Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday with Red 1-2-3

Waiting on Wednesday is brought to you by Breaking the Spine
Red 1-2-3 by John Katzenbach
Due Out: January 7, 2014
Official Summary: Three women. They have nothing in common. They are different ages, come from different background, and lead drastically different lives. The only thing that binds them together is their red hair--and that each of them has been targeted for murder.

When each 'Red' receives a chilling letter in the mail from a killer known only as the Wolf, their lives are upended as they spend every waking moment in the fear that their lives could be snuffed out at any moment. The Wolf is stalking them, biding his time, waiting for the perfect moment to complete his master plan. Yet the one thing this cunning and devious killer didn't plan for is the Reds discovering each other.

The three women, using clues left by the Wolf, manage to band together in the hopes of protecting one another from this deadly predator. With law enforcement turning their backs on the Reds, their only hope for survival is to turn the tables, for the prey to become the predators. In a riveting game of cat-and-mouse, the Reds must track down the Wolf himself--before he silences each of them forever.
Why I Want This: I've been particularly interested in mysteries and thrillers lately, so when I came across this title in Romantic Times magazine, I was immediately interested! They gave the book 4 1/2 stars and made it a Top Pick, which is the highest rating you can get. That alone is reason for me to be excited, but it also just sounds amazing. I love psychological thrillers and this promises to be a good one!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Catching Fire Movie Review

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Movie Review by Lauren

IMDB Summary: Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark become targets of the Capitol after their victory in the 74th Hunger Games sparks a rebellion in the Districts of Panem.

Review: I went and saw Catching Fire at midnight this past Thursday. Normally these midnight releases include long lines where fans wait for hours to be let into the theater. This time around, that wasn't the case. While it worked out well, I did miss the camaraderie. The reason things were different is because there were many showings of the movie before midnight on Thursday, which doesn't make sense to me since the release is Friday, not Thursday.  At any rate, I saw it at midnight and enjoyed being surrounded by fans as we were all, once again, captivated by this world.

Catching Fire is an emotional ride. I found myself teary-eyed a lot in the beginning of the film as Katniss and Peeta go on their victory tour, desperate to prove to President Snow that they do not want riots in the districts. Try as they might though, they can't stop the revolution from "catching fire." This ultimately leads them to a fight for their life. I know most people have read the books, but I don't want to ruin anything either, so I won't go into further details about the plot.

However, I loved seeing some old favorites back in the movie like Caesar Flickerman, played wonderfully by Stanley Tucci. He is a quintessential resident of the Capitol. He revels at the danger of the Hunger Games, and the audience can't help but laugh at his antics because it's so ridiculous.

As for new characters, I have to say that my favorite is probably Jena Malone as Johanna Mason. Johanna is a fierce, former Hunger Games winner, who isn't afraid to say what she thinks. Malone is the perfect choice for this character, in my opinion. I felt for Johanna, noting the emotion under her anger, but more than anything, I wanted to cheer her on!

So far, everyone seems to have loved this movie, and I'm very happy about that. I think it's a wonderful installment in the series and I can't wait for Mockingjay. The ending definitely made me cheer, but also bemoan the fact that I don't have the third movie ready and waiting.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers Under 5 Dollars

Microsoft word image, do not own
Stocking Stuffers Under $5 - A Gift Guide
Personally, I love stockings. I think they would make a great way to give gifts to friends or family too. Grab a cute stocking and add small, but unique gifts and voila! You have something to give for that holiday event coming up! These would also make fun things to give a hostess, a secret santa partner, co-worker, etc. You can, of course, use it for the main gift-giving purpose...St. Nick's Day! Whatever you choose, here are some different gift options all under $5 (not including shipping).
Monster Bandages
$4.95 at Baron Bob
It might be the Christmas holidays, but some people love Halloween all year long! These monster themed bandages would make a fun, practical gift! I know some girls that would like it, but it's definitely a good bet for younger boys!
Lump O' Coal Gum
$4.95 at Baron Bob
This is an amusing gift for friends or an older stocking recipient!
Pizza Saver Pizza Bags (12 pack)
$2.99 at Perpetual Kid
Have a college student, or simply a teen, on your shopping list? These pizza bags would be a wonderful idea...and you get twelve, so you could always divvy them up between three or four people!
Ketchup Charlie Spread Head
$3.99 at Perpetual Kid
I think this is hilarious! It's a great gift for the younger kids in your life, though I know some of my own friends (in their twenties) would probably use it! You place the head on your ketchup bottle and squeeze!!
French Fry Cone and Dip
$4.99 at Perpetual Kid
I have to admit, I love fries. I think this is kind of amazing!! You can always use it for healthier options too, like veggies and dip. Great gift item for the foodie in your life!
What if there was no PMS and this was my real personality? pill box
$4.95 at NeatoShop
Great little gift for the girl in your life! She can use it for whatever medicine she uses, or even just Advil or Tylenol for when needed. The only stipulation is that the girl must have a good sense of humor!
The Hound of the Baskervilles Book Cover Magnet
$3.95 at NeatoShop
This is perfect for the book lover in your life! The shop has other book covers too, in case Conan Doyle isn't your thing!
Chocolate Wii Remote, Set of 2
$4.00 from the etsy shop Erica J. Moore
There are many people in my life that love to play video games...and these chocolate Wii remotes would make an awesome gift for them. Plus, it's way cheaper and more unique than buying them a new game.
Snowman Poop Gag Gift
$3.99 from etsy shop The Papery Nook
I think gag gifts can be really adorable and I LOVE this idea. You get the lovely bag and a thing of white tic-tacs as the gift, which I think is a pretty good deal!
Teal Sea Shell Note Book
$3.50 from the etsy shop Carmela's Coastal Craft
Need something a bit more practical and grown up? I think this little notebook is very cute, and I like that it's simple, yet unique.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Graphic Novel Review: The Cute Girl Network

The Cute Girl Network by Greg Means, MK Reed, and Joe Flood

Review by Lauren

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

copy sent for review; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: Jane's new in town. When she wipes out on her skateboard right in front of Jack's food cart, she finds herself agreeing to go on a date with him. Jane's psyched that her love life is taking a turn for the friskier, but it turns out that Jack has a spotty romantic history, to put it mildly. Cue the Cute Girl Network — a phone tree information-pooling group of local single women. Poor Jane is about to learn every detail of Jack's past misadventures… whether she wants to or not. Will love prevail?

Review: This graphic novel has a very interesting premise! Imagine being a guy who has dated a variety of girls, with some not-so-great outcomes...but then you find a new girl in town you would love to go out with, but your exes are determined to affect your chances. That's the idea behind The Cute Girl Network. These ladies think they are doing a service to other girls. They don't want girls like them to end up dating a loser of a guy, that will only lead to trouble and/or heartache. Despite their good intentions, Jane knows what she wants in a guy and isn't afraid to take chances.

While Jane continues talking to Jack, she experiences some of his "stupid moments" where he can't think of the right word or he tries to skate without a board, but it's the other girls in the network that really paint a bad portrait of Jack. He comes across as dumb, forgetful, and just not worth the effort. Everyone admits he's not a bad guy, per se, but he's also not worth dating.

Throughout the book, I found myself on opposite ends concerning whether I liked it or not. I was always curious to learn what would happen next and what choice Jane would make. However, a lot of the things that Jack does are a bit crazy and I kept trying to imagine going out with a guy like him. It was difficult, let me say. As the book continued though, I began to realize that this book is a great example of how you can't dictate who a person likes. You might see the bad in a person, but somebody else may be okay with those faults and decide to focus on all the good.

In the end, I did enjoy this one. I thought it was amusing, and I liked the detailed black and white drawings. I thought it was great that both Jack and Jane had groups of friends surrounding them that were always trying to make their opinion heard. Some of the things they said made sense, while others were purely wrong. It just goes to show that you have to learn to think for yourself!

I will say that this is suitable for older teen readers and up, because there is cussing, drinking, sex, etc. Nothing too extreme or graphic. It makes a nice book for college-aged readers!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Handful of Dust: 25 Years of Sandman Gallery Event





do not own


Opening Reception: Saturday November 23, 2013 from 7pm 10pm
Free admission • Open to Public • No RSVP

Artwork on Display: November 23 - December 8, 2013

Los Angeles, CA — Gallery Nucleus is proud to present A Handful of Dust: 25 Years of
Sandman, an exhibition celebrating the 25th anniversary of DC Comics’ and Neil
Gaiman’s critically acclaimed comic book series, The Sandman. With last month’s
inaugural issue of Overture, the talented writer picks up the pen once more for his highly
anticipated return to The Sandman in what may truly be a dream come true for fans of the


Hosting a storied collection of artists who have contributed to the groundbreaking narrative

(including Mike Dringenberg, Dave McKean, J.H. Williams III, Marc Hempel, Michael Zulli,

Yoshitaka Amano and more)—alongside tribute work from some other impressive
talentsA Handful of Dust will spotlight the characters, imagery and magic which

breathed life into Neil Gaiman’s fantastic storytelling and helped drive the cult success of
the series. Coinciding with the release of Overture, Gallery Nucleus is privileged to partake

in the continued history of Neil Gaiman’s enduring work during its 25th anniversary.

Join us for the opening reception on Saturday, November 23rd, 7:00PM- 10:00PM

About The Sandman
Chronicling the tale of Dream, the lord and embodiment of all dreams and stories, Neil

Gaiman’s The Sandman reinvigorated comic book storytelling with its surreal backdrop
and introspective plot. From its inception in 1988, The Sandman became a cult success

for DC Comics and attracted an audience unlike that of mainstream comic books, even
outselling DC’s flagship titles such as Batman and Superman by its conclusion in 1996.

About Nucleus
Since October of 2004, Nucleus has strived to be a welcoming gathering place for the art

loving community by offering quality art, art related goods, and rarities. Focusing primarily

on gallery exhibits, we have also had benefit auctions, product signings, music events, and

artist lectures. After three and a half years, we moved one block east to a much larger and

more dynamic space. Still in the heart of quaint downtown Alhambra, we reopened

in March of 2008 with over 2000 square feet of open gallery space, 1000 square feet of

shop/boutique, and over 3000 square feet of studio/production space. Having exhibited

both local artists and artists from abroad, and catering to an international customer base,

we offer an extensive collection of original contemporary, illustrated, graphic, commercial,

and narrative art all of which are carefully catalogued on our website

One Ends, Another Begins Two-Book Challenge

Microsoft word image, do not own
There are so many book challenges in the blogosphere, but I know I don't always have the time to complete them...or I simply just get busy and forget to document! Therefore, I decided to do a Two-Book Challenge that I hope people will join me in doing!
One Ends, Another Begins Book Challenge
1. Choose the level of book you want to read: young adult, adult, middle grade, picture book, etc. Your choice!
2. Then go to your local library and grab the first and last book in that section. Hopefully your books' authors will have an A name and a Z name, but I know that might not happen!
3. Read and review the LAST book on New Year's Eve (December 31st) to say goodbye to 2013 and then read and review the FIRST book on New Year's Day (January 1st) to welcome in the new year.
That's it! Simple enough, and you only have to read two books. I also think it will be a nice way to open yourself up to some books you might not normally read! I already have my titles but I'm not going to share them until Monday, December 2nd. On that day, if you wish to take part, please share the books you have chosen to read! You can always share your titles later too!
If you are good with making images, I'd love for someone to create a button for this challenge! I think it would be nice to have people post it on their blog in the sidebar or even create a blog post to let others know about this challenge! If we get enough people to take part, I'll even try and create a giveaway or two for participants!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tune in Tuesday with Paramore

Tune in Tuesday is brought to you by Tales of Books and Bands
"Still Into You" by Paramore
"It's not a walk in the park
To love each other
But when our fingers interlock,
Can't deny, can't deny you're worth it
'Cause after all this time I'm still into you"
-I've liked Paramore for a long time so I was excited to hear their latest single. It's fun, upbeat, and makes these cold days seem brighter!

Monday, November 18, 2013

12 Days of Christmas Holiday Swap

Once again, I'm joining a swap with Chaotic Goddess Swaps. I love Christmas, so I knew I had to do at least one holiday swap this year...and this one sounded like a lot of fun! I actually did a swap like this last year, but I have a lot of new ideas of things to include this time around. What am I talking about? Well, this swap is one where you buy 12 individual gifts for your partner. I suppose you could make things too! You don't have to spend a ton on each item either...just a little something for each day and you get to open a gift a day from Dec. 13 to Dec. 24. If you want to sign up, go here - 12 Days of Christmas holiday swap.

Movie Review: 12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave

Movie Review by Lauren

IMDB Summary: In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.

Review: I knew that this would be a well-done film with amazing performances. However, it wasn't something I was planning on seeing in theaters. A friend of mine wanted to go, though, so I went along and highly appreciated the story being told.

Chiwetel Ejiofor does an outstanding job as Solomon Northup. Everyone knows about slavery, though there are always parts of it that I never learned in school. When I heard about 12 Years a Slave, it was shocking (though I have to admit, not surprising) to hear that free black men were kidnapped and placed into slavery. Solomon didn't have his papers and was unable to prove that he was free. Everyone told him he was someone else; a slave, a man named Platt. Solomon had to hold on to his true identity in order to survive his years as a slave. He had a wife and two kids; he had a family he was always desperate to see again.

Movies like these are always difficult to watch because I hate seeing people act with such cruelty and lack of humanity. Michael Fassbender, as Edwin Epps, was one of the worst characters in the movie, as he truly believed that the slaves were his property and he could do to them as he pleased. Epps was one of the worst masters for Solomon, pushing him until most men would break.

I appreciated the performances of Benedict Cumberbatch (Ford) and Brad Pitt (Bass) because they showed that not all white people in this time were beyond saving. Cumberbatch plays the first master Solomon is sold too, and while Ford has slaves, he is not without mercy. He tries to do his best to keep Solomon safe, and when Ford buys Solomon, there is an emotional scene where Ford tries to keep a family together.

As for Brad Pitt's character, Bass, he comes into Solomon's life later. He's a Canadian man that believes everyone is equal, black and white. He challenges Epps' beliefs, even though there is no getting through to a man like him. Bass plays a small, but very important part in the film.

Throughout the movie, the only date shown is in the very beginning. As this film shows 12 years of Solomon's life, I expected there to be dates shown throughout. The lack of them was odd at first, but eventually, I began to suspect that they were left out so that viewers could experience part of the never-ending experience that Solomon would have went through. Twelve years is a long time, and watching a long movie that does not give you express time makes the experience of watching seem longer and more involved.

Overall, this was a beautifully shot film. There is some graphic violence in parts, but it is only used in key moments.

In the end, the story of Solomon North is painful, yet hopeful.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Unique Find: Wearable Food by Yeonju Sung

I love the look of some of these outfits, especially the first dress in the second row. That color just pops! What's amazing though is that these are Wearable Foods. That's right, the outfits are made out of food by artist Yeonju Sung.

I found this from blogger Sarah, The Girl in the Check Scarf. If you visit her post, you'll see some great close-ups of some of the outfits!

Some other dresses I think are cute/interesting! (I do not own any of these images)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Racing Savannah Pre-Order Gift!

From Sourcebooks....

They’re from two different worlds, but Savannah isn’t exactly one to follow the rules. . . get the next contemporary novel from blockbuster YA novelist Miranda Kenneally: RACING SAVANNAH!

Right before her senior year, Savannah’s father whisks the family off to Tennessee to work as head groom at fancy Cedar Hill Farms. Savannah finally sees it as the perfect opportunity to earn extra money as an exercise rider—no matter how many others don’t want a girl around the barn.  But she’s also caught the eye of Jack Goodwin, the owner’s son. She knows the rules: no mixing between the staff and the Goodwin family. But Jack has no such boundaries. With her dream of becoming a jockey, Savannah is not going to let someone tell her a girl isn’t tough enough to race. Sure, it’s dangerous. Then again, so is dating Jack.

We’ve put together a fun campaign to thank readers for pre-ordering: send us your proof of pre-order and we’ll send you this fabulous horseshoe key chain!

A Gift for You, for Pre-Ordering RACING SAVANNAH by Miranda Kenneally

We have a special offer for U.S. and Canada YA fans for the release of RACING SAVANNAH by Miranda Kenneally in stores in a little over three weeks! If you pre-order the book, we will send you an exclusive horseshoe key chain—perfect for any busy teen on the go! You have until December 2 or until quantities run out.

Here’s how to get your charm:
1. Pre-order the book (print or eBook) through any retailer (Barnes & Noble, Amazon, your local independent bookseller/Indiebound, Books-A-Million, Hastings, etc.)

2. Email your proof of purchase (receipt or picture of the receipt) to Put “Racing Savannah Pre-Order” in the subject line. Don’t forget to include your home address (US & Canada only please) so we can send you the horseshoe key chain! If you’ve already pre-ordered this book—not a problem! Send us your receipt!

3. You will get an email back confirming when the items have been sent out. 

4. Enjoy Racing Savannah when it comes out in December!

Optional: take a pic of you and your horseshoe key chain and share it with Miranda Kenneally or Sourcebooks Fire on Twitter! You can find Miranda @mirandakennealy and Sourcebooks Fire @sourcebooksfire.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Movie Review- Thor: The Dark World

do not own
Thor: The Dark World
Movie Review by Lauren
IMDB Summary: Faced with an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor must embark on his most perilous and personal journey yet, one that will reunite him with Jane Foster and force him to sacrifice everything to save us all.
Review: I haven't seen the first Thor film in awhile. While I remember enjoying it alright, it wasn't until the other Marvel movies started coming out (including Avengers) that I fell in love with the characters of Thor and his brother Loki. By the time I started hearing about the sequel, Thor: The Dark World, I knew I had to see the movie!
I went with my mom and sister and we all three enjoyed it. I love action films that also mix in humor, because it makes the pacing a lot better (instead of non-stop fighting) and it shows other sides to the characters. I will say that most of the humor comes from Loki, which should be no surprise if you've seen The Avengers. He's a mixed character and definitely my favorite. Yes, he's the bad guy and currently locked up in the beginning of the film...but he's also got some layers and is always keeping you guessing.
I read part of a review for this movie after seeing the film and they mentioned that Loki seemed to be the only character with insides, and while I don't know if that's quite true, it does make a certain sense. Like I said, Loki has layers. He's more than a stock character villain and I love characters like that!
Loki aside, I think everyone did a great job in the movie. The main villain in this one is Malekith, who wants to possess something called the aether (pronounced ether) so that all the worlds will go dark. He almost succeeded in the past, and he's proving to be a challenge for Thor this time around.
What I wish I would have remembered before seeing the movie is that Malekith is played by Christopher Eccleston, who was the ninth doctor in Doctor Who. It wasn't until I saw his name in the credits that I remembered. I guess I'll have to pay more attention the next time I watch Thor. Regardless, he was a fairly typical evil villain, though definitely one that could easily succeed.
Definitely an enjoyable film! It's one I'd happily watch again.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Etsy Shop: Beautiful Baubles (Disney, Books, etc.)

My friend Rachel started her own etsy shop, Beautiful Baubles, which is full of wonderfully fun jewelry. If you're a book or Disney fan, you are bound to find something you love!

First, be sure to like her shop on facebook for up-to-date information and deals

Now, I thought I'd share some of the items that I really love but you'll definitely have to look over the whole shop to see what goodies are to be found.

This is an Ellie and Carl inspired necklace from the movie UP. I love this movie, and I think the story of Ellie and Carl in the beginning is heartbreaking, yet beautiful. This necklace would make a lovely gift from a boyfriend or husband...but it's also a nice gift just to tell someone you love them and to always be open to adventure.

This is the Aladdin Genie Key Chain which I think is adorable. I love that it has the silhouette of Mickey Mouse as well. One of my favorite Disney movies is Aladdin, so this is something I'd really like!

Isn't this Peter Pan/Tinker Bell bracelet too cute?! I love the colors and the Tinker Bell charm, but I also really enjoy that it says "Believe." I think this would make a great graduation gift!


These are three items that I really like, but there are plenty of other options! You can get miniature book necklaces (with charms), earrings, other necklaces/bracelets, etc. I hope you find something you love to support this amazing woman!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Gift Guide of Geeky Items for Babies

I think most of my readers would refer to themselves as a geek in some regard. I know I personally do! So, I thought it would be fun to create a gift guide of cute items for all the little ones in our life! These are all suitable for babies, but I'd be happy to make a geeky kids gift guide for toddlers to pre-teens if people are interested. Just let me know!

First up, we have these Tardis baby soft sole shoes based on Doctor Who, of course. These are from Turning Heart on etsy. There are also a lot of other fun, geeky items for yourself and the babies!

This is a Harry Potter onesie that reads "I Solemnly Swear That I am up to No Good." You can choose from a variety of options and they even have shirts available for toddlers! This comes from InkDropsNVinyl on etsy and you even get free shipping!

Maybe you have or know twins, and you would like to get them something to match! These Player 1 and 2 video game bibs are so cute! If one of my friends had twins, she would LOVE these. These bibs are from etsy shop Gamer Mom Creations, so definitely look around for more fun gaming items.

Every mom needs a burp cloth, so why not get her some a bit more personal? I think these Nerd in Training burp cloths are too adorable, and I would love them if I were having a kid. Etsy shop 4 My 4 Creations have a lot of other geeky fun items for your little one, so be sure to browse!

I am dying to buy some of these books for my niece and nephew, but I also want to stock up for my own future kids! I'm a huge reader, so I think it's fun you can get board books based around classic novels like Romeo and Juliet and Sherlock Holmes (a personal favorite). These books all come from the company BabyLit. You can order them from their site, but other places sell them too. Each book has a certain theme, like Sherlock Holmes is a Sounds primer and A Christmas Carol (great for the holidays!) is a Colors Primer.

Finally, I leave you with another book idea; Star Wars ABC board book. I found this via Think Geek, and they have some other adorable gift ideas for kids! I have another friend that would just adore this book, so I might have to get it for her in the future. Here is an example from the book, for the letter S.

I hope you enjoyed some of these items for the little ones in your life! Again, leave a comment below if you want geeky items for older kids, or if you have any other gift guide ideas you'd like me to focus on.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Mercury Under My Tongue by Sylvain Trudel

Mercury Under My Tongue by Sylvain Trudel, translated by Sheila Fischman

Review by Lauren

copy for review; all opinions are my own

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Official Summary: Frederick Langlois could be that geeky 17-year-old found in every high school -- the one who closely clutches his poem-filled notebook, who feels a bit too deeply, who's just a little too old for his years. But Frederick isn't in high school. He's in a hospital ward with other critically ill adolescents, dying of bone cancer. "Mercury Under the Tongue" chronicles his short stay there, from his distant but friendly relationship with his therapist through comic moments in the ward and his emergent friendships with other teenage patients. Some survive, others are lost, and at the end, Frederick must make a final reckoning with himself and his family, one that is at once dispassionate and deeply felt.

Review: While not a long book, Mercury Under My Tongue contains a lot of deep thoughts and questions about life, which sometimes makes it a difficult book to get through.

Personally, I love books that are translated from another language. This book comes from Canadian author, Sylvain Trudel, who lives in Montreal. Sheila Fischman translated it from the original French-Canadian to the English I read it in. Despite it being a foreign novel, it doesn't deal too much with the location. Frederick is dying of bone cancer, so therefore, the entire book takes place in the hospital. He interacts with family who visit (but no friends because he does not want them to see him like this), a therapist, and most importantly, the other children who come to the ward.

One of the saddest parts of this book is that not all of the kids stay on the ward. For Frederick, there is no hope. He is dying and he knows that day will come. Some of the other people that share his ward, or even his room, are not as dire. They find ways to help them get better and allow them to live, to continue to grow older and live life. Things like this seem to be the reason that Frederick writes poetry. He is expressing his thoughts, his anger, his sadness, in these short lines.

A poem that I really liked and thought I'd share-

is anywhere at all,
between the tip of a nose and the end of the world;
and soon,
is any time at all,
between now and the night.
-pg. 10

These type of poems are included throughout the book, and I liked a lot of them. They make you think about your own life, which is great.

However, my main problem with the book is that it does read slow sometimes. Like I said in the beginning, it's not a very long book. But the entire book deals with Frederick slowly dying, and therefore, the book seems to mimic the process. Nothing moves too quickly; time seems to be in limbo. I don't know if it was intentional on the author's part or not, but it seems to fit the overall story.

While I do wish the book would move quicker in places, I did find this to be an interesting look at a teenager who knows his life has a limit, and that it's coming soon.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Just Between Us by J.H. Trumble

Just Between Us by J.H. Trumble

Review by Lauren

copy for review; all opinions are my own

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Official Summary: Seventeen-year-old Luke falls for new guy Curtis, who is secretly HIV positive, but when the two become involved, Curtis has trouble distancing himself from Luke in order to protect him from infection.

Review: I can now officially say that J.H. Trumble is one of my favorite authors. She has released three novels so far, and I have read and loved each one. She tackles some tough topics but does so in a realistic, inspiring way. Just Between Us is Luke's story, who fans have already seen in Trumble's first novel, Don't Let Me Go. It was great to finally see what happened to him!

While Curtis does have HIV, I wouldn't say that is the main focus of the book. It's also about learning to be brave, taking care of yourself, and not being afraid to give into love. Luke is desperate to be with Curtis and he doesn't understand why he keeps being pushed away. When the secret is revealed, it adds a whole new layer to their relationship. Again, Trumble does a wonderful job at creating realistic scenarios and characters. You don't always agree with the decisions that Luke and Curtis make, but you can't help but root for them to finally work things out. Happiness is all they want, when you come down to it, and everyone deserves that.

The two boys have different families, but I liked that they both played a part. Luke's dad is uneasy about him being gay, but his mom and little brother are supportive. As for Curtis, his sister and dad are always there for him...but when he learns about his disease, he doesn't want to tell them for fear of letting them down. I think it's fantastic when books focus on those around the couple, because these people affect how the characters grow and change throughout the book. It's not always realistic for couples to be living in a bubble, all on their own, and I love that all of Trumble's books indicate the world outside the relationship.

Just Between Us is a passionate and wonderful read. I do recommend!

Now, I want to comment on the fact that Trumble's novels are all connected in ways...some of the characters in each book go to the same school or happen to know one another. Therefore, I would suggest reading the books in the following order, instead of the order they were released.

Don't Let Me Go - but skip the epilogue for now!

Just Between Us - you get Luke's story, who you met in Don't Let Me Go.

Don't Let Me Go epilogue- now you can read this and learn what happened to Nate/Adam and Luke/Curtis

Where You Are: you meet Robert in Luke's story, Just Between Us, and it takes place before the events in Where You now you can continue Robert's story!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Co-Worker/Group Gifts for the Holidays

I was visiting the blog, Bookworm1858, on Sunday and she was asking for ideas on gifts to give co-workers. If you work in an office or similar environment, you can have quite a bit of people to give to in order to not leave anyone out. People in the comments section had some fun ideas, and I thought I'd share one type of co-worker gift I thought people could use! These would be great for book clubs, dinner party favors, etc.

1) First, there is the item above from The Dating Divas. They have all sorts of great printables and gift ideas. While this says Husband Survival Kit, it can easily be a Work Survival Kit. All you need is the fun saying and a bag of M and M's (you can even get the mini bags to make things cheaper!)

2) From the blog The New Professional, they have a Cubicle Survival Kit that includes a list of all sorts of items you could include for your co-workers. Some of the mini items are pretty cheap, especially if you go to Target or a Dollar Store. Gum is a great thing to include because you can buy a pack and divvy them up between bags. Just some ways to save money on these fun packs!

3) I found this image on pinterest. If anyone has the direct link to where it was first posted, let me know! However, I like this idea a lot. You don't have to use anything as fancy as a glass jar, but it's another fun list of survival kit items with the reason each product is included...and each item is pretty cheap, and often comes in a pack so you can make a lot of these!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

Review by Lauren

bought my own copy, opinions are my own

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Official Summary: What if someone discovers your secret dream, that one great wish you would do anything for? And what if that someone suddenly makes your dream come true--before you learn the price you have to pay? "Something Wicked This Way Comes" is the story of two boys who encounter the sinister wonders of Cooger and Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show. They will soon discover the show's awful mystery--a mystery that will change the life of every person it touches--in this stunning masterwork of dark fantasy by Ray Bradbury.

Review: Most people have read Ray Bradbury in high school English, but I never had to, so Something Wicked This Way Comes is actually my first novel by this author. I'd seen this book around for awhile and I figured October was the best time to finally check it out.

First off, I have to say that I liked the overall story and message throughout the book. This book follows a few point of views in third-person, but mainly William, a pre-teen boy. Will and his best friend Jim soon discover that the carnival that has come into town is not a place to let yourself become lost. There are sinister secrets behind the owners, the exhibits, and the other "freaks" that inhabit the show. Everyone and everything is not as it appears.

This is definitely a fun book to read when the nights are dark and magic seems more real. However, this is something I could picture students reading in school. What I mean is that it has a literary feel, intricate writing, and reads less like a "fun and fast read." It took me a bit to get through the entire book, and sometimes I wasn't sure if it was the right fit for me...but I kept going forward. While I never found myself desperate to pick up the book and read, once I started, the pages did go by quick.

Sometimes the boys seemed a bit older than their years, but based on what they were going through, it made sense. I also found myself comparing Will to Corey Matthews and Jim to Shawn Hunter from the show Boy Meets World. They are both young and in search of adventure, but Will is much more cautious than Jim.

In the end, I think this is something that a book club could find a lot to discuss about!

Picture that nicely depicts the book's carnival:

do not own, source is here.