Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pandemonium (Delirium #2) ARC ~ Lauren Oliver

Pandemonium (Delirium, #2)
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publication: February 28, 2012
By: HarperTeen
5 Stars!  

The old Lena is gone. The new Lena, the one born in the Wilds knows grief, pain, and the struggle to merely survive.  This new Lena is stronger and has joined the resistance' fight to live in a world where love is not considered a disease.  Outwardly, she fights alongside others while inwardly, she wages her own battle to keep from drowning in her grief for Alex.  He's everywhere and she doubts she'll ever truly live again.

As the work of the resistance intensifies, so does Lena's role. When she finds herself at the center of a full-blown rebellion, she'll discover not everyone is who they claim to be.  Just like the fake marks of the cured that most members bare, she'll have to decide who she can trust.  Then there's her heart.  Could she really be falling in love again?  What about Alex?  Isn't she betraying him and the love they shared?  Lena no sooner begins to let her guard down when her world, like her life is thrust back into pandemonium. 

Click to read my full review...

Monday, February 27, 2012

Life is But a Dream (ARC) ~ Brian James

Life Is But a Dream 
Author: Brian James
Publication: March 27, 2012
By: Feiwel & Friends
3 Stars!

I am sucker for a pretty cover and this one is no exception! It's also very fitting for the storyline.

"Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream..."

Set within the walls of a psychiatric ward, Life is But a Dream is a story of love and hope that follows the journey of Sabrina, a young schizophrenic who struggles with finding normalcy amidst the noise and colors the threaten to swallow up her life.  (Author Brian James' prose is so beautiful in it's imagery that you feel as if your reading a song instead of a book.) 

Sabrina's parents send her to the Wellness Center after her "episodes" reach a breaking point and she's suspended from school as a result.  It's there that she meets Alec, a boy dealing with his own anger issues and whose convinced that everyone else is the problem and they're the ones who are normal.  (That's the way it always is, right?)  They strike up a quick friendship because he doesn't treat Sabrina as if she's crazy like everyone else in her life does.  He's enthralled by her view of the world which always seems dreamlike and filled with colors and creatures that only appear in the world of make believe.  

As the weeks go by and Sabrina begins to see things as they really are, (thanks to her meds) Alec tells her it's because the doctors are trying to change her, to take away all that makes her "who" she is.  This frightens her so she decides, at Alec's suggestions, to go off of her medications, neither of them realizing the deadly effects this could have.  When reality and delusion begin to collide, Sabrina's true sanity will be tested and she'll need the support of those who love her in order to survive. 

As difficult as it is to watch Sabrina struggle for her reality, it's even harder to watch as those around her come to the realization that she does, in fact, have a serious problem.  Her parents love her and want nothing more than for her to have a normal life.  It's obvious that Alec loves her too and when he sees what his actions have done to her, your heart breaks for him.

There is hope though and that was what I enjoyed most about this book.  Hope in knowing that with the correct treatment and a good support system, people living with Schizophrenia can lead lives full of love, wonder and color, just like the rest of us.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Pop goes my sanity...

Last week I was working on a top seekrit project that may or may not have involved the following things, dancing in public, books, singing, a certain boy band and my overall humiliation. I could tell you now but then I'd have to killz you and I don't like blood so... when that project is complete and ready to share I will. 

I couldn't do my part of the project without the help of my little people, one of which is a camera hog so I had to bribe him with his own video time.  Here is the result... (I'm relegated to backup dancer which is where I'm most happy to be.)  Enjoy!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Call Me Maybe

Never take yourself so seriously that you aren't willing to do things that will make your kids happy even if you look and feel like a complete (you know what) in the process.  

None of us knows how many days we're allowed so make 'em count!  Besides, life is too short not to have fun, be silly, and acta fool. (Not all the time because that just draws the wrong kind of attention - the kind requiring long white coats.)

Btw, I figure my kids will most likely need therapy for something in the future so it might as well be because I put my book, Nook, Kindle, iPhone, laptop, etc. down and made silly dance videos with them. (I'm kidding about the therapy part...I think.)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

DEFIANCE by C.J. Redwine Cover Reveal!
I think I sucked all the air out of the room when I saw this. SO.VERY.SPARKLY!!

YABC had the EXCLUSIVE Cover Reveal for DEFIANCE (coming in August)!

For more info and to read a note from C.J.  click here.


Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city’s brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses, host dinner parties, and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father’s apprentice, Logan—the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same boy who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father’s survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.
At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city’s top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor’s impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.
As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can’t be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

You can pre-order DEFIANCE now at Barnes & Noble.com and Amazon.com

Enter to win a signed finished copy of DEFIANCE and an exclusive piece of DEFIANCE swag over at C.J.'s blog. Head there now to enter!

Sophie Jordan revealed the cover to "Hidden", the final book in her "Firelight" trilogy and my first thought was...


How *SPARKLY* is THIS cover?!  *squeals*

Here's the scoop on "Hidden" according to Sophie's website

Coming September 11, 2012 ...
The final book in the Firelight trilogy: HIDDEN!


At last all will be revealed...

sophie jordan's HIDDEN 

A dangerous journey.
Shattered bonds.
Undying passion.

Jacinda was supposed to bond with Cassian, the "prince" of their pride.
But she resisted long before she fell in love with Will—a human and, worse,
a hunter. When she ran away with Will, it ended in disaster, with Cassian's sister, Miram, captured. Weighed down by guilt, Jacinda knows she must rescue
her to set things right. Yet to do so she will have to venture deep into the heart of enemy territory.
The only way Jacinda can reach Miram is by posing as a prisoner herself,
though once she assumes that disguise, things quickly spiral out of her control.
As she learns more about her captors, she realizes that even if Will and Cassian
can carry out their part of the plan, there's no guarantee they'll all make it out alive. But what Jacinda never could have foreseen is that escaping would be
only the beginning....
Loyalties are tested and sacrifices made in the explosive conclusion to Sophie Jordan's Firelight trilogy.

I can't WAIT to read this!!! 

You can pre-order "Hidden" now:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Gil Marsh (ARC) ~ A.C.E. Bauer

Gil Marsh

Author: A.C.E. Bauer
Publication: February 28, 2012
By: Random House Books for Young Readers
1 Star

*It's always a struggle for me whenever I have to write a less than favorable review because I know the author has poured their heart into their work and I don't like to be the one to say I didn't like it.  However, I do believe in giving my honest opinion and I will do my best to share it while being respectful of both the author and their work.

Thank you to Netgalley and Random House for the chance to read this book.
The cover is what originally caught my attention and made me want to read this story but unfortunately, that's where my interest ended.
This is a modern day retelling of the story of Gilgamesh, the Sumerian King from 3000 BC. Gil Marsh the reinging "top dog" at school quickly befriends the new kid, Enko after realizing being rivals with him is a waste of time.  The speed at which they become BFF's is almost unbelievable (who becomes friends that fast?) and a little unsettling.  I started to feel as if I was reading about two guys who'd fallen in love with one another instead of two guys who'd become as close as brothers.
After Enko's untimely death, Gil isn't sure what the purpose of life is anymore.  He sets out on a journey with the hope that in finding Enko again, he'll ultimately find himself in the process. 

I'm sorry to say that I had a hard time reading the rest of this book because I found it to be dry and boring.  Hopefully, there will be other readers who will thoroughly enjoy this book but I am not one of them.

My Book Basket

Here's what's in my book basket thanks to YABookscentral, NetGalley and Thomas Nelson.  I still have my fingers (and toes, eyes, etc.) crossed that the "Insurgent" fairy might drop off a copy before it hits shelves in May. I did read the excerpt yesterday, along with the rest of the Four hungry nation which upped my drool factor by a bazillion percent!

I still think HarperCollins should've capitalized on the popularity of the book by holding some sort of fearscape competition but who knows, maybe for an ARC of the final book in the series. ;D

The Galahad Legacy (Galahad, #6)Cosmic Storm (Galahad, #5)

Angel Eyes (Angel Eyes Trilogy, #1)  
Try Not to BreatheDreamless (Starcrossed, #2) 
Fever (The Chemical Garden, #2)The Starboard Sea: A Novel
Because of Low
The Island HorseOn an American Day Volume 1: Story Voyages through History 1750-1899
School For Banditshttp://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41pQHULOtML._SL500_AA300_.jpg

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Shadows (A Lux Novella) ~ Jennifer L. Armentrout

Shadows (Lux, #0.5) Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Publication: February 21, 2012 (Kindle)
By: Entangled Publishing
4 Stars!

SHADOWS is kinda like eating chocolate...as it melts from a fountain. No spoon required. :) (My tweet today)

This book is more than just a pretty cover and OH.MY.DAWSON, is it ever a purdy cover?!  *stares*  
Wait, what was I saying?  Oh yeah, there's more to this story than meets those beautiful, sparkly eyes and I do *hearts* sparkly things.

You have your good versus evil in which case the light has to battle the darkness (literally), there's a swoon worthy romance *fans face* but it's also about not being afraid to show who you really are. Dawson, his siblings and their friends spend so much time hiding their true selves because it's dangerous for everyone, and yeah, they're aliens but they're unlike any I've ever seen on the big screen.  Shoot, if E.T. looked like Dawson or Daemon, there would've been no need for him to "phone home"... just sayin'! 

This got me thinking though...how often do we hide behind our own false exteriors because there's an element of danger and fear in people knowing who we really are?  

I actually enjoyed Shadows a little more than Obsidian but before the hate mail starts, let me explain.  I liked Obsidian, I did (I promise! *ducks*) but the tension between Daemon and Katy was nerve-racking for me.  *chews nails*   I just wanted them to admit their feelings for one another and live happily ever after!  OK, so not happening especially since there are more books to come, but you get my point.  At least with Shadows, my nerves were eased a bit with the relationship that sparked between Dawson and Bethany.

Bethany is awesome and brave and Dawson is... *sighs* I loved Dawson...SO.HARD.  He's not just beautiful on the outside but he's got a good heart and that's what Bethany sees.  She is able to look beyond the obvious, to the real him and she loves him regardless. He is able to be himself when he's with her and isn't that what real love is about? 

Having read this after Obsidian gave me a new appreciation for Daemon and his bad boy 'tude.  I mean, I understood it before but my heart was breaking for him (and Dee) by the end of Shadows. *sobs*  I wanted to hug him and say it was okay to be a jerky mcjerkypants. (some of the time)

Shadows and Obsidian were my introduction to Armentrout's stories and her style of writing which I found both funny and refreshing. I'm really looking forward to the next installment in this series!  Btw, I will never look at the fine folks of West Virginia quite the same way again (hubs family is from there) especially those who sport sparkly eyes and voracious appetites. ;)

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Returning (ARC) ~ Christine Hinwood

The Returning
Author: Christine Hinwood
Publication: April 14, 2011 (Read Feb 2012)
By: Penguin Young Readers Group
3 Stars

Pretty Cover

I'm rarely at a loss for words but that's where I find myself with this book.  I liked it but I also had a few issues with it. 
The summary made it sound like the story is about Cam Attling, a soldier returning from war, the only one in fact, from his town of Kayforl to survive.  He returns with only one arm, on a horse from the enemy.  He has to face questions and accusations from family and friends like... What happened to the other men?  Why was he the only one to survive?  How did he end up with one of the new Lord's horses?  He's called, "Traitor" and "Crippled" behind his back and to top it off his betrothal to Graceful Fenister is called off by her father even though she doesn't agree with the decision.  No one is quite sure what to do with him now that he's home which leaves a battered and broken Cam to figure out where he belongs and how he fits in on his own.

From there, the story begins to get a little confusing when all of the other characters are introduced and the story gets told from their POV's.  It left me wondering at times who the main focus of the story really was?  Even though the author did show how everyone's lives ultimately intertwined with Cam's, the ending still left me disappointed. I enjoyed Cam and Graceful and felt like their storyline in particular was headed in one direction about midway through the book (when Cam is flashing back to his time during the war) but then went a completely different route by the end. (I equated it to Frodo deciding to keep the ring in the  LOTR series instead continuing on to Mordor.)  

The world created by Hinwood is imaginative and unique with characters who come to life on the page.  The Returning is an epic story of war, love, loss and learning to live again. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Look at the *sparkly* that came in the mail... 

They'll be part of a Giveaway soon so be sure to check back. :)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Putting Boys On the Ledge (A Girlfriend's Guide to Boys #1) ARC ~ Stephanie Rowe

Putting Boys On The Ledge (Book 1, A Girlfriend's Guide to Boys Series)
Author: Stephanie Rowe
Publication: October 31, 2011 (Read Feb. 2012)
By: TKA Distribution
3 Stars

Thank you to Netgalley and TKA Distribution!

Blueberry Waller, or "Blue" as she's known to her family and friends, is your average 14 year old freshman whose life is consumed with boys.  She tries out for her school's musical and ends up crushing on Heath Cavendish, a popular senior who also happens to be the lead in the play.  Never in a million years would a guy like Heath be interested in a girl like Blue...right?  But he is!

With the help of her girlfriends and her newest friend, Colin, Blue sets out to keep Heath's attention and win his heart by putting him on the Ledge.  (The Ledge is where a girl puts the boy she really likes after getting his attention but only takes him off once she knows for sure that he's really into her and only her.)  Through a series of sweet, humorous, and complete AWKWARDSAUCE moments, Blue learns that the boy isn't always the one who gets put on the Ledge and sometimes what we're really searching for has been right in front of us all along.  

The cover is cute except that in the story Blue has brown hair and the girl on the cover is blond which bothered me a little bit.


My problem with the Ledge itself is that it's manipulation.  While I understand the fear of vulnerability (and remember it well) when it comes to boys, to act like you like them and then treat them poorly until they can essentially "prove themselves" worthy is not nice.  Honesty is always the best policy even if it means risking a broken heart.  The same goes for boys.  It is not OK for boys to treat girls the way Heath did and Colin was a MUCH better choice. :)

Friday, February 17, 2012

The One That I Want ~ Jennifer Echols

The One That I Want
Author: Jennifer Echols
Publication: February 7, 2012
By: Simon Pulse
2 Stars

I read this in one sitting and wanted to love this book, I really did but the magic just wasn't there for me. 

I always enjoy Echols easy style of writing which flows nicely and makes for both enjoyable as well as fast reading. Her characters have depth even if I don't always like them (Addison) and I like that she doesn't stick to generic boys.  Max is Japanese and he.is.hawt. *swoon*  It's nice to have culturally diverse hot book boys who aren't some sort of vampire, werewolf or demon AND who aren't the stereotypical blond hair, blue-eyed type.  (There's nothing wrong with the All-American boy, I *hearts* them too, in fact, I married one and gave life to one but it's nice to have a good representation of what society is really like.)  

Gemma is willing to stand up for herself to a certain extent but the constant emphasis on her weight and body shape made me sad for her.  I wanted her to be more comfortable in her own skin.  The fact that she and Addison were majorette's seemed a little dated to me.  I haven't seen any girls twirl a baton since I was in elementary school and that was a "few" *coughs* years ago.  Maybe its popular in the South?  I'm not sure.  Cheer leading still reigns supreme in these parts.  Speaking of Addison...to say I didn't like her is an understatement.  She made me physically ill.  I would've called her lame rear out years ago regardless of how much junk I had in my own trunk at the time.  She epitomizes "Mean Girl". *ick*

I really wish Max had been more clued into Gemma earlier on in the book because as smart as he is he sure acted pretty clueless and wasted a whole bunch of time with Addison.  I would've like to have seen a little more Gemmax/Maxemma time in the book but that's just me.

I have no doubt that a lot of readers will fall in love with this story and I think that's awesome!  This one just wasn't for me.  My favorite Jennifer Echols read so far has been "Forget You".


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fracture ~ Megan Miranda

Author: Megan Miranda
Publication: January 17, 2012
By: Walker Children's
4 STARS! (read this book ASAP)

I love this cover!

Delaney Maxwell should be dead. By all accounts no one survives a fall through ice, spends eleven minutes in freezing cold water without dying or at least sustaining major brain damage, but Delaney does.  What happens in those eleven minutes not only changes Delaney's life, but the lives of everyone around her. 

Fracture is an intense story about life and death, love and loss and the discovery that there is in fact a difference between being alive and truly living.

Delaney and Decker, the boy she's been BFF's with since forever, were on their way to meet up with friends when he decided they should take the shortcut across the lake.  She protested, he scoffed and then he left her to join the others. What happened in the next instant changed both of their lives forever.

Decker and Delaney are always together but they aren't "together" even if kids at school have begun to wonder.  Delaney has noticed that Decker isn't riding the ugly train and she's heard the boys' whispers that neither is she but it's Decker and to think of him as anything other than her BFF would just be weird...right?  But "Decker" is whose name she screams as she falls through the ice and Decker is the one who pulls her out, trying desperately to save her life.  Decker is the one who stays at the hospital anxiously waiting, believing, willing Delaney to wake up. (We *hearts* Decker, just in case you're not paying attention.)  When she finally does, his relief is overshadowed by his guilt which is bittersweet and heartbreaking.  He tries so hard to do what's best for her and their friendship but can feel it splintering more each day.  *swipes tears*

Delaney surprises everyone by not only waking up from a coma after nearly a week but coming out of it seemingly unscathed, at least by all outward appearances. That's short lived when strange things begin to happen inside her body, like how she feels drawn toward the sick and dying.  Her doctor passes this off as a side effect of the eleven minutes she spent under the frozen lake but Delaney knows it's something more.  She feels it like a warning.  Fearing those around her will think she's gone crazy, she decides it's best to keep these "warnings" to herself but that's becoming harder to do.

Delaney's life fractures a little more with each passing day...her relationships with her family and friends; how she views the world and especially how she views herself.  She struggles to piece together who she was with who she is now but nothing makes sense to her anymore and she feels alone, until she meets Troy.  He's mysterious yet familiar and he claims to understand Delaney in ways that no one else can.  (He's also not riding the ugly train.)  She feels a pull whenever he's around and as much as she initially wants to avoid him (and Decker wants her to as well) she can't.  Then there's Decker, who knows her better than she's knows herself, or at least he used too.  He seems to want things to go back to normal but Delaney doesn't know what "normal" is anymore and the closer she gets to Troy, the greater the divide between she and Decker grows.

When the bottom drops out from under her again, Delaney will find herself in yet another fight to survive.  Decker was her savior last time.  Will he be there to pull her through this time or will she be forced to save herself?

*Personal note:  I read this in about 4 hours & when I was finished my initial reaction was: OhMyDECKER!  I LOVED HIM!  *swoon*  I also enjoyed Troy but a girl only has so much room in her heart, ya know?  I'd also stopped after the first chapter to read "Eleven Minutes: Exclusive Tie-In Story (FRACTURE)"  which is from Decker's POV and probably had a little something to do with the TEAM DECKER high.  ;)  Click the link below and then follow the directions.  I promise, you will.not.be.disappointed.


I also shivered  - literally shivered - through the entire under water scene. This was partly because I fell through ice as a child.  When I was in second grade, a friend and I decided to try and cross a man made pond in our neighborhood (which I didn't really want to do but I went along so she wouldn't call me a chicken. She was older and I wanted to be "cool" like her.)  I took a couple of steps along the edge and the next thing I knew I was under the water and had been pulled into the middle of this pond where I couldn't stand. Thankfully, I was pulled out by a man who was nearby and who'd heard her screams.  Goodness knows I couldn't call for help but I do remember thinking I was going to drown.  I will never forget the feeling of not being able to get warm.  Scary stuff!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day from Ash!

All you fans of "The Iron Fey" series will want to check out this Valentine's Day Exclusive!  Warning: It does take place after "The Iron Knight" so it might be a little spoilery but it's soooo worth reading. 

I loved it SO.HARD.  It's Cupcake Boy after all! ;D *sighs* (Don't be mad Ash, you know I *hearts* you! Mwah!)  Besides, this sure beats the way hubby and I started our Valentine's Day off which involved catching a mouse that was still alive and screeching.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Paper Covers Rock ~ Jenny Hubbard

Paper Covers Rock

Author: Jenny Hubbard
Publication: June 14, 2011 (Read February 2012)
By: Delacorte Press for Young Readers
3 Stars

All games in life require strategy and involve some sort of risk.  Each player must make their next move based on the information at hand but what if they don't have all the pieces to the puzzle?  Who do you trust?  Well, then it becomes a game of chance.

For Alex, Glenn and Thomas, what began as an afternoon of relaxation, including a childish game of Rock, Paper, Scissors ends in death and sets in motion a real life game of Truth or Dare.

Click here to

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Shooting Stars (ARC) ~ Allison Rushby

Shooting Stars

Author: Allison Rushby
Publication: February 28, 2012
By: Bloomsbury Children's Books
3 Stars

Cute cover!

Thank you to Netgalley and Bloomsbury for this book. This was a fun contemporary read that holds a lot of relevancy in today's celeb hungry society.  

Zo Jo is a sixteen year old member of the paparazzi and is used to doing whatever it takes to get that "perfect shot".  When she's presented with an opportunity that will provide her with enough money to get out of the bizz for good and enable her to do what she really loves, she should jump at the chance but instead she's torn.  She's known for using her small size and young appearance to her advantage and it helps her get the job the done but with this one, she'll have to target the only celebrity whose ever shown her kindness - teen heartthrob, Ned Hartnett.  

Jo expects the job to tough but what she doesn't count on is falling for Ned or discovering things about him that set him apart from the other celebs she normally shoots...things that make him seem, well, human.  She'll also struggle with what she learns about herself and how that could affect not only her future but Ned's as well.  

In this story about love, fame, and loyalty, author Rushby takes an insiders look at the world of tabloid magazines questioning where the line of privacy should be drawn and at what point should the public be allowed to cross it.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Statistical Probability Of Love At First Sight ~ Jennifer E. Smith

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Publication: January 2, 2012
By: Poppy
4 Stars!

Can four minutes really make that much difference?  If you're Hadley Sullivan, four minutes can change your life.

At first glance, I was expecting this to be a light, easy read but I was wrong.  While this story does have it's pleasantly romantic moments, it's overall theme of heartfelt love runs throughout the whole book.

When Hadley misses her flight to London she's both relieved and frustrated.  She doesn't really want to go to across the pond to begin with but the thought of waiting around in a crowded airport for a few hours waiting to catch the next flight out isn't all that appealing either.  

Hadley struggles with claustrophobia and even the ceiling of the airport starts to feel as if it's closing in on her.  She tries to focus on staying calm but nothing seems to work and just as she's reached her point of major freak out, a cute boy with an English accent comes to her rescue.  Oliver offers to help her with her bags and within a matter of minutes, they discover that not only are they on the same flight, they're sitting one seat apart. Coincidence or fate?  

Over the next few hours, Hadley and Oliver talk about anything and everything from family to respective "exes".  They even discuss the pros and cons of love and marriage.  He continues to help her through a few more "episodes" and they share some really sweet moments as well.  She tells Oliver about all she's been through in the past year and how she's traveling to London for a wedding.  When he shares with her that his trip involves the church he grew up attending, she assumes he's going for similar reasons.  When they arrive and she discovers the real reason for his visit home, her ideas about love, marriage and forgiveness will be challenged in ways she never imagined.  Hadley will see first hand how the seemingly insignificant things can impact not only our lives but those around us as well.  

I enjoyed this book and how author, Smith painted love as picture, allowing the reader to see that "love" isn't just a story being told between a boy and a girl.  It's also how a parent communicates love to their child when their own words don't come easily; like a light in the dark, or words on weathered pages.

“But Hadley understood. It wasn't that she was meant to read them all. Maybe someday she would, but for now, it was more the gesture itself. He was giving her the most important thing he could, the only way he knew how. He was a professor, a lover of stories, and he was building her a library in the same way other men might build their daughters houses.”
Love can also act as a healing balm between two hearts where pain seems to be the common language.

“Because I was with you," he tells her. "I feel better when I'm with you.” 

I could identify with Hadley in the respect that I have also claustrophobic moments (I will get off of an elevator if there are too many people on it) and I was about her age when my Dad remarried.  I had to be a bridesmaid in the wedding too but I didn't get to make a trip to London for the wedding nor was there a cute boy with an English accent to distract me. *sighs*

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Home Front ~ Kristin Hannah

Home Front
Author: Kristin Hannah
Publication: January 31, 2012
By: St. Martin's Press
4 Stars!

Feel like going on an endless crying jag or ripping your heart out, throwing it on the ground and driving your car over it like a million times?  Yeah?!  Then this is the book for you! Oh.My.WORD was this a tough read!  *sobs*

It's a story about duty, honor, love and commitment that's equal parts heartwarming and gut wrenching. *cries*  The main focus is the war in Iraq and more importantly, women serving in combat.  It also deals heavily with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the devastating effects PTSD  has on both the returning soldier and their family.  *looks for tissues*

Jolene and Michael, like most married couples, used to dream of living "happily ever after" while raising their daughters, twelve year old Betsy and 4 year old Lulu together but are now just going through the motions.  He's on the verge of a mid-life crisis, itching to "find himself" as she struggles to keep with the status quo.  Toss in a hormonal preteen drama queen and they've got "We need Dr. Phil" stamped all over them. 

Pride, selfishness and hurt feelings can wage a war all their own in a marriage and most couples have plenty of time to play a game of "marital chicken" with each waiting the other out.  But when everything comes to a head one night and words are spoken in the heat of an argument, Michael and Jolene's time is up with one phone call that changes their lives forever. 

Jolene gets deployed to Iraq and Michael (resentful as a toddler whose toys are taken away) is left at home to be both Mom and Dad to their daughters. (The first day he's with the girls is both heartbreaking and hilarious.)  They each do what's necessary in order to navigate their way through these new roles all the while counting down the days to Jolene's return home...if she returns home at all.  They both have major "me" issues to overcome and it isn't until Jolene's in a daily life threatening situation that they both recognize they've waited too long to fix things.   

Life is full of unexpectedness and crap and sometimes we get some stuck on the bottom of our shoe but it's how you scrape it off that matters.  We can spend years with a person and wake up one day only to discover that we've lost them even though they're still right in front of us.  How does that happen?  How do you get them back?  You have to go back to the beginning.  Go back to the time when you first found them, first loved them and remember.  It's in the remembering, that we realize the best of what you have is what's been in front of you all along. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

You Might Be A Bully If...

You might be a bully if:
You make fun of the new girl because she shares the same name as the girl who moved during the summer but she isn't as pretty.

You might be a bully if:
You give the girl with the glasses and braces nicknames like four eyes, metal mouth, train tracks and tell her she's an ugly duckling but maybe one day she'll turn into a swan.  The thing is?  She'll only remember the "ugly" part and that you said these things in front of your clique and the boy she had a crush on...while they all laughed.

You might be a bully if:
You follow that girl home and throw handfuls of gravel at she and her friend.  The frosting on the cupcake?  You don't even live in the same neighborhood.
You might be a bully if:
You mock her every time he turns to chat with her and she flushes pink.  She can't help her reaction or the fact that he's the one boy all the girls like, including you.  

You might be a bully if:
When she finally works up the nerve to tell him how she feels (in a note) you manage to intercept it and read it. OUT.LOUD. in front of your friends who stand laughing.  And him who stands silent and red faced.  

You might be a bully if:
You invite the whole class to your party (because your Mom says it's the nice thing to do) but you make a point of telling her she's not wanted there. Again, in front of your group and him.  Do you know that she racks her brain wondering what she ever did to make you hate her so much?

You might be a bully if:
You move on to a new set of hallways but still set your aim on her.  There are different groups, different friends, a new himYou're used to getting what you want... It comes so easily for you. Not anymore.  You don't make the "group".  She does.  These new friends say there's room enough for the both of you but you can't handle not being the center of attention.  She prays things will get better.  That you'll be nicer.  

You might be a bully if:
You resort to lies and threats of violence against her because the new him that you both show interest in doesn't want you, he wants her.  Not you? Is he serious?! It's YOU for crying out loud!  Does.he.even.know.what he's giving up?!  She doesn't bend as easily anymore but she's still breakable. You use this to your advantage.  Once the rumors start she knows she's fighting a losing battle...

You might be a bully if: 
When she goes through one of the darkest periods of her young life and comes back to school with scars not visible from the outside, you help welcome her back by whispering her new nicknames, "crazy"..."psycho".  You have no idea what she's going through. The effort it takes some days just to get out of bed and yet, you.don't.stop.  

You might be a bully if:
In your final year together she, who is harderbraverdstronger finally asks you, "Why?" "Was there a reason?"... You look at her blankly for a moment, then say, "I don't know. I guess because I felt like it." 

You might be a bully if:
Even now, after all these years, after she's long forgiven you, just the mention of your name reminds her of sadness and pain but no longer hers. It reminds her of yours.  She wishes you nothing but the best, has even accepted you a "friend".  She hopes more than anything that you've changed.  That you've found peace and joy in the One who created you to be more than what you used to be.

A big shout out to K.M. Parr & K.C. Neal for hosting this blog hop & for everyone participating!

Spread Love, Not Hate