Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A soft place to land

A soft place to land was a really good book.  It took me some time to get into it, but once I did I was glad.  The story is about two sisters who lose their parents in a plane crash. Ruthie lost her mother and her father, but her older sister Julia, lost her mother and step father.  After the funeral, arrangements were made for the sisters to be separated.  Ruthie was to go to San Francisco to live with her Aunt and uncle and her sister was to go live with her dad and stepmother.

 The book goes thought the trials and tribulations that happen when sisters grow up in completely different environments, and how that affects their relationship.  They went from being very close, and told each other everything to strangers who resented each other.
I thought this book was great because it talked about how ruthie dealt with her issues only to realize that her sister wasn't dealing with them at all.  Ruthie had also gotten an abortion when she was 18, and when her sister wrote a tell all book about her horrible time in a rehab facility she had included the knowledge of the abortion.  This piece of information ruthie had not disclosed to her long term pro life boyfriend.
The story ends with the couple getting past it and getting married, and Ruthie discovering that even though her sister and her relationship wasn't the same it was still a relationship.  One that she was thankful to have.  She gets the courage to go back to her childhood home as an adult to discover a box of pictures her mother had left behind.  When she goes to contemplate over the box at an old park she gets a phone call from Julia.  Julia was on the Flight that had to land in the Hudson river, and almost died.  I do think that the book just ended, but I also did not feel like I was left wanting more.  She dealt with her harsh feelings towards her sister, and was accepting that maybe it was time to have children of her own.  Pretty decent read.

50 shades of Grey

Well, I gave into the craze.  I finally read the trilogy everyone is so "sexually aroused" by.  It makes me laugh, because when I read the book I was expecting this horrible man, making a helpless virgin do naughty things.  This would only be part of the book.
Let me start by saying that this book was a generally good story. Though meeting a rich business owner who wants to make you his sub, and sign a contract doesn't happen everyday (at least in my world) I still found it relatively realistic.  The plot you ask?  A young girl who is about to graduate college last minute fills in for her friend to conduct an interview.  Long story short Anastasia Steele meets Christian Grey.  A few stalked days later, and he is wooing her with expensive books, and flattering gifts.  
It turns out that Christian was very impressed with the young Ana, and pursues her even though "he isn't good for her." after lots of confusing internal dialogue with herself Ana makes sure that he knows she is also interested, though she doesn't appreciate him trying to buy her affection.  This ends up being an ongoing fight between the two, so take note.
Christian finally explains to Ana that he has needs that require not only for her to sign a non disclosure agreement, but also a contract.  Turns out that Christian is really into dirty sex, and likes to maintain the dominant, and subordinate relationship.  They are rules to follow, and actions to be taken.  I did find this part interesting, because some of the rules make absolutely no sense and it annoyed me. Regardless, moving on.
Once he shows her the "red room of pain" and let's her in on his secret she explains that some rules will never be followed, and she had to think about it.  Oh, and she is also a virgin. Shocker...
Christian then agrees to just make love to her, and then they could figure the rest out later. 
Long story short he starts breaking all kinds of his own rules because he starts to fall in love with her. There is also a lot of fighting that references the "don't buy me expensive stuff" and also the fact that he is way to controlling.  This also leads us into the second book "50 Shades Darker".  The books all kind a run together, so I may be a little off on what happens during which one.  I do need to mention a few important points in the books
* Christian was badly abused by his crack whore mothers pimp when he was little.  He also got left alone for days with his dead mother even though the pimp knew she was dead.  Poor little boy Christian just thought she was cold, and kept trying to warm her up.  Pretty sad.
* because of the child environment he was pretty hard on himself growing up with his adoptive family.  So naturally one of his adopted Mommy's friends took him under her wings when he was 15 and taught him to be her sub.  Pretty fucked up, and Anastasia has a hard time with this as well.  She calls her mrs. Robinson.
* Christian picked a certain type to be his subs because they reminded him of his mother.
*an ex sub goes crazy and trieds to hurt Ana and herself.  Christian has to get all "do as a I say" and Ana hates it and I think this is when she breaks up with him?  I can't remember.
*after breaking up with him she misses him like crazy, and they end up back together because he had gotten her a new car, but she no longer wanted it and needed a ride somewhere. Sparks fly, they never break up again.
*Mrs. Robinson gets pretty ticked about how the break up affected Christian and goes all Momma bear on Ana.  Ana pretty much calls her a cradle robber and shakes it off.
*Ana gets a job at a publishing company, and in order to keep an eye on her Christian buys the entire company. Yes, very controlling.
*the job is perfect except that the boss is a creep.  Ana ends up having to attack him for trying to get in her pants, and then Christian has him fired immediately.
*ex boss holds a grudge and eventually comes after them.  He manipulates Christians helicopter, and in book 3 gets to work even more.
*they have sex a lot more times, and fight some more.  They have sex way more than any normal couple has the time for. Guess that is what happens when you are loaded and have free time. haha
*They work through all the issues and end up having two kids.
Happily ever after.

Where we Belong

I love me some Emily Giffin, so when her new book came out I jumped to read it.  I am so glad that I did because this is by far my favorite of hers.

The book is about two girls who navigate their lives after an adoption.  Kirby who was adopted at 3 days old turns 18, and decides to contact her birth mother after feeling lost in her perfect family.  Her parents could not get pregnant so decided adoption was right for them.  Two months after Kirby came along they found out they were expecting.  Though there was never any harsh feelings Kirby always felt like she didn't belong.

Then we have Marian.  Marian had gotten pregnant at 18 with a man she loved, and lied about being pregnant to him.  She took the test and in order to spare his future she said it was negative.  She then let her mother know, and tried to have an abortion.  She couldn't do it,and then settled on adoption.  18 years after Kirby shows up in her penthouse apartment in New York where she is a big time television producer.

Though the first time that they meet isn't ideal, they still enjoyed the time together.  It caused Marian to hash out feelings she had tried to forget for the last 18 years.  She had also neglected to tell her father about Kirby for fear of disappointing him.  Kirby also keeps asking about her birth father. A question Marian has been dreading.

"Where We Belong has two heroines: Marian Caldwell, a successful television producer who gave up a child for adoption when she was eighteen, and Kirby Rose, the girl Marian gave away, now eighteen herself.
The book alternates between the two characters’ first person present tense POVs and begins with Marian angling for a proposal from her boyfriend of two years, Peter. But Peter, recently divorced, is commitment-shy. The two of them have a fight and Marian takes a cab to her Manhattan penthouse. It is there, at eleven o’clock at night, that Kirby arrives at Marian’s door.
Kirby’s appearance on Marian’s doorstep is unexpected. Marian hasn’t met Kirby since she gave her away, and though she left her contact information with the adoption agency, she has never told anyone but her mother about her pregnancy. That she kept it secret from Peter, from her own father, and from Kirby’s biological father makes it hard for her to cope with Kirby’s reappearance in her life.
Kirby is a disaffected teen, envious of the attention her sister (her parents’ biological child, born after they adopted Kirby) gets. She wonders who her biological parents were, and after overhearing her parents worrying about what kind of people may have conceived her, she takes a bus from St. Louis to New York without telling them, and looks Marian up.
Because Marian concealed her pregnancy, she’s not eager to discuss it, or the biological father’s identity, with Kirby. She’s compartmentalized the pain of her loss, and she tries to compartmentalize Kirby as well, by taking her shopping at Barney’s and to see the Met instead of being truthful with her.
Of course, Kirby senses this and it amplifies her feelings of alienation. For all Marian’s success and sophistication, and Kirby’s aimlessness and disinterest in attending college, in some ways Kirby has more on the ball than her biological mother.
So neither character is immediately sympathetic, but they both become more so as they grow over the course of the novel, which goes in all sorts of interesting directions from there. We see how Marian’s secret-keeping has affected her relationship with Peter, who is the CEO of the network where she works as well as her boyfriend, her interactions with both her mother and her father, as well as her friends, and how the emergence of the truth impacts all these relationships.
We also see Kirby mature through the process of learning where she came from, realizing finally how much her family means to her and that in the end, no one knows her better or loves her more than the parents who raised her and saw her through the journey from baby to young adult.
There is an interesting contrast between the teenage Kirby and the teenage Marian, shown through flashbacks. While Marian had a better sense of direction than Kirby as a teen, she was less willing to express her individuality and more eager to please other people, especially her parents – which did not serve her well when she got pregnant by a boy who wasn’t what her parents wanted for her.
Meanwhile, Kirby doesn’t know what she wants to do with her future, but she finds it easier to be who she is, even when she doubts if anyone else appreciates the person she is. Learning the identity of her biological parents ultimately helps Kirby gain confidence, but it doesn’t change the honesty and authenticity she has from the beginning.
Kirby and the younger Marian are also contrasted with the older, goal-oriented Marian, a woman who seemingly has everything but isn’t really happy, partly because she’s concealing a huge secret and partly because she has never acknowledged to herself how much she lost as a teen. Ultimately, this is a book about the importance of being truthful, both with others as well as with oneself. It’s also about being true to oneself, acknowledging one’s needs and desires even when they don’t fit the template of the life one has built.
Where We Belong is a deeply absorbing novel and even has some romantic moments, as well as others that made me reach for a box of tissues. The emotional center of the books is Marian and her journey, rather than Kirby’s. Much as I liked Kirby, her story felt more like a subplot to me. It was Marian who had lied to so many of her loved ones and had to unravel the tangle she had created.."

Friday, February 1, 2013


January 2013:

I needed something a bit less intense after reading the Best of Me.  So I finally got around to reading Damned.  It was funny, and a bit messed up in true Chuck fashion.  I didn't love the book, but I didn't hate it either.  It was just "Eh".

The novel opens with Madison "Maddy" Spencer (13) waking in Hell, unsure of the details surrounding her death (she believes she has died of a marijuana overdose). Maddy quickly gets to know her nearby cellmates. The group (loosely modeled on the character traits in "The Breakfast Club," i.e., a rocker, a nerd, a beauty and a jock) take Maddy on a tour of Hell.
In Hell, Madison works as a telemarketer, calling the living during mealtimes and asking them to answer insane survey questions. Throughout the novel, we see Madison's interactions with the living as well as the dead as she tries to piece together the events surrounding her death, and figure out how best to cope with the idea of spending the rest of eternity in Hell.
We discover that her adopted Brother Goran had in fact accidentally strangled her while playing a "Kiss from Death" game with a string of Hello kitty Condoms her parents had left her with.  She then takes over hell, and fights off adversaries like Hitler, and all the worst Demons to rule the underground.  The dead get to surface Earth on Halloween so in doing so she finds out that the Devil himself had invented the character that Maddy lives to be true.  He orchestrated her life in such a way that lead her to hell to lure more souls into Hell.  He raves about her being his best work yet.
Maddy is in denial and trying to seperate truth from reality.  In doing so she decides that once she returns to Hell she is going to Kill Satan.  Only to discover that she has been approved to return to the living based off of misfiled paperwork.  You are left with a To be continued...

The Best of Me

January 2013:

I loved this book.  Though it was a bit predictable, and I saw it all coming I still loved it.  It was a great love story, and was a nice way to start the new year.

"THE BEST OF ME is the story of two high school sweethearts whose love was cut short because they were born on opposite sides of the track. As all people sometimes mistakenly are, they were identified and labeled because of who their families were. Amanda Collier was born to a family that was considered to be well bred and upper crust, and were highly respected people in the community. She was expected to go to a good-standing college and marry a man who was compatible to her station in life. However, against her parents’ wishes, she began seeing a young man whose family had been in and out of prison and whose main interests seemed to be a life of crime.

Their love was never meant to be, and because Dawson’s love was true, he let Amanda go. He wanted her to attend college and have the life she was destined to have, the life she deserved to have. Amanda never forgot Dawson, but eventually moved on. She went to college, met and married a respectable man, and raised a family. She lived the life she had been expected to live.The townspeople feared the Coles. They were dangerous individuals who would not hesitate to hurt or kill someone who got in their way. They were from the wrong side of the tracks, and no one who was decent would have anything to do with them except Amanda. She saw that Dawson was different, and was one of two people who did not judge him based on where he came from or who his father was.
Dawson’s life, on the other hand, did not go the way people expected. Instead of living the life of crime his father and cousins wished him to have, Dawson left town after an altercation with family and a tragic accident that put him in jail. Once he was out, he was determined never to set foot in that town again.
Things happen for a reason, and we meet people for a reason. Some may call it Fate. When their mutual friend passes away, a man who in some ways became a mentor to both of them, his last request brings both Amanda and Dawson back to that small town in North Carolina, changing their lives in ways neither would have imagined."

Heather's thoughts to remember the story:
Dawson is drawn to the bar to save the man's son that he accidentally killed.  THe man was the ghost that has been saving his life up until this point.  His purpose was to go and save the son.  He goes and fights off his cousins to save the girl and son just to be shot in the head and murdered by one of his cousins. 
Meanwhile Amanda is rushing to the hospital to be by her son's side.  He was in a terrible accident when he was playing DD for his father.
Long story short Dawson's heart is the heart Amanda's son needs in order to survive.
Heart Breaking, and sweet all at once.
The Best of Me being always and forever Dawson's heart.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Hunger Games

I finished the Trilogy over the past week, and I wanted to be sure that I documented the awesomeness of them.
I completely copied and pasted from Wikipedia, because I am horrible at reviews/cliffnotes.  Also these tell the entire books outcome and all.  So please avoid this if you have yet to read the books.  Amos, that means you!

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games follows 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, a girl from District 12 who volunteers for the 74th Hunger Games in place of her younger sister Prim. Also participating from District 12 is Peeta Mellark, a boy who developed a secret lifelong crush on Katniss the moment he laid eyes on her as a child. They are mentored by District 12's only living victor, Haymitch Abernathy, who won the Games 24 years earlier and has since assumed a solitary life of alcoholism. Peeta professes his love for Katniss in a television interview prior to the Games, leading the Capitol to portray Katniss and Peeta as "star-crossed lovers". This revelation surprises Katniss, who actually harbors feelings for her hunting buddy back home,Gale Hawthorne. Haymitch advises Katniss to play along and act in love with Peeta, in order to gain wealthy sponsors who can gift them supplies during the Games. In the arena, Katniss develops an alliance and friendship with a young tribute from District 11 (Rue) and is emotionally scarred when she is killed while acting as a decoy. Katniss devises an impromptu memorial for Rue as an act of defiance toward the Capitol. More than halfway through the Games, the remaining tributes are alerted to an unprecedented rule change that allows both tributes from the same district to be declared victors if they are the final two standing. After learning of the change, Katniss and Peeta begin to work as a team and spare each others' lives. When all of the other tributes are dead and they appear to win the Games together, the provision is reversed at the last moment, requiring one to kill the other. Katniss quickly devises a plan for herself and Peeta to commit double-suicide (denying the Capitol of its precious victor), but they are stopped by the Gamemakers and both return home victorious. During and after the Games, Katniss indeed develops strong feelings for Peeta and struggles to balance them with the connection she feels with Gale. When it becomes clear the Capitol is upset with her defiance, Haymitch encourages Katniss to keep up (and even accelerate) the 'star-crossed lovers' act, without telling Peeta.

Catching Fire

In Catching Fire, which begins six months after the conclusion of The Hunger Games, Katniss learns that her defiance in the previous novel has started a chain reaction that inspired rebellion in the districts. President Snow is not fooled by Katniss' act and privately threatens to harm her family and friends if she does not help to slow the rebellion, which involves marrying Peeta. Meanwhile, Peeta has become aware of Katniss' disingenuous love of him, but has also been informed of Snow's threats, and promises to help keep up the act to spare the citizens of District 12. As such, they tour the districts as victors and plan a very public wedding. While they follow Snow's orders and keep up the ruse, Katniss inadvertently fuels the rebellion, and the mockingjay pin she wears becomes its symbol. District by district, the citizens of Panem begin to stage uprisings against the Capitol, and Katniss learns of the skirmishes by various methods. Snow announces a special 75th edition of the Hunger Games, known as the Quarter Quell, in which Katniss and Peeta are forced into competing a second time with other past victors, effectively canceling the wedding. At Haymitch's urging, they team up with a few other tributes (acting covertly as rebels, unbeknownst to the pair) and manage to destroy the arena and escape the Games; Katniss is rescued by the rebel forces from District 13, while Peeta is captured by the Capitol. Also, Katniss is informed that District 12 has been destroyed.


Mockingjay, the third and final book, centers around Katniss and the districts' rebellion against the Capitol. Katniss, now a refugee in District 13 and quite damaged from her experiences, agrees to be used by the rebels as a propaganda tool (the embodiment of the mockingjay symbol, complete with costume) to unite the districts in the uprising against the Capitol and President Snow. Peeta and the other remaining tributes captured by the Capitol are rescued, but he has been brainwashed to consider Katniss an enemy, and he is guarded carefully as his rehabilitation progresses. Finally, a group including Katniss, Gale, and a still somewhat unstable Peeta go renegade in the Capitol on a mission to assassinate President Snow. Before Katniss can complete her objective, Prim is killed in a bombing. Later, a captive Snow tells Katniss that Coin, the president of District 13, was behind the bombing, and she deduces that Gale was one of the designers of the bomb. After Panem officially falls to the rebels, Coin suggests a final Hunger Games featuring the children of the Capitol's former leaders as tributes, leading Katniss to believe that nothing will change under a new regime. At Snow's scheduled execution by Katniss' arrow, Katniss targets and kills Coin instead, and Snow dies in an ensuing riot. Katniss is tried (unbeknownst to her) and acquitted of killing Coin. Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch eventually return to a ruined District 12. Katniss slowly begins to recover from her many mental scars. Katniss' mother and Gale both take jobs in different districts. Katniss eventually comes to genuinely love Peeta, marries him, and after many years, Peeta convinces her to have two children.

I have to say that all three books were really good.  Amos and I often talk about what would happen if something like this becomes of the world.  The world is ran by greed, and I honestly don't think something like this could be too far off.  Without getting too political I want to add some thoughts on each book.

The Hunger Games:
I had seen the movie, which is why I wanted to read the book.  While watching the movie I walked away with several questions than were left unanswered.  I knew that the Hungar Games was a way to keep food restricted in some areas, but the movie didn't give me that feeling.  When Peeta fed the bread to Katniss in the movie I thought it was his way of being a dick.  The book obviously gave me more details on the  scenario  and I know that was not the case.  Overall the concept and detail that Collins goes into made me feel like I was there participating for myself.  Even though I knew the jist of what was going to happen I still found myself wanting to know what I was going to read next.  I also was thankful that the book answered my ?'s in regards to Peeta's true feelings.  In the movie I never got that it was part of the plan to be in love with Katniss.  I just thought that he truely was.  The book let me know that it was both the case.  Which gave me a bit of a different look on it.

Catching Fire:
Catching Fire threw me for a loop.  I would be lying if I even saw for a second that they would end up back into the arena. It went from a good book to a great book in one chapter. In fact I read that chapter while walking, and I had to stop to text my Mom about my rage.  She merely laughed at me.  Other than being thrown for a loop nothing really sticks out.  I loved that the rebels were trying to protect both Peeta and Katniss the entire time, and I even thought the clock arena was really clever.

This one is probably my favorite of the 3.  Merely for the fact that I knew she would end up with Peeta.  I also liked that she was never left out or immune to getting hurt.  Too many books or movies have the main character always coming away unscathed.  Whereas with Katniss she spent more time in the hospital then she ever did fighting.  I also liked that if she did black out it blacked you out with her.  Made you want to rush to the end to figure out what happened while she was sleeping.  The book pulled at my heartstrings with Peeta being highjacked though.  I was expecting them to be reunited with such love, and I hated that it wasn't.  Though I do feel that she realized then that Peeta was the one she loved, and not Gale.  I knew that Coin was a piece from the get go.  Anyone who treats a human being like a prop is not a good person in my book.  So to say that I saw that part coming is a bit of an understatement.  I was still glad when it happened though.  I was really sad that Prim had to die though.  Especially in the manner that she did. War is such an ugly thing, and this book only reiterates that.  The ending was sad, and I was a little concerned that there would not be a happy ending.  Which depending on how you look at it, I guess it could go both ways.  I also don't imagine that after going through something like that you can just start your life with the love of your life, and not have a hard time regardless.  The guilt, and sadness for those lost would probably be too much to handle.  I love the fact that Finnick's wife Annie had a baby though.  Reminded me that he didn't die for no reason.  

Random on Gale and really an overall analysis of his character.  Why did he think that he could ever compete with Peeta.  I know that sounds stupid seeing how they are just books, but really.  She went through something unspeakable with Peeta.  Needed him for comfort, and when he wasn't around she spent most of her time being a bitch to Gale.  Gale also wanted to be a hero far more than he ever wanted Katniss.  That annoyed me for some reason.  Peeta's only mission was Katniss, and her family.  While I think that Gale was very noble, I also saw him as a douche sometimes.  Especially towards the end when he could have cared less about who he was killing.  Just made me want Peeta to find his way back even more.

I really enjoyed the trilogy, and I am excited to see the next movies that they make based off the books. I am a little sad that I finished them, but now I am making Amos read them in hopes that we can discuss it.  

Monday, August 16, 2010

Summer Sisters

I just finished reading Summer Sisters on the 10th of August.  I borrowed it from Tristan, and I really liked it.  At first it was hard to follow just based on how she skipped through years at a time.  Once you got passed the writing style it was a very easy read.

Published July 25th, 2006
Heather's Rating: 3.5 outta 5

"In Summer Sisters, her third novel for adults, the author again explores the ramifications of love--and lust--on two friends. Initially, the differences between Caitlin Somers and Victoria Leonard (or "Vix," as Caitlin christens her) draw them together: privileged Caitlin is wild and outspoken, beautiful but emotionally fragile, while working-class Vix is shy, reserved, and plain in comparison. After Caitlin selects Vix to accompany her to her father's home in Martha's Vineyard for the summer, the two become inextricably connected as "summer sisters."
On the Vineyard, Vix and Caitlin first find love, then sex--and lots of it. Yet Blume soon moves beyond hot fun in the summer sun, tracing the romantic and familial travails of the two from pre-adolescence to adulthood. Solid Vix evolves into Victoria, an equally solid, Harvard-educated, Manhattan public-relations exec. Unpredictable Caitlin opts out of college and travels to Europe, where she has a string of short-lived affairs with a series of intriguing (in every sense of the word) foreigners. It is only after she returns to the Vineyard that Caitlin does the unthinkable, forever changing both her friendship with Vix and their lives. Blume once again proves herself a master of the female psyche, and Summer Sisters is likely to entertain both her post adolescent and more mature readers."