December 28, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday (24).

Waiting On Wednesday is from Jill, at Breaking the Spine.

Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler
Hudson can't wait to get out of Watonka, her working-class town outside of Buffalo. Once upon a time, her talent as a skater was going to be her ticket out... but when her parents' marriage unraveled three years ago, so did her dreams. Now, she buries herself in making cupcakes for her mom's diner and imagining her parallel life where she went on to skate to glory. But when she gets a letter inviting her to audition for a skating scholarship *and* the hockey team asks for her help with their technique (read: free ice time for Hudson), it's impossible to ignore the signs. Is she ready to get back on the ice? Could this be her ticket out? Hudson's determined not to let anything stand in her way. But between baking and waitressing at the diner, the love triangle that's developing with two outrageously cute hockey boys, and the simmering drama with her best friend, her future is anything but certain...

Ockler dazzled me with Twenty Boy Summer, and I'm sure she can dazzle me again with Bittersweet. Any time I come across a YA book that involves cooking, I'm sold.

December 27, 2011

REVIEW! Love Story.

LOVE STORY by Jennifer Echols.

For Erin Blackwell, majoring in creative writing at the New York City college of her dreams is more than a chance to fulfill her ambitions—it’s her ticket away from the tragic memories that shadow her family’s racehorse farm in Kentucky. But when she refuses to major in business and take over the farm herself someday, her grandmother gives Erin’s college tuition and promised inheritance to their maddeningly handsome stable boy, Hunter Allen. Now Erin has to win an internship and work late nights at a local coffee shop to make her own dreams a reality. She should despise Hunter . . . so why does he sneak into her thoughts as the hero of her latest writing assignment?

Then, on the day she’s sharing that assignment with her class, Hunter walks in. He’s joining her class. And after he reads about himself in her story, her private fantasies about him must be painfully clear. She only hopes to persuade him not to reveal her secret to everyone else. But Hunter devises his own creative revenge, writing sexy stories that drive the whole class wild with curiosity and fill Erin’s heart with longing. Now she’s not just imagining what might have been. She’s writing a whole new ending for her romance with Hunter . . . except this story could come true.
My rating: 3 stars.


This is going to be a weird review, because typically in a review you're supposed to point out the pros and cons of the story - what you liked and disliked.  But honestly I'm not sure I can pinpoint exactly what those qualities are for me, regarding Love Story.

I went into the story loving the concept of characters in college. HUGE plus.  Also, in a creative writing class, writing about one another? BIGGER plus! Awesome idea. And Erin's and Hunter's stories were actually enjoyable to read. They didn't feel like intrusions to the overall story.  And yet, sometimes I felt that they were lacking... or not present enough.  I didn't like that the narration would mention they'd written several more stories over the passing weeks, but as a reader I never got to read them.  Since they were such a key aspect beforehand, I figured they'd be prominent throughout.  This is not the case.

As for the characters, Erin and Hunter have that electric dynamic - hating but loving, flirty but zingy.  It's good and all, but at times it's also confusing.  I had a hard time deciphering what actions were "true" and which were not; going by Erin's narration, I just couldn't tell, and it seemed neither could she. This prevented me from ever forming an attachment to the idea of them as a couple.  I couldn't trust Hunter, so I wasn't invested in their relationship as much as I should/could have been. 

Another big big BIG component of the book is the background info.  There's a lot of it that comes into play.  But... it's all so fuzzy.  You never get the FULL stories.  Often I was like, Well what happened next?! But I never found out.  You're just given the same information over and over.  The problem is that their past is so vital to the present, so to not have all of the info makes it seem like an unsolved mystery.  This constantly nagged at me. I kept waiting for explanations and meetings that I knew had to happen, yet didn't.

Now for the biggest issue, and the reason why I couldn't rate this higher: THE ENDING. Is there even an ending? I'm not so sure. I got to the last page and literally freaked out, thinking my copy was missing an entire last chunk of the story. But no. Upon checking page counts and chapters and everything, I found that my copy is indeed correct.  Let me just say that I've never had a book elicit such a reaction from me; I've never been so surprised at such an abrupt ending.  The story comes to no conclusion!  Okay... it comes to a miniature closure/resolution/THING.  But it's not nearly satisfying enough to be considered an actual ending.

All I can say is read and see for yourself.  Really, it's a good, entertaining story. It just left me puzzled and frustrated.

December 25, 2011

In My Mailbox (24).

Love Story by Jennifer Echols.
The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta.
Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta.

I'm currently in the middle of Love Story and enjoying it, per Cialina's reccomendation! I plan to tackle The Piper's Son next.  I've heard so many good things about it and I'm excited to read another Marchetta book.

Hope everyone's Christmas is going well and you're enjoying your book hauls!

December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe Christmas this year! You all deserve it. I know 2011 brought its ups and downs, but we made it! Here's to hoping 2012 will be a good one. :)

And thank you to the bloggers that thought to send me a little something for the holidays. I can't express how grateful I am that you thought of me. Thank you so much. From bookmarks to books, I am set for my break.

Eat up, sleep in and have fun!


December 23, 2011

Follow Friday! (26)

If you had to spend eternity inside the pages of a book which book would you choose and why?

I know it's going to be the #1 answer, but..... c'mon. Is there really any contest? I have to choose the Harry Potter series. I'd be perfectly content spending my days at Hogwarts.

But, since I've yet to receive my acceptance letter, I suppose spending some time in Neverland wouldn't be so bad, so long as Peter shared his inability to grow up.

December 22, 2011

REVIEW! Ditched.

DITCHED: A LOVE STORY by Robin Mellom.
High school senior Justina Griffith was never the girl who dreamed of going to prom. Designer dresses and strappy heels? Not her thing. So she never expected her best friend, Ian Clark, to ask her.
Ian, who always passed her the baseball bat, handle first.
Ian, who knew exactly when she needed red licorice.
Ian, who promised her the most amazing night at prom.
And then ditched her.
Now, as the sun rises over her small town, and with only the help of some opinionated ladies at the 7-Eleven, Justina must piece together -- stain by stain on her thrift-store dress -- exactly how she ended up dateless. A three-legged Chihuahua was involved. Along with a demolition derby-ready Cadillac. And there was that incident at the tattoo parlor. Plus the flying leap from Brian Sontag's moving car...
My rating: 3 stars.


I know why Ditched was ditched. When it comes down to it all - the story, the purpose... it's all rather lacking. I went into Ditched thinking it'd be a cute, fun read.  And while it's a bit cute (the latter half of the story), it's not very fun.  The story has no feel-good emotions.  It's mostly a downer.  Justina being ditched at prom turns into one exhausted exaggeration after the next. 

As a character, Justina makes little sense. She's strong, she's weak, she's flirty, she's reserved, she's a slut, she's not a slut. See a pattern?  Ultimately, she adds up to one big contradiction.  The other characters get maybe a word to describe them.  Otherwise, they're just names.  I like a little more substance than this, even for a quick read.  Even a bit of background info would've been nice.

The plot is frustrating, to say the least. It drags and drags.  You know when you're watching a really bad horror movie and you end up shouting at the characters on screen, calling them out for their stupidity?  That's the reaction I had to the plot of Ditched.

Needless to say, it just wasn't for me. 

Highlight of the book?  I really liked that the progression of the story depended on the back stories of every stain on Justina's dress. It's a concept I've seen before, yet still neat and kept me wondering.

Blogging Slump!

Hello, bloggers!

I bet you thought I disappeared again. Wrong!

I'm very much still here - and on my Winter Break!  What does this mean? It means I have a lot of time to dedicate to reading, reviewing and catching up with all of my blogger friends.  I missed you guys!

There's just one problem: I'm in a blogging slump. I don't have much to read at the moment, and what I do have is just odds and ends (books I've had but never been tempted to read). At the moment I'm in the middle of Ditched by Robin Mellom, but let's just say that I'm feeling like I know why it was ditched.

So I need some help. What do you think I should read?  Have any favorites lately?  New releases? Comment and let me know about it! I wanna get back into the swing of things ASAP!

December 5, 2011

REVIEW! Getting Over Garrett Delaney.

Seventeen-year-old Sadie is in love: epic, heartfelt, and utterly onesided. The object of her obsession - ahem, affection - is her best friend, Garrett Delaney, who has been oblivious to Sadie's feelings ever since he sauntered into her life and wowed her with his passion for Proust (not to mention his deep-blue eyes). For two long, painful years, Sadie has been Garrett's constant companion, sharing his taste in everything from tragic Russian literature to art films to '80s indie rock- all to no avail. But when Garrett leaves for a summer literary retreat, Sadie is sure that the absence will make his heart grow fonder - until he calls to say he's fallen in love. With some other girl! A heartbroken Sadie realizes that she's finally had enough. It's time for total Garrett detox! Aided by a barista job, an eclectic crew of new friends (including the hunky chef, Josh), and a customized selfhelp guide, Sadie embarks on a summer of personal reinvention full of laughter, mortifying meltdowns, and a double shot of love.
My rating: 4 stars.


Sloooooooooooooooow. In a good way! Getting Over Garrett Delaney will definitely test your willpower to keep reading, but it's strangely worth it.  It's what I've been asking for: a book in which the romance takes a back seat and develops.  If you're looking to get away from love triangles and insta-love and get back to what's most relatable to real relationships, then this is the book for you.

The characters are nice in the way that they're not over the top in their actions.  Everything seems pretty plausible and that helped to make them seem more real.  My one gripe is the descriptions, which leave a little to be desired.  Everyone's always grinning or hugging or laughing. You'll understand when you read it.  I would have liked a little more variation.

I like that nothing happens in the way of romance - nothing overwhelming, I mean.  It's so nice to find a story that progresses, rather than throws the character right into a make out session.  Sadie is goofy and overly concerned and not at all preoccupied with the physical aspects of a relationship.  Instead, her story focuses on the dynamics of the inner workings of relationships, which, as a reader, I appreciated. Because not everyone is focused on that, 100% of the time.

Everything pans out really well, from the characters to the timing of their involvement, everything.  It was like I spent a few weeks of summer with Sadie and her gang myself.  And it was fun.

December 1, 2011

Follow My Book Blog Friday! (25)

What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to books?

Stereotypes/cliches.  Beautiful people.  Insta-love. 
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