Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme/original feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Click the link to go to their site to see the original list for today plus links to a whole slew of other blogs. After you read mine, of course.

Today's topic is: The top ten words/topics that will make me pick up a book 

1. Prep, boarding, or private school. 
Always. Say any of those words and I'm SOLD.

PrepEtiquette & Espionage (Finishing School, #1)The Catcher in the Rye

2. Contemporary YA
I'll read paranormal and fantasy, but my heart belongs to contemporary.

The Reece Malcolm ListGoldenThe List  

3. Swoony Romance
 Everyone needs a sweet, heart-warming book sometimes

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)My Life Next DoorThis Is What Happy Looks Like  

4. Kick-ass heroine
I like my heroines strong and smart

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-BanksThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, #1)  

5. Circus
 Oh, the circus. I love just adore it as a setting.

Water for ElephantsThat Time I Joined the CircusThe Night Circus 

6. Spies
Is there anything cooler than a spy?

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls, #1)Also Known AsHeist Society (Heist Society, #1)  

7. Re-tellings  
I love books that put a new spin on an old story from classics, to fairytales, to myths
Bridget Jones's Diary (Bridget Jones, #1)For Darkness Shows the Stars (For Darkness Shows the Stars, #1)Abandon (Abandon Trilogy, #1)

8. Jessica Darling
I love this series so much. Marcus and Jessica 4-ever!
Sloppy Firsts (Jessica Darling, #1)Second Helpings (Jessica Darling, #2)Charmed Thirds (Jessica Darling, #3)   

9. Sisters
I love books that focus on strong sister bonds
The Weird SistersMind Games (Mind Games, #1)The Solomon Sisters Wise Up 

10. A picture of the beach on the cover
I'll always pause for a beach cover. I love summer.
MaineAll the Summer GirlsThe Castaways   

So what about you? What are the words/topics you always go for? Sound off below.

*Followers and comments are welcome and much appreciated. If you leave a comment, please also leave your link so that I can come visit you. I will always try to follow those who follow me, but if I somehow miss you, please just let me know. Happy reading!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Someday, Someday, Maybe (Early Book Review)

Monday, April 29, 2013 2:44 PM with 3 comments

Someday, Someday, Maybe

Someday, Someday, Maybe

Author: Lauren Graham
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Number of Pages: 352

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A charming and laugh-out-loud novel by Lauren Graham, beloved star of Parenthood and Gilmore Girls, about an aspiring actress trying to make it in mid-nineties New York City.

Franny Banks is a struggling actress in New York City, with just six months left of the three year deadline she gave herself to succeed. But so far, all she has to show for her efforts is a single line in an ad for ugly Christmas sweaters and a degrading waitressing job. She lives in Brooklyn with two roommates-Jane, her best friend from college, and Dan, a sci-fi writer, who is very definitely not boyfriend material-and is struggling with her feelings for a suspiciously charming guy in her acting class, all while trying to find a hair-product cocktail that actually works. Meanwhile, she dreams of doing "important" work, but only ever seems to get auditions for dishwashing liquid and peanut butter commercials. It's hard to tell if she'll run out of time or money first, but either way, failure would mean facing the fact that she has absolutely no skills to make it in the real world. Her father wants her to come home and teach, her agent won't call her back, and her classmate Penelope, who seems supportive, might just turn out to be her toughest competition yet. Someday, Someday, Maybe is a funny and charming debut about finding yourself, finding love, and, most difficult of all, finding an acting job.


While I'm familiar with Lauren Graham, I'll be honest, I haven't seen her in all that much. I don't watch the show Parenthood, but I liked her in Bad Santa and just started watching the first season of The Gilmore Girls on DVD, which I know has a huge fan base. Even though I'm not a huge fan of Lauren Graham, I was very interested when I heard she had a novel coming out and jumped at the opportunity to read an ARC of Someday, Someday, Maybe. It's always interesting when an actor writes a novel. Because this book is about a pretty brunette trying to make her way as an actor in the mid-90s, it was especially easy to picture Ms. Graham as the protagonist and to wonder throughout how much of the novel is autobiographical.

The novel follows Franny Banks, a girl in her mid-twenties whose self-imposed deadline of showing-progress-or giving-up on acting is looming in six months. She has one commercial under her belt, but no agent, no manager, and no acting jobs to call her own. She takes an acting class with a well-respected coach and waitresses at a comedy club while schlepping from audition to audition hoping that something happens. 

There were several things I really liked about Someday, Someday, Maybe. I really liked her friendship with Jane. The two were funny and realistic and you feel how special their bond was. Jane gives Franny's boyfriends hilarious nicknames like "Purpolo" to a guy who wore the same purple polo the two times he came to pick Franny up for a date. The two live together along with their third roommate, Dan, an unassuming man who is trying to write a sci-fi script and who has a long-term finance who, because she works in banking, is slightly baffled by this world populated by authors, actors, and other artists.  I also liked Franny's relationship with her father and found it to be realistic, as well. Her dad is kind and supportive, but he is also slightly baffled by her world and wonders if she wouldn't be better off coming home and teaching English like he does.

I liked the way the romance(s) were handled and enjoyed how they never really took center stage of the story. This book is purely about Franny and her "coming-of-(later)-age" or at least about her character's arc in the last six months of her deadline. She has her college boyfriend, Clark, who is currently serving as her "back-up." The two aren't together, but she finds the idea of him comforting and sometimes dreams of moving to Chicago to be with him. There is the cute, established actor in her acting class who occasionally shows some interest. And there is roommate Dan, who Franny sometimes catches herself thinking about, even though he's engaged. 

I liked the actualities of an actor trying to make it. The auditions, the awkwardness of trying to get an agent, the "this is it" breaks that may or may not lead somewhere. There are so many people who try to make it in both NYC and LA and the realities of that life are rarely pretty. Like the old joke of "Oh, you're an actor? Where do you wait tables?"

The things I struggled with a little are small, but they do still exist. I simply could not separate the story from the author. Again, even though I don't know a whole lot about Lauren Graham, I do know enough, and I could just not not picture her as Franny and I kept waiting for something familiar to happen (like landing a role about a mother and daughter, say, or a recognizable movie role). When an actor chooses to write about a struggling actor, you can't help but wonder how much/what parts of the story is true. 

Also, when it comes down to it, this story wasn't really about anything. It's a perfectly pleasant read and Lauren Graham can certainly write, but at the end of the day, nothing really happens. 

Overall, I did enjoy Someday, Someday, Maybe. It's a well-written slice-of-life story. I'm sure her fans will especially enjoy it. If she does write something new or writes a follow-up to Franny's story, I will definitely pick it up.

*I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange of an honest review.*

Followers and comments are welcome and much appreciated. If you do leave a comment, please also leave a link to your blog, so I can come visit you.  

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Stacking the shelves (3)

Saturday, April 27, 2013 7:09 PM with 40 comments
[STSmall_thumb%255B2%255D%255B2%255D.png]Stacking the Shelves, hosted by Tyngas Reviews, is a weekly meme where bloggers share the books they've recently added to their shelves. These books can be bought, borrowed, won, or given. It can include physical books or e-books. *To read the synopsis of any of the following books, simply click the title to connect to Goodreads. 

E-Books ARCs 

Invisibility       Reboot (Reboot, #1)       How My Summer Went Up in Flames 

Thorn Abbey       The End Games       The Heiresses

Over You        VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV's First Wave      The Kings and Queens of Roam: A Novel

Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan
Reboot by Amy Tintera
How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Thorn Abbey by Nancy Ohlin
The End Games  by T. Michael Martin
The Heiresses  by Alison Rushby
Over You by Amy Reed
VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV's First Wave by Nina Blackwood, et al.
The Kings and Queens of Roam  by David Wallace

What I Bought

Sweet Evil (The Sweet Trilogy, #1)      Vain (The Seven Deadly Series #1)      Kiss Me Kill Me (Scarlett Wakefield, #1)  

Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins
Vain by Fisher Amelie
Kiss Me Kill Me by Lauren Henderson

What I snagged from the library 

Storm (Elemental, #1)        Confessions of an Angry Girl (Confessions, #1)

Storm by Brigid Kemmerer 
Confessions of an Angry Girl  by Louise Rozett 

So what about you? What did you get this week that you can't wait to dive into?

*Followers and comments are welcome and much appreciated. If you leave a comment, please also leave your link so that I can come visit you. I will always try to follow those who are following me, but if I miss you, please just let me know (we're all in this together).  Happy reading!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Sketchy (Early Book Review)

Thursday, April 25, 2013 11:48 AM with 4 comments

Sketchy (Bea Catcher Chronicles, #1)


Author: Olivia Samms
Publisher: Amazon 
Number of Pages: 238
Release Date: April 30, 2013

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A popular cheerleader—raped, beaten, and left for dead. An edgy outsider with a gift. Can they team up to catch a killer?

Bea’s life has been a mess ever since she got kicked out of private school and sent to rehab. Now clean, Bea is starting over at Packard High School, in a city shaken from two assaults on young women. The latest victim, Willa Pressman—the one who survived—doesn’t remember a thing. But Bea has a disturbing new “skill”: she can see—and then draw—images from other people’s minds. And when she looks at Willa, Bea is shocked by what she sketches. Bea might be the only one who knows Willa’s secrets—and who can take down the killer before he strikes again.


Sketchy has a very interesting premise. It's a teen murder mystery, but unlike other teen sleuth books, like Deadly Cool for example, this book has that dark edge that adult mysteries often have. This book deals with heavy issues like rape and heavy drug use that are often deemed too serious for YA. This book is definitely an "older teen" book.

Bea used to go to a affluent private school, but after a particular harrowing incident with drugs that put her in the hospital and led to a bout in rehab, she now finds herself going to a huge, impersonal public school. There she meets an old acquaintance from art camp, Chris, who quickly becomes her token gay best friend. Bea has been clean for 3 months and consistently goes to AA/NA meetings to help her stay clean. She regrets her past drug and alcohol use and is actively trying to stay away from the people in her past who served as bad influences, including her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend. 

Her new sobriety brings with it a new found ability to literally draw thoughts from peoples' heads. When she looks at somebody she is able to sketch what they are thinking. Willa is the latest victim of the killer who has been stalking local teenage girls. She was raped, beaten, and left in the woods to die, but she survived. What Bea draws when she looks at Willa shocks her.  

Sketchy had quite a few positive aspects. I really like Bea. She knows she made a lot of mistakes in her past, and is actively trying to change her life. The flashbacks that show how she got sucked into this deviant world of drugs, alcohol, and partying were both realistic and understandable. I liked that she was biracial, which seems rare in YA. I enjoyed the darkness of the book. Sometimes I just want something dark and I like it when YA veers into that, um, sketchier side of the human psyche. Her parents were both present. And they actually cared! I found her parents and the family relationships very realistic. They love their daughter and are concerned about her lapsing. Because of that the mother sometimes snoops and the father pushes for her think about her future. Her friendship with Chris brought the book the needed levity. The book is very fast-paced, which is important to mysteries, in my opinion. The killer was appropriately scary as was his reasoning. 

And that "power"! To be able to draw peoples thoughts is such a cool and original premise. 
Some things that definitely didn't work for me were: How Willa wouldn't cooperate with Bea as she tried to figure out who the killer was. If somebody raped and tried to murder you wouldn't you want that dude caught, like, yesterday? Not only did Willa not help, she actively tried to impede Bea. What? Also, the hint of romance at the end was completely innappropriate and mind-boggling. I cannot even fathom why the author made the choice to veer off into that unseemly direction. 

Overall, I enjoyed Sketchy. I found it to be a quick, enjoyable read and appreciate that the author didn't try to drag it on for longer than necessary at the expense of the pace. I sometimes feel like authors believe their YA books have to be 400 pages long, but that just isn't always the case. I liked the dark aspects and would recommend this book to those that enjoy the darkside, at least occasionally. 

*I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review* 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (3) Tandem

Wednesday, April 24, 2013 10:55 AM with 37 comments

Waiting on Wednesday  is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating. Click the link to see the original post plus a whole slew of links to other blogs. After you read this one, of course.

This week I'm waiting on:

Tandem (Many-Worlds, #1)
Title: Tandem
Author: Anna Jarzab
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Release Date: October 8, 2013

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Everything repeats.
You. Your best friend. Every person you know.
Many worlds. Many lives--infinite possibilities.
Welcome to the multiverse.

Sixteen-year-old Sasha Lawson has only ever known one small, ordinary life. When she was young, she loved her grandfather's stories of parallel worlds inhabited by girls who looked like her but led totally different lives. Sasha never believed such worlds were real--until now, when she finds herself thrust into one against her will.

To prevent imminent war, Sasha must slip into the life of an alternate version of herself, a princess who has vanished on the eve of her arranged marriage. If Sasha succeeds in fooling everyone, she will be returned home; if she fails, she'll be trapped in another girl's life forever. As time runs out, Sasha finds herself torn between two worlds, two lives, and two young men vying for her love--one who knows her secret, and one who thinks she's someone she's not.

The first book in the Many-Worlds Trilogy, Tandem is a riveting saga of love and betrayal set in parallel universes in which nothing--and no one--is what it seems.

Why I'm excited:

I really enjoyed this author's All Unquiet Things and that synopsis sounds awesome. Parallel worlds/lives is definitely having its YA moment (Pivot Point, Parallel, As I Wake). As with all trends in books, there are bound to be some winners and losers. Here's hoping this one lives up to the hype. And that cover! With the raven and the pretty stars behind her. Love!

So what are you anxiously waiting for on this last Wednesday in April? Sound off below.
*Followers and comments are much welcome and appreciated. If you leave a comment, please also leave your link so that I can come visit you. I will always try to follow those who are following me, but if I miss you, please just let me know (we're all in this together).