Saturday, April 22, 2017

*Review* The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han


Genre: YA Romance
Published: May 5, 2009
Pages: 276

Synopsis

Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer--they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one terrible and wonderful summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.

Joood's Review

I have been on a Jenny Han kick lately. I basically just went through my library’s overdrive app and placed a hold on all of her books, regardless of what they were about. I totally did not read the synopsis for this one before I started reading it. I just saw who the author was, so I figured I should read it. I honestly probably would not have read it otherwise. I'm not really a fan of love triangles, especially ones that include siblings. I just think it's too much of a betrayal among the relations, and I think it’s cruel when someone leads on siblings. But I'd already gotten into the book before I realized what was going on, so it got a pass.

Although I did like the majority of the characters and I found the story to ultimately be good, I had an issue with part of the way the story was told. There was just something about the flashback scenes that confused the hell out of me. I think they were the biggest turn-off I had regarding this book. Maybe it was different in the written version, but I did the audio – and there really wasn’t much of an indicator of the age shift.

As I mentioned, I liked the characters... well, all but one. I had a really hard time caring about Belly... which is disappointing, because she’s the main character. She’s also an entitled little shit. (I blame her parents). It’s bad enough she’s toying between two brothers, but she’s also so freaking fickle about it. It made her out to be annoying AF.

Still, I liked it enough to want to read the next book… especially with that ending. I am just saying.

3/5 Platypires - Joood - Hooligan

Buy the Book


About the Author

Jenny Han is the New York Times bestselling author of The Summer I Turned Pretty series; Shug; the Burn for Burn trilogy, cowritten with Siobhan Vivian; and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You. She is also the author of the chapter book Clara Lee and The Apple Pie Dream. A former children’s bookseller, she earned her MFA in creative writing at the New School. Visit her at DearJennyHan.com.

*Stacking the Shelves* 22 April 2017


(Titles link to Amazon via Amazon Affiliate links)

Stacking The Shelves is a feature/weekly meme created by Tynga’s Reviews in which you share the books you are adding to your shelves, both physical and virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical stores or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Now, I already have a monthly post I do featuring the books I get in the mail (and it's a lot because I have a serious Goodreads First Reads giveaway addiction), and I'm going to try to start posting my monthly Read-A-Thon posts again too (even if none of the Platypires will be joining me), which will cover the books I receive through Netgalley. But I also go to my thrift store at least once a week, and often leave with a bag full of books. It's such a common occurrence that I'm known as The Book Lady to the frequent volunteers (and I suspect that they've started scheduling their $1 bag of books sales for Thursdays simply because that is the day I usually visit.) So my Stacking the Shelves posts are going to focus on my thrift store hauls, because this is my blog and I do what I want. 

On that note, here are the books I picked up this week.

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving - I know this is a book that ends up on lists of great books or books that everyone should read, so I needed it. 
The Princess Plot by Kirsten Boie - I feel like this book would appeal to my daughter. The cover is almost entirely pink, and she really likes pink. 
A Gathering of Old Men by Ernest J. Gaines - My son actually suggested this book. Based on the cover, it definitely qualifies as a diverse read I think, so I bought it. 
The Portable Beat Reader edited by Ann Charters - This is a classic, so I needed it. 
My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler - So I really wish I would have flipped through this book before buying it, because some asshole censored it. It's fucking Chelsea Handler talking about one night stands. There is supposed to be fucking cursing damnit. 
Mattimeo by Brian Jacques - I have bought a few of the Redwall books, so I'm trying to get the entire collection. 
The Beet Queen by Louise Erdrich - I'm not really sure why I bought this book. I think something somewhere made me feel like I'm supposed to read Erdrich, but I don't know for sure.  SaveSave
Tales of Burning Love by Louise Erdrich - There were a few Erdrich books at the thrift store this week, so I snagged most of them. 
The Bingo Palace by Louise Erdrich - So I really liked the cover of this book. My copy has what looks like a circus tent outlined in Christmas lights under the aurora borealis. It's quite pretty. 
The Revenge of the Shadow King by Derek Benz and J.S. Lewis - So I honestly thought that this would be a sequel to some YA fantasy story. It's not. It's the first book in the series. So that's a bonus. 
Conspiracy by S.J. Parris - First of all, the cover for this book is awesome. Second, it's historical fiction set in the 1500s. 
How to Conquer the Tri-State Area by Heinz Doofenshmirtz (with Ellie O'Ryan and Dan Povenmire) - Phineas and Ferb is one of the few kids shows that I actually enjoy watching with my children, so this was a no-brainer. 
The Truth Behind A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lois H. Gresh - I have several of the books from the Series of Unfortunate Events series, so this seemed like a good book to buy to go with those. 
The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp by Rick Yancey - Someone wrote "awsome" inside the front cover in lime green marker. I took that as an endorsement for the book. 
Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman - I own several of Gaiman's books...One of these days I will actually read one of them. 
Demigods and Monsters edited by Rick Riordan - I bought this book thinking it was written by Rick Riordan. It's not. It's written by other people (one of them Jenny Han) about Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. It will likely still be entertaining.
The Dinner by Herman Koch - I'm like 93.7% sure that this book appears on some sort of list, although looking at the cover on Amazon, it might be one of those lists of books to read before the movie comes out. 
The Wednesdays by Julie Bourbeau - The cover is like this deep aqua green color, and looks a bit creepy. My son likes to read "scary" stories to help him be more brave. This could come in handy. 
The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman - My copy of this book has a cartoony cover (which if you read my recent Top Ten Tuesday post you know that gets me). It's also a blueish-green color (which also gets me). I'm guessing it falls pretty solidly in the women's fiction category. 
A Rotten Person Travels the Caribbean by Gary Buslik - The cover of this book made me think of Jimmy Buffett. My mother-in-law loves Jimmy Buffett. It is probably in no way, shape or form connected to Jimmy Buffett, but that doesn't really matter. 
Slave Girl by Sarah Forsyth - I sometimes enjoy reading true-crime books. And one of the topics that both horrifies and fascinates me in that arena is human trafficking. I imagine this will be a thought provoking read.

So that's all the books I got this week. And because my thrift store was having a bag of books sale when I was there, this haul only cost me $2. One of these days I'm going to have to stop book shopping at the thrift store because I'm going to run out of room for all my books.

What books did you add to your shelves this week? - Katie

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

*Top Ten Tuesday* Things that Will Make Me Want to Read a Book

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Joood - Hooligan of Platypire reviews bossed me into doing this, so I guess this is a thing I do now. 

This weeks theme is things that will make me instantly want to read a book.

1) Cover. I know they say that you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but we all end up doing it anyway to some extent at least. I mean, it's the first thing we see after all. There are a few different types of covers that will immediately draw me in. First, covers that are heavily blue or aqua in color are very appealing to me. They demand further attention. I'm also very drawn to cartoonish covers. I don't know what it is about them that I like so much, but they call me, and I have a hard time resisting the lure.

2) Title. I will buy a book simply because I find the title intriguing, and the weirder the better really. For instance, I may not have read Amish Vampires in Space by Kerry Nietz yet, but I've owned it since October 2015 (and it was on my wish list for a while before I actually bought it.) And I will read it one day, probably (Joood - Hooligan keeps telling me I need to) because I'm just really interested to see what type of story this title fits.

3) Controversy. Call me crazy, but if there is controversy surrounding a book, I want to know why, and I want to read for myself. Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth, for example, is one of those books I want to read because of the controversy surrounding it. (Granted, I wanted to read it before I heard about the controversy because of the blue cover, but now the controversy has increased my desire to read it.) Now this is a book that even after reading it, I may not understand what is so controversial about it, because I'm white. But reading it would put me in a better position to learn about topics or portrayals that are widely considered a problem.

4) Hype. Like controversy, I want to know what it is about a book that has everyone talking about it. A good example of this is 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James. This was a book my last book club read because we wanted to know what all the hype was about, why were women going crazy over this book. And 50 Shades didn't live up to the hype for me, but I do understand it.

5) Setting. This is more about time than place, but I want to read every book set during the WWII era, particularly the ones that take place in Europe. And this doesn't mean I don't want to read books set during other times (because I do), but seeing a date between 1939 and 1945 in a book's blurb will have me one clicking faster than you can say "Bob's your uncle."

So there are probably more things that will make me instantly want to read a book, but these are what I can think of right now. This was kind of a difficult topic for me because it's pretty easy to get me intrigued in a story, and I wanted to keep the list reasonably short (for a change).

What are some things that will make you instantly want to read a book? - Katie 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

*Review* Born Standing Up by Steve Martin


Genre: Memoir
Published: November 20, 2007
Pages: 207

Synopsis

In the midseventies, Steve Martin exploded onto the comedy scene. By 1978 he was the biggest concert draw in the history of stand-up. In 1981 he quit forever. This book is, in his own words, the story of "why I did stand-up and why I walked away." 

Emmy and Grammy Award winner, author of the acclaimed New York Times bestsellers Shopgirl and The Pleasure of My Company, and a regular contributor to The New Yorker, Martin has always been a writer. His memoir of his years in stand-up is candid, spectacularly amusing, and beautifully written. 

At age ten Martin started his career at Disneyland, selling guidebooks in the newly opened theme park. In the decade that followed, he worked in the Disney magic shop and the Bird Cage Theatre at Knott's Berry Farm, performing his first magic/comedy act a dozen times a week. The story of these years, during which he practiced and honed his craft, is moving and revelatory. The dedication to excellence and innovation is formed at an astonishingly early age and never wavers or wanes. 

Martin illuminates the sacrifice, discipline, and originality that made him an icon and informs his work to this day. To be this good, to perform so frequently, was isolating and lonely. It took Martin decades to reconnect with his parents and sister, and he tells that story with great tenderness. Martin also paints a portrait of his times-the era of free love and protests against the war in Vietnam, the heady irreverence of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in the late sixties, and the transformative new voice of Saturday Night Live in the seventies.

Throughout the text, Martin has placed photographs, many never seen before. Born Standing Up is a superb testament to the sheer tenacity, focus, and daring of one of the greatest and most iconoclastic comedians of all time.

Joood's Review

I've seen a number of Steve Martin movies, so this appealed to me. Seeing as I have been on a memoir kick lately, I figured I should give into my own whims. I'm welcome.

I already knew he was funny, but I was also glad to see this applied to his audiobook. I have noticed some comedians just don't do audio well. I was a bit weary because he's definitely the visual type. He got his start doing magician type things at Disney, his comedy routines also included props up the wazoo, and even his movies have a good deal of physical comedy.

Good news though! I found myself laughing quite a number of times. But thats not all. Not only is he hilarious, but I also found this book to be motivational. Especially in regards to his work ethic. It's always impressive to hear about someone actually earning what they deserve.

I also got a kick out only knowing more about him and really related pretty strongly to his issues with anxiety. I myself been having a bad time with that drama lately, so I feel those feels. Sometimes I just can't people as much as people would like me to. As someone who struggles with anxiety issues, it was nice to hear how he handles it. And how he validated it.

May he never again achieve super stardom but always continue to be just enough of a celebrity so he doesn't get crazy stalked but he can continue to make enough money to live on.

4 platypires - Joood - Hooligan

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

*Review* Something Wonderful by M. Clarke


Genre: Erotic Romance
Published: February 8, 2014
Pages: 316

Synopsis

Sometimes falling in love means letting go of the past…

Jeanella’s confidence and trust in Max continues to grow, and life seems to be on track. Then Crystal decides to pursue a sexual harassment lawsuit, and Jeanella’s world turns upside down. Once again, she wonders if she will ever be enough for Max. Jeanella is forced to make a decision; stay and fight for her man or leave him for good. 

Becky's unexpected friendship with Matthew continues to blossom, as they try to define the boundaries of their relationship; but a one-night stand threatens to ruin it all. As Matthew’s feelings for Becky grow, he’s torn between guilt and heartache over his deceased fiancée. Can Becky break through his wall and help him heal?

Review


I was hired to proofread this book. The only aspects of the story that I influenced were the spelling and grammar. If you feel that my connection to the book makes my review untrustworthy, so be it, but this is my honest review. 

If this review seems even more disjointed than normal, I apologize. You see, I read this book back in November, and I have since proofed later books in this series and the spin-off series, which can make some detail specifics a bit more fuzzy in my mind (even though I can still remember the major plot points no problem.) 

This book made me mad. First of all the shit that Crystal is pulling is some straight up bullshit just in general. Women who falsely accuse men of sexual harassment make it harder for women with legitimate cases to be believed, and that pisses me off. My inner feminist just loathed that whole situation, which left me feeling mostly angry for most of the book. I appreciated the way the characters handled it, it was a much more mature response than some of Clarke's characters from other books would have displayed I'm sure, so that was a nice change of pace. But my overall feeling at the end of this book was still anger. 

One bright spot in the story was the developing relationship between Matthew and Becky though. There was a lot of will they or won't they going on, but it was just building pleasant anticipation until it seemed like maybe they'd screwed everything up. That made me more sad for them than mad at them though, and I didn't feel quite as strongly about their relationship in the first place. 

Overall I give Something Wonderful 4 out of 5 stars because it inspired such strong emotions in me. - Katie 

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About the Author

International Bestselling, Award Winning, Author Mary Ting/M. Clarke resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl. When she started reading new adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one-Something Great. Why the pen name, M Clarke? She tours with Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children's chapter book-No Bullies Allowed.

Ways to keep in touch with the author:

Newsletter Updates: http://eepurl.com/YMyCn

Website: www.authormaryting.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMaryTing?
Twitter: @maryting
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11283685-crossroads
Blog: http://www.marytingbooks.blogspot.com/
Instagram: http://instagram.com/authormaryting
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*Stacking the Shelves* 15 April 2017


(Titles link to Amazon via Amazon Affiliate links)

Stacking The Shelves is a feature/weekly meme created by Tynga’s Reviews in which you share the books you are adding to your shelves, both physical and virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical stores or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Now, I already have a monthly post I do featuring the books I get in the mail (and it's a lot because I have a serious Goodreads First Reads giveaway addiction), and I'm going to try to start posting my monthly Read-A-Thon posts again too (even if none of the Platypires will be joining me), which will cover the books I receive through Netgalley. But I also go to my thrift store at least once a week, and often leave with a bag full of books. It's such a common occurrence that I'm known as The Book Lady to the frequent volunteers (and I suspect that they've started scheduling their $1 bag of books sales for Thursdays simply because that is the day I usually visit.) So my Stacking the Shelves posts are going to focus on my thrift store hauls, because this is my blog and I do what I want. 

On that note, here are the books I picked up this week.

A Creed Country Christmas by Linda Lael Miller - I'm kind of a sucker for cheese Christmas stories at Christmas time, it's all my mother's fault. But I can get the Christmas books cheaper at my thrift store if I find them before the immediate follow up to Christmas. 
My Antonia by Willa Cather - I feel like this book is on at least a few of those lists of the books everyone should read before a certain point in their life. My goal is to read it before I die. 
Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser - This is a classic (that I'd never heard of before) but I like to pretend to be a book snob sometimes and read the classics. It's also in immaculate condition minus some underlining in the book. I bet it belonged to an English major. 
The Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf - Another classic, but an author that I know women at least are supposed to read at some point (although I don't recall this book making an appearance on any particular list).
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins - This is a book that I know I read in college, or at least I was supposed to read it in college. It's one of very few books that I cannot remember what it was about, which means I probably didn't end up finding the time to do the reading most of the time. It must have been for one of Coyne's classes with that in mind. 
Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie - I know that there is controversy surrounding some of Rushdie's writing, so he's an author I want to read...And this just happens to be a book that I can read next month for Asian-Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins - So I think I already owned a copy of this book, but while I was at the thrift store, I couldn't remember for sure, so I bought it anyway just in case. If I have a duplicate, one of them will just go back to the thrift store. 
Genghis Khan: The Man Who Conquered the World by Frank McLynn - So I bought this book based entirely on the cover, it's pretty cool looking. I also think the title of the book may be slightly different in the US (my copy is from the UK it looks like) based on the cost of the book with this title on Amazon. 
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo - Can you believe that I have never read this book or seen ALL of the Disney animated film by the same name? Both of them are true. I'm not sure why I never watched the Disney film though. 
Spare Brides by Adele Parks - I'm not sure if this book is no longer available for purchase new or if it just has a different title in America, and Goodreads was not much help figuring it out. It's set in the 1920s, and since I like historical fiction, I figured I'd give it a go. 
The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood - The only book of Atwood's that I've read so far is The Handmaid's Tale, and I enjoyed it, so I'm steadily building my Atwood collection now to hopefully read soonish. 
Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood - Again, this is part of building a collection. 
Beware, the Snowman by R.L. Stine - My son likes to read "scary" stories like the Goosebumps tales, and I loved Goosebumps as a kid, so I always buy any Goosebumps book I see at the thrift store. 
Monster Blood III by R.L. Stine - See above. 
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray - It's a classic, so I had to add it to my shelves. 
Fart Powder: The Magical Fruit by Jo Nesbo - I bought two of these books last week I think, so I was happy to find this book this week. Now I'm just missing the 2nd book in the series. 
The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt - The cover of this book is blue, I think that's really all I need to tell you to explain why I bought it. It's just so pretty. 
Even More Short and Shivery by Robert D. San Souci - My son asked to get this book of 45 spine tingling tales, again because he likes to read "scary" books to help make himself more brave. 
Mommywood by Tori Spelling - I like celebrity memoirs and I'm pretty sure this is essentially one of those. 
The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer - This book has been on my wish list for ages, so I was kind of excited to find a copy at the thrift store. 
The Wife's Tale by Lori Lansens - This is an ARC copy of the book, a book that was released in 2010. It has the form letter in it though, and was apparently donated by a bookseller (so it either came from the buyer for the local PX, or it belonged to someone who used to work in a bookstore before moving to Germany.) I like that I'm not the only person who leaves my form letters in my books. 

And that is all of the books that I got this week. This haul cost me $5.50 because I did not manage to catch a bag of books sale this week, but that's still a bargain for what I got. 

What new books did you add to your shelves this week? - Katie 

P.S. Joood - Hooligan of Platypire reviews wants me to shame myself to y'all for not claiming an ebook that I'd won from her a couple years ago (I legit thought I had, and deleted the email) by adding it to this list...but I still haven't gotten the resent email, so apparently Amazon doesn't like me. 
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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

*Review* Bond to Break by Ginna Moran


Genre: YA Paranormal
Published: April 11, 2017
Pages: 360

Synopsis

Planning the ultimate act of revenge is easy for seventeen-year-old Mira Everson when she has nothing left to lose. After sacrificing her freedom to save her ex-boyfriend, Nate Burnham, Mira must test her limits to discover what she’s capable of. Endowed with dark powers due to a magical bond with Nate, Mira must risk losing everything good within her in a war she never wanted to be a part of—if she is to survive.

Unable to accept that Mira wants to fight their battle alone, Nate turns to the creature world for help in rescuing her from the hands of their enemies. Immersing himself deeper in the creature world turns out to be more than Nate bargained for. A shocking discovery makes him question what he’s doing with his life—because as it turns out, his enemies might’ve been right all along.

With enemies on both sides of the war between science and magic blurring the lines between friends and foes, Nate and Mira must figure out where their loyalty lies—and if it’s with each other. Can they survive with their lives and hearts intact, or will their unbreakable bond be their undoing?

Review

I was hired to proofread this book. The only aspects of the story that I influenced were the spelling and grammar. If you feel that my connection to the story makes my review untrustworthy, so be it, but this is my honest review.

So this is the third book in the Finding Nate series, but the first one that I've personally read. Now I'm slightly familiar with the universe here from having read Destined to Dream like two years ago, but I was in no way up to date with this particular storyline. While the details about why people are they way they are, and how they got to where they are now are sort of covered in this book so I didn't feel completely lost, I was very clearly missing a lot of pertinent backstory and that caused a bit of an issue for me. I would not recommend reading this series out of order.

What I liked in spite of my issues were the descriptions. Ms. Moran paints a very vivid picture of what's going on with her words, so I felt like I was right there with Mira and Nate. I may have missed out on some of the inside jokes and delightful anecdotes from their past, but I was thrown right into the mix in their present when I arrived. And we hit the ground running. It was certainly an exciting ride.

Overall I give Bond to Break 3.5 out of 5 stars. It was a good book, but because I had not read the previous books in the series, my experience reading it was less than ideal, and not quite as enjoyable. So just start at the beginning of the series to avoid making the same mistake I did. - Katie 

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About the Author

Ginna Moran is a writer living in Austin, Texas but originally from Southern California. She started writing poetry as a teenager in a spiral notebook that she still has tucked away on her desk today. Her love of writing grew after she graduated high school and she completed her first unpublished manuscript at age eighteen. 

When she realized her love of writing was her life's passion, she studied literature at Mira Costa College in Northern San Diego. Besides writing novels, she was senior editor, content manager, and image coordinator for Crescent House Publishing Inc. for four years. 


Aside from Ginna's professional life, she enjoys binge watching television shows, playing pretend with her daughter, and cuddling with her dogs. Some of her favorite things include chocolate, anything that glitters, cheesy jokes, and organizing her bookshelf. 


Ginna Moran loves to hear from readers so visit her online at www.GinnaMoran.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest.


Ginna Moran is currently hard at work on her next novel.