Month: July 2012

Choker: A Book Review

“The Ethan of her dreams had disappeared. He was just another person who was sad. She was kind of glad, actually. Dreams disappeared when you woke up. The real thing was better anyway.”
–Elizabeth Woods

I picked this book up from the library on the sole suggestion of my friend Ariel. She raved about this book, then while at the library returning and rechecking books before going to Colorado, it sat there on the shelf. I snatched it and off I went. I do not regret this decision. I officially trust Ariel, without question, in all that is book related.

Choker is about two best friends, Cara and Zoe, who were separated when Cara, was forced to move by her parents. Several years later, Cara is in high school and feeling rather miserable. She’s not popular in the slightest bit and she feels that she has no friends. She even accumulates the nickname “Choker.” Then, one day, Zoe appears on Cara’s bed after school. She’s run away from a horrible home life and begs Cara for refuge. Cara, of course, agrees, because “What are best friends for?”
This is going to be a very short review because this book is so amazing. I have no complaints what so ever. This book also needs to be read knowing as little about the story as possible. I can’t even properly tell you who I recommend this book for without ruining it! All I can say is this book is though provoking, surprising, and amazing. If you’re interested in good books, Choker is certainly the book for you!

Audrey’s Guide to Witchcraft: A Book Review

 When the author approached me for a review of this book, I was little apprehensive. It sounded like a good idea, but so many books do, in theory. I’m extremely happy to say, I enjoyed this book. I would like to thank Jody Gehrman for the opportunity to review, and love, this book! I eagerly wait the sequel!

Audrey's Guide to Witchcraft (Book 1)
Audrey’s Guide to Witchcraft by Jody Gehrman
Format: E-book
Published: 30 June, 2012
Publisher: Magic Genie Books

This was the very first book I read on my new Nook Color, and I loved that, but this is a book review. This book is quirky, suspenseful, humorous, and exciting! I easily read a few chapters a day for the first couple of days, but once I hit chapter thirteen, I was hooked. I did not put down my Nook for anything more than a moment. I became enthralled background story of a relationship Audrey develops, not to mention the main story line: chasing the bad guy to save Audrey’s mother.

In this book, Audrey Oliver is a 17 year-old girl living an ordinary life. She loves baking, like her pastry chef mother, and chemistry, like her late father. She has a best friend and a talented sister. One day, Audrey just feels that something is terribly wrong. When Sadie, a young estranged cousin, shows up, her suspicions are confirmed. With the story of her mother having to attend to “family business,” the girls continue in their life. But weird things are happening to Audrey. She sees weird visions and seems to make things happen. Finally, she learns that she, and her mother, are witches. After that life shattering news she learns her mother is fighting an evil man and that Audrey may be in danger too. How is Audrey supposed to balance family loyalty, self-preservation, and her new magical abilities, not to mention falling in love? What’s a witch to do?

As far as the story itself, I liked the idea of it. What can I say? Throw some witches onto paper, have them fight evil and fall in love, I’m sold. I also really loved the characters and their development. Sadie was, by far, my favorite character. I love her quirky personality and how lost she is at first in the Oliver home. I also love her menagerie/entourage.  Meg was also an interesting character, being entirely without knowledge of the truth. Then there’s Julian. I love that man. I’m so glad that Ms. Gehrman didn’t make him evil or sketchy like so many authors feel the need to do.

My only real complaints are stylistic. I questioned the use of some metaphors and found, I think, two typos (only one I marked as distracting). My first complaint, though was the vocabulary. I’m an avid reader and English major with, what I consider, an advanced vocabulary, but within the first 10 pages, I had to look up 2 words and noted one as an unnatural word for a high school junior. If she was said to be an extremely intelligent or advanced student, I’d probably over look  these words, but for a Young Adult novel I found them to seem pretentious and unnatural. After page 10, though, the unusual wording stopped or died down enough I forgot to notice.

Overall, I give this book a 4 star rating. I really really enjoyed it, despite my minor, English major-esque, complaints. I really think that anyone who enjoys exciting fantasy novels, novels about witches and magic, or just really good, fast paced reads would really like this book. I, personally, am patiently (or perhaps impatiently) awaiting the sequel!

Check out the e-book, available for $0.99 HERE!
Or get a copy from Amazon for only $9.99

The Espressologist: A Book Review

Honestly, when I picked up this book my hopes were not overly high. One reviewer I have come to generally trust, Claire, gave this book a good 4 “star” rating in her review. Not long after reading Claire’s review, I saw the book displayed in my local library and decided to snatch it up. After Claire’s review, I knew the book was out of my normal style, but the review made it sound like something that would be worth picking up. I was not disappointed, but I was not overly impressed either.

This book is certainly a Young Adult, feminine book. I think it’s a cute, fluffy read, but it certainly doesn’t make you think or invoke much participation on the readers part. It’s a neat story for an afternoon or weekend Summer read.

Jane Turner has been working at Weird Joe’s coffee shop for several months now. As she serves drinks and observes people, she begins to see a pattern: She can tell what kind of person someone is by what drink they order. As she becomes more interested in this phenomenon, she starts to keep notes on what kind of person drinks each drink, and surprisingly, she is spot on every time. Finally more confident in her informal study, she begins matchmaking friends and frequent customers based on their drink orders. Each time the couples are ecstatic. When word gets out, more and more people want to be matched by the “Espressologist.” With all her matches, Jane is happy to see she has helped couples find happiness, but what about her happiness? What about her match?

I really enjoyed this book for the style. Matchmaking is not generally a genre I’d venture into, but I thought it sounded good for a quick summer read. I was certainly right. This is a great book for a quick summer read, but don’t expect it to be well researched, perfectly written, or surprising. I’d say I have very few complaints about this book. I think Ms. Kristina Springer wrote an interesting new take on the YA romance scene. Wonderful debut novel.

But with all the good I have to say, one major thing brought the entire rating down. The Ending. I felt that the book ended suddenly, as if Springer simply tired of her story or her characters and wrote a quick easy ending without thinking it entirely through. I also felt that the ending was extremely unrealistic. Not so much in what happened, but in how Jane and other characters acted in the end. I understand this is fiction, but it’s a realistic fiction about teenagers with teen drama that suddenly drops. I was very disappointed. Before I reached the final few chapters, I thought this book would be a 4 star book, but the ending got me. There were also problems with the writing and phrasing, especially one character’s use of British slang (incorrectly, might I add).

Over all, I thought it was a decent summer read and good for something light and frilly, or should I say frothy. If you’re looking for something a bit romantic, very light, and very quick, you should think about checking this one out.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: An Adult Book Review

So, a few weeks ago, I got an audio book from the library, one that I expected to be great. Why did I expect it to be great? Because the movie the book inspired was fantastic, one of my favorites, in fact. It’s Douglas Adams’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy!

Like I said, I expected this book to be amazing. I was sadly disappointed. Perhaps it was the fact that I was listening to a man read the book, but I was not impressed. It wasn’t bad, but it certainly isn’t something I would make a point to read again. I will say, though, this book is entirely out of my normal reading style and may be a wonderful sci-fi comedy, I haven’t read any others so I would not know.
This book is, as I said, a Sci-Fi comedy about a man named Arthur. This man is entirely ordinary and unimportant. He lives a normal life, that is until some men decide to destroy his house to build a by-pass, oh, and some aliens decide to destroy his planets to do the same. His friend, Ford, is from a small planet and had received news of the planet’s impending doom. Ford, being the good man he is, chooses to save his confused best friend and they hop onto an enemy ship, only to be tossed out into the horrors of space, and picked up by another, less diabolical ship. On this ship, the earthling meets a man, and re-meets a woman, with whom he travels the universe and learns much.
 So much more happens in the book, but that’s a simplistic explanation.
In truth, the idea of the story and the execution are fantastic. I love the story, the characters, the quirky feel, but the audiobook was not overly pleasant. I believe that the style of the book and the story in general lend themselves more to a visual representation, rather than textual or audio. I really think the movie is much better than the book, which I have never said before. Again, I admit this is certainly not my area of expertise. If you find that sci-fi is your style, or comedy, or especially, sci-fi comedies, then you may love this book. I personally only barely enjoyed it because it reminded me of one of my favorite movies.
Have you read this book? What did you think of it? What about the movie?

The Princess Diaries: A Book Review

Surely, we’ve all seen the two Disney Princess Diaries movies starring Anne Hathaway, yes? I love these movies, and pretty much anything starring Anne Hathaway, so at my best friend’s insisting, I decided to read the first book in the series by Meg Cabot. Man, was I in for a surprise? My best friend had told me that the movies and books were different, but I hadn’t foreseen another Ella Enchanted (yes, another Anne Hathaway movie) style adaption, that is to say that the books and movies happen to have the same name and a few similarities.
As much as I love the movies, I also loved this book.

As always, I’ll begin with a kind of “who-would-love-this” section. This book is really, obviously, aimed for the teenage, female population, as most of Meg Cabot’s YA books are. Honestly, I think anyone who likes the books about the life of off-beat girls would enjoy this one. I would, personally, classify this as a YA Chick-Lit book. Despite the fact that I mostly dislike Chick-Lit, I love YA and really enjoyed this book. I really like the character of Tina (removed from the movie) and I hope to see much more of her throughout the rest of the series. I also really liked Grandmere, even though she’s kind of horrible. One character I really dislike, not as a character but as a person, is Lily. I kind of like that the character exists, but I dislike her as a person.

If you didn’t already know this, Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries is a book about a young girl named Mia. It is her diary as she goes through her life of mediocrity. She goes to a private school in New York (Not San Francisco), has a cat names Louis, a best friend named Lily, and a mom who is dating her teacher. She also has a dad who is a diplomat in a small principality called Genovia. Here’s the kicker, not too far into the book Mia’s dad finds out that he will have no more children and he now has to tell Mia she will inherit the throne of Genova, because by diplomat he means Prince. The rest of the book follows Mia’s understanding and experiences as she discovers her heritage, the world discovers her secret, friends betray her, and her Grandmere tortures her with “Princess Lessons.”

As I said before, I really enjoyed this book. I liked coming into it having seen the movie and knowing the story, then having everything I thought I knew turned on its head. I like Mia’s outlook on things and her writing is certainly, I think, true to a 15 year old’s journal. I really enjoyed reading it and thinking back to being 15, though I’m not a princess, and remembering the horrors of being 15 and imaging placing being a princess on top of that! I also really liked how she reacted to the news in the book verses in the movie. It’s hard to explain without spoiling the differences, but if you’ve read it, you know what I’m talking about.