Tuesday, February 23, 2016

We've Moved!

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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Book Review: None of the Above by I. W. Gregorio

Title: None of the Above

Author: I. W. Gregorio

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Publication date: April, 2015

Hardcover: 352 pages

Stand Alone or Series: At this moment, I'm under the impression that this is a stand alone novel.  But I wish that would change.

How I got this book: Galley from the publisher

Why I chose this book: A book that talks about issues, especially ones that are more uncommon and not very understood, don't come around very often.  And when they do, they tend to either get a lot of praise, or become controversial.  I wanted to get my hands on a copy to figure out which of the two it would be.


When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She's a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she's madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she's decided that she's ready to take things to the next level with him.
But Kristin's first time isn't the perfect moment she's planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy "parts."
Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin's entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?


Man, it's really hard for me to put into words how this book changed my perspective on a lot of things.  I'll be the first to admit that I wasn't very educated on what exactly intersex meant and what the people who are intersex go through.  And if you aren't very educated about it either, that's okay.  If this is your first introduction to the idea, or if you're still trying to understand the concept, this will be a great learning tool for you.  And if you're up to date on all the terms, and know everything about intersex, this will still be a great book for you.  It's about a girl coming to terms with her life being completely flipped upside down.  A lot of people can relate to big changes in their lives, even if the changes themselves are not the same.

Kristin is a really good perspective to read from.  You understand exactly how she feels.  You root for her to discover herself and live a happy life.  You want to cry when everyone in the school mistreats her, including her boyfriend.  But through it all, she meets some great, amazing people--the kind of people that become friends for life.

The plot is very strong as well.  I was worried that the main plot point in the story would be Kristin's discovery, and that the story would go still and stale from then on.  But more and more keeps happening.  And even though it may not all be as dramatic as questioning your gender, it still keeps you satisfied.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone.  It's a book about discovering yourself, good and bad, and learning to live your life to the fullest.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Top 10 Must Read Classics

There are hundreds of classics, and it can be hard to chose which ones to read.  Some can be a struggle.  Some what you question you life?  Others make you wonder how they possibly became a classic.  Here's my personal list of ten classic you should take the time out to read.  (Disclaimer: I have not read all  of the classics. That would be nearly impossible.  This list is collected from a small sample size.

1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin
A real classic.  But probably not for you if you happen to be male.  From my brief foray into Austin discussions, I've learned that most guys do not like Jane Austin's novels.  However, once you get a real feel for the writing style and voice, it's so easy to read through and get into the novel.  If you like the Victorian era and romance, you will like Jane Austin.

2. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
I've also heard some mixed reviews on this one, by both girls and guys.  I have to say though, it's one of my absolute favorites.  The writing is so rich and linguistic--and you can pull some real heartfelt quotes that talk about undying love and passion.  It's not your typical love story, but it will definitely get you thinking.

3. One Thousand and One Nights (Also known as Arabian Nights)
If you like history, especially Middle Eastern history, this is one that you'll enjoy.  It tell rich tales from the Islamic Golden age.  I haven't been able to read all one thousand and one stories.  I can't even find a book that has all of the stories in it.  But I've gotten through a good chunk, and I've enjoyed every minute of it.

4. 1984 by George Orwell
This is a dystopian novel that marks as a warning to the future if we don't change our course.  It could arguably be one of the great firsts of the dystopian genre.  Many nay-sayers like to quote 1984 when talking about the demise of our present day society.  But don't let that get you down--it's a great read with a lot of knowledge to offer.

5. A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare
Not don't go arguing about you were forced to read Romeo and Juliet in high school, and how that has forever ruined the word of Shakespeare for you.  A Midsummer Night's Dream is light, airy, and full of great jokes.  If you can't get a firm grasp on Shakespeare-era speech and writing, get your hands on a copy that has a side-by-side translation into modern day English.  That way you can pick out all the penis jokes that Shakespeare likes to throw around.

6. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald 
 You may have had to read this one in high school, but you probably still liked it, or at least didn't detest it.  If you have read it before, I would suggest picking it up again and rereading it.  You may see new things that you missed the first time through.  It's definitely a classic for a reason.  Though it may have very obvious symbolism and foreshadowing, it's still a good primer into reading the classics.

7. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
I have heard much love for Fahrenheit 451.  Lot's of people are jumping on the bandwagon and reading the book, myself included.  If you haven't done so yet, I would suggest giving it a try. 
Another dystopian novel, which will again appeal to both girls and guys.  This is an American society where books are banned, and the "firemen" burn any that are found".

8. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Is this considered to recent to be considered a classic?  I don't think so.  It's a historical book that revolves around World War II and the Nazi Regime.  Books are burned in piles, and you have a little girl you steals book.  Hence, the book thief.  It's heartbreaking to read.  I will warn you, it can be a little slow at times.  But it's well worth the read.

9. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
If you want to bawl your eyes out and feel your heart breaking in your chest, then this is the book for you.  Told from the view of a mentally retarded man who gains intelligence, you learn about the friendship between one man and a mouse.  Of course everything goes horribly wrong and nothing in the world will ever be right again.  

10. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Such as absurd book.  It really makes no sense, in the long run.  But that's not the point.  The point is that the world is coming to an end, and the dolphins are the only ones that can save us.  Want to understand all the references that your pretentious friend thinks are funny to spout off.  Then read this book! And then refrain from using references in front of people who don't really care what you're talking about.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Book Review: Nowhere but Here by Katie McGarry

Title: Nowhere but Here

Author: Katie McGarry

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Publication Date: May, 2015

Hardcover: 496 pages

Stand Alone or Series: Series--this is the first installment in the Thunder Roads series.

How I got this book: Copy from the publisher.

Why I chose this book: Who wouldn't want to read about sexy motorcycle boys and danger?


Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns into an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They're the good guys. They protect people. They're…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member—is in town, he's gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream. What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down. 


It's not very often that I completely dislike a book.  But this is one of those times.  I'm not even writing this review under the pretense that I finished the book--because I didn't.  I couldn't even get halfway through the book before I decided to set it down permanently.  So even though I completed hated this book, I will say it could've did a 180 and gotten better in the second half.  I wouldn't know.

Let me outline the things that made me put this book down:

The characters.  They were annoying.  They had motivations that were hard to understand, and no effort was made to help me to understand them.  They were both pretty unlikeable.  And it's okay to have an unlikeable character if I can understand their motivations as a character, but I couldn't.  As for the voices of the characters, I wasn't impressed by those either.  The book switches point of view back and forth between Emily and Oz.  But without reading the heading at the beginning of each chapter, I wouldn't know who's side of the story I was reading, because they sounded exactly the same.

The writing.  It was simplistic.  There was no complexity to the plot, the characters, anything.  I got bored reading through the chapters.  I was tired of trying to remember which character I was supposed to be reading about, Emily or  Oz.  I got tired of not liking my characters, not being given any reason to get behind them as a character or root for them, or at least feel sympathetic for them. 

All in all, I'm sure you can tell I didn't like this book.  But as I stated above, I didn't finish the book.  It could've gotten better.  I just didn't want to stick around to find out.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Book Review: Compulsion by Martina Boone

Title: Compulsion

Author: Martina Boone

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Publication Date: October, 2014

Hardcover: 448 pages

Stand Alone or Series: Series--this is the first installment in the Heirs of Watson Island series.

How I got this book: Bought

Why I chose this book: Have you ever seen a book in the bookstore that you just saw on the shelf every time you've gone.  And you look at it, but end up choosing another book.  This was that book to me.  Eventually I decided to pick it up and give it a try.


All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lived with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt's South Carolina plantation instead--a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family's twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn't what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead. 


I'm really glad I decided to give this book a try.  It's been a while since I've found a good book that involved spirits and ghosts that didn't just seem hokey.  In Compulsion, all of the spirits and ghosts are connected to the history of Watson Island, where the three founding families built there homes.  When Barrie's mother died, she moves back to her mother's home town, only to learn about everything her mother never bothered to tell her.

One of the best things about this book (besides the plot) is the relationship dynamic between Barrie, and her handsome neighbor, Eight.  They have a relationship that just clicked together, where they had both a friendship and a romantic relationship.  Them going on adventures and trying to piece together parts of the puzzles was one of the funnest parts of the book.  They worked together as a team.  

I don't want to spoil the book in any way, so I'll just say that both Barrie and Eight have special "gifts" that are passed on in their families, leading back to the three founders.  As you learned about these gifts and the history of the island, the plot rages on with an unsolved mystery from years ago that Barrie's trying to uncover.  What's great about this plot is that it was constantly moving, and I had no idea what was going to happen next.  I was never bored.  Even with the relationship development between Barrie and Eight, there was no fluff--just the right amount.  

While this book could very much stand on its own as a stand-alone novel, it will continue into a series.  I'm very much looking forward to the next installment--and I hope that they will live up to the expectations that this one brought me.