Forget-Her-Nots by Amy Brecount White

Goodreads Summary: "When someone leaves three mystery flowers outside her dorm door, Laurel thinks that maybe the Avondale School isn't so awful after all — until her own body starts to freak out. In the middle of her English presentation on the Victorian Language of Flowers, strange words pop into her head, and her body seems to tingle and hum. Impulsively, Laurel gives the love bouquet she made to demonstrate the language to her spinster English teacher. When that teacher unexpectedly and immediately finds romance, Laurel suspects that something — something magical — is up. With her new friend, Kate, she sets out to discover the origins and breadth of her powers by experimenting on herself and others. But she can’t seem to find any living experts in the field of flower powers to guide her. And her bouquets don't always do her bidding, especially when it comes to her own crush, Justin. Rumors about Laurel and her flowers fly across campus, and she's soon besieged by requests from girls — both friends and enemies — who want their lives magically transformed — just in time for prom."

Review: So the thing that stood out to me here about this book was the plot. The characters were all just kind of around to add to the plot. Which was pretty good; I like that the premise is unique, and the whole "flowerspeaking" thing is something that's always intrigued me.

I kept waiting for Laurel to end up with one of the other boys, although that's probably just because he's the stereotypical Boy The Girl Ends Up With. I don't think Justin had much of a personality, though. Because he was just there for plot purposes, as they all were.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, fluffy, is-this-a-kissing-book



Book Blogger Hop (6)

Book Blogger Hop

Participating in the Book Blogger Hop hosted at Crazy for Books!! This is a great chance to go find new blogs to love. :)

This week's question:

Who is your favorite new-to-you author so far this year?

Well. Hopefully I've already raved sufficiently about Catherine Gilbert Murdock and E. Lockhart (both of whom I discovered this year). An author I've read recently whose work I really really liked was Phoebe Kitanidis, author of Whisper. This is the first book in a while that, I felt, was really good at being both an introduction to the series AND a book in its own right, instead of just a setup or a really long-winded introduction. I felt like the plot was complete, and I LOVED the character development, as Joy becomes comfortable and honest with the people around her, as well as with herself.

If you're here from the Hop, welcome!

Forbidden Sea by Sheila Nielson

Goodreads Summary: "When Adrianne comes face-to-face with the mermaid of Windwaithe Island, she is convinced that the mermaid means her harm. After all, the island is steeped in stories of mermaids' curses and the ill-luck that they bring. But Adrianne is fierce-willed and courageous and is determined to protect her family and the islanders from danger. Yet when the islanders find out about Adrianne's encounters with the mermaid, her family is scorned. They believe that once active, the mermaid cannot be quieted until an islander sacrifices herself to the sea. But is the legend true? And will their fear make them force Adrienne to test it? This is a haunting story of love, surrender and strength."

Review: This was a fun read. I was drawn into the story, especially the mystery of the mermaid and what her deal was. Random thought: Adrianne reminded me of Katniss from The Hunger Games, and I was also reminded of Sammy Keyes (mostly because of all the times Sheila's preached those books to me).

SPOILERS: I do have a beef with the book though, and it has to do with the ending. I felt like the two chapters she spend in the sea kingdom were really truncated. Like, really? She only spent a couple hours there? I see how that's convenient for the sake of her mother and aunt not knowing what happened, but it's a little too convenient, in my opinion.

Also, I have a problem with Denn. I did catch hints of him caring about Adrianne more than he realized, but then all of a sudden... it was the card I hate. The "I love you, and I've always loved you, but I never realized it until now!" card. (Bonus points if paired with the term "hapless fool.") Up until the very end, he as much as admitted that he had a crush on the pretty-and-rich Cora Lynn girl. But suddenly... Oh no! Adrianne is wearing a form-fitting dress! Gotta fall in love with her now. SPOILERS OVER

So other than that, I liked the book. I liked the character of Adrianne, and her devotion to her family (even though her aunt is a bitter and hateful hag and her mother is a spineless pansy). Also, I really liked the settings and how the island felt like a real place to me; the descriptions were vivid enough to draw me in, while not being too distracting.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, fluffy, i-own-it, is-or-would-be-a-good-movie, is-this-a-kissing-book



Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Goodreads Summary: "Coraline lives with her preoccupied parents in part of a huge old house--a house so huge that other people live in it, too... round, old former actresses Miss Spink and Miss Forcible and their aging Highland terriers ("We trod the boards, luvvy") and the mustachioed old man under the roof ("'The reason you cannot see the mouse circus,' said the man upstairs, 'is that the mice are not yet ready and rehearsed.'") Coraline contents herself for weeks with exploring the vast garden and grounds. But with a little rain she becomes bored--so bored that she begins to count everything blue (153), the windows (21), and the doors (14). And it is the 14th door that--sometimes blocked with a wall of bricks--opens up for Coraline into an entirely alternate universe. Now, if you're thinking fondly of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe or Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, you're on the wrong track. Neil Gaiman's Coraline is far darker, far stranger, playing on our deepest fears. And, like Roald Dahl's work, it is delicious.

What's on the other side of the door? A distorted-mirror world, containing presumably everything Coraline has ever dreamed of... people who pronounce her name correctly (not "Caroline"), delicious meals (not like her father's overblown "recipes"), an unusually pink and green bedroom (not like her dull one), and plenty of horrible (very un-boring) marvels, like a man made out of live rats. The creepiest part, however, is her mirrored parents, her "other mother" and her "other father"--people who look just like her own parents, but with big, shiny, black button eyes, paper-white skin... and a keen desire to keep her on their side of the door."

Review: This book is super cute. Also, very creepy. And I feel like it's the kind of story where, if I watch the movie, I'll wish I didn't already know the plot. Because I read the graphic novel a couple years ago, and I liked the book a little less because I knew what was going to happen. That said, I still read the book pretty quickly, so there's something compelling there.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, fluffy, is-a-movie



Cake Wrecks by Jen Yates

Goodreads Summary: "Have your cake and laugh at it, too, with the sweet treat known as Cake Wrecks: When Professional Cakes Go Hilariously Wrong. From the creator of the ultrapopular blog CakeWrecks.com, here are the worst cakes ever, including the ugly, the silly, the downright creepy, the unintentionally sad or suggestive, and the just plain funny. With witty commentary and behind-the-scenes tidbits, Cake Wrecks will ensure that you never look at a cake the same way again."

Review: If you don't read CakeWrecks, you probably should. I'm just sayin'.

Anyway, the book is better than the blog in some ways, and the blog is better than the book in some ways. I like the blog better because she gives more examples of the types of cakes she's talking about (I'm thinking specifically about the infamous Baby Shower Pregnant Belly cake), and I like the book better because I think it's funnier.

Goodreads Shelves: fluffy, funny, i-own-it



Eat Pray Love Book Club - Post #4

Finish India, where she prays a lot. Richard is a major character in this part of the book. He really is a true friend and is brutally honest. I think everyone has a Richard, maybe write a post about that person in your life as well as any general discussion about this section.

Liz's spiritual journey is fascinating, and I started thinking of it in the context of my own religion. The idea of God I've been taught growing up... I don't know. The words "infinite" and "loving" and "powerful" and "omniscient" are different from the concepts they represent, and I think Liz's time at the ashram put her in touch with those concepts. It's something I daresay I would like to look into.

As far as having a friend who gives me straight talk, that would be my friend C. She lives her life in a constant state of fabulous, not content with mediocre things or people. Or attitudes, which is why sometimes it's difficult hanging out with her, because she cuts right through all my crap. I know I can count on her for honest opinions of all my decisions, from the small things like what I'm reading or wearing, to the big things like who I married (she approves, by the way) or how I'm coping with things.

Quotes I liked from this section:

The other problem with all this swinging through the vines of thought is that you are never where you are. You are always digging in the past or poking at the future, but rarely do you rest in this moment. It's something like the habit of my dear friend Susan, who -- whenever she sees a beautiful place -- exclaims in near panic, "It's so beautiful here! I want to come back here someday!" and it takes all of my persuasive powers to try to convince her that she is already here. If you're looking for union with the divine, this kind of forward/backward whirling is a problem. There's a reason they call God a presence -- because God is right here, right now. In the present is the only place to find Him, and now is the only time. (p. 132)

He says, "Give it another six months, you'll feel better."
"I've already given it twelve months, Richard."
"Then give it six more. Just keep throwin' six months at it till it goes away. Stuff like this takes time." (p. 148)

"See, now that's your problem. You're wishin' too much, baby. You gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone oughtta be."  (p. 150)

It was only after a few verses that I caught my breath and was able to think my normal, instinctive morning thought: I don't want to be here. After which I heard Swamiji burst out laughing in my head, saying: That's funny -- you sure act like somebody who wants to be here. (p. 168)

Of course God already knows what I need. The question is -- do I know? Casting yourself at God's feet in helpless desperation is all well and good -- heaven knows, I've done it myself plenty of times -- but ultimately you're likely to get more out of the experience if you can take some action on your end. (p. 176)
In fact, I like the entire 58th bead. It talks about being proactive in prayer, and not just asking for help but being specific about it and doing your part afterwards. Then she goes on to talk about the control over her life she has and how much of her life is based on her choice. And also, how many of her thoughts are based on her choices and how she can control the thoughts that are allowed to dwell in her head.

Constantly he was teaching that austerity and renunciation -- just for their own sake -- are not what you need. To know God, you need only to renounce one thing -- your sense of division from God. (p. 192)

This installment of the Eat Pray Love Book Club is hosted by Erika at Kiss My Book. Go see what the others had to say!


Angel Star by Jennifer Murgia

Goodreads Page

Summary (via the author's website): "Seventeen-year-old Teagan McNeel falls for captivating Garreth Adams, her guardian angel come to earth. But where there is light, dark follows, and now she is torn between one angel's sacrifice and another angel's vicious ambition that threatens not only her life, but the lives of everyone she knows."

Review: So. I was kind of addicted to this one, once I got a couple chapters in. Near the end, though, my interest kind of waned. Things were a little... weird? I lost track of what was reality and what was all just in her head... or something.

Not sure I liked the deal with Hadrian. The whole Teagan/Hadrian thing was... weird.

I guess there were some weird things about this book. I liked it, though.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, fluffy, i-own-it, is-this-a-kissing-book



Eat Pray Love Book Club - Post #3 and Guest Post

My Eat Pray Love book club is hosted over at The Book Vixen - head over and check out what everyone has to say!

Today I'm hosting our resident non-blogger, Felicia

Today's prompt:
Having finished Italy discuss what the first phase of the journey has been like. Something fun could be that in Chapter 33 while sitting in an outdoor café in Rome, Gilbert’s friend declares that every city—and every person—has a word. Rome’s is “sex,” the Vatican’s “power”; Gilbert declares New York’s to be “achieve,” but only later stumbles upon her own word, antevasin, Sanskrit for “one who lives at the border.” What is your word? Is it possible to choose a word that retains its truth for a lifetime?

The quote I highlighted from this section was at the very end, and it's one that's really helping me come around to Liz's way of thinking.
...when you sense a faint potentiality for happiness after such dark times you must grab onto the ankles of that happiness and not let go until it drags you face-first out of the dirt--this is not selfishness, but obligation. You were given life; it is your duty (and also you entitlement as a human being) to find something beautiful within life, no matter how slight.
I like hearing her describe herself at the end of her time in Italy. I like the analogy she uses about gaining weight -- that she hasn't just gained weight physically, but emotionally, too, getting a chance to heal and just feel better.

I don't know what my word is; I feel like it's the sort of thing I'll need to put some study into to figure out.
I think some people are that consistent; they could have the same word for their entire lives. That they always have the same goal or principle or person driving them. I think other people are more inclined to change their word from time to time. Their life goes in a different direction from what it once was, and their word goes with it.

And now for Felicia's response:
Having finished Italy discuss what the first phase of the journey has been like. Something fun could be that in Chapter 33 while sitting in an outdoor café in Rome, Gilbert’s friend declares that every city—and every person—has a word. Rome’s is “sex,” the Vatican’s “power”; Gilbert declares New York’s to be “achieve,” but only later stumbles upon her own word, antevasin, Sanskrit for “one who lives at the border.” What is your word? Is it possible to choose a word that retains its truth for a lifetime?

As Liz progressed into her tale, she became less whiny to me and just a bit more interesting. I felt it was less like looking at like a bug under glass, as I started to warm up to her and in some places, and connect to some what she was feeling. I envied her living in Italy just a bit. I went on a tour of Italy about three years ago with a girlfriend and I thought it was the most beautiful place and tried to imagine living there. What I found most fascinating is her learning Italian (the words are beautiful and flowy) and finally having the connection to understand and speak the language (I tried to learn before I went, but I only got a couple of words). I understood that this journey that she is taking is to both heal her from heartache and to possibly prepare her for something, but for what I’m not quite sure.  When I read the part where she breaks up with David, I did tear up a little. It brought back memories of my own off again, on again relationships before I had the nerve to say ‘good-bye’. Although I didn’t break off in an email, the results were similar. I loved the fellowship with her friends, especially Luca Spaghetti’s Thanksgiving party and everyone expressing what they were thankful for. That was another teary-eye part for me.  I’m not quite sure why this section is named “eat”, because although she did eat a variety of food at different places, it wasn’t detailed oriented and food focused like I thought it would be. They were more of afterthought, but that’s just my own impression.

After much mulling over, I’ve decided that my word for myself at this moment would be SELFISH (I can see your eyebrows rising, you know. Lol) I recognize that I am a selfish person. My being selfish has a little something to do with my not having kids (that and vanity). When I was growing up, I had to share ‘stuff’ with my brothers, with my cousins, and other family sometimes. Once I became old enough that I didn’t have to share unless I wanted to, I didn’t unless I really needed to. I’d buy whatever I wanted for me or go and do whatever I wanted to entertain and/or make myself happy. I put myself first; I want to please me before I please anyone else. I don’t think I should depend on anyone else to provide that for me.  I don’t think that it’s a bad thing to be a selfish person. I can be, and I am generous of money and self when I deem it necessary, but for the most part, in my world it is all about ME. That’s just for right now though, at this moment in my life.  I think that word will change for me at some point, because everyone changes and evolves into something else. And because there is change, I don’t think there is just one word that we retain for a lifetime.  I think you will become less one word, as you become more of another word or words.


Front and Center by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Goodreads Summary: "After five months of sheer absolute craziness I was going back to being plain old background D.J. In photographs of course I'm always in the background—it's a family joke, actually, that us Schwenk kids could go to school naked on picture day, we're all so crazy tall. But I mean I was returning to the background of life. Where no one would really notice me or talk about me or even talk to me much except to say things like "Nice shot," and I could just hang out without too many worries at all.

But it turns out other folks have big plans for D.J. Like her coach. College scouts. All the town hoops fans. A certain Red Bend High School junior who's keen for romance and karaoke. Not to mention Brian Nelson, who she should not be thinking about! Who she is done with, thank you very much. But who keeps showing up anyway...

What's going to happen if she lets these people down? What's going to happen when she does? Because let's face it: there's no way, on the court or off, that awkward, tongue-tied D.J. Schwenk can manage all this attention. No way at all. Not without a brain transplant. Not without breaking her heart."

Review: More awesome!! SO glad it's such a great trilogy. The writing is fantastic. The humor made me laugh several times... out loud. The story is great. And I love D.J. No lie; she's awesome. This book was definitely a strong finish to the series.

Goodreads Shelves: addictive, fluffy, funny, is-this-a-kissing-book, thought-provoking, to-own


Book Blogger Hop!!

It's that time again! The Book Blogger Hop is hosted every Friday by Jennifer at Crazy For Books; it's a chance for book bloggers to link up and explore blogs they might not have found otherwise.

We are getting to know our Book Blog Hoppers! This week's question:  Tell us about some of your favorite authors and why they are your favorites!

Here are some of my favorites:
Lois McMaster Bujold - She is my all-time FAVORITE author! I pretty much love everything she's written. I love the way she uses the english language, and the way her characters are sardonic and witty; and I love Love LOVE the way she approaches theology in her characters! Whether there's a clearly defined theistic system set up in her world or not, she lets everyone make their own peace with whatever God or Gods the universe is deemed to hold.
Jane Austen - My favorite thing to say about Jane Austen is that there's just something about her books - you're totally riveted, but when you put them down you realize that NOTHING is happening! She's the total master of the "and then he looked at me twice" angst that I love.
Michelle Jaffe - HiLARious!! Her Kitty books are the funniest things I've ever read -- and that's saying something! I can always count on her to make me laugh. :)
Catherine Gilbert Murdock - She is a recent find, and I'm SO glad I finally picked up her books! I desperately need to own her Dairy Queen trilogy; DJ is one of my favorite characters ever.
E. Lockhart - I'm in love with her approach to relationships (judging from the two books of hers I've read, Dramarama and Frankie). She knows about being a girl, and about being ok with who you are. Her girls do NOT need boyfriends just to be people -- and I LOVE that!

To all newcomers, thanks for visiting! Please leave a comment and let me know you stopped by!


Eat Pray Love Book Club - Post #2

After reading the book for a week what are your first impressions? So much of this part of the book is about Liz’s battle of modern vs. traditional, where do you fall on the spectrum? Are you married with children or do you never want to get married, or like most I would guess are you somewhere in between?

Ok. I'm not gonna lie. I'm having a hard time with Liz. I have a problem with the fact that she left her husband. I accept that she had reasons for doing it, and they might even be good reasons, but it bothers me because I don't know what those reasons were. It's hard for me to be ok with seeing a marriage end without the people involved trying to work it out, and because Liz didn't tell me exactly why she left her husband, that's basically all I know about why they got divorced. There. I said it. Hate me if you dare.

(Don't get me wrong though. I'm pretty sure I'd be behind her all the way if she'd fully explained what was wrong with her marriage. Maybe I just resent being out of the loop.)

That being said, I felt for her a lot more when I read the part about her depression. I believe that depression is a real problem that people have, and that in some cases it really can only be fixed with medication. If Liz's journey is going to help her come to terms with her depression and find the inner strength to fight it, then I'm behind her one hundred percent.

To answer the last question, I'm somewhere in the middle of the spectrum (as many of us are). I'm married with no kids, which is one of my own personal battles right now. In the culture I live in (being Mormon in Utah), there are a lot of strong opinions about having children right away (read: pro). Besides the peer pressure that naturally comes from most of our married friends having kids, I sometimes feel like I'm being judged by the people around me for choosing to work and put my husband through law school instead of quitting my job and getting started on our 2.5 kids right away (except, hey, we're Mormons, so it's more like 5 kids. But I digress). So in that sense, yes. I know about having society define you and dictating what you "should" be doing with your life.

See the other responses over at The Book Vixen!


A New Arrival!





Now, if only I could remember the password for the Wi-Fi...


White is for Magic by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Goodreads Summary: "I'm watching you . . .A year has passed since Stacey Brown saved her best friend from a horrible death. Now she's having nightmares again, haunted by ghosts of the brutally murdered . . . and by a crazed stalker. As she desperately casts healing spells, a new student named Jacob enters her world. Beautiful and mysterious, he reveals that he is also having dreams. To stop a killer, they must join together. But can Jacob be trusted? Or will this new love cause her darkest dreams to come true?"

Review: I liked two specific things about this book.

1 - As has been previously mentioned, I like books set at boarding schools.

2 - I like Stacey's brand of witchcraft. It kind of fascinates me; I like the idea of being in harmony with nature and of knowing the things around you so well that you can use their properties to influence your life -- not working against the natural order of things, but working with it in its natural flow. I'm kind of new-age-y that way.

Goodreads Shelves: fluffy, is-this-a-kissing-book, thought-provoking



Eat Pray Love book club - Post #1

The Book Vixen is hosting a book club during the month of July, in which those of us participating will read Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.

To kick off the month, our first book club post prompt is about what we already know and think about the book.

What preconceived notions do you have of the book as a first time reader? What have you heard about it? What do you anticipate going into it? Why do you want to read it?

My impression of the book came from this talk, that I saw on the internet about a year ago. I hadn't heard about the book before that. Ms. Gilbert's talk made me curious.

Later I found out a little more about the book and read the summary and so forth, and thought it sounded intriguing. I'm not really sure what to expect, although I'm expecting it to be a lot better than anything I'd write. :)

While I read the book, I'm pretty sure I'll be keeping this in mind, since seeing things like movie trailers helps me visualize what's going on.
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