Sunday, April 13, 2014

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Love Like the Movies, by Victoria Van Tiem, ends 4/21

It's been seven years.

He's like Connor Mead ... and I'm like Jennifer Garner's character, Jenny Perotti. What was his line? I quickly Google Ghosts of Girlfriends Past to find it. Here, yes ... The power in all relationships lies with whoever cares less. It's true. If I'm still muddled up in old feelings, Shane still holds this power over me.

He always did. And not just over me. Over all the girls. It wasn't that I didn't care that every female in college thought they had this special connection with him. I just got used to it. Although at Fossie's, the flirty Mary didn't seem to get his normal attention. His attention was solely on me.

Either way, I need a ghost buster.

This book was very cute, but you need to be a rom-com movie lover in order to appreciate it. The author has her main character, Kensington (Kenzi, for short), obsessed with them, and she throws out references from all of these films willy-nilly throughout the novel.

Love Like the Movies book reviewOfficial synopsis:
In this irresistible romantic romp, movie fanatic Kensington Shaw is thrown into love—Hollywood-style—when her gorgeous ex presents a series of big screen challenges to win back her heart.

What girl wouldn’t want to experience the Pretty Woman shopping scene? It’s number two on the list. Or, try the lift from Dirty Dancing? It’s number five. One list, ten romantic movie moments, and a handful of shenanigans later, Kenzi has to wonder . . . should she marry the man her family loves, or risk everything for a love like the movies?
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Kensington's problem is that she's engaged to Bradley, but her ex-boyfriend, Shane, is back in town. Kensington also always feels like she's "competing" with her sister-in-law, who just announced she's pregnant (overshadowing Kensington's engagement news), and has that to contend with, too.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

GIVEAWAY: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Blu-ray + tumbler + James Thurber book, ends 4/25

I reviewed The Secret Life of Walter Mitty last year and also recently did a post comparing and contrasting the film version to the short story.

Now I have the opportunity for you to win a Walter Mitty prize pack, including the Blu-ray, a tumbler, and a James Thurber collection of short stories, which includes the original Walter Mitty story.

Win a Walter Mitty prize pack

The movie was one of the more unique films I saw in 2013 and I'd recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy or adventure stories.

The rules: enter via the Rafflecopter form below. Contest will end on Friday, April 24th, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be notified via email on April 25th, and has 24 hours to respond or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S./Canada residents only, please.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway: S.E.C.R.E.T., S.E.C.R.E.T. Shared and S.E.C.R.E.T. Revealed, by L. Marie Adeline - ends 4/20

Back in October, I reviewed both S.E.C.R.E.T. and S.E.C.R.E.T. Shared, and gave away copies of both books. The third book in the trilogy, S.E.C.R.E.T. Revealed, will be out on May 6th, and to celebrate I have paperback copies of the entire trilogy to giveaway!

SECRET revealed, L. Marie Adeline, book giveaway
SECRET revealed, L. Marie Adeline, book giveaway

Official synopsis of S.E.C.R.E.T. Revealed:
The only thing that Cassie Robichaud has ever really wanted is Will Foret, the love of her life. But when Will discovers that Cassie is part of S.E.C.R.E.T., an underground group devoted to helping women experience their deepest sexual fantasies, Will breaks it off. Heartbroken, Cassie dries her tears and devotes herself to helping the latest S.E.C.R.E.T. recruit, Solange Faraday. Cassie also reignites her relationship with sexy bad-boy Jesse, even if he can never love her as deeply as Will did.

Meanwhile, beautiful, brilliant Solange, a local news anchor and divorced mom, has a great career but a wilting love life. She rekindles long-lost passions, going deeper and hotter than any other S.E.C.R.E.T. candidate before her. Will she find what her heart most desires? And when Will realizes he's made a tragic mistake, will Cassie be able to forgive him? In the end, as both women blossom as sexual beings, they also discover that ecstasy and true love are closer than they ever imagined.

SECRET Revealed is the explosive, sensual and sexually-charged finale to the bestselling S.E.C.R.E.T. trilogy.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Above, by Isla Morley, ends 4/18

Don't panic. The electricity's gone out; give it a minute.

If this were home, Mama would be feeling her way to the pantry for the lantern and the matches she keeps on top shelf. Gerhard would have the flashlight under his chin, his bottom teeth thrust outward and his eyes crossed and buggy, and Suzie would be getting all hysterical, and if he really were the bogeyman. And Daddy would be chiding Gerhard, but only halfheartedly, because there's nothing better than spooking girls.

But this is not home. This is not any kind of place you'd put a person. What kind of things to people put in a place like this? How far underground am I? There were a lot of stairs and a long passage that kept making sharp left and right turns. And too many doors to keep track of. Locks.

Just think of home. Just give it a minute. Just wait.

I received this book off of NetGalley to review, and then was fortunate enough to receive a hard-copy from the publisher as well. I thought for sure the novel was going to be similar to Room, by Emma Donaghue, but although the very core of the premise is the same, many things are different, down to the personality of Blythe's captor to what happens when she gets out of her prison.

Official synopsis:
Above, by Isla Morley, book reviewI am a secret no one is able to tell.

Blythe Hallowell is sixteen when she is abducted by a survivalist and locked away in an aban­doned missile silo in Eudora, Kansas. At first, she focuses frantically on finding a way out, until the harrowing truth of her new existence settles in—the crushing loneliness, the terrifying madness of a captor who believes he is saving her from the end of the world, and the persistent temptation to give up. But nothing prepares Blythe for the burden of raising a child in confinement. Deter­mined to give the boy everything she has lost, she pushes aside the truth about a world he may never see for a myth that just might give mean­ing to their lives below ground. Years later, their lives are ambushed by an event at once promis­ing and devastating. As Blythe’s dream of going home hangs in the balance, she faces the ultimate choice—between survival and freedom.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Quick Pick: Paper Towns, by John Green

    Paper Towns book review, John Green
  • Opening line: "The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle."
  • Reason I picked up the book: I read and loved The Fault in Our Stars by the same author (which premieres in theaters soon) and heard that Paper Towns will be a movie soon as well, with one of the same cast members (Nat Wolff) from TFIOS.
  • And what's this book about?
  • Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows.

    After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees of the girl he thought he knew.
  • Favorite paragraph: 
"Here's what's not beautiful about it: from here, you can't see the rust or the cracked paint or whatever, but you can tell what the place really is. You can see how fake it all is. It's not even hard enough to be made out of plastic. It's a paper town. I mean look at it, Q: look at all those cul-de-sacs, those streets that turn in on themselves, all the houses that were built to fall apart. All those paper people living in their paper houses, burning the future to stay warm. All the paper kids drinking beer some bum bought for them at the paper convenience store. Everyone demented with the mania of owning things. All the things paper-thin and paper-frail. And all the people, too. I've lived here for eighteen years and I have never in my life come across anyone who cares about anything that matters.
"I'll try to not take that personally," I said.
  • Recommended for: fans of Young Adult books or adventure stories. Or anyone who is a fan of fiction, really - it was a fantastic book.
  • Something to know: John Green will be a producer on the movie version of Paper Towns.
  • What I would have changed: That's a hard question with this book. I may have changed the ending a little bit, but overall it did fit the novel and its themes.
  • Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: movie vs. short story

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty movie vs. short story
Ben Stiller in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
*Disclosure: I was provided with a complimentary Google Play download of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty to facilitate this post. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

I was able to see the film version of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty back in December 2013 (click here for review) and I still remember how great the cinematography was and how it was such a breath of fresh air - a very original movie. The movie is actually based on a short story of the same name, by James Thurber, which was published on March 18, 1939. I was able to read the short story recently and was surprised by how different it was from the movie.

The general theme of the story is the same as the movie: Walter tends to daydream - okay, he daydreams a LOT - and it helps him cope with his mundane life.

Some major differences are:
  • In the story, he is married, and it revolves around a day of him accompanying and dropping of his wife for errands; in the film, he has a major crush on a coworker (Kristen Wiig), and even goes as far as to join eHarmony just to talk to her.
  • The story was published in 1939 and has the feel of that time period - "overshoes," brandy, etc. is referenced throughout. The film takes place in present-day.
  • The story seems to take place in the suburbs, and Walter Mitty lives in NYC in the movie.
  • And, the most major difference: Walter Mitty decides to have a real-life adventure in the movie, for the purpose of finding a lost photo negative of which he was in charge. The story's character doesn't do this at the end of the story.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Book Review: Now and Forever

Now and Forever, by Susane Colasanti.

We must look like typical teens to anyone watching us. Girlfriend sitting on the porch. Boyfriend bouncing a basketball. The sun dipping behind the trees, throwing orange streaks of light across them. Just your average American high school sweethearts on a fall afternoon.

It's amazing how what we assume about other people can be so different from the truth.

I'll admit that I'm a huge fan of Susane Colasanti's books, always about teens falling (or already in) love, but I haven't had a chance to read the past few - so I was psyched when I was able to score an ARC (Advance Reader's Copy) from the publisher for this one. As usual, Colasanti does a great job of bringing us in to the world of these characters, and this world is something a little different: the world of fame and stardom.

Official synopsis:
Now and Forever by Susane Colasanti book reviewWhat if your boyfriend was the world's biggest rockstar?

Sterling is crazy in love with Ethan. Not only is he the sweetest boy she's ever met, but he's an incredibly talented guitarist, singer, and songwriter. And since forever, he's believed he has what it takes to be a star.

When Ethan becomes an overnight sensation, he's thrown head-first into the glam world of celebrity-and so is Sterling. Before she knows it, she's attending red-carpet premieres, getting free designer clothes, and flying around the country to attend Ethan's monumental sold-out concerts.

It's a dream come true ... but whose dream is Sterling living? And what do you do when "forever" comes to an end?