Monday, August 29, 2011

Non-Fiction Fun!

I have a very wide range of book interests. I read pretty much anything about everything. I always seem to have 1 or 2 non-fiction books in my TBR pile at one time. By reading non-fiction I feel that I learn more about the world, and the people in it, and I gain so much knowledge. I wanted to do some mini reviews on some of the non-fiction books I have been reading!

A Stolen Life: A Memoir by Jaycee Dugard

Jaycee Dugard was kidnapped when she was 11 years old and was held by her kidnappers for 18 years in a secret backyard. During the course of the 18 years, Jaycee has 2 children with her kidnapper, Phillip Garrido. With great courage and strength, Jaycee survived her 18 year nightmare and came out alive!

Being kidnapped has always been one of my greatest fears, so I have always had an interest in stories of kidnapping survivors, like Elizabeth Smart. This book is written with such great detail by Jaycee herself. It blows my mind with what she had to go through during her 18 years of captivity and how she came out of it with the ability and strength to survive and to continue living her life. She is definitely someone I would consider a hero. This book does contain very vivid detail about her ordeal, so I would caution younger readers.

Brave Girl Eating by Harriet Brown

Brave Girl Eating chronicles Kitty, a 14 year old, during her treatment of anorexia. The book in written by Kitty's mother Harriet. Harriet describes the hardships of having a family member with an eating disorder. Harriet and her husband decide to take on Kitty's anorexia as a family. They want to conquer this beast, and get their family back to normal.

I have always been curious about eating disorders. I have read many memoirs of people with anorexia, but this is the first that I have read from the point of view of the mother. The Brown's take a unique approach to treating Kitty's anorexia, by using a family approach. Once I picked up the book, I could not put it down. I found myself hurting when the anorexia won, and sheering, when Kitty was able to beat the beast inside of her.

Poisoned by Jeff Benedict

Poisoned chronicles a major e. coli outbreak in 1993. E. coli is a deadly strain of food poisoning that killed several children from eating contaminated hamburgers from a fast food chain. Poisoned interviews the families, doctors, lawyers, and others that were involved in this story. The book discusses how the outbreak happened, and how it could have never happened.

I saw this book on the new book shelf at my local library and was instantly drawn in when I saw that the book involved children. I had never really heard of e.coli, so I learned a lot from this book. I learned the dangers of eating under cooked meat and the what can happen when people are not careful. The book discussed the different cases that were filled against the fast food chain, which I though were a little slow. Overall, the book was very informative and I enjoyed reading it!

Hopefully these encouraged you to do a little non-fiction reading. You never know what you will learn when you pick up a book!

Happy reading!

Friday, August 26, 2011

In My Mailbox (3)

In my mailbox is a weekly meme started by The Story Siren. Bloggers post books that they have received, borrowed, bought, etc. This is IMM for this week!

I won these three ARC's from Mug of Moxie's ARC giveaway. These are my first ARC so I was very, very excited to receive them! Thank you Mug of Moxie!
  • Into the Wild Nerd Yonder- Julie Halpern
  • My Worst Best Friend- Dyan Sheldon
  • The Secret of Lying- Todd Mitchell

  • XVI- Julia Karr
  • Another Faust- Daniel and Dina Nayeri
  • Zeitoun- Dave Eggers
  • Dispatches from the Edge- Anderson Cooper
  • Hurry Down Sunshine-Michael Greenberg
  • Unlocked-Ryan G. Van Cleave
  • Brave Girl Eating- Harriet Brown
  • Incarceron- Catherine Fisher
I definitely have a book problem. I still have 3 books left from my library trip and 7 or 8 on my TBR shelf. I went into the library only wanting to get 2 or 3 books and came out with 8! I have an addiction, and it is bad. At least admitting you have a problem is the first step!

Happy reading!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

REVIEW: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Title: Speak
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Rating: C

From the Back of the Book

Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so her old friends won't talk to her, and people she doesn't know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her head. But even that's not safe. Because there is something she's trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth.

I was very excited about reading this book. I had read several great reviews and I always enjoy reading books that have a psychological background. Selective mutism, which is what I assumed Melinda had, always fascinates me. From the time I started reading, it was a very quick and easy read, but I must say that I was very disappointed. I did not understand the plot line at all. It jumped from her relationship with others at school, to her family issues, to friends and boys, and so on and so forth. I did not think that it really had a purpose, it seemed to me that it was more of Melinda writing in her diary over the course of a year. I knew that the main issue was supposed to be about something that happened at a party, but it did not seem to take priority in the plot of the book. Melinda also did speak in the book, just not very much, which I thought kind of ruined part of the reason why I wanted to read the book in the first place. It was just a very strange, confusing, slightly boring read for me.

I have read some other things that Anderson has written, and I have generally enjoyed all of them, this one however just did not do it for me. I know that others have read it and enjoyed it. Comment below if you have read it and had other ideas about the book. I would really love to hear!!

Thank you to the people that have commented on my other posts. It really makes me smile to see them!

Happy reading!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Title: The Maze Runner
Author: James Dashner
Rating: A-

Summary from Amazon
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

This is actually the second time I have tried to read The Maze Runner. I checked it out from the library a few months ago because I had read some awesome reviews on it and I am a huge dystopian fan. This first time I tried to read it I only read the first 20 or so pages because I just could not get into the book. I ended up returning it without finishing the book. I decided to read it again because I knew that there were so many people that raved about the book and maybe I was just not giving it a chance. I knew that I was obviously missing something. This was definitely a lesson in second chances.

Well, let's just say I proved myself wrong. The Maze Runner is an awesome book! It is a perfect dystopian book and has many surprising twists and turns. I loved the interactions between the many different characters, especially Thomas and Teresa. Their relationship keeps you guessing throughout the entire book. Once I finished reading, I definitely wanted to find out what happens next! Dashner has solved that problem for me in writing the sequel The Scorch Trials which I have already requested from the library. This is a must read for any dystopian fans and for anyone who is looking for a book that will always keep you guessing.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

In My Mailbox(#2)

In My Mailbox was started by The Story Siren to show what books you have either won, revieced, bought or borrowed during the week! Anyone can participate!

This is a collection of what I have gotten over the last 2 weeks.

Borrowed from the library:
  • Crossing Lines- Paul Volponi
  • Speak- Laurie Halse Anderson
  • The Body Finder- Kimberly Derting
  • The Most Wanted- Jacquelyn Mitchard
  • The Day Before- Lisa Schroeder
  • Black and Blue- Anna Quindlen
  • Runner- Carl Deuker
  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children- Ransom Riggs
I don't often buy books, so this is a rare thing

Happy reading!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Title: Across the Universe
Author: Beth Revis
Publisher: Penguin, 2011
: A+

From the Back of the Book:
Amy has left the life she loves for a world 300 years away. Trapped in space and frozen in time, Amy is bound for a new planet. But fifty years before she's due to arrive, she is violently woken, the victim of an attempted murder. Now Amy's lost on board and nothing makes sense-she's never felt so alone. Yet someone is waiting for her. He wants to protect her-and more if she'll let him. But who can she trust amidst the secrets and lies? A killer is out there- and Amy has nowhere to hide...

I was COMPLETELY blown away by this book. It took me about 30 pages to get into the book, but once I did I literally could not put the book down. The plot is what you would call dystopian. Amy and her family are among several hundreds of people that will be cryogeniclly frozen and will live on a new planet in 300 years. They will be carried on a large spaceship and will be unfrozen when they arrive. Amy is suddenly unfrozen 50 years earlier than expected as a suspected murder. Amy is thrown into a world that is completely different than what she is used to. The ship is run by Eldest and his successor Elder. Amy befriends Elder, which causes great anger in Eldest because she is very unlike everyone else on the ship. After Amy is unfrozen, several other people are unfrozen and some die. Amy fears that her parents, her only remaining link to Earth, will also be murdered

Even though I would consider this book to be dystopian, it covers so many genres- romance, fantasy, sci-fi, adventure. It is so different than anything I have ever read and will probably ever read. Revis creates this unbelievable world that lives on a ship that is flying for several centuries. Revis includes so many details in the book that it is easy to create imagery in your head while reading. I give this book an A+ because I recommend it to EVERYONE!! It is a longer book of 398 pages, but I was found wanting more once I finished. The sequel comes out in spring of 2012, and I will definitely be first in line to buy a copy!

Happy Reading!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Zenith by Julie Bertagna

Title: Zenith

Author: Julie Bertagna

Publisher: Walker and Company, 2007

Rating: A-

Mara is on a boat hoping to find Greenland. She and Fox have led a revolt against the sky cities that look down on refugees. Her Treenster friends and other boat refugees are sailing to find a new land for them to live on. Fox has stayed behind to quietly lead others in New Mungo to revolt against those in control. While sailing, Mara has an unfortunate accident that threatens the safety of the refugees and may threaten the journey to Greenland.

This is the second book of Bertagna's trilogy. (Exodus being the first. Look below for my review of Exodus). I must say that I enjoyed this book more far than the first. It kept my interest for almost the entire time I was reading it.. I really enjoyed the different characters that Bertagna has created. Each character is unique and adds a lot to the plot. Mara is such a survivor and always faces such unbelievable circumstances which causes her to make quick decisions. I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the third and final part of the trilogy! I rate this book an A- and suggest it for all dystopian fans. As a note, it is important to read Exodus before Zenith so that everything makes sense!

Happy reading!


Exodus by Julie Bertagna

Title: Exodus

Author: Julie Bertagna

Publisher: Walker and Company, 2002

Rating: B-

Mara lives in a world that is slowly being destroyed. It is the year 2100 and all of the ice has melted, which leads all low lying land to be completely consumed by water. Mara's small island of Wing is being flooded as well. Mara knows that there are sky cities where people are safe from the ever increasing water. Mara knows that the only way to save her family and friends is to get to one of those sky cities. This will be one of the biggest challenges Mara has faced in her short life.

I love dystopian books, so this was right up my alley. Unfortunately, this was not as good as other dystopian books I have read. The plot developed slowly, which caused me to not enjoy reading it as much as other books. There were some fast moving parts, but others just dragged. I always like reading about how some people view the future world. This is the first time that I have read a dystopian book that has based its plot on the threat of global warming. Exodus is the first in a trilogy about Mara and her people. I give this book a B- because it picked up very slowly and did not always hold my attention. I do recommend this book to all dystopian lovers out there!

Happy reading!


Stay by Deb Caletti

Title: Stay

Author:Deb Caletti

Publisher: Simon Pulse, 2011

Rate: A-

From the Back of the Book:

Clara's relationship with Christian is intense from the start, and like nothing she;s ever experienced before. But what starts as devotion quickly becomes obsession, and it's almost too late before Clara realizes how far gone Christian is-and what he's willing to do to make her stay. Now Clara has left the city-and Christian-behind. No one back home knows where she is, but she still struggles to shake off her fear. She knows Christian won't let her go that easily, and that no matter how far she runs, it may not be far enough...


I read this book while on vacation and I finished it in less than 24 hours. The chapters alternate between the past, and Clara and Christian's relationship, and the present, when Clara has escaped Christian and her old life. Throughout the book, Clara has to face her fear of how controlling Christian was, and move past it. It was very interesting to see how quickly Christian gained control over Clara's life. I have always heard that guys that are controlling start out as "perfect" gentlemen, which is what happened to Christian. They then slowly start to take control over every aspect of your life. The only thing I wwould change about the book is that they would focus more on the past, not the future. I gave this book an A- because it is not necessarily a book I would read multiple times, but it was very good and I would recommend it to all young adult readers!

Happy reading!


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

So many books, so little time

I just looked over my TBR list and I have over 100 books on my list and it just keeps growing. I organize my TBR list in a notebook. I search for the books on my local library's website and find out what libraries the book is found at. I then write down the name of the library by the book. If the book is not found or is not at one of my local libraries, I put a pink dot next to the title of the book. This way, when I go to the library I know what books I am looking for. I wish there was more time is the day to read bcause there are so many good books out there! My list just keeps growing, and growing, and growing.

How do you organize your TBR list? How many books are on your list? Comment below! I would love to hear from you!!

Happy reading!


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Puppy Love by Nancy Krulik

Title: Puppy Love
Author:Nancy Krulik
Publisher: Simon and Schuster, 2008
Rating: B

Summery from Amazon
Alana loves her dog-walking job, but it blows her mind to see how pampered these pooches are. Her newest clients actually feed their poodle steak and treat her to massages at a doggie spa! Alana can't make heads or tails of why anyone would do this -- or why she complains to hunky handyman Connor and not her boyfriend, Sammy. When Sammy starts keeping her on an awfully tight leash, Alana wonders whether Connor might be a better match for her. But Alana's puppy love comes to a screeching halt when she learns that Connor isn't who she thought he was. Is Alana barking up the wrong tree with him, too?
Puppy Love is part of The Romantic Comedy series from Simon Pulse. I really enjoy reading these books because they are easy reads, and are truly comedies-they always make me laugh. Each of the books have a different theme, which I also like. This book was a light, easy read, which is perfect for the lazy days of summer. The books are also realistic, which makes them very enjoyable to read. I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a fun summer read!

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Confessions of a First Daughter by Cassidy Calloway

Title: Confessions of a First Daughter

Author:Cassidy Calloway

Publisher: Harper Teen, 2009

Rating: B

Morgan Abbott is the daughter of the president, who is also her mom. Part of being the daughter of the president is being followed constantly by the paparazzi and news reporters. All of her mistakes and awkward moments seem to be captured and read about all across the nation. Another part of being related to the president, is being followed by The Secret Service. Morgan is assigned a young, cute, bodyguard, who is very overprotective. When Morgan's mom must deal with a national catastrophe, Morgan is asked to "become" her mom so that she can still make appearances. If Morgan is not able to act as her mom, her mother's job, and Morgan's life, could be in jeopardy.

I have always had a fascination with learning about the children of presidents. I have always wondered what it would be like to live in the White House, and be known all across the United States. This book gives an inside look to a presidents child's life. Morgan makes it very obvious that it is not all fun and games. It is hard to be a teenager and be followed every single place you go, including in the bathroom. It is also hard to always look professional so that you do not give your parents any bad press. It sounds like a difficult life for a teenager

I give this book a B. It is a very fun and easy read and I finished it in a day. I recommend this book to all Americans who are wondering what Malia and Sasha Obama's life may be like.

Happy Reading!


Monday, August 1, 2011

Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance by Emily Franklin and Brandan Halpin

Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance
Authors:Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin
Publisher: Bloomsbury Teens, 2011

Charlie Tracker and Fielding Withers are stars on the hit TV show, Jenna & Jonah's How to Be a Rock Star. On the show, the two are dating, and out in the real world, they must pretend to date for the sake of the shows ratings. The only problem... Charlie and Fielding despise each other. Their entire lives are photographed and taped, which forces both of them to live a fake life. A paparazzi photographer starts a rumor that shakes up the show and the two's relationship with each other. This forces them both to reevaluate their lives, their relationship with each other, and their future.

Honestly, the book seemed like a mix between Hannah Montana and High School Musical. Stars fake lives mixed with stars who are made to be in love sake of viewers. Charlie and Fielding's attitudes and comments towards each other were quite entertaining. The plot was semi-predictable, and definitely followed the plot of a typical chick-lit book. I did enjoy seeing the inside scoop of how it feels to be famous and trying to become someone outside of your role.

I give Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance a B, because I enjoyed the story, but it was but was a pretty typical chick-lit book. I would recommend the book to anyone who enjoys a fun, romance, story. I am definitely going to check out more books from these authors!

Happy reading!