythological book between May 21st and June 23rd, and then after the 23rd, you may choose to do a review on a Mystery novel ( the list will be posted soon! :), and if a book you want to read isn't on their, then email us and ask! :))
So those are the options, of course we are open to suggestions!! So don't hesitate to email or comment :).

And then we have also decided to have a Meg Cabot Read-a-Thon Week!! This will be the week of Sunday June 17th to Saturday June 23rd, and during that week all the participants, who have the time, and of course everyone else (even non-bloggers can participate during this week!) will begin the challenge of reading AS MANY Meg Cabot books as they can in ONE WEEK!!!

I think this event is going to be awesome. I'm definitely participating on the Read-A-Ton, and I'll review some of her books I haven't talked about yet or that I've touched in very general terms. I hope I can get both books so I can review them as well.
I'm also doing a Fan-list of my favorite Meg Cabot characters or heroines (haven't decided yet).

Hope many of you join, and if you're interested, please head off to The Romance Bookie.

March 30, 2012

Bloggiesta 2012 - Starting Line

PEDRO says Hi!!!
Hello everyone! Its that time of the year again, time to say Hello to Pedro once more and kick off Bloggiesta, a wonderful event hosted this year by It's All About Books and some other wonderful bloggers. It originated on Maw Books Blog and I look forward to it every year. 

Bloggiesta is all about improving your blog, and sharing the experience with other people. This NOT about READING. This is not a Read-a-Thon, but rather a Blog-Improvement-thon.

Starting Friday, March 30th and until Sunday, April 1st, we party Bloggiesta style! Anyone can join! All you need to do is have a to-do list and work hard at it. 

Originally, I was going to skip it this year because I'm slammed with work and stuff to read and whatvs, but in the end, I decided to do a Bloggiesta Lite and just tackle some stuff I've been letting fall to the side 'cause of real life (like updating my review index). 

To kick it off I give you... The Ode to Bloggiesta.

Ode to Bloggiesta

Another year,
Bloggiesta is here,
May the Pedro
Be ever in your favor,

Let the Games Begin! 
SEO might still be
A mystery to me,
But here is my To-Do List...

2012 Alex's Bloggiesta To-Do List:

  1. Write Pending Reviews
    1. Epic Fail
    2. Cinder
    3. First Date
    4. Card Captor Sakura Vol 2
    5. Magic Knight Rayearth Vol 2.
    6. Bright Young Things
    7. Fracture
    8. Life is But a Dream
  2. Write List Maniac Posts and Schedule them
    1. Favorite Tear-Jerkers
    2. Favorite Parents of YA
    3. Books with Awesome Food
    4. Dropped Series
    5. Favorite Audio Books
    6. Meg Cabot Heroines*
  3. Write Tune in Tuesday for Next Month
  4. Clean Up Tags
  5. Meg Cabot Blog Hop Preparations
    1. Write Sign Up Post
    2. Add Button
    3. Write actual Posts for the Event*
  6. Find Image to use in the At The Movies posts
  7. Write  and schedule Movie reviews for next month
  8. Update Challenge Lists
    1. Write March Challenge Update
    2. Prep posts for future updates
  9. Schedule Coming Soon Posts (Re-posts of early reviews, closer to release date)
  10. Update Book Index 
  11. Add tag to Net Galley/Review Books - In Blog and in Good Reads
  12. Delete posts that don't work anymore
  13. Prep posts for Book Blog Tour 
    1. Goddess Girls
    2. Welcome Caller, This is Chloe
  14. Update Personal Lists
    1. Audiobooks
    2. TBR
    3. For Review
    4. Faves of the Year
  15. Update and Clean up Review Policy
  16. Adjust settings on Blogger
  17. Revive Blog's Quick Links
  18. Participate in 2 mini-challenges
    1. Pinterest Mini-Challenge @Joy's Book Blog
    2. Twitter and Your Blog - Challenge @Katie's Book Blog
  19. Try Not to Go NUTS
Okay, that's my list... and yeah, that's the Lite Version. I decided to focus on content this year since I've done the more "Look and Feel" challenges and improvements before. I love them but they usually suck a big chunk of my time. 

So that's it!
Good luck everyone and May The Pedro Be With You!

March 29, 2012

Book Review: Somebody to Love by Kristan Higgins

At First Sight: Parker Wells has always had a very comfortable life, living off her trust-funds and raising the son she had with one of her best friends, Ethan - before he went off to marry Parker's other best friend, Lucy - and writing the Holly-Rollers, a successful series of children's books that she kind of hates but is afraid will be her only contribution to the world of children's lit.

The bottom falls off her world when her father tells her that he has lost all the family money in a bad business scheme and that he kind of stole Paker's and her son Nicky's trust funds in the process. So she's now broke and with little idea of how she's going to support her kid short of moving in with Ethan and Lucy.

So when her father's lawyer, James Cahill, reminds her that she inherited a small cottage in Gideon's Cove, Maine; Parker figures she'll turn the cottage around - fix somethings, slap a new coat of paint - and sell it for profit.

As it turns out, the 'cottage' is more of a shack, and she has no earthly idea how she's going to make it work. And the last thing she wants is to deal with James, who followed her to Maine to help her, weather she wanted or not.

Jamie is not close to his own family, and has been the family's black sheep since he was 12; but he has a strong affection for Parker's father, and has been half in love with Parker since they first met, six years before, even if she can't seem to stand him.

Second Glance: I have kind of a pattern with Kristtan Higgins's books, I love one, the next one I hate, the next one I think it was ok, and the next one I love/Relally like again. Somebody to Love was 'scheduled' to be one that I was supposed to love. Sadly it was just an OK book.

I found both Jamie and Parker quite likable - even if Parker was a bit stubborn and hard at times - and I liked re-visiting the people of Gideon's Cove - setting of Higgins' Catch of the Day, and we even get to see what has happened since with Malone and Maggie - and getting to know them a bit more.

I liked Parker's aunt, and I even liked Ethan and Lucy - whose story is told in The Next Best Thing - I kind of had hated them during their book (they were such a doormats to their own families that they made me cringe), but in this one I like them.

Now, I found quite a few character inconsistencies, like Malone. He was practically the town's loner before he got together with Maggie, and even when that was happening he wasn't the chatty type, and though I don't recall him as being ugly or anything, I also don't think he looked like someone you would see and think 'hottie'.  But he's much changed in this book, in a way that's not all that believable to me.

Nicky, Parker's son, was right down annoying in this book, which he wasn't in The Next Best Thing.

And I have to say that, while I really liked the parts where Parker and Jamie were together and I do buy them as a couple, big chunks of the story felt forced. Jamie's story is kind of pathetic - bad things just kept happening to him - and Parker keeps holding onto stuff that happened when she was a kid and she could be quite bitchy and selfish, particularly with Jamie. And the ending felt rushed.

Bottom Line: Somebody to Love was not the read I was hoping for. It's not a bad read per se, in fact I think that long time fans of Higgins will like it a lot and will be happy to be back in Gideon's Cove. But it's not one of my favorites by this author, I thought it read a little forced at times and it did detract of my enjoy over all enjoyment in the story.

Favorite Quote: "She smiled and there it was again, that aching pressure in his chest. Love, or a heart attack. Kind of the same thing." - Jamie

March 28, 2012

Book Review: Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

At First Sight: Mathew and Marilla Cuthbert - brother and sister - were getting on in years and figured it was a good idea to adopt a orphan boy to help Mathew run their farm, Green Gables. 

So, on a late Spring day, Mathew sets out to retrieve this boy from the train station... only to find a small, red-haired girl instead- a girl named Anne Shirley. She's a rather unconventional child, with a wild imagination and she can to talk non-stop, painting incredible worlds and giving amazing life to the most common place things just with her imagination. 

And, Mathew, who is shy and old and never liked talking to females of any kind or age, promptly loses his heart to the imaginative child. 

His sister Marilla isn't quite so keen. A practical woman, she finds Anne's whimsy a little trying but since Matthew so likes her and Marilla figures it's her Christian duty to bring Anne up in a proper fashion. 

So they take Anne in, and for the first time, she has a place to call home. Anne thrives at Green Gables and soon makes friends and becomes an integral part of the Avonlea community.

Second Glance: Anne of Green Gables was one of those books that I always meant to read but never got around doing it, and I don't know why I decided it was time, but I'm so glad I finally took the plunge.

I was lucky enough to get this in audiobook format and I loved it. This is one of those stories where you just have to give into the narrative - for the prose can get a little flowery with Anne's descriptions and whimsy - and enjoy the way the words flow. 

I loved getting to know and Anne and Gilbert and Mathew and Marilla - I cried a lot in the end, btw, and I loved how Anne always tried to make the Cuthberts proud. This is such a simple story about simple people and I loved that about it, it made me want to go to Prince Edward Island and never leave. 

Now, I gotta say that going in I had no idea just how much time the book covered - over four years of Anne's life - and sometimes I felt the book was a bit long, though it wasn't. Not really, considering how much time and things happen, but I guess I just wasn't prepared for it.

Anne could be a little over dramatic at times, but she's such a nice person and I adored her, I loved the way she just loved life. In a world where kids and teenagers can get so sullen and whiny, Anne was a breath of fresh air. 

Bottom Line: I loved Anne of Green Gables, it's a sweet, feel good story that just warms you up from the inside out. A definite 'must read' for anyone, no matter their age.  
starstarstarstar1/2Personal Favorite

March 27, 2012

Tune in Tuesday (31) - Book Playlists Edition

Book Playlist
This meme is hosted by Ginger at GReads and music. Each week you can post an old or new song so that it gains more interest! So head on over and link up.

In the last week of Book Playlist Edition I wanted to tackle Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson.
Music is such a big part of their journey that I wanted to include a couple of their songs.

If you have read the book, you know that Amy and Roger's Epic Detour is full of playlists and I admit that I didn't know MOST of the bands and singers on Roger's lists, but a few I did recognize so I putting them here now.

Form Roger's Playlist #4 - Going Places by the New Pornographers.

From Roger's Playlist #5
Starlight by Muse

I remember this song from when I was a kid, and I liked it. But I fell in love with this cover: Time After Time by Quietdrive

From Amy's Playlist #3 All that I Am by Elvis.

And now I'm going to stop...or I'll end up adding more Elvis' songs.

So, what song plays for you?

March 26, 2012

Book Review: Four of a Kind by Valerie Frankel

At First Sight: Alicia doesn't know what to expect when she's asked to join the Diversity Committee of her son's prestigious private school in Brooklyn Heights; but she's soon thrown together with Bess, a rich, blond princess; Robin, an abrasive, jewish single mother and Carla, a religious african-american doctor.

No one, not even Bess - the Committee's instigator - is sure what they are supposed to be doing, so they find themselves playing cards and sharing secrets - in a game they call Brooklyn Hold'em - and they slowly start to become friends as they lives start to change.

Bess is having trouble with her teenage daughter Amy, and she has never seen eye to eye with her ultra-feminist mother Simone, who is repulsed by Bess' decision of being a stay-at-home mom. And her loving, wonderful husband Borden seems a little too fixated on sex.

Robin used to be morbidly obese and only lost the weight when she got pregnant and even though she's now skinny as can be, she has a hard time connecting with people - even her own daughter -  and makes up for it with a string of casual dates that go nowhere.

Alicia is stuck being the sole provider for her family since her husband Tim lost his job at the beginning of the recession. They haven't had sex in ages and she's starting to fantasize about a younger co-worker.

Carla is struggling her with dissatisfaction at work and at home with her husband Claude who doesn't seem to have much faith in her and likes to complain and mope until Carla does whatever he thinks best.

These four women don't have much in common, but every other week they find themselves together, playing poker and making their lives easier and more complicated.

Second Glance: From the cover and the first summary I saw of this book, I kind of expected it to be a bit on the fluffy side. Some light-hearted chick lit.

But, though I believe it is chick lit, it wasn't exactly light-hearted. The problems these women go through sound quite realistic and I was fascinated by the fact that all the characters did things that made me like them and then not like them, but I kept caring about what happened to them. And they sounded their age, too, which I liked.

The book is told from the points of views of each of the four women, and each one was quite distinctive, the tone of the writing changing to suit the person it was following, and I appreciated that I never had to wonder in what section I was because the tones were so different from one another.

Bottom Line: Four of a Kind had it's ups and it's downs, as did their characters, but it was a rather enjoyable read, for all that it wasn't fluff, and that there were plenty of references to sex and unhappiness and dissatisfaction. All in all, I liked following these women as they found themselves and each other and became friends and I think I would like to read more of this author in the future.

Favorite Quote:
"The choices we made, the long-forgotten decisions, the painfully unforgettable ones, were the framework of our lives, thought Alicia. All of her choices and decisions had brought her to this moment in bed with Tim. When you looked at life that way, it was hard not to blame yourself for you own unhappiness."

Bess appeared in the vestibule between the two front doors. Her yellow hair shone under chandelier light. She was luminous, really. And I don't hate her for being beautiful, thought Robin. How could that be? It must be real friendship, the kind that transcended petty jealousy.

"Being bad feels pretty fucking excellent, doesn't it?" asked Robin.
"Please don't curse," said Carla. "And yes. It does."

March 25, 2012

At the Movies: The Hunger Games

Every year, on the day of Reaping, a young man and woman (ages between 12 and 17) from each of the 12 districts that form Panem are taken to the Capitol to participate in the Hunger Games. 24 people go in, and only 1 comes out. 

Katniss Everdeen is 16 and from the 12th District, she's devoted to her sister Prim and hunts in order to provide for her and their mother. On Prim's first day of Reaping, she's chosen as tribute but Katniss ends up volunteering in Prims' place and is taken to the Capitol alongside fellow tribute Peeta Mellark.

The Capitol is a world away from their poor District, and all too soon they are trusted into the Arena, where they have to fight for their survival. 

Okay, that's my bland attempt to summarize the movie without spoiling it, thought I kind of think pretty much everyone has read the book by now - or at least heard enough about it that they know what's what - and the movie is pretty close to the book.

Now, I didn't love The Hunger Games-the book, and I'm sad to say I didn't like the movie, either. The movie is kind of long, but that's fine, the problem is that it FEELS long. It takes bloody forever for the actual games to start and once that happens the movie does pick up, but its grueling to get to that point. 

As I said, the movie follows the book pretty closely, and the few changes made were well done, on that regard I didn't have any issues. But I have to say that I felt like some things were never quite explained. 

Cinna rocked, he's awesome, and I think Lenny Kravitz was great in the part. The girl who played Rue was exactly as I imagined Rue to be, and I liked her as well. Jennifer Lawrence was OK as Katniss but I realized that she just isn't my cup of tea as a character.

Also, why did they let a drunk person hold the camera in some scenes? it was just bleh. 

Personally, I give it a C, and if you're not a fan, wait until is out on DVD. 

March 24, 2012

And One Last Thing... (Marchetta Madness)

So... I know that I have gone overboard with the Melina Marchetta themed posts this week, so I'm going to be quick when talking about this last thing. 

One of the things I love the most about Melina's writing is kind of completely indirect: The fact that she introduced me to stuff being written in places other than the US.

English is my second language and I admit I learned to master it in great part because I wanted to read, and read contemporary stuff aimed toward my age group - well, the age my heart feels anyway - so I got my books of Amazon and called it good. But I didn't know a lot of authors and it took me forever to take a chance on a new author. 

Before reading Melina's books, I wasn't even aware of Australia as a source of novels. But since then I've learned that Australian authors are made of AWESOME. 

Basically This:

Helped me to get to this:

In a very indirect way, sure, and over a long time, but I got there. And I HIGHLY recommend these books. Good Oil made me ache, Starfish Sisters reminded me of the true awesome of female friendships, and Graffiti Moon has the spirit true contemporary-urban awesome sauce.

So there. 

I bid farewell to the Marchetta Madness week

Thanks to Chachic for putting it together and be sure to check ou the Guest Post from Melina herself, that wrapped up this event in Chachic's Book Nook!



March 23, 2012

A Romantic Spotlight (Marchetta Madness)

Hello guys! I can't believe Marchetta Madness is almost over!

And since we are so close to the end, I want to talk about one of the things I love the most in Melina's books: the Romance.

Melina's books are wonderful for so many different reasons, but her characterization is particularly masterful, and no matter how rich the contexts and environments, there is always a lot of love and many kinds of love going around.

There are wonderful friendships and amazing family ties in all of the stories, but I love the way she writes romance. I love that when her girls fall in love they do so completely and without losing themselves. I love that her guys sound like guys and that they are fierce about the people they love.

So, here are some of my farorite romantic moments in Melina's books.

Fair warning, though, spoilers lay ahead!

(On the) Jellicoe Road
This first quote is one of my favorite parts of the whole book. Taylor is in a mood, the quest she's conducting with Jonah isn't going as planned and they are both at the far end of their patience. And I've always loved the scene because it's so Jonah.
"I'm here because of you. You're my priority. Your happiness, in some fucked way, is tuned into mine. Get that through your thick skull. Would I like it any other way? Hell, yes, but I don't think that will happen in my life time."
Then, a little ahead:
"What are you thinking?" I whisper after a while.
"That you deserve romance," he says.
I trace his face with my fingers. "Let me see. A guy tells me (too spoilery)... and then drives seven hours straight without whingeing once, on a wild-goose chase in search of my mother with absolutely no clue where to start. He is, in all probability, going to get court martialled because of me, has put up with my moodiness all day long, and knows exactly what to order me for breakfast. It doesn't get any more romantic than that, Jonah."
"I'm in year eleven, Taylor. I'm not going to get court-martialed."
"Just say you get expelled?"
"Then so be it. I still would have driven for seven hours and ordered you hot chocolate and white toast and marmalade."
See, I love that it's kind of a "Grand Gesture" moment, but in a completely practical way.

In The Piper's Son, there are two moments that I love.
The first one is all Will and Frankie. I'm going to have to cut it up a little 'cause it's long:
Francesca sits on the bench. Opposite her, with a lot of space between them, and a lot of silence, Will leans on the preparation bench.
“What do you always say about me?” Tom hears him ask.
She’s not answering.
“That you used calculus to work out whether we should be together or not,” she says.
“I mean when you’re trying to compliment me.”
“That you’re the smartest guy I know,” she says finally in a flat voice.(...)
“Why would the smartest guy you know do something stupid and lose you?” he asks.
She sighs. “Because smart guys have two brains, Will. One in their head and one in their pants.”
“Yeah, well both my brains are connected and one is always reminding the other of you.”
“I thought we weren’t going to drive each other crazy with this type of stuff, Frankie,” Will says, frustrated.
“Come here,” she says.
“No, you come here.”
“I said it first.”
“Rock paper scissors.”
“No. Because you’ll do nerdy calculations and work out what I chose the last six times and then you’ll win.”
Will pushes away from the table and his hand snakes out and he pulls her toward him and Tom figures that Will was always going to go to her first.
And this one is all Tara and Tom (It's a scene very near the end, so fair warning)
“I spilt my guts out all over the arrival lounge at Sydney’s domestic airport, Tara. It’s as bloody romantic as you’ll ever get from me. Where are you?”
“At a public phone in arrivals. I’ve run out of credit. I used my reprimanding voice and told my parents and Frankie and Justine that they couldn’t come near me for the next five minutes. I can see the four of them from here. They’re talking about me. They have a look of fear on their face. Even my parents, who created me, are afraid. I see that look on a lot of people’s faces when they see me, Tom. Never yours.”
“I keep it hidden, but it’s there. Believe me, you frighten me to death, but for different reasons.”
Nothing to add, but a happy sigh.

I also got a very soft spot for the romances of the adults. Like Sam and Georgie in Piper's Son. Hannah and Jude in Jellicoe. And, of course, Beatriss and Trevanion - I think I love them most of all.

I don't want to spoil Froi, as it's all too new and in Finnikin they had few scenes together, but the following scene always stuck to me, when Trevanion finds out Beatriss is still alive:
"Her strength, it comes from you," she said quietly.
"What?" The question was like a bark, but she did not shrink back.
There was a sharp hiss of breath, and Finnikin found himself in his father's path as Trevanion advanced tosard her furiously. "Beatriss is--"
"Do not speak her name! Do not dare taint her memory," he raged.
Evanjalin did not move. "Sometimes when people sleep they agonize about decisions made. Other times they think back on the past. She spends much time doing both. I do believe it is Beatriss who has worked through the dark magic to find me."
"You lie to taunt me!"
"Enough, Evanjalin," Sir Topher ordered. "Beatriss is dead."
Finnikin felt his father flinch at the words, but Evanjalin held Trevanion's gaze.
"Most nights she is restless. There are too many people to worry about, and she wonders how she will be able to make things right. How can she be someone other than Beatriss the Beautiful or Beatriss the Beloved? But then, just when she's about to lose hope, she remembers what you would whisper to her, Captain Trevanion. That she was Beatriss the Bold. Beatriss the Brave. To all others she was a fragile flower, but you would not let her be."
Finnikin's hand was still against Trevanion's chest; his father's heart was beating out of control.
"She remembers the nights you lay with her when she worried about something happening to you. 'What would I do without you?' she would cry. Do you remember your response, Captain Trevanion? 'What needs to be done, Beatriss."
*Sigh* this scene breaks my heart each and every time.

So, these are some of my favorite scenes of the books, I tried to keep this short but I think that didn't work out so well. But what can you do when you have so much awesome to pick from?

Anyway, what about you? Any favorite scenes?

PS - Sorry for the crappy formatting. Blogger is trying to destroy me

March 21, 2012

At the Movies: Looking for Alibrandi

Josie Alibrandi is an scholarship student at a prestigious All-Girls catholic school where she's finishing Year 12 (a.k.a. Senior Year). An excellent student, she hopes to go to university and study law. Her life is defined in a lot of ways by the two women in her life: her Nonna Katia and her single mom Christina. Her father has never been in the picture, though Josie knows who he is and in which part of Australia he lives. 

Josie is used to being a team with her mother, even though they don't see eye to eye in some regards, but with her Nonna Katia, Josie clashes constantly. An Italian immigrant, Nonna Katia has pretty outdated ideas about the mixing of "Italian" and "Australian" and has a very Us versus Them mentality. Katia's relationship with Christina is also a bit strained, mostly because Katia showed little support to Christina when she got pregnant at sixteen.

And things are about to be shaken up in the Alibrandi household. First, when Josie meets Jacob Coote, who goes to a public school, can make up a speech at the drop of the hat, and is the resident bad-boy of Josie's life. And then, Michael Andretti, Josie's faceless father moves back from Adelaide to Sydney... and lets just say that their first meeting is everything but ideal. There is also John Barton a sensible, nice, smart and rich guy in whom Josie finds something of a kindred spirit. 

Surrounded by her friends, her family and even her school nemesis, Josie is set out to live the year that might very well change and define the rest of her life. 

Looking for Alibrandi is based on the novel by the same name by Melina Marchetta, and though it follows the book pretty closely, it has some deliberate differences that keep it from being exactly alike. However, I'm happy to say that all my favorite parts of the book made it to the movie. 

Alibrandi is a movie that feels very Australian and its a lot of fun. Though nothing can ever compete with one's own imagination, it was easy to see the actors as the characters. I particularly liked Anthony LaPaglia as Michael Andretti. 

I do have to say that sometimes it was hard to understand what Nonna Katia was saying, like at all. And that I found her a bit more likable in the book.

All in all, Looking for Alibrandi is a must see for any Marchetta fan, and a very nice teen movie even if you haven't read the book. I give it a B+

This review is part of Marchetta Madness, hosted by Chachic's Book Nook 

March 20, 2012

Tune in Tuesday (30) - Book Playlists Edition: Marchetta Madness Themed!

Book Playlist

This meme is hosted by Ginger at GReads and music. Each week you can post an old or new song so that it gains more interest! So head on over and link up.

We are still doing Book Playlists and for this week -and in theme with Marchetta Madness week - I'm featuring songs from books by Melina Marchetta. 

Music is a big theme in Melina's stories, it helps people connect and to heal. Many of Melina's characters are musicians - like Justine, Tom, Frankie, Ben - or need to feel the music like the people from Charyin in Froi. 

So here are my Marchetta inspired picks

The Coward of the County by Kenny Rogers - It's a recurring theme in Jellicoe Road, each time Taylor says anything about Kenny Rogers everyone always tells her "Oh, the Coward of the County" and I think Taylor takes it a bit personal. This song always makes me a little sad, which is how Jellicoe makes feel too.

I'm Your Venus by Bananarama - This movie comes up in Saving Francesca - and Tom says he only danced to it because he thought it said I'm your Penis - It's actually quite a feel good song for me so, here it goes. Fair warning, though, the video is SO 80's

Lastly, this song comes up in The Piper's Son, and I love it anyway so I thought, why not? The Blower's Daughter

So, what song plays for you?

March 19, 2012

List Maniac #26 - Favorite Secondary Characters (Marchetta Madness)

Oops! Sorry for the super long title, it's just that it's Marchetta Madness Week and I realized I hadn't done a List Maniac in a really long time! So I decided to spot light some of my favorite secondary characters. 

In this case, my criteria to call them Secondary is that we have never seen things from their perspective. These are the characters I've loved and wish I knew more about them!  

And now, onto the list! 

"Jimmy Hailler was a killer of a listener. The guy understood fragmented people." (The Piper's Son)
At first glance, Jimmy is a bit of a clown. He's always saying and doing the one thing that will make everyone uncomforatble, and he seems to do it only for his own amusement. But people tell him stuff, he's doesn't judge and he ends up having more inside and perspective than anyone would ever give him credit for. His personal history is hinted at in bits and pieces, but I always feel like I want to know more about him. Sadly, he's currently MIA and not even his friends know where he is. 

Celie of the Flatlands (Finnikin of the Rock / Froi of the Exiles
When Lady Celie first appears on the page, you don't think a lot about her. But she keeps making small appearances and now, after reading Froi, I've realized that she kind of lingers. And I want to hear more about her. I know from the bits and pieces that she's very smart and braver than one would guess seing as she's beautiful. And I'm happy to hear that we'll be hearing more about Celie soon.

Marcus Sandford (Looking for Alibrandi)

"Who's the hunk?"
She looked pensive and reached to touch it. 
The person in the photo was of medium height with golden-brown hair. He was smiling broadly, leaning against a shovel, with no shirt on. 
"His name was Marcus Sandford." 
"An Australian?" I screeched. "You know an Australian hunk?"
"He was my friend."
When I read Looking for Alibrandi, I was captivated by the story of Nonna Katia and Marcus, and I always wondered about him. What his life had been? Did he marry someone else? Had kids? Did he still thought about Katia? I would love to get answers to all of those questions, mostly because I always thought they deserved a happy ending. And even though he's never in the story 'in the present day', I wish he were.

"When it's time for Ben to play his solo - his eyes are close, his mind anywhere but here, his fingers so taut and precise that it almost looks painful - my eyes well with tears. Because you know from the look on Ben's face that he's somewhere you want to be."
Ben is a really close friend to both Raffy and Taylor - he is Taylor's second in command in the territory wars - but he never gets quite as much page time as Raffy or Jonnah or Chaz. But I love whenever he's around. I love that he likes to tease Jonah and he's not afraid of him (though he often gets beat up for his efforts), and that he loves music so much. I was so happy to see him and his band make a cameo in The Piper's Son, but it's just never enough.

Tariq of Lascow & the other Last Borns (Froi of the Exiles)

I really liked Tariq the second he showed up in Froi of the Exiles, he's essentially a nice, decent man who was worthy of leading people. I would have loved to hear more of him and his life in the caves. The other Lastborns, Satch of Desantos and Grijio of Paladozza (as well as his sister Tippideux) also intrigued me. I hope they feature more in Quintana of Charyn.

Special Mention: Danny Griggs ((On The) Jellicoe Road / The Gorgon in the Gully).
I know Danny does have his own book but is only available in Australia, and as such is very hard to come by this side of the pond. I love Danny because Jonah loves him. I would LOVE to read his story and I hope someday is published in the US so I can get my paws on it.  

Okay, so that's my list! and I admit it would have been up way earlier if not because I kept getting distracted while I was looking for quotes about these characters and ended up reading big chunks of each book, just because. 

March 18, 2012

It's Not Just a Book! It's an Experience - (Marchetta Madness Week)

Hello everyone!!

So today marks the start of the Marchetta Madness Week - Hosted by Chachic's Book Nook - and Chachic is asking what's the first Marchetta book you read. 

Mine was Saving Francesca, but the thing is that for me it's never just reading a book. It's a whole experience. I became an instant fan when I first read Francesca. I was nineteen or so, and I remember I waited and waited and waited because I wanted to get the particular cover I got (which was the original US paperback). I thought it would be a fun, cute book, and it was but it was also so much more. 

I remember staying up very late to finish the book, of being sitting up in my bed in the middle of the night crying because of what was going on, because the ending was happy and hopeful and then crying some more because it was over. 

I have very vivid memories of what I was doing and where I was when I was reading each and every of Melina's books, I remember the parts that made me cry, and when I was laughing while reading and no one else got it. There are very few books that have given me that: the immediate recall of the first time we crossed paths each and every time I pick them up. 

When it comes to Melina's books, I tend to see them as living, breathing beings. They are not just stories and characters, there are people to me. Reading them it's not something I can do with my eyes only, I'm there 100% , I go in with my heart and my head, and everything in between. 

It's not just reading a story, it's a whole experience.

That's why I was so very happy to be part of this week dedicated to Melina's works, because they touch me in ways I never thought possible and I'm happy to spread the word!

So... what about you? Have you read a Marchetta book? which one?

March 17, 2012

In My Mailbox (6)

Hey guys!
I made another video :)

Sorry if the image is a bit blurry.

Books Mentioned:
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter

Artemis the Loyal by Suzanne Williams and Joanne Holub (Thanks to Kylie!)

Fkr Review (thanks NetGalley!!)
Torn by Stephanie Guerra
Dark Frost by Jennifer Estep
The Most Improper Miss Sophie Valentine by Jayne Fresina
The Stone Girl by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama
All These Lives by Sarah Wylie
Big Sky Country by Linda Lael Miller
The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Grenland
Things Your Dog Doesn't Want You to Know by Jeff Johnson.
Just Say Yes by Phillipa Ashley

Blogs Mentioned:
Stepping Out of the Page  - Thanks for the Bookmarks!
Chachic Book Nook - She's are Hosting Melina Marchetta Week!

 I hope y'all have a great week*

March 16, 2012

Book Review: Undeniably Yours by Shannon Stacey

Paperback Cover
At First Sight: As the owner of Jasper's, a successful sports bar in Concord, Kevin is no lacking for female companionship, but he's still reeling from his divorce a couple of years prior - which ended when he found out that his wife was cheating on him with his boss, ending his marriage and career in one swift move - and he's starting to lose interest on the women that frequent his bar... until the night he meets Beth Hansen.

Beth is a nomad by choice, going from one crappy job/apartment to another, hopping from city to city trying to avoid putting any roots down. Having been smothered by her loving, overprotective parents for most of her life, Beth isn't took keen on anything that will tie her down. And she's not too keen on Kevin either, as the night they met Kevin punched her then boss and got her fired.

But a few weeks later they meet again - at Kevin's brother Joe's wedding - one thing leads to another and end up in Kevin's hotel room. And, a few weeks later, Beth finds out she's pregnant with Kevin's baby. Not expecting or wanting anything from him, Beth tells him of her pregnancy, thinking he ought to know but not really wanting him in her life. 

Kevin has other plans, coming from large, close knit family, he takes the news surprisingly well and is dead-set on making Beth's life easier, and keeping her around. Not only because of their baby, but because without meaning to, he has fallen in love with her. 

Second Glance: I had heard a bit of mixed opinions about Undeniably Yours, some told me it was their favorite book of the Kowalski series so far, and others that it was their least favorite. For me, it was neither. 

Over all, I liked the book. I thought Kevin was a lovely protagonist, he was likable and charming and attractive, and he wanted to do the right thing. Even though his life hasn't always been charmed, he wasn't bitter, and he was still a very loving and caring individual, even if he did have some hang ups. 

Beth wasn't always easy to like, she had these moments of foolish independence that really rubbed me the wrong way. But I didn't hate her, and part of me even sympathized a little with her. 

Now, I wish the Kevin and Beth had spent more time to with each other as an official couple, but I found the ending cute and sweet, even if a bit rushed.  I also wished Kevin and Beth had more of a life outside the bar and their apartments, because it seemed like they were ALWAYS in either of those places. 

Original Cover
I liked  seeing the characters I got to know in Exclusively Yours once more, and that their stories keep tinkering quietly in the background. 

Finally, while I liked Paulie, I didn't care for her subplot at all. It felt like an add on that could have been taken away and the story would have been fine. I found myself speed reading through her sections. 

Favorite Quote: While not my favorite of the bunch - that would be Yours to Keep - Undeniably Yours was a very nice contemporary romance, with likable characters and an interesting set-up. I definitely look forward to checking in with the Kowalski Clan in the future, though I'm afraid this particularly story won't be going into the 'special shelf'. 

March 14, 2012

Book Review: The Princess of Iowa by M. Molly Backes

At First Sight: Paige Sheridan seems to have everything in life: she's pretty, popular and well-off, in fact, she just spent the summer before senior year in Paris. But things are not quite as rosy colored once you look closer. The previous Spring, Paige was involved in a drunk-driving accident with her best friends Nikki and Lacey, and her mother exiled her to Paris so the scandal would die down quietly.

Now that she's back, Paige expects things will go back to normal, with her and her friends at the top of the High School food-chain. But that's easier said than done. Nikki is an apologetic wreck who has lost too much weight and is obsessed with this big 'Don't let your friends drive drunk' presentation she's planning. Lacey is in full-frienemy mode, bitter because she has been through a hell physical therapy and will probably walk with a limp from now on. 

Lacey is also holding onto Paige's secrets - things about the night of the accident that Paige herself isn't ready to remember - and manipulating Paige's boyfriend into spending time with her instead of Paige. That's how Paige finds herself in a Creative Writing class all alone - as her boyfriend transferred to Film Appreciation to 'be there for Lacey'.

Paige wants to hate the class but she soon finds herself sucked in the whirlwind their new teacher, Mr. Tremont, starts. Through writing and letting her thoughts go, she starts to deal with - and remember - what really happened the night of the accident, and she also starts to hang out with a different crowd of people - like the school's news paper editor Jeremy, or outspoken Shanti, or new boy in town Ethan - and become closer to her sister, and to see the cracks in the foundation of her Perfect Life. 

Second Glance: Confession time! When I saw the size of this book I didn't think I was going to be able to finish it (it's over 450 pages long). But when I started to read and before I knew I had read 200 pages and I was hooked. 

The Princess of Iowa is a very interesting and engaging book. At first I didn't like Paige, of any of her friends, in fact, they all irritated me, but I really wanted to know what had happened with the accident so I kept on reading and when I met the Creative Writing crowd, I loved those guys.

Paige wasn't always easy to like, and even late in the book she made some questionable choices, but she learns from her mistakes and I realized she was just really struggling with whom she was going to be if she wasn't Perfect Princess Paige.

I loved Shanti and Ethan and Miranda/Mirror (Paige's sister). I even liked Nikki by the end - she's one of those characters that you totally dismiss and then they surprise you though they remain essentially what they have always been.  

I had two small problems with the book, though. One that it's long and sometimes it felt long, there is a lot of stuff happening and I think that some of it could stand to be cut to make the novel flow a little better. And two, the romance. There was so little of it that I felt like it could have been cut and the story would have been fine. I liked it but sometimes it felt like an afterthought because the book was more about Paige growing up than anything else. 

Bottom Line: The Princess of Iowa surprised me with how how much I loved it and how fun it was to read. The characters felt real and they were complicated. It's very much a story of growing up and learning to face the consequences of our actions. It's a wonderful debut novel and I look forward to read more of this author's work.

Favorite Quote"How the hell do you sum up your sister in three minutes? She's your twin and your polar opposite. She's your constant companion and your competition. She's your best friend and the biggest bitch in the world. She's everything you wish you could be and everything you wish you weren't."
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