Tuesday, January 31, 2012

sisterhood everlasting

sisterhood everlasting
ann brashares
sisterhood of the traveling pants series #5
random house publishing
published 2011

It has been 10 years since the last Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants book.  Tibby, who now lives in Australia proposes a reunion of the sisterhood in Greece.  The other three women are giddy with excitement.  It has been 2 years since Tibby moved away unexpectedly and keeping in touch with someone on the other side of the world is harder than they thought.  Lena, Carmen and Bee make their way to Greece and to something the sisterhood has never experienced.

I was surprised at how much the characters had not changed.  If I didn't know that they were on their way to turning 30 I would have thought that this was just a year or two after the last book.  I think that made me angry with the book at first.  I wanted something to relate to.  It seemed like Carmen, Lena and Bridget were all stuck and miserable.  It wasn't even that they hadn't found what they were looking for, it was just that they were lost.  Or that they had maybe found it and decided they didn't want it.

But slowly the book began to evolve.  The story grew into itself and into my expectations and I fell into the book in a way that I wasn't expecting.  Of course, it was predictable, but isn't that because we feel we know the characters so well?  Maybe.

And now come the SPOILERS!!!!  I can't not write about this book.  I am dying to write about what this book has done to me.  So get out and read it and come back.  I'll wait.

OK, I lied.  I'm not waiting.






I knew that something terrible would happen to Tibby.  She just wasn't there.  She arranged the reunion and for the most part no one had really seen or heard from her in two years.  I thought perhaps she was assembling her friends together to tell them she was dying.  Cancer.  When she didn't show up at the airport I didn't understand.  When they found her body in the water I was lost.

But I wasn't sad.  I just didn't understand what had happened.  And then the women found the letter and their 'packages'.  She committed suicide???

I was angry.  How cruel of Tibby to bring them all to a place where they shared so many memories, to a place that should have seen some happiness, to die.  It was bizarre and incredibly mean.

So I wasn't sad.  And while I understood their grief I couldn't go there with Lena, Carmen or Bee, but it was Bee that I followed the most.  Throughout the series, Tibby was always my favorite.  Maybe because I felt like I saw myself in her.  After Tibby it was always Bridget.  How could you not love carefree, sunny Bee?  Carmen was crazy.  She was emotional and demanding and immature and Lena?  Well, Lena was just stuck.  Her timidness and indecision drove me nuts.

I rooted for Bee to find her path.  I admired her decision to leave.  To get on her bike and ride, trying to leave the pain and sadness behind her.  To satisfy the restlessness in her legs and in her heart.  To do something.  It is Bee who ultimately takes the bravest steps.  She tracks Brian down in Australia to demand answers, but when she finds him she finds Bailey.  Tibby had a daughter.

And the sadness inside my started to leak out, but the anger was still there.  How could she leave her daughter?  There had to be some other reason.

I think I finally lost it when Bridget discovers the home that Tibby found for her.  Out of all of them, Tibby knew each the best.  She wasn't afraid to tell them the truth.  She wanted them to be happy.  She didn't want to leave them.  She wanted them all to be together.  She wanted them to know her daughter.

The sadness has rolled in and settled in my chest and it is heavy.  For Tibby to have known she was going to have to leave not only her friends and family, but her baby devastated me.  Holding Olivia as she slept while I finished the last few chapters of the book I wanted to curl up in a ball and keep her locked within me.  I wanted to crawl into Emma's bed and hold both of my babies as tightly as I could and never let them go.  Maybe I will.


Monday, January 30, 2012

the lost books

the lost books series
ted dekker
graphic novel/ya/fantasy
thomas nelson, inc.
published 2008-2009

The forest dwellers are trying to save and protect their lives and homes from the Horde.  Their armies are dwindling so younger recruits are being tested and trained.  Our of the hundreds come four teenagers who are the Chosen ones, destined for find The Lost Books and save their people.

I'm a bit confused as to where in the timeline these books take place.  I thought they came in after White in the Circle series, but Thomas is still with Rachelle in this series and mentions how he hasn't dreamed in 13 years so I think these actually might take place between Red and White.

Anyhoo...I didn't like these quite as much as the Circle series, but it was still enjoyable.  It did seemed kind of disjointed.  Johnis going after his mother in the second book and then never seeing her again felt out of place as well as Billos's journey through the books in Renegade.  Then Chaos was chaotic, Dekker trying to wrap up the story that was started in the first book, but kind of skipped over the next two books.

The books didn't flow like The Circle series, but they did add to the whole mythology of the entire series.  If there were more, I'd read them!

the circle series

black: the birth of evil
red: the heroic rescue
white: the great pursuit
The Circle Series
graphic novels/fantasy
thomas nelson, inc.
published 2007

Running away from a hit man, Thomas Hunter gets clipped by a bullet.  He escapes to his sister's house and passes out.  While unconscious, he enters another world, another reality.  When he falls asleep in that reality he awakens in the world he began in.  He starts to realize that there is more connected in these realities beside himself.

Based on the books by Ted Dekker these are pretty interesting.  At first it kind of reminded me of the Outlander books, but it's really not like that at all.  Of course, I didn't read Ted Dekker's original books, just these graphic novels.  The story was interesting and the artwork was great.  I liked that the entire series was in color and I liked the back and forth though at times it could get confusing.  Sometimes I wasn't sure how something translated over into the other world.

I probably won't read the novels, they're really not my thing, but I do have a book by Ted Dekker, The Bride Collector that's been on my Nook forever.  Maybe I'll put that on my TBR list for February!


Sunday, January 29, 2012

the greatest gifts

When I was two and a half years old my parents gave me one of the greatest gifts they could ever give me.  They gave me a sister.

Of course, I don't remember most of our early years together.  My memory's pretty bad.  But I know that I was the luckiest girl in the world because I have my sister.

Then just a few months before I turned seven my baby brother was born.

Through the years we have bickered and bitched, but we've always been there when one of us needed someone.

So it was important to me that Emma have a brother or a sister.  I hope that they will love each other and be there for each other just like my siblings and I.

I think they will.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

well, i've finally done it

There are very few, if any, books that I've gotten a third of the way into and stopped reading.  A couple of years ago I instituted my own reading process.  I read 6 books at a time.  I split the books into thirds, start with one, read up to the bookmark, move onto the next and so on and so forth.  My thought was if I get to the end of the first third and haven't gotten interested chances are the book isn't for me.  I can't remember a time when I've gotten to that point and quit.

But I've found the book that did it to me.

clockwork prince
the infernal devices series #2
cassandra clare
mcelderry books
published 2011

First of all, y'all know I'm a sucker for book cover art and this one, my friends, is awful.  This is one of those rare instances where due to the fact that I already read Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instrument series and the first in this series Clockwork Angel, I picked up this book.  Were it the first in the series I never would have given it a second glace.  I mean, come on!  Ugh.  It's awful.  It makes me mad just looking at it and that's before I started reading it.  A book shouldn't do that to you.

Secondly, I feel like Clare is cheating.  I feel like she's taking the success of The Mortal Instrument series (which should have ended at 3 - the fact that she wrote more to that series should speak volumes to her cheater ways) and expounding on it.  It would be like if Stephenie Meyer went and started writing books about everything that happened before Edward & Bella.  Yes, a prequel novel is nice, but an entire series?  No thanks.

And the characters all feel like washed out versions of characters we saw in the MI series.  Tessa is Clary, Will is Jace, Jem is Alec, Jessie is Isabelle.  They're just not as bright, not as interesting as their MI counterparts.  Sure she's tweaked them a bit, different hair color, different redeeming/bad qualities, whatever.  They're the same characters and they're doing the SAME THINGS.  At least, that's what it feels like to me.

So instead of wasting my time slogging through this book only to forget about it 2 seconds after writing my review I decided to stop and return it to the library and breathe a great sigh of relief.  When she's done ripping off her own work, I'll go through and read the entire series so I don't have to try to remember what happened in the last.  And if I don't think they're getting any better, well I guess I'll just ditch the series and chalk it up to a one-hit wonder, author style.

To paraphase Tiffani DeBartolo & my favorite quote of all time - there are too many mediocre things in life and books shouldn't be one of them.


beautiful chaos

beautiful chaos
the caster chronicles #3
kami garcia & margaret stohl
little brown for young readers
published 2011

Everything has an Order and when Lena claimed herself that Order was broken.  Now Gatlin is seeing the End of Days and everyone is affected.  While the town struggles under the weight of what has been done, Ethan and Lena are struggling to figure out how to stop the end of the world.  Every answer they find is one they hope isn't the answer, but there can't always be a happy ending, can't they.  And amid all the chaos Ethan is hiding the fact that he is changing.  Food doesn't taste the same, his memory is getting foggier and his dreams are haunted by death.  Even Amma isn't acting like herself and Ethan is worried she's heading to the dark side.

It was hard to get back into this one, the latest in the Caster Chronicles.  It's been awhile since I read Beautiful Darkness so I spent quite a bit of time lost or trying to remember who certain characters were.  This book is another example of how some series just need an ending.  Three books is enough and at over 500 pages each time you really should have been able to tell the story by now.  If you can't, then chances are you're dragging it out too long.

Granted, there was a lot going on in this book.

  • Ethan is changing.  His favorite things to eat now make him sick.  He's forgetting things he shouldn't be forgetting and everything just has a foggy sense to it.  Not to mention the nightmares and the feeling of being stalked.
  • Ridley is being mysterious and secretive.  Yes, that's not surprising, but something is going on there and you just can't tell what it could be - especially (SPOILER IF YOU HAVEN'T READ BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS) since she is no longer a Siren.
  • Link is not only chasing Ridley around and trying to be all he can be for her, but he's also dealing with the change that came upon him at the end of Beautiful Darkness (he also has a short story Dream Dark about his changes).
  • Amma is going crazy.  Instead of Ethan having to worry about his father, this time it's Amma who is going off the deep end.
  • Marian is going to be tried and punished for her part in the Arclight incident with Liv.  Or rather, her inaction that allowed Liv to become involved.
  • The search for John Breed and what he really is.
  • Lena is desperate for answers about her mother and where she came from.
So yeah, 500 pages isn't really a lot when you're trying to cram all that in, but did we really NEED to cram all that in?  Probably not.  Some of it just seemed unnecessary.  Like Ridley.  She does have a big part to play in the whole John Breed stuff, but meh.

Out of the whole book my favorite was a surprise to me:  John Breed.  His character is interesting and fun and new.  We got a look at him in the last book, but it was more of a background character than someone we needed to pay attention to.  He's also the anomaly.  He's not really Dark or Light and he has just about no history.

The book leaves on quite literally a cliffhanger.  The difference this time is that the cliffhanger is pretty straightforward so if it takes another year for the next one to come out I'll probably remember enough to not be confused.  From what I can tell (and there really isn't too much info out there) there will be one last book after this one.

Keeping my fingers crossed.


this has got to be a joke

Have y'all seen this?

My first response to this was 'what the frak?!'  Isn't this everything that Katniss is against??  Isn't this the worst part of the Capitol?  Then I thought about all those Twilight fans out there who insist that Twilight sold out when they started marketing with Burger King and with Valentine candies.  They said that's why they're such big Hunger Games fans because of everything Katniss represents.

Oh really?  The movie hasn't even come out yet and their first big marketing campaign is NAIL POLISH!?!  Are you kidding me?  That's not selling out?  Puh-leeze.  What do you think about The Hunger Games now?

My third thought?  'Dang those are cool eyelashes.'


Friday, January 27, 2012

tv rots your brain

There's a lot of good TV on.  There's also quite a bit of crap.  I never really watched a lot of TV and then I started working nights (and there were no DVRs then) so I just didn't watch anything.  I read instead and that was okay.  Then I was in a car accident and I stayed with my parents while I got better and they watched a bunch of stuff.  So I got hooked.

When I met Ray I watched CSI (Vegas), Criminal Minds and Rescue Me.  There were a few others, but I don't think they're even on TV anymore.  Now I watch a lot more TV, but it takes me forever to watch it.  I get distracted by books or video games or just something else.  And when I see the list of shows on the DVR that I have to watch I have the indescribable urge to just stop watching everything.

Every once in awhile I'll do that.  I did it with Rescue Me, CSI: Miami, House, Brother's & Sisters, Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, etc.  Generally something (or someone) will start to bug me and I just stop watching.  Or I get bored with it.  Or I get so behind I can't imagine sitting for 10 hours catching up so I dump it.

There are certain shows that no matter how bad they've gotten I've stuck with them.  The best example of this?  CSI.  I LOVED Grissom.  He was the best part of that show.  Warrick was second best and Sarah was third.  When they were all gone and I was left with Katherine, Greg and Nick I thought all was lost.  And then Laurence Fishburne joined the cast and I wanted to stab someone at CBS.  Worst decision ever.  But I stuck with it and weathered the awful storm that was a not-cool-at-all-Morpheus.  And then they said he was leaving and I high-fived myself.  Then they said Ted Danson was joining the cast and I thought 'well crap, I guess this is the last season I watch CSI.'

But so far, since Grissom left this has been the best season of CSI.  Ted Danson is AWESOME.

So see how that worked out?

Here's my list:

  1. castle
  2. once upon a time
  3. modern family
  4. pan am
  5. the big bang theory
  6. how i met your mother
  7. csi
  8. csi: ny
  9. criminal minds
  10. blue bloods
  11. the mentalist
  12. 30 rock
  13. grimm
  14. the office
  15. parenthood
  16. up all night
  17. smash (i WILL be watching this one)
  18. alcatraz
  19. bones
  20. fringe
  21. glee
  22. new girl
  23. the finder
  24. terra nova
  25. raising hope
  26. vampire diaries
  27. secret circle
  28. touch (hasn't started yet)
  29. being human
  30. true blood
  31. lost girl (saw one episode, will probably watch more)
  32. warehouse 13
  33. haven
That is depressing.  Supposedly, Pan Am, Fringe & Terra Nova are getting cancelled so that's three shows I won't be watching.  I've got to whittle this list down some.  I was going to ditch The Mentalist when he killed Red John, but I forgot to remove it from the record list and automatically started watching it and found out he didn't kill Red John.  Hmmm.  The Office and 30 Rock haven't been making me laugh too much, but I think that's about it.  I could probably dump Vampire Diaries and Secret Circle, but I probably won't.  So that's a lot of TV.

I'm doomed.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

across the universe

across the universe
across the universe trilogy #1
beth revis
penguin group, inc.
published 2011

Amy is a cryogenically frozen passenger aboard the Godspeed spaceship headed to Centauri-Earth.  Scheduled to arrive 300 years from the time Amy and her parents are frozen the Godspeed is a huge ship that is equipped to support an entire population of people, but when Amy is unplugged 50 years before she's supposed to and left to die everything is exposed.  Amy is determined to keep her parents and the other frozen passengers safe and uncover all the secrets the giant spaceship has hidden.  She also has to decide who she can trust.  Harley, the crazy artist or Elder, the boy next in line to rule the ship.

I tried explaining this book to my husband because it was something right up his alley, but I just couldn't do it justice.  So I won't really try to do it here.  I will say that the more secrets uncovered the more my heart would break for Amy and sometimes for Ender as well.  The magnitude of the events is immense and it seems to trickled out.  Though you really should know what's coming, you don't because you get so caught up in the 'right now' part of the story...and that is wondrous.

This is Beth Revis's first book and I've got to say I'm dang impressed!  The writing was great, it ebbed and flowed.  She left us on little cliffhangers here and there, but didn't inundate us with them.  The switch between Amy and Elder's POV was seamless.  Honestly, I was surprised this was a first time novelist.  I guess reading so many new authors recently has made me feel like there were very few outstanding writers out there.

I'm delighted that this is a trilogy.  While sometimes I feel like I want to stay with a character forever I do like having an ending.  Also, the first two books are out so I don't have to wait to read the second book, but the third isn't out yet and probably won't be until the end of this year or sometime next year.  I guess I can wait.



deadly little voices

deadly little voices
touch series #4
laurie faria stolarz
hyperion books for children
published 2011

Camelia and Ben are broken up and Camelia is trying to get on with her life.  And she does have enough on her plate.  She has always thought that her ability to predict events came with touch, but now she's starting to hear voices telling her she is untalented and worthless.  Dealing with tension between her and her best friend, watching her parents drift away from each other and trying to puzzle out the mystery of her Aunt who also has premonitions is definitely a lot to handle.  And then her premonitions start hinting that someone she knows might be in danger.

This was pretty much more of the same as the last few Touch novels.  Actually, this was a lot like the Touch novels and the Blue is for Nightmares series.  It wasn't a bad book, but I wasn't in love with it.  The last book I was almost angry with, but now I've just resigned myself to the fact that all these books are going to be the same and just take it.

So if you've read the last three, this one is more of the same, with less Ben.  You decide whether that's a good or bad thing.


probably not your typical pinterest

Months ago my sister sent me an invite to join pinterest.  Once I signed on I mostly ignored it.  Sure the decorating ideas were great, but my house is never going to look like that.  NEVER.  And yeah, those nail polish ideas are super stellar but if I took the picture of the newsprint manicure to the woman who does my nails I'm pretty sure she'd punch me right in the solar plexus.  I'm already married, have already birthed my kids and decorated their rooms, don't garden, don't sew or do other crafts, I don't decorate cupcakes and I don't accessorize.

So really, why should I use this pinterest?

But I started pinning anyway.  Things that made me laugh or things that I wanted to remember to cook later.  Or photography ideas.  And I got hooked.

But I still felt kind of weird because people pin stuff like this:

And I pin shit like this:

'Cause damn it, when I saw this I really thought it was pin-worthy.  And I still do.

But I must be doing something right with my awkward pinning because in the last week I've been getting email alerts that so-and-so is following one or all of my boards.  And these are people I don't know IRL.  Or even in bloggie-land.

Part of me is flattered and highly entertained that someone got a kick out of something I pinned so much so that they wanted to make sure they caught other crap I found funny.  The other part of me feels slightly pressured to find junk to pin.

It's kind of like having followers on your blog.  Once you have followers who aren't relatives you feel an extreme amount of pressure to keep blogging.  My last seven posts were book reviews on the graphic novels I read this past week.  The last time I wrote a non-review post was on the 11th...quite some time ago.  But I promised myself this year that I would try really hard to review all the books I read this year.

And to be honest, I haven't felt like blogging.  I haven't had anything I wanted to talk about.  But I will try better.  I promise. 

In the meantime you can check out the rest of my tasteful and elegant pins here!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

queen bee

queen bee
by chynna clugston
graphic novel/ya
scholastic, inc.
published 2005

When Haley's mom finds out she'll be transferring to the city for a new position Haley decides that this is her time to shine.  She's determined to be popular at her new school and keep her psychokinetic powers under control. 

This was a cute book, but I should have known by the publisher that this would be a little too young for me.  It's very, very, young.  Courtney Crumrin is a middle schooler, but the books are a bit more mature.  This one seemed like it was written more for middle school aged kids to read.  It seems like this was also written with a sequel in mind, in fact there is a sneak peek at the next issue, but after 6 years it doesn't seem like another one is going to come out.

Oh well.


tough love: high school confidential

tough love: high school confidential
by abby denson
graphic novel/ya
manic d press, inc.
published 2006

Brian is a shy high school teenager who is exploring the idea of coming out to friends and family.  When he meets another gay teen at his school he finds a kindred spirit who he can be himself around.

The idea behind the story is great.  Brian is struggling with being gay in what seems like a small town.  Afraid of what people will say and already somewhat of a loner he's reluctant to come out to the world.  From what I understand Abby Denson first published this as comic strips in a magazine so maybe that's why I felt like there wasn't enough meat to this story.  While the story was okay, the artwork was so blah.  It just didn't feel like there was a lot of work put into this book.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

courtney crumrin rocks

courtney crumrin's monstrous holiday
by ted naifeh
graphic novel/ya
oni press
published 2009

Courtney has gone along with her Great-Uncle to Romania where she does what she normally does.  Get into trouble.  But that's cool because usually she's fine or her uncle saves her. Courtney is fun and feisty and she can't stand to see injustice being done.

Ted Naifeh did the artwork for Holly Black's Good Neighbors series.  I thought I'd give Courtney a try and found I loved it way more than GN and that has everything to do with Courtney!


Friday, January 20, 2012

nightschool: the weirn books

nightschool, volume one: the weirn books
nightschool, volume two: the weirn books
nightschool, volume three: the weirn books
nightschool, volume four: the weirn books
by svetlana chmakova
graphic novel/ya
published 2009-2010

Fun, fun, fun, fun!

Alex is a Weirn (a witch) who is homeschooled by her older sister.  Her sister works for Nightschool where Weirns and other supernaturals go to school to learn about their powers as well as all the other normal school stuff.  One day, Sarah disappears and Alex is the only one who remembers her sister ever existed.  Now she must get into Nightschool to find and save her sister.

While that is the beginning there is so much more that happens and so many great characters that show up.  There was so much packed into four volumes I was afraid the story wouldn't wrap up and I'd have to wait until a fifth volume was released.  But Chmakova was able to wrap it all up without rushing things and I loved it!  She did leave off with a tiny hint of more books to come, maybe another story line.  She's been working on James Patterson's Witch & Wizard series (blech) so she's a little busy, but maybe after that we'll get some more of Weirns & Hunters!


water baby

water baby
by ross campbell
graphic novel/ya
dc comics
published 2008

Eh. First of all, why doesn't anyone wear clothes in this book? Just wondering.

I'm not sure why I didn't really enjoy this book. I guess I just don't understand where she was coming from. Why drive? Why not just kick him out of the house and tell him to fuck off? I dunno.

There weren't any characters that I liked. Luisa was nice enough and a good friend to Brody, but the story was so obviously not about her that there was little character development there.

Brody was....a front. It seemed like she couldn't be honest to anyone, including herself. She wants to be a lesbian, she wants Jake, she hates Jake, she wants to drive, she wants to walk, she wants to prove something, she doesn't really want to get off her ass...

I just finished the book feeling deflated, like I should have gotten more out of it. But I guess there wasn't really that much to get??


the walking dead, volume 15

the walking dead, volume 15: we find ourselves
by robert kirkman (writer) & charlie adlard (artist)
graphic novel
image comics
published 2011
reprinting of issues 85-90

This was my least favorite so far.  I feel like Kirkman is running out of stuff to write about.  Really, there can only be so many hordes running around, so many tragedies, so many discoveries before it all starts to feel the same.  I think maybe this (and issue 91, cause I read that one too) is setting up for another betrayal, another death, another horde.  If not, this series is dead.  And maybe it's time to end.  There is no hope left.  They can continue to expand their community, but then it just will continue on the same, right?

I stopped watching the series because I didn't really want to see the events in the books come to life on TV.  It's just so damn depressing.  I already know what happens.  Don't get me wrong, it is a great show...I just don't need it.

Here's to hoping that the next few issues will bring back the excitement...


Thursday, January 19, 2012

brody's ghost

brody's ghost, volume one
brody's ghost, volume two
by mark crilley
graphic novel/ya
dark horse comics
published 2010
Brody's Ghost is written and drawn by Mark Crilley who did my favorite series I read last year, Miki Falls.  It's a six volume limited series and so far the first two are out.  The third doesn't come out until May so I'm kind of regretting my decision to start reading these already.

The volumes are short (so far), only about 90-100 pages.  Basically, Brody is a slacker/loser whose girlfriend broke up with him 3 months prior.  One day while playing his guitar for change on the street he sees a ghost who tells him she needs his help catching a serial killer so that she can get into heaven.  And so goes the story from there.  The first volume was just a set up of the story, introduced characters and such.  It went by quick and I kind of felt like it was too short.

The second volume was a bit more interesting.  We got to see Brody in action, but the best part was the little cliffhanger at the end!  And now I have to wait until May to find out what's next and then it will still only be halfway through the story!!



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