Sunday, January 29, 2012

This Is Not A Test ~ Courtney Summers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In A Nutshell:

Sloane is at the end of her rope. Feeling betrayed by a sister who abandons her to a life alone with their abusive father, Sloane plans to end her life. Little does she know that the world outside her front door is spiraling out of control. The infected are taking over the living, and Sloane finds herself barricaded inside the local High School. A lone girl who wants to die, among 5 other teenagers who desperately want to live.


This had to be one of the most intense book reading experiences I have ever had. The feeling of both anxiety and claustrophobia was just overwhelming at times. But, not in a way that would make me want to stop reading. In fact, I couldn't put this book down. And when pesky things like work made me have to walk away from this story for a few hours, I could not stop thinking about the characters and where I thought the story was going.

The last third of this book was just unrelenting in it's intensity. The over-all feeling of dread by the final 25 pages was just insane. And the ending didn't not disappoint in the least.

And yes, this is a story about a zombie apocalypse. But it is SO much more than that.

I am in awe of the way this author was able to maintain both the creep factor, and the overwhelming tension through out this book. There was truly no slow filler. Just a nail-biting "oh-my-gawd-what's-going-to-happen-next?" kind of story.

Bottom Line:

A relentless, completely brilliant book. With zombies.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Bryan's Brain ~ Bryan Healey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A highly enjoyable, extremely funny anthology of essays from Bryan Healey.

Bryan leads us through a childhood full of obsessions....ranging from his attempts to build a time machine out of his mother's minivan, to deciding to buy his own private mountain, and his life's goal of opening his own dinosaur theme park.

Bryan's stories are both funny and sweet in their child-like enthusiasm. He never takes himself too seriously, and in fact spices up his tales with a healthy dose of sarcasm and self-deprecating humor....all of which only add to the enjoyment of the book. And when Bryan gets somewhat serious in his essay about his Grandfather ("Sport") his emotion feels completely genuine, and in fact touched me greatly. I recently lost my Father and his descriptions of how he felt losing such a formally strong and larger than life figure in his life, hit very close to home with me.

This collection of essays was a joy to read from beginning to end. And if Bryan manages to open up that theme park...i will be first in line for tickets.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Dreams Both Real & Strange Vol 2 ~ K.W. McCabe

3 1/2 stars out of 5

Another very enjoyable short story collection.

What I especially liked was that these stories were a continuation on the ones from the first Volume. They have the same lyrical, magical feel as the first and answers some of the questions left hanging in Volume 1.

I look forward to reading more by this author in the future.

**Special thanks to K.W. McCabe for offering me these books for review.**

Dreams Both Real & Strange Vol 1 ~ K. W. McCabe

3 1/2 out of 5 stars
This book was a quick and enjoyable read for me.

The short stories included in this volume were at times a little confusing, especially with how short they were. It seemed like I was just getting a feel for one particular story, and it was moving on to the next. However, I loved the lyrical style of writing, and the otherwordly feel to all of them.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Paper Towns ~ John Green

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In A Nutshell:
Quentin Jackobsen is an average young man growing up in Orlando. He's not popular, or unpopular...he floats somewhere in between. The most extraordinary thing about Q's life, is that he had the good fortune to grow up living next to one Margo Roth Spiegelman. A larger than life girl who's adventures are the stuff of legend. One night, Margo enlists Q to help her carry out her biggest adventure yet; a meticulously planned out night of revenge. Upon returning home the next morning, Q feels more alive then ever, and is hopeful for a future that might include Margo. But there is anther side to the girl that seems so full of life. A dark, and desperate side...and as Margo Roth Spiegelman decides to drop out of her life in Orlando, Q's true adventure is only just beginning.

I don't even know where to start with this book.

I have purposely been putting off reading John Green's newest book The Fault in Our Stars for the time being because I knew it would be an incredibly emotional read. Little did I know what kind of condition I would be in by the end of Paper Towns.

There were many times when I wished I could reach inside the book and shake some sense into Q. And there were many times when I wished I could kick Margo Roth Spiegelman's butt. But, in the end....I absolutely loved this book.

There are definite similarities between this book and Green's first novel Looking for Alaska. Both main characters are obsessed with a girl...or in actuality the IDEA of a girl, and both go in search of answers to the girls underlying mysteries. But having similar plot elements in this case isn't a bad thing, and Miles and Q are two totally different characters, which makes both stories work so well in their own ways.

I can count on one hand the times that a book has made me cry. This book made me cry. The last 3 pages were my complete undoing. One second I was fine, and the next....sobbing. In fact, after I finished the book I left it on my couch and went and got ready for bed (at 4am...after staying up all night to finish a book I had started that evening), and when I returned to put the book back on the book shelf, I looked at the cover...and i started crying AGAIN.

John are an evil, evil man. How do you manage to create these characters...these beautifully flawed, quirky characters...that just come alive off the page, and find a permanent home inside my brain?

And one final note: The last line of the book...the final sentence...hands down my favorite closing line of any book I have ever read.

Bottom Line:
Along with Looking For Alaska, Paper Towns is now firmly nestled on my Favorite Books of All Time shelf.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

*Small eBook Haul*

I got this ARC from Netgalley....

And these titles for my Kindle. :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Will To Murder ~ Hilary Thomson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In A Nutshell:
When wealthy but slightly nutty patriarch James Boyle dies suddenly, his relatives congregate at the family home for the reading of the will. As more questions arise about the true cause of Boyle's death, and more and more relatives begin dropping like flies, utter chaos ensues.

I can't remember the last time I had so much fun reading a book. The over the top wacky story line reminded me of one of my all time favorite movies; Arsenic & Old Lace. The pure chaotic insanity of the characters and some of the situations that unfold in A Will To Murder garnered me so many genuine laugh out loud moments that i have lost track of them all.

Yes there were a LOT of characters to try and keep track of (a little bit difficult to do for the first third of the book), but it was worth it in the end because the author had planted such a huge goofy grin on my face that none of that seemed to matter.

Hands down my favorite character was Arthur. His sections of the book were among the most entertaining. I vote for another book featuring Arthur and his adventures with Flopsy & Mopsy.

Bottom Line:
A wild and wacky mystery that's bound to be one of my favorite reads of the year.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Near Witch ~ Victoria Schwab

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In A Nutshell:

On the night that a mysterious stranger is spotted in the small village of Near, children begin disappearing from their beds. As the villagers begin to panic, and point fingers at the stranger, young Lexi knows that someone else is behind the disappearances. That what was once thought to be nothing more than a ghost story, may in fact be very real.


The Near Witch reads very much like a classic, if dark fairy tale. The words are lyrical, and the story has a magical feel to it, which I loved. One of the aspects I loved the most was how Schwab uses the element of "The Stranger" and the Thorne Sisters to shine a light on prejudice and just how hard it is for some people to handle change and their lack of acceptance towards people who are deemed at all different from themselves. She handled the subject in a very delicate way, and I think that it only adds to the richness of the story.

Bottom Line:

A beautiful dark fairy tale.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Taken ~Zia Marie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


While taking his little sister Aubrey to a fair in a nearby town, 17 yr old Jackson finds himself lost. He stumbles into a town that at first seems deserted, and then suddenly bristling with life. And the people of the strange town soon make it clear that leaving is not an option.


After winning a copy of this book through, I had initially sat down to read the first chapter or two just to get a feel for the story. The next thing I knew, it was 2 hours later, and I hadn't moved or looked away from the book once in that time.

This book completely blew me away. The story line was fast paced, the characters were well developed and relateable. The entire book felt like a really awesome episode of The Twilight Zone...which in my world is a *very* good thing.

*Bottom Line*

Hands down the best dystopian novel I have ever read. I can't wait to get my hands on the 2nd book in the series, Lost.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

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

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Maybe my expectations were just too high for this book, but I can't help but feel disappointed after reading it.

The premise is American girl who misses her flight to London for her father's wedding, meets a cute British boy at the airport. The two end up sitting together on the 7 hr flight, and the reader knows as they go their separate ways in London, that they will definitely run into each other again.

For the first half of the book, Hadley came off as a bit of a brat. And while she managed to redeem herself a little bit by the end, (though her about-face regarding her new step-mother seemed a little too cliche), it's hard for me to really enjoy a story if one of the main characters is grating on my nerves. Oliver was a sweet character, but seemed a little too one-dimensional at times.

This was a VERY short, and quick read for me, so it wasn't hard to stick with it until the end. But, I expected & wanted much more than I got from this book.

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Sunday, January 8, 2012

An Abundance Of Katherines ~ John Green

4 1/2 Stars

While not quite as magical as Looking For Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines was still a wonderfully quirky, sweet, and surprisingly funny book.

Colin Singlton has an obsession with anagrams, and with girls named Katherine. He believes he has been dumped by 19 of them in his short life. After Katherine XIX breaks his heart, he and his best friend Hassan go on a road trip and find themselves spending the summer in a tiny town in Tennessee called Gutshot.

This is only my second time reading a John Green book, and I can honestly say the man truly does live up to all the hype surrounding him. The characters he creates are so beautifully brought to live...all their quirks, and faults and insecurities feel real and very believable. In both Looking For Alaska and An Abundance of Katherines Green has created unique characters that I will always remember.

The character of Colin does come off as winy and needy at times, but in the end I couldn't help but root for this washed up child prodigy, and the band of misfits surrounding him.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Lowboy ~ John Wray

4 Stars.
Lowboy is the story of 16 yr old Will. A paranoid schizophrenic who manages to escape from the mental hospital (which he refers to as "school") he has called home for years. Will walks onto a subway in NYC, prepared for his great mission; to save the world from a fiery ending by the end of the day.

The book is told through various viewpoints, Will's, his mother Violet and the missing persons detective assigned to find Will before he turns violent. Out of the three, Will's POV is most affecting, as the reader is able to witness the decline in his mind's ability to tell the difference between reality and fantasy the longer he is off his medication.

I guess I was naive going into this story, somehow assuming there might be a light at the end of the tunnel for Will. I was not expecting this book to be as dark and bleak as it was. But, the story worked in keeping me interested, and I definitely cared about Will a great deal by the end of the book. The supposed 'twist' involving Violet was pretty predictable, and didn't really add anything, since her character was annoying at best.

At once beautifully written, and truly disturbing, Lowboy was a reading experience I won't soon forget. The main character of Will Hellar has made a huge impression on me. And it is that fact that makes the ultimate resolution to this dark, dark story so heartbreaking.

More book reviews on my channel.


I know it has been forever since I posted a review. Things have been crazy hectic lately.
But, since my book review channel on You Tube is alive and kicking, I plan on writing many more reviews.

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