Thursday, October 31, 2013


Author:  Tara Fuller
Series:  Kissed by Death, Book 1
Year:  2012
Publisher:  Entangled Teen
Pages:  314

Goodreads Summary:
Since the car crash that took her father’s life three years ago, Emma’s life has been a freaky — and unending — lesson in caution. Surviving “accidents” has taken priority over being a normal seventeen-year-old, so Emma spends her days taking pictures of life instead of living it. Falling in love with a boy was never part of the plan. Falling for a reaper who makes her chest ache and her head spin? Not an option.
It’s not easy being dead, especially for a reaper in love with a girl fate has put on his list not once, but twice. Finn’s fellow reapers give him hell about spending time with Emma, but Finn couldn’t let her die before, and he’s not about to let her die now. He will protect the girl he loves from the evil he accidentally unleashed, even if it means sacrificing the only thing he has left…his soul.

This was a fun and cute little book. It was a little reminiscent of some of the other reaper stories out there but it was just super cute. Finn was a terrific hero. I thought Emma could have used a little more help in the heroine department but overall I enjoyed the book a lot. It made for a great afternoon escape.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Book of Blood and Shadow

Author:  Robin Wasserman
Year: 2012
Publisher:  Ember
Pages:  432

Goodreads Description:
One night. One body, broken in a pool of blood.
One killer, lost in the shadows.
One girl, left behind.
Left alone, to face the consequences.
To find the truth.
To avenge the dead.

One night is all it takes to change Nora Kane's life forever. Her best friend is dead; her boyfriend has vanished. And the trail of blood leads straight back to her: The person who might be responsible. The person who might be next.  
Desperate to save the people she loves and determined to find justice for the ones she's lost, Nora unearths a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. Something to which Nora herself might hold the key. It turns out her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries—and solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.

I loved this book. It was a good old fashioned thriller. There were parts of it that were down right creepy scary but at the heart of The Book of Blood and Shadow was a great mystery. I am one of those people who normally picks out the murderer halfway through a book and spends the rest of the book confirming my suspicion. I can't remember the last time I was so tempted to flip to the end of a book and find out who the killer was. I spent three nights laying in bed forcing  myself not to turn to those back pages and spoil the ending. 

This was the first book I read by Robin Wasserman. I recently saw her on a panel at the Decatur Book Festival and she was talking about her newest book The Waking Dark. She was claiming that it is a horror novel reminiscent of the old Stephen King novels. I have been wanting to read a horror novel recently. Maybe I'll be picking that one up soon.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War

Author: Karl Marlantes
Year: 2010
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Narrator: Bronson Pinchot

Goodreads Summary:

Intense, powerful, and compelling, Matterhorn is an epic war novel in the tradition of Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead and James Jones's The Thin Red Line. It is the timeless story of a young Marine lieutenant, Waino Mellas, and his comrades in Bravo Company, who are dropped into the mountain jungle of Vietnam as boys and forced to fight their way into manhood. Standing in their way are not merely the North Vietnamese but also monsoon rain and mud, leeches and tigers, disease and malnutrition. Almost as daunting, it turns out, are the obstacles they discover between each other: racial tension, competing ambitions, and duplicitous superior officers. But when the company finds itself surrounded and outnumbered by a massive enemy regiment, the Marines are thrust into the raw and all-consuming terror of combat. The experience will change them forever.
Written over the course of thirty years by a highly decorated Marine veteran, Matterhorn is a visceral and spellbinding novel about what it is like to be a young man at war. It is an unforgettable novel that transforms the tragedy of Vietnam into a powerful and universal story of courage, camaraderie, and sacrifice: a parable not only of the war in Vietnam but of all war, and a testament to the redemptive power of literature.

I've had this book in my Audible library for a really long time and never got around to it because shortly after I bought it I realized that it was over 21 hours and I thought that was an awful long nonfiction book even if everybody was raving on how good it was. Years later I am on a mission to listen to all those audiobooks I've bought and listened to and I'm finally getting around to Matterhorn. First off, I learn right quickly that it's not nonfiction.  Insteaad, it's a beautifully written fiction story that called to mind Band of Brothers and The Pacific. Matterhorn drew me in to the lives of Bravo Company and I just had to know what was going to happen to those men. I loved it and the 21 hours didn't seem quite that long.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Where She Went

Author:  Gayle Forman
Year: 2011
Publisher: Speak
Pages:  260

Goodreads Summary:
It's been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.
Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future-and each other.
Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.

When I finished If I Stay, I thought that could be it; however, I was very upset that the book could end there because I wanted more. I wanted to know what happened with Mia and where Mia and Adam went from there. So I was very happy to get my hands on Where She Went. I was surprised to see the story switch over to Adam's point of view. It added a whole new level to the story. I loved it. I teared up a bit and in the end was totally happy with Mia and Adam's story.

Friday, October 11, 2013

One Last Thing Before I Go

Author:  Jonathan Tropper
Published:  2012
Publisher:  Penguin
Pages:  324

Goodreads Summary:
“Mistakes have been made.” Drew Silver has begun to accept that life isn’t going to turn out as he expected. His fleeting fame as the drummer for a one-hit wonder rock band is nearly a decade behind him. His ex-wife is about to marry a terrific guy. And his Princeton-bound teenage daughter Casey has just confided in him that she’s pregnant—because Silver is the one she cares least about letting down.
So when Silver learns that he requires emergency life-saving heart surgery, he makes the radical decision to refuse the operation, choosing instead to spend what time he has left to repair his relationship with Casey, become a better man, and live in the moment—even if that moment isn’t going to last very long. As his exasperated family looks on, Silver grapples with the ultimate question of whether or not his own life is worth saving.

This was my first experience with Jonathon Tropper. I've heard great things about Tropper on many book podcasts. So I finally decided to take the plunge and read one of his books. It was well worth the read. Silver was an interesting main character. Although I didn't identify with him and didn't really sympathize with  him and I wanted him to be a better man and wanted things to work out for him. I wanted him to work his stuff out and figure out how to make his life worth living. I think that takes some talent on an author's part to take a totally unsympathetic main character and make the reader want things to work out for him. I also pulled some really great quotes from this book.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns)

Author:  Mindy Kaling
Year: 2011
Publisher:  Random House Audio
Narrator:  Mindy Kaling

Goodreads Description:
Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?”
Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages). If so, you’ve come to the right book, mostly!
In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.

Going into this audiobook, I knew next to nothing about Mindy Kaling. However, over the past couple of years I've heard a lot of people bragging on this book and how funny it was and how much they enjoyed it. And they were right. She is hilarious. She's also super normal. I felt like we would be friends if we knew each other. I also felt like there were parts of the books that would have been funnier if I knew something about Mindy Kaling or about comedy in general. I don't watch SNL or The Office or comedy shows or movies. I did laugh. I found myself agreeing with her and thinking that this girl knows what being a normal girl is all about.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Fifth Grave Past the Light

Author:  Darynda Jones
Series:  Charley Davidson, Book 5
Year:  2013
Publisher:  Macmillian Audio
Narrator:  Lorelei King

Goodreads Summary:
Charley Davidson may not look like your everyday, run-of-the-mill grim reaper, but she has vowed to reap grimness wherever she goes despite this unfortunate fact. Sadly, she gets sidetracked when the sexy, sultry son of Satan, Reyes Farrow, moves in next door. As he is the main suspect in her arson case, she is determined to stay away from him until she can find out the truth. According to her therapist, however, she lacks conviction.

When dead women start appearing in her apartment - lost, confused and terrified beyond reason - Charley has no choice but to ask for Reyes's help, especially when it becomes apparent that her own sister Gemma is the serial killer's next target. With his ability to observe incorporeally, surely he can find out who's responsible. And even if he can't, he is the one man alive who could protect Gemma no matter who or what came at her. But he wants something in return: Charley. All of her - body and soul. And to keep her sister safe, it is a price she is willing to pay…

I absolutely love this series of books. They're fun, exciting and great mysteries to boot. This audiobook made me laugh out loud and then tingle with romance the next.  The end of this book was heart wrenching and the end end was awesome. Oh and Lorelei King is an awesome narrator. She brings the characters to life in such an amazing way that I can't imagine reading the physical book could bring me half the pleasure that listening to her read me the books does. If you haven't jumped on the Charley Davidson bandwagon yet, I highly recommend you do. You won't regret it.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Because it is My Blood

Author:  Gabrielle Zevin
Series:  Birthright, Book 2
Year: 2012
Publisher:  Farrar, Straus, Giroux
Pages: 350

Goodreads Summary: 

Since her release from Liberty Children's Facility, Anya Balanchine is determined to follow the straight and narrow. Unfortunately, her criminal record is making it hard for her to do that. No high school wants her with a gun possession charge on her rap sheet. Plus, all the people in her life have moved on: Natty has skipped two grades at Holy Trinity, Scarlet and Gable seem closer than ever, and even Win is in a new relationship.But when old friends return demanding that certain debts be paid, Anya is thrown right back into the criminal world that she had been determined to escape. It’s a journey that will take her across the ocean and straight into the heart of the birthplace of chocolate where her resolve--and her heart--will be tested as never before.

I love this series. I had forgotten just how much I loved it until I picked up the second book (which I've had for nearly a year) and started reading it. Once I started reading it, I absolutely refused to be interrupted until I finished reading the book a couple of hours later. First off, the idea of chocolate being illegal breaks my heart. It my favorite food and I can't imagine living in a world where I couldn't have it. But I just love Anya. She's such a strong character and refuses to let anyone push her around, makes her own decisions and doesn't let love for a guy influence her decisions in any form or fashion. She always does what she thinks is best for her and her family. This is just such a great series. I highly recommend these books.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D

Author:  Nichole Bermier

Year:  2012
Publisher:  Crown Publishers
Pages:  305

Goodreads Summary:
Before there were blogs, there were journals. And in them we’d write as we really were, not as we wanted to appear. But there comes a day when journals outlive us. And with them, our secrets.
Summer vacation on Great Rock Island was supposed to be a restorative time for Kate, who’d lost her close friend Elizabeth in a sudden accident. But when she inherits a trunk of Elizabeth's journals, they reveal a woman far different than the cheerful wife and mother Kate thought she knew.
The complicated portrait of Elizabeth—her troubled upbringing, and her route to marriage and motherhood—makes Kate question not just their friendship, but her own deepest beliefs about loyalty and honesty at a period of uncertainty in her own marriage.
The more Kate reads, the more she learns the complicated truth of who Elizabeth really was, and rethinks her own choices as a wife, mother, and professional, and the legacy she herself would want to leave behind. When an unfamiliar man’s name appears in the pages, Kate realizes the extent of what she didn’t know about her friend, including where she was really going on the day she died.
Set in the anxious summer after the September 11th attacks, this story of two women—their friendship, their marriages, private ambitions and fears—considers the aspects of ourselves we show and those we conceal, and the repercussions of our choices.

I won this book in a blog tour shortly before it's publication. I heard a lot about it on book podcasts and was interested in reading it but just never picked it up. I got sick last week (which I rarely do) and picked this book up to read because it felt like comfort food and it really was. It was such a beautiful book. I loved the way the story of Elizabeth in the journals is woven in with Kate and her story. It was a very interesting way to tell a story.