Monday, November 17, 2014

GIVEAWAY: If I Stay Blu-ray and paperback copy by Gayle Forman, ends 11/25

The If I Stay Blu-ray combo pack + DVD will be in stores tomorrow, November 18th, but you can win a copy here, as well as a paperback copy of the novel!

I reviewed the movie back in August at my film blog, and I gave it a Yes review. I read the book a while back, too, and it was also very good. 

About the movie:
ChloĆ« Grace Moretz and Jamie Blackley shine” (Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune) in this romantic film based on the best-selling novel. Seventeen-year-old Mia Hall (Moretz) thought the hardest decision she would ever face would be whether to pursue her musical dreams at Juilliard or follow a different path to be with the love of her life, Adam (Blackley). But what should have been a carefree family drive changes everything in an instant, and now her own life hangs in the balance. Caught between life and death for one revealing day, Mia has only one decision left, which will not only decide her future but her ultimate fate. Also starring are Mireille Enos and Joshua Leonard as Mia’s parents, Kat and Denny, and Stacy Keach as Gramps.  Rounding out the main cast are Jakob Davies as Mia’s little brother, Liana Liberato as her best friend, Gabrielle Rose as Grandma, and Aisha Hinds as Nurse Ramirez. 

The Blu-ray and DVD have many special features, as well, including audio and music commentaries, and Beyond the Page interviews with the cast/crew and Gayle Forman.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Book Review: Under the Egg, by Laura Marx Fitzgerald

It was the find of the century.

Or so I thought at the time.

This was back when a great day meant finding a toaster oven on the curb with a sign reading WORKS GOOD. Or scoring a bag of day-old danishes (slightly stale), which taste like heavena fter months of plain oatmeal.

Manhattan's treasures are't hard to find. You just have to look.

This novel was a fun read - a mystery story combined with themes of friendship and others. I've read From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, admittedly a long time ago, and the book claims it as influence in its synopsis; I do remember that Mrs. Basil was a mystery of sorts too, and this novel included some historical events as well.

Official synopsis:
Under the Egg book review
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler meets Chasing Vermeer in this clever middle grade debut.

When Theodora Tenpenny spills a bottle of rubbing alcohol on her late grandfather’s painting, she discovers what seems to be an old Renaissance masterpiece underneath. That’s great news for Theo, who’s struggling to hang onto her family’s two-hundred-year-old townhouse and support her unstable mother on her grandfather’s legacy of $463. There’s just one problem: Theo’s grandfather was a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and she worries the painting may be stolen.

With the help of some unusual new friends, Theo's search for answers takes her all around Manhattan, and introduces her to a side of the city—and her grandfather—that she never knew. To solve the mystery, she'll have to abandon her hard-won self-reliance and build a community, one serendipitous friendship at a time.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Virgin, by Radhika Sanghani, ends 11/11

Life as an adult virgin is more complicated than you might think. Obviously it is normal, there are thousands of us, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Choosing when to have sex is a completely individual decision, and everyone is different. Some people choose to wait till marriage, and some just want to wait for the right person. Others are religious, and others are just too busy being successful in every other area of their lives to worry about something as minor as intercourse.

At least, that's what the Internet said when I Googled it the second I got home from the doctor's office.

This book was hilarious, and I'm pretty sure everyone can relate to it, or even parts of it, at one time in their life or another. Ellie is a 21-year-old university student, and is also a virgin, something she'd like to change. All of her friends have already lost their virginities, most when they were 16 or 17 years old, and she wants to lose hers before she graduates from college.

Official synopsis:
Okay, I admit it ... I didn’t do it.


This is normal, right? I mean, just because everyone I know has talked like they’ve already done it doesn’t mean that they’re telling the truth…right?

It’s not like I’m asking for that much. I don’t need the perfect guy. I don’t need candlelight or roses. Honestly, I don’t even need a real bed.

The guys I know complain that girls are always looking for Mr. Right—do I have to wear a sign that says I’m only looking for Mr. Right Now?

Sooooo…anyone out there want sex? Anyone? Hello? Just for fun?

I am not going to die a virgin. One way or another I am going to make this happen.

Hey, what have I got to lose? Besides the obvious.

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Written in the Sand, by T.A. Foster and Mary-Kathryn Craft, ends 12/18

This was the last place she should be. The absolute last place. She woke up this morning in hot and dusty Dallas, and now she was standing outside of the Dock House while boats rocked in their slips.
The wind whipped through her hair. She hesitated. This was all wrong. She shouldn't be here, but she had to know. She had to see him again.

She pushed open the door, her heart in her throat, her palms dewy with perspiration, her breath fevered.

Was any of it real, or was it all just a flash of summer heat?

This is the story of Blair and Maggie, recently graduated college students who decide to housesit for a beach house one summer before they have to start their "real lives" (new jobs in different cities). They've been roommates for a while, and they're looking forward to rooming together one last time before they split up (Blair to Dallas and Maggie to Charleston). They're looking for summer flings, as well, but they don't know that their respective flings will start turning to real feelings by the end of the summer.

Official synopsis:
Blair is determined to stay on course. Her reporting career is waiting for her if she can just make it through summer on the island.

Justyn knows not to get attached to tourist girls breezing through town for only a season.

Maggie wants to cherish her last few months of summer freedom. So what if she has to keep a tiny secret to make sure everyone around her stays happy?

Reid doesn’t have time for romance. His new business must succeed, no matter the cost.

This summer everything is about to change. All those carefully laid plans might shift faster than the tides. When these four start spending time together, the island nights get hotter than the sun-drenched days. Trying to stay untangled and unattached is easier said than done when the one thing you want is standing right in front of you.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Book Review: Dirty Rowdy Thing, by Christina Lauren

I open my mouth, saying, "I should ..." and pointing vaguely north, toward home.

He nods, watching me put everything back on before he pats a heavy hand on the bed. "Harlow, you shouldn't run off." Pushing to sit at the edge of the mattress, he says, "Stay. Let me ... fuck, I don't know. Set up a bath for you, or ... just stay here. It was intense. Wasn't it intense?"

It was. It was so intense that I'm suddenly second-guessing everything that brought me here.

As I gather my things to leave, I'm not sure if being with Finn is an escape, or a new dangerous obsession.

This is the second novel in the Wild Seasons series, the first being Sweet Filthy Boy, which I reviewed back in June. Despite the somewhat R-rated title names, all of Christina Lauren's books are great reads, and I always enjoy reviewing them; I made it through this novel in about two days flat.

Official synopsis:
Despite their rowdy hookups, Harlow and Finn don’t even like each other ... which would explain why their marriage lasted only twelve hours. He needs to be in charge and takes whatever he wants. She lives by the Want-something-done? Do-it-yourself mantra. Maybe she’s too similar to the rugged fisherman - or just what he needs.

credit: Christina Lauren Facebook page

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: A World Without Princes (The School for Good and Evil #2), ends 11/5

"So let me get this straight," Hester glared, straddling a gilded sink next to Anadil, both in their saggy black Nevers' tunics. "Tedros wants to kill Sophie. Sophie wants to kill Tedros. And unless you find an ending with one of them now, everyone in this school dies."

Agatha nodded weakly, leaning against one of Honor Tower's ivory bathroom stalls, fitted with a sapphire toilet and tub. She never thought she'd be so happy to see two witches in her life.

A World Without Princes is the follow-up to The School for Good and Evil, which I reviewed in August 2013, and is the second of three books, the last of which will be out soon. In that review, I called it a mashup of The Hunger Games and the Harry Potter series, and this book follows that vein as well.

Official synopsis:

In the epic sequel to the New York Times bestselling novel, The School for Good and Evil, Sophie and Agatha are home, living out their Ever After. But life isn’t quite the fairy tale they expected.

When Agatha secretly wishes she’d chosen a different happy ending, she reopens the gates to the School for Good and Evil. But the world she and Sophie once knew has changed.

Witches and princesses, warlocks and princes are no longer enemies. New bonds are forming; old bonds are being shattered. But underneath this uneasy arrangement, a war is brewing and a dangerous enemy rises. As Agatha and Sophie battle to restore peace, an unexpected threat could destroy everything, and everyone, they love—and this time, it comes from within.

Soman Chainani has created a spectacular world that Newbery Medal-winning author Ann M. Martin calls, “a fairy tale like no other, complete with romance, magic, and humor that will keep you turning pages until the end.”

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Quick Pick: Better off Friends, by Elizabeth Eulberg

  • Opening lines: Guys and girls can be friends.
    Way to get to the point, Levi. 
  • Reason I picked up the book: The premise sounded cute, and I've read other books by the author, too.
  • And what's this book about?
  • For Macallan and Levi, it was friends at first sight. Everyone says guys and girls can’t be just friends, but these two are. They hang out after school, share tons of inside jokes, their families are super close, and Levi even starts dating one of Macallan’s friends. They are platonic and happy that way.

    Eventually they realize they’re best friends — which wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t keep getting in each other’s way. Guys won’t ask Macallan out because they think she’s with Levi, and Levi spends too much time joking around with Macallan, and maybe not enough time with his date. They can’t help but wonder . . . are they more than friends or are they better off without making it even more complicated?

    From romantic comedy superstar Elizabeth Eulberg comes a fresh, fun examination of a question for the ages: Can guys and girls ever really be just friends? Or are they always one fight away from not speaking again — and one kiss away from true love?
  • Favorite paragraph: 
I wanted my old Levi back.
Even if it was only as friends. 
The way he lashed out at me made me realize how delicate our relationship was. But he was too important to me, such a huge part of my life. I'd take him any way I could. Sure, there would always be something unspoken between us. An attraction we wouldn't act on. But would a high school romance really be worth sacrificing our friendship? 
No, we were better off friends. 
  • Recommended for: Anyone who likes a cute, quick read. You'll probably guess what the ending is, but it's fun seeing the characters get there.
  • Something to know: Elizabeth Eulberg mostly writes books about teens.
  • What I would have changed: Although I (correctly) predicted the ending, I felt that the book ended almost immediately after - I would have liked to have had another chapter or two.
  • Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
  • Where can I buy this book? Click here.

    *Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book from NetGalley for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.