Review: The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars Book Cover The Fault in Our Stars
John Green
Young Adult
January 2012

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumors in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumors tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind (from Goodreads/publisher).

“I believe the universe wants to be noticed.”

One-sentence review: This book was sad yet thoroughly enjoyable; had great, believable characters; and left me satisfied.

The good: Hazel and Augustus (and Isaac) were top-notch characters, even though they were oddly intelligent for teenagers. I wasn’t put off by their intelligence, though. Great books have smart characters. Green also does a great job setting the scene in this book, whether it’s Amsterdam or Augustus’s parents’ house.

The bad: The dialogue was a little much in places, but it was well executed nonetheless. Peter van Houten was a pain/could’ve been toned down a bit.

Bottom line: This was the first book I’ve read by John Green, and I’m happy to say that I’ll be reading more. The book shed some light on what it’s really like living with cancer and having friends–and boyfriends–who have cancer. A solid read.

Hi, guys!

Yeah, so I’d hate to be one of those blogs that dies shortly after it’s started . . . I’m alive! And I’ve been reading, which has been really good for me as I’ve been navigating through changes at my work, juggling a million things, and going on a pre-Christmas vacation. (Remember Christmas Vacation? Hilarious movie right there–and I watched it last night. It’s amazing the things in a movie you catch when you get older. Anyway . . .) Also, I went a little crazy and bought a ton of books for Black Friday, etc. I’ll be posting my haul soon. AND I got my Secret Santa gift today for the exchange The Broke and the Bookish is hosting. Great stuff! I’ll post on that soon too. I have a lot to catch up on, so bear with me.

I hope you all are having a great December!

Review: Book of a Thousand Days

Book of a Thousand Days Book Cover Book of a Thousand Days
Shannon Hale
December 18, 2007

When Dashti, a maid, and Lady Saren, her mistress, are shut in a tower for seven years for Saren’s refusal to marry a man she despises, the two prepare for a very long and dark imprisonment.

As food runs low and the days go from broiling hot to freezing cold, it is all Dashti can do to keep them fed and comfortable. But the arrival outside the tower of Saren’s two suitors—one welcome, and the other decidedly less so—brings both hope and great danger, and Dashti must make the desperate choices of a girl whose life is worth more than she knows. (from Goodreads/the publisher)

One-sentence review: Overall a good book with a predictable romance, a decent protagonist, and an annoying “sidekick.”

The good: I thought the book was well written, if a little lacking in substance. The romance was good, Dashti was a pretty good main character, and Tegus was awesome. I ended up rooting for Dashti and Tegus, and I loved My Lord the cat and how he finally helped Saren snap out of her craziness.

The bad: Holy cow was Lady Saren annoying! I know that some characters are just supposed to be unlikable, but this one was a little much–though she did calm down later. I thought the lore could’ve been a little more detailed, and I thought it was weird that the bad guy turns into a wolf. Really? We get that he’s a terrible person, but let’s make him a little more believable. The song stuff was a little weird too–even for fantasy.

Bottom line: I would recommend this book for sure, and I did enjoy it once I got into it. It’s just not my favorite of Hale’s. Her Books of Bayern and Princess Academy are a lot better.

Top Ten Tuesday #2: Ten Things I Am Thankful For

Top Ten Tuesday

It’s Top Ten Tuesday again! I’m really getting into this meme. Thanks, The Broke and The Bookish! This time I’m here with “Ten Things I Am Thankful For.”

You know, when you’re thankful for so many things in your life, it’s really hard to narrow the list down to ten, but here goes. I tried to balance booky things with lifey things.

  1. My husband. I really don’t know what I’d do without him. I’d be a pretty sad duck, that’s for sure. It’s one thing to be surrounded by things and people that you love, but it’s quite another to walk through life with someone who really knows you and loves you for all the quirks (and I have many) that you bring into the marriage. I love you, Rich!
  2. My family. I love my family. Being around them and talking about the goings on in life is so wonderful. I’m lucky to have half my family nearby, so it’s fun to visit them more frequently. The other half live far away, but it’s always great to visit them when we get the chance.
  3. God. He is good and good to me. He knows who I am and my potential. He is always there.
  4. My job. I get to be around books all day! Yes, it’s stressful, and, yes, sometimes I work long hours, but I’m an editor. Kind of a dream job for me, a reader and grammar nerd.
  5. My Kindle. I love to read “normal” books during my lunch break (“normal” meaning books that my company doesn’t produce)–and they transport me far away for a while. Anyway, my Kindle allows me to take my eBook library with me. What a luxury.
  6. Peppermint hot chocolate–because, well, is there a better beverage? I will not take other suggestions. 😉
  7. The library. Oh, the smell of books and the rows and rows of them.
  8. Traveling. Boston. San Francisco. Kansas City. Hawaii. Yep, love it.
  9. Good food! Heck yes. Especially cheeseburgers and french fries–you can’t forget the french fries. I love trying new things, and I’m grateful I’m not picky. Like, really grateful. I don’t know what I’d do with myself if I were . . . actually I don’t know what my husband would do with me. 🙂
  10. Great words: Rectitudinous, eristic, prestidigitation, bonhomie, egregious . . .

I really could keep going; I have so many great things and people in my life! Life is good.

What are some things that you’re grateful for, bookish or otherwise?

Stacking the Shelves #2

Stacking the Shelves!

Stacking the shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.

So, there was a library sale this week. . . . 🙂 i got 7 books for $1 each.

Stacking the Shelves 2Pride and Prejudice (Adams and Oliver), Forest Born (Shannon Hale), The Constant Princess (Philippa Gregory), Dragonhaven (Robin McKinley), Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (Helen Fielding), Two Truths and a Lie (Sara Shepard), The Hypnotist’s Love Story (Liane Moriarty)


From the library: Eleanor & Park, The Schwa Was Here, and Cinder

The one I’m really thrilled about is Pride and Prejudice. I’m planning on starting my kids on Austen as early as possible. 🙂 I really want the whole set, and though this copy isn’t in the best shape, it’s a good start. I’m also excited to break into The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty.

And I’m late to the Cinder party, but I’m excited to get started. Anyway, there ya go, my haul for the week. What have you been reading?

First Line Friday #2

First line friday

Hi, friends! So this week I’ve got three books for ya for First Line Friday, a weekly feature by me. I’ll be introducing books that I’ve started this week or will start by Saturday (and I might tweak it a bit, but that’s how it is for now). 🙂

Wuthering Heights1801.—I have just returned from a visit to my landlord—the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with. —Wuthering Heights






Eleanor & ParkHe’d stopped trying to bring her back. —Eleanor & Park







Zusak_book thiefa mountain range of rubble in which our narrator introduces: himself—the colors—and the book thief.  —From the prologue of The Book Thief






I’m starting the first for my book club and the second for fun. And I started the third because I’ve heard great things about it. Any thoughts on any of these books? I’m feeling my classics-reading severely lacking, so I’m going to try and read more of them. Any suggestions?

Happy Friday!


Thursday Quotables #1

I grabbed this idea for Thursday Quotables from Bookshelf Fantasies. Here’s how it works: “This weekly feature is the place to highlight a great quote, line, or passage discovered during your reading each week.” If you participate, make sure to head back over to Bookshelf Fantasies and link up! I love quotes, so I was really excited when I came across this idea. 🙂

Here is my quote this week:

Insane or not, Rudy was always destined to be Liesel’s best friend. A snowball in the face is surely the perfect beginning to a lasting friendship. (The Book Thief)

it’s funny how we make friends sometimes. And can I tell you how much I like the way this book is written? It’s a lot.

What are some good quotes you’ve come across during your week of reading?


Review: Ocean at the End of the Lane

The Ocean at the End of the Lane Book Cover The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Neil Gaiman
William Morrow
June 1, 2013

Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly's wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.

(from Goodreads)

One-sentence review: A marvelous work of fiction that lets you see the world through the eyes of a seven-year-old and reminds you that things are not always as they seem.

Background: I’ve just heard good things about this book, so I thought I’d check it out from the library. Neil Gaiman is new to me, though I’m familiar with the stories of Coraline and Stardust, and I was really excited to read this.

The bad: It’s a little dark, but I wouldn’t call it bad, necessarily.

The good: It’s just a great work of fiction. Gaiman writes in such a way that I totally believe everything in the story. Other realms? Sure. Magical neighbors? Why not.

Bottom line: I loved this book, even with its dark undertones, and I’m excited to read more books by Gaiman. He’s a new favorite. I recommend this to anyone who wants to read a fantastic work of fiction and who wants to get lost in another reality for a short time. I can’t recommend this book enough!

Top Ten Tuesday #1: Ten Books I’d Recommend to . . .

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature from The Broke and The Bookish. This time I’m here with ten books I’d recommend to . . . um, no one in particular. I tried really hard to think of books to recommend to one person, then to many people, but it wasn’t working out too well. Haha. So I’m just going with ten books I love and some random thoughts on each. Yep, that’s all.

1. Anne of Green Gables. My favorite book, hands down. I always thought I was so cool because my middle name is Anne with an E (p.s. I am pretty cool, actually). Gilbert Blythe will always be a heartthrob. Tomorrow really is a day with no mistakes in it. A bosom friend is the best friend a girl can have. It’s cool to be smart. And, c’mon, you know you want puffed sleeves. 🙂

2. Ocean at the End of the Lane. This is one of my current favorites. It’s a captivating read and extremely well done. Gaiman’s the bomb.

3. Tiger’s Curse. This whole series is good so far. Okay, so it’s a romance with tigers that turn into people. Er… People that are cursed to be tigers. But it’s really cool. Romance, mythology, adventure, awesomeness. Go read it. 🙂

4. Brave New World. Is our modern society all that different? Maybe so, but you can certainly draw some interesting parallels. Excellent book.

5. The Book Thief. Okay, so I actually haven’t finished this yet, but the writing is just so gooooood. I’m an instant fan.

Wow, this is getting hard . . . .

6. My Loving Vigil Keeping. I love this book. It’s one of those romances where you become attached to the characters and feel what they feel. I love Carla Kelly’s books, and this one is particularly good. p.s. It’s clean too!

7. The Help. What a great book that speaks to racial segregation on the other side of the color line. Excellently written, great story. Makes you think and leaves you satisfied.

8. Pride and Prejudice. “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” Doesn’t that just draw you in? Just the characters, the story, the everything is awesome.

9. Hamlet. I can’t make a ten-recommendations list without Hamlet. It’s my favorite play and one whose themes you find everywhere. I love all the characters (or love to hate them), and I’m pleased that Claudius gets what’s coming to him in the end. And poor Horatio, right?

10. Harry Potter. Because duh.