Monday, November 29, 2010

Review - Delirium by Lauren Oliver

By: Lauren Oliver
Published by: Harper-Collins
Release Date: February 1st, 2011
Definition of Delirium: a common and severe neuropsychiatric syndrom with core features of acute onset and fluctuating course, attentional deficits and generalized severe disorganization of behavior. It typically involves other cognitive deficits, changes in arousal, perceptual deficits, altered sleep-wake cycle, and psychotic features such as hallucinations and delusions.

We must be constantly on guard against the Disease; the health of our nation, our people, our families, and our minds depends on constant vigilance 

--"Basic Health Measures," The Safety, Health, and Happiness Handbook, 12th edition.

The book of Shhh is one of the books that Lena Haloway and the rest of the citizens in the United States live by. The United States they live in is not like the United States we live in today. It's run by the president and the Consortium,and everyone is in fear of the disease called, amor deliria nervosa (better known to us as love). They perfected a cure for this disease and when you turn eighteen you get the procedure that cures you. You get evaluated, rated and then paired up with someone for the rest of your life. You have kids, grow old and you are happy, safe and protected the rest of your life. 

That doesn't sound too bad does it? Lena doesn't think so either. "After the procedure I will be happy and safe forever. That's what everybody says, the scientists and my sister and Aunt Carol. I will have the procedure and then I'll be paried with a boy the evaluators choose for me.....Safe, and free from pain." Lena is seventeen years old and has been counting down the days to her evaluation since her mother died. 

Everything is going beautifully with Lena until the day of her evaulation, and then things start to change.
"It's so strange how life works: You want something and you wait and wait and feel like it's taking forever to come. Then it happens and it's over and all you want to do is curl back up in that moment before things changed."

During her evaluation, she starts to drift from the script that her and her aunt have been practicing her entire life..but thankfully something happens that distracts the evaluators and she gets a second chance. She doesn't understand why she drifted from the script. "Sometimes I feel as though there are two me's, one coasting directly on top of the other: the superficial me, who nods when she's supposed to nod and says what she's supposed to say, and some other, deeper part, the part that worries and dreams..."
After this incident it scares her more, and she cannot wait for her procedure to happen. "After the procedure, she said, it would be all coasting, all glide, every day as easy as one, two, three."

I absolutely love the world that the author has created, and the society she has built. When I first read the description and it said that love was a disease, I laughed. I mean, love causes so many problems in society, that it makes sense that you would try and find a cure for it! I couldn't stop reading this book once I picked it up. Lauren Oliver has a way of describing things, and making them all flow together. Lena and Hana go running all the time and Lena describes running, "When you run you sometimes do weird things. Because of the endorphins and stuff. It's kind of like a drug, you know? Messed with your brain." and I love the way that she describes it. It makes me think about love, and how that messes with your brain as well. 
The more and more the reader dig into this book, the more Lena realizes how much the society she lives in is filled with lies. I couldn't stop living this book when I first started reading it. I would think about it all the time. Relate it to my everyday life, thinking about how it would be if society actually was like this. If all our problems would be solved if we didn't have love. 

But at the end of the book you're left with a sense of longing to fall in love and left with a major cliffhanger. I hope there's a second one coming out because I cannot wait to read more about Lena's life! I recommend this book highly to anyone who needs to read a great book!

About the Author:
I come from a family of writers and so have always (mistakenly) believed that spending hours in front of the computer every day, mulling over the difference between “chortling” and “chuckling,” is normal. I’ve always been an avid reader. As a child, after finishing a book, I would continue to write a sequel for its characters, because I did not want to have to give them up. Somehow, this did not get me ridiculed (too badly) at school, and I managed to make real friends as well as imaginary ones.

I continued writing, eventually making the switch to my own stories and characters (with varying degrees of success). I also took ballet, drew things, painted things, made collages, sang, acted, experimented with cooking (um, burning) gourmet meals, and in general tried to spend my time being as creative and useless as possible. It worked. I made it through high school and college at the University of Chicago, where I continued to be as impractical as possible by majoring in philosophy and literature. I was inadvertently aided and abetted in my mission by my older sister, Lizzie, who pursued a Ph.D. in philosophy and cognitive science. This eventually lead our parents to resign themselves to the fact that their children would never be lawyers, doctors, or even gainfully employed.

After college, I attended the MFA program at NYU and worked briefly as the world’s worst editorial assistant, and only marginally better assistant editor, at a major publishing house in New York. My major career contributions during this time were flouting the corporate dress code at every possible turn and repeatedly breaking the printer. Before I Fall is my first published novel. I am deeply grateful for the chance to continue writing, as I have never been particularly good at anything else.

I live in Brooklyn, the happiest place on earth, although I spend a lot of time traveling, especially to warmer climes. I (still) love to cook, am slightly obsessive about my kitchen, drink way too much coffee and eat far too much ketchup, even on things like toast and tomatoes.

I spend a lot of time on trains, airplanes, subways, and buses, and write constantly—in notebooks, on napkins, using her phone. I have ten tattoos (and counting—sorry, mom), a wonderful family, and the world’s best best friends, many of whom I have known for ten years or longer. 
(taken from the authors website)

More From the Author:
click on the cover to read the prologue!

Book Description from Amazon:
Ninety-five days, and then I'll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It's hard to be patient. It's hard not to be afraid while I'm still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn't touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don't.
Lauren Oliver astonished readers with her stunning debut, Before I Fall. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly called it "raw, emotional, and, at times, beautiful. An end as brave as it is heartbreaking." Her much-awaited second novel fulfills her promise as an exceptionally talented and versatile writer.

Book Trailer:
There isn't a book trailer, but here is an interview where she talks about the book. Check that out! :D

Other Reviews:

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I have so much to be thankful for this year!!

My beautiful baby boy is probably at the top of my charts, here's him in his turkey-day outfit this year (he's already exhausted!!). :) He is the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I love him more and more every day.

How many "thanksgivings" are you guys going to have this year? I had my first one on Wednesday night with my family and my baby boy's dad. It was a load of fun. Then Thursday I'm having thanksgiving dinner at my church, and then with my baby's daddy's family. I'm meeting them all for the first time! :D I'm so excited. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year, one because of the food and two because there's a day where you have to get together as a family. :P

I'm excited about thanksgiving dinner at my church because it's for people who don't have families who live near by, or they don't have anyone to celebrate thanksgiving with. We all come together and are like a huge family to anyone who stops by!

Thanksgiving dinner at my little boy's dad's house is going to be so much fun. He has about 7 siblings! So many aunts and uncles for my little boy!!! I am very excited about meeting all of them for the first time!!

Thanksgiving is a day to count out blessings, and I have been so very blessed this year. My family included. We've had a pretty rough couple of years but with God's provision everything we have needed has been provided. I have been provided with everything that my little boy has needed. It's been an amazing journey. I can't wait to see what God has planned!

You all have an amazing Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Review - Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink

Prophecy of the Sisters
By: Michelle Zink
Published by: Little Brown and Company
Release Date: August 1st, 2009
ISBN: 9780316027427
352 pages

Prophecy of the Sisters is a story about two twin sisters whose family for generations has played a crucial part of a prophecy. The prophecy started at the beginning of time (it seems) to keep Samael from bringing the seven plagues to earth. 
The book begins with Lia, Alice, Henry, Aunt Virginia and the Birchwood estates’ servants standing at Thomas Milthorpe’s (Lia, Alice and Henry’s father) grave. With both of their parents deceased; Lia, Alice and Henry are left under the careful watch of their Aunt Virginia.
Lia notices small strange changes after her father’s peculiar death in the “Dark Room”. A mysterious mark around her wrist has started to appear and Alice’s behavior has become more distant and elusive. Although the story is slow at first, once Lia finds out her true role in the prophecy, that’s when things started to really pick up in the story (for me at least).
I enjoyed the dynamic between Alice and Lia and their different distinct personalities. Of course, the dynamic has been done before, but I enjoyed the way it played out once they found out their roles in the prophecy. The author toyed with the “nature vs. nurture” debate between Lia and Alice. Were Alice and Lia’s personalities shaped because of how their mother raised them or because of the prophecy?
The story is told from Lia’s perspective, but I would have loved to read things of Alice’s perspective as well. I always love getting inside of the “bad-girl’s” mind! The other characters were a tad bit one dimensional, as if they only existed for Lia. But it wasn’t that bad, because once the story picked up, you only wanted to see things as Lia and it was realistic. In real life, people don’t always know what others are thinking/doing when their not around. I would have loved to see more depth to the other characters like Louise and Sonia. Despite those few things, I thoroughly enjoyed Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink! I am extremely impressed, and will continue to read more by this author!!

About the Author:
            Michelle Zink lives in New York and has always been fascinated with ancient myths and legends. Never satisfied with simply reading them, she usually ends up asking, “What if?” Sometimes asking only leads to more questions, but every now and then, when everything falls into place just right, a story is born. Prophecy of the Sisters is one of those stories. (taken from her website!)

More From the Author:
           Prophecy of the Sisters was her debut novel, the second book Guardian of the Gate was released on August 1st, 2010. The third books is due to release in the summer of 2011. Click on the cover to find out more about the second book in this series! 

Amazon link and Description of GoodReads:
             Sixteen-year-old Lia Milthorpe and her twin sister Alice have just become orphans, and, as Lia discovers, they have also become enemies. The twins are part of an ancient prophecy that has turned generations of sisters against each other. To escape from a dark fate and to remain in the arms of her beloved boyfriend James, Lia must end the prophecy before her sister does. Only then will she understand the mysterious circumstances of her parents’ deaths, the true meaning of the strange mark branded on her wrist, and the lengths to which her sister will go to defeat her.

Book Trailer:

Other Reviews by other bloggers!:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

First impression of Nightmare....

My mom has been reviewing books for around two years now, and she's pretty awesome at it. She's been working hard to make sure that authors get the recognition they deserve for the amazing works they create. Her blog Finding Hope Through Fiction, is one of the reasons I've been so inspired to create my own. I tell you about her, because she bought the book Nightmare by Robin Parrish, and asked me if I'd like to read and review it. It took me awhile to actually work up the nerve to start to read this book (I'm a major chicken when it comes to scary stuff) but I've finally decided to read it! So, here is my first/last impression. (to figure out what this is about, click here!)

By: Robin Parrish
Published By: Bethany House
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0607-8
Release Date: July 2010

First Paragraph: 
"Doesn't matter who you are or what you believe. Everybody has a ghost story."
My father said those words to me as a child whenever I would question his life's work. Scratch That. His life's obsession.
I came to learn that he was right. Everybody has had at least one of those moments when their insides say somethings' happening that's far outside of normal. A fleeting second when something is seen moving out of the corner of their eye. A prick at the back of their neck alerting them to a presence. A location that for no discernible reason fills them with dread.

I really enjoy the first paragraph. I really REALLY enjoy the way Robin Parrish writes. When he's describing the "prick at the back of their neck", even though it's a short second I can feel exactly what he's talking about. Maybe it's because I'm easily creeped out, but every time I pick up his book (I'm reading it right now, so yes....this book passes the test. :P) I feel frightened. 

Last Paragraph:
"I turned back to Pierre. "It's the wrong question," I said. "I've been asking it myself for so long....but it was always the wrong question to be asking."
Derek and Jordin watched me with keen eyes as Pierre spoke again, "Then what's the right question?"
"The right question, Mr. Ravenwood," I replied, mimicking his use of my last name, "is 'What happens when we live?"

When you read the end of a book, even before finishing the book, you have a sense of how you will be feeling at the end. I can tell that at the end of this book, I will be left with a satisfied smirk upon my face and a sigh of completion and fulfillment when I am done. I'm throughly excited to get to the end of this book, so off i'm off to read it (only during daylight hours of course)!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Review - Your Baby is Speaking to You by Dr. Kevin Nugent

Your Baby is Speaking to You: A Visual Guide to the Amazing Behaviors of Your Newborn and Growing Baby
By: Dr. Kevin Nugent
Photographs by: Abelardo Morell
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: January 13, 2011
128 Pages

Book Description (from Amazon):
From an international expert on infant-parent communication, Your Baby Is Speaking To You is destined to become a parenting classic. Through intimate access to babies and their families, Dr. Kevin Nugent and acclaimed photographer Abelardo Morell capture the amazingly precocious communications strategies babies demonstrate from the moment they are born.
Your Baby Is Speaking to You illustrates the full range of behaviors—early smiling to startling, feeding to sleeping, listening to your voice and recognizing your face. The newest research—including information on subtle and fleeting behaviors not seen or explained in any other book—illuminates the meaning of the things babies do that concern and delight new parents:
   – the language of yawning
   – the rich range of cries, and how to understand their meanings
   – baby’s earliest “sleep smiles” and sleep states, and what they signify 
Your Baby Is Speaking To You delivers the information parents crave in gentle, accessible style while giving parents the confidence they need to respond to their own baby’s way of communicating during the very first astonishing days and the months beyond. 

My Review:
I am grateful to have received a ARC e-copy of this book through NetGalley from the publisher. The cover of this book is what first attracted me to read this. Isn't that baby adorable?! Another reason this book attracted me is that I would love to be able to understand my newborn son's expressions, and the fact that this book had pictures to go along with the expressions seemed very helpful! 

The book is broken up into several chapters:
Sleeping, Crying, Eating
The Amazing Newborn
Your Baby's Senses
Settling In
The Social Newborn
The Growing Baby, the Bigger World
Parent and Baby and the Lifelong Bond
Each chapter has sections, and they are accompanied by a picture. These pictures were so beautiful, the babies were full of expression and it was so helpful to see a picture of the expression the author described in the section next to it! 

I learned so much about "infants" from this book, for example, "The word "infant" derives from the Latin infans, meaning unable to speak. But even though babies cannot speak, they have a wide range of stunningly precocious communication strategies." The author does a great job of going through everything there is to know about these "precocious communication strategies". 

"Her language can be as clear as a good loud cry ("Help me") or as subtle and fleeting as a puckering of the brow to indicate slight displeasure ("This interaction is a little too intense for me"). It can be a bright-eyed look ("This is interesting") or a faint change of facial color ("I'm slightly stressed, please give me a short break"); a tiny sleep smile ("I am at ease, please don't disturb me") or a quickening in the pace of her breathing ("This is becoming too stimulating")......You Baby is Speaking to You will tell you how to watch for and interpret all these signals."

Each sub-chapter has a very detailed account of a certain aspect about your newborn baby. For instance, under the section Settling In is a chapter about Drowsiness where Dr. Kevin Nugent describes the baby's transition from awake to asleep. "She does not seem to be looking at anyone or anything in particular. If she does open both eyes, it will be only for a few seconds. This baby is clearly in transition, as if undecided about whether to come out to take a look at her inviting new world or remain in the reassuring calm of her comfortable, protective sleep." 

The cool thing about these sections, is that the author doesn't just tell you about a state, he describes how you should react and what you should know about your newborn's state of mind. "When your baby is in this sate, she is telling you to wait for her next communication cue. She may be saying, "Give me time. I need to be wide awake before I can begin to enjoy feeding and looking at you." 

I really enjoying reading this book and relishing in the pictures of the newborns. It was a funny journey through the book and recognizing the facial expressions that my own son makes. I would highly recommend this book, it was a joyous experience, and I've even shared it with my parents. They enjoyed it as well!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Want a Kindle?

Haven't you always wanted an easier way to read e-books? Where here's your chance to score that perfect Kindle. :) Sparkling Reviews is having an AWESOME giveaway! Enter to win a Kindle by clicking here!

I just had to share. :)

Sparkling Reviews

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

First Impression of Delirium....

If you've never heard of Net Galley, you should most definitely check them out. I created a profile several weeks ago, and requested a galley e-copy of Delirium today. A couple of hours later I received and e-mail in my inbox saying that I had been approved for the copy! I've never read a book on the compture before, but I've read several reviews of this book, and the cover is very intriguing. I can't wait to read this! As with all the books I'll be reading/ is my first/last impression of this book. (To find out why I do first/last impressions click here!)
By: Lauren Oliver
Published by: Harper-Collins
Release Date: February 1st, 2011

First Paragraph: (*There's a quote before
The most dangerous sickness are those that make us believe we are well. 
-Proverb 42, The Book of Shhh. 

It has been sixty-four years since the president and the Consortium identified love as a disease, and forty-three since the scientists perfected a cure. Everyone else in my family has had the procedure already. My older sister, Rachel, has been disease free for nine years now. She's been safe from love for so long, she says she can't even remember its symptoms. I'm scheduled to have my procedure in exactly ninety-five days, on September 3. My birthday.

Already I'm confused, but hopeful that with the more that I read on, the more I'll be immersed into this futuristic society. It looks like it takes place in the future, somewhere that has a different government in place. I like how it says that love is a disease and they cured it! That tickles me to my core. I would think that the Book of Shhh is maybe their religious text? My main concern with a book like this, even after reading the main line, is Will the author be able to immerse me into her/his society?  Also, it seems like just with the way it's started out, that there is going to be a lot of either math or science in this book. I'm hoping that I won't get too confused or that there isn't as much as I'm expecting...Either way, I'm intrigued to read on and find out more, hopefully the author will be able to answer my questions in full. 

Last Paragraph (don't highlight if you don't want to know!!): 
But I have a secret. You can build walls all the way down to the sky and I will find a way to fly above them. You can try to pin me down with a hundred thousand arms, but I will find a way to resist. And there are many of us out there, more than you think. People who refuse to stop believing. People who refuse to come to earth. People who love in a world without walls, people who love into hate, into refusal, against hope, and without fear. I love you. Remember. They cannot take it.

Wow. I have no idea what this book is about, but that is one powerful ending paragraph. I know at the end of this book, I am going to feel great. (As long as the rest of the book is as powerful as this. Haha) Just the way she's ended it, tied it altogether...I love the last line. The way she writes, where she'll write one word and then end it with a period. It adds an emphasis that normally wouldn't have been there. I am definitely reading this book. 

Although, can you call an e-copy a book? If you can't smell the pages or feel it in your hands? 

Wordless Wednesday

My little boy is growing up so fast... He's almost six weeks this week! It was his first Halloween... *sigh* I don't want him to grow up!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Breathless Reads

I was watching random videos on Youtube today, and found this amazing video! Check it out!!

Isn't that just amazing? I haven't read any of those books, but they are all on my wishlist! I want to read them SO badly! I can't wait to get them at the library! 
What books are you dying to read?

Monday, November 1, 2010

First and Last Impressions

I’m always looking for great new books to read at the library, but I have a weird checklist. Books have to pass this list before I’ll even think about taking them home.

Books must have:
  1. Interesting title
  2. Eye-appealing cover
  3. Intriguing and interesting story on the back cover
(Sounds pretty normal so far right? If they pass all of those and I’m still interested…)
  1. I read the first paragraph.
(After reading the first paragraph and I want to read more. I find myself…)
  1. I read the last paragraph of the book.
(If I like the ending, then I will take the book home.)

I know that the last step is pretty uncommon. I always read the end of a book before I decide to read the book. (Unless it’s a series I've been reading like the Vampire Academy series, the Eragon series or the Blue Bloods series.) The main reason I do this is in honor of my all-time favorite movie When Harry Met Sally. There is a scene in the beginning of the movie when Harry and Sally have met for the first time and are driving to New York. They are getting to know each other better and they have this conversation:

Sally: Amanda mentioned you had a dark side. 
Harry: That's what drew her to me. 
Sally: Your dark side? 
Harry: Sure. Why? Don't you have a dark side? I know, you're probably one of those cheerful people who dot their "i's" with little hearts.
Sally: I have just as much of a dark side as the next person.
Harry: Oh, really? When I buy a new book, I read the last page first. That way, in case I die before I finish, I know how it ends. That, my friend, is a dark side.

I also read the end of books because it can tell you a lot about the book, just like the first line. You can get a taste of the mood and how you will feel after reading the ending. It’s a little difficult to describe, but seriously try it some time. You’ll be surprised. J Unless you really hate knowing the end, then don’t. Haha!

Now that I have a blog, I’ve decided to share with you my thoughts on books I pick up for the first time. I’m sure there have got to be people our there who share my weird checklist! I can’t be the only one!

Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
            First paragraph: “Perhaps because it seems so appropriate, I don’t notice the rain. It falls in sheets, a blanket of silvery thread rushing to the hard almost-winter ground. Still, I stand without moving at the side of the coffin.”
I already want to read the rest of the book. I like the way that she just opens up describing the scene where Lia is standing at the site of a coffin. You don’t know whose coffin it is, or why she’s standing there. I think it’s a great way to start a book.
(SPOILER ALERT! ENDING OF THE BOOK! Don’t highlight if you don’t want to read!)
Last paragraph: I recall his somber eyes during that last, private conversation. His eyes and his words, far too wise for a boy of ten: Only time will tell, Lia. In the end I suppose it will.I really like the ending of the book. It leaves for a cliff-hanger ending, and I know that I’ll be feeling satisfied at the end of the book. Maybe a little sad, or maybe I’ll be missing someone. Otherwise, this book passes all of my checklists. I will definitely read this book. J