Friday, March 30, 2012

Abducted by TGIF and Feature & Follow

Happy Friday Everybody!!!

I, for one, can not wait for the weekend to begin! But I wanted to kick things off with some great questions.

Over at the TGIF meme hosted by Greads the question of the day is...

Book Blogger Retreat: If you could gather up a handful of book blogger friends to spend a weekend away talking books, where would you go? Tell us about it.

I had a friend once, Tara, who loved this one series that was historical fiction that was set in France. And one year she found out that there was a company that was offering a guided tour through France based on that series, so she planned a trip for her and her friends to go.

Something like that would be AWESOME!

Think about it, we could all go to England and travel the land of Georgia Nicolson!

We could go to Amsterdam and see the sites of Augusts Waters and Hazel Lancaster!

And Annette over at Annette's Book Spot (Shout out to Annette on her birthday!!!) recommended NYC and visiting the Strand. That got me thinking that we could create a whole Book tour off of the David Levithan and Rachel Cohn books! Can you see it?

***Look, there is the club where Norah first kissed Nick! And over there is the building that Naomi and Ely lived in! And of course, to your left, is The Strand! The magical book store where Dash first found the red notebook that lead him all over town, through dozens of misadventures, until he finally found Lily!***

And over at the Feature & Follow meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read the question of the day is...

Q: Do you read one book at a time or do you switch back and forth between two or more?

I will admit that in the past I have been known to have a different book at my office, in my living room, in my bedroom, in my purse, etc. And it was really just a matter of where I was sitting at that moment that would determine what I would pick up to read.

But I have kind of fallen out of the habit of doing that. As of right now I have two self help books that I am supposed to be reading, but that I am really not paying that much attention to. Only one book that I am physically reading, and two audio books that I am listening to. I listen to one in my car and one as I am falling asleep. So technically I do switch back and forth, but they are different formats so it isn't that confusing.

If you answered either of these questions on your blog, let me know so I can hop over and check them out! And if you are a new follower, be sure to let me know so I can return the favor!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Abducted by Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day

I saw the movie that was based on the book Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day by Winifred Watson about a year ago. I remember that the movie was pretty good. I didn't love it, but I was entertained by it and liked it just fine. So when the audio version of the book was put on sale over at, I figured "hey, why not?"

In the movie version Miss Pettigrew is played by Frances McDormand, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that McDormand was also the one who read the audio version. Personally, I love Frances McDormand! She is so cool! I mean I would give anything to just meet her, but I'm convinced that I am so not cool enough to ever hangout with her! She is like a rockstar isn't she? She is talented and charming, but she has this edge about her that makes her funny and wickedly clever. Anyway, it was awesome to have her as the one to narrate Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day.

The story of Miss Pettigrew is that she is an out of work governess that is trying to get work through an employment agency. One day she comes to the agency and they give her a posting offered by a Miss LaFloss. This is Miss Pettigrew's last chance. She has no place to stay and hasn't eaten a decent meal in forever, she needs this posting to work out. But when she arrives at the home of Miss LaFloss, the posting isn't quite what she thought it was. Before she knows it she is basically acting as Miss LaFloss's assistant for the day, and she is getting the chance to be completely made over and done up and the chance to meet some incredible people!

The movie version of Miss Pettigrew has the air of her being swept up and away by Miss LaFloss's glamorous living, however I felt like the book tried to portray that attitude but didn't quite accomplish it. She had plenty of opportunities to stop and communicate to Miss LaFloss her reasons for being there, but she chose to stay. And I definitely can't fault her for that! I will say that the tone of the book contains all of the humor that you may have noticed in the film version.

One thing I noticed was that the book reads like a play. When you see a basic production of a play it is usually minimal sets and lots of long conversations, and that is pretty much what was in the book. In the first three hours of the audio version was made up of Miss Pettigrew having four very long conversations. I still enjoyed it, mind you. But that was just an aspect of the book that I noticed.

My favorite part was the banter that came with the character of Michael. Miss LaFloss has multiple lover interests that Miss Pettigrew comes into contact with, but none as charming and funny as Michael! He was hysterical, I couldn't help but smile every time he came around. Even with his mischievous sarcasm he was still a true gentlemen. He was kind to Miss Pettigrew and helped make her feel comfortable and like she belonged. He was fun and colorful, and really made you root for him to be the love interest that would steal Miss LaFloss's heart in the end.

The movie is slightly different from the book, which  is always to be expected. It felt to me that the movie and the book both started in the same place and ends in the same place, but the reasons and the meaning and the how that got them from point A to point B were different. In the end, I definitely preferred the book. It was funny and lively and would make for a great quick read.

I'll give it an abduction rating of...

Monday, March 26, 2012

Abducted by Garden Spells

If I had to describe Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen in one word, that word would be...refreshing!

This book was first recommended to me over four years ago! I loved it so much that I wish I had read it before, and I wish I had bought it and not just downloaded the audio version because I want to go back and read over certain parts again and again and again! It was wonderful!

Let me start from the beginning. Sarah Addison Allen is known for writing novels that are basically general fiction novels but with the slightest mystical touch. So, for example, Garden Spells is very similar to the movie Practical Magic. It has the same tone and feel to it. But the Waverly sisters never actually say or write or use spells. The Waverly house has a garden of flowers that the older sister, Claire, uses in her cooking. The most she ever does is say that by including roses in her foods she can encourage the eaters to feel love, or if she includes carnations it will inspire people to be bold.

The Waverly sisters are Claire and Sidney and they have a very strained relationship. Claire stayed in their small home town taking care of their grandmother and the Waverly home. All she has ever wanted was to feel included, but has been kept as an outsider by many members of the town. Sidney, on the other hand, left town at her absolute first opportunity! When the story picks up, we learn that Sidney has been through a lot since she left town and now her life is in danger. She comes home to stay with Claire because she knows that it is the only place that will be safe for her and her young daughter.

When Sidney arrives she finds Claire living a life of solitude but with a potential love interest with the boy next door, Tyler! Now, when Tyler first came on the scene I didn't like him. It was all about the name for me. You say the name Tyler and I'm picturing a blonde headed eight year old running around playing soccer. I don't picture a sexy romantic professor who paints and who I want to have throw me up against wall and make out with me. But when the (literal) sparks started to fly between Claire and Tyler, that was exactly how I felt! Their first kiss had my cheeks blushing and my stomach doing somersaults! By the end of the book, just the mention of Tyler made me flip! It was Tyler this and Tyler that, and I'm sitting there listening to it and just flip flip flipping!!!

The two mystical features that I loved the most was the house and the apple tree. The house has the ability to respond to the people and emotions that are held within it. When everyone laughs at the same time the windows snap open. When people begin to fight and tensions are building the foundation starts to move causing the pots and pans to sway. And I have never heard of an apple tree having so much personality! The tree itself was a character all on its own! So many of the moments with the tree were the funniest moments in the entire book!

The hardest part about listening to this book was the fact that I got through the book so quickly! When I was listening to it I kept begging myself to stop and wait and do something else. But then I just wanted to be back in that world so badly that I had to push play again! I wanted delayed gratification but just couldn't quite accomplish it! I finished the whole book in just two days! And now that it is over I just want to go back!!!

How many general fiction novels can leave you feeling that way...the answer - NOT MANY!!!

That is why I am giving Garden Spells an abduction rating of...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Abducted by Sundays in Bed with...3.25.12

First of all, I have just come back from taking a week to fall off the face of the universe! I really want to get on the schedule of posting book reviews on every Monday and Wednesday, and so far I've been doing pretty well. However, this week I just completely dropped the ball! I don't even know what happened, it wasn't even like I was busy or anything!!!

I'll do better from now on, I promise!

Second of all, it is time for another "Sunday in bed with..."

"Sunday in bed" is a meme hosted by Kate aka MidnightBookGirl. It is where we post about what books we are currently reading while we relax in bed on these beautiful Sunday mornings, before getting up to face the rest of the world. I love this meme because not only is it hosted by my best friend, but because it gives us the chance to talk about the books we are currently reading and what we are thinking of them before we finish. Today is a perfect example, because this Sunday I am in bed with...

I wasn't able to take a picture of the book actually in my bed for two reasons; a- I'm listening to the audio version I downloaded from and b- because I lost my phone this week, and my phone also acts as my camera (not having my phone is making me want to pull my hair out! LITERALLY!!!).

But anyway, I'm not sure how I feel about this book so far.

I love the concept of the book being about a young girl suffering panic attacks and seeing a therapist in order to get help. It is kind of funny that I'm listening to it now, because I've talking a lot lately about my faith in therapy and how as soon as I get my insurance in order, I'm totally getting me some!

On one hand, I love all the lists that the main character makes and her love of words and definitions. But I think I would like the lists more if I was actually seeing them as opposed to having them read to me, and sometimes the words she defines are so obvious and common that I almost feel insulted that she is defining it to me.

The tone is funny, but not funny enough. I like Ruby, but I don't know yet if I like her enough to listen to the rest of the series. And I don't really like any of Ruby's friends because I think they are pretty bratty!

As of now, I am a third of the way through the book so I should be able to finish it this week. If I was rating it today I would probably only give it a three. We will just have to wait and see if the ending of the book is enough to raise my opinion of it.

That's all for now. I think it might be time to make a Starbucks run...

***update on this post...I FOUND MY PHONE!!! It was at the freaking restaurant!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Abducted by Sundays in Bed with...3.18.12

My dear friend Kate started a meme last week about what books we spend Sunday mornings reading in bed! I didn't get to participate last week, but here is what I am in bed with this Sunday morning!

This weekend I will be spending Sunday morning (and most of the rest of the day) in bed with Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. This book was selected by my friend Amanda for our book club meet up this month, which is next weekend.

I was a little reluctant to start this one, mostly because it is very long and that was overwhelming to me. But yesterday I just started reading and couldn't stop. I read 100 pages in one day and that was with family in town I had to visit with and three movies set in Ireland I had to watch as part of my St. Patrick's Day celebration!

Unbroken is the biography of Louis Zamperini, a former Olympian who enlisted into WWII and was trained as a bomber on a B24. While aboard a B24 called the Green Hornet, attempting a rescue mission, the plane lost an engine and crashed into the Pacific Ocean swarming with sharks!

And that is as much as I know, because that is exactly where I left off! Actually, the part I am reading now is all about how the friends and family of the men in the Green Hornet are finding out that the plane and crew are missing, and I keep having to put the book down because it is making me cry!

I have made it a habit that I don't write reviews on my blog for books that I read for book club, so I wont be writing a further review on this one. But if the rest of the book continues to be as riveting as what I have read so far, I know I am going to give it a very high rating!

I will be honest and say that I don't always know what is going on. When Hillenbrand describes in detail every move the plane is making and all the different parts of the plane, well, I don't really know what she is talking about but I know enough to keep following along. Also at the end of every couple of paragraphs she includes personal touches about the men involved, that is all I need to keep me pulled along into each chapter.

"[Phil] began carrying two talismans. One was a bracelet Cecy had given him. Believing that it kept him from harm, he wouldn't go up without it. The other was a silver dollar that jingled endlessly in his pocket. On the day that he finally ran away with Cecy, he said, he'd use it to tip the bellboy." 

So...what are you in bed with???

Friday, March 16, 2012

Abducted by a Feature & Follow 3.16.2012

Q: What is the best book you’ve read in the last month? What is the worst book you’ve read in the last month?

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen was recommended to me over four years ago but I just started listening to the audio version last week. I could not finish the book fast enough!

I have been reading a lot of YA lately, which is fine because I love it, but it was really refreshing to read something a little different. And I want to say more but I'm going to save it for when I do my full review next week!

I loved this book, and I can't wait to read more by Sarah Addison Allen.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Abducted by Leviathan

I started my account with two or three years ago and Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld was the absolute first book I put on my wish list. Why then, may I ask, did it take me so freaking long to listen to it???

I have no idea, but I am so glad that I did! It was fantastic!

I have always had an infatuation with the story of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. His life, his politics, his love, his death, and his legacy have always been fascinating to me. I obviously must not have read the blurb for the book closely because I had no idea that his family (or should I say the alternate reality of his family) was the focus of the story! I guess all I really new about the novel when I put it on my wish list was that it was huge in the steampunk genre. I was so excited when I realized that the story was centered around the death of Archduke Ferdinand, and the escape of his fictional son Alek. 

Another thing I missed when I added the book to my wishlist, was that the audio version was read to me by none other then the amazing Alan Cumming! I love Alan Cumming!!! I'm telling you, if I had paid more attention in the beginning, I would have listened to this book three years ago! 

In spite of my love for Archduke Ferdinand and Alan Cumming, a funny thing happened when I was listening to the audio book. I was literally half way through the book and I realized I wasn't really following the story as much as I should have been. The audio book is 8 hours long and when I got to the beginning of hour 4 a fight was breaking out and I couldn't remember who was fighting or why. 

And I know this may sound crazy, but because I was enjoying the story (even though I was a little lost) I decided to go all the way back to the beginning and start over, instead of just finishing it! Now, I wouldn't have done that for just any book, but Leviathan was worth it! And I'm glad I did, because I ended up loving the book!

The story is told through the perspective of Alek, the son of Archduke Ferdinand. His story picks up the night of the assassination of his parents. Two of his teachers come in late that night and take him away from the castle to protect him. In a nutshell, Archduke Ferdinand married a lady in waiting named Sophie. Because she was not as high up on the chain as the Archduke's family required, they only allowed the couple to marry if they agreed that neither her, nor their children, could ever inherit his title. However, this does lead to confusion after the assassination as to who does have power. Which leaves Alek on the run for his life. 

The other perspective of the story is a young women named Deryn Sharp. Her story picks up the morning that she is off to join the Royal Air Service, disguising herself as a boy named Dylan. Deryn was strong and smart, but she also had a very innocent side to her that I appreciated. You can tell that feelings are going to arise between the two characters but that is not the main focus of this story by a long shot. Alek and Deryn form a fast friendship, but that is all for this first novel.

The story was complex with politics, but also highly enjoyable! I loved it so much I can't wait to buy the book and read it for myself. That also leads to the turmoil of what to do next! Do I wait until I can buy the book and read the sequel for myself, or do I get the audio version again so I can have Alan Cumming keep reading to me? Hmm...decisions, decisions...

As far as what to rate, that is a bit tricky... The book was fun and imaginative. I would trade in my cell phone any day for a talking lizard! They sound adorable. Plus the ships were amazing! I mean I knew the Leviathan was a living creature, but I didn't really get it until Alek came on board. I was cringe uncontrollably when Alek was talking about walking around the creatures rib cage. But, as entertaining as the book was at times, it did take me a while to get into it. I mean, even after I restarted it that one time, the story still didn't pick up for me until Alek and Deryn met, which was half way through the book. 

I'm going to give it an abduction rating of...
but trust me, it is a very VERY high FOUR!!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Abducted by Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

My friend Holly let me borrow Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ranson Riggs and I thought it was great!

It really felt to me that the book was two stories working together. Anyone who has read reviews or blurbs for this book, or even just looked at the cover, knows that the story involves children with this magical mystical side to them. But there is this whole other story line that dealt with families and secrets and loss.

The first half of the story is all about this boy, Jacob, who has a very...difficult...relationship with his grandfather. When he was a child Jacob looked up to his grandfather and loved to hear him tell stories about his past. Magical bizarre stories about an orphanage he stayed at when he was young, that was run by a Miss Peregrine. But as Jacob grows up their relationship becomes strained. There is still a deep bond between them, but one that weighs heavily on Jacob.

One day his grandfather calls Jacob in a panic, telling him that someone (or something) is after him. And when Jacob goes to check on him, he finds his grandfather beaten and wounded out in the woods. It seems to Jacob as if his grandfather has been attacked by a wild animal, but when he looks up he sees a creature off in the distance that he has never seen before.

This tragedy acts as the catalyst that sends Jacob to Wales on a journey to uncover the truth about his family.

Personally, this part of the story reminded me of the novel Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safron Foer. I mean the two stories are very different, but at their core they are about two boys trying to understand what happened to their ancestors during WWII. In Jacob's case, he is having to deal with the added quilt that he hadn't taken the time to talk to his grandfather when he should have.

The story line with the grandfather really got to me, because I'm still grieving over the loss of my grandfather almost 5 years ago. I spent a lot of time with him in the hospital and I thought we talked about everything, but there just seems to be so much more I wish I could ask him. So many stories he told me, but that I can't remember the way I feel I should.

So, I guess because of my own issues with my grandfather, I felt truly invested in the Jacob's journey to learn about his own. I was so captivated by that relationship that I kept having to remind myself that there was danger waiting for Jacob. That there were creatures looking for him and his family.

That of course leads into the second half of the story which is Jacob's discovery of Miss Peregrine and all of her peculiar children. A journey told through the use of these beautifully haunting photographs that were shared with us through out the story.

And from what I hear, the hardback copy of this book is the only way to go because the quality of the paper really makes a difference.

I'm excited that this book is going to have a sequel and I will definitely be reading it. I felt like certain parts of the ending were a little messy, but I also think that the messiness of it could leave the sequel open to a ton of options. And I do trust the Riggs enough to want to see which way he goes. My only real fear is about the pictures. The pictures played such a crucial part to this story and it is hard to imagine the next novel without them. However, I am afraid that it could get really redundant coming up with new ways for Jacob to find pictures and describe pictures and to be taking pictures.

I would say that the only thing that kept me from truly loving this novel was that the ending...well, it just kind of ended. Usually when I finish a novel that I loved I have this warm gooey excited optimistic resonating feeling, and this book just didn't have that for me. I really liked it and I was entertained by it, but when it was over I was able to close the book and immediately be like "Okay, what's next?"

I'm going to give Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children an abduction rating of...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Abducted by Nunga-Nungas

I have recently finished reading the third book in the Georgia Nicolson series...

I really enjoyed this addition to the series because it was the first time we got to see Robbie and Georgia together! Of course there are ten books in the series, and we are talking about a 14 year old girl, so it is safe to assume they may not be together long. But I really liked seeing them as a couple! 

There was a very very settle shift in this book, where you could just slightly see that Georgia is starting to grow up. I mean she is still sassy little Georgia, but I am excited to see what she is going to be like at the end of the series! The best way that I have been explaining this series to my friends is that Georgia is like the Lizzy McGuire of England. She is fourteen and she is wild and crazy, but she still has that innocent naive side to her.

I am beginning to feel like Georgia and I are becoming quite good friends. Every time I pick up the next book in the series it is like I'm calling to check in with her. 

The other night I was watching this countdown of the most insane infomercials and one of them was for this product called "nose secret". They basically are these bars that you put in your nose to make your nose longer in the front and less wide on the sides. All I could think when I saw it was; that is exactly what Georgia needs! She is always so obsessed with how "big" her nostrils are. 

In Nunga-Nungas she is not only obsessed with how big her nose is but also with how fast her breasts are growing. One of my favorite lines is when she wants to ask her parents for money to get a breast reduction but she says that her dad wont give her the money "Even if [her] breasts were so big that [she] had to have two servants called Carlos and Juan to carry them around for [her]!" 

I know I have said this time and time again, but this girl really is crazy in the absolute best possible way! 

This weekend I finally got to see the movie Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging which is based on the first two novels in the Georgia Nicolson series! And it was ADORABLE!!! I loved it so much! For these reasons...

The movie is different from the books because the books are diary entries. There are a lot of things that a young girl would write in her diary that she would not say out loud. So you do loose those little gems from Georgia, but her personality and her identity is still there. And I got to see a lot of the little moments that I loved so dearly from the book. Like seeing Georgia dressed as an olive, the picture of the girls making hog faces, and Georgia's hair falling out when she tries to dye it. 

I loved that the movie gave an arc to Georgia's character that isn't in the book. We get to see a more emotional side to her, her parents, and also to Robbie. I enjoyed seeing that side of Georgia because even though it isn't in the book (yet) I always knew she had it in her. 

And the main reason why I loved the movie was because the band that acts as the band Stiff Dylans from the book, they freaking ROCK!!! I've been singing their main song, Ultraviolet, for five days now! 

I would give Knocked Out By My Nunga Nungas an abduction rating of...

And I would also give Angus Thongs and Perfect Snogging an abduction rating of...

Monday, March 5, 2012

Abducted by Percy Jackson

Well, my friend Steph has made some great recommendations for me over the past year. So, when recently she posted about all of the Percy Jackson novels, I had my hopes up pretty high for...

Unfortunately, I was left a little...underwhelmed.

Now, let me stress that I actually listened to the audio version of the novel. I did not read it for myself. And I do feel that the majority of my frustrations lie with the recording and not the story itself.

For example, Percy Jackson is supposed to only be 12 years old. However, recording studios don't actually employ 12 year-olds to read a book into a microphone for hours on end. At least not that I'm aware of. I can only assume that the individual that preformed for the recording I listened to was, at the youngest 16 or 18, but it was probably more likely that they were in their early 20's. And while I'm sure that he did the best he could, there was still something a little odd about hearing an adult man read me phrases like "What did you think I said, Seaweed Brain."

My other problem with the recording was the voice the reader used for all of Percy's teachers. They all sounded the same to me, and they all sounded like burnt out surfer dudes. Trust me, it got really old, really fast! It just made it hard for me to trust any of them.

And of course, because I couldn't trust anybody, it drove me crazy that Percy was so trusting of everybody! Every single chapter there was another crazy situation Percy was getting into with yet another crazy God. So when he would go into these situations without blinking an eye I just wanted to shake the crap out of him!

***You trust this guy, Percy? Really, you do? He sells mattresses in a back alley and you want to trust him! You don't see anything fishy about a girl taking you to a restaurant in the very far back of some weird statue garden store? Nothing fishy at all? Really? Okay, if you say so. But don't come crying to me when something doesn't go the way you just assumed it would!***

Now, I know that a lot of people like to compare this book to Harry Potter and I don't really want to do that. However, Harry Potter is the best example that I can think of for this next point so just bare with me for a moment...

The only other thing that bothered me with Percy Jackson was that I felt like I never really had a handle on what was going on. 

Harry Potter introduces us to a world of magic. And if you can think back to who you were before you read that series, I think it is fair to say that you already had some kind of knowledge of magic going in. You had some kind of awareness of it. But that didn't matter, J.K. Rowling didn't rely on that prior knowledge in order for her stories to work. When those stories started we got paired up with Harry and we learned everything we needed to know as he did. 

However, Rick Riordan didn't do that. At the point when we meet Percy Jackson, he already has all this prior knowledge about the Gods and Mount Olympus. Sure, he thinks the stories are just stories and myths and none of it is actually true, but still. So, when Annabeth says something like "Percy, you know who Ares and Hades are." Percy will say "Oh, yeah, they are blah blah blah blah blah blah blah....."

The differences is that I didn't know all of the stories about all of the God going into reading this book, and since I didn't get to learn them along side Percy it was hard for me to really keep them all straight. Especially because Percy encounters someone or something new every freaking chapter!

Ultimately, in the end, it isn't that I didn't like the book. It was just like I said, I was underwhelmed. But I do think that if I give it a few months, then go back and actually read it myself I'll be able to picture things for myself and follow it a bit better. So for now, I'm going to have to give Percy Jackson and The Lightening Thief an abduction rating of...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Abducted by Feature and Follow 3.2.2012

It is time for another Feature and Follow and I love this weeks question!!!

***But also, just real quick, my friends Steph is hosting a giveaway of an audible book HERE and my friend Kim is hosting a giveaway of an amazon gift card HERE, you should follow them and check it out!!!***

Q: What book would you love to see made into a movie or television show and do you have actors/actresses in mind to play the main characters?

The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis!!!

Okay, seriously is anyone surprised???

I loved the first Chronicles of Narnia movie adaptation of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, but if you ask me the other two just weren' special. But according to they are supposed to be making The Silver Chair as part of the series (in 2015), and at this point I don't care if it doesn't live up to all my expectations, I just want to see it!!!

And as far as the cast, I'm really fine with whatever for most of the roles, but I would love to see Alan Cumming as Puddleglum, I think he would be perfect!

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