Sing Sweet Baby

Jun 25, 2012

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

Release Date: March 2004
Publisher: Penguin | Speak
Pages: 345 pages
Source & Format: Library; Hardcover

Sum It Up (from Goodreads)
When it comes to relationships, Remy doesn't mess around. After all, she's learned all there is to know from her mother, who's currently working on husband number five. But there's something about Dexter that doesn't seem like Mr. Right. For some reason, however, Remy just can't seem to shake him. Could it be that Remy's starting to understand what those love songs are all about?

By Its Cover: One of the Better Dessen Covers
While I thought the cover for Along the Ride was super cheesy, I'm fine with this one. But I was really excited when I found out that all of her covers were getting redesigned. It's about time! I really like that the new cover for this book incorporates a guitar. Very fitting! You'll have to go look them up - after you finish reading this, of course!

Amen, Sister Friend: Cynical But Realistic
I probably wouldn't be close friends with Remy because I wasn't really a party girl in high school. However, that doesn't mean I didn't appreciate her as a character. I think my favorite thing about her was how realistic she was. She sounded like a real teenager - with moments of immaturity - but she was also really cynical. After her mother's many failed marriages, Remy doesn't want her heart on the line. She's famous for getting rid of guys before things get serious. That makes her seem a little harsh, but it was also understandable considering her family dynamics. She definitely wasn't the normal YA heroine!

I also really enjoyed the dynamics with Remy's group of friends - Lissa, Chloe and Jess. What I really appreciate about Sarah Dessen is that she writes very well-developed characters and that includes the secondary ones.

Literary Love: Lead Singer Love
I heard quite a bit about Dexter before I ever picked up This Lullaby. From what I've heard, a lot of people have some pretty hardcore love for this Dessen fella. Dexter is a musical guy. He's kind of awkward and nerdy at times, but he's also the lead singer. He's incredibly confident, but he also has that goofy charm.

While I liked Dexter, I wasn't totally crazy about him. The problem is that I can't put my finger on the reason why! I think it's because I didn't love Remy and that sort of just translated into me not being completely wrapped up in the love story.

Word Nerd: Classic Dessen
I say "Classic Dessen" like I've read more than one by her, but this was actually only my second Sarah Dessen book. I have heard quite a few people say that this is one of their favorite books by Sarah Dessen. Personally, I preferred Along for the Ride. I liked that main character better, and I enjoyed the love story and secondary characters more. In the end, I think it comes down to the fact that I had more a personal connection to the other book.

Both books had a similar formula, however, so I can see why people told me not to read them all in a row. I think it would definitely be better to read one every now and then rather than back-to-back. I think that may be partly why I was comparing it to my only other Sarah Dessen. They seemed really similar, and I ultimately liked the other book more.

Extra, Extra: Musical Man
If you're musical or have a thing for boys that can sing and/or play the guitar, you'll totally eat this book up. I'd be willing to bet that you'll be crazy about the love story. I'm not sure he was my kind of guy, but I know quite a few ladies that would be happy to have him all to themselves!

So Quotable
"No relationship is perfect, ever. There are always some ways you have to bend, to compromise, to give something up in order to gain something greater."

"Some things don't last forever, but some things do. Like a good song, or a good book, or a good memory you can take out and unfold in your darkest times, pressing down on the corners and peering in close, hoping you still recognize the person you see there."

Bottom Line: Enjoyable But Not a Favorite
While I thought This Lullaby was good, I couldn't help but compare it to my only other Sarah Dessen experience! I had a stronger connection to that book, which is probably why I preferred it. I was glad I just got this one from the library - I enjoyed it, but it wouldn't be a book I'd read again and again.

The Summer of Lucy Maud

Jun 19, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly featured hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they post a new topic/Top Ten list and invite everyone to share their own answers. I'm so obsessed with lists!

I'm really excited about discovering all the wonderful summertime reads that people list today, but I thought I'd take my list in a slightly different direction. I can almost guarantee that no one else's list will have the books I'm featuring today, and I always like being different.

Anyway, I could easily have come up with ten new & unread books on my summer TBR list because, let's face it, I can always come up with books I'm looking forward to reading. But I'm also doing something different this summer in terms of re-reading, and I thought this would be a fun way to let everyone know what I'll be enjoying at the pool over the next few months.

Top Ten Books on My Summer TBR List

"The Summer of Lucy Maud"
I love Lucy Maud (L.M.) Montgomery, and a big part of the reason why is the fact that she created one of my very favorite heroines, Anne Shirley. I fell in love with Anne in the third grade, and I was hooked on her adventures and daydreams right from the start. However, I also fell in love with my first book boy because of Lucy Maud. His name is Gilbert Blythe. I've spoken of my love for him before, so I won't make you listen to my long list of reasons why he's so awesome again.

But I will tell you that I've had a hankering for my old favorites recently. Getting in to book blogging has been really fun. I've gotten to know some very cool book nerds and found some awesome books to add to my TBR. The only downside is the fact that blogging has made me put pressure on myself to read only new books. I keep buying books based on blogger recommendations (which I don't regret in the least) but that causes my "I hope to re-read this one day" books to get pushed back to the bottom of the book pile. I absolutely love to re-read, but I sometimes have a hard time justifying re-reading old favorites when I own so many new and unread books. 

After a string of lackluster books, I was feeling a little book weary. You know, when you don't even want to pick up a book because you're afraid that it will be disappointing or boring and just plain blah. My typical remedy for this situation is to pick up a book that has been recommended to me by someone I really trust. If they say I'll love it, chances are I will and that often gets me out of the doldrums.

However, this time that just wasn't cutting it. It was like my heart was yearning for something familiar, something I could revisit and that would be new to me in the way that time makes any re-read of a book a new experience.

So I started reading Anne of Green Gables for the thousandth time. And it definitely felt like coming home. After devouring it quickly, I still wanted more. So, I've decided to re-read the whole series this summer, along with some of my other favorites by Lucy Maud. I'm not reading them straight through - that would make me sick of Lucy Maud's writing! Instead, I'll be enjoying one book by Lucy Maud for every two or so TBR books. I'm giving myself little breaks in between so that I don't get sick of her style. And y'all, I am seriously so excited about my plan! It just feels like such a relief to be re-reading again.

Luckily, my list worked out to a perfect ten books because I've already finished re-reading the first two in the Anne series. The picture above shows you what my copies look like - a little dated but a lot loved. In order:

1. Anne of the Island - Anne at Redmond College
2. Anne of Windy Poplars - Anne teaching at Summerside High School & boarding at Windy Poplars
3. Anne's House of Dreams - Anne gets married
4. Anne of Ingleside - Anne as the mother of five
5. Rainbow Valley - Adventures of Anne's six children
6. Rilla of Ingleside - Story of Anne's youngest, Rilla
7. Emily of New Moon - Beginning of a series focusing on Emily Starr, an introverted orphan 
8. Emily Climbs - Emily's off to high school
9. Emily's Quest - Emily decides what she wants for her future
10. The Blue Castle - A standalone where a young woman rebels against her family to find her own happiness

{I'm not including much description or trying to "sell" you on reading the books because I'll be posting my thoughts on each books after I read it. That's when I plan on convening you that L.M. Montgomery writes delightful characters that you need to get to know!}

Under the Summer Sun

Jun 18, 2012

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Release Date: May 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pages: 480 pages
Source & Format: Bought; Hardcover

Sum It Up
Taylor Edwards isn't really looking forward to this summer. In fact, she kind of wishes she could just run away. Her family received devastating news about her dad's health, and her parents have decided that the family will spend one last summer together at their lake house in the Pocono Mountains.

It's been years since they last visited. Life just got in the way. Not that Taylor's complaining - avoiding the lake allowed her to forgot about the mess she left the last time she was there.

Returning forces Taylor to face the people she left behind, including her former best friend and childhood boyfriend. It's also the place where she'll have to come terms with the future that she wishes weren't true.

As time runs out, Taylor realizes that sometimes you do get a second chance - with family, friends and love.

By Its Cover: Peachy Summer Delight
I love this cover in person because the title has this cool shimmery look and the peachy colors are just so perfect for the summer. I think I might like it better without the girl - just a view of the lake, to be honest - but that's a minor quibble.

Amen, Sister Friend: Runaway Girl
Taylor wants to be safe. She doesn't want to face her problems - she wants to run away from them. Her fear causes her to pull back from family, friends and relationships. There was something so relatable about this aspect of her personality. Even if that's not how you deal with problems in life, there have likely been moments when you wanted to.

The progression of her relationship with her father was one of my favorite things about Taylor and this novel. I love how she talked/thought about him because he was a specific character... but, at the same time, it was like he could be my father. I don't know how Matson did it, but it's like she created a completely fleshed out character that (even though he really wasn't similar to my dad) made me feel like he could have been. Does that even make sense? I think it was in the way Taylor related to her dad and thought about their relationship. Her fear and grief felt like it could have been my own.

Literary Love: Sweet but Unnecessary 
Henry. Hello swoony boy. Let's just say that I'd like a Fourth of July the likes of which you planned for Taylor. And goodness, I'm so glad you two were childhood friends (and sweethearts). I loved reading about a relationship that developed from years of knowing one another.

Now, on one hand, I really enjoyed the love story. At the same time, I felt that the love story was the one thing that could have been taken away from the book. I understand why it was in there, and it was a great part of the story... But this book could have focused solely on Taylor's relationship with her family members and it would have been just as good. What I loved about this book wasn't the love story - it was the family relationships. Those are the parts that stayed in my mind long after I'd finished this book.

Word Nerd: The Silent Cry
I don't cry very often, so it's very rare for me to cry when I'm reading a book. It's not that I don't get attached to the characters - it's just that I'm not usually moved to tears. There is usually a tiny piece of my brain that knows it's fiction. When I told Magan at Rather Be Reading that I bought this book (after reading her incredible review), she asked if I had tissues handy. I told her I was taking my chances because it was highly unlikely that I'd cry. I just don't cry in books.

Oh the error of my ways... I read the last bit of this and was definitely doing the silent cry. I just couldn't help it.

How is this relevant to the writing section of this review? Because in someone else's hands (words?) I probably wouldn't have been in tears. It was the way Matson wrote about the family handling their father's illness that felt so relatable. I wasn't crying because their father was sick... I was crying because I could imagine that it was my dad. During the ending, this book moved beyond a "fictional story about a family." It made me emotional because the character's emotions felt so relatable, so real, that I could imagine they were my own and that it was my father who was sick. And that just tore me up.

I'd also like to note that this book is by no means dark or depressing. Yes, it's sad, but it's more of a tender and loving kind of sad that makes you feel so much more appreciative of your family. The book, for the most part, felt so warm and cozy. It made me want to wrap my arms around my family and never let go.

Extra, Extra: Lake House
My husband's grandparents live on the lake, and it is one of my favorites places to visit. There's just something about a lake house that seems so relaxed and unplugged from the world around you. At the beach, you're usually doing other things (like going out to eat and shopping). But at the lake, you're usually just there. And for a family facing one of the worst things imaginable, it felt so right that they'd steal away to the lake for their final days together.

So Quotable
"You said you didn't want to waste your time on people who aren't going to matter," I said, and he nodded. "But how do you know they're not going to matter? Unless you give it a shot?"

"The thing is that people only get hurt - really hurt - when they're trying to play it safe. That's when people get injured, when they pull back at the last second because they're scared. They hurt themselves and other people."

Bottom Line: You'll Be in My Heart
It's almost 500 pages, and I read it one day. I read it while waiting on my blinds to get cut in Lowe's. I read it while in the car when my husband was driving. I tried to read it while folding laundry. I read it in the bath and didn't get out until the water was freezing cold and there were still tears running down my face. It was lovely, and I was so thankful to have read it. It was one of those books that breaks your heart but finds a home there, too.

So Quotable: Morgan Matson

Jun 17, 2012

“A thousand moments that I had just taken for granted - mostly because I had assumed that there would be a thousand more.” 
 Morgan Matson, Second Chance Summer

Four Sisters, Two Rabbits & An Interesting Boy

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall

Release Date: June 14, 2005
Publisher: Random House | Yearling
Pages: 272 pages
Source & Format: Library; Paperback

Sum It Up (from Goodreads)
This summer the Penderwick sisters have a wonderful surprise: a holiday on the grounds of a beautiful estate called Arundel. Soon they are busy discovering the summertime magic of Arundel's sprawling gardens, treasure-filled attic, tame rabbits, and the cook who makes the best gingerbread in Massachusetts. But the best discovery of all is Jeffrey Tifton, son of Arundel's owner, who quickly proves to be the perfect companion for their adventures.

The icy-hearted Mrs. Tifton is not as pleased with the Penderwicks as Jeffrey is, though, and warns the new friends to stay out of trouble. Which, of course, they will -won't they? One thing's for sure: it will be a summer the Penderwicks will never forget.

By Its Cover: Nostalgic & Quaint
I really love this cover because it so perfectly captures the feel of this book. I love the outlines of the kids, the dog and the two rabbits. The soft blue and yellow has a warm summery feel, which is so fitting for their wonderful adventures on summer vacation.

Amen, Sister Friend: I'd Join This Family
This family is the kind of family I love reading about in books. They all genuinely love each other. They have a truly wonderful father who looks after them but also gives them space to play. He is particularly admirable in light of the fact that he's lost his wife (and the girl's mother) and raises four loving, adventurous girls all on his own.

You'll meet the eldest, Rosalind, who acts like a little mother. She keeps an eye on all her sisters, but she's also getting to an age where she has her eye on a handsome boy, too. Next is Skye, the tomboy of the family. She's always getting herself into scrapes and putting her foot in her mouth, but things usually turn out all right in the end. If she needs to clear her head, she just does a little math. Jane follows and she is an aspiring author. She has a series of books in which her heroine always saves the day. Batty is the youngest sister, and she's definitely the baby of the family. She's a little shy, but once you win her affection she's all yours.

There's also their neighbor, Jeffrey, and he becomes a part of their circle almost immediately - once they get past a little misunderstanding right at the beginning of their acquaintance. He's sweet and fits in perfectly with this family.

Literary Love: First Crush
Aside from a crush on a older teenager, there isn't much romance in this book. But the portrayal of one sister's feeling for the kind older boy are sweet and realistic in their newness.

Word Nerd: Reminiscent of Books Past
The story and the writing give this book a very nostalgic feel. The whole time I was reading it I could see similarities between this and Little Women. It is refreshing and charming - the kind of book you want to hug and ask to be your friend forever. While it is certainly it's own book, it also read a little like a homage to all the best parts of children's literature through the ages.

It is a very quiet book. Each character has their own little adventures, but it isn't a book that races along or has anything particularly "new." It is, however, an adorable tale of a sweet family.

Extra, Extra: Two Rabbits
Batty's love for two rabbits that live nearby is so sweet. She visits them frequently and wins them over with lots of treats. This part of the story was one of my favorites! I also quite enjoyed Batty's butterfly wings (which she always wears) and who or what finally causes her to take them off. PRECIOUS!

So Quotable
“The cuter the boy, the mushier your brain.” 

“People sometimes make unexpected choices when they're lonely.” 

Bottom Line: Charming & Adorable
This book is just as good as Amy at Tripping Over Books promised it would be! I wasn't disappointed in the least. Amy actually said it best in her review, so I'm going to quote her for the bottom line: "It's quiet but not boring, sweet by not treacly, bittersweet sometimes but not a downer. It's the closest thing I've read to NORMAL in all its crazy, unassuming glory that I can recall reading in a LONG time."

Life's a Beach

Jun 12, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they post a new topic/Top Ten list and invite everyone to share their own answers. I'm so obsessed with lists!

This week's topic is "Top Ten Books I'd Recommend as Good Beach Reads." I'm doing that topic, but I thought I'd add a little extra personality to it. Instead of just giving you some great beach reads, I've sorted them based on what you might be looking for in your beach read and added some extra loot to complete the "look." Hope you enjoy!

I Want a Beach Read
So, you want some romance in your beach reads. I've got two options for you. The first, Once Upon a Time: Behind the Fairy Tale of Princess Grace and Prince Rainer, is the story of one of the world's most fascinating royal families. Grace Kelly, gorgeous movie star, married the Prince of Monaco and forever gave up her life as a starlet. Long before Kate Middleton, she lived every little girl's dream. This book is fascinating. Despite the troubles they faced, you see their love for one another grow.

The First Husband is an easy, breezy read. This fictional story of a woman who jumps into marriage following a bad breakup was such a fun read. It's the perfect book to toss in your preppy beach bag. If you're anything like me, you'll fall a little bit in love along the way.

find that loot: hat / sunscreen / lip balm / bag 
The book Unbroken was unlike anything I'd ever read before. It was so engrossing that I hated going to work because I just wanted to keep reading. It's the true story of a WWII fighter pilot who is shot down over the Pacific Ocean. What happens next is true and heartbreaking... and will have you hooked. It's not your normal summer read, but I promise it'd be the perfect book for the beach.

I first read The Poisonwood Bible in high school, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The story of this missionary family in Africa is one of the best uses of multiple narrators. If you want to experience not only a different time but another continent, this is a book you don't want to miss.

find that loot: stereo / sunglasses / hair ties / bag 
The only downside to read Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? on the beach? You'll probably laugh out loud, which might be a little embarrassing. But it's so worth it. These essays on everything from what it means to be a friend to why boys take so long to put on shoes make for a fabulous read. And, you know, I want to be best friends with Mindy Kaling now. There's that, too...

I loved Stay, which is the story of a girl who orders a dog from the Internet after drinking a little too much and watching her best friend marry the man she secretly loves. The puppy's arrival, and her realization that he isn't exactly the puppy she imagined, had me laughing out loud. It's just a good read, period, but you'll enjoy it even more if you're a dog lover.

find that loot: hat / bag / surf spray / coverup 
Do you need your beach book with lots of sweeping action? Love a good family saga? Then pick up The Tea Rose. It's a big fat book, but you'll fly through it as you soak up the sun and sip on an ice cold drink. It's the first in a trilogy, so you've always got two more books to turn to if you get done before vacation ends.

I can't think of a more dramatic biography than The Diana Chronicles. While I knew some about Princess Diana, I realized recently that I wasn't as familiar with her life as I originally thought. When I was reading this book, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. Diana's life read like the plot of a TV show! A semi-commoner marrying a prince, adultery, eating disorders, deadly car crash... She was one interesting woman, and this book needs to be tossed your beach bag!

find that loot: bag / hair ties / sunglasses / coverup 
I actually just finished re-reading Anne of Green Gables, and I loved it just as much as I did when I read it the first time (even though this was like my millionth re-read). Anne's sweet optimism and zest for life will brighten anyone's day, even when the sun is already shining. If you need to visit an old friend, don't forget about Anne!

Little House in the Big Woods is another book that will make you feel nostalgic for your childhood.... assuming, of course, that you loved these as much as I did. I was enchanted with Laura's life and adventures, and I've been craving a trip down memory lane. Even better? You can be reminded of your appreciation for modern conveniences while enjoying the great outdoors. 

find that loot: sunglasses / bag / iPhone case / coverup 

The Spoils of Time

Jun 11, 2012


Be sure to check out Shanyn's blog Chick Loves Lit to learn about Recommend A. There are topics for every Monday, as well as a cute button you can grab (I just created my own version to fit my blog but incuded Shanyn's blog info). I love this new feature and am excited to participate!

I considered several options for this week's topic because I have read some really good trilogies. I ultimately decided to go with this one because I don't think I've ever read anyone else say anything about them. I stumbled upon them by chance one day. While in college, I would often go to the nearby Borders when I just needed some time to myself. I could spend hours in there, wandering around, just flipping through books.

Scanning the shelves one afternoon, the spines for these three books caught my eye. I hadn't read anything by Penny Vincenzi, or even heard of her, but I was drawn in by the covers and descriptions. Marketed as a "sweeping saga of power, family politics, and passion," these books had me intrigued. The only problem was their size. Each book is over 600 pages. While I had a feeling they'd be worth the effort, I wasn't sure I wanted to commit. I didn't buy one that day, but I came back the next evening because I couldn't stop thinking about it.

I started the first book, No Angel, and I was hooked. Set in London and New York during WWI, I fell in love with the Lytton family. Each book focuses on a different generation of the family. In No Angel, you meet the core members of the family. Something Dangerous is mostly concerned with the trials and tribulations of their children. Finally, Into Temptation focuses on the third generation of Lyttons. In some ways, these books read like soap operas. There is no end to some of the drama this family goes through. But I ate it up. These would be perfect summer beach reads. Yes, they're set during the first and second World War, but they aren't depressing reads. I was completely swept away. I was reading them every moment between class, and I read each one in a few days. Even though they're epically long.

It's called the Spoils of Time trilogy, and I was addicted. They won't be right for everyone, and they definitely have some cheesy moments. But if you like historical fiction with a good helping of drama, these books would be great for you. They aren't necessarily the best books I've ever read, and I'd probably notice some flaws if I reread them with a more critical eye, but I loved them my first time through. If you read them, let me know what you think!

A Younger Me Ate These Books Up

Jun 5, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they post a new topic/Top Ten list and invite everyone to share their own answers. I'm so obsessed with lists!

This week's topic is a rewind, which means you get to pick any topic from the past list of topics. So, I decided to go with a trip down memory lane. I haven't read some of these in years, and I don't know if they're actually my ten "favorite" childhood books (but some of them certainly are). These are just the books that first came to mind. Also, my title was inspired by a childhood incident in which I actually ate the spine off a Spot book. My mom later found it in my diaper.

Top Ten Childhood Favorites

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
I honestly don't know if any children's book will ever come close to my love for this one. I had it memorized. And I still have the copy that I read as a little girl, plus the complete collection of all the Madeline stories. I love this little girl. She lives in Paris, she says poo poo to the tiger in the zoo, and she loses her appendix and has a wicked awesome scar. What more do you want?!

Corduroy by Don Freeman
This bear just wants to find a home! Why can't someone just love him? Actually, Lisa does... but her mom won't let her have him. He's convinced that it's because he's missing a button, so he goes on a search for the only thing he thinks he needs to be loved. I just adore his department store adventures.

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
The kids at make fun of Chrysanthemum because of her name. She's teased, and she begins to doubt herself. I love how the support she finds from her family and how it all turns out. Plus, have you ever seen a cuter mouse?


Love You Forever by Robert Munsch
"I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be." This book basically wraps around your heart and won't let go. It's sweet, it will make you a little teary and you'll want to read it on repeat. Or at least I did.

Eloise by Kay Thompson
I have no idea when I discovered Eloise, but I pretty much loved her from the first moment I met her. She's spoiled. She's wild. She lives in the Plaza hotel. She has a pet pug and turtle. Her adventures are notorious, her nanny is hilarious, and she's basically all things awesome. 

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff 
If you don't love all these books, then I just don't know if I can love you. The mouse's desire for a cookie and the subsequent things the mouse just absolutely must have still crack me up. I also love how it comes full circle. 

The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
Why wouldn't you love a bull that would rather sit and smell flowers than fight like all the other bulls? I just loved the story of this little bull. He's not like the other bulls - and he just wants to be himself!

The Tale of Three Trees retold by Angela Elwell Hunt
I love this traditional folktale about three trees that have big hopes for their futures. They're cut down by woodcutters and turned into the manger that holds baby Jesus, the fishing boat that carries him and his followers, and the cross upon which he's crucified. It's a book that has stuck with me over the years.

Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I love this poem so very much. My Grammy used to read it to me, and I can still remember the opening lines. "By the shores of Gitche Gumee, / By the shining Big-Sea-Water, / Stood the wigwam of Nokomis, / Daughter of the moon, Nokomis." The story of this Native American boy just captivated me. I was captivated by the descriptions of their life, and it was probably one of my first experiences with poetry.


Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
I love this book for so many reasons. This simple story of Mike and his steam shovel, Mary Anne, was one of my very favorites growing up. Their friendship (yes, I know it's a man and his machine) was so touching. And I love the illustrations. 

So Quotable: Natasha Solomons

Jun 3, 2012

“It is the storyteller's prerogative to try to write, every now and then, 
the ending she might wish for. Even if it exists only on the white page.” 
 Natasha Solomons, The House at Tyneford

May Recap

Jun 2, 2012

I'd say something about how quickly the month went by, but I think I've been saying that in every recap. In exactly a month, I'll have been married a year. That's just crazy to me! I feel like it was just yesterday that I was graduating and walking down the aisle soon after.

I read 12 books this months, and I'm so excited that summer is finally here because I plan on getting lots of reading done on the weekends while sitting by the pool. I'll also be enjoying the air conditioning indoors because it's beyond hot down here in the South.

It was a very busy month for me and my husband because we bought a house, and I was excited to share my news. Many thanks (again) to all the sweet words of congratulations. We're finally moved in and unpacked, and I'm just enjoying getting settled. The best part is that I finally have room for all my books!

Without a doubt, I think it's going to be impossible for me to choose a favorite book for this month. I read my very first Sarah Dessen, Along for the Ride, and absolutely loved it. From sweet romance to the realistic characters, I was hooked. I sealed my Markus Zusak fangirl status with I am the Messenger, which was so unique and memorable. E. Lockhart made me fall in love with another heroine in The Disreputable HIstory of Frankie-Landua Banks, and I wanted to adopt the adorable and precious sisters in The Penderwicks. I finally started the Chaos Walking trilogy with The Knife of Never Letting Go, and I finally understand why everyone raves about it. Unfortunately, the other two were due back before I had time to read them and someone else requested them. But I'll get them soon! I revisited an old favorite with The Opposite of Love, and I still haven't written a review yet because sometimes it's hard to write about books that you love. Finally, I adored Second Chance Summer and realized that sometimes books do make me cry.

Here's a quick and easy guide to everything that happened on my blog in May:

Read in April but Reviewed in May:
The Night Circus
The Maid of Fairbourne Hall
The Sky is Everywhere
Saving June
The Name of the Star

Read and Reviewed in May:
The Agency: A Spy in the House
Along for the Ride
Domino: The Book of Decorating
Read in May and Review Coming Soon:
The Opposite of Love
The Knife of Never Letting Go
The Penderwicks
Second Chance Summer

I quoted four fabulous authors:
Anna Quindlen
Jandy Nelson
E. Lockhart
Sarah Dessen

I listed the top ten:
Books I Want to See as Movies
Favorite Quotes from Books
Big Fat Books on My TBR
Daily Reads: Non-Book Blog Edition
Books Written in Last 10 Years People Should Be Reading in 30 Years

I wished for these two bookish lovelies:
Puffin Classics
Ombre Chevron Bookmarks

It's definitely been a good month, and I can't wait for everything else I've got coming up. Summer is the best time of year. So, what are your best recommendations for summer reading?

Nobody Puts "Bunny" in a Corner

Jun 1, 2012

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Release Date: March 2008
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Pages: 342 pages
Source & Format: Library; Hardcover
Amazon | Goodreads

Sum It Up (from Goodreads)
Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14:
Debate Club.
Her father's "bunny rabbit."
A mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school.

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15:
A knockout figure.
A sharp tongue.
A chip on her shoulder.
And a gorgeous new senior boyfriend: the supremely goofy, word-obsessed Matthew Livingston.

Frankie Landau-Banks.
No longer the kind of girl to take "no" for an answer.
Especially when "no" means she's excluded from her boyfriend's all-male secret society.
Not when her ex-boyfriend shows up in the strangest of places.
Not when she knows she's smarter than any of them.
When she knows Matthew's lying to her.
And when there are so many, many pranks to be done.

Frank Landau-Banks, at age 16:
Possibly a criminal mastermind.

This is the story of how she got that way.

Amen, Sister Friend
Having recently finished the Ruby Oliver books, I can honestly say that I love E. Lockhart's heroines. In fact, I think I may love Frankie best of all. She's smart and clever, and she knows it. She's comfortable in her skin and confident in her abilities. I love that she's tired of being underestimated and decides to take matters in to her own hands.

I absolutely loved getting to know her and seeing how her mind worked. This is one heroine I won't soon forget!

Literary Love: Don't Underestimate Her

At the beginning of her sophomore year, Frankie snags Matthew Livingston. He's got it all: wealth, status and power. He belong to a journalism empire, which means he's got a rich future ahead of him. He's a senior and one of the most popular guys in the entire school, so you know he's a total status symbol. He's also the leader of The Loyal Order of the Basset Hounds, Alabaster Academy's illustrious secret society. And entire group of guys will do his bidding. So, he's definitely a good catch. But he doesn't see Frankie's true value. He underestimates her, and he never sees beyond the box he's put her in.

Then there's Alpha. He's a legend at Alabaster. His bad behavior and escapades have earned him the respect and admiration of the entire school body. However, Frankie doesn't know where the rumor ends and the truth begins. There's some chemistry here, but you'll have to read the book for yourself to see if anything comes of it.

Word Nerd: Standard Lockhart & Loved It
I really love Lockhart's writing. It's clever and draws you in. She writes charming and believable heroines. Her setting comes alive. I don't even think I need to say more.

By far my favorite part of this writing in this book was the presence of imaginary neglected positives. While doing research in the library, Frankie discovers P.G. Wodehouse's "Code of the Woosters." So begins her obsession with neglected positives. If being disgruntled meant you were discontent, wouldn't gruntled mean the opposite? Frankie begins created "imaginary neglected positives." These INPs made for such a fun addition to the book, and it added a really adorable aspect to Frankie's personality.

Extra, Extra: Preptastic
I loved that this book was set in a boarding school, and Lockhart did such a great job of making it come alive. I honestly felt like I was a student there, and I was picturing everything in my mind. I could also imagine the entire social order. This is a world where wealth and popularity matter, and you can really see that as the book progressed.

Extra, Extra: Pranks
The pranks were absolutely one of the best part of this book. I couldn't wait to see what Frankie was going to come up with next!

So Quotable
"Secrets are more powerful when people know you've got them."

"Frankie appreciated both the accolades and the rejections equally, because both meant she'd had an impact. She wasn't a person who needed to be liked so much as she was a person who liked to be notorious." 

Bottom Line: SO GOOD!
This is all I've got left to say: I love Frankie Landau-Banks. Don't underestimate this girl (or this book).
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