Friday, September 23, 2011

Banned Book Week + Amazon card giveaway

So this week is Banned Book Week and in honor of this week, a blog that I follow, The Book Swarm, is giving away 2 gift cards to for $15! Maybe with that gift card you can buy a banned book! Or anything else that you've been wanting for awhile... But either way, it's a giveaway! So go on over to their blog and fill out the giveaway requirements before October 1 for a chance to win!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle

This is a sad story, but very well written and the ending showed the characters came to terms with what happened and found a way to accept the past events.

Laurel is a very academic driven student. She made a bet with her father that for every point she gets after 700 on each of her tests of her SATs, she'll get a dollar. Getting good grades to get into a top notch school like Yale has always been in her mindset, so when he family and the Kaufman's get together for dinner, then go out for ice cream, she decides to walk home to study some more for the SATs.

Later that night, though, a police officer is at her door telling her that her mother, father, and younger brother, along with Mr. and Mrs. Kaufman were in a car accident. Everyone died on impact except for Mr. Kaufman, who was driving the vehicle.

After that, Laurel's life was turned upside down. She was alone and her grandmother came to live with Laurel, to be with her during this crisis. In a sense, though, Laurel wasn't exactly alone. David Kaufman, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Kaufman, also didn't go out for ice cream, so he found out that his mother died and his father was in a coma at the hospital, stable, but not responding to any tests.

Throughout the novel, Laurel tries to come to terms with what happened. She gets the pity treatment from her teachers and classmates; the awkward silence with a boy who likes her but is always walking on eggshells around Laurel; and starts to keep secrets from her best friend, Meg, because she's not sure how to tell her things anymore.

During all of these changes in Laurel's life, though, she finds some comfort around David. He knows what she's going through, and even though he's MIA for most of the book, when they do converse and see one another, there's this knowing between the two of them that Laurel can't feel with anyone else.

This was a really great book. Jennifer Castle, I think, did a really great job putting into words what one would think, feel, and react in a situation of losing one's family. It's heartbreaking, lonely, and hatred, all wrapped up together that can't be released for fear of side effects. I would recommend this book to everyone, just because it is so beautifully written and narrated. I wouldn't recommend it if someone wanted a happy, cheerful book, but this is definitely something that everyone should read at one point or another in their life.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles

This third, and final, book of the Perfect Chemistry series was well worth the wait! I was interested to see how Luis would turn out to be compared to his older, reckless brothers, and I wasn't disappointed.

One thing that I really loved about this book was that the author changed the scenery back to Illinois. I'm biased since I live in IL, but when the characters reflected about the weather and the formation of land in IL, I was definitely able to relate to it and it made the story more "real" for me.

Luis Fuentes is the younger brother of 3 boys, which the other 2 brothers have been associated with gangs and had a hard time going through high school with the rivalry gangs, etc. Luis was, fortunately, able to stay away from that scene since he moved away from the high school his brothers went to, and was looked at as the "good" brother - the one who didn't get into trouble.

However, Luis's family moved back to IL and everything started to spiral from there. Luis had straight A's, a goal for a college and a career aspiration - so his next 10 years were already planned out. He didn't expect to fall in love with a Mexican girl, who is more American than Mexican having grown up on the "high society" life with white people, or getting initiated into the gang that his older brother, Alex, was a part of while in school.

Dealing with all of these situations that occurred, Luis has to decide what to do with his life - should he stick to his 10 year plan, or should he join the Latino Blood gang to gain additional "family"?

I liked this book. It wasn't the best out of the series (which, in my opinion, is Perfect Chemistry!) but it was nice to get Luis's viewpoint and know his attitude of life after living with Alex and Carlos. Also, I got the feeling that Luis was more badass than the girl in the book, Nikki. The reviews of the book I've read stated that Nikki was the bad girl in the story, but overall, I think it was the opposite. It might just be me, but with the situations that occurred in the story, I feel that Luis was definitely the "bad boy". And I'm okay with the bad boy instead of the bad girl!

These are the actors who played the Fuentes brothers in the
booktrailers. Order from left to right: Alex, Carlos, and Luis.
I would definitely recommend this book to everyone, I would just say that I think everyone should read the books in order to fully understand the characters in this book. It can be a stand alone, but the reader will fully appreciate the family scenes between the 3 brothers if the other 2 were read beforehand.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Very Excited!

I got Vampire Diaries season 2 on DVD Thursday! I haven't had time to watch it yet because I'm trying to finish up Lost (on the last season right now!) so I might not watch the whole season again before the 3rd season starts (this upcoming Thursday!!!). However, I will watch the last few episodes before Thursday to refresh what happened and I'll definitely watch the bloopers and deleted scenes.

The cover and photos provided in the case are so beautiful! I wonder how they find such gorgeous people to cast in this show. I can't wait to see if Stephen is still going to be evil and what may (or may not) happen between Damon and Elana. So many mysteries and soon they will start to get more dramatized and hopefully answered!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Kindles / E-Books

As a "librarian in training", I've come to accept that Kindles and other formats that allow e-Books to be downloaded on are the style in today's society and they are a great source for a lot of books in one storage space.

I've also realized that while I may accept them, I won't want one for my own personal use. I'm a physical book kind of gal and I need to have the book in my hand. I stare at this electronic device (laptop) almost all day that I don't want to stare at another electronic device (Kindle) for the other part of the day.

That being said, I really dislike when authors publish books ONLY in Kindle - e-Book formats!!! It almost makes me want to get a Kindle even though I won't use it as often as I should to even out the difference of the amount I would pay for a Kindle.

Here's one great example of a book that would get me to finally buy a Kindle:

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire

The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn't drink or swear, and she has the appropriate percentage of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance between her and the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend America, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University's Walking One-Night Stand. 

Travis Maddox, lean, cut and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs-and wants-to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the charming college co-ed. Intrigued by Abby's resistance to his charms, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month, If Abby loses, she must live in Travis' apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match. 

(Synopsis taken from Goodreads)

Now, doesn't that sound like an amazing book?? I definitely want to read it, but alas, it's only in an e-Book format! :( I really hope that the author will publish it into a paper format sometime in the future so I can get my hands on it!

If there are more books like this that comes out in the near future, my resistance to Kindles and e-Books might be cracked as I will not be able to accept that I will NEVER read those books just because I won't covert my personal library to a digital format...