Wednesday, August 31, 2011


The winners of the Amy Plum Autographed Bookmarks are:

Marissa and Nicole

I will start posting one YA Bachelor match on twitter each day.  Please post as an RT who you feel should win each match as it is posted.  I will leave each match open for 24 hours.  Please make sure the #BoysInBrackets hash tag is included or I will not be able to track your votes.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Boys in Brackets

Click on Brackets to Enlarge

Anyone who has followed our conversations on twitter and the blog knows that the Book Nerds LOVE to gush about our favorite YA Bachelors.  We all have our "teams" and enjoy debating over which of the bachelors is superior to all of the others.  In all actuality, we really do love them all.  To showcase some of our favorites we thought it would be fun to host a draft amongst the 4 Book Nerds and allow our followers to decide the overall winner.

The first step in this challenge is to guess which of the Book Nerds selected each bracket.  The first two people to correctly guess and post their answer as a comment to this post will win an AUTOGRAPHED Die for Me bookmark from Amy Plum.  Die for Me is one of our August read-alongs and is one of my favorite YA books.  I was beyond excited when Amy offered to send us some bookmarks for our readers that participated in the read-along.  I have two extras, which I would love to share with two lucky followers.

Please list in your comment an e-mail address or twitter name that we can use to contact you if you win.

The names to match up with the brackets are Mary, Jacque, Flo, and Terri.

Good Luck!!!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

BookNerds Tumblr

BookNerds is on Tumblr, real or not real?  This is REAL!  The BookNerds have created a Tumblr Page for FanArt, quotes, and other tidbits from authors, fans, and fandoms alike.

So if you get a chance please "FOLLOW" us and see more BookNerds fun!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives. The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child "unwound," whereby all of the child's organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn't technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive. (from Goodreads)

Unwind is a book that stays with you. I'd put it on my TBR list on Goodreads awhile ago because I kept hearing people talking about it and I noticed that the majority of its reviews were 4 or 5 stars. (If you have time, they are worth skimming through.) When I first started reading it, I wanted to compare it to one of my favorite books -- The Hunger Games. This was easy to do, because both stories involve dystopian societies that have convinced themselves that it's okay to kill children.  But as I read on I discovered this is entirely different. Shusterman, whether he is trying to or not,addresses several "hot button" issues of our modern society -- right to life issues, war, religion, terrorists. One line that really stuck with me was spoken by one of the "founding fathers" of the The Bill of Life, which ended a war between pro-life and pro-choice parties and made unwinding legal:

"I was right there in the room when they came up with the idea that a pregnancy could be terminated retroactively once a child reaches the age of reason. At first it was a joke -- no one intended it to be taken seriously....we proposed the idea of unwinding, which would terminate unwanteds without actually ending their lives. We thought it would shock both sides into seeing reason -- that they would stare at each other across the table and someone would blink. But nobody blinked. The choice to terminate life without ending life -- it satisfied the needs of both sides. The Bill of Life was signed"

See what I mean about this book?! It makes you go, "What?!?!" I guess that's what I love about dystopian fiction. It suggests extreme situations and then runs with them. But at the same time it has that hint of, "Really, just how extreme is it? How far off are we from it? Who says we couldn't possibly head in this direction?" 

I have been talking with people on Twitter about it and have been met with a myriad of reactions from absolute love to "Well, I don't know what to think!" If you have read Unwind, please let me know your thoughts on it. If you haven't, it's definitely worth your time. I promise you, it will leave you thinking.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

UPDATE: Day 3 -- Bout of Books Read-a-Thon Day 2: Switch It, Change It, Rearrange It!

Flo here on Day 2 of the Read-a-Thon...and I completely want to change it!

The reality is, I am a BookNerd. That means there will be always be a list of about 5 books that are in my immediate TBR pile, followed by a list of about 25 that are in my general TBR pile. In the grand scheme of things, this one week can help my immediate TBR, but it really won't make too much a difference in my general TBR. Unless...

Unless, I dedicate this Read-a-Thon to those handful of books that I have been saying FOREVER that I will read. You know them. We all have them. Those books that you know will be great because they have gotten great reviews from so many in the blogging community (for example, the Summer series by Jenny Han or the If I Stay books by Gayle Forman), yet because they are not new they are shifted over to the general TBR pile. These books are only ever moved over for some random reason, like me wanting to read the Summer series in summer or happening upon the If I Stay audiobook at the library.

So, I revised my lists to include those books. Without further adieu...

Reading Goals for the Week

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
As much of the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa as I can
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
One Day by David Nicholls (it's the BookNerds Blog August Read Along, so I have to keep it)

Stretching It Goals for the Week (as in, if I happen to get lucky and finish the books above)

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick
Heist Society by Ally Carter
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

Day 1: Monday the 22nd
Read pages 1 - 108 of Ready or Not.
Today #insixwords: Wasn't a lazy day like planned :(

Day 2: Tuesday the 23rd
Finished Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Read to page 132 of Ready or Not, and I'm trying to decide whether to read further or not. So far it's not as good as the first one.
Today #insixwords: Completely redid bout of books plan!

Day 3: Wednesday the 24th
Read to page 48 of Hush, Hush
Read to page 87 of The Iron King
Today #insixwords: Watched TV instead of my reading

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bout of Books Read-a-Thon

Flo here. I stumbled upon On a Book Bender's Bout of Books Read-a-Thon this morning and thought it was actually perfect. I am lucky enough to be free this week, and my goal was to really do a lot of nothing and spend a lot of time reading. I'm going to get super busy again starting next week (Fall is officially here!) and I really want to use this time to relax with some good books while I can. So, why not hop on to this? I'll just continue adding to this post over the next few days.

Reading Goals for the Week

Ready or Not by Meg Cabot
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
One Day by David Nicholls

Stretching It Goals for the Week (as in, if I happen to get lucky and finish the 3 books above)

This Summer by Sarah Dessen, Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler or Cruel Summer by Alyson Noel (I see one of these as being what I'll take to the beach if I make it this week.)
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Possession by Elana Johnson
Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

Day 1: Monday the 22nd
Read pages 1 - 108 of Ready or Not.
Today #insixwords: Wasn't a lazy day like planned :(

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

WOW, Gayle Forman. You really know how to break my heart, but do it so artfully that I'm thinking it's beautiful while it's shattering.

I loved If I Stay so much, and I'd had the foresight to pick up Where She Went from the library, so as soon as I finished the first one, I dove into the second one. Where She Went is told from Adam's point of view. The story takes place three years after the events of If I Stay. Mia wakes up, gets better, and goes to Julliard in the fall as she'd originally planned. But soon after she gets to New York, she simply stops talking to Adam. Now, it's three years later and Adam's band Shooting Star has skyrocketed to phenomenal success...yet, Adam still struggles with the question of Mia and where she went. One night in New York City, their paths cross and...

Adam is a beautiful broken bad boy. I have to admit, I am a sucker for these YA guys! Because they're not really bad -- they're broken. And beautiful. Adam, you can write me enough songs to fill an entire CD anytime you want! Here is my favorite quote in the book:

"Mia's smile is melting chocolate. It's a kick-ass guitar solo. It's everything good in this world."

If you enjoyed If I Stay, then definitely, definitely pick up Where She Went.


*Note: The image above is one of almost 40 "Team Adam" button contenders. Go to Gayle's blog to vote for your favorite.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Something Borrowed DVD Giveaway

The BookNerds read Something Borrowed to launch our Friday Movie/Book Read back in May. We really enjoyed the book, and those of us who saw the movie really liked it as well. Now it's coming out on DVD tomorrow, and we are giving you the opportunity to win a free copy! To enter, simply take the "Is it OK?" quiz below and then leave a comment with your result and/or thoughts on the quiz, along with an email address so we can contact you. The contest will run until next Monday, August 22nd. Good luck!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Breaking Dawn: Chapters 20 & 21

Below is the link to our latest Breaking Dawn post.  As always, there are LOADS of spoilers.  Proceed at your own risk.

I have to admit.  I was VERY happy to find out that I was back to Bella as the narrator.  The only other perspective that really matters in my opinion is Edward's.  When are we going to be able to get our hands on Midnight Sun?  Not just the leaked then released chapters. The entire book.  That is one book I would be certain to have on release day.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

1st to Die by James Patterson (Women's Murder Club book 1)

When Mary selected 10th Anniversary for this month's Sunday Mystery Corner, I had to ask for a pass on this read along.  I didn't want to start on the tenth book in a series when I had never read a single book written by James Patterson.  I have had these books on my to be read list for quite a while, but never had a chance to read them. (The BookNerds keep me very busy with other assignments...Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Mortal get the idea.)  Instead of 10th Anniversary, I read 1st to Die, which is the first book in the series. I decided I would give our followers a brief introduction to the characters and my thoughts on the first book to hopefully inspire them to join us in this month's read along.

The Women's Murder Club is formed during 1st to Die in an effort to catch a brutal murderer preying on young newlyweds.  Each woman provides a different piece of the puzzle and is essential in solving the crimes.  Lindsay Boxer is the homicide detective working the investigation.  Her long time friend Claire Washburn is the Medical Examiner assigned to the cases.  Cindy Thomas is a reporter that stumbled upon the initial crime scene and develops a relationship with Lindsay.  When the investigation seems to have come to a halt, Lindsay decides to introduce Cindy to Claire.  The three women meet off the record to brainstorm over margaritas.  Once they have enough evidence for a search warrant and arrest, they seek the assistance of Jill Bernhardt the assistant district attorney.  When Lindsay decides that the case is not taking the direction she first thought it was, she invites Jill to their next club meeting...over more margaritas of course.  Their friendship, strong work ethic, and expertise in their fields enables them to crack a case that is far more than it initially appears to be.

Patterson had me on the edge of my seat from the initial crime to the final scene.  I was sure I knew who the murderer was with about 100 pages left in the book.  I sent Mary a message and she said to keep reading.  After another 50 pages...I was sure it was someone else.  She once again said to keep reading.  I was SHOCKED by who was eventually responsible for the crimes.  I didn't see it coming at all, but in retrospect it makes complete sense.  Patterson laid out an amazing murder mystery with brilliant characters.  I can't wait to read the rest of this series.  Hopefully I will be able to fit one in here and there between all of my BookNerd assignments.   


If I Stay by Gayle Forman

"In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck... A sophisticated, layered, and heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make—and the ultimate choice Mia commands." (From

Pros of listening to If I Stay on audiobook: The music. Mia plays the cello, and at the beginning and end of every CD, cello music plays. It adds the perfect context and emotion to the story, touching the listener in a way that only music can -- which is a big part of how Mia understands and relates to the world.

Cons of listening to If I Stay on audiobook: You can probably figure out just from the synopsis that it's a tearjerker. And bawling your eyes out when you're driving?! Kinda hard.

I had heard a lot of great things about this book, so I went into it with high expectations. Luckily, these expectations were met. Gayle Forman develops her characters so well. By the end of the book, I felt I personally knew Mia, Adam, Kim, Teddy and Mia's parents. This book also did a good job at taking a somewhat hazy issue and giving it a clear path.

I definitely recommend it! Listen to it if you can, but if  you can't -- at least have some tissues on hand!


Teri's Review

I wasn't sure how I would react to this book. I picked it up on a whim, I def. didn't think I would like it or relate to it as much as I did  .The subject of the books is both heart wrenching and tragic. Mia, is in a coma after a horrific car accident that takes the rest of her family. She somehow has an out of body experience and is able to witness and tell us the events that are taking place around her. These moments are intermixed with memories of her past to help us understand the characters in the book.
I think Forman did  excellent job in her secondary characters. I am usually not a fan of parents in YA series, they either come off as completely over protective or so uncaring you wonder why they are in the book , Mia's parents were in a happy middle ground. Parents that were once carefree and were now trying to make the best for a family. I loved how Mia's fathers description is of a former rocker and now a English teacher geek , there was lots of humor on the subject.
This book was truly written about Mia, and her struggle to stay among the living or join her parents in death , but it was Adam who brought the story home for me. He wasn't a main character so much, but his presence in the book greatly affected me.  The year my son was a sophomore in high school his long time girlfriend was in a car accident and several days later was taken off life support. My son was with her at the end. When I read the speech that Adam gave Mia, the one begging her to stay, my heart was wrenched out. I have never asked my son what he said to Bek when she was laying there and he has ever felt he could tell me, this was their last moment together and it still remains theirs. I think I related so much to Adam because of the few horrific days in my life, I know first hand not only does it affect the people involved, but it also affects the people on the fringes of the accident, such as Mia's friends and family, as we were left to deal with my sons roller coasting emotions. I think for these reasons alone I shed a few tears while reading this book, something I usually do not do.
My son has moved on, slowly at first, but this has always played a key in his life choices . I look forward to picking up Where She Went. I want to know how this affected both Mia and Adam, because I know it will. This book was a great read, I laughed, I cried, it defiantly made me feel.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Summer series by Jenny Han

Lesson learned. When several other book bloggers who often have similar tastes in books as I do rave about a certain book or series -- I need to read them! I'd had Jenny Han's Summer series: namely, The Summer I Turned Pretty, It's Not Summer Without You, and We'll Always Have Summer, on my TBR (to be read) list for quite awhile. When the summer started, I told myself that I would read them sometime this summer. So when I found out that my local library had the CD for The Summer I Turned Pretty, I picked it up, along with the second book.

The Summer series tells the story of Isabel, known as Belly, and her summers. Belly admits that she kind of lives her for for the summers, as she spends the year looking forward to going to the beach house in Cousins Beach where she goes every summer with her mother and her brother Steven. The beach house belongs to her mother's best friend Susannah, who always comes with her two boys, Conrad and Jeremiah. Belly has been in love with Conrad for almost her entire life, but the summer of her fifteenth year, the summer she "turned pretty," everything starts to change...

First of all, I want to take a road trip to Cousins Beach right now. Han describes a cute little beach town where everybody knows everybody and all is laid back. She paints a beautiful picture in the readers' minds of lazy summer days filled with lying by the pool, walking along the beach, and eating a lot of junk food. Belly's summer world is so cozy, so intimate, so imperfect that it envelops you and you want to be there.

You can probably guess that the heart of the story lies with Belly figuring out her true feelings for the brothers -- Conrad and Jeremiah. Both of these boys were so real. They were your typical high school boys -- immature, moody, silly, fun, and fiercely protective of Belly. For those who are wondering, I loved both of the boys, but my heart belongs to Jeremiah. As the quiz on Jenny's website revealed to me:

"Jeremiah is totally your type! It's so easy to be around him, he's the life of every party. And he's sweet, too. It's too bad he's always surrounded by a ton of admirers…things can get a little crowded." 

(That actually sounds like an exact description of my past two exes. Ok, this is kinda creepy...moving on...)

I would have to say that It's Not Summer Without You is my favorite book in the series. I loved The Summer I Turned Pretty, but I didn't love the girl who was doing the narration on the CD. I was so invested in the story, though, that I ditched the CD and finished reading it on my Nook. I immediately picked up the second book and started reading it. I got through one chapter, since it was pretty late by that point, and went to sleep. The next morning I woke up and read the entire book in a few hours. I went out for about an hour, came back, and read the entire third book. Book 3 was based around a storyline that I didn't really like. I understand why Han brought it in, but it seems a bit unrealistic to me. I didn't like it, but I loved all the characters, and that's what redeemed the book for me.

So now I am becoming one of those book bloggers who is raving to you about a series. Read the Summer series! I loved it, and I think you will, too.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Amy Plum Video Interview

YouTube can be the greatest website ever (and sometimes not); however, this time it is a good thing! Often times I get on YouTube and search for book trailers (even the ones that are made by fans) and I came across an interview of Amy Plum on Harper Teen's YouTube page.

Amy Plum gave some insight into the storyline of Vincent and Kate.


Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday Night Movie/Book: On the Road: By Jack Kerouac

Mary's Review:

Out of all the BookNerds, I was the only one to actually finish the book.  However, it was so painful to finish that I was thankful I did an audio book instead of reading the actual book.  I do not know if I would have been able to finish it! I really disliked that Sal was never content where he was.  If he was in New York then he wanted to be in Denver.  If he was in Denver then he wanted to be in San Francisco.  This whole book was very drawn out and so LONG! I was bored to tears through most of it.  However, I did like Part 2 of the book (which I am going to assume is where most of the movie will take place). I enjoyed the storyline with Sal and MaryAnn, until she left him on the corner.  I absolutely did not understand anything in Part 3,the whole story line in Mexico was a mess!  I am so hoping that the movie will breathe some life into this book. 

Teri's Review:
My hitchhiking adventure started in New York. I was going out west..YAY..I was going to discover the great unknown..the hip generation... I was excited...I was.... oh so WRONG!
Somewhere, and I couldn't honestly tell you where, as I had no stopping places in this adventure, we climbed aboard a flat bed truck with a cast of colorful characters. Actually they were more black and white, I remember none of them, maybe a man traveling with a teenager and some guy named Montana Slim. Heck for all I know these two could be one and the same, you see I slept through this part of the trip.
The truck did finally stop, jarring me from my sleep. Someone said we were stopping for a "pisscall" in Cheyenne Wyoming. Here it was, my chance to escape my fate, a chance to go on, to travel to a land ( any land really) of perhaps vampires, angels, heck I'd take on a zombie attack at this point. I slipped inside the nearest bar (Oh please please be Pandemonium and full of ShadowHunters) , grabbed  a drink and watched from the distance as Sal and his merry men rode off into the sunset. I would never make it to Denver, or anywhere else that Sal roamed. I would never meet the people he was destined to meet, but hey I am okay with that, because I know my fellow Booknerds will be joining me soon, we will get our Haymitch on and then take off on another great adventure together. Books are like that.... they let us escape!

Jacque's Review:
I started out on this journey in central Ohio.  I travelled to northern Indiana and back listening to the audio book.  I just could not get into the story.  Sal was travelling the country aimlessly from New York to Denver to California then back to New York.  He worked odd jobs, complained about not having any money, but managed to buy alcohol and party every night.  When Dean arrived in New York and they decided to travel out west again, I couldn't believe I was about to make another cross country trek.  They made it as far as Denver before Dean had to stop for gas.  While he was filling up the car, I ran into Teri who was on her way to a local pub.  After countless hours in the car, I decided to join her for a cold one and ended the road trip early.  I could not bear to listen to any more of this book.

Flo's Review:
Like Mary, I listened to this one on audio. And like Jacque, I could not finish it. I was the last of the BookNerds to attempt reading this, even after I knew how the other 3 felt about it. But I have to agree with everyone above. Sal seemed to be just traveling around without a real destination. I thought he was planning to go to San Francisco to meet his friend and they'd go work on a ship together. But after he finally made it across country, he just hung around Denver playing around for a period of time. He admitted that he didn't go to work, yet he had money to go drinking with his friends every night?! I know it was the 1940s, but still!

So, then he finally leaves Denver and heads to San Francisco...where he only stays for a night before he decides he wants to leave again?! Really?! So then he meets this girl and ends up just living with her and her son and her family for several months. We see the situation is not ideal, so it's understandable when he wants to leave again. He returns home and is there for awhile before Dean returns, and all of a sudden they are talking about randomly going somewhere else?!? It was too much for me to take. I heard that Jacque and Teri had hopped off the road and decided to hang out at the bar, so I left Sal and Dean and went to join them.

I will say this though: Jack Kerouac is a good writer. Maybe even a great one. I have a feeling that if this story actually had a plot, I really would have enjoyed it. Kerouac has a way with words. He comes up with beautiful phrases to describe simple things. Simply Google "On the Road quotes" and you will come up with a wealth of them. Here are a couple of my favorites:

"I was halfway across America, at the dividing line between the East of my youth and the West of my future."

And perhaps the most famous one: "...because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes 'Awww!'"

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Interview with Josephine Angelini

The BookNerds were very excited to read Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini.  The love for Helen and Lucas runs strong from the BookNerds. We were even more excited when we were granted an interview from Josephine herself. 

Beside Greek Mythology, how did you come up with the character Helen?

A lot of hard work!  I spend a lot of time writing character biographies and outlining the plot of my story before I start.  Most of my characters are based on real people, but then they grow and change as I ask and answer a whole list of questions like:  What are her favorite hobbies?  Is she the kind of girl who would go out for cheering or does she run track, play field hockey, or basketball?  I answer tons of questions that never even make it into the story just so that I get real sense of the character I’m writing about.

Who is your favorite Greek Mythology God and why?

The BookNerds would love to thank Josephine Angelini for taking the time out her very busy schedule to answer our questions.  We will be looking forward to Book 2 soon!

I go back and forth on this one a lot.  I usually say Dionysus because he seems like a blast.  The guy could really party and he loved a good play, like me.  On the other hand, he didn’t pick his friends too well.  He hung out with goat men and crazy women that tore animals apart with their bare hands.  That’s not really my thing. 

There are a lot of lesser gods and goddesses that I think are interesting—like Nike.  On of my all time favorite statues from antiquity is the Nike of Samothrace at the Louvre.  I think it’s just gorgeous. 

Who is Your favorite character in the book and why?

If I had to pick a favorite I guess it has to be Helen.  She has the most interesting character arc.  She starts out terribly shy because of a curse that her mother put on her.  As soon as she starts to understand that she isn’t a freak, she learns to accept herself and all the amazing things she can do.  I think a lot of people can appreciate this learning process, especially teen-agers.  So many people at that age are made to feel like that the things that make them special are wrong in some way, and it takes a while to unlearn that and come into their power.

What inspired you to become an author?

I’ve always written.  When I was ten years old my big sister Mary Francis gave me a journal for my birthday.  It was called “A Writer’s Journal” and at the top of every page was a bit of advice or inspiration.  Mary Francis told me to write in as often as I could, and I did.  In fact, I wrote in it every day.  I don’t know what she saw in me all the way back then, but I’m glad she did.  It took me years to build enough confidence to admit to myself that my journal writing hobby was more than a hobby and that I wanted to be a writer as a profession, but better late than never, right?

Why do you think retelling Greek Tales with a modern twist has become so popular in YA Books today?

I think people have always written retellings of the ancient Greek myths; it’s just now the publishing world is actually buying those manuscripts and turning them into books!  The body of work that the Greeks left behind is impossible to ignore, and it’s kind of hard not to borrow something Greek when you want to write something epic.  Shakespeare used Greek themes in his plays, and even some Greek heroes, like Theseus (In Midsummer).  The Greeks never completely go out of style, but sometimes, like now, they are more “in” than at other times.

This Months Read: Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini


When I read the book description about Starcrossed on GoodReads, I knew that I had to read this.  I just can not help myself when it comes to love stories!  Helen is a character that you feel so sorry for.  Her mother leaves her when she is a small child, she lives on an island with only one friend, and she runs track and works in her father's hardware store.  Then literally in just a few chapters everything changes.  Lucas moves onto the island and Helen's world is turned upside down.  Helen tried to kill him the first time she met him and has no clue why.  The twist of this book is the Greek Mythology tie in.  The details and back stories are written to make you feel every breeze and pain with Helen, I loved it! I am a huge fan of Greek Mythology and I love how it was all tied together.

It took me a little while to get into this one. The first hundred pages or so were a lot of background and explanation. I understand that we needed to set the scene for the events to come, but I felt it was a lot of, "And here's something weird happening to Helen that she doesn't understand!" [Describe for awhile.] "Oh, and here's something else weird about Helen that she doesn't understand!" [Describe for awhile.] And so forth. It was only once Helen started learning who she was that the story took flight. (If you've read the story, you will understand what I did with my wording there. ;-) From that point on, I was hooked. Like I have heard many people say, I absolutely fell in love with Lucas. He was such a dedicated and loving character. For the last third of the book, new developments were happening rapidly and I kept going, "OMG!" (I really did. Just ask Mary. Every time I did it, I sent her a message about it and she nicely keep telling me, "Oh, it's getting good!") With the world already set up, I can only guess that the next book in the trilogy will be even better because we will get to jump right into the action.

Jacque's Review:
Having taken 4 years of Latin in high school I was familiar with some of the Greek mythology this story was based upon, but this is the first Greek fiction I have ever read.  I LOVED it.  Helen grew up on Nantucket (a small island in Massachusetts) and was always aware of the fact that she was different, but never understood why.  While Helen and her friends had an interesting dynamic, the story didn't really take off until the Delos family arrived on the island.  I enjoyed discovering Helen's unique abilities along with her and sharing in Lucas and Helen's developing relationship.  From mortal enemies to destined lovers, I couldn't help but root for them.  I was absolutely devastated by some of the twists that took place the last third of the book.  The readers become aware of at least one lie that greatly impacts the characters, but they have yet to discover it.  How many other lies they have been fed has yet to be determined.  Angelini left me completely thirsting for Dreamless, which is scheduled to be released in May 2012. (For those who have read the book, the pun is intended.  I'm just following in Flo's footsteps.)  I can only hope that over the course of the next two books the lead characters will unravel the lies, Helen and Lucas will conquer the Demigod world together, and the Delos family (including Helen) will live happily ever after. Is this too much to ask for? I don't think so.  It is fiction after all.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sunday Mystery Corner - Next - By Michael Crichton

Jacque's Review:

Prior to this read along, I was not familiar with Michael Crichton.  I quickly learned that he is an MD, the author of Jurassic Park, and the creator of ER.  I am a nurse, so the prospect of a fictional novel based upon medical research immediately appealed to me.

Crichton shows the speed with which research is advancing.  The goal of this research is not the health of individuals or society, but to increase the wealth of corporations, Universities, and individual researchers.  Legislation and the court systems are not able to keep up with the advances, so individual's rights are being compromised.  He shares a number of articles throughout the book to give the impression that this is real scientific research that is being conducted.  At times, I honestly wondered how much of this is real and how much is fiction.  

This novel has several story lines involving genetic research that eventually come together in the end.  We are first introduced to the owner of a biotechnology company.  We experience research from the scientists perspective and quickly see why research on human subjects is strictly regulated.  We are then introduced to a man involved in a court case in which his cells were obtained illegally for research purposes.  Does an individual have the right to receive a portion of the profits generated by researchers that used his cells?  This is just one of the questions brought before the courts.  

We are introduced to a few transgenic animals who act considerably more human than animal.  A talking bird named Gerard, a half boy/half chimpanzee named David that is living in a traditional home, an orangutan living in the jungle that can speak multiple languages, turtles that can change the color of their shells to display a message.  How will experiments such as these impact research and evolution as a whole?  Crichton addresses these issues and others with the scientific focus of a researcher and physician.

I found this book to be very fascinating and an enjoyable read.  For someone that is not in the medical field, I can see where it may not have the same appeal.  He uses medical terminology that I would never use with individuals that do not have a medical background.  He may lose some readers with the level of detail.

Mary's Review

I am a huge fan of Michael Crichton because of ER.  I was the biggest fan of ER!  However, I have only read a few of his books and when I saw this one I thought it would be a great read!  I am not big into the medical world, I picked the legal world instead, but I do enjoy a good medical mystery when I find it. 

The one thing about this book that was a dislike for me was: so many story lines.  It took me a re-read of some of the chapters to keep up with the characters.  With that aside, I loved how I was able to understand what was going on in the book even without any medical knowledge.  Although, there were some situations that I had to Google because I did not understand the procedures.  I also loved to see the "future" of the medical field, especially when it comes to genes/DNA/animals.  In my heart I am almost sure that we are not too far away from some of these advancements.  By the end of the book all the storylines were cleaned up and it was interesting how Crichton did it. I thought the book was well written and it was a quick read.

Flo's Review

I was obsessed with Michael Crichton growing up. He was one of my favorite authors. I was fairly young when I went through my phase with his books, and I still remember how Sphere and Congo completely rocked my world. Great books!  After that phase of my life ended, I didn't pick up another Michael Crichton book. Until Next.

Next is composed of several different story lines that I assume come together at the end. I "assume" because I did not finish the book. I started listening to it on CD, and Jacque commented that it might be kind of hard to follow along with all the different plots when I was listening to it as opposed to reading it. She was right. Because I was listening to it at different times, too -- just whenever I drove somewhere -- it ended up that I was always listening to a different story at a different time. I couldn't remember what had been going with the stories before, and I very quickly got lost.

After giving it my best effort, I tossed in the towel. About a week later, I saw that my library was selling a hard copy of the book. As I was considering buying it, I pulled it off the shelf to try reading a bit and see how far I'd gotten. Turns out I'd made it about 1/4 of the way through. But as I skimmed pages, I was not motivated to continue reading it. As I told Jacque, it was "kind of interesting. Perhaps if it was shorter, I would have stuck it out." I enjoy hearing the research studies. I did find them kind of interesting. Just not interesting enough to read another several hundred pages of disjointed plot lines.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

August Read Alongs

The Book Nerds are excited to announce our read alongs for August.  Hopefully we will have greater success in completing this month's challenge.  For those of you who haven't been following our discussions on twitter, you will soon understand what I am referring to.  We will be posting our reviews of the July read alongs shortly, which are sure to be highly entertaining.

Read Along: Die For Me by Amy Plum

In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity.

When Kate Mercier's parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life--and memories--behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.

Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate's guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he's a revenant--an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.

In this incandescent debut, newcomer Amy Plum has created a powerful paranormal mythology with immortal revenants. The Paris setting comes enchantingly alive as a relentless struggle between good and evil takes place in its streets. Rich with romance, atmosphere, and thrills, Die for Me will leave readers breathlessly awaiting its sequel. (Overview from Goodreads)

Sunday Mystery Corner: 10th Anniversary by James Patterson

For every secret
Detective Lindsay Boxer's long-awaited wedding celebration becomes a distant memory when she is called to investigate a horrendous crime; a badly injured teenage girl is left for dead, and her newborn baby is nowhere to be found.  Lindsay discovers that not only is there no trace of the criminals-but that the victim may be keeping secrets as well.

For every lie
At the same time, Assistant District Attorney Yuki Castellano is prosecuting the biggest case of her life-a woman who has been accused of murdering her husband in front of her two young children.  Yuki's career rests on a guilty verdict, so when Lindsay finds evidence that could save the defendant, she is forced to choose.  Should she trust her best friend or follow her instinct?

There's a different way to die
Lindsay's every move is watched by her new boss, Lieutenant Jackson Brady, and when the pressure to find the baby begins interfering with her new marriage to Joe, she wonders if she'll ever be able to start a family.  with James Patterson's white-hot speed and unquenchable action, 10th Anniversary is the most deliciously chilling Women's Murder Club book ever. (Overview from Barnes and Noble)

Book to Movie: One Day by David Nicholls

Emma and Dexter meet for the first time on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways. So where will they be on this one day next year? And the year after that? And every year that follows? Twenty years, two people, ONE DAY. From the author of the massive bestseller STARTER FOR TEN.   (Overview from Goodreads)