Saturday, February 8, 2014

review: Skinny Famous and in Love



Series (if applicable):  none
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Publication Date:  April 2014
Page Count:  272
Source: netgalley.com
Blurb:  "Thick. Heavy. Big boned. Plump. Full figured. Chunky. Womanly. Large. Curvy. Plus-size. Hefty." To sixteen-year-old Emery Jackson, these are all just euphemisms for the big "F" word—"fat." Living on a Southern California beach with her workout fiend dad, underwear model sister, and former model mother, it is impossible for Emery not to be aware of her weight.

Emery is okay with how things are. That is, until her "momager" signs her up for Fifty Pounds to Freedom, a reality show in which Emery will have to lose fifty pounds in fifty days in order to win the million dollars that will solve her family's financial woes. Emery is skeptical of the process, but when the pounds start to come off and the ratings skyrocket, she finds it hard to resist the adoration of her new figure and the world of fame. Emery knows that things have changed. But is it for the better?

My Interest in this book is:  sounded like a fun read!

My Review:
Emery (named after the emery board one finds in a nail salon) has just been told that she is now considered obese by the family doctor.  Sure, she’s tried diets, but the call of “Coronary Highway” is too strong.  Who wouldn’t want to eat two double cheeseburgers, a large fry and a diet coke (It is, after all, the Standard American Diet)?  Well, everyone in Emery’s dysfunctional family doesn’t eat that way.

Her botox-injecting mom wants to sign up the family up for a reality television show that features Emery losing 50 pounds in 50 days.  Emery wants no part of this because she doesn’t mind who she is.  Her boyfriend, Ben, is a gentle giant, and they are both so not the Highland Beach norm of over-processed humans with their augmented body parts and fake faces.  However, when Emery sees that they are about to be kicked out of their house, Emery realizes that half of the prize money can save the family home.  Emery agrees to be a part of the madness of a reality tv show.

While I found Emery as somewhat vulgar, she was trying to help others at the same time.  You got to see some good insights from a 16 year-old through her vlog posts on self-acceptance. That is one aspect of this book that I quite enjoyed.  I liked how Emery talked about trying to find acceptance because of her weight.  It was empowering what Emery learned along the way about herself and how she shared it with her audience.

review: The Fault in Our Stars



Title by Author: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Series (if applicable):  none
Publisher: Dutton Books
Publication Date: January 2012
Page Count:  313 pages
Source: a student lent it to me :)
Blurb: Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

My Interest in this book is:  I had seen SO many positive, 5 star reviews, and a couple of students conspired to get it to me, that I felt compelled to read it.

My Review:
Hazel really only remembers being “terminal” – having had Stage IV thyroid cancer that moved to her lungs – that she doesn’t know what it is like to be a normal teenager.  She can’t really relate to non-cancer kids, and they are uncomfortable being around her.  Even though she is only 16, she is taking college classes and goes to a cancer support group “in the heart of Jesus.”  The usual suspects are there, to include her good fried Isaac, who has cancer of the eye.  But next to him is a new kid who won’t stop staring at her, Augustus Waters.

Augustus had osteosarcoma, which has an 85% success rate of non-recurrence of the cancer.  Augustus is there for Isaac, but seems intrigued by the blonde sitting across from him with the oxygen tank she has named Philip.  One thing leads to another, and Hazel Grace (as Augustus calls her) swap favorite books and start to hang out together.  Hazel doesn’t want Augustus to fall for her, because she is a grenade, just waiting to go off and destroy those around her.  However, Augustus can’t help himself.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

top 10 tear-jerkers



Top 10 Books that will Make you Cry

Our Hosts - The Broke and the Bookish
Oh boy! Tough one – because I don’t like to cry over a book!  

Classic Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls.  I don’t think they have students read this any more in school. I did and I cried!

Nicholas Sparks – I stopped reading his books (finally – it only took about THREE of them to make up my mind!) because I was tired of crying!  Here are the ones I shed tears over: The Notebook, Message in a Bottle, The Wedding (tears of joy?!)

Emily and Einstein by Linda Francis Lee. Wow – that surprised me.  I sat on the couch and cried (silently, I hope) for a bit after closing the book!

Skipping a Beat by Sarah Pekkanen. I knew it was going to happen.  Don’t finish this book while next to your sleeping spouse – they will wonder what’s wrong!

The Next Thing on My List by Jill Smolinski.  I definitely got teary-eyed a few times while reading this book – only because of the premise. A woman completes a dead woman’s “To-Do” List.

Edith and Mr. Bear by Dare Wright.  A children’s book.  I used to cry, as a young girl, reading this, because Edith seemed so sad…and again when Mr. Bear found her!

And now – for books that were so funny, I cried while laughing (and almost pee’d my pants!)

The Undiscovered Goddess by Michelle Colston – Truly, there were scenes in this book that had me laughing so hard water was squirting out of my eyes – but it is also a book about self-discovery and highly recommended.

And One Last Thing by Molly Harper.  Very amusing, and heart-warming as well...and some pretty funny scenes!

So...what books have made you reach for the tissue box?  
(Then I can avoid them...maybe! :) )

Saturday, February 1, 2014

review: Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore



Title by Author: Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
Series (if applicable): none
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: Oct 2012
Page Count:  288
Source: local library
Blurb: Global conspiracy, complex code-breaking, young love, and the secret to eternal life — mostly set in a hole-in-the-wall San Francisco bookstore. The Great Recession shuffles Clay Jannon from his web-design drone job to night shift at Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. Curiously, few customers come in repeatedly and never buy. Analysis reveals astonishing secrets ...

My Interest in this book is: I saw a review for this book quite some time ago and it has been on my TBR pile for a bit.  I was wandering around the library about a month ago and came across the title.  Plus, it fit in perfectly for my “By the Numbers” category of the Reading Outside the Box 2014 Reading Challenge!

My Review:
Clay Jannon has been out of work for some time and while he was wandering around the streets of San Francisco, he came across “Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore,” as well as a sign in the window looking for a shop clerk.  It wasn’t what he really wanted to do, but he was running out of money and needed any job!  After opening the door, he was greeted by an older gentleman with a quirky demeanor and an unusual bookstore.  After answering a few questions, Mr. Penumbra hired Clay on the spot – as long as Clay agreed to a few stipulations, one of them being stated as not reading any of the books on the tall shelves in the back of the store.

Intrigued, Clay accepted the position and was given the night shift in the 24-Hour bookstore.  Rarely did someone come in, but when they did, he had to write down intriguing details of the patron who did not buy a book, but simply checked it out.  Clay was puzzled by these late-night antics of older, quirky patrons, and started to wonder what kind of strange cult he had gotten himself mixed up in.  Clay had no idea what he was in for!

From his previous job, Clay knew a little about web design and mobile advertising, so he created ads that would pop up on mobile phones if the person fit a certain demographic, hoping to get people in to buy what few books were on the front shelves.  Clay felt bad for Mr. Penumbra because no one seemed to buy anything.  One night, though, a young lady walked in because the ad popped up on her phone when she was waiting for the bus.  The bookstore did not have the book she was looking for, but Clay got to talk with her.  Enter Kat, a Googler, with a unique personality that completely enthralled Clay.

One night when Clay was bored, he decided to create a 3-D image of the bookstore, to include the “Waybacklist” area – the section of the bookstore (that was about 3 stories high) that no one bought from, but people borrowed books from – and all with bizarre titles.  He slowly started to add titles to the 3-D model and found a pattern.  Thus begins the true treasure hunt of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.

This was a very enjoyable read.  The characters were fun and the hunt for knowledge was eventful with each character playing a part in discovering the secret of the clandestine group of eccentrics and their coded books.  This book was a pleasure to read on many levels.  Unlike many mysteries that are soaked in dark shadows, this one is full of dust motes and Googlers.  There is definitely humor in this story, and perfect for anyone who likes to read, especially adventure stories that involve wizards. I appreciated the easy flow of the story that also captivated me enough to make me hurry up to find out how it will end.  If you love books, nerds (and geeks!) and treasure hunts, this book it perfect!

Oh!Oh! Did I mention that the book cover glows in the dark?!? 
 How cool is THAT!?

Favorite Quotes:
But when people are past a certain age, you sort of stop asking them why they do things.  It feels dangerous.

When I was a kid reading fantasy novels, I daydreamed about hot girl wizards. I never thought I’d actually meet one, but that’s only because I didn’t realize wizards were going to walk among us and we’d call them Googlers.

Of course we’ll accept it. That’s what you do on a quest.  You listen to the old wizard’s problem and then you promise to help him.

I’ve never listened to an audiobook before, and I have to say, it’s a totally different experience. When you read a book, the story definitely happens inside your head. When you listen, it seems to happen in a little cloud all around it, like a fuzzy knit cap pulled down over your eyes.

You know, I’m really starting to think the whole world is just a patchwork quilt of crazy little cults, all with their own secret spaces, their own records, their own rules.

When I finished this book, I felt: glad that I had a chance to pick it up and read it!
Rating: 4 stars
Other books to read by this author or theme:  not sure what I would pick for this theme.
Tag: bibliophile, secret society, friendship, treasure hunt, mystery, Google
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