Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Noah Zarc Blog Tour! An interview with author D.Robert Pease

The Book Nerds are lucky enough to host the last stop on the Noah Zarc Blog Tour! And -- even better -- the author of Noah Zarc, D. Robert Pease -- was gracious enough to grant us an interview! Many thanks go out to him for answering our montage of random questions...

1. Having a protagonist who does not have use of his legs in a story where there is a lot of physical action was an interesting choice. Can you talk a little bit about how you came up with the character of Noah Zarc?

Noah is a combination of many different people in my life. And a small picture of maybe who I wish I was as a kid. When I wrote the first draft of the book, my son was the same age as Noah. Much of what I wrote was modeled after him--although my son might lean a bit more toward Hamilton, personality-wise, than Noah. But in actuality a great deal of Noah is just what I imagined a cool, confident kid would be like. I was neither of those things as a kid. I was shy, picked on, and not at all sure of myself. Of course as a parent, I'm pretty happy my kids aren't defying me at every turn and taking off on adventures without my okay.

As to the question of why is Noah a paraplegic? That's a bit less grounded in anything from my life. I had one of those strange moments when my character spoke to me. In the first draft of Noah Zarc, he wasn't disabled at all. But I kept feeling like he was supposed to be. I fought it because I didn't want people to think I put him in a "wheelchair" because I was trying to be politically correct. So I really didn't want to do it. But as I revised, and as he kept telling me he wasn't supposed to be able to walk, I finally gave in. I hope it feels genuine, and not just a gimmick. I certainly did not intend it to be.

2. Let's put Noah in a couple of scenarios and talk about how he would fare.

a. Noah Zarc in The Hunger Games?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Legend by Marie Lu

"What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem. From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias' death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets. Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills." (from Goodreads)

Legend was one of those books that got a lot of buzz in the book blogging community before it was released. So, I'd been wanting to read it for awhile and just happened to grab it on a whim when I saw it on display at the library last time I went.

Well, life kicked in and it sat on my coffee table for several weeks before I was able to pick it up this week. And WOW, y'all. WOW. I finished this in two days -- but only because I made myself stop reading the first day because I had to get some sleep for work the next day. I ended up disregarding my need for sleep on the second night and stayed up way past my bedtime because I HAD to keep reading.

Marie Lu knows how to write action and suspense. I loved figuring out the truth along with the main character, June. Her view of the Republic, her dystopian society, changes quite drastically in the book, but we walk along with her and understand just how she goes from A to B. And Day. You guys, Day is my Aladdin. Yes, I went there. I think Aladdin is hot. There I said it. I have the hots for a cartoon. I'd hang out with that "street rat" any day of the week! And same with Day. He has a Peter Pan thing going on -- yes, he has created a lot of trouble for his the Republic, but it's all to help others -- whether his own family or just people who are poor like him.

Without getting spoilerific, I think it's safe to note that June and Day are pretty much the same -- only born into different circumstances. If the roles had been reversed, I'm pretty sure Day would have made the choices June makes and June would have made the choices Day makes.  I love this dynamic of the book. Marie Lu came up with the idea for this story while watching one of my favorite plays, Les Miserables, and "wondering how the relationship between a famous criminal and a prodigious detective might translate into a more modern story." (That comes from the book jacket.) I love this, too! She has taken this idea and completely translated it and transformed it into a different society.

I'm guessing we will get to learn more about who is on the other side of the war with the Republic in book two, and I'm looking forward to that. As for you, I release you from reading this review so you can go download Legend to your eReader, check it out from your library, or grab it from your nearest bookstore!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

And the WINNER of The Girl Who Was On Fire - Movie Edition is...

Rafflecopter has spoken, and the winner of The Girl Who Was On Fire - Movie Edition is ...

Sarah (The Book Life)

Congratulations Sarah! Looks like the odds were in your favor! :)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler and Some Exciting News!

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are back again! This time the story focuses around Missy Miller, a teen cutter who takes up the steed of War. I was lucky enough to win Rage from the publisher awhile back, but I wanted to read Hunger, the first book in the series, before I took this one on. For those who are not familiar with these books, Jackie Morse Kessler has created modern teen characters who become the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. It's pretty much awesome.  I really enjoyed Hunger, the story of how Lisabeth Lewis becomes Famine.

Rage, on the other hand, did not fully do it for me. Though it is a small book, I struggled to finish it. The analogy of Missy locking her emotions in a glass jar in her heart was effective....the first few times. By the end of the book, the glass jar had been alluded to about a million times, and if I had to read some variation of the sentence, "She pushed her emotions in a glass jar and closed the lid..." one more time, then I would show Missy what rage was all about! I also felt there was way more internal turmoil than action in the book. My eyes kind of got glazed and I just skimmed over several paragraphs of Missy's internal war with herself.

That being said, this book definitely had its good points. Above all, I just love the idea for this series. So unique. Ares, Missy's warhorse, was one of my favorite characters. I loved his reactions and the way he and Missy had conversations without him actually talking at all. I also did enjoy the interactions between Missy and the other horsemen. I was familiar with Famine, of course, but it was interesting to see Pestilence have a part in the story. Finally, this book gave me some insight into the problem of teen self-injury. I could never understand how someone could cut him or hserself, but Kessler writes it in a way that makes you understand and feel sympathy for its victims.

And now for the exciting news...

Loss, the story of how Billy Ballard becomes Pestilence, comes out in March and guess who is part of the blog tour?!?! That's right -- us! The summary for this book sounds fantastic! I have a copy of the book that I am reading now, and I can't wait to review it for you guys and participate in this tour! Keep en eye out for it on Book Nerds Across America.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Fallen Eden Book 2 of Eden Trilogy By Nicole Williams

Do you remember how much I loved Eternal Eden (Book 1)? Ok this was....wait for it.... 100 times BETTER!!!

Let's pick up where we left off in Book 1. William and Bryn are together - kind of.  Charles has already told him that Bryn was a Taker and William was a Giver.  Let me explain a bit.  Bryn's special power when she turn Immortal was the ability to take someones live.  William's special is that he is a Giver.  He can make people Immortal all by himself and does not need a team of Immortals to do it.  The Council will not let them be together.  So, William is doing everything that the Council is asking of him.  Because he is trying to win the Council over and get to be with Bryn forever. 

Now, the Council has order Bryn to train up a bit and guess who here trainer is, Patrick!  He does a great job training Bryn.  But, good times cannot last forever.  John and his team of goons are back to get Bryn.  However, Bryn and Patrick take down a lot of them, BUT after the fight William touches Bryn.  He is actually knocked out because she is a Taker.  Bryn feels so horrible about this and is so hurt because she hurt him.  So, she does the one thing that she thinks best for everyone.......she leaves.  She left note that basically said that there was someone else and she did not love him.  Which we all know that this is not true because William is her soul mate.  As she is leaving Patrick catches up with her and tries to convince her to stay.  Bryn keeps with the story and Patrick is so upset with her but takes her to the airport anyway. 

Bryn catches the first flight out and ends up in Paris.  Through twist and turns she meets up with Paul (her friend from OSU). One night in an alley they are attacked but "someone" was there to rescue them.  Paul and Bryn rush off together to William's cabin in the Alps.  However, Bryn still needs to finish her training; so, Patrick comes and helps her.  He is not the same though.  He is mean to Bryn and tells her how William has moved on and found someone else.  Bryn is so hurt but understands because she cannot be with William because she hurts him and could possibly kill him.  During the time in the Alps, we also find out that Paul is dying.  Bryn feels she must make Paul's last days as fulfilled as possible.  As Paul is dying William comes with Patrick and turns Paul.  Crazy I know!! But William did it because he thought that Bryn left him for Paul and he did not want her to be sad. 

Bryn cannot take it anymore and heads back to William's family home.  After convincing everyone that she left because she loves William she set off to find him.  When she finally finds him and tells him her true feelings - what happens? - John's goons again! Yet again they get away.......for now.....

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Win The Girl Who Was On Fire -- Movie Edition

It's no secret that the BookNerds are huge Hunger Games fans. HUGE. So when we got the chance to read and review The Girl Who Was On Fire when it came out on April 5th, 2011, we were super excited to share our thoughts and host a giveaway.

Today, The Girl Who Was On Fire -- Movie Edition is released! This updated version of the book includes three new essays from Brent Hartinger, Jackson Pearce, and Diana Peterfreund. If you want to get the new essays without re-buying the entire book, you can get a Movie Edition e-book Booster Pack which includes the new content, along with all the contributors thoughts on the Hunger Games movie. (This will be available a week after the movie premieres.)

Ready for the best part? We have a copy of the book to give away to one lucky reader! Just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

The Future of Us was on the radar of the YA book blogging community for a long time before its recent release. I heard about it awhile ago and have been wanting to read it ever since. You may know from our review of Hourglass by Myra McEntire and the episode of Haymitch Happy Hour where Mary & I discuss Hourglass, that I have been fascinated with the idea of time travel and the repercussions it can create ever since I was little. (I thank Marty McFly. Back to the Future II is the best movie ever, right?!?)

While The Future of Us isn't necessarily about time travel, some of these questions and issues come up. In the book, two high school teens in the year 1996 go to login AOL and end up seeing their Facebook pages in real-time in the future. (So for example, they on May 8th 1996 will see status updates from themselves on May 8th 2011.) The really interesting part comes when they start to discover that things they do in the present are affecting their lives in the future.

I literally tore through this book in a matter of hours. Asher and Mackler write so seamlessly it's pretty much impossible to tell that there were two authors of this book. I loved the fact that the chapters were short -- this kept me want to keep reading. Also, I simply had to know what happened next to Emma and Josh, their friends, family and classmates. As I said before, a lot of the issues of time travel are addressed -- Emma finds out something about their friend Kellan that she struggles with, as far as whether to try to prevent it from happening. The knowledge of who they are supposed to end up with affects both Josh's and Emma's actions and decisions in the present.

I particularly enjoyed the character growth of Emma in the book. Yes, there were times when it felt a little rushed. (The whole story takes place in the span of about a week.) But through this experience Emma comes to realize that how she is in relationships now will have an effect on how she is in relationships in the future. Finally, without giving it away, I enjoyed the ending. I thought it was realistic and very well-done way to end this story.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Eden Trilogy By Nicole Wiliams

 For those who follow the blog and know me I love series books.  I am not completely sure why but I do.  I also have another confession --- and it is a big one --- I have a sick love affair with $.99/$1.99/$2.99 books on Amazon.  I cannot help it.  I see that they are cheap and the book sound so good that I have to have it.  Come on BookNerds you know what I mean.  It was with this love affair that I fell in love with the Eden Trilogy.  It is here that I got Book #1 Eternal Eden.  It was here that I met Bryn and William. *sigh* William!!! I read the first book in less than one day. SERIOUSLY!! I could not put it down.  Also this contains SPOILERS so please be aware of that too!

Bryn, female, 20-something, beautiful, smart, student at Oregon State University, sounds perfect...right?! Well, Bryn has issues.  Her parents were killed ad she has no one else.  The reason she dropped out of Stanford to go to OSU was because she needed to get away and this is where she choose.  It is here that I need to introduce William! *sigh* I cannot help but love him more eveytime I say his name.  Jaw-dropping yummy cute, blue eyed William.  They meet while she is giving him a tour of the campus.  Then its all down hill from here.  William (of course) is not who he seems.  I know your first thought might be vampire -- but that is not it!! William saves Bryn from a very beating from two bad guys (who are really there to give a message to William) then after she gets to falling in love with him, he leaves.  She cannot take the pain of him being away.  So, one day she decides that it is time to end her life.  SIDENOTE: This part is not as bad as it sounds Bryn actually wants to be closer to William so she drowns herself in water because William loves being in water.  Okay maybe that is a bit dramatic.  Bryn drowns and then wakes up several days later in a huge Manor and who is there, YEP, William and now Bryn is like him.  William is an Immortal.  He is actually a Guardian and Chosen One but s on a mission to get intel on John Townsend because he is Inheritor.  William has been working 10 years on this mission with the help of Patrick, his brother.  Let me just say that I LOVE PATRICK!!! William actually change Bryn on his own, which is a very special gift.  William also tells Bryn that he has been searching for her for over 20 years.  YEP that is what he said because William is also a Foreteller.  Once Bryn is changed she cannot stay aways from William they are drawn to each other so much.  Of course Patrick is there for the comic relief and keeps them in line.  Bryn takes becoming Immortal herself okay because she is with William.  Howver, there is a snag in this love-affair.  Paul - a friend of Bryn's from OSU.  See when Bryn drowned Paul went a huge search/rescue mission to find her.  So this needed to be "cleaned" up.  Patrick, William and Bryn head out to handle this Along the way we meet all of William's and Patrick's family.  Their brother, Nathanial and his wife Abigail.  Their younger brother Joseph and his wife Cora.  Yes they all are Immortal also.  The back story of this is so tragic but amazing to how perfect this family is.  Their father, Charles, is even the Chancellor of Alliance of Guardians.  Bryn goes and talks to Paul and tells him not to search for her.  So, I was thinking that all was good OH NO there is much more.  The Council (which is like the leaders of the Immortals) chooses who married who.  They picked Bryn to marry John Townsend.  That did not set well with William.  They "try" to run away but John catches them and the Council sentences Bryn to death. Here is another catch, Bryn has powers (like all Immortals) she is a TAKER.  This means she can take life by just touching them.  This is what helps them escape.  But will the Council and John leave them alone???

-- Mary --

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Nightingale by David Farland

Jacque's Review:

We were approached by Mr. Farland's representative about a month ago to see if we were interested in reviewing this "enhanced novel."  It is the first book in the Nightingale series and is designed to be read on a computer, iPad, smart phone or other such device.  It is also currently available as a traditional ebook (without the enhancements) if you prefer to read it on a traditional eReader and the hard copy is available for pre-order.  The enhanced version consists of not only the novel, but a 45 minute soundtrack, full color animated drawings at the beginning of each chapter, and author notes throughout the text.  There were sentences throughout the book that were highlighted in blue.  If you click on them a text box provides additional background information, what the author was thinking at the time, his source of inspiration, etc.  I thoroughly enjoyed the pictures and the author's comments, but could have done without the audio component.  It took a long time for the pages with audio to load on my iPad and I became impatient when all I REALLY wanted was to continue reading the story.  I emphasized the word really because I truly did enjoy the story.  All of the enhanced features were nice, but not necessary.  I would have enjoyed this book with or without them.

Bron Jones was abandoned by his mother as an infant and has been in foster care ever since.  He was bounced from home to home and has had a very rough upbringing.  At the age of 16 he is fortunate enough to get placed with Olivia and Mike Hernandez.  She is a teacher at a school for the performing arts and recognizes Bron for what he truly is.  Bron thinks that his life may finally take a turn for the better.  He is popular at school, is living with a nice family, has a potential girlfriend...but of course this may all be too good to be true.  There is a secret that Olivia is keeping and with it comes a tremendous amount of danger. 

Mr. Farland has developed a set of characters known as Masaaks, which look human but have very special powers.  They are nothing like other paranormal characters we have all read about.  I found their history and abilities to be very fascinating.  When you add in the fact that there are good and evil Massaks that have been battling for thousands of years you begin to wonder, how can humans not know they exist?  There is a very good explanation for this which you will want to read about.  There was plenty of action to keep the pages turning with just enough relationship and character development to really allow the reader to connect with these characters.

It appears that there are currently three additional books planned for the series and I honestly can't wait to get my hands on them.  The end of the book was a bit of a cliff hanger, which is often the case with a series, so I was not surprised.  I just wonder how long we will have to wait to find out what happens next for Bron, Olivia, and the rest of the Masaaks.  I have not been able to find a potential release date for the second installment in this series, but I will be sure to let you know when I do.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Interview with Katie Kacvinsky

As I am sure you can tell from our reviews, Mary and I LOVED Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky.  Therefore, we were absolutely elated when she agreed to answer a few questions for us to share with our followers.

If you aren't already familiar with Katie, you can find out more about her at katiekacvinsky.com .  You can also follow her blog for the most up to date information on her current projects and upcoming book releases.

So without further ado, here is our interview with Katie.

1. One thing that we liked about Awaken is that it isn’t too far from today’s reality.  We can see life becoming as isolated and socially awkward as you described, and in ways it already has.  What ultimately inspired you to write a book about becoming unplugged?

 I think writing Awaken was a way for me to explore some of my own skepticisms about technology and where our society might be headed if we continue to rapidly embrace every digital gadget that comes our way.  I've always been fascinated (and disturbed) by stories about technology, especially how it can take over our lives if we don't keep it in check. I love movies like The Terminator, The Matrix and Jurassic Park because even though they're fictional, you can still apply their messages to real life. I wanted to write a book that addresses our current "technoculture," because even though there are so many benefits to technology, it's also permanently changing the way we think and communicate.  I wanted to write a book that encourages people to step back and consider some of their own values and habits.

2.  While Maddie was in need of becoming technologically unplugged, Justin was equally in need of becoming emotionally unplugged.  I felt they complemented each other perfectly.  Why did you feel it was important to include this element in his character?

 As soon as I started writing Justin's character, I realized how important he would be to the story. He carries so much weight; he's the foil against society, he's a teacher, he's on a mission, he's a protagonist, the love interest....this book is just as much Justin's story as it is Maddie's.  I liked the idea that he needed to "wake up" along with Maddie.  Honestly, the main reason he is so closed off hasn’t even been revealed yet.  I was saving that piece of his past for Middle Ground.

3.  While we anxiously await the release of Middle Ground next fall, we would love to know if this will be the final installment in the Awaken Series or if there is more of Maddie and Justin to come?

I'm currently working on the third and final book in the series.

4.  There is very little information out about First Comes Love, which is scheduled to be released in May of 2012, besides the fact that it is a love story.  Is there anything you can share with your fans about this next book?  Will this become another series?

Oh, man, I'm so bad at describing my books and I wrote them. Basically, I wrote First Comes Love because I wanted to try and write about emotionally-heated issues from a male perspective.  This book is Gray's experiences dealing with family, loss, friendship, love, sex, and independence. It's a story about how relationships change our lives--how meeting one single person can throw our lives completely off course and why love is the most important thing we have going for us.

5.  We love to hear more about the authors that we like.  Can you tell us why you wanted to become an author?

 It took me a long time to realize this is what I wanted to do. In high school, I was actually kicked out of my honor's English writing class. When I was sixteen, my teacher pulled me aside and said, "Katie, your writing is shit. You don't deserve to be in my class."  I was placed in a remedial class after that, which was really frustrating because English had always been my favorite subject.  But it also taught me, at a very young age, to grow a thick skin and not let anyone place a limit on what I can do. So, I kept writing.  Writing is like breathing to me, it's like walking. It's my way to vent, to celebrate, to reflect. I am a very private person; I have a hard time opening up to even my best friends, but I've never had a problem dishing out my thoughts with a pen and paper.  It’s when I’m at my best.  So, I just write the kind of stories that I would pull off of the shelf.  As long as I’m having fun writing a book, I know I’m on the right track.

All of the Book Nerds would like to thank Katie for taking time out of her very busy schedule to answer some of our questions.  We would ESPECIALLY like to thank her and her publicist for offering to send us an ARC of First Comes Love, which we will review and share with all of you as soon as we can.

Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky

Jacque's Review:

Awaken is set about 50 years into the future.  From the way technology is moving at the speed of light and people are embracing it without thought or question, I do not feel that Katie's predictions are unrealistic.

I found this book to be very thought provoking.  How many times have you been out with friends or family and spent more time with your head in your phone than interacting with the people you are with?  Are your virtual friends more important than your actual friends?  What do you REALLY know about your thousands of friends on twitter, blogs, and other social networking sites.  Is technology making face to face contact awkward and uncomfortable?  Is it time that we take a step back and actually become "unplugged?"

This is exactly what Justin and his friends are trying to do.  They are helping people who want to live the way things were in the early 2000s, which is considered to be a crime.  Life doesn't have to be ALL about speed and convenience.  We need to take the time to enjoy food, friends, family, and daily activities.  We need to take a step away from the digital world and actually LIVE our lives.  Yes...we can tour a location on a digital screen, but we are not engaging all of our senses and we are missing out on the true experience.  These are just a few of the lessons that I took away from this book and could really relate to while reading it.

The other main character in this book is Madeline.  Her father is the founder of Digital School, but she is a strong supporter of Justin's cause.  While Justin is helping others to live freely, he is all about work and has closed himself off on a personal level.  Madeline is the one person that confronted him about how he needs to take time for himself.  There needs to be a balance in life.  For the first time in his life, Justin spends more than a day in one place.  He begins to develop a relationship with Madeline, but he is still learning how to become unplugged emotionally.

Madeline and Justin's relationship is still evolving and there is a considerable amount of work that still needs to be done if the world is truly going to become unplugged.  Fortunately for us, Katie has a sequel to this book, Middle Ground, which is scheduled to be released in the fall of 2012.  I have already added it to my to be read list and will be anxiously awaiting its release.  I absolutely loved the characters and can't wait to see what is in store for them in the sequel.

Flo's Review:

I remember, a long time ago -- probably when this book first came out -- thinking, "Oh, this sounds interesting." So I was happy that the BookNerds selected it as our December Book of the Month. Jacque read it first and was really excited about it, then Teri started it next and couldn't finish it, so I was definitely curious as to what I would think.

Unfortunately, I ended up taking Teri's road with this one. I did not finish it.

I definitely think the concept of Awaken is an interesting one. Like a lot of dystopian fiction, Maddie's world does not seem that unrealistic. I could easily see this happening by 2060. But the most important part of a book for me is my connection with the characters. And I didn't feel that with this protagonist. Maddie reminds me of Vi in Possession, and I have the same criticism for her as I did for Vi -- I like to see the journey that the main character takes from being totally pro-Their Society to being totally con-Their Society. When we start the story, Maddie has already rebelled in the past. She's already questioning. But she has resolved to put it behind her, when she meets Justin. And seemingly like a light switch, Justin is leading her back down the rebellious path again. It's a very thin, very hard line for YA books to cross when the lead character is a young girl and the one who starts her thinking differently is the Hottie Boy. It has to come across that the girl is making the decision on her own, coming to terms with her changing view by herself, and not just blindly following the boy. To me, it read like Justin swooped in and suddenly, hey, maybe Mom's not too crazy! I don't know...maybe I need there to be some other outside factors besides just the Boy for me to buy such a big change of heart? Maybe it would have been easier for me if I felt the boy was that amazing (and for whatever reason, I didn't connect with Justin)?

All that being said, the truth is I didn't finish it. Maybe the pieces I saw of Maddie and of Justin, of the whole story, are just that -- pieces.  And I'd need to see more to fully understand. I did read a review (and Jacque just said it, above) that talked about Maddie unplugging physically and Justin unplugging emotionally and how they help each other and are, thus, a perfect fit. I like that :) And, I know I said this before, but I really do like the realness potential of this one. It makes you think -- could we really be headed that way? How would you be in that world?

Maybe we should start fighting to stay unplugged now.

Mary's Review

Ok.  I will be the first BookNerd to admit that I am technology addict.  I do not think I could live without my Facebook or Twitter!! Plus, all of us BookNerds met on Twitter!! However, when I read this book my mind was actually opened to "the old ways".  Well, I am not that old BUT I do remember days before the Internet took over.  Don't get me wrong, I love those days and I would never change my childhood; however I do not know what I would do with technology today.  Back to my point, when I finished this book (and before I tweeted it) I actually looked at my computer differently.  The stuff that Justin was telling Maddie really got me thinking because I am (sort-of) the same way.  I socialize on the Internet, I have gone to school on the computer, I keep up with the latest news/activities on the computer and I do almost all my shopping on the Internet.  Could I survive if something happen to the Internet?  Sure I could but, I think it would be hard. 

When I read Maddie I saw a lot of her in me.  I could see her being sucked into the world of technology and not being able to come out.  That is one reason why I look at my computer differently.  Then there was Justin (sigh)! He was there to "guide" Maddie to seeing the world without being "plugged into it".  Maddie's mother had planted some ideas in her head already.  The journal was my favorite thing because Maddie looked at it as an artifact, but it was something that became so important to Maddie.  I loved that Justin protected Maddie so much.  My most favorite part of the whole book was when they were on the beach watching the sunset. Something so simple as a sunset was a life changing experience for Maddie!  It was hard for me to see Maddie go against her father so much because I saw how much it hurt her.  Though, in the end, Maddie really sees the world as it should be "unplugged". 

I loved this book and I cannot wait to see what the next book bring with Justin and Maddie!!

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen

I could not finish this book. And not because it was so bad. I could not finish it because it was so good.

"The Surgeon" is the nickname given to a serial killer who brutally murders women and takes out their ovaries. This is the first book in the Rizzoli & Isles series, which eventually led to a TV show. Isles does not appear in this book (I believe). Rizzoli is part of a team trying to track down the Surgeon.

Gerritsen either has some medical schooling in her past or she did an amazing job with her research. One of the main character, Dr. Catherine Cordell, is a surgeon, and there are numerous very descriptive trauma scenes in the book. This is the first positive for the book and negative for Flo. The only medical drama I watched regularly was ER. Any intense operating room scene makes me squeamish, even if I know it's fake. This book was very descriptive. Gerritsen talked over and over about the large amounts of blood oozing out of patients and victims. In fact, the cover of the book I have shows a woman colored red. I don't think this is a coincidence.

The killings are also very graphic. I won't make you all queasy with all the details, but let's just say that the Surgeon is aptly nicknamed. Worst of all, he leaves his victims alive for most of his "operation."

Add all that to the victim pool -- young professional women like myself -- and it was just too much to take. Gerritsen hits too close to home.

If you like medical dramas and mysteries, I would recommend this book to you. But if you're not really into both of those...maybe pass -- and save your stomach.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

This is when you know you're a BookNerd. Whenever I fly (which is quite a bit) I always take my Nook or Kindle of with me -- duh. In addition, I take an extra book for those 20 minutes at the beginning and end of the flight where your electronic devices must be powered off. Yep. It's that deep. So, I was flying back from New York City on New Year's Day, and I had packed Dash & Lily's Book of Dares as my extra book because it takes place in NYC during the holidays and that is essentially what I was doing. This book had been on my TBR for awhile.

I started reading it as soon as I got to my seat on the plane with every intention of putting it aside once we were at an altitude where I could turn on my Kindle. Except...I couldn't stop reading it. Not only was it the perfect story setting with NYC and the holidays, it was also the perfect length: I started it at the beginning of my flight, and as people were disembarking the plane at our destination, I was reading the last paragraphs.


I loved this book!  This is the story of Dash, written by David Levithan, and Lily, written by Rachel Cohn. For different reasons, both their parents are away for the holidays and they are left essentially by themselves. Lily's brother, in an effort to find her something to do to keep her out of his and his boyfriends' hair all break, creates a scavenger hunt in a red notebook and places it by one of Lily's favorite books in The Strand bookstore. The person who answers the riddle needs to be a boy, of course. Dash finds the notebook, rises to the challenge, and so begins a trading back and forth of the red notebook, complete with Q & As from the two characters as they learn about each other and the other's favorite places of New York City.

I will admit, I did not like it at first. I felt it jumped right in and that it was kind of unrealistic for Dash to be like, "Yea, okay, I'll do this crazy thing. Sure." But that's my only complaint. I love how great Cohn and Levithan are of showing just how opposite Dash and Lily are in the beginning of the book, in regards to Christmas. But as the book progresses, you see that they really are not that different. I liked how Dash's friends met Lily and Lily's relatives met Dash, but Dash and Lily never met each other, and their friends/family were very vague with details. I very thoroughly enjoyed the conversation between Dash and Lily's Great Aunt Ida. And I love that they are both word nerds.

I tore through this book, not even pausing, only coming up for air as I flipped the last page. Great, great book. 

BookNerd Teri also loved this book, and she reviewed this book on her blog


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Awkward by Marni Bates

"Mackenzie Wellesley has spent her life avoiding the spotlight. At Smith High, she's the awkward junior people only notice when they need help with homework. Until she sends a burly football player flying with her massive backpack and makes a disastrous - not to mention unwelcome - attempt at CPR. Before the day is out, the whole fiasco explodes on YouTube. And then the strangest thing happens. Suddenly, Mackenzie is an Internet sensation, with four million hits and counting. Sucked into a whirlwind of rock stars, paparazzi, and free designer clothes, she even catches the eye of the most popular guy at school. And that's when life gets really interesting... "(from Goodreads)

I was lucky enough to win this ARC from the publisher on Twitter. It arrived at my apartment during the holiday break and I set it on my coffee table. One day, in the height of my laziness (hey, what is break for?!), I was lying on my couch and grabbed it to read simply because I didn't want to get off the couch to find my Kindle. I loved it! Now you tell me laziness doesn't pay off?!? ;-p (Kidding, y'all.)

Awkward was just very refreshing. I flew through it in the span of about one day. Marni Bates has great chapter transitions, always along the lines of, "And then it got worse." And you're thinking, "How does it get WORSE?!?!" And you keep on reading. I loved Mackenzie's best friends Jane and Corey, who stood by their friend no matter what. I loved her little brother who is in middle school, yet is still not as socially awkward as Mackenzie. I enjoyed ReadySet and the twist with the lead singer and HIS crush. (I soo support that couple!) And I loved loved loved Logan, the cool kid who could have the most popular girl in school as his girlfriend, but is instead crushing on his very unaware history tutor. He may make my list of fictional boyfriends.

Awkward was a cute, fun and easy read. Any book that can hold my complete and absolute attention and make me not want to put it down until it's some crazy time in the A.M. and I've actually finished it rates high on my list.

Jane, Mackenzie's friend, pretty much faded out of the story in the middle. I am interested to learn more about her in Invisible, which will be her story and comes out next year.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

January Read Along: Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer

This month's read along is the highly anticipated Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer, which will be released on January 3rd.  All of the BookNerds LOVED the first book, Nightshade , which we discussed earlier this year along with the love triangle.  We were fortunate to receive an ARC of Wolfsbane ,which we also reviewed.  The BookNerds were not in agreement when selecting which "team" we were on, which will likely cause some disappointment for at least one of us as the series comes to a close.  From this BookNerd's perspective, hopefully Team Shay comes out on top!!


Goodreads Overview:
Calla has always welcomed war. But now that the final battle is upon her, there’s more at stake than fighting. There’s saving Ren, even if it incurs Shay’s wrath. There’s keeping Ansel safe, even if he’s been branded a traitor. There’s proving herself as the pack’s alpha, facing unnamable horrors, and ridding the world of the Keepers’ magic once and for all. And then there’s deciding what to do when the war ends. If Calla makes it out alive, that is.

In the final installment of the Nightshade trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Andrea Cremer creates a novel with twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat until its final pages. A dynamic end to this breathtaking trilogy.

The Woman in Black- By Susan Hill

Jacque's Review:

I selected this as our book to movie because I wanted to see what Daniel Radcliffe would be starring in for his first film after Harry Potter.  I knew nothing about the book besides the fact that it was a ghost story.  When I went to see Breaking Dawn, The Woman in Black was one of the previews.  It looked REALLY scary and I was beginning to wonder what I had gotten myself into.

The book starts out with a family getting ready to celebrate Christmas.  As part of their tradition, all of the children gather around the fire and tell ghost stories on Christmas Eve.  The children try to convince their father to tell a story, but he is overcome by the situation and steps out of the house for a while to regain his composure.  While outside he resolves to put down in writing what he cannot put into words, the real life ghost story he experienced while in his early 20s and working as an attorney.  At this point I was excited about where this could be leading, but ultimately it did not live up to my expectations.

The first 100 pages were very slow for me.  First we learn that Mrs. Drablow has passed away and that Arthur will have to go to Eel Marsh House to settle her estate.  Whenever he mentions the owner or the house to people around town, nobody will discuss it with him.  Arthur becomes increasingly agitated by the apparent lack of respect for the deceased.  When he attends the funeral, he is one of only 3 people in attendance.  When he refers to The Woman in Black that he saw at the grave site to others, they become very distressed.  There was a lot of setup such as this before the ghost story truly began.  The last 40 pages were a bit more exciting as we experience the hauntings of Eel Marsh House, but I never once had the feelings the movie trailer conjured up.  Clearly Hollywood is taking some liberties with this one, and for Radcliffe's sake I sure hope they do.

Here is a copy of the movie trailer.