Happy Birthday Book Tuesday 2/24/15

 Happy Birthday Book Tuesday 2/24/15

 

1.  Double Fudge Brownie Murder by Joanne Fluke: Before Hannah Swensen, bakery owner, goes to her court trial, the judge is killed. Hannah is considered a suspect and she seeks to clear her name and find the real killer!

2.  Inspiralized: Turn Vegetables into Creative, Satisfying Meals by Ali Maffucci: Yes! This book looks like something I need in my life! It’s all about replacing high-carb foods, like tortillas, rice, and pasta, with a fruit and/or vegetable substitute so you don’t feel like you’re missing out!

***The buy links above are from Amazon. I do not get paid by authors or publishers for my reviews. They are 100% my personal, honest opinion. I DO, however, receive a small commission when a book purchase is made by clicking on the provided link. This does not impact the authenticity of my reviews in any way.***

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A Different Kind of Man Crush Monday- Unbroken

A Different Kind of Man Crush Monday- Unbroken

I’m writing a different kind of Man Crush Monday today. Not so much a crush, as a real life person I admire and inspire to be like! Today, I will be reviewing the story of Louis Zamperini’s life, star of the novel and now, movie, Unbroken. If you don’t know anything about Unbroken, Louis was an Olympic athlete who joined the Air Force. While in the Air Force, his plan went down. He and two other men were stranded on a raft in the middle of the ocean for over 40 days, using remarkable ingenuity and wits to survive. Louis and his friend were then captured by the Japanese and taken to a POW (prisoner of war) camp, where they faced inhumane conditions, including tiny rations of food, brutal beatings, illness, and back-breaking work. Louis came through the experience with extreme PTSD until he attended a Billy Graham crusade, where he dedicated his life to God. Louis came to forgive his captors and even attempted to meet the most brutal one in person to offer his forgiveness. A truly amazing and inspiring story!

Review of the book Unbroken

I watched the movie Unbroken before reading the book Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. The book is wonderful and inspirational. It’s hard to write a typical review because it is someone’s true, life story. Hillenbrand is a good author. This is the first book I’ve read by her. The woman does her research! There are tons of sources in here and lots of background information about the time and places. 

Louie himself is full of endurance. I read the book after seeing the movie. I was disappointed that in the movie I didn’t know what was going on in Louie’s head and that’s part of the reason I wanted to read the book. We do get more information about Louie’s thoughts, but still not as much as I would have liked. I wondered what inside of him allowed him to endure through the hardships without breaking. I guess the human spirit isn’t always easily definable. 

I was surprised at how much of the book was the raft and POW camp. I expected to hear more about his life afterwards, but I understand why they focused on the more dramatic parts. The POW camp was painful to read about, but I was amazed at their ingenuity with the raft. That was probably the most fascinating part of the story to me. Of course, I loved reading how Louie’s life changed after he devoted his life to God. Truly an inspiring story. It’s amazing what the human spirit can endure and how it can recover. I would highly recommend this book to everyone!

***The buy link above is from Amazon. I do not get paid by authors or publishers for my reviews. They are 100% my personal, honest opinion. I DO, however, receive a small commission when a book purchase is made by clicking on the provided link. This does not impact the authenticity of my reviews in any way.***

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Storm Glass Review

storm glass

 

As a glassmaker and a magician-in-training, Opal Cowen understands trial by fire. Now it’s time to test her mettle. Someone has sabotaged the Stormdancer clan’s glass orbs, killing their most powerful magicians. The Stormdancers—particularly the mysterious and mercurial Kade—require Opal’s unique talents to prevent it happening again. But when the mission goes awry, Opal must tap in to a new kind of magic as stunningly potent as it is frightening. And the further she delves into the intrigue behind the glass and magic, the more distorted things appear. With lives hanging in the balance—including her own—Opal must control powers she hadn’t known she possessed… – powers that might lead to disaster beyond anything she’s ever known.

 

Y’all know how much I LOVE Maria V. Snyder. While looking for a quick read, I stumbled across another subset of her Chronicles of Ixia thing she’s got going on, the Glass series.

 

At first, I was skeptical. A glass magician? I’m sorry, but that just does not sound as cool as Yelena, one of her bad ass heroines I may or may not have a girl crush on. But when I discovered that the main character was Opal, the sister of the girl raped/tortured/murdered whom Yelena brought justice for, I KNEW I needed to read on.

 

Since the death of her older sister, Opal has felt alone. She’s felt ostracized by her classmates for the last four years, as they either fear her, dismiss her, or are overcome by jealousy at her important work. Granted, she feels like a one-trick pony. All she can do is create magical glass animal sculptures that can be used to communicate over long distances with other magicians possessing another one of her animals. Big deal. (Seriously. This was a pet peeve of mine. It really IS a big deal, and it irritated me to no end how casually Opal dismisses the integral work she does to protect and promote Sitia.)

 

When she is called on to help the Stormdancers and prevent widespread natural disasters, she doubts herself. But soon she shows everyone that not only is she capable of handling challenges, she can perform in unexpected and nearly miraculous ways. I love how she surprises even herself with what she can do.

 

But then the fit hits the shan. Forserious, all hell breaks loose. She is ambushed, but she and her mentor escape. Then, after saving the day, she is falsely accused of a crime and thrown in prison. She breaks out of jail with the help of her mentor, only to discover that it is a captor in disguise. She is forced to betray the Stormdancer’s secrets, only to escape before the evil ambushers can get what they want. She takes down street attackers, endures torture, and devises a master plan to basically save the world.

 

Needless to say, I was wrong when I dismissed Opal as a pansy. She’s just as bad ass as Yelena.

 

The one aspect that I absolutely hated was… wait for it… You got it. The stupid love triangle. Or was it a trapezoid at one point? It doesn’t matter. I know the varied love interests in the book were integral to the plot working out as it did, I just LOATHED it anyways. It was clear who she was really in love with, as soon as his character was introduced. Why, why, why it was all drawn out and complicated and filled with all sorts of drama and angst and awfulness? *sigh*

 

Other than that little mishap, this book was BRILLIANT! I am definitely looking forward to continuing the series. It is so spiffy seeing all of these various characters I’ve fallen in love with interact with each other in various capacities as each story unfolds. LOVE it!

 

I would say 4 out of 5 chickadees singing for this one! (Points subtracted for main character’s irrational self-doubt, and for the stupid love triangle/trapezoid thing.)

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What Alice Forgot Book Review

What Alice Forgot Book Review

I love Liane Moriarty!! What Alice Forgot is one of her earlier books and one I had been meaning to read forever! In this story, Alice falls one day at the gym and wakes up to find the last ten years of her memory erased. The baby she was pregnant with ten years ago is now ten and she has two other children. She isn’t close to her sister anymore and her mother married her father-in-law. The biggest shock of all? She’s getting a divorce from Nick! 

I loved this book! I read a book with nearly the exact premise (Remember Me? By Sophie Kinsella), but the books were quite different in other ways. It hooked me right away. Moriarty is the queen of relationship drama and this book is no different. 

Alice was an absolute loveable character. She was sweet, naive, and in love with Nick. At least, at first. Her description of their relationship was beyond adorable. They seemed like the perfect young couple. We are as much in the dark as Alice as to why they are divorcing. We are given little clues along the way as to how she got where she is today. The reader is invested in the mystery of the last ten years and trying to uncover it with Alice. We also get to read Alice’s sister’s Elizabeth’s journal entries to her psychologist and her grandmother, Frannie’s, letters to a man named Phil. These are also interesting subplots and characters the reader becomes invested in. Moriarty is always talented in telling a few different stories at once. 

I thought this story brought up some interesting questions. What would your younger self think about who you’ve become? What would your younger, newlywed self think about you getting a divorce? 

Moriarty ended the story with an epilogue that took places year later, which was an interesting choice. I still can’t figure out if I liked it or not. I was satisfied by how it all ended though. It was obvious to me that this book was one of her earlier novels, as it wasn’t as sophisticated as “The Hypnotist’s Love Story” or “The Husband’s Secret.” Nevertheless, this book reminded me of how much I like Moriarty and the things she makes her characters experience! Must go buy her new novel, “Big Little Lies!”

***The buy link above is from Amazon. I do not get paid by authors or publishers for my reviews. They are 100% my personal, honest opinion. I DO, however, receive a small commission when a book purchase is made by clicking on the provided link. This does not impact the authenticity of my reviews in any way.***

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Fab Five Friday – Authors I would LOVE to Meet!

It will come as no surprise to anyone reading this that I am a HUGE book nerd. Forserious.

 

I would rather read than do almost anything else. There is something about getting lost in a good story, diving into a world other than my own, getting lost in the heads of vastly different people… *sigh*

 

Reading is therapy to me.

 

Over the years, I have developed serious fangirl tendencies towards some authors. As soon as I discover they are coming out with a new book, I flail about in excitement like a crazy person.

 

Can you imagine how hard I would geek out if I were to actually MEET one of my favorite authors?!

 

Today’s Fab Five Friday post is dedicated to Authors I Would Love to Meet!

 

meg cabot

First up, Meg Cabot. Well, DUH! This gal is the reason I fell in love with young adult literature in the first place! I LOVE the various formats she uses to tell the story… Diary entries, scribbles on menus or napkins, emails, and even receipts! She is so creative and so hysterically funny, Cabot is by far one of my most favorite authors of all time!

 

jennifer mcgowan

Jennifer McGowan. Y’all, I didn’t even know this author existed until last year, but let me tell you, her historical fiction series has won me over for LIFE! This lady can write! She manages to effortlessly mesh historical facts with creative liberties in order to produce stories that have me anxious to find out what happens next.

 

mercedes lackey

Mercedes Lackey. This choice may be surprising. Yes, she’s my grandma’s age, and she seems kind of eccentric (one of her author photos is a picture of her with a bird perched on her shoulder), but Lackey is undoubtedly one of the most creative writers the world has ever seen. No joke. Prolific and brilliant, she manages to build entire worlds in a fascinating, whimsical, yet believable way, and yet makes it look effortless.

 

penny reid

Penny Reid. This self-published author makes me laugh like none-other! A writer of romantic fiction (of the sexy-times variety!), Reid manages to fashion bad ass, believable, intelligent female characters that I want to jump onto the page and become friends with. This author churns out so many books a year, I’m fascinated with how she does it! I’d love to sit down and have a beer with her… I have a feeling she’d be a riot!

 

stephanie perkins

Stephanie Perkins. If I wasn’t such a proud ginger, I would totally dye my hair Stephanie Perkins pink. This lady is awesome! Her stories are heartwarming/heart wrenching, and truly transport the reader back in time to their high school self. That being said, her books are perfect for readers at any stage in life, becomes her themes- love, identity, and tough decisions- are ones we all struggle with. It is my goal in life to one day give Stephanie Perkins a hug. Not in a creepy, stalker way, but in an “OH MY GOSH MY LITERARY IDOL JUST GAVE ME A HUG AND NOW WE’RE BESTIES” kind of way.

 

What about you, Chickadees? What authors are YOU dying to meet?! Share in the comments below!

 

*Images of authors obtained from Goodreads*
We would like to reiterate that we are not paid by authors or publishers for our reviews. We may receive a free copy of a book in exchange for a review, but reviews are 100% our personal, honest opinion!
We do, however, receive a small commission when purchases are made on Amazon through our site. This does not impact the authenticity of our reviews in any way.

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