July 13, 2014

The Lost by Sarah Beth Durst

Fleeing her mother’s potentially bad test results, Lauren Chase skips out of work, gets in her car and drives straight East out of LA.  When the radio will only play static and there hasn’t been a turnoff or even another vehicle in what feels like hours does Lauran come out of her trance and realizes she needs to turn around.  After an inconvenient dust storm, an off ramp appears that leads Lauren to a small town with a ‘Welcome to Lost’ sign.  Since it’s getting late, Lauren pulls into a crumbling motel to rest for the night before heading back to her mother.  She encounters some very strange folk in her short stay in Lost.  On her way out of town in the morning she gets caught in the dust storm again and is lead back to Lost.  Again and again until she runs out of gas.  It’s official:  Lauren is Lost.

This was a stay up late read for me.  Like Wonderland and Oz, Lost is a magical place that can be both magnificent and dangerous.   I definitely got lost in this book (lame pun intended, sorry).  

July 6, 2014

The Martian by Andy Weir

What. A. Fricken. Amazing. Crap-your-pants. Thrill-Ride of a Book!!!! I loved every page!  You must go get it now!

June 23, 2014

One Past Midnight by Jessica Shirvington

Every night, at exactly midnight, Sabine switches lives. She's still Sabine, 17 year old girl on the cusp of graduating high school.  However, her families are different, her location is different and her future in both lives is definitely different. Sabine's physical presence crosses over too, so when she breaks her arm falling down in one life, she spends all day trying to figure out how to make a broken arm look like an accident in her second life without throwing herself down the stairs. But when she Shifts at midnight with two functioning arms she knows something has changed. She now believes the opportunity to choose her better life is finally available. Will Sabine make the right decision?

One Past Midnight is a great book that shows it's not always greener on the other side.  Also, I love Shirvington's other series: The Embrace Series.

May 14, 2014

Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

In Open Road Summer, we get to ride along on a music tour across the country with America's Sweetheart, country music star, Lilah Montgomery and her BFF.  However, Lilah, Dee to her closest friends, is not the headliner or this fun summer read but rather her troubled best friend Reagan O'Neill.  Both girls are working on getting over a tough time in their lives and what a better way to do it than a girls' road trip complete with sold out concerts, live TV appearances, and magazine photo shoots.

However, when a photoshopped picture of Dee and her ex-boyfriend is leaked, her PR team needs to do some major damage control while Reagan needs to step up as Dee's best friend after years of their roles being reversed.  But when the PR team's answer is to bring in good guy Matt Finch as Dee's opening act and to let the rumor mill believe Dee and Matt are an item, Reagan has a difficult time keeping her feelings for Matt under control so as not to ruin Dee's public image any further.  What transpires is a feel good story of two best friends who are there for each other first and foremost despite fame.

April 24, 2014

Jennifer's Way by Jennifer Esposito

As someone who has recently been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I was intrigued by Jennifer’s Way and what an actress could possibly tell me about my new disease.  I was astonished to learn how far her condition had gone and what terrible symptoms she was plagued with.  Not to mention the many years of dead ends she ran into within the medical field.  It was very disconcerting to hear how many doctors and nurses have no idea what Celiac is. 

My symptoms were mild in comparison.  However, when I was diagnosed I was given a vague message and a "start a gluten-free diet" recommendation and no more guidance than that.

Jennifer was able to put words to some of my thoughts and feelings that have come along with my diagnosis.  Especially in the case of going to restaurants and trying to continue a social life without being “difficult”.  Even trying to talk about it with people is tricky because no one will ever understand until they have to turn their lives upside down too. 

I certainly don’t wish anyone to have this disease however I’m appreciative to see someone in the spotlight share their journey.  Hopefully her words can help change the opinions of the misinformed and be a voice for those that have the disease.  Thank you, Jennifer!

April 7, 2014

The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt

Holly's favorite person in the world, her Grandpa Jim, just passed away. Unknown to everyone in the family, he left his beloved, but deeply in-debt, Las Vegas wedding chapel to his granddaughter. He also left her a letter to be hand delivered to his chapel-owning rival's grandson. Across the parking lot sits the theme wedding performing Cupid's Dream, the antithesis to the traditional Rose of Sharon.  It's a Shakespearean tragedy that these two chapel families hate each other because Dax Cranston is one handsome rival, even in his cowboy get up. With Grandpa Jim gone and Holly in charge she's going to do everything in her power to help save the chapel even if she can feel her Grandpa rolling over in his grave.

I just finished this wonderful and touching story with a sniffle.  Leavitt writes Holly as a down-to-earth, normal girl and the dialogue between Dax and Holly is adorable yet realistic. I loved this: "We're all messed up," [Holly] said "I think life is just about finding the right people to be messed up with." I loved that these characters have faults and their own troubles to get through.

February 27, 2014

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

A short time ago, the Valorians conquered the Herran empire and either killed or enslaved the Herrani civilians.  Kestrel, as the Valorian General's daughter, at 17, must choose to either marry or join the military.  Neither option entices Kestrel.  While in the city market one day she feels an unexplainable connection with a slave being auctioned off and spontaneously decides to outbid everyone with a large sum of keystones.  Kestrel's new slave, Arin, starts work as a blacksmith making horseshoes for the military horses.  Eventually becoming an escort for Kestrel and keeping her company; neither recognizes the relationship slowly growing between them.  Kestrel soon learns that Arin is the leader of a planned rebellion and, as the General's daughter, she has been set up.  She'll be forced to discover the true meaning of the Winner's Curse.

The world and the characters are so well written you can't help wanting to root for both of them.  The story line is so perfectly paced you can't help to keep reading late into the night.  And with just enough romantic tension threaded throughout you can't help to feel empty till the second book arrives. 

February 16, 2014

Lone Wolves by John Smelcer

Deneena Yazzie, Denny to most, is a 16 year old native Alaskan.  Don’t call her an Eskimo, she’s an Indian.  Her closest friend is her grandfather, who has been teaching her their native language, seldom spoken by anyone other than the dwindling elders.  She spends most of her time, other than school where she doesn’t fit in, mushing.  Eight dogs pull the wooden sled her grandfather hand-built years ago, while he follows nearby on his snowmobile.  Her grandfather encourages Denny to compete in her first dogsled competition where she takes third place, qualifying her for the longest, toughest dog sled competition known to man.  Unfortunately, Denny will have to travel the 1,100 mile trip across the Alaskan wilderness without the support of her community.  There’s so much more about the storyline I want to add but won’t to keep you all in suspense.  

Denny is a unique and inspiring character; a great role model for young girls.  Not only because she perseveres while her whole village refuses to support her, but also that she wants to learn her heritage and preserve her culture.  The author tells Denny’s story in such a way that makes you crave to learn more about Alaskan history and culture.  The best kind of book. 

January 6, 2014

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

If I had read this book in print, I think I would have finished it in one sitting, maybe two.  However, I listened to the audiobook, in my car, mostly driving to and from work.  In other words, I dragged it out over several weeks.  This delayed gratification may have been the cause for my giddy excitement over this story.  Now enough about me...

Cath is a freshman at college.  Her twin sister, Wren, after spending the last 18 years in the same room with Cath, decided to live elsewhere.  Cath's roommate, Reagan, immediately reacts as though Cath's presence is a burden and Reagan's high school boyfriend is constantly hanging around their room.  Cath isn't sure college is for her, she's a quiet introvert who would much prefer to be writing fan fiction for the much loved Simon Snow series she has been reading since she was a kid.  You'll be so glad you came along for this coming of age story.