Thursday, March 28, 2013

A girl who reads

No this isn't a review.  And these are not my words.  But I had to share.

You Should Date A Girl Who Reads
Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes, who has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.
Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she has found the book she wants. You see that weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a secondhand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow and worn.
She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.
Buy her another cup of coffee.
Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or if she would like to be Alice.
It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas, for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry and in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.
She has to give it a shot somehow.
Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.
Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who read understand that all things must come to end, but that you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.
Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.
If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.
You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.
You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.
Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.
Or better yet, date a girl who writes.
Rosemarie Urquico

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Clockwork Princess: An Epic Finale to a Masterful Series

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Review Excerpt for full review visit
In what is probably one of the most highly anticipated books of the year in the Young Adult genre, Cassandra Clare finally brought her spin-off series The Infernal Devices (TID) to a close. Clockwork Princess is an ending so wholly satisfying that I couldn't find one loose end that needed tying. But let's start where we should, at the beginning.
Years ago, when I began reading The Mortal Instruments (TMI), I never expected that I would still be reading a series that I considered mediocre at best. Not to mention a completely new story, spun off from the Shadownhunter/Downworlder mythos and based on the ancestors of the original heroes. As I've previously written, in the years since I read my first TMI book, I have fallen in love with the characters and the world and consider myself a true fan of Ms. Clare's work. Despite that, I picked up the first book in TID out of pure curiosity not loyalty to the author. As a fan of period books, I was curious to see how Cassandra Clare would tell a story in Victorian times.  I have long found her writing to be extremely mature and an author who doesn't cater her writing to her readers but tells the story she intended to tell without sacrificing her voice. She doesn't dumb-it down because her audience is predominantly teenagers, she writes an elegantly crafted story and is an author who expects and (I imagine) hopes, that her readers will pick up on all the nuances she intricately weaves into the characters and their long story arcs.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Jennifer Echols does it again with The One That I Want

This review originally published on 

It seems that so many of the Young Adult books published these days fall into one of two categories:  Fantasy or Hardcore Angst.

I fluctuate between the two categories depending on my mood.  When I am looking to escape I veer towards the Fantasy YA books and when I want to revisit my teenage years I amp up the angst.  Sometimes, I want a break from it all.  Those are the moments that I look for an author that I know is going to tell a sweet story that isn't rooted in some sort of childhood trauma or whose main character has just discovered a hidden "talent" that has manifested.

Jennifer Echols is one of my go-to authors when I'm in this mindset.  Over the years I have read quite a few of her books, some are a bit more bubble gum and cotton candy while others are the perfect blend of real teen drama and fluff.  The One That I want was the latter.

The subject matter wasn't all that heavy; girl sees boy, develops crush, best friend steps in and jealousy ensues.  But it was all too relatable.  I think most people can say they had that one friend in high school that kept you close for the simple joy of watching you fail and one upping you every chance they got.  Manipulation hidden behind a sweet smile.  Jennifer Echols exploration of the struggle one goes through while trying to do what's best for your friend, while making yourself happy in the process was spot on.

Gemma, the main character was incredibly relatable.  Having been overweight all her life and just recently shed the pounds, you could easily see why she allowed herself to be pushed around by her so called best friend Addison.  And why, when it came time to speak up about the boy she couldn't stop thinking about, she stayed quiet and suffered in silence.  Gemma's story was heartfelt and a genuinely enjoyable read.

Recommended for readers 14+.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Boy Who Sneaks in my Bedroom Window: A story that should be shared

Review originally published on 
What should one say about a book that was genuinely disturbing, but heart crushingly sweet and in my opinion, genuine. It was equal parts difficult and un-putt-downable. I dread reading stories about abuse, it makes for an uncomfortable experience for the audience, especially if the abuse happens on the page rather than in a fleeting tidbit of the backstory. Despite knowing exactly what this story was about, thanks to a descriptive synopsis, I picked it up and dug in.
Amber Walker and her older brother, Jake, have an abusive father. One night her brother's best friend, Liam, sees her crying and climbs through her bedroom window to comfort her. That one action sparks a love/hate relationship that spans over the next eight years.
Liam is now a confident, flirty player who has never had a girlfriend before. Amber is still emotionally scarred from the abuse she suffered at the hands of her father. Together they make an unlikely pair.
Their relationship has always been a rocky one, but what happens when Amber starts to view her brother's best friend a little differently? And how will her brother, who has always been a little overprotective, react when he finds out that the pair are growing closer? Find out in The Boy Who Sneaks In My Bedroom Window.
Here's the thing about this book, its as much about the physical and sexual abuse a father puts his family through as it is about the love story and the characters journey to move past the aforementioned abuse. But it is not easy to get through. I felt myself wincing repeatedly when mention of Amber and Jake's father was made. The last few pages found me shouting at myself and my e-reader hoping that somehow what I was saying would get through to the characters. It obviously didn't work and I was insane for even trying, but you can't help it while reading this story.
I feel like Kirsty Moseley has an important story to tell in The Boy Who Sneaks in my Bedroom Window. A story about abuse, love, hardships and finding the strength to move past it and find happiness. Having said that, do I think this is an appropriate book for the YA audience? No, I don't. The sexual abuse is vivid, the physical even more so. The consensual sex is a little more reserved but still descriptive enough to prevent me from recommending it for YA readers. Honestly, it's such a heavy, meaty story that I don't know if I would want a teen just stumbling upon this book and reading it for the love story. Because while it's a beautiful one, it's just the tip of the iceberg. Sex, rape, abuse, abortion, violence, drinking, lying, the story really covers all sorts of subjects.
I think the best way to review this story is as follows, I would recommend that parents read it first, if you feel it's appropriate for your teenage children to read it pass it along. But make sure you engage with them after they have read it.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Contemporary Romance Overkill - Rapid Fire Reviews

Sometime I read books that are great bits of fluff but that I don't really feel the need to write a review for.  I usually just rate them on my Goodreads shelf and move on.  But I decided that even they deserve a little bot of time in the limelight so here is a hodgepodge of some of my romance reads with a succinct one line review.

Surprisingly sweet and steamy romance based on a lesser known Greek god. 

I definitely empathized with Lizzie's body issues and felt like the story had a believable progression.

I was amazed I finished it.  The main character was obnoxious and annoyed me. 

Predictable and sweet.  Typical Nora Roberts.  

I really enjoyed this one, I thought it was adorable. 

Appropriately steamy and unrealistic.  Just what a Harlequin book should be.  

The best thing about this book was the adorably sexy/nerdy best friend.  Yes please. 

Meh.  It was ok.  My least favorite of the One Night books. 

For some reason Michael reminded me of Dimitri Belikov from the VA Series.  Enough said. 

It was good, but not good enough to make me want to read the rest of the series. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Oppression a new spin on Greek mythology

This review originally published on
I have long been a fan of Greek mythology, so it takes little to no coercion to convince me to pick up a book based on any of the myriad gods. For whatever reason I had Oppression by Jessica Therrien on my to read list for almost a full year before finally giving in late one night and cracking open my Nook.
It was not instant love, the story begins rather slowly with a bit of background on the main character, and to be honest, it never really moves past a swift walk as it progresses. A trait that I found exceedingly refreshing. I have definitely started to develop a wariness for YA books that move at such a steady clip that by the end I feel as if I have run a full marathon.
You are never bored while reading Oppression and the story has enough action to keep it moving, but where the story really shines is in allowing the reader to experience and discover the world and mythos of the descendants along with Elyse. Of course the love story is compelling, but refreshingly un-angsty for a change. Elyse doesn't fight her feelings, or cause undue drama for her love interest, after all they have bigger problems to deal with.
If there is one complaint I had while reading the book it's the inevitable comparisons you make while reading it to another famous orphan whose life is dictated by a prophecy. If you know anything of the Potter series, it is impossible not to. I would be surprised if the author sites J.K. Rowling's epic story as a source of inspiration.
The story has some violence, a bit graphic at times and is clearly not meant for younger teens but would be a great story for those with an interest in Greek mythology as it takes the well known stories and turns them on their heads. In Oppression the Greeks Gods are not the main event and this lover of all things mythology found that to be a refreshing twist.
A follow up to Oppression, Uprising will be published later this year. 
Recommended for teens 15+.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Slammed/Point of Retreat by Colleen Hoover: Poignant and Heartfelt

This review originally published on 
I get many book recommendations from friends, and when I say many I mean a ridiculous amount. I usually add them to my to-read list, check out the synopsis and move on. I will eventually read the book but I have such a back log of books that I have been eager to read that I rarely allow a one to skip ahead. A few days ago I made an exception for Slammed by Colleen Hoover.
Truth be told, had I known the depth of the book I probably would have put it off. I assumed, wrongly I might add, that it was a fluffy romantic YA book. I felt like I had been reading so many angsty YA and New Adult (NA) novels lately that a bubble gum read was in order. Slammed is not that book.
Without giving too much away, because the book has several important reveals, it is at its core, a romance between Will and Layken. Two people who have experience tragedy in their lives and are slowing recovering from it. A few chapters in, I could tell that I had underestimated this book. The characters are layered, full of love and show the reader how difficult life can really be. It was an emotional read for me. I cried several times, some of the tears were from sadness, most however, were tears of happiness. I honestly wasn't sure what to do with myself once I was done. So, I did the only thing I could, I picked up the second book, Point of Retreat and started reading it. I wasn't ready to let go the characters I fell in love with just yet.
It is rare for me to read a book and feel a sense of, I'm not really sure how to put it into words, completion, I guess. There is always something that I wish had been different, something that I wish could be expanded on. By the time I was done with Point of Retreat I felt an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction. I had been on a difficult, heart breaking, and uplifting journey with Will and Layken and I couldn't be happier about it.
This is a perfect YA book in my opinion. It makes you feel for the characters while teaching the reader some important life lessons. This is a story that begs to be shared. I am so grateful I made that exception.
Suitable for YA readers 14+.


Point of Retreat

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

This review originally published on:

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover is a rare story that stays with you long after you finish reading. When I read Hopeless I was just coming off of reading Ms. Hoover's Slammed and Point of Retreat . I expected a similar formula. A bit of angst, tension, maybe a little bit of tears mixed in and wrapped in a beautiful bundle of romance. What I wasn't expecting was a beautifully written, heartfelt story of a horrible childhood trauma and how incredibly difficult coping with something so horrific can be. I wasn't expecting how much it would affect me. Honestly, when I finished reading it I needed time to process what I read. I needed time with the story and the characters before I was capable of writing about it. 

Hopeless is the kind of story that has a profound effect on the reader. Some can sadly relate to having been repeatedly violated as a child by someone who you trusted more than anyone. Or as in my case, can't imagine how horrible something like that can be, reading about it leaves you a bit shell shocked. Whatever the case, Hopeless will leave a lasting impression. 

When the story began, I found myself so immersed in the sweet beginnings of the love story between Holder and Sky that I allowed myself to be swept away by the characters and their romance. I didn't catch the careful almost tentative way in which they explored their relationship, foreshadowing plot points that I normally would have picked up on immediately. Because of this, when the magnitude of the trauma suffered by Sky and Holder is really explored it destroyed me. I, uncharacteristically for me (at least while reading a book), cried. 

As much as I understand that some readers would rather shy away from this kind of story, I can only suggest that you push your doubts and misgivings aside and read it. The story leaves the reader with the exact opposite feelings suggested by its title. Hopeless is a stand out for me, not because of the trauma depicted in its pages, but because of the underlying theme of love and survival, hope and acceptance that permeates it.

Recommended for readers 17+.