Friday, June 29, 2012

Abducted by TGIF and Blog Hops

TGIF is a meme for Fridays hosted by GReads, and here is this week's question!

Best I've Read So Far: We're half way through the year (crazy how time flies!), which top 3 books are the best you've read so far this year?

Here are the books I have truly loved this year and highly recommend!

Will Grayson, Will Grayson By John Green and David Levithan
The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
 The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
and Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Wow, I've read a lot of great books so far! Can't wait to see what the rest of the year brings!

And over on the Blog Hop circuit hosted by Crazy For Books the question for this week is...

Do you have a keeper shelf for books you loved? What books are on that shelf and why?

Yes! I have all my books organized by books I've read, books I haven't read, fiction, non-fiction, and books that were lent to me.

My favorite authors are featured on my these invisible shelves I got off amazon and they are on my living room wall! So, Maeve Binchy, John Green, Nick Hornby, and David Levithan each get there own spot. And in my kitchen I have a book case and all of my C.S. Lewis books go on the top shelf.

 I tried to take pictures but my phone sucks! 

Anyway, have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Abducted by the Peach Keeper

The Peach Keeper is the fourth book that I've finished by Sarah Addison Allen, and unfortunately I was not impressed with it. Over the past year, I have grown to become a huge fan of Allen's. I devoured Garden Spells and I became completely obsessed with The Sugar Queen. But The Peach Keeper felt forced and rushed to me and that makes it my least favorite of her books.

The story follows two women living in the southern town of Walls of Water, North Carolina.

Willa Jackson is a local store owner and was born and raised in Walls of Water. There was a time when she had the desire to move away from the small town and see the world, but after the death of her father she moved home to take care of her grandmother. Willa had a slightly troubled adolensce and is now dealing with the severe quilt she feels towards all the trouble she caused for her father, and the lack of closure between them prior to his passing.

Paxton Osgood is the leader of a local socialite group and she is putting in a lot of work to restore an old mansion, the Blue Ridge Madam, into an inn for the town. However, everything turns to chaos when a body is found buried under a peach tree during the renovations. 

Sarah Addison Allen is known for the level of magic and enchantment that she weaves throughout her stories. My favorite stories by her are the ones where she peppers this aspect of her story telling over all the characters or over all of the town. And even though you could argue that she technically did that with the magic in the Peach Keeper, I only felt its presence in regards to the body under the tree and the story behind it. I would have appreciated the novel more if I could have truly felt the magic through out all of the characters.

Allen is also known for her use of romance and love stories in her novels, and again I felt that this quality was lacking in The Peach Keeper. Willa's love interest was fine, I guess, but I didn't take anything overly romantic or life changing away from it. I'm not denying that there was chemistry there, I'm just saying that I didn't feel it as strongly as with Josie and Adam (SQ) or Claire and Tyler (GS). And don't even get me started on Paxton's love interest. That story line felt the most forced/rushed of everything that was in this book.

And I'm also noticing that even though Allen is mostly known for her love stories and magical tendencies, she also tends to include story lines that feature strong resourceful women coming together to empower each other. And the lesson that women should support each other and not rip each other to pieces was featured heavily in this novel and I did appreciate that side of it.

However, the truth is that even when this novel was a little on the disappointing side, it was still a fun quick read. It was nice to be back in the worlds that Allen creates. It is kind of like reading a bad John Green novel. Not that I think there is such a thing, but even when you read a novel of his that you don't love as much as the others, you are still happy just to be back in his head.

I gave The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen an abduction rating of...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Abducted by Gone

Gone is the last book in the Dream Catcher series by Lisa McMann. I wrote a review for the middle book, Wake, and when I did I was very clear that my review would not contain any spoilers. I knew some of my friends hadn't read the books yet and I didn't want to ruin anything for them. However, even with my warning that my review was safe to read, my friends still didn't read it!

So, this is how this review is going to go. I'm going to go ahead and write what I liked and disliked about the book. Which, depending on how anal you are about spoilers could worth reading. At the end of my post I will have a clearly defined "Spoiler Alert" section. And if you haven't read the books, you should stay away from that section! 

Without further ado, here is my review for Gone...

Let me brake it down for you. 

In Wake we meet Janie who is a young girl who can merge into the dreams others. And Janie meets a boy named Cabel and they fall in love...*sigh*!

In Fade, Janie starts to see what her dream catching capabilities can do. She learns that she just might have some options she wasn't aware of before, but she also learns that there might be some consequences...that's life, right?

In Gone, Janie has to make a choice. I mean there is a plot and a lot of stuff going on, but in the end the book boils down to Janie making a choice. 

I love these books because they are light and fun and make for a very quick read (or audio book listen). The first two books are filled with sharp concise sentences that give the tone and flow of the book an almost staccato feel to it. They are fast paced and an entirely enjoyable. 

However, the last book didn't quite fit with the others. It still had the same overall structure as the first two, but it was filled with all this back story and information that made it drag. Don't get me wrong, all of the information would go on to aid Janie in making the big decision that the book (and her life) hangs on, but it was still...well, different. Not bad, necessarily. Just different. And I think that is why some of the fans of this series maybe didn't like this book as much as the first.

I didn't like this addition to the series as much as the first two because there really wasn't much of Cabel in it. Janie is under a lot of pressure and she is facing a very inevitable fork in the rode and she chooses not to rely on Cabel when she tries to decide which path to choose. I appreciated that Janie recognized that she couldn't put the weight of this particular decision on Cabel, but I still would have liked to have him around more.

Aside from that we do get to learn more about Janie and her family and where her abilities could have come from. I suspected the majority of the information we were given about Janie from the very first book. On one hand it was nice to finally be validated, but on the other hand it was a little frustrating that it took her so long to figure it all out.

Unfortunately, there really wasn't much that I loved about the book. It was nice to see Janie again and be back in her world one last time, but other then that there wasn't much to love. I feel like this finale to the series would have worked better if the series had been longer. I loved the crime fighting aspect from the second book and if we had been given one or two more books like that one, and then Janie made her decision I would have been happier with the series ending. As it was, it just felt like it came too soon. 

Here is my overall rating of the book and then I'll put the Spoiler section after it.

I've given Gone by Lisa McMann an abduction rating of...

Now for the good stuff...

I hated the way McMann had presented Janie with her options. I felt like, the way the information was laid out for me, that if Janie chose to not become a hermit out in the country, that she would have to choose to fight crime with the detective. But I didn't feel like she had to choose that life.

I felt like she could have very easily chosen to take reasonable precautions to limit her exposure to the dreams of others without completely becoming a recluse like her father. Yes, her health would have deteriorated but it would have been a slower process. And if she wanted to go back to crime fighting after that point then so be it. Plus, it wasn't as if she has been dreaming of being a detective her whole life. That was never part of her plan for her future until Cabel came along, that is. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Abducted by Top Tuesday Ten...6.26.12

Well, I have never done a Tuesday Ten post before but I've always thought that they looked like fun. I had no idea how hard they can be sometimes! But, since I am on a mission to write 7 different posts this week I figured now would be a great time to add this meme to my blog.

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and here is the question for this week...

Top Ten Characters Who Remind Me Of Myself

I've decided to split my list in half and do 5 characters that do remind me of myself and 5 characters that I wish I was more like!

Here are the 5 that I am like (for the most part) already...

1. Anne from Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. My mom told me, when I was a child and she first showed me the Anne of Green Gables movie, that I was just like Anne. I took that as one of the biggest complements of my life and I have been trying to live up to it ever since. Honestly, I do see a lot of similarities. She is so romantic and idealistic and dramatic and this incredible day dreamer. I do try to be as good and fair and dedicated as she is, but the truth is I'm not that good at it. But I do my best!

2. Puddleglum from The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis. Puddleglum is a creature featured in the Chronicles of Narnia and he is a Marshwiggle. Marshwiggles tend to be slightly negative and always think of the worst that could happen and I can definitely be like that. But Marshwiggles are still lovable and, hopefully, so am I!

3. Josey Cirrini from the Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen. I completely related to her insecurities, her self image issues and her unrequited love for this guy named Adam (her mailman) who barely knows that she exists! 

4. Jas from the Georgia Nicholson series by Louise Rennison. I love the Georgia Nicholson books and I do love Georgia, but when reading the books I always tend to side more with Jas, Georgia's best mate!

5. Elinor Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. I wish I had the class and responsible nature that Elinor has but I can definitely relate to her caution and practicality. 

Now, for the 5 characters I wish I was more like...

1. I wish I was as funny as Laurie Notaro is in her non-fiction books/columns. 

2. I wish I was as athletic as Louis Zamperini in his biography, Unbroken, written by Laura Hillenbrand.

3. I wish I could draw like Karou in Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. 

4. I wish I could read as much as Hermione Granger in Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling. 

5. I wish I could play the cello like Mia Hall in If I Stay by Gayle Foreman. Of course, her story is a rather sad one but what can I say, I love the cello!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Abducted by 50 Shades of Grey

I know a lot of my friends were pretty shocked when they found out that I was going to read this one, but in my defense, I read it for my book club! I don't usually review the books I read for book club on my blog, but I actually had some issues with the books that I did want to discuss so I figured, why not?

The level of enjoyment a person takes in a book is directly proportional to what their perspective is going into the book. So here is mine. I have never read erotica before. And when it comes to my sexual nature, I am conservative at best.

Because this book has been discussed by so many people at this point, and is on so many peoples radars and review posts, I'm not going to spend much time summerizing the plot or anything like that. I'm just going to jump in and tell you my thoughts.

Everything I didn't like about this novel you have more then likely already heard. Yes, the writing was...well...let's just say it was a little rough around the edges. Yes, Christian is way too controlling. And Yes, Ana is way to naive.

But the worst part for me was that I was listening to the audio version!!! IT WAS AWFUL!!! The voice the reader used for Ana sounded like a stoned out valley girl. And the voices that she used for all of the men where just too ridiculous to even begin describing. Worst part was that there is a character named Jose (an unnecessary and barely recognizable version of the character Jacob from twilight) who she gave a really thick Hispanic accent to that made him sound like he had just crossed over the border last week. I couldn't stand it whenever his character came up and by the end of the book I really could not understand why Ana valued his friendship so much. But according to the other girls in my book club, he really wasn't that bad if I had been reading the book instead of listening.

Now, with all the negativity surrounding the book, was there anything positive to take away from it? Yes! I loved that for better or worse Ana and Christian had open communication. Okay, yeah, most of it only occurred via email, but still, at least they were communicating! I'm not kidding, read enough novels and you end up wanting to strangle the main characters for allowing all those misunderstandings to occur ONLY because they just wont be honest with each other!

Just the other day I was watching the season 1 finale of Downton Abbey and I was literally screaming at the television "MARY!!! JUST TELL HIM ALREADY!!!"

But, in 50 Shades, Christian quickly realizes that Ana is more upfront and honest when she emails him and from then on whenever he observes her starting to withhold feelings from him, he encourages her to email him. Wait, did I just say "encourages"? I'm sorry, I meant he Insisted. Demanded. Required. Ordered.

Regardless of how it came to be, they did communicate. Sure there were some things they withheld, we all have skeletons in the closet, but when it came down to the two of them and their relationship and what they wanted out of it, for the most part they were very clear. There were a few moments when Ana tried to read more into what Christian was actually saying, but I think that is just something us girls do!

The controversy of the book is all rapped up in this dominant/submissive lifestyle they are trying to work out but I really felt that particular issue was one of the things that aided their communication. Having Christian come to Ana with his list of "Hard Limits" and his idea of the relationship that he wanted so clearly defined, forced Ana to define what exactly it was that she wanted.

One of the things Ana kept saying was that she wanted "more". Which I think a lot of women, when they are looking at what they want from a relationship, would agree. But what is this elusive "more"? What is it that we want? In this book, Ana is faced with having to actually decide what she wants. Sure, some would say that what she ends up wanting is more or less whatever Christian wanted. But I think that is one of the places you have to extend your disbelief with the book.

I do have a spoiler section at the end of this post where I will give my opinion on the ending of the book. But for those of you who choose not to read the spoiler, I will go ahead and give you my rating of the book.

I gave it an abduction rating of

I honestly didn't hate it, but I definitely didn't love it either. I wont be reading the sequels and I don't plan on ever reading this book again. But I was able to find the good in it.

My thoughts on the ending...

The end of the book is when Ana tells Christian to show her how far he really does want to push the boundaries of their lifestyle and after he does this, she feels that it was too much and she leaves.

I was extremely uncomfortable with how far Christian's limits went. Even though a lot of my friends have said that they don't feel like what he did was considered "beating" because she asked him to.

Personally, I. Do. Not. Care. As far as I am concerned, he beat her!

And because it was more then she could handle, I felt that she should have left when she did.

Some people say that the ending was abrupt or not even a full ending. And I understand where they can see that, but I felt that if this book had come out on its own then I would argue that the ending was deserved. People would have read the book and seen the relationship as a catalyst to shape Ana into the woman she was going to become. It would have been a very sexy NC17 rated coming of age story.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sundays in bed with...6.24.12

Well, it is time for another Sunday in Bed post. Brought to us by our fabulous hostess Kate aka Midnight Book Girl! 

I know what you are thinking...

You are thinking: "What is the deal Courtney? Are the 'Sundays In Bed With' posts the only thing we are going to see on your blog from now on???"

No! I promise they aren't!

I mean don't get me wrong, it is a great meme! But I really am going to try to start posting my reviews again.

Actually, I am quite disappointed in myself. In the past month I have friends that took buses and trains to go to NYC and I have friends who boarded a cruise ship and set off all over Europe! And all those friends were still able to have posts appear on their blogs. Whether they pre-drafted them or wrote them while standing in line doesn't matter. If they could find the time for their readers, there is absolutely no excuse for my stint of slacking off!

I am so ashamed.

In order to rectify this, and to try to save the month of June since this is only my 2nd post this month, I am issuing myself a challenge.


I did this once before, when my writing and posting needed a good kick in the back side. And I think it is high time for another.

If you are a regular reader of mine, get ready for a whole bunch of thoughtful reviews coming your way!

And if you don't follow my writing consistently, then...well, I guess you don't have anything to worry about. But in case you are interested, here is the list of reviews I hope to post between now and Saturday...

50 Shades of Grey
The Peach Keeper
The Spiderwick Chronicles 1 & 2
White Cat

and with a possible post on Daughter of Smoke and Bones if I can get to it! 

And I'm also hoping to write my very first Top Ten Tuesday post
and my very first discussion post 
(I just got the idea for this when I was proof reading this post and so I don't know if this will work or not but we'll see)

Okay, anyway, back to which book I am spending my Sunday in bed with...

As you guys know by now, I do attend Mass on Sundays so I usually don't get to spend my Sunday morning actually in bed. But I take advantage of my time by listening to an audio book while I'm having breakfast and getting ready. And today it's Bridget Jones!

I had a very odd moment earlier this week, in which I finished the audio book I was listening to (The Peach Keeper) from, and I could not for the life of me think of what to download next.

Nothing on my wish list seemed interesting and I just wasn't in the mood for any of it. I went a couple of days re-listening to The Sugar Queen because I really could not think of anything.

I was wanting to actually by the book for Bridget Jones instead of listening to it, but after a couple of days without a new book to listen to while I was going to sleep, I started to get a little cranky. So I figured what the hell!

Now, I am wishing I had bought it. I mean the audio book is fantastic, don't get me wrong, but I keep hearing so many great lines and wishing I could underline them or make a note or something.

So, I guess I'll have to add Bridget Jones to my Read Me Baby One More Time list for next year!

Well, enough about me...What are you spending your Sunday in bed with?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Abducted by Sundays in bed with...6.17.12

My dear friend Kate hosts a meme that gives us a chance to showcase which blogs we are spending our Sunday mornings with. Here is my selection!

I actually checked this audio book out from the library three weeks ago and I haven't even made it past the first disc yet!

I love the movie and the book is told with that classic fairy-tale narration that makes for a great audio book. And this audio book is read by Neil Gaiman himself! I've just been too busy rocking out to music in my car so I haven't had the chance to make time for this one yet.

Unfortunately it was due back at the library yesterday! I don't mind paying for a slight overdue fee but I definitely don't want it to get as high as my last bill did. That was INSANE!!!

So I listened to this audio book while I was getting ready for church this morning and now that I am home I am listening to it again in hopes to get at least halfway through this afternoon.

What are you spending Sunday in bed with?
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