July 26, 2015

Stacking The Shelves #4

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews that showcases the books you are adding to your shelves. These can include ebooks, physical books you have purchased or ones you have borrowed from friends or the library.

Due to my higher rent and the number of books that I currently own, I’ve put myself on a pretty strict book no-buy. The only exceptions to that are thrift stores and yard sales, but I’m not allowed to spend more than $10. So I’ve been relying on the number of books in my own collection that I haven’t read as well as falling back in love with my local library. Here are the books that I picked up this week:

Click covers for more info:


I devoured The Santangelos as soon as I picked it up. I started reading Jackie Collins books when I was about 13 and always loved the Lucky Santangelo series. I won’t go into major details but while it was in fact a perfect summer trashy read, it was not nearly as good as I had hoped it would be. Oh well. I have also already finished Everything Leads To You and Drawing Down the Moon. Next up are the Sookie Stackhouse books. I can’t believe I didnt read these before, thought the last time I tried to get into them, I couldn’t. Now, not only do I love the series but I pretty much have been devouring all the series by Charlaine Harris. Definitely enjoying the cozy mysteries like the Aurora Teagarden series.

What books are on your shelves this week? Leave me a comment and share away!

July 6, 2015

Book Lust: 12 Gotta Read Books for Summer Reading

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It’s FINALLY summertime… and feeling like it! After weeks of low temps and rain and clouds well into late spring, it’s finally gotten nice and toasty. Over 90 for the 4th of July weekend! I’m from the desert. I’m not a huge fan of the heat but can withstand quite a bit of it and 90 feels pretty good at times. As much as I love the rain, I’d had enough. So yes, I’m feeling very happy about this lovely, hot weather. And I don’t know about you, but summer means three things to me: long days, nights at the lake and good books to read beside the water/relaxing in the sun/on vacation/etc. So I decided to compile a list of great summer-reading books. Some newer, some older, some YA and some not. Hope you enjoy!

Click covers for more info:

1. Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver (YA)

Why It Made The List: An intensely character-driven story with an intriguing twisty mystery that begs you to keep going. It’s not the most original plot, but very well-written.

2. The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes

Why It Made The List: The only victim who survives, hunts down her would-be killer who just happens to be a time-travelling serial killer. yes. You read that right. Definitely thrilling and surprising.

3. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Why It Made The List: A story about love and family that is also rich with magical realism and supernatural elements. Spells and a romance? Oh bring on the summer loving feelings.

4. Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen (YA)

Why It Made The List: An emotional rollercoaster of a ride revolving around Halley’s friendship with Scarlett who is dealing not only with the death of her boyfriend, but the discovery that she’s also pregnant with his child.

5. Summer Sisters by Judy Blume

Why It Made The List: While Judy’s newest book “In The Unlikely Event” just recently released, I highly recommend the 25 year spanning friendship of Victoria and Caitlin as they face the trials and tribulations of growing up as well as growing apart, while spending every summer together on Martha’s Vineyard.

6. Sloppy Firsts (Jessica Darling #1) by Megan McCafferty

Why It Made The List: A well-written, journal based story of a sarcastic, smart mouthed sixteen year who is heart broken when her best friend moves out of town just before their junior year of high school. While it may sound like a YA story, it’s actually not. The characters are complex and defined and tackles several serious issues while also representing a true flashback to high school.

7. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walters

Why It Made The List: Spanning 50 years and two continents from post-war Italy to modern day Hollywood, Walters has woven a beautiful marriage of masterful storytelling and subtle satire.

8. Sway by Kat Spears (YA)

Why It Made The List: Contemporary and gritty re-telling of Cyrano de Bergerac told in the voice of Jesse, a cynical and jaded high school senior who will do anything to make a buck and has no time for those stupid little things called emotions.

9. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Why It Made The List: If you enjoyed Gone Girl then you will love Dark Places. Dark as it’s name and complex thriller (with a twist!) about a gruesome murder committed by the older brother, and the lone survivor – the younger sister who sent him to jail.

10. Paper Towns by John Green (YA)

Why It Made The List: While Paper Towns is about to be released as a movie, that’s not why I chose it. It’s actually my most favorite of all of John Green’s books. Quirky, engrossing and featuring an impromptu road trip, perfect way to beat the heat.

11. The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line (Veronica Mars #1) by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham

Why It Made The List: Whether you have or have not seen the show doesn’t matter. You can rea dit without having watched the series but it’s of course better if you have seen it. The Veronica Mars debut book is perfection in its nod to old-fashioned crime noir stories.

12. The Bungalow by Sarah Jio

Why It Made The List: Set in the summer of 1942 Jio has created a poignant and timeless story about an illict love affair, murder and a long-lost painting.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this list! Have you read any of these books? Or, do you have a favorite summer read that you’d like to share? Tell me all about it in the comments!

June 30, 2015

Review: The Martian by Andy Weir

Every human being has a basic instinct to help each other out. It might not seem that way sometimes, but it’s true. If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally human that it’s found in every culture without exception. Yes, there are assholes who just don’t care, but they’re massively outnumbered by the people who do.

Synopsis:

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive – and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills – and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit – he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

Ho-lee. CRAP. Those were literally the first words out of my mouth when I finished The Martian by Andy Weir. I won’t beat around the bush. I absolutely fell head over heels in love with this book. I devoured it (well, as much as I could with many 4am shifts in my way). I’m pretty sure that I annoyed my roommate with just how much I broke out into loud and uncontrollable laughter, not to mention with how much I was raving about the novel. As soon as I saw the book and read the back, I knew I wanted to read it. However, I waited for awhile because my expectations were high and I was worried that it would be like “Castaway” but in space – great concept, not so great execution. That was not the case here at all.

In order for a story that is primarily about a character stuck in an isolated area – whether it be an island, a cave, space, etc. – you have to have a character with a really strong personality and Mark Watney is the epitome of that. Strong opinions, a fantastic sarcastic sense of humor, and arsenal of smart ass comments and skyrocketing intelligence, he’s the whole package. I was also slightly worried about the science-y factor, not to mention the math factor, after all I’m not a genius nor do I have a science background. However as technical as a lot of it could be, it was broken down quite a bit and while there is no way that I could ever “science the shit” out of a mission to mars, I was able to at least follow along and not feel lost. In fact, the science intrigued me (just as it does in Michael Crichton books).

Throughout the course of “The Martian” I felt all the emotions. I laughed like a hyena, my heart felt like it stopped during several of the more action-packed moments, I even felt some of the loneliness and despair that Mark would mention. And most of all, I was rooting for him the whole time. I never wanted to put down this book and quite literally fell in love with it. I highly recommend “The Martian” to anyone even remotely interested in space survival books. You will not be disappointed and I cannot wait for Andy Weir’s next book, whatever it may be.

What was the last fictional survival book that you read? Would you recommend it? Why or why not? Let me know in a comment!

FIVE STARS