Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Review: ‘Beautiful Disaster’ by @JamieMcGuire_

The new Abby Abernathy is a good girl. She doesn’t drink or swear, and she has the appropriate percentage of cardigans in her wardrobe. Abby believes she has enough distance between her and the darkness of her past, but when she arrives at college with her best friend America, her path to a new beginning is quickly challenged by Eastern University’s Walking One-Night Stand. Travis Maddox, lean, cut, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs—and wants—to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight ring, and his days as the charming college co-ed. Intrigued by Abby’s resistance to his charms, Travis tricks her into his daily life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain abstinent for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in Travis’ apartment for the same amount of time. Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match.
(Amazon product description)

Beautiful Disaster

First, let me say, it was brave of the author to write a novel for the college age.  For those of you who are not familiar with the industry, traditional publishers will buy adult books or young adult books, but not the age in between.  Why?  Basically, because they don’t know where to shelve it in the book store.  But just because publishers don’t know how to sell it doesn’t mean readers don’t want to read it.  Beautiful Disaster is a refreshing novel for that mature, 17 and up reader. 

I think what I enjoyed most about this book is the characterization.  The description above kind of makes it seem like the characters might be stereotypical, but thankfully, that didn’t turn out to the case at all.  Travis is a tattoo covered, fighting bad-boy, but he is also fiercely loyal, intelligent and loving.  Abby tries to hide behind her cardigan sweaters, but she has an adventurous soul.  I loved that Abby and Travis did not try to change each other.  Yes, Travis made adjustments, but I think that was more an effect of him growing up.  He realized that if he wanted a quality relationship with someone, he would have to clean up his act.  Abby never issues ultimatums.  She doesn’t hassle him over his fighting for money.  Even in the one scene where she hits her deal-breaker, she doesn’t try to force Travis to do what she wants.  She simply makes the mature decision for what is good for her.  In keeping with the age of the characters, Travis and Abby are not perfect.  They make mistakes.  The cool thing is that we see them learning from them. 

The pacing of the story flowed nicely.  It was a fairly long book, but part of me didn’t want it to end.  There is a fair amount of excitement and action peppered throughout the plot.  Travis is a fighter in an underground boxing club on campus.  He gets paid enough from his cut in the bets that it serves as his job.  Of course, this means he has a bit of a violent reputation.  One of my favorite scenes was when Abby and her friend were at a dance club.  Every time a guy would start dancing with them, he would suddenly disappear.  After a few times of this happening, they discovered Travis and his cousin yanking the guys off the dance floor when the girls’ backs were turned, and then threatening the guys to stay away.  Abby was mad, but I thought it was rather funny. 

Anyway, I strongly recommend this book, and I look forward to more by this author.

Overall, I give Beautiful Disaster...

Plot - 4 1/2 bookmarks
Character Development - 5 bookmarks (Anna was one of the best younger heroines I have read in a while.)
Love Story - 5 bookmarks
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) - Kristen Stewart (Abby), Liam Hemsworth (Travis), America (Brit Robertson), Shepley (Jeremy Irvine)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Review: ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ by Seth Grahame-Smith

Indiana, 1818. Moonlight falls through the dense woods that surround a one-room cabin, where a nine-year-old Abraham Lincoln kneels at his suffering mother's bedside. She's been stricken with something the old-timers call "Milk Sickness."

"My baby boy..." she whispers before dying.

Only later will the grieving Abe learn that his mother's fatal affliction was actually the work of a vampire.

When the truth becomes known to young Lincoln, he writes in his journal, "henceforth my life shall be one of rigorous study and devotion. I shall become a master of mind and body. And this mastery shall have but one purpose..." Gifted with his legendary height, strength, and skill with an ax, Abe sets out on a path of vengeance that will lead him all the way to the White House.


On a recent trip to the theatre, I caught the new trailer for the Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter movie.  It looks amazing!  So knowing that the book is usually better than the movie, I thought I’d check it out. 

Readers of my reviews know I love vampires almost as much as I love history.  This was a mash-up made for me!  And I did like it...I just didn’t love it. 

I think what I liked best about AL:VH was the mixture of fact and fiction.  You could tell the author was passionate about his subject matter, because the research that had gone into this project alone was impressive.  Weaving the vampire stories into the slave trade was genius.  I also learned some things about President Lincoln that I didn’t know.  (Did you know Mary Todd Lincoln had mental problems?  I should read up on the First Ladies sometime.) 

The action was also really good.  Abe wielding his big axe and chopping the heads off of vamps is just too cool! 

My favorite character in the book was Henry Sturges, Abe’s vampire mentor.  In fact, I wish there had been more of Henry in the book.  He was a vampire who led the hunting of other vampires.  We learn why eventually, but the mystery of him was compelling.  I wish the author would write a sequel with him as the main character. 

So if I liked history and the action and Henry, why am I left lukewarm?  For me, books are about forming an emotional connection with the characters.  I love it when my heart races along with theirs--when I experience the terror/elation/heartbreak/love the character feels as if it is happening to me.  While I found this book incredibly interesting, I failed to connect emotionally with the characters.  It was like I was almost there--poised right on the brink--but never actually fell over the edge.  I’ve always thought the photos of President Lincoln make him look wooden.  The character of Abe in this books kind of came across the same way.  A couple of times, I almost put the book down, but the concept and the history ended up pulling me through. 

Overall, I give Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter...

Plot - 4 bookmarks
Character Development - 3 bookmarks
Historic Elements - 5 bookmarks
Dream Cast (otherwise known as who I pictured while reading) - Eric Bana (Abraham Lincoln), Henry Cavil (Henry Sturges)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

What's new in my world????

I’m back!  Yes, I know my reviews have been sparse lately.  I have been in my final months of grad school, but this week, I GRADUATED!!!!!! 

That’s right, bibliophiles.  I’m back!

Just because I haven’t been writing many reviews, doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading.  After all, I had to do something to keep my right brain occupied while I was in business school.  (Those textbooks were awful!)  The good news is I have lots and lots of material to review and more free time to do it in. 

I also have some news to share on the writing front... My new book, Arcadia’s Gift, is almost done.  It is the first book in a planned trilogy.  I will be sure to post details for you soon. 

If any of you are in Madison, WI over Memorial Day weekend, I will be going to #WisCon (the Wisconsin Feminist SciFi Convention...or something like that).  I hope to see some of you there.  If you see me, don’t be shy.  I love meeting new people.  :) 

Well, that is all for now.  Feel free to leave a comment--say hi, tell me what you are reading, what your summer plans are, etc.  Comments make me feel like I’m not just talking to myself.  :)    

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Spring Fling Free Par-Tay
May 7th – 9th!
Celebrate the coming of Spring!!!
What can be better than great books at a great price?
How about Dozens of Great books that are FREE!
May 7th – 9th
Romances from sweet to HOT, Thrillers, Mysteries, Zombies and more!
All FREE at Amazon.com

Fantastic ebooks, many by award-winning and best-selling authors.

Let's Par-Tay!

Welcome to  Spring Fling Free Par-Tay,
A party for readers!

Go to our website to see all the great books and sign up to win a FREE Kindle!