Book Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

18081809Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Synopsis

“Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now. Maybe that was always besides the point. Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her. When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts …

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?”

Jen’s Review

Meet Georgie McCool (er, but with blonde hair): 

Meet her husband, Neal: 

Meet their life:

Meet Georgie’s magical phone: 

yellow painted classical phone

Now meet the novel where all of this goodness happens:

18081809

And now meet my Two Thumbs Up for it: 

Okay, seriously, if you haven’t read a book by Rainbow Rowell yet…well. You better get on it! As of this month, she has four–FOUR–awesome books published. And her newest, Landline, is no exception. Just like her other novels, Landline had me hooked from page one. It was thoroughly engaging, filled with vivid, relatable characters, and so addicting, I didn’t want to put it down. I also enjoyed how it wasn’t completely adult fiction. There was plenty of YA moments, which made it all the more special.

So go pick up Landline and get reading. Scootch-scootch!

Jen’s Rating

4 Star

Read more about Landline here!

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Book of the Month: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

11870085The Fault in Our Stars by John Green 

Synopsis

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Jen’s Review

That about sums things up 😉

Okay, seriously. I’m not normally into stories about cancer and sickness and whatnot. They’re just too sad and depressing. However,  I made an exception for The Fault in Our Stars after hearing so many wonderful things about it. And I’m glad I did! This is a special story everyone needs to read. It has a touching plot, plenty of takeaway messages, and a cast of sincere characters. I especially love Augustus (I think most readers do). Simply put, he’s a good guy. A good, sweet, authentic, lovable guy. In fact, when my sister was trying to think of a name for her next kid, I suggested August…She almost used it, too. Darn!

I won’t lie. This is a heartbreaking story. And you will need tissues. But the pain is worth it, I promise!

1010396_212218672304022_342272204_nPlus, the movie is coming out in a few days, and you know my rule of thumb: read the book before you see the movie. So go read it!

Jen’s Rating 

4 Star

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Jen’s Top 10 “How Have You NOT Read This” YA Books

It seems lately whenever I bring up one of my favorite books/series, people respond with a blank stare, a careless shrug, or, worst of all, an “I’ve never heard of it” type of comment. AHHH! So, I decided it’s time for me to give you the heads up on some books you MUST read if you haven’t.

Jen’s Top 10 “How Have You NOT Read This?” YA Books

1. Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor

8490112On average, I read a book a week. AKA, I read a lot. However, no matter how many pages I turn, or how many stories I finish, Daughter of Smoke & Bone remains one of my favorites of all time. And it’s troubling how few people are even aware of it. No offense to Hunger Games  or Twilight, or even Divergent, but I wish the mass population would revere this story. Simply put, it’s awesome. Daughter of Smoke & Bone has everything a reader craves: intrigue, romance, humor, and, of course, adventure.

So go read it! And be sure to spread the word how awesome it is.

Check out my full review here!

2. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

11235712Sighhhhh…Just…God, just go read this series, okay? I can’t even begin…I can’t even tell you…AHHH! Just read it. Goooo.

Check out my full review here!

3. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

136251Believe it or not, there are still people in the world who haven’t read Harry Potter. *cue gasps* Every time I encounter one of these rare beings, they usually tell me, “Well, I tried watching the movies, but I just wasn’t into them.”

…That’s all I have to say about that.

*clears throat*

READ HARRY POTTER!

4. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

19063-1When people ask me, “What’s your favorite book?” I first glare at them, and then I tell them I don’t have a favorite (what book nerd does?). Then, when they still won’t leave me alone, I spout off a handful of memorable titles. The Book Thief is always on the list. Always. And it should be on yours!  I promise, it’s a tale you’ll never forget.

Check out my full review here!

5. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

6050678Barking spiders! You haven’t read the Leviathan series? Are you mad? What’s not to like? A round-the-world adventure? A would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne? A commoner girl disguised as a boy? Daring deeds? Fun? AMAZINGNESS!

Hey, all you sods, I can fly and you can’t! A natural airman, in case you haven’t noticed. And in conclusion, I’d like to add that I’m a girl and you can all get stuffed!

…Hmmm, I think even I need to go read this–again. So much fun!

Check out more about Leviathan here!

6. Legend by Marie Lu

9275658Amongst all the dystopian books out there, Legend is my favorite. Think Les Miserables set in the future with a deadly virus, two badass protagonists, and lots of rip-roaring action.

In a nutshell, Legend is…

Read more about Legend here!

7. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

16101128Have you ever read a book as slow as possible? Because you’re dreading the end? Because you know when you turn that last page, the story will be over and you’ll be sad for days and days? Well, that’s how I felt while reading The 5th Wave. Although I’m not a huge fan of stories revolving around aliens, this one is both awesome and terrifying. It actually made me stop and think, “Oh crap. What if this actually happened?”

Dun, dun, dun…

I dare you to read it…Okay, forget the dare. I’m telling you to read it. Scoot, scoot.

Check out my full review here!

8. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

16068905Rainbow Rowell is officially one of my favorite authors of all time. In fact, I had a difficult time choosing which of her novels to recommend. The truth is, I recommend all of them (Fangirl, Eleanor & Park, and Attachments). Rowell is a master at character development and writing stories that have meaning and relevance. Trust me, you won’t be the same after experiencing one–or all–of her books.

Check out my full review for Fangirl here!

9. The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

7171637Adventure. Wit. Tears. Mystery. Romance…The Infernal Devices has it all! This prequel series to Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments is a MUST-READ! Especially if you’re looking for a new giddy book crush.

Oh, Will Herondale

“How rude. Many who have gazed upon me have compared it to gazing at the radiance of the sun.”

Jem still had his eyes closed. “If they mean that it gives you a headache, they aren’t wrong.”

Read more about The Infernal Devices here!

10. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

1217100I could easily list thirteen reasons why you should read this book, but I’ll only give you one: it’s life changing. So read it!

Check out my full review here!

Okay, I have about a hundred more books/series I could list, but I’ll end things here. Just take my word for it, these are books you MUST read! You won’t regret it.

What about you? What books make your “How Have You NOT Read This” YA book list?

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Book Review: Panic by Lauren Oliver

Panic_HC_JKT_des4.inddPanic by Lauren Oliver

Synopsis

“Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.
Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.
Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.
For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.”

Jen’s Review

Ever since reading Before I Fall and Delirium, Lauren Oliver has become one of my “Must Read Authors”. If she writes it, I’ll read it. So, when I heard she had a new book coming out, I went bonkers. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Panic. And once I did, I was sooo excited! So excited, in fact, I felt a little panicky. I panicked over Panic! 😉

Overall, the freak out was worth it. Panic was entertaining, suspenseful, and ahh-ddicting. It was also scary. I don’t know how many times I was screaming at Heather, Nat, and Dodge to bow out of the Evel Knievel-like game. I was so scared one of them would take on one of the daredevil tasks and fail–like, FAIL. Like, die-fail…

RIP-347-x-300

…No, I’m not gonna tell you if any of them did kick the bucket. You’ll have to read it to find out.

Besides the action-packed, nail biting stunts, Panic also had an emotional backbone that sucked the reader in and kept them invested. It was hard not to care about the characters and cheer them on, even though you knew only one of them could win the big game and take home the cash prize. Heartache, anger, hope, spirit…Panic had it all!

Now, I know some people may think this deadly plot isn’t believable. Personally, I was able to accept it. I’ve known small town teenagers who’ve participated in life threatening stunts. Even my own dad, who grew up in a small Kansas city, used to accept ridiculous dares that could’ve gotten him killed (thanks Dad for risking my existence!).

My only main complaint about Panic had to do with the character, Dodge. At times, I absolutely loved him. He was gritty, determined, and brave (crazy brave), yet also vulnerable, even sweet. But then he would betray those endearing attributes with a streak of violence or hate, or both. I just didn’t like that. I understand how some characters possess a dark side, but Dodge’s dark side was too dark for me. It made me wonder what type of man he would become. Loving husband or vicious criminal? I also felt his attraction to Nat was on the shallow side. I know a lot of guys, especially teenage guys, are only attracted to a girl because of what she looks like. However, as a lead character with so many heart wrenching layers, I expected more from Dodge.

But, don’t let those small nitpicks stop you from reading this. It’s worth it, especially if you’re looking for an intense, moving, slightly psychotic story.

To read more about Panic, click here!

Jen’s Rating

3 Star

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Friday Funny with a Whoops and a Woo-Hoo

Well, look at that. It’s Friday!

Before I give you guys my regular update, I want to apologize. Earlier this week, I received a notification I hit my bandwidth limit on my Photobucket account. Without thinking, I began deleting old photos to make room for new ones. Well, that was a huge mistake. By deleting those photos from that account, I deleted them from my blog. So now most of my posts have these:

Yeah, talk about a mega blonde moment. Doh! Anyways, I’m planning to fix this, but it’s going to take some time. Sorry!

Okay, back to our regularly scheduled programming…

Overall, my week was good (minus the Photobucket debacle). I’m at last feeling healthy again, though it seems everyone else around me has caught the cold I had (sorry friends and family!). Work has also slowed down enough for me to catch my breath and regain some energy/motivation for my manuscript. It took most of the week, but I’m finally getting my groove back with it. Woo-hoo! My friend, Jessica, helped out by sending me this pic:

Mister-Mittens-Big-AdventureI kept this on my desktop while I wrote to encourage a laser beam focus. It seemed to work, so thanks Jess!

I’m planning to maintain this sharp focus today, through the weekend, and into next week. Next Wednesday, however, I find out if I advanced to the third and final round of the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge. Now, I’m gonna be honest with you, my chances of moving on are slim. Although my story Over the Edge has received positive feedback from readers, and many of my competitors think I’ll advance, I’m not counting on it. Only 40 of the 200 remaining participants get to move on, so the odds are not in my favor.

But, who knows? Maybe I’ll get lucky? If I do, then round 3 begins next Friday night. This time, competitors only get 24-hours to write a 1,500 word story. Eeks! It usually takes me 24-hours just to write a semi-solid rough draft. Suffice it to say, if I discover next Wednesday I get to advance to round 3, then my focus with my manuscript will be shattered. I’ll be too busy hyperventilating and prepping myself mentally for this crazy last round of the competition.

Anyways, here is today’s Friday Funny. One of my friends sent it to me via Pinterest, and I thought it was too perfect considering my distracted state and lack of motivation the past few weeks:

e977f5e36158e6f83a8b03d4100cdbdf-1How was your week? Did you get some writing done? What books are you reading? Have any fun plans for the weekend? Tell me, tell me!

Jen’s Weekly Roundup

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Friday Funny and Blahhhh

Yeesh! This was a doozy of a week, my friends. A big ugly, painful, icky, blahhhh week. It all began last Saturday…

So, I sat down to begin working on my manuscript when–SPLAT! I hit a giant brick wall. My brain and body pleaded for a day off. I tried to ignore the weary cry, but after a few minutes, it became clear: I needed a break. So, I reluctantly shutdown my computer and spent the day cleaning my house and catching up on a million chores. Er, slowly. I was so tired!

On Sunday, I woke up still feeling exhausted, but I figured my weariness was due to dread. You see, I’d set aside the day to deal with my taxes, and I hate doing my taxes. I hate anything to do with finances, accounting, banking, numbers, math–blahhhh! But, they had to get done. So, I trudged over to my family’s house where the software was. After I (mostly) finished my taxes, I spent the rest of the day hanging out with my family.

As I sat there playing with my nephews, my sister casually mentioned she’d had a stomach bug the day before. I didn’t think much of it. I mean, she just had a baby and post-labor bodies go through weird stuff like that.

Well, on Monday my fatigue was still clinging to me and my throat started to hurt. Uh-oh…I tried to ignore the telling symptom and downed a few vitamins and a whole lot of Emergen-C. It was useless. By the time I got home, I was done for. I called in sick to work the next day in hopes of sleeping off the unexpected and very frustrating cold.

By Tuesday afternoon, I started feeling better. BUT then during dinner I started feeling queasy…

Yup, you got it. My sister gave me that stomach bug (as well as the rest of our family). I spent the rest of the night and most of the next day–well, you know.

In a nutshell, I spent the majority of the week in bed, sick and miserable. Besides my blog posts, I didn’t get any writing done. I couldn’t even read much because it made me feel dizzy/sick to my stomach. I’m telling you, it as a BLAHHHH week.

Although my cold is still lingering, I’m feeling much better now. In fact, I’m thinking by tomorrow I’ll have enough energy to get some writing done. Maybe a lot if I wake up fully charged and ready to go!

*Thinking happy thoughts*

Anyways, here is today’s Friday Funny. I posted this on my Facebook page a couple of days ago, but I wanted to share it again. It was one of the few things that made me laugh this week. Maybe it’ll make you laugh too when you’re dealing with a blahhh-type of week?

1503215_713503528688354_4701522200861300640_nPlease tell me your week was better than mine. In fact, I want to hear about all the fun/awesome/amazing/cool stuff you did. Gimme me a boost here, guys. I need it.

P.S.  Thank you to Jess from the blog, What Comes Next. Your virtual care package helped a lot 🙂

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Book Review: Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

Book Review: Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

14288998Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi 

Synopsis

“The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do–and they are just as determined to stay together.
Within the confines of a cave they’re using as a makeshift refuge, they struggle to reconcile their people, Dwellers and Outsiders, who are united only in their hatred of their desperate situation. Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. Then Roar arrives in a grief-stricken fury, endangering all with his need for revenge.
Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble an unlikely team for an impossible rescue mission. Cinder isn’t just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival–he’s also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most.
In this final book in her earth-shattering Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi raises the stakes to their absolute limit and brings her epic love story to an unforgettable close.”

Jen’s Review

Into the Still Blue was exactly what I wanted it to be: adventurous, romantic, suspenseful, addictive, surprising…Basically a perfect wrap up to a fantastic series!

Since this is the third and final book in the Under The Never Sky series, and since I despise spoilers, I’m going to keep this review short and sweet.

The characters were as likable and endearing as ever. The plot was tightly-woven, fast-paced, and plenty dramatic. The writing itself was crisp, smooth, and easy to follow. And the ending was–whoops! Not going there 😉 You’ll just have to read Into the Still Blue to find out for yourself how Veronica Rossi decided to conclude Aria and Perry’s tale.

I’ll just say this: If you enjoyed the first two books in the Under the Never Sky series, then you’ll definitely enjoy this one. And if you haven’t read any of the Under the Never Sky books yet, then I highly suggest you do, especially if you like dystopia and adventure.

Jen’s Rating

3 Star

Read more about Into the Still Blue here.

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