Friday, October 19, 2012


divergent series #2
veronica roth
harper collins
published 2012

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grow. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable — and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

There was just so much death in this book.  While reading I realized how many of these YA books center around dying and war.  It's depressing really.

Tris is different now, changed. Frantic and somewhat lost after the death of her parents.  She clings to her brother and at the same time clings to Tobias while pushing him away.  She's constantly wounded in this book.  I don't even know how she continues to go on.

There are so many characters, so many people to keep track of that at times it's difficult to follow along.  Off the top of my head, Tris, Caleb, Tobias, Marcus, Lynne, Shauna, Hector, Uriah, Zeke, Christina, Tori, Joanna, Jeanine, Fernando, Cara, Marlene,'s exhausting.  But each character does bring something important to the story so it works. 

We're left with another cliff hanger type ending, but this time everything has been completely destroyed so I can't even begin to guess at where the beginning of book 3 will take us.  And it's not scheduled to come out until Fall of next year. 



delirium series #2
lauren oliver
harper collins
published 2012

Pandemonium continues Lena’s gripping story. After escaping from Portland, Maine, Lena makes it to the Wilds and becomes part of an Invalid community, where she transforms herself into a warrior for the resistance. A future without Alex is unimaginable, but Lena pushes forward and fights, both for him and for a world in which love is no longer considered a disease. Swept up in a volatile mix of revolutionaries and counterinsurgents, Lena struggles to survive—and wonders if she may be falling in love again.

I liked Lena a lot more here than in Delirium.  She's harder, but it hasn't stifled her compassion.  She comes into the Wilds broken, hurt and ready to die but she soldiers on and make the resistance a priority for herself because she knows it's the right thing.  The 'now' and 'then' flip flopping of the chapters was great,  It felt like everything moved faster although it did leave little room for suspense because you basically knew the future when you were in the 'then' parts.

I dread Alex returning.  While I don't think that what Lena may have found in Pandemonium is deep, I dread the 'you hurt me' boy all butt hurt and acting like she betrayed him.  It's a character that's been done too many times in too many different novels and I was hoping this would be different.  Of course, I could be wrong.  We'll find out in March when Requiem comes out!

wondrous strange

wondrous strange
wondrous strange #1
lesley livingston
harper teen
published 2009

Kelley Winslow is an actress. her dreams are finally coming true. However, she takes on the role of a faerie princess and soon discovers that she actually is one. Her father is King of he winter realm and is on a mission for world domination. then, later, she discovers that her mother is queen of the summer realm and is completely evil.

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this book.  It was really short, for one, so it didn't feel like there was enough meat to the story.  The characters were all just kind of touched upon so you got the gist of it.  Even Kelley and Sonny were kind of passed over.  And when did they fall in love?  I don't even know, but they are.

Even at the end there was this almost-happy-ever-after vibe, but there wasn't any explanation for it!  But it wasn't a bad book by any stretch.  It was entertaining, slightly humorous in some parts with short bursts of suspense thrown in.

Here's to hoping the next book will bring us some better character development!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

evil at heart

evil at heart
gretchen lowell series #3
chelsea cain
st. martin's press
published 2011

Gretchen Lowell is still on the loose and Archie Sheridan is still in the hospital.  It's been a couple of months since Archie tried to capture Gretchen and kill himself and he's doing better, but far from healed.  When eyeballs start turning up everyone's pretty sure Gretchen has killed again.  That means, it's time for Archie to check himself out and find her, but he gets sidetracked by a victim's family who think maybe their son has something to do with the most recent murders.

Once again Archie is the nutcase who does everything he's NOT supposed to do.  I'm starting to notice a pattern here.  Gretchen summons Archie, Archie goes, Susan follows, Archie gets hurt, Henry yells and Gretchen gets away.

It might have happened before, but it's still fun to read about it.

This time though there's a group of psycho Gretchen fans out there who may or may not be responsible for a new wave of terror in Portland.  Susan is determined to become a bona fide journalist and writing fluff pieces on what color Gretchen's hair might be isn't going to get here there.  She spends every morning sitting outside the hospital where Archie is hoping he'll finally see her so she can get his permission for her book. 

And Henry.....poor Henry just can't catch a break.  The next time he tells Archie and Susan to stay put he'd be better off just locking them up in a cell until they're out of danger cause they're never going to listen to him.

Chelsea Cain has no qualms about writing stuff that will make your stomach turn.  None.  At.  All.  And that, my friends, is good writing.


the chemical garden trilogy #1
lauren destefano
simon & schuster bfyr
published 2011

After modern science turns every human into a genetic time bomb with men dying at age twenty-five and women dying at age twenty, girls are kidnapped and married off in order to repopulate the world.

Of course, it's not quite as simple as that.  At some point in the past scientists were able to cure all disease.  No one gets sick anymore.  No colds, no flus, cancer has been eradicated.  And then the children of these first born healthy humans known as the First Generation started dying.  Middle age was 10 and 12 and people frantically began searching for a cure.  No one was safe except for the Firsts.

Rhine's parents were some of those scientists who were working on a cure until on days, Pro-Naturalists bombed their laboratory and they were killed.  For years it's been Rhine and her twin Rowan keeping each other safe until Rhine is taken and sold off as one of three new brides for a wealthy architect named Linden.  On the surface the new life looks wonderful.  Every whim is catered to, the brides want for nothing.  Nothing, that is, except for freedom.

The book is gripping.  Rhine is determined to escape the gilded cage and return to her brother.  She is both careful and careless.  You forget at times what the whole theme means.  Girls as young as 13 being sold as wives and having babies so young, only to die before their children can really know them.  Heartbreaking.  Rhine is strong and stubborn, but she is compassionate and nurturing despite herself.  Her sister wives are all endearing in their own ways as well and there's times when you root for Linden and then want to slap him two seconds later.

Vaughn is mysterious and wickedly creepy.  The perfect antagonist in this house of horrors that Rhine has been confined to.

I give the book a good solid GO READ IT! recommendation.  So glad I picked up the second book and way too impatient for the last book to come out next year!


seven kingdoms trilogy #3 (graceling realm #3)
kristin cashore
dial books for young readers
published 2012

Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisors, who have run things since Leck died, believe in a forward-thinking plan: Pardon all who committed terrible acts under Leck's reign, and forget anything bad ever happened. But when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle--disguised and alone--to walk the streets of her own city, she starts realizing that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past.

Two thieves, who only steal what has already been stolen, change her life forever. They hold a key to the truth of Leck's reign. And one of them, with an extreme skill called a Grace that he hasn't yet identified, holds a key to her heart.

This one was so bittersweet for me.  I loved it, don't get me wrong, but is it really the end?  I wish it weren't.  I definitely loved how she finally tied everything together.  

I enjoyed just about every character, especially the returning ones, but Death was definitely my favorite.  The ending list of characters was hilarious and I think I laughed out loud at least twice!

The story itself was slightly long.  There were times when I wasn't sure if anything was actually happening, but in the end it all made sense.  At the same time it felt like the ending was rushed.  Everything was packed in the last few chapters and I just wanted to see more of what happened afterwards!

Still, I loved it.  I loved Bitterblue, Katsa, Po, Giddon & Death.  They were wonderfully written characters and I'm definitely going back and reading Fire again!

Monday, October 8, 2012

in the blink of an eye

it goes by just about that fast.

my tiny little baby, born a little too early and just a little bit small.  you're already a year old now.

i just can't believe it.

sometimes you're kind of lazy.

but you're quick to smile.

a little messy when you eat.

just enough chubbies.

a tad of an attitude.

the best little sister to the best big sister there is.

you made our little family complete and i'm so happy every day that i get to wake up and dance around with you.  but don't grow up too fast...

Sunday, October 7, 2012

birthday extravaganza

doesn't she look thrilled?

it was 1st birthday funday this weekend!  she had no idea what was going on, but she was excited to see friends and family and even more so to see cupcakes & cake pops!

my first pinterest project.  saw this & thought it looked easy enough for me to try and it worked!  they turned out really cute.

thanks to my sister and Jen we had little owl cake pop favors!  they turned out so cute and delicious too!

luckily the baking fairy has blessed both sides of our family!  my sister-in-law has done the cupcakes for every single one of emma's parties and now she keeps the tradition going with olivia's first party with these way too cute owl cupcakes!

olivia had no idea why everyone was singing to her and didn't know what to do with the candle.  she's lucky to have big sister around to help her blow it out.

she loves her food, but she's generous enough to share with cousin.

not too bad, but it was straight into the bathtub for her!

she was much more interested in opening presents than emma was at her age.  though the cards seemed to be much more fun than the presents until emma got them open for her!  she's clapping her thanks for all her great gifts.  she's one lucky girl!

we were able to get her down for a nap in the morning before the party and then one in the afternoon, but i think there was too much cupcake in her tummy.  she woke up in the evening pretty unhappy with all of us!  but today she was eying the leftover cupcakes already!

thank you to all of our friends and family who came out to help us celebrate!  we're so incredibly lucky to have all of you!

Monday, October 1, 2012


emma donoghue
little, brown & co.
published 2010

To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.
Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough...not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Because the book is told completely from Jack's perspective at first it was hard for me to get into the rhythm of the story.  The first few paragraphs I thought 'this sucks' and considered putting off reading Room again.  But I stuck with it and am so glad I did.  The book is quick, I read it in about 4 hours, but it is mesmerizing.

Jack is logical in a way that only a child can be.  Somehow though you get a perfect sense of everything that's happening, how he's feeling, how Ma is feeling even though we're never privy to the thoughts in her mind.  She's fiercely protective of her child while at the same time needing him to be away so she can heal.  He doesn't have the same abhorrence to Room because he was born there.  He knows nothing else and Ma always made him feel safe and loved.  Now in this huge Outside everything is different and there are so many 'hes and shes'.

My favorite character surprisingly was Steppa.  He understood Jack in a way that Jack's grandmother and Ma couldn't.  He didn't flutter around him and worry, but he didn't dismiss fears that Jack couldn't even express.

Emma Donoghue's writing is brilliant.  Part of me wishes she would write the story from Ma's perspective, but then I think not.  It was perfect the way it is.  There's nothing more we need to know.

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