Review: Stories I Only Tell My Friends

Stories I Only Tell My Friends: An Autobiography            by Rob Lowe                                                                                 Henry Holt & Co., April 2011                                                      *I bought this book with my own money.*

Okay, I will totally admit that I bought this book because I’ve had a crush on Rob Lowe since I was a little girl.  Who can blame me?  He is delicious to look at and has made some of my favorite movies: The Outsiders, St. Elmo’s Fire, Austin Powers, The Stand mini-series.  But what I was not expecting was the amazing story.  Once I started this book it was impossible to put down.  Mr. Lowe can write, really write.  He is not just a pretty face people.

The title of this book is very fitting, because as you read it you feel as if you are a friend of Rob’s.  His writing style is easy and earnest.  The stories are compelling peeks behind the curtain of some of the most beloved movies and tv shows.  He even weighs in on Charlie Sheen!  But none of it is written in a malicious or “tabloid” style.  It is just told as it was, no judgment.  I imagine that there were a lot of Brat Pack members who gave a sigh of relief after reading this, because I am sure there were things he left out.  But I thought it gave such a real depiction of life growing up in front of the camera, of the magical moments involved in making movies and the pitfalls of working in an industry where you are constantly under a microscope.

The only negative that I can give you about this book is that it was over far too soon.  I enjoyed every single moment.  It is a great read for any beach vacation or summer pool time you have.  Believe me, if you didn’t have a crush on Rob Lowe before reading this….you will after.  So go forth and relive the 80’s!  It will make you want to rent every Brat Pack movie and have an 80’s night.

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Review: Bumped

Bumped by Megan McCafferty                                                   Balzer + Bray, April 26, 2011

*Disclosure: I received this e-ARC for review.*

A virus makes every person over 18 infertile, leaving the world to hire teenage girls as surrogates.  This makes the teens the most powerful people in society, with the genetically gifted ones getting sponsored for “bumping”.  The rest of the teens “bump” in hopes of getting an offer after they are pregnant, or at the least blending in as one of the cool pregs around.

16-year-old Melody appears to have it all on this world.  She is beautiful, extremely intelligent, athletic and was the first girl at her school to go “pro”.  Her contract is one of the highest ones including full college tuition, a car, a tummy tuck and enough money to make her head spin.  But she is still waiting for the parents to find a suitable match when her identical twin , Harmony, shows up.

Harmony recently found out that when her birth mother gave her up, she also gave up another twin girl.  But while Harmony was sent to live in Goodside (think Amish meets the Duggars), her twin lives in Otherside with all of this terrible “bumping” business.  So Harmony goes to Goodside to make Melody see her evil bumping ways.

This book definitely peaked my interest because I have not read anything like it.  I found the idea that teenage girls held all the power in society totally fascinating.  Especially with a high schoolers fascination with fitting in and cliques.  Also, I thought it was an interesting take on teens and pregnancy in a world where while we still don’t condone teen pregnancy, we do make the girls from the tv shows the front cover of US Weekly and People.

I found this book to be an easy, fun read.  It is the first in a trilogy and I will definitely take the time to read the other two when they come out.  Was it life changing? No.  Would I say that everyone will love it? Probably not.  But there is something lovable about the way Harmony and Melody discover their paths in life and their relationship to each other.  I found them to be very likable characters.

Bottom Line: If you aren’t into YA, steer clear.  If you are into YA, pick it up.  You will probably enjoy.  However, this has frank talk of “bumping” so be warned.

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Sunday Summary

I haven’t summarized for two weeks.  So here is what has been going on in my neck of the woods.  Reading has been put a little on the back-burner with the start of a new job and Spring Break.  But I am slowly making my way back.

Last week……

On Wednesday I told you that I was waiting on a new book called The Beginners.  It sounds like an amazing gothic tale.  Check it out here.

Toddler Thursday featured two fantastic books that I think your children would love. Ther is Yes Day! and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.  Find out more about them and why your child will love them here.

The week before….

I reviewed Matched by Ally Condie.  It is a YA book that is selling off the charts right now.  The first in a trilogy, there is already talks of a movie and so much more.  Check out what I thought of it here.

Wednesday I told you about Legend.  It takes place in the future and sounds like a super scary book.

And on Toddler Thursday, I reminded you of the amazing Miss Nelson is Missing.  One of my favorites.  There is also the super-cool book Aliens are Coming.  Find out about them here.

Stay tuned this week.  I am going to let you know what I thought about Bumped, which comes out April 26.  It is an interesting take on a teenage girl’s role in the future.  You won’t want to miss reading what the hype is about.

Back to reading,

Ashley

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Toddler Thursday: 4/6

Yes Day! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld                                                 HarperCollins, May 2009

Don’t you remember feeling like all that your parents did was say “no”?  Don’t you feel like sometimes you, as a parent, say “no” all of the time?  Well welcome to yes day.  In this book a boy is granted “yes” to every thing he wants to do for one whole day.

 

 

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst  Aladdin, July 1987

This book sat on my bookshelf for my entire childhood.  I absolutely love it.  Who hasn’t had a bad day?  Alexander can tell you all about his.  Sometimes you just want to say, “Me too, Alexander, me too.”

 

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Waiting on Wednesday: The Beginners

Today is Wednesday and after the terrible storms, I finally have power in my house!  So you are actually getting a post here!  For those of you not in the know, Waiting on Wednesday is hosted over at Breaking the Spine and features books that you are excited about reading.  If you head over there you can find out what other people are waiting on as well.

So this Wednesday I am waiting on…..

The Beginners by Rebecca Wolff

The Beginners by Rebecca Wolff

June 30, 2011

Here’s what Publishers Weekly has to say about it:

Starred Review. Dread and desire hang deliciously over every page of Wolff’s gothic tale of an adolescent New England girl’s unlikely education. Ginger is imaginative, her nose always in a book, and not as advanced, sexually or socially, as her best friend, Cherry, who wants to talk to boys rather than play castle at the abandoned mill. Ginger’s family, meanwhile, has lived in a state of near suspended animation since the death of her older brother. But when an odd young couple walk into the cafe where Ginger works, she has her own entrée into a sophisticated world of frank sex talk and philosophical musings. The Motherwells, Raquel and Theo, say they are in town to research the town’s past—witch trials, the legend of a town sunk beneath the reservoir—and they allow Ginger and Cherry, but mostly Ginger, into their strange cohort and a party to their sometimes alarming schemes. As Ginger starts avoiding most contact that does not involve the Motherwells, her shrinking world grows more sinister and seductive. Wolff conjures the state of smothering awe and fixation Ginger has for the Motherwells, and her twin needs to be wanted by them sexually and as a stand-in daughter lends a throbbing urgency to a novel as creepy as it is marvelous. (June)

Love a good gothic tale.  Sounds creepy, right?

Leave me a comment and tell me what you are waiting on to come out, or what you want to pick up from your library, or just what you are reading in general…..

 

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Toddler Thursday: 4/1

Toddler Thursday : April 1st

Disclosure: I received no compensation for the titles below.  I bought them myself.

Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allarad and James Marshall

I cannot tell you how much I used to love this book.  In fact, I still do love it.  Miss Nelson is a sweet teacher who gets no respect from her students.  She is under appreciated and most certainly under paid.  So one day Miss Nelson disappears and is replaced by the horrible Miss Viola Swamp.  The kids now realize the error of their ways and must go on a hunt to find the missing Miss Nelson.

Aliens Are Coming by Meghan McCarthy

The front cover says it all, this is the story of the War of the Worlds broadcast.  I love that this book is non-fiction, which is often hard to find in picture book format.  But it is also SO entertaining.  Your kids will be hooked from the first line.

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Waiting on Wednesday : Legend

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine.  Every week different book reviewers tell you what books they are anticipating the release of in 2011.  So here is one of mine:

Legend by Marie Lu

Penguin Group, Fall 2011

Here is the quote from the website: “LEGEND takes place in a dark future, when North America has split into two warring nations. It tells the story of a famous 15-year old boy criminal and the 15-year old girl prodigy hired to hunt him down. When their paths cross, the truth they uncover together will become legend.”

Sounds like an interesting read if you are into dystopian novels.

Happy Wednesday!  You are officially half-way through your week!

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Matched by Ally Condie

Matched by Ally Condie Dutton Juvenile, November 2010

In Cassia’s world (set sometime in the future) everything is pre-determined for you.  What you eat, where you work, and even who you marry are determined by a Society looking for the best possible lives for all.  Cassia is thrilled to learn that her best friend will be her “match”, because everyone in Society knows that match is determined with the highest possible genetic and compatibility results.  However, in a split second everything Cassia thinks she knows is questioned when another face flashes on the screen.  Now Cassia must find the answers to the questions she was never meant to ask: What role do choices have in life?  Does her utopian Society know best?  Should you risk it all for freedom?

I really enjoyed this book.  It was quite different from what I was expecting, as I had heard it was like The Hunger Games.  There was not the violence and suffering, but it was written in such a smart way.  I found myself really thinking both sides through as I read the story.  The Society that Cassia lives in is not inherently evil.  In fact, it was originally founded so that citizens would have the best possible lives doing jobs they would be successful in, have marriages that would be fulfilling and having perfect health.  But, at what point should free will come in?  That is the question.

I sympathized with Cassia, as she juggled two choices.  But part of me was waiting for a little something more in the story to happen.  I missed the action that some of the other dystopian books have conjured.  However, I think that is what book 2 in the series (Crossed, due November of this year) will bring to the story.  It almost felt as if Matched was background information that had to be built up in order for the story to go on.  It set me on the journey to find out about Cassia, without it you could not move forward, but I want to find out more.  I cannot wait to see what choices Cassia will make in a world that has no choice.

Overall, this book is definitely worth the read.  It will make you really think about the freedoms that you have in your everyday life.

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Review: A Discovery of Witches

A Discovery of Witches                                  by Deborah E. Harkness                                   Viking Adult, February 2011

*Disclosure: I purchased this book myself.*

Dr. Diana Bishop is an extremely reputable scholar studying at Oxford.  She also happens to be the last descendant of the Bishop Witches, linked to the Salem Witch Trials.  Since her parents deaths when she was young, Diana has shunned her magical side and chosen to focus on her academic mind.  All of that changes when she pulls a manuscript for research that happens to be magical.  Now witches, vampires and daemons are all after Diana and whatever this manuscript holds.

I have struggled with this review for almost two weeks, because I (in equal parts) loved and hated this book.  First, I love magical things: give me Harry Potter, His Dark Materials, Sookie Stackhouse and I am so there.  So I loved the idea of all of these magical beings co-existing in an academic setting.  I also thought that Diana fighting against her magical instinct made for an interesting twist.  In short, plot = win.

The research was also impeccable.  You can tell that Deborah E. Harkness is a history professor.  But that also creates a problem, because there is almost too much information included in the book.  There were parts where I appreciated the attention to detail, and times where I just didn’t care to so in-depth about the eating habits of wolves.  I think maybe the descriptions could have been paired back a little.

But just when I would start to snooze a little bit, you would get “hit” with an exciting scene that would make your heart pound.  I truly loved the characters and cared about their well-being.  The story line was extremely interesting and it got better and better as the book went on.  It is also set up to extend the story to a second book, which I hope will happen.

This is definitely a book that I won’t rave about, but I think you should get it BEFORE it comes out in paperback.  I loved the characters and am great at skim reading boring details.  So if you like magical things, great stories and can endure a lot of detail…go for it!  I really did wish the book wouldn’t end and can’t wait for the sequel to come out.

 

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Toddler Thursday: 3/17

I apologize whole-heartedly for how long it has been since I posted.  I have had a lot going on in my personal life.  There has been a career change, a vacation and a child’s birthday!  Needless to say, I am exhausted.  But don’t give up on me, I am back!

Rhyming Dusting Bunnies by Jan Thomas

These dust bunnies do exactly what the titles says…they rhyme.  Well, except for Bob who does not rhyme.  This tale is full of rhyme, hilarious comments and colorful pictures that will have you and your little one rolling on the floor.  I highly recommend it.

 

 

The Napping House by Audrey Wood

This book is all about rhythm and repetition, which is fantastic for young readers.  In this story everyone is asleep in the house except for a wakeful flea.  Watch what happens to everyone’s naps when one little guy interferes.  This is a definite bedtime favorite.

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